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[G.R. No. 126376.

November 20, 2003] In seeking the declaration of nullity of the aforesaid deeds of sale and certificates of title,
SPOUSES BERNARDO BUENAVENTURA and CONSOLACION JOAQUIN, plaintiffs, in their complaint, aver:
SPOUSES JUANITO EDRA and NORA JOAQUIN, SPOUSES RUFINO - XX-
VALDOZ and EMMA JOAQUIN, and NATIVIDAD JOAQUIN, petitioners, The deeds of sale, Annexes C, D, E, F, and G, [and K] are simulated as they are, are
vs. COURT OF APPEALS, SPOUSES LEONARDO JOAQUIN and NULL AND VOID AB INITIO because
FELICIANA LANDRITO, SPOUSES FIDEL JOAQUIN and CONCHITA a) Firstly, there was no actual valid consideration for the deeds of sale xxx
BERNARDO, SPOUSES TOMAS JOAQUIN and SOLEDAD ALCORAN, over the properties in litis;
SPOUSES ARTEMIO JOAQUIN and SOCORRO ANGELES, SPOUSES b) Secondly, assuming that there was consideration in the sums reflected in
ALEXANDER MENDOZA and CLARITA JOAQUIN, SPOUSES TELESFORO the questioned deeds, the properties are more than three-fold times
CARREON and FELICITAS JOAQUIN, SPOUSES DANILO VALDOZ and FE more valuable than the measly sums appearing therein;
JOAQUIN, and SPOUSES GAVINO JOAQUIN and LEA ASIS, respondents. c) Thirdly, the deeds of sale do not reflect and express the true intent of the
DECISION parties (vendors and vendees); and
CARPIO, J.: d) Fourthly, the purported sale of the properties in litis was the result of a
The Case deliberate conspiracy designed to unjustly deprive the rest of the
This is a petition for review on certiorari[1] to annul the Decision[2] dated 26 June compulsory heirs (plaintiffs herein) of their legitime.
1996 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 41996. The Court of Appeals affirmed - XXI -
the Decision[3] dated 18 February 1993 rendered by Branch 65 of the Regional Trial Necessarily, and as an inevitable consequence, Transfer Certificates of Title Nos.
Court of Makati (trial court) in Civil Case No. 89-5174. The trial court dismissed the case 36113/T-172, S-109772, 155329, 155330, 157203 [and 157779] issued by the Registrar
after it found that the parties executed the Deeds of Sale for valid consideration and that of Deeds over the properties in litis xxx are NULL AND VOID AB INITIO.
the plaintiffs did not have a cause of action against the defendants. Defendants, on the other hand aver (1) that plaintiffs do not have a cause of action
The Facts against them as well as the requisite standing and interest to assail their titles over the
The Court of Appeals summarized the facts of the case as follows: properties in litis; (2) that the sales were with sufficient considerations and made by
Defendant spouses Leonardo Joaquin and Feliciana Landrito are the parents of plaintiffs defendants parents voluntarily, in good faith, and with full knowledge of the
Consolacion, Nora, Emma and Natividad as well as of defendants Fidel, Tomas, Artemio, consequences of their deeds of sale; and (3) that the certificates of title were issued with
Clarita, Felicitas, Fe, and Gavino, all surnamed JOAQUIN. The married Joaquin children sufficient factual and legal basis.[4] (Emphasis in the original)
are joined in this action by their respective spouses. The Ruling of the Trial Court
Sought to be declared null and void ab initio are certain deeds of sale of real property Before the trial, the trial court ordered the dismissal of the case against defendant
executed by defendant parents Leonardo Joaquin and Feliciana Landrito in favor of their spouses Gavino Joaquin and Lea Asis.[5] Instead of filing an Answer with their co-
co-defendant children and the corresponding certificates of title issued in their names, to defendants, Gavino Joaquin and Lea Asis filed a Motion to Dismiss.[6] In granting the
wit: dismissal to Gavino Joaquin and Lea Asis, the trial court noted that compulsory heirs
1. Deed of Absolute Sale covering Lot 168-C-7 of subdivision plan (LRC) Psd- have the right to a legitime but such right is contingent since said right commences only
256395 executed on 11 July 1978, in favor of defendant Felicitas Joaquin, from the moment of death of the decedent pursuant to Article 777 of the Civil Code of the
for a consideration of P6,000.00 (Exh. C), pursuant to which TCT No. Philippines.[7]
[36113/T-172] was issued in her name (Exh. C-1); After trial, the trial court ruled in favor of the defendants and dismissed the
2. Deed of Absolute Sale covering Lot 168-I-3 of subdivision plan (LRC) Psd- complaint. The trial court stated:
256394 executed on 7 June 1979, in favor of defendant Clarita Joaquin, In the first place, the testimony of the defendants, particularly that of the xxx father will
for a consideration of P1[2],000.00 (Exh. D), pursuant to which TCT No. S- show that the Deeds of Sale were all executed for valuable consideration. This assertion
109772 was issued in her name (Exh. D-1); must prevail over the negative allegation of plaintiffs.
3 Deed of Absolute Sale covering Lot 168-I-1 of subdivision plan (LRC) Psd- And then there is the argument that plaintiffs do not have a valid cause of action against
256394 executed on 12 May 1988, in favor of defendant spouses Fidel defendants since there can be no legitime to speak of prior to the death of their
Joaquin and Conchita Bernardo, for a consideration of P54,[3]00.00 (Exh. parents.The court finds this contention tenable. In determining the legitime, the value of
E), pursuant to which TCT No. 155329 was issued to them (Exh. E-1); the property left at the death of the testator shall be considered (Art. 908 of the New Civil
4. Deed of Absolute Sale covering Lot 168-I-2 of subdivision plan (LRC) Psd- Code).Hence, the legitime of a compulsory heir is computed as of the time of the death of
256394 executed on 12 May 1988, in favor of defendant spouses Artemio the decedent. Plaintiffs therefore cannot claim an impairment of their legitime while their
Joaquin and Socorro Angeles, for a consideration of P[54,3]00.00 (Exh. F), parents live.
pursuant to which TCT No. 155330 was issued to them (Exh. F-1); and All the foregoing considered, this case is DISMISSED.
5. Absolute Sale of Real Property covering Lot 168-C-4 of subdivision plan In order to preserve whatever is left of the ties that should bind families together, the
(LRC) Psd-256395 executed on 9 September 1988, in favor of Tomas counterclaim is likewise DISMISSED.
Joaquin, for a consideration of P20,000.00 (Exh. G), pursuant to which No costs.
TCT No. 157203 was issued in her name (Exh. G-1). SO ORDERED.[8]
[6. Deed of Absolute Sale covering Lot 168-C-1 of subdivision plan (LRC) The Ruling of the Court of Appeals
Psd-256395 executed on 7 October 1988, in favor of Gavino Joaquin, for a The Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the trial court. The appellate court
consideration of P25,000.00 (Exh. K), pursuant to which TCT No. 157779 ruled:
was issued in his name (Exh. K-1).]
To the mind of the Court, appellants are skirting the real and decisive issue in this case, (plaintiffs herein) of their legitime. Petitioners strategy was to have the Deeds of Sale
which is, whether xxx they have a cause of action against appellees. declared void so that ownership of the lots would eventually revert to their respondent
Upon this point, there is no question that plaintiffs-appellants, like their defendant parents. If their parents die still owning the lots, petitioners and their respondent siblings
brothers and sisters, are compulsory heirs of defendant spouses, Leonardo Joaquin and will then co-own their parents estate by hereditary succession.[11]
Feliciana Landrito, who are their parents. However, their right to the properties of their It is evident from the records that petitioners are interested in the properties subject
defendant parents, as compulsory heirs, is merely inchoate and vests only upon the of the Deeds of Sale, but they have failed to show any legal right to the properties. The
latters death. While still alive, defendant parents are free to dispose of their properties, trial and appellate courts should have dismissed the action for this reason alone. An
provided that such dispositions are not made in fraud of creditors. action must be prosecuted in the name of the real party-in-interest.[12]
Plaintiffs-appellants are definitely not parties to the deeds of sale in question. Neither do [T]he question as to real party-in-interest is whether he is the party who would be
they claim to be creditors of their defendant parents. Consequently, they cannot be benefitted or injured by the judgment, or the party entitled to the avails of the suit.
considered as real parties in interest to assail the validity of said deeds either for gross xxx
inadequacy or lack of consideration or for failure to express the true intent of the In actions for the annulment of contracts, such as this action, the real parties are those
parties.In point is the ruling of the Supreme Court in Velarde, et al. vs. Paez, et al., 101 who are parties to the agreement or are bound either principally or subsidiarily or are
SCRA 376, thus: prejudiced in their rights with respect to one of the contracting parties and can show the
The plaintiffs are not parties to the alleged deed of sale and are not principally or detriment which would positively result to them from the contract even though they did
subsidiarily bound thereby; hence, they have no legal capacity to challenge their validity. not intervene in it (Ibaez v. Hongkong & Shanghai Bank, 22 Phil. 572 [1912]) xxx.
Plaintiffs-appellants anchor their action on the supposed impairment of their legitime by These are parties with a present substantial interest, as distinguished from a mere
the dispositions made by their defendant parents in favor of their defendant brothers and expectancy or future, contingent, subordinate, or consequential interest. The phrase
sisters. But, as correctly held by the court a quo, the legitime of a compulsory heir is present substantial interest more concretely is meant such interest of a party in the
computed as of the time of the death of the decedent. Plaintiffs therefore cannot claim an subject matter of the action as will entitle him, under the substantive law, to recover if the
impairment of their legitime while their parents live. evidence is sufficient, or that he has the legal title to demand and the defendant will be
With this posture taken by the Court, consideration of the errors assigned by plaintiffs- protected in a payment to or recovery by him.[13]
appellants is inconsequential. Petitioners do not have any legal interest over the properties subject of the Deeds
WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is hereby AFFIRMED, with costs against of Sale. As the appellate court stated, petitioners right to their parents properties is
plaintiffs-appellants. merely inchoate and vests only upon their parents death. While still living, the parents of
SO ORDERED.[9] petitioners are free to dispose of their properties. In their overzealousness to safeguard
Hence, the instant petition. their future legitime, petitioners forget that theoretically, the sale of the lots to their
Issues siblings does not affect the value of their parents estate. While the sale of the lots
Petitioners assign the following as errors of the Court of Appeals: reduced the estate, cash of equivalent value replaced the lots taken from the estate.
1. THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT HOLDING THAT THE Whether the Deeds of Sale are void
CONVEYANCE IN QUESTION HAD NO VALID CONSIDERATION. for lack of consideration
2. THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT HOLDING THAT EVEN Petitioners assert that their respondent siblings did not actually pay the prices
ASSUMING THAT THERE WAS A CONSIDERATION, THE SAME IS stated in the Deeds of Sale to their respondent father. Thus, petitioners ask the court to
GROSSLY INADEQUATE. declare the Deeds of Sale void.
3. THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT HOLDING THAT THE DEEDS A contract of sale is not a real contract, but a consensual contract. As a consensual
OF SALE DO NOT EXPRESS THE TRUE INTENT OF THE PARTIES. contract, a contract of sale becomes a binding and valid contract upon the meeting of the
4. THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT HOLDING THAT THE minds as to price. If there is a meeting of the minds of the parties as to the price, the
CONVEYANCE WAS PART AND PARCEL OF A CONSPIRACY AIMED contract of sale is valid, despite the manner of payment, or even the breach of that
AT UNJUSTLY DEPRIVING THE REST OF THE CHILDREN OF THE manner of payment. If the real price is not stated in the contract, then the contract of sale
SPOUSES LEONARDO JOAQUIN AND FELICIANA LANDRITO OF is valid but subject to reformation. If there is no meeting of the minds of the parties as to
THEIR INTEREST OVER THE SUBJECT PROPERTIES. the price, because the price stipulated in the contract is simulated, then the contract is
5. THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT HOLDING THAT void.[14] Article 1471 of the Civil Code states that if the price in a contract of sale is
PETITIONERS HAVE A GOOD, SUFFICIENT AND VALID CAUSE OF simulated, the sale is void.
ACTION AGAINST THE PRIVATE RESPONDENTS.[10] It is not the act of payment of price that determines the validity of a contract of
The Ruling of the Court sale. Payment of the price has nothing to do with the perfection of the contract. Payment
We find the petition without merit. of the price goes into the performance of the contract. Failure to pay the consideration is
We will discuss petitioners legal interest over the properties subject of the Deeds of different from lack of consideration. The former results in a right to demand the fulfillment
Sale before discussing the issues on the purported lack of consideration and gross or cancellation of the obligation under an existing valid contract while the latter prevents
inadequacy of the prices of the Deeds of Sale. the existence of a valid contract.[15]
Whether Petitioners have a legal interest Petitioners failed to show that the prices in the Deeds of Sale were absolutely
over the properties subject of the Deeds of Sale simulated. To prove simulation, petitioners presented Emma Joaquin Valdozs testimony
Petitioners Complaint betrays their motive for filing this case. In their Complaint, stating that their father, respondent Leonardo Joaquin, told her that he would transfer a
petitioners asserted that the purported sale of the properties in litis was the result of a lot to her through a deed of sale without need for her payment of the purchase
deliberate conspiracy designed to unjustly deprive the rest of the compulsory heirs price.[16]The trial court did not find the allegation of absolute simulation of price
credible. Petitioners failure to prove absolute simulation of price is magnified by their lack CARPIO, J.:
of knowledge of their respondent siblings financial capacity to buy the questioned The Case
lots.[17] On the other hand, the Deeds of Sale which petitioners presented as evidence Before this Court is a petition for review[1] assailing the Decision[2] of 26 June 1998
plainly showed the cost of each lot sold. Not only did respondents minds meet as to the and the Resolution of 21 December 1998 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No.
purchase price, but the real price was also stated in the Deeds of Sale. As of the filing of 51643. The Court of Appeals reversed the Decision dated 10 April 1995 of the Regional
the complaint, respondent siblings have also fully paid the price to their respondent Trial Court of Makati City, Branch 135, in Civil Case No. 92-1685, partitioning the
father.[18] property in controversy and awarding to petitioners a portion of the property.
Whether the Deeds of Sale are void Antecedent Facts
for gross inadequacy of price Spouses Agatona Guevarra (Guevarra) and Ciriaco Lopez had six (6) children,
Petitioners ask that assuming that there is consideration, the same is grossly namely: (1) Dominador Lopez; (2) Enriqueta Lopez-Jumaquio, the mother of respondents
inadequate as to invalidate the Deeds of Sale. Emiliana Jumaquio Rodriguez and Felomena Jumaquio Estimo (Jumaquio sisters); (3)
Articles 1355 of the Civil Code states: Victor Lopez, married to respondent Leoncia Lopez; (4) Benigna Lopez-Ortiz, the mother
Art. 1355. Except in cases specified by law, lesion or inadequacy of cause shall not of respondents Narciso, Celestino, Rodolfo, Pastor Jr. and Romeo Ortiz, and Erlinda
invalidate a contract, unless there has been fraud, mistake or undue Ortiz Ocampo; (5) Rosario Lopez-dela Cruz, married to respondent Benjamin dela Cruz,
influence.(Emphasis supplied) Sr. and the mother of respondents Benjamin Jr., Roberto, and Joselito, all surnamed dela
Article 1470 of the Civil Code further provides: Cruz, and of Gloria dela Cruz Racadio and Aurora dela Cruz Nicolas; and (6) Vicente
Art. 1470. Gross inadequacy of price does not affect a contract of sale, except as Lopez, the father of petitioner Milagros Lopez Manongsong (Manongsong).
may indicate a defect in the consent, or that the parties really intended a donation or The contested property is a parcel of land on San Jose Street, Manuyo Uno, Las
some other act or contract. (Emphasis supplied) Pias, Metro Manila with an area of approximately 152 square meters (Property). The
Petitioners failed to prove any of the instances mentioned in Articles 1355 and 1470 records do not show that the Property is registered under the Torrens system. The
of the Civil Code which would invalidate, or even affect, the Deeds of Sale. Indeed, there Property is particularly described in Tax Declaration No. B-001-00390[3] as bounded in
is no requirement that the price be equal to the exact value of the subject matter of the north by Juan Gallardo, south by Calle Velay, east by Domingo Lavana and west by
sale. All the respondents believed that they received the commutative value of what they San Jose Street. Tax Declaration No. B-001-00390 was registered with the Office of the
gave. As we stated in Vales v. Villa:[19] Municipal Assessor of Las Pias on 30 September 1984 in the name of Benigna Lopez, et
Courts cannot follow one every step of his life and extricate him from bad bargains, al.[4] However, the improvements on the portion of the Property denominated as No. 831
protect him from unwise investments, relieve him from one-sided contracts, or annul the San Jose St., Manuyo Uno, Las Pias were separately declared in the name of Filomena
effects of foolish acts. Courts cannot constitute themselves guardians of persons who are J. Estimo under Tax Declaration No. 90-001-02145 dated 14 October 1991.[5]
not legally incompetent. Courts operate not because one person has been defeated or Milagros and Carlito Manongsong (petitioners) filed a Complaint [6] on 19 June 1992,
overcome by another, but because he has been defeated or overcome illegally. Men may alleging that Manongsong and respondents are the owners pro indiviso of the
do foolish things, make ridiculous contracts, use miserable judgment, and lose money by Property.Invoking Article 494 of the Civil Code,[7] petitioners prayed for the partition and
them indeed, all they have in the world; but not for that alone can the law intervene and award to them of an area equivalent to one-fifth (1/5) of the Property or its prevailing
restore. There must be, in addition, a violation of the law, the commission of what the law market value, and for damages.
knows as an actionable wrong, before the courts are authorized to lay hold of the Petitioners alleged that Guevarra was the original owner of the Property. Upon
situation and remedy it. (Emphasis in the original) Guevarras death, her children inherited the Property. Since Dominador Lopez died
Moreover, the factual findings of the appellate court are conclusive on the parties without offspring, there were only five children left as heirs of Guevarra. Each of the five
and carry greater weight when they coincide with the factual findings of the trial children, including Vicente Lopez, the father of Manongsong, was entitled to a fifth of the
court. This Court will not weigh the evidence all over again unless there has been a Property. As Vicente Lopez sole surviving heir, Manongsong claims her fathers 1/5 share
showing that the findings of the lower court are totally devoid of support or are clearly in the Property by right of representation.
erroneous so as to constitute serious abuse of discretion.[20] In the instant case, the trial There is no dispute that respondents, who are the surviving spouses of Guevarras
court found that the lots were sold for a valid consideration, and that the defendant children and their offspring, have been in possession of the Property for as long as they
children actually paid the purchase price stipulated in their respective Deeds of can remember. The area actually occupied by each respondent family differs, ranging in
Sale. Actual payment of the purchase price by the buyer to the seller is a factual finding size from approximately 25 to 50 square meters. Petitioners are the only descendants
that is now conclusive upon us. not occupying any portion of the Property.
WHEREFORE, we AFFIRM the decision of the Court of Appeals in toto. Most respondents, specifically Narciso, Rodolfo, Pastor Jr., and Celestino Ortiz,
SO ORDERED. and Erlinda Ortiz Ocampo (Ortiz family), as well as Benjamin Sr., Benjamin Jr., and
[G. R. No. 136773. June 25, 2003] Roberto dela Cruz, Aurora dela Cruz Nicolas and Gloria Dela Cruz Racadio (Dela Cruz
MILAGROS MANONGSONG, joined by her husband, CARLITO family), entered into a compromise agreement with petitioners. Under the Stipulation of
MANONGSONG, petitioners, vs. FELOMENA JUMAQUIO ESTIMO, Facts and Compromise Agreement[8] dated 12 September 1992 (Agreement), petitioners
EMILIANA JUMAQUIO, NARCISO ORTIZ, CELESTINO ORTIZ, RODOLFO and the Ortiz and Dela Cruz families agreed that each group of heirs would receive an
ORTIZ, ERLINDA O. OCAMPO, PASTOR ORTIZ, JR., ROMEO ORTIZ equal share in the Property. The signatories to the Agreement asked the trial court to
BENJAMIN DELA CRUZ, SR., BENJAMIN DELA CRUZ, JR., AURORA issue an order of partition to this effect and prayed further that those who have exceeded
NICOLAS, GLORIA RACADIO, ROBERTO DELA CRUZ, JOSELITO DELA said one-fifth (1/5) must be reduced so that those who have less and those who have
CRUZ and LEONCIA S. LOPEZ, respondents. none shall get the correct and proper portion.[9]
DECISION
Among the respondents, the Jumaquio sisters and Leoncia Lopez who each which deed was presented in evidence as Exhs. 4 to 4-A. Plaintiff Milagros Manongsong
occupy 50 square meter portions of the Property and Joselito dela Cruz, did not sign the debunks the evidence as fake. The document of sale, in the observance of the Court, is
Agreement.[10] However, only the Jumaquio sisters actively opposed petitioners however duly authenticated by means of a certificate issued by the RTC of the Manila
claim. The Jumaquio sisters contended that Justina Navarro (Navarro), supposedly the Clerk of Court as duly notarized public document (Exh. 5). No countervailing proof was
mother of Guevarra, sold the Property to Guevarras daughter Enriqueta Lopez adduced by plaintiffs to overcome or impugn the documents legality or its validity.
Jumaquio. xxx The conveyance made by Justina Navarro is subject to nullity because the property
The Jumaquio sisters presented provincial Tax Declaration No. 911 [11] for the year conveyed had a conjugal character. No positive evidence had been introduced that it was
1949 in the sole name of Navarro. Tax Declaration No. 911 described a residential parcel solely a paraphernal property. The name of Justina Navarros spouse/husband was not
of land with an area of 172.51 square meters, located on San Jose St., Manuyo, Las mentioned and/or whether the husband was still alive at the time the conveyance was
Pias, Rizal with the following boundaries: Juan Gallardo to the north, I. Guevarra Street made to Justina Navarro. Agatona Guevarra as her compulsory heir should have the
to the south, Rizal Street to the east and San Jose Street to the west. In addition, Tax legal right to participate with the distribution of the estate under question to the exclusion
Declaration No. 911 stated that the houses of "Agatona Lopez" and "Enriquita Lopez" of others. She is entitled to her legitime. The Deed of Sale [Exhs 4 & 4-1(sic)] did not at
stood on the Property as improvements. all provide for the reserved legitime or the heirs, and, therefore it has no force and effect
The Jumaquio sisters also presented a notarized KASULATAN SA BILIHAN NG against Agatona Guevarra and her six (6) legitimate children including the grandchildren,
LUPA[12] (Kasulatan) dated 11 October 1957, the relevant portion of which states: by right of representation, as described in the order of intestate succession.The same
AKO SI JUSTINA NAVARRO, sapat ang gulang, may asawa, Pilipino at naninirahan sa Deed of Sale should be declared a nullity ab initio. The law on the matter is clear. The
LAS PIAS, ay siyang nagma-may-ari at nagtatangkilik ng isang lagay na lupa na compulsory heirs cannot be deprived of their legitime, except on (sic) cases expressly
matatagpuan sa Manuyo, Las Pias, Rizal, lihis sa anomang pagkakautang lalong specified by law like for instance disinheritance for cause. xxx (Emphasis supplied)
napagkikilala sa pamamagitan ng mga sumusunod na palatandaan: Since the other respondents had entered into a compromise agreement with
BOUNDARIES: petitioners, the dispositive portion of the trial courts decision was directed against the
NORTH: JUAN GALLARDO SOUTH: I. GUEVARRA ST. EAST: RIZAL Jumaquio sisters only, as follows:
ST., WEST: SAN JOSE ST., WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of plaintiffs
na may sukat na 172.51 metros cuadrados na may TAX DECLARATION and against the remaining active defendants, Emiliana Jumaquio and Felomena J.
BILANG 911. Estimo, jointly and severally, ordering:
NA DAHIL AT ALANG ALANG sa halagang DALAWANG DAAN LIMANGPUNG PISO 1. That the property consisting of 152 square meters referred to above be immediately
(P250.00), SALAPING PILIPINO, na sa akin ay kaliwang iniabot at ibinayad ni partitioned giving plaintiff Milagros Lopez-Manongsong her lawful share of 1/5 of the area
ENRIQUETA LOPEZ, may sapat na gulang, Pilipino, may asawa at naninirahan sa Las in square meters, or the prevailing market value on the date of the decision;
Pias, Rizal, at sa karapatang ito ay aking pinatutunayan ng pagkakatanggap ng nasabing 2. Defendants to pay plaintiffs the sum of P10,000.00 as compensatory damages for
halaga na buong kasiyahan ng aking kalooban ay aking IPINAGBILI, ISINALIN AT having deprived the latter the use and enjoyment of the fruits of her 1/5 share;
INILIPAT sa nasabing, ENRIQUETA LOPEZ, sa kanyang mga tagapagmana at kahalili, 3. Defendants to pay plaintiffs litigation expenses and attorneys fee in the sum
ang kabuuang sukat ng lupang nabanggit sa itaas nito sa pamamagitan ng bilihang of P10,000.00; and
walang anomang pasubali. Ang lupang ito ay walang kasama at hindi taniman ng palay o 4. Defendants to pay the costs of suit.
mais. SO ORDERED.[15] (Emphasis supplied)
Simula sa araw na ito ay aking ililipat ang pagmamay-ari at pagtatangkilik ng nasabing When the trial court denied their motion for reconsideration, the Jumaquio sisters
lupa kay ENRIQUETA LOPEZ sa kanilang/kanyang tagapagmana at kahalili x x x. appealed to the Court of Appeals.
The Clerk of Court of the Regional Trial Court of Manila certified on 1 June 1994 The Ruling of the Court of Appeals
that the KASULATAN SA BILIHAN NG LUPA, between Justina Navarro (Nagbili) and Petitioners, in their appellees brief before the Court of Appeals, presented for the
Enriqueta Lopez (Bumili), was notarized by Atty. Ruperto Q. Andrada on 11 October first time a supposed photocopy of the death certificate[16] of Guevarra, which stated that
1957 and entered in his Notarial Register xxx.[13] The certification further stated that Atty. Guevarras mother was a certain Juliana Gallardo. Petitioner also attached an
Andrada was a duly appointed notary public for the City of Manila in 1957. affidavit[17] from Benjamin dela Cruz, Sr. attesting that he knew Justina Navarro only by
Because the Jumaquio sisters were in peaceful possession of their portion of the name and had never met her personally, although he had lived for some years with
Property for more than thirty years, they also invoked the defense of acquisitive Agatona Guevarra after his marriage with Rosario Lopez. On the basis of these
prescription against petitioners, and charged that petitioners were guilty of laches. The documents, petitioners assailed the genuineness and authenticity of the Kasulatan.
Jumaquio sisters argued that the present action should have been filed years earlier, The Court of Appeals refused to take cognizance of the death certificate and
either by Vicente Lopez when he was alive or by Manongsong when the latter reached affidavit presented by petitioners on the ground that petitioners never formally offered
legal age. Instead, petitioners filed this action for partition only in 1992 whenManongsong these documents in evidence.
was already 33 years old. The appellate court further held that the petitioners were bound by their admission
The Ruling of the Trial Court that Navarro was the original owner of the Property, as follows:
After trial on the merits, the trial court in its Decision[14] of 10 April 1995 ruled in Moreover, plaintiffs-appellees themselves admitted before the trial court that Justina
favor of petitioners. The trial court held that the Kasulatan was void, even absent Navarro and not Juliana Gallardo was the original owner of the subject property and was
evidence attacking its validity. The trial court declared: the mother of Agatona Navarro (sic). Plaintiffs-appellees in their Reply-Memorandum
It appears that the ownership of the estate in question is controverted. According to averred:
defendants Jumaquios, it pertains to them through conveyance by means of a Deed of As regards the existence of common ownership, the defendants clearly admit as follows:
Sale executed by their common ancestor Justina Navarro to their mother Enriqueta, xxx xxx xxx
History of this case tells us that originally the property was owned by JUSTINA 6. WHETHER PRESCRIPTION APPLIES AGAINST THE SHARE OF
NAVARRO who has a daughter by the name of AGATONA GUEVARRA who on the PETITIONERS.[21]
other hand has six children namely: xxx xxx xxx. The fundamental question for resolution is whether petitioners were able to prove,
which point-out that co-ownership exists on the property between the parties. Since this by the requisite quantum of evidence, that Manongsong is a co-owner of the Property
is the admitted history, facts of the case, it follows that there should have been proper and therefore entitled to demand for its partition.
document to extinguish this status of co-ownership between the common owners either The Ruling of the Court
by (1) Court action or proper deed of tradition, xxx xxx xxx. The petition lacks merit.
The trial court confirms these admissions of plaintiffs-appellees. The trial court held: The issues raised by petitioners are mainly factual in nature. In general, only
xxx xxx xxx questions of law are appealable to this Court under Rule 45. However, where the factual
With the parties admissions and their conformity to a factual common line of relationship findings of the trial court and Court of Appeals conflict, this Court has the authority to
of the heirs with one another, it has been elicited ascendant Justina Navarro is the review and, if necessary, reverse the findings of fact of the lower courts. [22] This is
common ancestor of the heirs herein mentioned, however, it must be noted that the precisely the situation in this case.
parties failed to amplify who was the husband and the number of compulsory heirs of We review the factual and legal issues of this case in light of the general rules of
Justina Navarro. xxx xxx xxx evidence and the burden of proof in civil cases, as explained by this Court in Jison v.
Therefore, plaintiffs-appellees cannot now be heard contesting the fact that Justina Court of Appeals :[23]
Navarro was their common ancestor and was the original owner of the subject property. xxx Simply put, he who alleges the affirmative of the issue has the burden of proof, and
The Court of Appeals further held that the trial court erred in assuming that the upon the plaintiff in a civil case, the burden of proof never parts. However, in the course
Property was conjugal in nature when Navarro sold it. The appellate court reasoned as of trial in a civil case, once plaintiff makes out a prima facie case in his favor, the duty or
follows: the burden of evidence shifts to defendant to controvert plaintiff's prima facie case,
However, it is a settled rule that the party who invokes the presumption that all property otherwise, a verdict must be returned in favor of plaintiff. Moreover, in civil cases, the
of marriage belongs to the conjugal partnership, must first prove that the property was party having the burden of proof must produce a preponderance of evidence thereon,
acquired during the marriage. Proof of acquisition during the coveture is a condition sine with plaintiff having to rely on the strength of his own evidence and not upon the
qua non for the operation of the presumption in favor of conjugal ownership. weakness of the defendants. The concept of preponderance of evidence refers to
In this case, not a single iota of evidence was submitted to prove that the subject evidence which is of greater weight, or more convincing, that which is offered in
property was acquired by Justina Navarro during her marriage. xxx opposition to it; at bottom, it means probability of truth.
The findings of the trial court that the subject property is conjugal in nature is not Whether the Court of Appeals erred in affirming the validity of the
supported by any evidence. Kasulatan sa Bilihan ng Lupa
To the contrary, records show that in 1949 the subject property was declared, for taxation Petitioners anchor their action for partition on the claim that Manongsong is a co-
purposes under the name of Justina Navarro alone. This indicates that the land is the owner or co-heir of the Property by inheritance, more specifically, as the heir of her
paraphernal property of Justina Navarro. father, Vicente Lopez. Petitioners likewise allege that the Property originally belonged to
For these reasons, the Court of Appeals reversed the decision of the trial court, Guevarra, and that Vicente Lopez inherited from Guevarra a 1/5 interest in the Property.
thus: As the parties claiming the affirmative of these issues, petitioners had the burden of proof
WHEREFORE, foregoing considered, the appealed decision is hereby REVERSED and to establish their case by preponderance of evidence.
SET ASIDE. A new one is hereby rendered DISMISSING plaintiffs-appellees complaint in To trace the ownership of the Property, both contending parties presented tax
so far as defendants-appellants are concerned. declarations and the testimonies of witnesses. However, the Jumaquio sisters also
Costs against plaintiffs-appellees. presented a notarized KASULATAN SA BILIHAN NG LUPA which controverted
SO ORDERED.[18] petitioners claim of co-ownership.
Petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration, but the Court of Appeals denied the The Kasulatan, being a document acknowledged before a notary public, is a public
same in its Resolution of 21 December 1998.[19] document and prima facie evidence of its authenticity and due execution. To assail the
On 28 January 1999, petitioners appealed the appellate courts decision and authenticity and due execution of a notarized document, the evidence must be clear,
resolution to this Court. The Court initially denied the petition for review due to certain convincing and more than merely preponderant.[24] Otherwise the authenticity and due
procedural defects. The Court, however, gave due course to the petition in its Resolution execution of the document should be upheld.[25] The trial court itself held that (n)o
of 31 January 2000.[20] countervailing proof was adduced by plaintiffs to overcome or impugn the documents
The Issues legality or its validity.[26]
Petitioners raise the following issues before this Court: Even if the Kasulatan was not notarized, it would be deemed an ancient document
1. WHETHER PETITIONER HAS NO COUNTERVAILING EVIDENCE ON and thus still presumed to be authentic. The Kasulatan is: (1) more than 30 years old, (2)
THE ALLEGED SALE BY ONE JUSTINA NAVARRO; found in the proper custody, and (3) unblemished by any alteration or by any
2. WHETHER THERE IS PRETERITION AND THE ISSUES RAISED ARE circumstance of suspicion. It appears, on its face, to be genuine.[27]
REVIEWABLE; Nevertheless, the trial court held that the Kasulatan was void because the Property
3. WHETHER THERE IS CO-OWNERSHIP PRO INDIVISO; was conjugal at the time Navarro sold it to Enriqueta Lopez Jumaquio. We do not
4. WHETHER THE RULE OF THE MAJORITY CO-OWNERS ON THE LAND agree.The trial courts conclusion that the Property was conjugal was not based on
SHOULD PREVAIL; evidence, but rather on a misapprehension of Article 160 of the Civil Code, which
5. WHETHER THE ALLEGED SALE IS VALID AND BINDS THE OTHER CO- provides:
HEIRS;
All property of the marriage is presumed to belong to the conjugal partnership, unless it estate. There is therefore no legal basis for petitioners complaint for partition of the
be proved that it pertains exclusively to the husband or to the wife. Property.
As the Court of Appeals correctly pointed out, the presumption under Article 160 of WHEREFORE, the Decision of 26 June 1998 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R.
the Civil Code applies only when there is proof that the property was acquired during the CV No. 51643, dismissing the complaint of petitioners against Felomena Jumaquio
marriage. Proof of acquisition during the marriage is an essential condition for the Estimo and Emiliana Jumaquio, is AFFIRMED.
operation of the presumption in favor of the conjugal partnership.[28] SO ORDERED.
There was no evidence presented to establish that Navarro acquired the Property G.R. No. 89783 February 19, 1992
during her marriage. There is no basis for applying the presumption under Article 160 of MARIANO B. LOCSIN, JULIAN J. LOCSIN, JOSE B. LOCSIN, AUREA B. LOCSIN,
the Civil Code to the present case. On the contrary, Tax Declaration No. 911 showed MATILDE L. CORDERO, SALVADOR B. LOCSIN and MANUEL V. DEL
that, as far back as in 1949, the Property was declared solely in Navarros name. [29] This ROSARIO, petitioners,
tends to support the argument that the Property was not conjugal. vs.
We likewise find no basis for the trial courts declaration that the sale embodied in THE HON. COURT OF APPEALS, JOSE JAUCIAN, FLORENTINO JAUCIAN,
the Kasulatan deprived the compulsory heirs of Guevarra of their legitimes. As opposed MERCEDES JAUCIAN ARBOLEDA, HEIRS OF JOSEFINA J. BORJA, HEIRS OF
to a disposition inter vivos by lucrative or gratuitous title, a valid sale for valuable EDUARDO JAUCIAN and HEIRS OF VICENTE JAUCIAN, respondents.
consideration does not diminish the estate of the seller. When the disposition is for Aytona Law Office and Siquia Law Offices for petitioners.
valuable consideration, there is no diminution of the estate but merely a substitution of Mabella, Sangil & Associates for private respondents.
values,[30] that is, the property sold is replaced by the equivalent monetary consideration.
Under Article 1458 of the Civil Code, the elements of a valid contract of sale are: (1) NARVASA, C.J.:
consent or meeting of the minds; (2) determinate subject matter and (3) price certain in Reversal of the decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. No. CV-11186 affirming
money or its equivalent.[31] The presence of these elements is apparent on the face of with modification the judgment of the Regional Trial Court of Albay in favor of the
the Kasulatan itself. The Property was sold in 1957 for P250.00.[32] plaintiffs in Civil Case No. 7152 entitled "Jose Jaucian, et al. v. Mariano B. Locsin, et
Whether the Court of Appeals erred in not admitting the documents presented by al.," an action for recovery of real property with damages is sought. in these
petitioners for the first time on appeal proceedings initiated by petition for review on certiorari in accordance with Rule 45 of the
We find no error in the Court of Appeals refusal to give any probative value to the Rules of Court.
alleged birth certificate of Guevarra and the affidavit of Benjamin dela Cruz, Sr. The petition was initially denied due course and dismissed by this Court. It was however
Petitioners belatedly attached these documents to their appellees brief. Petitioners could reinstated upon a second motion for reconsideration filed by the petitioners, and the
easily have offered these documents during the proceedings before the trial respondents were required to comment thereon. The petition was thereafter given due
court. Instead, petitioners presented these documents for the first time on appeal without course and the parties were directed to submit their memorandums. These, together with
any explanation. For reasons of their own, petitioners did not formally offer in evidence the evidence, having been carefully considered, the Court now decides the case.
these documents before the trial court as required by Section 34, Rule 132 of the Rules First, the facts as the Court sees them in light of the evidence on record:
of Court.[33] To admit these documents now is contrary to due process, as it deprives The late Getulio Locsin had three children named Mariano, Julian and Magdalena, all
respondents of the opportunity to examine and controvert them. surnamed Locsin. He owned extensive residential and agricultural properties in the
Moreover, even if these documents were admitted, they would not controvert provinces of Albay and Sorsogon. After his death, his estate was divided among his three
Navarros ownership of the Property. Benjamin dela Cruz, Sr.s affidavit stated merely (3) children as follows:
that, although he knew Navarro by name, he was not personally acquainted with (a) the coconut lands of some 700 hectares in Bual, Pilar, Sorsogon, were adjudicated to
her.[34] Guevarras alleged birth certificate casts doubt only as to whether Navarro was his daughter, Magdalena Locsin;
indeed the mother of Guevarra. These documents do not prove that Guevarra owned the (b) 106 hectares of coconut lands were given to Julian Locsin, father of the petitioners
Property or that Navarro did not own the Property. Julian, Mariano, Jose, Salvador, Matilde, and Aurea, all surnamed Locsin;
Petitioners admitted before the trial court that Navarro was the mother of (c) more than forty (40) hectares of coconut lands in Bogtong, eighteen (18) hectares of
Guevarra. However, petitioners denied before the Court of Appeals that Navarro was the riceland in Daraga, and the residential lots in Daraga, Albay and in Legazpi City went to
mother of Guevarra. We agree with the appellate court that this constitutes an his son Mariano, which Mariano brought into his marriage to Catalina Jaucian in 1908.
impermissible change of theory. When a party adopts a certain theory in the court below, Catalina, for her part, brought into the marriage untitled properties which she had
he cannot change his theory on appeal. To allow him to do so is not only unfair to the inherited from her parents, Balbino Jaucian and Simona Anson. These were augmented
other party, it is also offensive to the basic rules of fair play, justice and due process. [35] by other properties acquired by the spouses in the course of their union, 1 which however
If Navarro were not the mother of Guevarra, it would only further undermine was not blessed with children.
petitioners case. Absent any hereditary relationship between Guevarra and Navarro, the Eventually, the properties of Mariano and Catalina were brought under the Torrens
Property would not have passed from Navarro to Guevarra, and then to the latters System. Those that Mariano inherited from his father, Getulio Locsin, were surveyed
children, including petitioners, by succession. There would then be no basis for cadastrally and registered in the name of "Mariano Locsin, married to Catalina
petitioners claim of co-ownership by virtue of inheritance from Guevarra. On the other Jaucian.'' 2
hand, this would not undermine respondents position since they anchor their claim on the Mariano Locsin executed a Last Will and Testament instituting his wife, Catalina, as the
sale under the Kasulatan and not on inheritance from Guevarra. sole and universal heir of all his properties. 3 The will was drawn up by his wife's nephew
Since the notarized Kasulatan is evidence of greater weight which petitioners failed and trusted legal adviser, Attorney Salvador Lorayes. Attorney Lorayes disclosed that the
to refute by clear and convincing evidence, this Court holds that petitioners were not able spouses being childless, they had agreed that their properties, after both of them shall
to prove by preponderance of evidence that the Property belonged to Guevarras have died should revert to their respective sides of the family, i.e., Mariano's properties
would go to his "Locsin relatives" (i.e., brothers and sisters or nephews and nieces), and 16 Oct. 17, 1975 Deed of Sale in favor of 533 P 2,000 Delfina Anson
those of Catalina to her "Jaucian relatives." 4 Aurea Locsin M. Acabado
Don Mariano Locsin died of cancer on September 14, 1948 after a lingering illness. In 17 Nov. 26, 1975 Deed of Sale in favor of 373 P 1,000 Leonor Satuito
due time, his will was probated in Special Proceedings No. 138, CFI of Albay without any Aurea Locsin Mariano B. Locsin
opposition from both sides of the family. As directed in his will, Doa Catalina was 19 Sept. 1, 1975 Conditional Donation in 1,130 P 3,000 - ditto -
appointed executrix of his estate. Her lawyer in the probate proceeding was Attorney favor of Mariano Locsin
Lorayes. In the inventory of her husband's estate 5 which she submitted to the probate 1-MVRJ Dec. 29, 1972 Deed of Reconveyance 1,5110.66 P 1,000 Delfina Anson
court for approval, 6Catalina declared that "all items mentioned from Nos. 1 to 33 are the in favor of Manuel V. del (Lot 2155) Antonio Illegible
private properties of the deceased and form part of his capital at the time of the marriage Rosario whose maternal
with the surviving spouse, while items Nos. 34 to 42 are conjugal." 7 grandfather was Getulio
Among her own and Don Mariano's relatives, Doa Catalina was closest to her nephew, Locsin
Attorney Salvador Lorayes, her nieces, Elena Jaucian, Maria Lorayes-Cornelio and Maria 2-MVRJ June 30, 1973 Deed of Reconveyance 319.34 P 500 Antonio Illegible
Olbes-Velasco, and the husbands of the last two: Hostilio Cornelio and Fernando in favor of Manuel V. del (Lot 2155) Salvador Nical
Velasco. 8 Her trust in Hostilio Cornelio was such that she made him custodian of all the Rosario but the rentals
titles of her properties; and before she disposed of any of them, she unfailingly consulted from bigger portion of
her lawyer-nephew, Attorney Salvador Lorayes. It was Atty. Lorayes who prepared the Lot 2155 leased to Filoil
legal documents and, more often than not, the witnesses to the transactions were her Refinery were assigned to
niece Elena Jaucian, Maria Lorayes-Cornelio, Maria Olbes-Velasco, or their husbands. Maria Jaucian Lorayes
Her niece, Elena Jaucian, was her life-long companion in her house. Cornelio
Don Mariano relied on Doa Catalina to carry out the terms of their compact, hence, nine Of her own properties, Doa Catalina conveyed the following to her own nephews and
(9) years after his death, as if in obedience to his voice from the grave, and fully nieces and others:
cognizant that she was also advancing in years, Doa Catalina began transferring, by EXHIBIT DATE PARTICULARS AREA/SQ.M. PRICE
sale, donation or assignment, Don Mariano's as well as her own, properties to their 2-JJL July 16, 1964 Deed of Sale in favor 5,000 P 1,000
respective nephews and nieces. She made the following sales and donation of properties Vicente Jaucian (lot 2020)
which she had received from her husband's estate, to his Locsin nephews and nieces: (6,825 sqm. when
EXHIBIT DATE PARTICULARS AREA/SQ.M. PRICE WITNESSES resurveyed)
23 Jan. 26, 1957 Deed of Absolute Sale in 962 P 481 24 Feb. 12, 1973 Deed of Absolute Sale 100 P 1,000
favor of Mariano Locsin in favor of Francisco M.
1-JRL Apr. 7, 1966 Deed of Sale in favor of 430,203 P 20,000 Maquiniana
Jose R. Locsin 26 July 15, 1973 Deed of Absolute Sale in 130 P 1,300
1-JJL Mar. 22, 1967 Deed of Sale in favor of 5,000 P 1,000 Hostilio Cornello favor of Francisco
Julian Locsin (Lot 2020) Helen M. Jaucian Maquiniana
1 Nov. 29, 1974 Deed of Donation in 26,509 27 May 3, 1973 Deed of Absolute Sale in 100 P 1,000
favor Aurea Locsin, favor of Ireneo Mamia
Matilde L. Cordero 28 May 3, 1973 Deed of Absolute Sale in 75 P 750
and Salvador Locsin favor of Zenaida Buiza
2 Feb. 4, 1975 Deed of Donation in 34,045 29 May 3, 1973 Deed of Absolute Sale in 150 P 1,500
favor Aurea Locsin, favor of Felisa Morjella
Matilde L. Cordero 30 Apr. 3, 1973 Deed of Absolute Sale in 31 P 1,000
and Salvador Locsin favor of Inocentes Motocinos
3 Sept. 9, 1975 Deed of Donation in (Lot 2059) 31 Feb. 12, 1973 Deed of Absolute Sale in 150 P 1,500
favor Aurea Locsin, favor of Casimiro Mondevil
Matilde L. Cordero 32 Mar. 1, 1973 Deed of Absolute Sale in 112 P 1,200
and Salvador Locsin favor of Juan Saballa
4 July 15, 1974 Deed of Absolute Sale in 1,424 Hostilio Cornelio 25 Dec. 28, 1973 Deed of Absolute Sale in 250 P 2,500
favor of Aurea B. Locsin Fernando Velasco of Rogelio Marticio
5 July 15, 1974 Deed of Absolute Sale in 1,456 P 5,750 Hostilio Cornelio Doa Catalina died on July 6, 1977.
favor of Aurea B. Locsin Elena Jaucian Four years before her death, she had made a will on October 22, 1973 affirming and
6 July 15, 1974 Deed of Absolute Sale in 1,237 P 5,720 - ditto - ratifying the transfers she had made during her lifetime in favor of her husband's, and her
favor of Aurea B. Locsin own, relatives. After the reading of her will, all the relatives agreed that there was no
7 July 15, 1974 Deed of Absolute Sale in 1,404 P 4,050 - ditto - need to submit it to the court for probate because the properties devised to them under
favor of Aurea B. Locsin the will had already been conveyed to them by the deceased when she was still alive,
15 Nov. 26, 1975 Deed of Sale in favor of 261 P 4,930 - ditto - except some legacies which the executor of her will or estate, Attorney Salvador
Aurea Locsin Lorayes, proceeded to distribute.
In 1989, or six (6) years after Doa Catalina's demise, some of her Jaucian nephews and her estate at the time of her death devolved to her legal heirs; and even if those transfers
nieces who had already received their legacies and hereditary shares from her estate, were, one and all, treated as donations, the right arising under certain circumstances to
filed action in the Regional Trial Court of Legaspi City (Branch VIII, Civil Case No. 7152) impugn and compel the reduction or revocation of a decedent's gifts inter vivos does not
to recover the properties which she had conveyed to the Locsins during her lifetime, inure to the respondents since neither they nor the donees are compulsory (or forced)
alleging that the conveyances were inofficious, without consideration, and intended solely heirs. 12
to circumvent the laws on succession. Those who were closest to Doa Catalina did not There is thus no basis for assuming an intention on the part of Doa Catalina, in
join the action. transferring the properties she had received from her late husband to his nephews and
After the trial, judgment was rendered on July 8, l985 in favor of the plaintiffs (Jaucian), nieces, an intent to circumvent the law in violation of the private respondents' rights to
and against the Locsin defendants, the dispositive part of which reads: her succession. Said respondents are not her compulsory heirs, and it is not pretended
WHEREFORE, this Court renders judgment for the plaintiffs and that she had any such, hence there were no legitimes that could conceivably be impaired
against the defendants: by any transfer of her property during her lifetime. All that the respondents had was
(1) declaring the, plaintiffs, except the heirs of Josefina J. Borja and an expectancy that in nowise restricted her freedom to dispose of even her entire estate
Eduardo Jaucian, who withdrew, the rightful heirs and entitled to the subject only to the limitation set forth in Art. 750, Civil Code which, even if it were
entire estate, in equal portions, of Catalina Jaucian Vda. de Locsin, breached, the respondents may not invoke:
being the nearest collateral heirs by right of representation of Juan and Art. 750. The donation may comprehend all the present property of the
Gregorio, both surnamed Jaucian, and full-blood brothers of Catalina; donor or part thereof, provided he reserves, in full ownership or in
(2) declaring the deeds of sale, donations, reconveyance and usufruct, sufficient means for the support of himself, and of all relatives
exchange and all other instruments conveying any part of the estate of who, at the time of the acceptance of the donation, are by law entitled
Catalina J. Vda. de Locsin including, but not limited to those in the to be supported by the donor. Without such reservation, the donation
inventory of known properties (Annex B of the complaint) as null and shall be reduced on petition of any person affected. (634a)
void ab-initio; The lower court capitalized on the fact that Doa Catalina was already 90 years old when
(3) ordering the Register of Deeds of Albay and/or Legazpi City to she died on July 6, 1977. It insinuated that because of her advanced years she may have
cancel all certificates of title and other transfers of the real properties, been imposed upon, or unduly influenced and morally pressured by her husband's
subject of this case, in the name of defendants, and derivatives nephews and nieces (the petitioners) to transfer to them the properties which she had
therefrom, and issue new ones to the plaintiffs; inherited from Don Mariano's estate. The records do not support that conjecture.
(4) ordering the defendants, jointly and severally, to reconvey For as early as 1957, or twenty-eight (28) years before her death, Doa Catalina had
ownership and possession of all such properties to the plaintiffs, already begun transferring to her Locsin nephews and nieces the properties which she
together with all muniments of title properly endorsed and delivered, received from Don Mariano. She sold a 962-sq.m. lot on January 26, 1957 to his nephew
and all the fruits and incomes received by the defendants from the and namesake Mariano Locsin II. 13 On April 7, 1966, or 19 years before she passed
estate of Catalina, with legal interest from the filing of this action; and away, she also sold a 43 hectare land to another Locsin nephew, Jose R. Locsin. 14 The
where reconveyance and delivery cannot be effected for reasons that next year, or on March 22, 1967, she sold a 5,000-sq.m. portion of Lot 2020 to Julian
might have intervened and prevent the same, defendants shall pay for Locsin.15
the value of such properties, fruits and incomes received by them, also On March 27, 1967, Lot 2020 16 was partitioned by and among Doa Catalina, Julian
with legal interest from the filing, of this case Locsin, Vicente Jaucian and Agapito Lorete.17 At least Vicente Jaucian, among the other
(5) ordering each of the defendants to pay the plaintiffs the amount of respondents in this case, is estopped from assailing the genuineness and due execution
P30,000.00 as exemplary damages; and the further sum of P20,000.00 of the sale of portions of Lot 2020 to himself, Julian Locsin, and Agapito Lorete, and the
each as moral damages; and partition agreement that he (Vicente) concluded with the other co-owners of Lot 2020.
(6) ordering the defendants to pay the plaintiffs attorney's fees and Among Doa, Catalina's last transactions before she died in 1977 were the sales of
litigation expenses, in the amount of P30,000.00 without prejudice to property which she made in favor of Aurea Locsin and Mariano Locsin in 1975. 18
any contract between plaintiffs and counsel. There is not the slightest suggestion in the record that Doa Catalina was mentally
Costs against the defendants.9 incompetent when she made those dispositions. Indeed, how can any such suggestion
The Locsins appealed to the Court of Appeals (CA-G.R. No. CV-11186) which rendered be made in light of the fact that even as she was transferring properties to the Locsins,
its now appealed judgment on March 14, 1989, affirming the trial court's decision. she was also contemporaneously disposing of her other properties in favor of the
The petition has merit and should be granted. Jaucians? She sold to her nephew, Vicente Jaucian, on July 16, 1964 (21 years before
The trial court and the Court of Appeals erred in declaring the private respondents, her death) one-half (or 5,000 sq.m.) of Lot 2020. Three years later, or on March 22,
nephews and nieces of Doa Catalina J. Vda. de Locsin, entitled to inherit the properties 1967, she sold another 5000 sq.m. of the same lot to Julian Locsin.19
which she had already disposed of more than ten (10) years before her death. For those From 1972 to 1973 she made several other transfers of her properties to her relatives
properties did not form part of her hereditary estate, i.e., "the property and transmissible and other persons, namely: Francisco Maquiniana, Ireneo Mamia, Zenaida Buiza, Feliza
rights and obligations existing at the time of (the decedent's) death and those which have Morjella, Inocentes Motocinos, Casimiro Mondevil, Juan Saballa and Rogelio
accrued thereto since the opening of the succession." 10 The rights to a person's Marticio. 20 None of those transactions was impugned by the private respondents.
succession are transmitted from the moment of his death, and do not vest in his heirs In 1975, or two years before her death, Doa Catalina sold some lots not only to Don
until such time.11 Property which Doa Catalina had transferred or conveyed to other Mariano's niece, Aurea Locsin, and his nephew, Mariano Locsin
persons during her lifetime no longer formed part of her estate at the time of her death to II, 21 but also to her niece, Mercedes Jaucian Arboleda. 22 If she was competent to make
which her heirs may lay claim. Had she died intestate, only the property that remained in
that conveyance to Mercedes, how can there be any doubt that she was equally WHEREFORE, the petition for review is granted. The decision dated March 14, 1989 of
competent to transfer her other pieces of property to Aurea and Mariano II? the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 11186 is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The
The trial court's belief that Don Mariano Locsin bequeathed his entire estate to his wife, private respondents' complaint for annulment of contracts and reconveyance of
from a "consciousness of its real origin" which carries the implication that said estate properties in Civil Case No. 7152 of the Regional Trial Court, Branch VIII of Legazpi City,
consisted of properties which his wife had inherited from her parents, flies in the teeth of is DISMISSED, with costs against the private respondents, plaintiffs therein.
Doa Catalina's admission in her inventory of that estate, that "items 1 to 33 are the SO ORDERED.
private properties of the deceased (Don Mariano) and forms (sic) part of his capital at the Cruz, Grio-Aquino and Medialdea, JJ., concur.
time of the marriage with the surviving spouse, while items 34 to 42 [G.R. No. 118449. February 11, 1998]
are conjugal properties, acquired during the marriage." She would have known better LAURO G. VIZCONDE, petitioner, vs., COURT OF APPEALS, REGIONAL TRIAL
than anyone else whether the listing included any of her paraphernal property so it is COURT, Branch 120, Caloocan City, and RAMON G.
safe to assume that none was in fact included. The inventory was signed by her under NICOLAS, respondents.
oath, and was approved by the probate court in Special Proceeding No. 138 of the Court DECISION
of First Instance of Albay. It was prepared with the assistance of her own nephew and FRANCISCO, J.:
counsel, Atty. Salvador Lorayes, who surely would not have prepared a false inventory Petitioner Lauro G. Vizconde and his wife Estrellita Nicolas-Vizconde had two
that would have been prejudicial to his aunt's interest and to his own, since he stood to children, viz., Carmela and Jennifer. Petitioners wife, Estrellita, is one of the five siblings
inherit from her eventually. of spouses Rafael Nicolas and Salud Gonzales-Nicolas. The other children of Rafael and
This Court finds no reason to disbelieve Attorney Lorayes' testimony that before Don Salud are Antonio Nicolas; Ramon Nicolas; Teresita Nicolas de Leon, and Ricardo
Mariano died, he and his wife (Doa Catalina), being childless, had agreed that their Nicolas, an incompetent. Antonio predeceased his parents and is now survived by his
respective properties should eventually revert to their respective lineal relatives. As the widow, Zenaida, and their four children.
trusted legal adviser of the spouses and a full-blood nephew of Doa Catalina, he would On May 22, 1979, Estrellita purchased from Rafael a parcel of land with an area of
not have spun a tale out of thin air that would also prejudice his own interest. 10,110 sq. m. located at Valenzuela, Bulacan (hereafter Valenzuela property) covered by
Little significance, it seems, has been attached to the fact that among Doa Catalina's TCT No. (T-36734) 13206 for One Hundred Thirty Five Thousand Pesos (P135,000.00),
nephews and nieces, those closest to her: (a) her lawyer-nephew Attorney Salvador evidenced by a Lubusang Bilihan ng Bahagi ng Lupa na Nasasakupan ng Titulo TCT
Lorayes; (b) her niece and companion Elena Jaucian: (c) her nieces Maria Olbes- NO. T-36734.[1] In view thereof, TCT No. V-554 covering the Valenzuela property was
Velasco and Maria Lorayes-Cornelio and their respective husbands, Fernando Velasco issued to Estrellita.[2] On March 30, 1990, Estrellita sold the Valenzuela property to
and Hostilio Cornelio, did not join the suit to annul and undo the dispositions of property Amelia Lim and Maria Natividad Balictar Chiu for Three Million, Four Hundred Five
which she made in favor of the Locsins, although it would have been to their advantage Thousand, Six Hundred Twelve Pesos (P3,405,612.00).[3] In June of the same year,
to do so. Their desistance persuasively demonstrates that Doa Catalina acted as a Estrellita bought from Premiere Homes, Inc., a parcel of land with improvements situated
completely free agent when she made the conveyances in favor of the petitioners. In fact, at Vinzon St., BF Homes, Paraaque (hereafter Paraaque property) using a portion of the
considering their closeness to Doa Catalina it would have been well-nigh impossible for proceeds was used in buying a car while the balance was deposited in a bank.
the petitioners to employ "fraud, undue pressure, and subtle manipulations" on her to The following year an unfortunate event in petitioners life occurred. Estrellita and
make her sell or donate her properties to them. Doa Catalina's niece, Elena Jaucian, her two daughters, Carmela and Jennifer, were killed on June 30, 1991, an incident
daughter of her brother, Eduardo Jaucian, lived with her in her house. Her nephew-in- popularly known as the Vizconde Massacre. The findings of the investigation conducted
law, Hostilio Cornelio, was the custodian of the titles of her properties. The sales and by the NBI reveal that Estrellita died ahead of her daughters.[4] Accordingly, Carmela,
donations which she signed in favor of the petitioners were prepared by her trusted legal Jennifer and herein petitioner succeeded Estrellita and, with the subsequent death of
adviser and nephew, Attorney Salvador Lorayes. The (1) deed of donation dated Carmela and Jennifer, petitioner was left as the sole heir of his daughters. Nevertheless,
November 19, petitioner entered into an Extra-Judicial Settlement of the Estate of Deceased Estrellita
197423 in favor of Aurea Locsin, (2) another deed of donation dated February 4, Nicolas-Vizconde With Waiver of Shares,[5] with Rafael and Salud, Estrellitas
1975 24 in favor of Matilde Cordero, and (3) still another deed dated September 9, parents.The extra-judicial settlement provided for the division of the properties
1975 25 in favor of Salvador Lorayes, were all witnessed by Hostilio Cornelio (who is of Estrellita and her two daughters between petitioner and spouses Rafael and
married to Doa Catalina's niece, Maria Lorayes) and Fernando Velasco who is married Salud. The properties include bank deposits, a car and the Paraaque property. The total
to another niece, Maria Olbes.26 The sales which she made in favor of Aurea Locsin on value of the deposits deducting the funeral and other related expenses in the burial of
July 15, 1974 27 were witnessed by Hostilio Cornelio and Elena Jaucian. Given those Estrellita, Carmela and Jennifer, amounts to Three Million Pesos (P3,000,000.00).[6] The
circumstances, said transactions could not have been anything but free and voluntary settlement gave fifty percent (50%) of the total amount of the bank deposits of Estrellita
acts on her part. and her daughters to Rafael, except Saving Account No. 104-111211-0 under the name
Apart from the foregoing considerations, the trial court and the Court of Appeals erred in of Jennifer which involves a token amount. The other fifty percent (50%) was allotted to
not dismissing this action for annulment and reconveyance on the ground of prescription. petitioner. The Paraaque property and the car were also given to petitioner with Rafael
Commenced decades after the transactions had been consummated, and six (6) years and Salud waiving all their claims, rights, ownership and participation as heirs [7] in the
after Doa Catalina's death, it prescribed four (4) years after the subject transactions said properties.
were recorded in the Registry of Property,28 whether considered an action based on On November 18, 1992, Rafael died. To settle Rafaels estate, Teresita instituted an
fraud, or one to redress an injury to the rights of the plaintiffs. The private respondents intestate estate proceeding[8] docketed as Sp. Proc. No. C-1679, with Branch 120 of the
may not feign ignorance of said transactions because the registration of the deeds was Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Caloocan City listing as heirs Salud, Ramon, Ricardo and
constructive notice thereof to them and the whole world. 29 the wife (Zenaida) and children of Antonio. Teresita prayed to be appointed Special
Administratrix of Rafaels estate. Additionally, she sought to be appointed as guardian ad
litem of Salud, now senile, and Ricardo, her incompetent brother. Herein private In fine, there is no sufficient evidence to show that the acquisition of the property from
respondent Ramon filed an opposition[9] dated March 24, 1993, praying to be appointed Rafael Nicolas was for a valuable consideration.
instead as Salud and Ricardos guardian. Barely three weeks passed, Ramon filed Accordingly, the transfer of the property at Valenzuela in favor of Estrellita by her father
another opposition[10] alleging, among others, that Estrellita was given the Valenzuela was gratuitous and the subject property in Paraaque which was purchased out of the
property by Rafael which she sold for not les than Six Million Pesos (P6,000,000.00) proceeds of the said transfer of property by the deceased Rafael Nicolas in favor of
before her gruesome murder. Ramon pleaded for courts intervention to determine the Estrellita, is subject to collation.
legality and validity of the intervivos distribution made by deceased Rafael to his WHEREFORE, the motion for reconsideration is hereby DENIED.[21] (Underscoring
children,[11] Estrellita included. On May 12, 1993, Ramon filed his own petition, docketed added)
as Sp. Proc. No. C-1699, entitled InMatter Of The Guardianship Of Salud G. Nicolas and Petitioner filed a petition for certiorari and prohibition with respondent Court of
Ricardo G. Nicolas and averred that their legitime should come from the collation of all Appeals. In its decision of December 14, 1994, respondent Court of Appeals[22] denied
the properties distributed to his children by Rafael during his lifetime.[12] Ramon stated the petition stressing that the RTC correctly adjudicated the question on the title of the
that herein petitioner is one of Rafaels children by right of representation as the widower Valenzuela property as the jurisdiction of the probate court extends to matters incidental
of deceased legitimate daughter of Estrellita.[13] and collateral to the exercise of its recognized powers in handling the settlement of the
In a consolidated Order, dated November 9, 1993, the RTC appointed Ramon as estate of the deceased (Cf.: Sec. 1, Rule 90, Revised Rules of Court).[23] Dissatisfied,
the Guardian of Salud and Ricardo while Teresita, in turn, was appointed as the Special petitioner filed the instant petition for review on certiorari. Finding prima facie merit, the
Administratrix of Rafaels estate. The courts Order did not include petitioner in the slate of Court on December 4, 1995, gave due course to the petition and required the parties to
Rafaels heirs.[14] Neither was the Paraaque property listed in its list of properties to be submit their respective memoranda.
included in the estate.[15] Subsequently, the RTC in an Order dated January 5, 1994, The core issue hinges on the validity of the probate courts Order, which respondent
removed Ramon as Salud and Ricardos guardian for selling his wards property without Court of Appeals sustained, nullifying the transfer of the Valenzuela property from Rafael
the courts knowledge and permission.[16] to Estrellita and declaring the Paraaque property as subject to collation.
Sometime on January 13, 1994, the RTC released an Order giving petitioner ten The appeal is well taken.
(10) days x x x within which to file any appropriate petition or motion related to the Basic principles of collation need to be emphasized at the outset. Article 1061 of
pending petition insofar as the case is concerned and to file any opposition to any the Civil Code speaks of collation. It states:
pending motion that has been filed by both the counsels for Ramon Nicolas and Teresita Art. 1061. Every compulsory heir, who succeeds with other compulsory heirs, must bring
de Leon. In response, petitioner filed a Manifestation, dated January 19, 1994, stressing into the mass of the estate any property or right which he may have received from the
tha the was neither a compulsory heir nor an intestate heir of Rafael and he has no decedent, during the lifetime of the latter, by way of donation, or any other gratuitous title,
interest to participate in the proceedings. The RTC noted said Manifestation in its Order in order that it may be computed in the determination of the legitime of each heir, and in
dated February 2, 1994.[17] Despite the Manifestation, Ramon, through a motion dated the account of the partition.
February 14, 1994, moved to include petitioner in the intestate estate proceeding and Collation is the act by virtue of which descendants or other forced heirs who
asked that the Paraaque property, as well as the car and the balance of the proceeds of intervene in the division of the inheritance of an ascendant bring into the common mass,
the sale of the Valenzuela property, be collated.[18] Acting on Ramons motion, the trial the property which they received from him, so that the division may be made according to
court on March 10, 1994 granted the same in an Order which pertinently reads as law and the will of the testator.[24] Collation is only required of compulsory heirs
follows: succeeding with other compulsory heirs and involves property or rights received by
xxxxxxxxx donation or gratuitous title during the lifetime of the decedent. [25] The purpose for it is
On the Motion To Include Lauro G. Vizconde In Intestate proceedings in instant case and presumed that the intention of the testator or predecessor in interest in making a
considering the comment on hi Manifestation, the same is hereby granted. [19] donation or gratuitous transfer to a forced heir is to give him something in advance on
xxxxxxxxx account of his share in the estate, and that the predecessors will is to treat all his heirs
Petitioner filed its motion for reconsideration of the aforesaid Order which Ramon equally, in the absence of any expression to the contrary. [26] Collation does not impose
opposed.[20] On August 12, 1994, the RTC rendered an Order denying petitioners motion any lien on the property or the subject matter of collationable donation. What is brought
for reconsideration. It provides: to collation is not the property donated itself, but rather the value of such property at the
xxxxxxxxx time it was donated,[27] the rationale being that the donation is a real alienation which
The centerpoint of oppositor-applicants argument is that spouses Vizconde were then conveys ownership upon its acceptance, hence any increase in value or any
financially incapable of having purchased or acquired for a valuable consideration the deterioration or loss thereof is for the account of the heir or donee.[28]
property at Valenzuela from the deceased Rafael Nicolas. Admittedly, the spouses The attendant facts herein do no make a case of collation. We find that the probate
Vizconde were then living with the deceased Rafael Nicolas in the latters ancestral court, as well as respondent Court of Appeals, committed reversible errors.
home. In fact, as the argument further goes, said spouses were dependent for support on First: The probate court erred in ordering the inclusion of petitioner in the intestate estate
the deceased Rafael Nicolas. And Lauro Vizconde left for the United States in, de- proceeding. Petitioner, a son-in-law of Rafael, is one of Rafaels compulsory heirs.Article
factoseparation, from the family for sometime and returned to the Philippines only after 887 of the Civil Code is clear on this point:
the occurrence of violent deaths of Estrellita and her two daughters. Art. 887. The following are compulsory heirs:
To dispute the contention that the spouses Vizconde were financially incapable to buy (1) Legitimate children and descendants, with respect to their legitimate parents and
the property from the late Rafael Nicolas, Lauro Vizconde claims that they have been ascendants;
engaged in business venture such as taxi business, canteen concessions and garment (2) In default of the following, legitimate parents and ascendants, with respect to their
manufacturing. However, no competent evidence has been submitted to indubitably legitimate children and ascendants;
support the business undertakings adverted to. (3) The widow or widower;
(4) Acknowledged natural children, and natural children by legal fiction; property is improper for, to repeat, collation covers only properties gratuitously given by
(5) Other illegitimate children referred to in article 287. the decedent during his lifetime to his compulsory heirs which fact does not obtain anent
Compulsory heirs mentioned in Nos. 3, 4, and 5 are not excluded by those in Nos 1 and the transfer of the Paraaque property. Moreover, Rafael, in a public instrument,
2; neither do they exclude one another. voluntarily and willfully waived any claims, rights, ownership and participation as heir [38] in
In all cases of illegitimate children, their filiation must be duly proved. the Paraaque property.
The father or mother of illegitimate children of the three classes mentioned, shall inherit Fifth: Finally, it is futile for the probate court to ascertain whether or not the
from them in the manner and to the extent established by this Code. Valenzuela property may be brought to collation. Estrellita, it should be stressed, died
With respect to Rafaels estate, therefore, petitioner who was not even shown to be a ahead of Rafael. In fact, it was Rafael who inherited from Estrellita an amount more than
creditor of Rafael is considered a third person or a stranger. [29] As such, petitioner may the value of the Valenzuela property.[39] Hence, even assuming that the Valenzuela
not be dragged into the intestate estate proceeding. Neither may he be permitted or property may be collated collation may not be allowed as the value of the Valenzuela
allowed to intervene as he has no personality or interest in the said proceeding, [30] which property has long been returned to the estate of Rafael. Therefore, any determination by
petitioner correctly argued in his manifestation.[31] the probate court on the matter serves no valid and binding purpose.
Second: As a rule, the probate court may pass upon and determine the title or WHEREFORE, the decision of the Court of Appeals appealed from is hereby
ownership of a property which may or may not be included in the estate REVERSED AND SET ASIDE.
proceedings.[32] Such determination is provisional in character and is subject to final SO ORDERED.
decision in a separate action to resolve title.[33] In the case at bench, however, we note G.R. No. 82233 March 22, 1990
that the probate court went beyond the scope of its jurisdiction when it proceeded to JOSE BARITUA and EDGAR BITANCOR, petitioners,
determine the validity of the sale of the Valenzuela property between Rafael and vs.
Estrellita and ruled that the transfer of the subject property between the concerned HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, NICOLAS NACARIO and VICTORIA RONDA
parties was gratuitous. The interpretation of the deed and the true intent of the NACARIO, respondents.
contracting parties, as well as the presence or absence of consideration, are matter Domingo Lucenario for petitioners.
outside the probate courts jurisdiction. These issues should be ventilated in an Ernesto A. Atienza for private respondents.
appropriate action. We reiterate: SARMIENTO, J.:
x x x we are of the opinion and so hold, that a court which takes cognizance of testate or This petition for review on certiorari assails as erroneous and contrary to existing relevant
intestate proceedings has power and jurisdiction to determine whether or not the laws and applicable jurisprudence the decision 1 of the Court of Appeals dated December
properties included therein or excluded therefrom belong prima facie to the deceased, 11, 1987 which reversed and set aside that of the Regional Trial Court, Branch XXXII, at
although such a determination is not final or ultimate in nature, and without prejudice to Pili, Camarines Sur. 2 The challenged decision adjudged the petitioners liable to the
the right of the interested parties, in a proper action, to raise the question bearing on the private respondents in the total amount of P20,505.00 and for costs.
ownership or existence of the right or credit.[34] The facts are as follows:
Third: The order of the probate court subjecting the Paraaque property to collation In the evening of November 7, 1979, the tricycle then being driven by Bienvenido Nacario
is premature. Records indicate that the intestate estate proceedings is still in its initiatory along the national highway at Barangay San Cayetano, in Baao, Camarines Sur, figured
stage. We find nothing herein to indicate that the legitimate of any of Rafaels heirs has in an accident with JB Bus No. 80 driven by petitioner Edgar Bitancor and owned and
been impaired to warrant collation. We thus advert to our ruling in Udarbe v. Jurado, 59 operated by petitioner Jose Baritua. 3 As a result of that accident Bienvenido and his
Phil. 11, 13-14, to wit: passenger died 4 and the tricycle was damaged. 5 No criminal case arising from the
We are of the opinion that this contention is untenable. In accordance with the provisions incident was ever instituted. 6
of article 1035[35] of the Civil Code, it was the duty of the plaintiffs to allege and prove that Subsequently, on March 27, 1980, as a consequence of the extra-judicial settlement of
the donations received by the defendants were inofficious in whole or in part and the matter negotiated by the petitioners and the bus insurer Philippine First Insurance
prejudiced the legitimate or hereditary portion to which they are entitled. In the absence Company, Incorporated (PFICI for brevity) Bienvenido Nacario's widow, Alicia
of evidence to that effect, the collation sought is untenable for lack of ground or basis Baracena Vda. de Nacario, received P18,500.00. In consideration of the amount she
therefor. received, Alicia executed on March 27, 1980 a "Release of Claim" in favor of the
Fourth: Even on the assumption that collation is appropriate in this case the probate petitioners and PFICI, releasing and forever discharging them from all actions, claims,
court, nonetheless, made a reversible error in ordering collation of the Paraaque and demands arising from the accident which resulted in her husband's death and the
property. We note that what was transferred to Estrellita, by way of a deed of sale, is the damage to the tricycle which the deceased was then driving. Alicia likewise executed an
Valenzuela property. The Paraaque property which Estrellita acquired by using the affidavit of desistance in which she formally manifested her lack of interest in instituting
proceeds of the sale of the Valenzuela property does not become collationable simply by any case, either civil or criminal, against the petitioners. 7
reason thereof. Indeed collation of the Paraaque property has no statutory basis.[36]The On September 2, 1981, or about one year and ten months from the date of the accident
order of the probate court presupposes that the Paraaque property was gratuitously on November 7, 1979, the private respondents, who are the parents of Bienvenido
conveyed by Rafael to Estrellita. Records indicate, however, that the Paraaque property Nacario, filed a complaint for damages against the petitioners with the then Court of First
was conveyed for and in consideration of P900,000.00,[37] by Premier Homes, Inc., to Instance of Camarines Sur. 8 In their complaint, the private respondents alleged that
Estrellita. Rafael, the decedent, has no participation therein, and petitioner who during the vigil for their deceased son, the petitioners through their representatives
inheritedand is now the present owner of the Paraaque property is not one of Rafaels promised them (the private respondents) that as extra-judicial settlement, they shall be
heirs. Thus, the probate courts order of collation against petitioner is unwarranted for the indemnified for the death of their son, for the funeral expenses incurred by reason
obligation to collate is lodged with Estrellita, the heir, and not to herein petitioner who thereof, and for the damage for the tricycle the purchase price of which they (the private
does not have any interest in Rafaels estate. As it stands, collation of the Paraaque respondents) only loaned to the victim. The petitioners, however, reneged on their
promise and instead negotiated and settled their obligations with the long-estranged wife Certainly there can be no question that Alicia and her son with the deceased are the
of their late son. The Nacario spouses prayed that the defendants, petitioners herein, be successors in interest referred to in law as the persons authorized to receive payment.
ordered to indemnify them in the amount of P25,000.00 for the death of their son The Civil Code states:
Bienvenido, P10,000.00 for the damaged tricycle, P25,000.00 for compensatory and Article 887. The following are compulsory heirs:
exemplary damages, P5,000.00 for attorney's fees, and for moral damages. 9 1. Legitimate children and descendants, with respect to their legitimate
After trial, the court a quo dismissed the complaint, holding that the payment by the parents and ascendants;
defendants (herein petitioners) to the widow and her child, who are the preferred heirs 2. In default of the foregoing, legitimate parents and ascendants with
and successors-in-interest of the deceased Bienvenido to the exclusion of his parents, respect to their legitimate children and decendants;
the plaintiffs (herein private respondents), extinguished any claim against the defendants 3. The widow or widower;
(petitioners). 10 4. Acknowledged natural children and natural children by legal fiction;
The parents appealed to the Court of Appeals which reversed the judgment of the trial 5. Other illegitimate children referred to in Article 287.
court. The appellate court ruled that the release executed by Alicia Baracena Vda. de Compulsory heirs mentioned in Nos. 3, 4 and 5 are not excluded by
Nacario did not discharge the liability of the petitioners because the case was instituted those in Nos. 1 and 2. Neither do they exclude one another. (Emphasis
by the private respondents in their own capacity and not as "heirs, representatives, ours.)
successors, and assigns" of Alicia; and Alicia could not have validly waived the damages Article 985. In default of legitimate children and descendants of the
being prayed for (by the private respondents) since she was not the one who suffered deceased, his parents and ascendants shall inherit from him, to the
these damages arising from the death of their son. Furthermore, the appellate court said exclusion of collateral relatives.
that the petitioners "failed to rebut the testimony of the appellants (private respondents) (Emphasis ours.)
that they were the ones who bought the tricycle that was damaged in the incident. It is patently clear that the parents of the deceased succeed only when the latter dies
Appellants had the burden of proof of such fact, and they did establish such fact in their without a legitimate descendant. On the other hand, the surviving spouse concurs with all
testimony . . . 11 Anent the funeral expenses, "(T)he expenses for the funeral were classes of heirs. As it has been established that Bienvenido was married to Alicia and
likewise shouldered by the appellants (the private respondents). This was never that they begot a child, the private respondents are not successors-in-interest of
contradicted by the appellees (petitioners). . . . Payment (for these) were made by the Bienvenido; they are not compulsory heirs. The petitioners therefore acted correctly in
appellants, therefore, the reimbursement must accrue in their favor. 12 settling their obligation with Alicia as the widow of Bienvenido and as the natural
Consequently, the respondent appellate court ordered the petitioners to pay the private guardian of their lone child. This is so even if Alicia had been estranged from Bienvenido.
respondents P10,000.00 for the damage of the tricycle, P5,000.00 for "complete" funeral Mere estrangement is not a legal ground for the disqualification of a surviving spouse as
services, P450.00 for cemetery lot, P55.00 for oracion adulto, and P5,000.00 for an heir of the deceased spouse.
attorney's fees. 13 The petitioners moved for Neither could the private respondents, as alleged creditors of Bienvenido, seek relief and
a reconsideration of the appellate court's decision 14 but their motion was compensation from the petitioners. While it may be true that the private respondents
denied. 15 Hence, this petition. loaned to Bienvenido the purchase price of the damaged tricycle and shouldered the
The issue here is whether or not the respondent appellate court erred in holding that the expenses for his funeral, the said purchase price and expenses are but money claims
petitioners are still liable to pay the private respondents the aggregate amount of against the estate of their deceased son. 16 These money claims are not the liabilities of
P20,505.00 despite the agreement of extrajudicial settlement between the petitioners and the petitioners who, as we have said, had been released by the agreement of the extra-
the victim's compulsory heirs. judicial settlement they concluded with Alicia Baracena Vda. de Nacario, the victim's
The petition is meritorious. widow and heir, as well as the natural guardian of their child, her co-heir. As a matter of
Obligations are extinguished by various modes among them being by payment. Article fact, she executed a "Release Of Claim" in favor of the petitioners.
1231 of the Civil Code of the Philippines provides: WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED; the decision of the Court of Appeals is
Art. 1231. Obligations are extinguished: REVERSED and SET ASIDE and the decision of the Regional Trial Court is hereby
(1) By payment or performance; REINSTATED. Costs against the private respondents.
(2) By the loss of the thing due; SO ORDERED.
(3) By the condonation or remission of the debt; Melencio-Herrera, Paras, Padilla and Regalado, JJ., concur.
(4) By the confusion or merger of the rights of creditor and debtor; G.R. No. L-29901 August 31, 1977
(5) By compensation; IGNACIO FRIAS CHUA, DOMINADOR CHUA and REMEDIOS CHUA, petitioners,
(6) By novation. vs.
(Emphasis ours.) THE COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE OF NEGROS OCCIDENTAL, BRANCH V and
There is no denying that the petitioners had paid their obligation petition arising from the SUSANA DE LA TORRE, in her capacity as Administratrix of the Intestate Estate of
accident that occurred on November 7, 1979. The only question now is whether or not Consolacion de la Torre, respondents.
Alicia, the spouse and the one who received the petitioners' payment, is entitled to it. Dominador G. Abaria and Primitivo Blanca for private respondent.
Article 1240 of the Civil Code of the Philippines enumerates the persons to whom Rodrigo O. Delfinado for petitioners.
payment to extinguish an obligation should be made.
Art 1240. Payment shall be made to the person in whose favor the MARTIN, J.:
obligation has been constituted, or his successor in interest, or any Petition for review of the decision of the respondent Court which dismissed the complaint
person authorized to receive it. of petitioners in Civil Case No. 7839-A, entitled "Ignacio Frias Chua, et al. vs. Susana de
la Torre, Administratrix of the Intestate Estate of Consolacion de la Torre"
It appears that in the first marriage of Jose Frias Chua with Patricia S. Militar alias Sy degree. These relatives are Ignacio Frias Chua and Dominador Chua and Remidios
Quio he sired three children, namely: Ignacio, Lorenzo and Manuel, all surnamed Frias Chua, the suppose legitimate children of the deceased Lorenzo Frias Chua, who are the
Chua. When Patricia S. Militar died, Jose Frias Chua contracted a second marriage with petitioners herein.
Consolacion de la Torre with whom he had a child by the name of Juanita Frias Chua. The crux of the problem in instant petition is focused on the first requisit of reserva
Manuel Frias Chua died without leaving any issue. Then in 1929, Jose Frias Chua died troncal whether the property in question was acquired by Juanito Frias Chua from his
intestate leaving his widow Consolacion de la Torre and his son Juanito Frias Chua of father Jose Frias Chua, gratuitously or not. In resolving this point, the respondent Court
the second marriage and sons Ignacio Frias Chua and Lorenzo Frias Chua of his first said:
marriage. In Intestate Proceeding No. 4816, the lower court issued an order dated It appears from Exh. "3", which is part of Exh. "D", that the property in
January 15, 1931 1 adjudicating, among others, the one-half (1/2,) portion of Lot No. 399 question was not acquired by Consolacion de la Torre and Juanito
and the sum of P8,000.00 in favor of Jose Frias Chua's widow, Consolacion de la Torre, Frias Chua gratuitously but for a consideration, namely, that the
the other half of Lot No. 399 in favor of Juanito Frias Chua, his son in the second legatees were to pay the interest and cost and other fees resulting
marriage; P3,000.00 in favor of Lorenze Frias chua; and P1,550.00 in favor of Ignacio from Civil Case No. 5300 of this Court. As such it is undeniable that the
Frias, Chua, his sons of the first marriage. By virtue of said adjudication, Transfer lot in question is not subject tot a reserva troncal, under Art. 891 of the
Certificate of Title No. TR-980 (14483) 2 dated April 28, 1932 was issued by the Register New Civil Code, and as such the plaintiff's complaint must fail.
of Deeds in the names of Consolacion de la Torre and Juanito Frias Chua as owners We are not prepared to sustain the respondent Court's conclusion that the lot in question
pro-indiviso of Lot No. 399. is not subject to a reserva troncal under Art. 891 of the New Civil Code. It is, As
On February 27, 1952, Juanito Frias Chua of the second marriage died intestate without explained by Manresa which this Court quoted with approval in Cabardo v. Villanueva, 44
any issue. After his death, his mother Consolacion de la Torre succeeded to his pro- Phil. 186, "The transmission is gratuitous or by gratuitous title when the recipient does
indivisio share of Lot No. 399. In a week's time or on March 6, 1952, Consolacion de la not give anything in return." It matters not whether the property transmitted be or be not
Torre executed a declaration of heirship adjudicating in her favor the pro-indiviso share of subject to any prior charges; what is essential is that the transmission be made
her son Juanito as a result of which Transfer Certificate of Title No. 31796 covering the gratuitously, or by an act of mere liberality of the person making it, without imposing any
whole Lot No. 399 was issued in her name. Then on March 5, 1966, Consolacion de la obligation on the part of the recipient; and that the person receiving the property gives or
Torre died intestate leaving no direct heir either in the descending or ascending line does nothing in return; or, as ably put by an eminent Filipino commentator, 6 "the
except her brother and sisters. essential thing is that the person who transmits it does so gratuitously, from pure
In the "Intestate Estate of Consolacion de la Torre", docketed as Sp. Proc. No. 7839-A, generosity, without requiring from the transferee any prestation." It is evident from the
the petitioners herein, Ignacio Frias Chua, of the first marriage and dominador and record that the transmission of the property in question to Juanito Frias Chua of the
Remedios Chua, the supposed legitimate children of the deceased Lorenzo Frias Chua, second marriage upon the death of his father Jose Frias Chua was by means of a
also of the first marriage filed the complaint a quo 3 (subseqently segregated as a distinct hereditary succession and therefore gratuitous. It is true that there is the order (Exh. "D")
suit and docketed as Civil Case No. 7839-A) on May 11, 1966 before the respondent of the probate Court in Intestate Proceeding No. 4816 which estates in express terms;
Court of First Instance of Negros Occidental, Branch V, praying that the one-half (1/2) 2. Se adjudicada pro el presente a favor de Consolacion de la
portion of Lot No. 399 which formerly belonged to Juanito Frias but which passed to Torre, viuda, mayor de edad, y de su hiju, Juanito Frias Chua, menor
Consolacion de la Torre upon the latter's death, be declaredas a reservable property for de edad, todos residente de San Enrique, Negros Occidental,
the reason that the lot in questionn was subject to reserval troncal pursuant to Article 981 I.F.,como herederos del finado Jose Frias Chua Choo, estas
of the New Civil Code, Private respondent as administratrix of the estate of individually propiadades:
the complaint of petitioners 4 14483
On July 29, 1986, the respondent Court rendered a decision dismissing the complaint of La parcela de terrenno concida por Lote No. 399 del Catsatro de la
petitioner. Hence this instant. Carlota, Negros Occidental, de 191.954 metros cuadddrados y
The pertinent provision of reserva troncal under the New Civil Code provides: cubierto por el Certificado de Titulo No. 11759, en partes equales pro-
ART. 891. The ascendant who inheritts from his descendant any indiviso; por con la obligscion de pagar a las Standard Oil Co. of New
property which the latter may have acquired by gratuitous title from York la deuda de P3971.20, sus intereses, costas y demas gastos
another ascendat, or a brother or sister, is obliged to reserve such resultantes del asunto civil No. 5300de este jusgado
property as he may have acquired by operation of law for the benefit of But the obligation of paying the Standard Oil Co. of New York the amount of P3,971.20 is
relatives who are within the third degree and belong to the line from imposed upon Consolacion de la Torre and Juanito Frias Chua not personally by the
which said property came. deceased Jose Frias Chua in his last will and testament but by an order of the court in
Persuant to the foregoing provision, in order that a property may be impressed with a the Testate Proceeding No.4816 dated January 15, 1931. As long as the transmission of
reservable character the following requisites must exist, to wit: (1) that the property was the property to the heirs is free from any condition imposed by the deceased himself and
acquired by a descendant from an asscendant or from a brother or sister by gratuitous the property is given out of pure generosity, itg is gratuitous. it does not matter if later the
title; (2) that said descendant died without an issue; (3) that the property is inherited by court orders one of the heirs, in this case Juanito Frias Chua, to pay the Standare oil co.
another ascendant by operation of law; and (4) that there are relatives within the third of New York the amount of P3,971.20. This does not change the gratuitous nature of the
degree belonging to the line from which said property came. 5 In the case before Us, all transmission of the property to him. This being the case the lot in question is subject
of the foregoing requisites are present. Thus, as borne out by the records, Juanoito Frias to reserva troncal under Art, 891 of the New Civil Code.
Chua of the second marriage died intestate in 1952; he died withour leaving any issue; It is contented that the distribution of the shares of the estate of Jose Frias Chua to the
his pro-indiviso of 1/2 share of Lot No. 399 was acquired by his mother, Consolacion de respondent heirs or legatees was agreed upon by the heirs in their project of partition
la Torre died, Juannnito Frias Chua who died intestate had relatives within the third based on the last will and testament of Jose Frias Chua. But petitioners claim that the
supposed Last Will and Testament of Jose Frias Chua was never probated. The fact that Races inherited in 1943 from Filomena Legarda (Civil Case No. 73335). The facts are as
the will was not probated was admitted in paragraph 6 of the respondents' follows:
answer. 7 There is nothing mentioned in the decision of the trial court in Civil Case No. Benito Legarda y De la Paz, the son of Benito Legarda y Tuason, died [Manila] on June
7839 A which is the subject of the present appeal nor in the order of January 15, 1931 of 17, 1933. He was survived by his widow, Filomena Races, and their seven children: four
the trial court in the Testate Estate Proceeding No. 4816 nor in the private respondent's daughters named Beatriz, Rosario, Teresa and Filomena and three sons named Benito,
brief, that the Last Will and Testament of Jose Frias Chua has ever been probated. With Alejandro and Jose.
the foregoing, it is easy to deduce that if the Last Will and Testament has in fact been On July 12, 1939, the real properties left by Benito Legarda y Tuason were partitioned in
probated there would have been no need for the testamentary heirs to prepare a project three equal portions by his daughters, Consuelo and Rita, and the heirs of his deceased
of partition among themselves. The very will itself could be made the basis for the son Benito Legarda y De la Paz who were represented by Benito F. Legarda.
adjudication of the estate as in fact they did in their project of partition with Juanito Frias Filomena Legarda y Races died intestate and without issue on March 19, 1943. Her sole
Chua getting one-half of Lot 399 by inheritance as a sone of the deceased Jose Frias heiress was her mother, Filomena Races Vda. de Legarda.
Chua by the latter's second marriage. Mrs. Legarda executed on May 12, 1947 an affidavit adjudicating extrajudicially to herself
According to the record, Juanito Frias Chua died on February 27, 1952 without any the properties which she inherited from her deceased daughter, Filomena Legarda. The
issue. After his death his mother Consolation de la Torre succeeded to his one-half pro- said properties consist of the following: 1wph1.t
indiviso share of Lot 399. This was, however, subject to the condition that the property (a) Savings deposit in the National City Bank of New York with a credit
was reservable in character under Art. 891 of the Civil Code in favor of relatives within balance of P3,699.63.
the third degree of Jose Frias Chua from whom the property came. These relatives are (b) 1,429 shares of the Benguet Consolidated Mining Company and a
the petitioner herein. 1/7 interest in certain shares of the San Miguel Brewery, Tuason &
It is claimed that the complaint of petitioners to recover the one-half portion of Lot 399 Legarda, Ltd., Philippine Guaranty Company, Insular Life Assurance
which originally belonged to Juanito Frias Chua has already prescribed when it was filed Company and the Manila Times.
on May 11, 1966. We do not believe so. It must be remembered that the petitioners (c) 1/7 of the properties described in TCT Nos. 80226, 80237 to 80243
herein are claiming as reservees did not arise until the time the reservor, Consolacion de (7 titles), 80260, 80261 and 57512 of the Manila registry of deeds.
la Torre, died in March 1966. When the petitioners therefore filed their complaint to 1/21st of the properties covered by TCT Nos. 48164, 84714, 48201,
recover the one-half (1/2) portion of Lot 399, they were very much in time to do so. 48202, 48205, 48203, 48206, 48160 and 48192 of the Manila registry
IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the decision appealed from is hereby set aside. The of deeds;
petitioners Ignacio Frias Chua, Dominador Chua and Remedios Chua are declared 1/21st of the property described in TCT No. 4475 of the registry of
owners of 1/2 undivided portion of Lot 399; and the Register of Deeds of Negros deeds of Rizal, now Quezon City; 1/14th of the property described in
Occidental is hereby ordered to cancel. Transfer Certificate of Title No. 31796 covering TCT No. 966 of the registry of deeds of Baguio;
Lot No. 399 issued in the name of Consolacion de la Torre and to issue a new Certificate 1/7th of the lot and improvements at 127 Aviles described in TCT No.
of Title in the names of Consolacion de la Torre, 1/2 undivided portion; Ignacio Frias 41862 of the Manila registry of deeds; 1/7th of the lots and
Chua, 1/4 undivided portion; and Dominador Chua and Remedios Chua, 1/4 undivided improvements at 181 San Rafael describe in TCT Nos. 50495 and
portion, of said lot. Without pronouncement as to costs. 48161 of the Manila registry of deeds;
SO ORDERED. 1/7th of the property described in TCT No. 48163 of the Manila registry
G.R. No. L-34395 May 19, 1981 of deeds (Streets);
BEATRIZ L. GONZALES, petitioner, l/21st of the properties described in TCT Nos. 48199 and 57551 of the
vs. Manila registry of deeds (Streets and Estero):
COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE OF MANILA (BRANCH V), BENITO F. LEGARDA, 2/21st of the property described in TCT No. 13458 of tile registry of
ROSARIO L. VALDEZ, ALEJANDRO LEGARDA, TERESA LEGARDA, JOSE deeds of T0ayabas.
LEGARDA, BENITO LEGARDA Y FERNANDEZ, CARMEN LEGARDA Y These are the properties in litigation in this case. As a result of the affidavit of
FERNANDEZ, FILOMENA LEGARDA Y HERNANDEZ, CARMEN LEGARDA Y adjudication, Filomena Races succeeded her deceased daughter Filomena Legarda as
HERNANDEZ, ALEJANDRO LEGARDA Y HERNANDEZ, RAMON LEGARDA Y co-owner of the properties held proindiviso by her other six children.
HERNANDEZ, FILOMENA LEGARDA Y LOBREGAT, JAIME LEGARDA Y Mrs. Legarda on March 6, 1953 executed two handwritten Identical documents wherein
LOBREGAT, CELSO LEGARDA Y LOBREGAT, ALEJANDRO LEGARDA Y she disposed of the properties, which she inherited from her daughter, in favor of the
LOBREGAT, MA. TERESA LEGARDA Y LOBREGAT, MA. ANTONIA LEGARDA Y children of her sons, Benito, Alejandro and Jose (sixteen grandchildren in all). The
LOBREGAT, JOSE LEGARDA Y LOBREGAT, ROSARIO LEGARDA Y LOBREGAT, document reads: 1wph1.t
BENITO LEGARDA Y LOBREGAT, EDUARDO LEGARDA Y LOBREGAT, TRINIDAD A mis hijos :
F. LEGARDA, and the ESTATE OF DONA FILOMENA ROCES DE Dispongo que se reparta a todos mis nietos hijos de Ben, Mandu y
LEGARDA, respondents. Pepito, los bienes que he heredado de mi difunta hija Filomena y
tambien los acciones de la Destileria La Rosario' recientemente
AQUINO, J.:1wph1.t comprada a los hermanos Values Legarda.
Beatriz Legarda Gonzales appealed from the decision of the Court of First Instance of De los bienes de mi hija Filomena se deducira un tote de terreno que
Manila, dismissing her complaint for partition, accounting, reconveyance and damages yo he 0donada a las Hijas de Jesus, en Guipit
and holding, as not subject to reserve troncal, the properties which her mother Filomena
La case No. 181 San Rafael, la cede a mi hijo Mandu solo la casa; Legarda could dispose of them in his will in favor of her grandchildren to the exclusion of
proque ella esta construida sobre terreno de los hermanos Legarda her six children.
Races. 1wph1.t Did Mrs. Legarda have the right to convey mortis causa what she inherited from her
(Sgd.) daughter Filomena to the reservees within the third degree and to bypass the reservees
FILOMENA in the second degree or should that inheritance automatically go to the reservees in the
ROCES second degree, the six children of Mrs. Legarda?
LEGARDA As will hereinafter be shown that is not a novel issue or a question of first impression. lt
6 Marzo 1953 was resolved in Florentino vs. Florentino, 40 Phil. 480. Before discussing the applicability
During the period from July, 1958 to February, 1959 Mrs. Legarda and her six surviving to this case of the doctrine in the Florentino case and other pertinent rulings, it may be
children partitioned the properties consisting of the one-third share in the estate of Benito useful to make a brief discourse on the nature of reserve troncal, also called lineal,
Legarda y Tuason which the children inherited in representation of their father, Benito familiar, extraordinaria o semi-troncal.
Legarda y De la Paz. Much time, effort and energy were spent by the parties in their five briefs in descanting
Mrs. Legarda died on September 22, 1967. Her will was admitted to probate as a on the nature of reserve troncal which together with the reserva viudal and reversion
holographic will in the order dated July 16, 1968 of the Court of First Instance of Manila in legal, was abolished by the Code Commission to prevent the decedent's estate from
Special Proceeding No. 70878, Testate Estate of Filomena Races Vda. de Legarda. The being entailed, to eliminate the uncertainty in ownership caused by the reservation
decree of probate was affirmed by the Court of Appeals in Legarda vs. Gonzales, CA- (which uncertainty impedes the improvement of the reservable property) and to
G.R. No. 43480-R, July 30,1976. discourage the confinement of property within a certain family for generations which
In the testate proceeding, Beatriz Legarda Gonzales, a daughter of the testatrix, filed on situation allegedly leads to economic oligarchy, and is incompatible with the socialization
May 20, 1968 a motion to exclude from the inventory of her mother's estate the of ownership.
properties which she inherited from her deceased daughter, Filomena, on the ground that The Code Commission regarded the reservas as remnants of feudalism which fomented
said properties are reservable properties which should be inherited by Filomena agrarian unrest. Moreover, the reserves, insofar as they penalize legitimate relationship,
Legarda's three sisters and three brothers and not by the children of Benito, Alejandro is considered unjust and inequitable.
and Jose, all surnamed Legarda. That motion was opposed by the administrator, Benito However, the lawmaking body, not agreeing entirely with the Code Commission, restored
F. Legarda. the reserve troncal, a legal institution which, according to Manresa and Castan Tobenas
Without awaiting the resolution on that motion, Mrs. Gonzales filed on June 20, 1968 an has provoked questions and doubts that are difficult to resolve.
ordinary civil action against her brothers, sisters, nephews and nieces and her mother's Reserva troncal is provided for in article 811 of the Spanish Civil Code, now article 891,
estate for the purpose of securing a declaration that the said properties are reservable which reads: 1wph1.t
properties which Mrs. Legarda could not bequeath in her holographic will to her ART. 811. El ascendiente que heredare de su descendiente bienes
grandchildren to the exclusion of her three daughters and her three sons (See Paz vs. que este hubiese adquirido por titulo lucrative de otro ascendiente, o
Madrigal, 100 Phil. 1085). de un hermano, se halla obligado a reservas los que hubiere adquirido
As already stated, the lower court dismissed the action of Mrs. Gonzales. ln this appeal por ministerio de la ley en favor de los parientes que eaten dentro del
under Republic Act No. 5440 she contends in her six assignments of error that the lower tercer grade y pertenezcan a la linea de donde los bienes proceden
court erred in not regarding the properties in question as reservable properties under ART. 891. The ascendant who inherits from his descendant any
article 891 of the Civil Code. property which the latter may have acquired by gratuitous title from
On the other hand, defendants-appellees in their six counter-assignments of error another ascendant, or a brother or sister, is obliged to reserve such
contend that the lower court erred in not holding that Mrs. Legarda acquired the estate of property as he may have acquired by operation of law for the benefit of
her daughter Filomena] Legarda in exchange for her conjugal and hereditary shares in relatives who are within the third degree and who belong to the line
the estate of her husband Benito Legarda y De la Paz and in not holding that Mrs. from which said property came.
Gonzales waived her right to the reservable properties and that her claim is barred by In reserve troncal (1) a descendant inherited or acquired by gratuitous title property from
estoppel, laches and prescription. an ascendant or from a brother or sister; (2) the same property is inherited by another
The preliminary issue raised by the private respondents as to the timeliness of Mrs. ascendant or is acquired by him by operation of law from the said descendant, and (3)
Gonzales' petition for review is a closed matter. This Court in its resolution of December the said ascendant should reserve the said property for the benefit of relatives who are
16, 1971 denied respondents' motion to dismiss and gave due course to the petition for within the third degree from the deceased descendant (prepositus) and who belong to
review. the line from which the said property came.
In an appeal under Republic Act No. 5440 only legal issues can be raised under So, three transmissions are involved: (I) a first transmission by lucrative title (inheritance
undisputed facts. Since on the basis of the stipulated facts the lower court resolved only or donation) from an ascendant or brother or sister to the deceased descendant; (2) a
the issue of whether the properties in question are subject to reserva troncal that is the posterior transmission, by operation of law (intestate succession or legitime) from the
only legal issue to be resolved in this appeal. deceased descendant (causante de la reserve) in favor of another ascendant, the
The other issues raised by the defendants-appellees, particularly those involving factual reservor or reservista, which two transmissions precede the reservation, and (3) a third
matters, cannot be resolved in this appeal. As the trial court did not pass upon those transmissions of the same property (in consequence of the reservation) from the reservor
issues, there is no ruling which can be reviewed by this Court. to the reservees (reservatarios) or the relatives within the third degree from the deceased
The question is whether the disputed properties are reservable properties under article descendant belonging to the line of the first ascendant, brother or sister of the deceased
891 of the Civil Code, formerly article 811, and whether Filomena Races Vda. de descendant (6 Castan Tobenas Derecho Civil, Part l, 1960, 6th Ed., pp. 198-9).
If there are only two transmissions there is no reserve. Thus, where one Bonifacia entitled to the property was Rosa Cabardo, a maternal aunt of Cornelia, who was her
Lacerna died and her properties were inherited by her son, Juan Marbebe, upon the nearest relative within the third degree.
death of Juan, those lands should be inherited by his half-sister, to the exclusion of his First cousins of the prepositus are in the fourth degree and are not reservees. They
maternal first cousins. The said lands are not reservable property within the meaning of cannot even represent their parents because representation is confined to relatives
article 811 (Lacerna vs. Vda. de Corcino, l l l Phil. 872). within the third degree (Florentino vs. Florentino, 40 Phil. 480).
The persons involved in reserve troncal are (1) the ascendant or brother or sister from Within the third degree, the nearest relatives exclude the more remote subject to the rule
whom the property was received by the descendant by lucrative or gratuitous title, (2) the of representation. But the representative should be within the third degree from
descendant or prepositus (prepositus) who received the property, (3) the reservor the prepositus (Padura vs. Baldovino, 104 Phil. 1065).
(reservista) the other ascendant who obtained the property from the (prepositus) by Reserva troncal contemplates legitimate relationship. illegitimate relationship and
operation of law and (4) the reserves (reservatario) who is within the third degree from relationship by affinity are excluded.
the prepositus and who belongs to the (line o tronco) from which the property came and Gratuitous title or titulo lucrativo refers to a transmission wherein the recipient gives
for whom the property should be reserved by the reservor. nothing in return such as donacion and succession (Cabardo vs. Villanueva, 44 Phil. 186,
The reservees may be half-brothers and sisters (Rodriguez vs. Rodriguez, 101 Phil. 189-190, citing 6 Manresa, Codigo Civil, 7th Ed., 195 l, p. 360).
1098; Chua vs. Court of First Instance of Negros Occidental, L-29901, August 31, 1977, The reserva creates two resolutory conditions, namely, (1) the death of the ascendant
78 SCRA 412). Fourth degree relatives are not included (Jardin vs. Villamayor, 72 Phil. obliged to reserve and (2) the survival, at the time of his death, of relatives within the
392). third degree belonging to the line from which the property came
The rationale of reserve troncal is to avoid "el peligro de que bienes poseidos (Sienes vs. E Esparcia l l l Phil. 349, 353).
secularmente por una familia pasen bruscamente a titulo gratuito a manos extraas por The reservor has the legal title and dominion to the reservable property but subject to the
el azar de los enlaces y muertes prematuras or impeder que, por un azar de la vide resolutory condition that such title is extinguished if the reservor predeceased the
personas extranas a una familia puedan adquirir bienes que sin aquel hubieran quedado reservee. The reservor is a usufructuary of the reservable property. He may alienate it
en ella (6 Castan Tobenas Derecho Civil, Part l, 6th Ed., 1980, p. 203; Padura vs. subject to the reservation. The transferee gets the revocable and conditional ownership
Baldovino, 104 Phil. 1065). of the reservor. The transferee's rights are revoked upon the survival of the reservees at
An illustration of reserve troncal is found in Edroso vs. Sablan, 25 Phil. 295. ln that case, the time of the death of the reservor but become indefeasible when the reservees
Pedro Sablan inherited two parcels of land from his father Victorians. Pedro died in 1902, predecease the reservor. (Sienes vs. Esparcia, 111 Phil. 349, 353; Edroso vs. Sablan, 25
single and without issue. His mother, Marcelina Edroso, inherited from him the two Phil. 295; Lunsod vs. Ortega, 46 Phil. 664; Florentino vs. Florentino, 40 Phil. 480:
parcels of land. Director of Lands vs. Aguas, 63 Phil. 279.)
It was held that the land was reservable property in the hands of Marcelina. The The reservor's title has been compared with that of the vendee a retro in a pacta de
reservees were Pablo Sablan and Basilio Sablan, the paternal uncles of Pedro Sablan, retro sale or to a fideicomiso conditional.
the prepositus. Marcelina could register the land under the Torrens system in her name The reservor's alienation of the reservable property is subject to a resolutory condition,
but the fact that the land was reservable property in favor of her two brothers-in-law, meaning that if at the time of the reservor's death, there are reservees, the transferee of
should they survive her, should be noted in the title. the property should deliver it to the reservees. lf there are no reservees at the time of the
In another case, it appears that Maria Aglibot died intestate in 1906. Her one-half share reservor's death, the transferee's title would become absolute. (Lunsod vs. Ortega, 46
of a parcel of conjugal land was inherited by her daughter, Juliana Maalac. When Phil. 664; Gueco vs. Lacson, 118 Phil. 944; Mono vs. Nequia 93 Phil. 120).
Juliana died intestate in 1920, said one-half share was inherited by her father, Anacleto On the other hand, the reserves has only an inchoate, expectant or contingent right. His
Maalac who owned the other one-half portion. expectant right would disappear if he predeceased the reservor. lt would become
Anacleto died intestate in 1942, survived by his second wife and their six children. lt was absolute should the reservor predecease the reserves.
held that the said one-half portion was reservable property in the hands of Anacleto The reserves cannot impugn any conveyance made by the reservor but he can require
Maalac and, upon his death, should be inherited by Leona Aglibot and Evarista Aglibot, that the reservable character of the property be recognized by the purchaser (Riosa vs.
sisters of Maria and materna aunts of Juliana Maalac, who belonged to the line from Rocha 48 Phil. 737; Edroso vs. Sablan, 25 Phil. 295, 312-3; Gueco vs. Lacson, 118 Phil.
which said one-half portion came (Aglibot vs. Maalac 114 Phil. 964). 944).
Other illustrations of reserva troncal are found in Florentino vs Florentino, 40 Phil. 480; There is a holding that the renunciation of the reservee's right to the reservable property
Nieva and Alcala vs. Alcala and Deocampo, 41 Phil. 915; Maghirang and Gutierrez vs. is illegal for being a contract regarding future inheritance (Velayo Bernardo vs. Siojo, 58
Balcita 46 Phil. 551; Lunsod vs. Ortega, 46 Phil. 664; Dizon vs. Galang, 48 Phil. Phil. 89, 96).
601; Riosa vs. Rocha, 48 Phil. 737; Centeno vs. Centeno 52 Phil. 322; Velayo Bernardo And there is a dictum that the reservee's right is a real right which he may alienate and
vs. Siojo, 58 Phil. 89; Director of Lands vs. Aguas, 63 Phil. 279; Fallorfina vs. Abille, CA dispose of conditionally. The condition is that the alienation shall transfer ownership to
39 O.G. 1784. the vendee only if and when the reserves survives the reservor (Sienes vs. Esparcia, 111
The person from whom the degree should be reckoned is the descendant, or the one at Phil. 349, 353). 1wph1.t
the end of the line from which the property came and upon whom the property last The reservatario receives the property as a conditional heir of the
revolved by descent. He is called the prepositus(Cabardo vs. Villanueva. 44 Phil. 186, descendant (prepositus) said property merely reverting to the line of
190). origin from which it had temporarily and accidentally stayed during
In the Cabardo case, one Cornelia Abordo inherited property from her mother, Basilia the reservista's lifetime. The authorities are all agreed that there being
Cabardo. When Cornelia died, her estate passed to her father, Lorenzo Abordo. ln his reservatarios that survive the reservists, the latter must be deemed to
hands, the property was reservable property. Upon the death of Lorenzo, the person have enjoyed no more than a than interest in the reservable property.
(J. J. B. L. Reyes in Cane vs. Director of Lands, 105 Phil. l5.)
Even during the reservista's lifetime, the reservatarios, who are the (prepositus), without prejudicing the right of the heir to an aliquot part
ultimate acquirers of the property, can already assert the right to of the property, if he has at the same time the right of
prevent the reservista from doing anything that might frustrate their a reservatario (reserves).
reversionary right, and, for this purpose, they can compel the ln the Florentino case, it appears that Apolonio Florentino II and his second wife Severina
annotation of their right in the registry of property even while the Faz de Leon begot two children, Mercedes and Apolonio III. These two inherited
(reservista) is alive (Ley Hipotecaria de Ultramar, Arts. 168, 199; properties from their father. Upon Apolonio III death in 1891, his properties were inherited
Edroso vs. Sablan, 25 Phil. 295). by his mother, Severina, who died in 1908. ln her will, she instituted her daughter
This right is incompatible with the mere expectancy that corresponds to Mercedes as heiress to all her properties, including those coming from her deceased
the natural heirs of the reservista lt is likewise clear that the reservable husband through their son, Apolonio III.
property is no part of the estate of the reservista who may not dispose The surviving children, begotten by Apolonio II with his first wife Antonia Faz de Leon
of them (it) by will, so long as there are reservatarios existing (Arroyo and the descendants of the deceased children of his first marriage, sued Mercedes
vs. Gerona, 58 Phil. 226, 237). Florentino for the recovery of their share in the reservable properties, which Severina de
The latter, therefore, do not inherit from the reservista but from the Leon had inherited from Apolonio III which the latter had inherited from his father
descendant (prepositus) of whom the reservatarios are the heirs mortis Apolonio II and which Severina willed to her daughter Mercedes.
causa, subject to the condition that they must survive the reservista. Plaintiff's theory was that the said properties, as reservable properties, could not be
(Sanchez Roman, Vol. VI Tomo 2, p. 286; Manresa, Commentaries, disposed of in Severina's will in favor of Mercedes only. That theory was sustained by
Vol. 6, 6th Ed., pp. 274, 310, cited by J. J.B.L. Reyes in Padura vs. this Court.
Baldovino, L-11960, December 27, 1958, 104 Phil. 1065). It was held that the said properties, being reservable properties, did not form part of
Hence, upon the reservista's death, the reservatario nearest to the prepositus becomes, Severina's estate and could not be inherited from her by her daughter Mercedes alone.
"automatically and by operation of law, the owner of the reservable property." (Cane vs. As there were seven reservees, Mercedes was entitled, as a reserves, to one-seventh of
Director of Lands, 105 Phil. l5.) the properties. The other six sevenths portions were adjudicated to the other six
In the instant case, the properties in question were indubitably reservable properties in reservees.
the hands of Mrs. Legarda. Undoubtedly, she was a reservor. The reservation became a Under the rule of stare decisis et non quieta movere, we are bound to follow in this case
certainty when at the time of her death the reservees or relatives within the third degree the doctrine of the Florentino case. That doctrine means that as long as during the
of the prepositus Filomena Legarda were living or they survived Mrs. Legarda. reservor's lifetime and upon his death there are relatives within the third degree of
So, the ultimate issue in this case is whether Mrs. Legarda, as reservor, could convey the the prepositus regardless of whether those reservees are common descendants of the
reservable properties by will or mortis causa to the reservees within the third degree (her reservor and the ascendant from whom the property came, the property retains its
sixteen grandchildren) to the exclusion of the reservees in the second degree, her three reservable character. The property should go to the nearest reservees. The reservor
daughters and three sons. As indicated at the outset, that issue is already res cannot, by means of his will, choose the reserves to whom the reservable property
judicata or cosa juzgada. should be awarded.
We hold that Mrs. Legarda could not convey in her holographic will to her sixteen The alleged opinion of Sanchez Roman that there is no reserva troncal when the only
grandchildren the reservable properties which she had inherited from her daughter relatives within the third degree are the common descendants of the predeceased
Filomena because the reservable properties did not form part of her estate (Cabardo vs. ascendant and the ascendant who would be obliged to reserve is irrelevant and sans
Villanueva, 44 Phil. 186, 191). The reservor cannot make a disposition mortis causa of binding force in the light of the ruling in the Florentino case.
the reservable properties as long as the reservees survived the reservor. It is contended by the appellees herein that the properties in question are not reservable
As repeatedly held in the Cano and Padura cases, the reservees inherit the reservable properties because only relatives within the third degree from the paternal line have
properties from the prepositus, not from the reservor. survived and that when Mrs. Legarda willed the said properties to her sixteen
Article 891 clearly indicates that the reservable properties should be inherited by all the grandchildren, who are third-degree relatives of Filomena Legarda and who belong to the
nearest relatives within the third degree from the prepositus who in this case are the six paternal line, the reason for the reserva troncal has been satisfied: "to prevent persons
children of Mrs. Legarda. She could not select the reservees to whom the reservable outside a family from securing, by some special accident of life, property that would
property should be given and deprive the other reservees of their share therein. otherwise have remained therein".
To allow the reservor in this case to make a testamentary disposition of the reservable That same contention was advanced in the Florentino case where the reservor willed the
properties in favor of the reservees in the third degree and, consequently, to ignore the reservable properties to her daughter, a full-blood sister of the prepositus and ignored the
reservees in the second degree would be a glaring violation of article 891. That other six reservors, the relatives of the half-blood of the prepositus.
testamentary disposition cannot be allowed. In rejecting that contention, this Court held that the reservable property bequeathed by
We have stated earlier that this case is governed by the doctrine of Florentino vs. the reservor to her daughter does not form part of the reservor's estate nor of the
Florentino, 40 Phil. 480, a similar case, where it was ruled: 1wph1.t daughter's estate but should be given to all the seven reservees or nearest relatives of
Reservable property left, through a will or otherwise, by the death of the prepositus within the third degree.
ascendant (reservista) together with his own property in favor of This Court noted that, while it is true that by giving the reservable property to only one
another of his descendants as forced heir, forms no part of the latter's reserves it did not pass into the hands of strangers, nevertheless, it is likewise true that
lawful inheritance nor of the legitime, for the reason that, as said the heiress of the reservor was only one of the reservees and there is no reason founded
property continued to be reservable, the heir receiving the same as an upon law and justice why the other reservees should be deprived of their shares in the
inheritance from his ascendant has the strict obligation of its delivery to reservable property (pp. 894-5).
the relatives, within the third degree, of the predecessor in interest
Applying that doctrine to this case, it results that Mrs. Legarda could not dispose of in her The Court of Land Registration denied the registration and the application appealed
will the properties in question even if the disposition is in favor of the relatives within the through a bill of exceptions.
third degree from Filomena Legarda. The said properties, by operation of Article 891, Registration was denied because the trial court held that the parcels of land in question
should go to Mrs. Legarda's six children as reservees within the second degree from partake of the nature of property required by law to be reserved and that in such a case
Filomena Legarda. application could only be presented jointly in the names of the mother and the said two
It should be repeated that the reservees do not inherit from the reservor but from the uncles of Pedro Sablan.
reservor but from the prepositus, of whom the reservees are the heirs mortis The appellant impugns as erroneous the first idea advanced (second assignment of
causa subject to the condition that they must survive the reservor (Padura vs. Baldovino, error), and denies that the land which are the subject matter of the application are
L-11960, December 27, 1958, 104 Phil. 1065). required by law to be reserved a contention we regard as indefensible.
The trial court said that the disputed properties lost their reservable character due to the Facts: (1) The applicant acquired said lands from her descendant Pedro Sablan by
non-existence of third-degree relatives of Filomena Legarda at the time of the death of inheritance; (2) Pedro Sablan had acquired them from his ascendant Victoriano Sablan,
the reservor, Mrs. Legarda, belonging to the Legarda family, "except third-degree likewise by inheritance; (3) Victoriano Sablan had likewise acquired them by inheritance
relatives who pertain to both" the Legarda and Races lines. from his ascendants, Mariano Sablan and Maria Rita Fernandez, they having been
That holding is erroneous. The reservation could have been extinguished only by the adjudicated to him in the partition of hereditary property had between him and his
absence of reservees at the time of Mrs. Legarda's death. Since at the time of her death, brothers. These are admitted facts.
there were (and still are) reservees belonging to the second and third degrees, the A very definite conclusions of law is that the hereditary title is one without a valuable
disputed properties did not lose their reservable character. The disposition of the said consideration [gratuitous title], and it is so characterized in article 968 of the Civil Code,
properties should be made in accordance with article 891 or the rule on reserva troncal for he who acquires by inheritance gives nothing in return for what he receives; and a
and not in accordance with the reservor's holographic will. The said properties did not very definite conclusion of law also is that the uncles german are within the third degree
form part of Mrs. Legarda's estate. (Cane vs. Director of Lands, 105 Phil. l, 4). of blood relationship.
WHEREFORE, the lower court's decision is reversed and set aside. lt is hereby adjudged The ascendant who inherits from his descendant property which the latter
that the properties inherited by Filomena Roces Vda. de Legarda from her daughter acquired without a valuable consideration from another ascendant, or from a
Filomena Legarda, with all the fruits and accessions thereof, are reservable properties brother or sister, is under obligation to reserve what he has acquired by
which belong to Beatriz, Rosario, Teresa, Benito, Alejandro and Jose, all surnamed operation of law for the relatives who are within the third degree and belong to
Legarda y Roces, as reservees. The shares of Rosario L. Valdes and Benito F. Legarda, the line whence the property proceeded. (Civil Code, art. 811.)
who died in 1969 and 1973, respectively, should pertain to their respective heirs. Costs Marcelina Edroso, ascendant of Pedro Sablan, inherited from him these two parcels of
against the private respondents. land which he had acquired without a valuable consideration that is, by inheritance
SO ORDERED. from another ascendant, his father Victoriano. Having acquired them by operation of law,
Barredo, Guerrero, Abad Santos and De Castro, JJ., concur.1wph1.t she is obligated to relatives within the third degree and belong to the line of Mariano
Justice Concepcion, Jr., is on leave. Sablan and Maria Rita Fernandez, whence the lands proceeded. The trial court's ruling
Justice Guerrero was designated to sit in the Second Division. that they partake of the nature property required by law to be reserved is therefore in
G.R. No. 6878 September 13, 1913 accordance with the law.
MARCELINA EDROSO, petitioner-appellant, But the appellant contends that it is not proven that the two parcels of land in question
vs. have been acquired by operation of law, and that only property acquired without a
PABLO and BASILIO SABLAN, opponents-appellees. valuable consideration, which is by operation of law, is required by law to reserved.
Francisco Dominguez for appellant. The appellees justly argue that this defense was not alleged or discussed in first
Crispin Oben for appellees. instance, but only herein. Certainly, the allegation in first instance was merely that "Pedro
ARELLANO, C.J.: Sablan acquired the property in question in 1882, before the enforcement of the Civil
The subject matter of this appeal is the registration of certain property classified as Code, which establishes the alleged right required by law to be reserved, of which the
required by law to be reserved. Marcelina Edroso applied for registration and issuance of opponents speak; hence, prescription of the right of action; and finally, opponents'
title to two parcels of land situated in the municipality of Pagsanjan, Province of Laguna, renunciation of their right, admitting that it existed and that they had it" (p. 49).
one of 1 hectare 77 ares and 63 centares, and the other 1 hectare 6 ares and 26 However that be, it is not superflous to say, although it may be unnecessary, that the
centares. Two applications were filed, one for each parcel, but both were heard and applicant inherited the two parcels of land from her son Pedro, who died "unmarried and
decided in a single judgment. without issue." The trial court so held as a conclusion of fact, without any objection on the
Marcelina Edroso was married to Victoriano Sablan until his death on September 22, appellant's part. (B. of E., 17, 20.) When Pedro Sablan died without issue, his mother
1882. In this marriage they had a son named Pedro, who was born on August 1, 1881, became his heir by virtue of her right to her son's legal portion under article 935 of the
and who at his father's death inherited the two said parcels. Pedro also died on July 15, Civil Code:
1902, unmarried and without issue and by this decease the two parcels of land passed In the absence of legitimate children and descendants of the deceased, his
through inheritance to his mother, Marcelina Edroso. Hence the hereditary title ascendants shall from him, to the exclusion of collaterals.
whereupon is based the application for registration of her ownership. The contrary could only have occurred if the heiress had demonstrated that any of these
Two legitimate brothers of Victoriano Sablan that is, two uncles german of Pedro lands had passed into her possession by free disposal in her son's will; but the case
Sablan appeared in the case to oppose the registration, claiming one of two things: presents no testamentary provision that demonstrate any transfer of property from the
Either that the registration be denied, "or that if granted to her the right reserved by law to son to the mother, not by operation of law, but by her son's wish. The legal presumption
the opponents be recorded in the registration of each parcel." (B. of E., 11, 12.) is that the transfer of the two parcels of land was abintestate or by operation of law, and
not by will or the wish of the predecessor in interest. (Act No. 190, sec. 334, No. 26.) All The appellees reply: It is true that their right of action has prescribed for requiring the
the provision of article 811 of the Civil Code have therefore been fully complied with. applicant to constitute the mortgage imposed by the Mortgage Law for guaranteeing the
If Pedro Sablan had instituted his mother in a will as the universal heiress of his property, effectiveness of the required by law to be reserved; but because that right of action has
all he left at death would not be required by law to be reserved, but only what he would prescribed, that property has not been divested of its character of property required by
have perforce left her as the legal portion of a legitimate ascendant. law to be reserved; that it has such character by virtue of article 8112 of the Civil Code,
The legal portion of the parents or ascendants is constituted by one-half of the which went into effect in the Philippine in December, 1889, and not by virtue of the
hereditary estate of the children and descendants. The latter may unrestrictedly Mortgage Law, which only went into effect in the country by law of July 14, 1893; that
dispose of the other half, with the exception of what is established in article 836. from December, 1889, to July, 1893, property which under article 811 of the Civil Code
(Civil Code, art. 809.) acquired the character of property reserved by operation of law was such independently
In such case only the half constituting the legal portion would be required by law to be of the Mortgage Law, which did not yet form part of the positive legislation of the country;
reserved, because it is what by operation of law could full to the mother from her son's that although the Mortgage Law has been in effect in the country since July, 1893, still it
inheritance; the other half at free disposal would not have to be reserved. This is all that has in no way altered the force of article 811 of the Civil Code, but has operated to
article 811 of the Civil Code says. reinforce the same merely by granting the right of action to the persons in whose favor
No error has been incurred in holding that the two parcels of land which are the subject the right is reserved by operation of law to require of the person holding the property a
matter of the application are required by law to be reserved, because the interested party guaranty in the form of a mortgage to answer for the enforcement, in due time, of the
has not proved that either of them became her inheritance through the free disposal of right; that to lose the right of action to the guaranty is not to lose the right itself; that the
her son. right reserved is the principal obligation and the mortgage the accessory obligation, and
Proof testate succession devolves upon the heir or heiress who alleges it. It must be loss of the accessory does not mean loss of the principal. (Fifth and sixth allegations.)
admitted that a half of Pedro Sablan's inheritance was acquired by his mother by The existence of the right required by law to be reserved in the two parcels of land in
operation of law. The law provides that the other half is also presumed to be acquired by question being indisputable, even though it be admitted that the right of action which the
operation of law that is, by intestate succession. Otherwise, proof to offset this Mortgage Law grants as a guaranty of final enforcement of such right has prescribed, the
presumption must be presented by the interested party, that is, that the other half was only thing to be determined by this appeal is the question raised in the first assignment of
acquired by the man's wish and not by operation of law. error, that is, how said two parcels of land can and ought to be registered, not in the
Nor is the third assignments of error admissible that the trial court failed to sustain the property registry newly established by the Mortgage Law, but in the registry newly
renunciation of the right required by law to be reserved, which the applicant attributes to organized by Act No. 496. But as the have slipped into the allegations quoted some
the opponents. Such renunciation does not appear in the case. The appellant deduces it rather inexact ideas that further obscure such an intricate subject as this of the rights
from the fact that the appellees did not contradict the following statement of hers at the required to be reserved in Spanish-Philippine law, a brief disgression on the most
trial: essential points may not be out of place here.
The day after my brother-in-law Pablo Sablan dies and was buried, his brother came to The Mortgage Law of July 14, 1893, to which the appellees allude, is the amended one
my house and said that those rice lands were mine, because we had already talked of the colonies, not the first enforced in the colonies and consequently in the Philippines.
about making delivery of them. (p. 91). The preamble of said amended Mortgage Law states:
The other brother alluded to is Basilio Sablan, as stated on page 92. From the fact that The Mortgage Law in force in Spain for thirty years went into effect, with the
Basilio Sablan said that the lands belong to the appellant and must be delivered to her it modifications necessary for its adaptation, in the Antilles on May 1, 1880, and in
cannot be deduced that he renounced the right required by law to be reserved in such the Philippines on December 1, 1889, thus commencing in those regions the
lands by virtue of the provisions of article 811 of the Civil Code, for they really belong to renovation of the law on real property, and consequently of agrarian credit.
her and must be delivered to her. The Civil Code went into effect in the Philippines in the same year, 1889, but on the eight
The fourth assignments of error set up the defense of prescription of the right of action. day.
The appellant alleges prescription of the opponent's right of action for requiring fulfillment Two kinds of property required by law to be reserved are distinguished in the Civil Code,
of the obligation they attribute to her recording in the property registry the right required as set forth in article 968 thereof, where it says:
by law to be reserved, in accordance with the provisions of the Mortgage Law; and as Besides the reservation imposed by article 811, the widow or widower contracting a
such obligation is created by law, it prescribed in the time fixed in No. 2 of section 43 of seconds marriage shall be obliged to set apart for the children and descendants of the
Act No. 190. She adds: "Prescription of the right alleged to the reserved by force of law first marriage the ownership of all the property he or she may have required from the
has not been invoked." (Eight allegation.) deceased spouse by will, by intestate succession, by gift, or other transfer without a
The appellant does not state in her brief what those provisions of the Mortgage Law are. valuable consideration."
Nor did she do so in first instance, where she says only the following, which is quoted The Mortgage Law of Spain and the first law that went into effect in the Philippines on
from the record: "I do not refer to the prescription of the right required by law to be December 1, 189, do not contain any provision that can be applied to the right reserved
reserved in the property; I refer to the prescription of the right of action of those who are by article 811 of the Civil Code, for such right is a creation of the Civil Code. In those
entitled to the guaranty of that right for seeking that guaranty, for those who are entitled laws appear merely the provisions intended to guarantee the effectiveness of the right in
to that right the Mortgage Law grants a period of time for recording it in the property favor of the children of the first marriage when their father or mother contracts a second
registry, if I remember correctly, ninety days, for seeking entry in the registry; but as they marriage. Nevertheless, the holding of the supreme court of Spain, for the first time set
have not exercised that right of action, such right of action for seeking here that it be forth in the decision on appeal of November 8, 1894, has been reiterated:
recorded has prescribed. The right of action for requiring that the property be That while the provisions of articles 977 and 978 of the Civil Code that tend to
reserved has not prescribed, but the right of action for guaranteeing in the property secure the right required to be reserved in the property refer especially to the
registry that this property is required by law to be reserved" (p. 69 of the record). spouses who contract second or later marriages, they do not thereby cease to
be applicable to the right establishes in article 811, because, aside from the Article 191 of the reads thus: "If ninety days pass without the father's instituting in court
legal reason, which is the same in both cases, such must be the construction the proceeding to which the foregoing article refers, the relatives themselves may
from the important and conclusive circumstance that said provisions are set demand fulfillment, etc., . . . applying, according to said article 199, to the person
forth in the chapter that deals with inheritances in common, either testate or obligated to reserve the right the provisions with respect to the father."
intestate, and because article 968, which heads the section that deals in general Article 203 of the regulation for the application of the Mortgage Law says: "In the case of
with property required by law to be reserved, makes reference to the provisions article 199 of the law the proceedings to which article 190 thereof refers will be instituted
in article 811; and it would consequently be contradictory to the principle of the within the ninety days succeeding the date of the date of the acceptation of the
law and of the common nature of said provisions not to hold them applicable to inheritance by the person obligated to reserve the property; after this period has elapsed,
that right. the interested parties may require the institution of such proceedings, if they are of age;
Thus it was again stated in a decision on appeal, December 30, 1897, that: "As the and in any other case, their legal representatives."
supreme court has already declared, the guaranties that the Code fixes in article 977 and Thus it clearly appears that the lapse of the ninety days is not the expiration by
978 for the rights required by law to the reserved to which said articles refer, are prescription of the period for the right must be reserved, but really the commencement
applicable to the special right dealt with in article 811, because the same principle exists thereof, enables them to exercise it at any time, since no limits is set in the law. So, if the
and because of the general nature of the provisions of the chapter in which they are annotation of the right required by law to be reserved in the two parcels of land in
found." question must be made in the property registry of the Mortgage Law, the persons entitled
From this principle of jurisprudence it is inferred that if from December, 1889, to July, to it may now institute proceedings to that end, and an allegation of prescription against
1893, a case had occurred of a right required to be reserved by article 811, the persons the exercise of such right of action cannot be sustained.
entitled to such right would have been able to institute, against the ascendant who must Since the applicant confesses that she does not allege prescription of the right of action
make the reservation, proceedings for the assurance and guaranty that article 977 and for requiring that the property be reserved, for she explicitly so stated at the trial, and as
978 grant to the children of a first marriage against their father or mother who has the case presents no necessity for the proceedings that should be instituted in
married again. The proceedings for assurance, under article 977; are: Inventory of the accordance with the provisions of the Mortgage Law, this prescription of the right of
property subject to the right reserved, annotation in the property registry of such right action cannot take place, because such right of action does not exist with reference to
reserved in the real property and appraisal of the personal property; and the guaranty, instituting proceedings for annotation in the registry of Act No. 496 of the right to the
under article 978, is the assurance by mortgage, in the case of realty, of the value of property required by law to be reserved. It is sufficient, as was done in the present case,
what is validly alienated. to intervene in the registration proceedings with the claim set up by the two opponents for
But since the amended Mortgage Law went into effect by law of July 14, 1893, in the recording therein the right reserved in either parcel of land.
Philippines this is not only a principle of jurisprudence which may be invoked for the Now comes the main point in the appeal. The trial court denied the registration because
applicability to the right reserved in article 811 of the remedies of assurance and of this finding set forth in its decision:
guaranty provided for the right reserved in article 968, but there is a positive provision of Absolute title to the two parcels of land undoubtedly belongs to the applicant
said law, which is an advantage over the law of Spain, to wit, article 199, which read and the two uncles of the deceased Pedro Sablan, and the application cannot
thus: be made except in the name of all of them in common. (B. of E., p. 20.)
The special mortgage for guaranteeing the right reserved by article 811 of the It must be remembered that absolute title consists of the rights to use, enjoy, dispose of,
Civil Code can only be required by the relatives in whose favor the property is to and recover. The person who has in himself all these rights has the absolute or complete
be reserved, if they are of age; if minors, it will be require by the person who ownership of the thing; otherwise, the person who has the right to use and enjoy will
should legally represent them. In either case the right of the persons in whose have the usufruct, and the person who has the rights of disposal and recovery the direct
favor the property must be reserved will be secured by the same requisites as title. The person who by law, act, or contract is granted the right of usufruct has the first
set forth in the preceding article (relative to the right reserved by article 968 of two rights or using an enjoying, and then he is said not to have the fee simple that is,
the Civil Code), applying to the person obligated to reserve the right the the rights of disposal and recovery, which pertain to another who, after the usufruct
provisions with respect to the father. expires, will come into full ownership.
In article 168 of the same law the new subsection 2 is added in connection with article The question set up in the first assignment of error of the appellant's brief is this:
199 quoted, so that said article 168 reads as thus: What are the rights in the property of the person who holds it subject to the
Legal mortgage is established: reservation of article 811 of the Civil Code?
1. . . . There are not lacking writers who say, only those of a usufructuary, the ultimate title
2. In favor of the relatives to whom article 811 of the Civil Code refers, for the belonging to the person in whose favor the reservation is made. If that were so, the
property required to be reserved, upon the property of the person obliged to person holding the property could not apply for registration of title, but the person in
reserve it. whose favor it must be reserved, with the former's consent. This opinion does not seem
This being admitted, and admitted also that both the litigating parties agree that the to be admissible, although it appears to be supported by decisions of the supreme court
period of ninety days fixed for the right of action to the guaranty, that is, to require the of Spain of May 21, 1861, and June 18, 1880, prior to the Civil Code, and of June 22,
mortgage that guarantees the effectiveness of the right required by law to be reserved, 1895, somewhat subsequent to the enforcement thereof.
has prescribed, it is necessary to lay down a principle in this matter. Now it should by Another writer says: "This opinion only looks at two salient points the usufruct and the
noted that such action has not prescribed, because the period of ninety days fixed by the fee simple; the remaining features of the arrangement are not perceived, but become
Mortgage Law is not for the exercise of the right of action of the persons entitled to the obscure in the presence of that deceptive emphasis which only brings out two things: that
right reserved, but for the fulfillment of the obligation of the person who must make the the person holding the property will enjoy it and that he must keep what he enjoys for
reservation. other persons." (Manresa, VII, 189.)
In another place he says: "We do not believe that the third opinion can now be subsequent is pending, that is, so long as the remarried spouse who must reserve the
maintained that is, that the surviving spouse (the person obliged by article 968 to right is alive, because it might easily happen that the person who must reserve the right
make the reservation) can be regarded as a mere usufructuary and the descendants should outlive all the person in whose favor the right is reserved and then there would be
immediately as the owner; such theory has no serious foundation in the Code." (Ibid., no reason for the condition subsequent that they survive him, and, the object of the law
238.) having disappeared, the right required to be reserved would disappear, and the
The ascendants who inherits from a descendants, whether by the latter's wish or by alienation would not only be valid but also in very way absolutely effective. Consequently,
operation of law, requires the inheritance by virtue of a title perfectly transferring absolute the alienation is valid when the right required by law to be reserved to the children is
ownership. All the attributes of the right of ownership belong to him exclusively use, respected; while the effects of the alienation depend upon a condition, because it will or
enjoyment, disposal and recovery. This absolute ownership, which is inherent in the will not become definite, it will continue to exist or cease to exist, according to
hereditary title, is not altered in the least, if there be no relatives within the third degree in circumstances. This is what the law establishes with reference to the reservation of
the line whence the property proceeds or they die before the ascendant heir who is the article 968, wherein the legislator expressly directs that the surviving spouse who
possessor and absolute owner of the property. If there should be relatives within the third contracts a second marriage shall reserve to the children or descendants of the first
degree who belong to the line whence the property proceeded, then a limitation to that marriage ownership. Article 811 says nothing more than that the ascendants must make
absolute ownership would arise. The nature and scope of this limitation must be the reservation.
determined with exactness in order not to vitiate rights that the law wishes to be effective. Manresa, with his recognized ability, summarizes the subject under the heading,
The opinion which makes this limitation consist in reducing the ascendant heir to the "Rights and obligations during the existence of the right required by law to be reserved,"
condition in of a mere usufructuary, depriving him of the right of disposal and recovery, in these words:
does not seem to have any support in the law, as it does not have, according to the During the whole period between the constitution in legal form of the right required by law
opinion that he has been expressed in speaking of the rights of the father or mother who to be reserved and the extinction thereof, the relatives within the third degree, after the
has married again. There is a marked difference between the case where a man's wish right that in their turn may pertain to them has been assured, have only an expectation,
institutes two persons as his heirs, one as usufructuary and the other as owner of his and therefore they do not even have the capacity to transmit that expectation to their
property, and the case of the ascendant in article 811 or of the father or mother in article heirs.
968. In the first case, there is not the slightest doubt that the title to the hereditary The ascendant is in the first place a usufructuary who should use and enjoy the things
property resides in the hereditary owner and he can dispose of and recover it, while the according to their nature, in the manner and form already set forth in commenting upon
usufructuary can in no way perform any act of disposal of the hereditary property (except the article of the Code referring to use and usufruct.
that he may dispose of the right of usufruct in accordance with the provisions of article But since in addition to being the usufructuary he is, even though conditionally, the owner
480 of the Civil Code), or any act of recovery thereof except the limited one in the form in fee simple of the property, he can dispose of it in the manner provided in article 974
prescribed in article 486 of the Code itself, because he totally lacks the fee simple. But and 976 of the same Code. Doubt arose also on this point, but the Direccion General of
the ascendants who holds the property required by article 811 to be reserved, and the the registries, in an opinion of June 25, 1892, declared that articles 974 and 975, which
father of mother required by article 986 to reserve the right, can dispose of the property are applicable by analogy, for they refer to property reserved by law, reveal in the
they might itself, the former from his descendant and the latter from his of her child in first clearest manner the attitude of the legislator on this subject, and the relatives with the
marriage, and recover it from anyone who may unjustly detain it, while the persons in third degree ought not to be more privileged in the right reserved in article 811 than the
whose favor the right is required to be reserved in either case cannot perform any act children in the right reserved by article 975, chiefly for the reason that the right required
whatsoever of disposal or of recovery. to be reserved carries with it a condition subsequent, and the property subject to those
Article 975 states explicitly that the father or mother required by article 9687 to reserve conditions can validly be alienated in accordance with article 109 of the Mortgage Law,
the right may dispose of the property itself: such alienation to continue, pending fulfillment of the condition." (Civil Code, VI, 270.)
Alienation of the property required by law to be reserved which may be made by Another commentator corroborates the foregoing in every way. He says:
the surviving spouse after contracting a second marriage shall be valid only if at The ascendants acquires that property with a condition subsequent, to wit,
his or her death no legitimate children or descendants of the first marriage whether or not there exists at the time of his death relatives within the third
survive, without prejudice to the provisions of the Mortgage of Law. degree of the descendants from whom they inherit in the line whence the
It thus appears that the alienation is valid, although not altogether effective, but under a property proceeds. If such relatives exist, they acquire ownership of the property
condition subsequent, to wit: "If at his or her death no legitimate children or descendants at the death of the ascendants. If they do not exist, the ascendants can freely
of the first marriage survive." dispose thereof. If this is true, since the possessor of property subject to
If the title did not reside in the person holding the property to be reserved, his alienation conditions subsequent can alienate and encumber it, the ascendants may
thereof would necessarily be null and void, as executed without a right to do so and alienate the property required by law to be reserved, but he will alienate what he
without a right which he could transmit to the acquirer. The law says that the alienation has and nothing more because no one can give what does not belong to him,
subsists (to subject is to continue to exist) "without prejudice to the provisions of the and the acquirer will therefore receive a limited and revocable title. The relatives
Mortgage Law." Article 109 of this Law says: within the third degree will in their turn have an expectation to the property while
The possessor of property subject to conditions subsequent that are still the ascendant lives, an expectation that cannot be transmitted to their heirs,
pending may mortgage or alienate it, provided always that he preserve the right unless these are also within the third degree. After the person who is required
of the parties interested in said conditions by expressly reserving that right in by law to reserve the right has died, the relatives may rescind the alienation of
the registration. the realty required by law to be reserved and they will complete ownership, in
In such case, the child or legitimate descendants of the first marriage in whose favor the fee simple, because the condition and the usufruct have been terminated by the
right is reserved cannot impugn the validity of the alienation so long as the condition death of the usufructuary. (Morell, Estudios sobre bienes reservable, 304, 305.)
The conclusion is that the person required by article 811 to reserve the right has, beyond Cannot the heir of the property required by law to reserved, merely because a condition
any doubt at all, the rights of use and usufruct. He has, moreover, for the reasons set subsequent is annexed to his right of disposal, himself alone register the ownership of
forth, the legal title and dominion, although under a condition subsequent. Clearly he has, the property he has inherited, when the persons in whose favor the reservation must be
under an express provision of the law, the right to dispose of the property reserved, and made degree thereto, provided that the right reserved to them in the two parcels of land
to dispose of is to alienate, although under a condition. He has the right to recover it, be recorded, as the law provides?
because he is the one who possesses or should possess it and have title to it, although a It is well known that the vendee under pacto de retracto acquires all the rights of the
limited and revocable one. In a word, the legal title and dominion, even though under a vendor:
condition, reside in him while he lives. After the right required by law to be reserved has The vendee substitutes the vendor in all his rights and actions. (Civil Code, art.
been assured, he can do anything that a genuine owner can do. 1511.)
On the other hand, the relatives within the third degree in whose favor of the right is If the vendor can register his title, the vendee can also register this same title after he
reserved cannot dispose of the property, first because it is no way, either actually, has once acquired it. This title, however, in its attribute of being disposable, has a
constructively or formally, in their possession; and, moreover, because they have no title condition subsequent annexed that the alienation the purchaser may make will be
of ownership or of the fee simple which they can transmit to another, on the hypothesis terminated, if the vendor should exercise the right granted him by article 1507, which
that only when the person who must reserve the right should die before them will they says:
acquire it, thus creating a fee simple, and only then will they take their place in the Conventional redemption shall take place when the vendor reserves to himself the right
succession of the descendants of whom they are relatives within the third degree, that it to recover the thing sold, with the obligation to comply with article 1518, and whatever
to say, a second contingent place in said legitimate succession in the fashion of aspirants more may have been agreed upon," that is, if he recovers the thing sold by repaying the
to a possible future legacy. If any of the persons in whose favor the right is reserved vendee the price of the sale and other expenses. Notwithstanding this condition
should, after their rights has been assured in the registry, dare to dispose of even nothing subsequent, it is a point not at all doubtful now that the vendee may register his title in
more than the fee simple of the property to be reserved his act would be null and void, the same way as the owner of a thing mortgaged that is to say, the latter with the
for, as was definitely decided in the decision on appeal of December 30, 1897, it is consent of his creditor and the former with the consent of the vendor. He may alienate
impossible to determine the part "that might pertain therein to the relative at the time he the thing bought when the acquirer knows by well from the title entered in the registry
exercised the right, because in view of the nature and scope of the right required by law that he acquires a title revocable after a fixed period, a thing much more certain and to
to be reserved the extent of his right cannot be foreseen, for it may disappear by his be expected than the purely contingent expectation of the person in whose favor is
dying before the person required to reserve it, just as may even become absolute should reserved a right to inherit some day what another has inherited. The purpose of the law
that person die." would be defeated in not applying to the person who must make the reservation the
Careful consideration of the matter forces the conclusion that no act of disposal inter provision therein relative to the vendee under pacto de retracto, since the argument in his
vivos of the person required by law to reserve the right can be impugned by him in whose favor is the more power and conclusive; ubi eadem ratio, eadem legis dispositivo.
favor it is reserved, because such person has all, absolutely all, the rights inherent in Therefore, we reverse the judgment appealed from, and in lieu thereof decide and
ownership, except that the legal title is burdened with a condition that the third party declare that the applicant is entitled to register in her own name the two parcels of land
acquirer may ascertain from the registry in order to know that he is acquiring a title which are the subject matter of the applicants, recording in the registration the right
subject to a condition subsequent. In conclusion, it seems to us that only an act of required by article 811 to be reserved to either or both of the opponents, Pablo Sablan
disposal mortis causa in favor of persons other than relatives within the third degree of and Basilio Sablan, should they survive her; without special findings as to costs.
the descendants from whom he got the property to be reserved must be prohibited to Torres, Mapa, Johnson, Carson and Trent, JJ., concur.
him, because this alone has been the object of the law: "To prevent persons outside a G.R. No. L-12957 March 24, 1961
family from securing, by some special accident of life, property that would otherwise have CONSTANCIO SIENES, ET AL., plaintiffs-appellants,
remained therein." (Decision of December 30, 1897.) vs.
Practically, even in the opinion of those who reduce the person reserving the right to the FIDEL ESPARCIA, ET AL., defendants-appellees.
condition of a mere usufructuary, the person in whose favor it must be reserved cannot Proceso R. Remollo for plaintiffs-appellants.
attack the alienation that may be absolutely made of the property the law requires to be Leonardo D. Mancao for defendants-appellees.
reserved, in the present case, that which the appellant has made of the two parcels of DIZON, J.:
land in question to a third party, because the conditional alienation that is permitted her is Appellants commenced this action below to secure judgment (1) declaring null and void
equivalent to an alienation of the usufruct, which is authorized by article 480 of the Civil the sale executed by Paulina and Cipriana Yaeso in favor of appellees, the spouses Fidel
Code, and, practically, use and enjoyment of the property required by law to be reserved Esparcia and Paulina Sienes; (2) ordering the Esparcia spouses to reconvey to
are all that the person who must reserve it has during his lifetime, and in alienating the appellants Lot 3368 of the Cadastral Survey of Ayuquitan (now Amlan), Oriental Negros;
usufruct all the usefulness of the thing would be transmitted in an incontrovertible and (3) ordering all the appellees to pay, jointly and severally, to appellants the sum of
manner. The question as to whether or not she transmits the fee simple is purely P500.00 as damages, plus the costs of suit. In their answer appellees disclaimed any
academic, sine re, for it is not real, actual positive, as is the case of the institution of two knowledge or information regarding the sale allegedly made on April 20, 1951 by Andrea
heirs, one a usufructuary and the other the owner, by the express wish of the Gutang in favor of appellants and alleged that, if such sale was made, the same was void
predecessor in interest. on the ground that Andrea Gutang had no right to dispose of the property subject matter
If the person whom article 811 requires to reserve the right has all the rights inherent in thereof. They further alleged that said property had never been in possession of
ownership, he can use, enjoy, dispose of and recover it; and if, in addition to appellants, the truth being that appellees, as owners, had been in continuous possession
usufructuary, he is in fact and in law the real owner and can alienate it, although under a thereof since the death of Francisco Yaeso. By way of affirmative defense and
condition, the whole question is reduced to the following terms: counterclaim, they further alleged that on July 30, 1951, Paulina and Cipriana Yaeso, as
the only surviving heirs of Francisco Yaeso, executed a public instrument of sale in favor In connection with reservable property, the weight of opinion is that the reserve creates
of the spouses Fidel Esparcia and Paulina Sienes, the said sale having been registered two resolutory conditions, namely, (1) the death of the ascendant obliged to reserve and
together with an affidavit of adjudication executed by Paulina and Cipriana on July 18, (2) the survival, at the time of his death, of relatives within the third degree belonging to
1951, as sole surviving heirs of the aforesaid deceased; that since then the Esparcias the line from which the property came (6 Manresa 268-269; 6 Sanchez Roman 1934).
had been in possession of the property as owners. This Court has held in connection with this matter that the reservista has the legal title
After trial upon the issues thus joined, the lower court rendered judgment as follows: and dominion to the reservable property but subject to a resolutory condition; that he is
IN VIEW OF ALL THE FOREGOING, judgment is hereby rendered declaring (1) like a life usufructuary of the reservable property; that he may alienate the same but
that the sale of Lot No. 3368 made by Andrea Gutang to the plaintiff spouses subject to reservation, said alienation transmitting only the revocable and conditional
Constancio Sienes and Genoveva Silay is void, and the reconveyance prayed ownership of the reservists, the rights acquired by the transferee being revoked or
for by them is denied; (2) that the sale made by Paulina and Cipriana Yaeso in resolved by the survival of reservatarios at the time of the death of the reservista (Edroso
favor of defendants Fidel Esparcia and Paulina Sienes involving the same lot is vs. Sablan, 25 Phil. 295; Lunsod vs. Ortega, 46 Phil. 664; Florentino vs. Florentino, 40
also void, and they have no valid title thereto; and (3) that the reservable Phil. 480; and Director of Lands vs. Aguas, 65 Phil. 279).
property in question is part of and must be reverted to the estate of Cipriana The sale made by Andrea Gutang in favor of appellees was, therefore, subject to the
Yaeso, the lone surviving relative and heir of Francisco Yaeso at the death of condition that the vendees would definitely acquire ownership, by virtue of the alienation,
Andrea Gutang as of December 13, 1951. No pronouncement as to the costs. only if the vendor died without being survived by any person entitled to the reservable
From the above decision the Sienes spouse interposed the present appeal, their principal property. Inasmuch much as when Andrea Gutang died, Cipriana Yaeso was still alive,
contentions being, firstly, that the lower court erred in holding that Lot 3368 of the the conclusion becomes inescapable that the previous sale made by the former in favor
Cadastral Survey of Ayuquitan was a reservable property; secondly, in annulling the sale of appellants became of no legal effect and the reservable property subject matter
of said lot executed by Andrea Gutang in their favor; and lastly, in holding that Cipriana thereof passed in exclusive ownership to Cipriana.
Yaeso, as reservee, was entitled to inherit said land. On the other hand, it is also clear that the sale executed by the sisters Paulina and
There is no dispute as to the following facts: Cipriana Yaeso in favor of the spouses Fidel Esparcia and Paulina Sienes was subject to
Lot 3368 originally belonged to Saturnino Yaeso. With his first wife, Teresa Ruales, he a similar resolutory condition. The reserve instituted by law in favor of the heirs within the
had four children named Agaton, Fernando, Paulina and Cipriana, while with his second third degree belonging to the line from which the reservable property came, constitutes a
wife, Andrea Gutang, he had an only son named Francisco. According to the cadastral real right which the reservee may alienate and dispose of, albeit conditionally, the
records of Ayuquitan, the properties left by Saturnino upon his death the date of which condition being that the alienation shall transfer ownership to the vendee only if and
does not clearly appear of record were left to his children as follows: Lot 3366 to when the reservee survives the person obliged to reserve. In the present case, Cipriana
Cipriana, Lot 3367 to Fernando, Lot 3375 to Agaton, Lot 3377 (southern portion) to Yaeso, one of the reservees, was still alive when Andrea Gutang, the person obliged to
Paulina, and Lot 3368 (western portion) to Francisco. As a result of the cadastral reserve, died. Thus the former became the absolute owner of the reservable property
proceedings, Original Certificate of Title No. 10275 covering Lot 3368 was issued in the upon Andrea's death. While it may be true that the sale made by her and her sister prior
name of Francisco. Because Francisco was a minor at the time, his mother administered to this event, became effective because of the occurrence of the resolutory condition, we
the property for him, declared it in her name for taxation purposes (Exhs A & A-1), and are not now in a position to reverse the appealed decision, in so far as it orders the
paid the taxes due thereon (Exhs. B, C, C-1 & C-2). When Francisco died on May 29, reversion of the property in question to the Estate of Cipriana Yaeso, because the
1932 at the age of 20, single and without any descendant, his mother, as his sole heir, vendees the Esparcia spouses did not appeal therefrom.
executed the public instrument Exhibit F entitled EXTRAJUDICIAL SETTLEMENT AND WHEREFORE, the appealed decision as above modified is affirmed, with costs,
SALE whereby, among other things, for and in consideration of the sum of P800.00 she and without prejudice to whatever action in equity the Esparcia spouses may have
sold the property in question to appellants. When thereafter said vendees demanded against the Estate of Cipriana Yaeso for the reconveyance of the property in question.
from Paulina Yaeso and her husband Jose Esparcia, the surrender of Original Certificate Bengzon, Actg. C.J., Padilla, Bautista Angelo, Labrador, Concepcion, Reyes, J.B.L.,
of Title No. 10275 which was in their possession the latter refused, thus giving rise Barrera and Paredes, JJ.,concur.
to the filing of the corresponding motion in the cadastral record No. 507. The same, G.R. No. 83484 February 12, 1990
however, was denied (Exhs. 8 & 9). CELEDONIA SOLIVIO, petitioner,
Thereafter, or more specifically, on July 30, 1951, Cipriana and Paulina Yaeso, the vs.
surviving half-sisters of Francisco, and who as such had declared the property in their THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS and CONCORDIA JAVELLANA
name, on January 1, 1951 executed a deed of sale in favor of the spouses Fidel Esparcia VILLANUEVA, respondents.
and Paulina Sienes (Exh. 2) who, in turn, declared it in their name for tax purposes and Rex Suiza Castillon for petitioner.
thereafter secured the issuance in their name of Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-2141 Salas & Villareal for private respondent.
(Exhs. 5 & 5-A). MEDIALDEA, J.:
As held by the trial court, it is clear upon the facts already stated, that the land in This is a petition for review of the decision dated January 26, 1988 of the Court of
question was reservable property. Francisco Yaeso inherited it by operation of law from Appeals in CA GR CV No. 09010 (Concordia Villanueva v. Celedonia Solivio) affirming
his father Saturnino, and upon Francisco's death, unmarried and without descendants, it the decision of the trial court in Civil Case No. 13207 for partition, reconveyance of
was inherited, in turn, by his mother, Andrea Gutang. The latter was, therefore, under ownership and possession and damages, the dispositive portion of which reads as
obligation to reserve it for the benefit of relatives within the third degree belonging to the follows:
line from which said property came, if any survived her. The record discloses in this WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered for the plaintiff and
connection that Andrea Gutang died on December 13, 1951, the lone reservee surviving against defendant:
her being Cipriana Yaeso who died only on January 13, 1952 (Exh. 10).
a) Ordering that the estate of the late Esteban Javellana, Jr. be divided Pursuant to their agreement that Celedonia would take care of the proceedings leading
into two (2) shares: one-half for the plaintiff and one-half for defendant. to the formation of the foundation, Celedonia in good faith and upon the advice of her
From both shares shall be equally deducted the expenses for the counsel, filed on March 8, 1977 Spl. Proceeding No. 2540 for her appointment as special
burial, mausoleum and related expenditures. Against the share of administratrix of the estate of Esteban Javellana, Jr. (Exh. 2). Later, she filed an
defendants shall be charged the expenses for scholarship, awards, amended petition (Exh. 5) praying that letters of administration be issued to her; that she
donations and the 'Salustia Solivio Vda. de Javellana Memorial be declared sole heir of the deceased; and that after payment of all claims and rendition
Foundation;' of inventory and accounting, the estate be adjudicated to her (p. 115, Rollo).
b) Directing the defendant to submit an inventory of the entire estate After due publication and hearing of her petition, as well as her amended petition, she
property, including but not limited to, specific items already mentioned was declared sole heir of the estate of Esteban Javellana, Jr. She explained that this was
in this decision and to render an accounting of the property of the done for three reasons: (1) because the properties of the estate had come from her
estate, within thirty (30) days from receipt of this judgment; one-half sister, Salustia Solivio; (2) that she is the decedent's nearest relative on his mother's
(1/2) of this produce shall belong to plaintiff; side; and (3) with her as sole heir, the disposition of the properties of the estate to fund
c) Ordering defendant to pay plaintiff P5,000.00 as expenses of the foundation would be facilitated.
litigation; P10,000.00 for and as attorney's fees plus costs. On April 3, 1978, the court (Branch II, CFI, now Branch 23, RTC) declared her the sole
SO ORDERED. (pp. 42-43, Rollo) heir of Esteban, Jr. Thereafter, she sold properties of the estate to pay the taxes and
This case involves the estate of the late novelist, Esteban Javellana, Jr., author of the other obligations of the deceased and proceeded to set up the "SALUSTIA SOLIVIO
first post-war Filipino novel "Without Seeing the Dawn," who died a bachelor, without VDA. DE JAVELLANA FOUNDATION" which she caused to be registered in the
descendants, ascendants, brothers, sisters, nephews or nieces. His only surviving Securities and Exchange Commission on July 17,1981 under Reg. No. 0100027 (p. 98,
relatives are: (1) his maternal aunt, petitioner Celedonia Solivio, the spinster half-sister of Rollo).
his mother, Salustia Solivio; and (2) the private respondent, Concordia Javellana- Four months later, or on August 7, 1978, Concordia Javellana Villanueva filed a motion
Villanueva, sister of his deceased father, Esteban Javellana, Sr. for reconsideration of the court's order declaring Celedonia as "sole heir" of Esteban, Jr.,
He was a posthumous child. His father died barely ten (10) months after his marriage in because she too was an heir of the deceased. On October 27, 1978, her motion was
December, 1916 to Salustia Solivio and four months before Esteban, Jr. was born. denied by the court for tardiness (pp. 80-81, Record). Instead of appealing the denial,
Salustia and her sister, Celedonia (daughter of Engracio Solivio and his second wife Concordia filed on January 7, 1980 (or one year and two months later), Civil Case No.
Josefa Fernandez), a teacher in the Iloilo Provincial High School, brought up Esteban, Jr. 13207 in the Regional Trial Court of Iloilo, Branch 26, entitled "Concordia Javellana-
Salustia brought to her marriage paraphernal properties (various parcels of land in Villanueva v. Celedonia Solivio" for partition, recovery of possession, ownership and
Calinog, Iloilo covered by 24 titles) which she had inherited from her mother, Gregoria damages.
Celo, Engracio Solivio's first wife (p. 325, Record), but no conjugal property was acquired On September 3, 1984, the said trial court rendered judgment in Civil Case No. 13207, in
during her short-lived marriage to Esteban, Sr. favor of Concordia Javellana-Villanueva.
On October 11, 1959, Salustia died, leaving all her properties to her only child, Esteban, On Concordia's motion, the trial court ordered the execution of its judgment pending
Jr., including a house and lot in La Paz, Iloilo City, where she, her son, and her sister appeal and required Celedonia to submit an inventory and accounting of the estate. In
lived. In due time, the titles of all these properties were transferred in the name of her motions for reconsideration of those orders, Celedonia averred that the properties of
Esteban, Jr. the deceased had already been transferred to, and were in the possession of, the
During his lifetime, Esteban, Jr. had, more than once, expressed to his aunt Celedonia 'Salustia Solivio Vda. de Javellana Foundation." The trial court denied her motions for
and some close friends his plan to place his estate in a foundation to honor his mother reconsideration.
and to help poor but deserving students obtain a college education. Unfortunately, he In the meantime, Celedonia perfected an appeal to the Court of Appeals (CA GR CV No.
died of a heart attack on February 26,1977 without having set up the foundation. 09010). On January 26, 1988, the Court of Appeals, Eleventh Division, rendered
Two weeks after his funeral, Concordia and Celedonia talked about what to do with judgment affirming the decision of the trial court in toto.Hence, this petition for review
Esteban's properties. Celedonia told Concordia about Esteban's desire to place his wherein she raised the following legal issues:
estate in a foundation to be named after his mother, from whom his properties came, for 1. whether Branch 26 of the RTC of Iloilo had jurisdiction to entertain
the purpose of helping indigent students in their schooling. Concordia agreed to carry out Civil Case No. 13207 for partition and recovery of Concordia
the plan of the deceased. This fact was admitted by her in her "Motion to Reopen and/or Villanueva's share of the estate of Esteban Javellana, Jr. even while
Reconsider the Order dated April 3, 1978" which she filed on July 27, 1978 in Special the probate proceedings (Spl. Proc. No. 2540) were still pending in
Proceeding No. 2540, where she stated: Branch 23 of the same court;
4. That petitioner knew all along the narrated facts in the immediately 2. whether Concordia Villanueva was prevented from intervening in
preceding paragraph [that herein movant is also the relative of the Spl. Proc. No. 2540 through extrinsic fraud;
deceased within the third degree, she being the younger sister of the 3. whether the decedent's properties were subject to reserva troncal in
late Esteban Javellana, father of the decedent herein], because prior to favor of Celedonia, his relative within the third degree on his mother's
the filing of the petition they (petitioner Celedonia Solivio and movant side from whom he had inherited them; and
Concordia Javellana) have agreed to make the estate of the decedent 4. whether Concordia may recover her share of the estate after she
a foundation, besides they have closely known each other due to their had agreed to place the same in the Salustia Solivio Vda. de Javellana
filiation to the decedent and they have been visiting each other's house Foundation, and notwithstanding the fact that conformably with said
which are not far away for (sic) each other. (p. 234, Record; Emphasis agreement, the Foundation has been formed and properties of the
supplied.) estate have already been transferred to it.
I. The question of jurisdiction delivered to the heirs entitled to receive the same. The finality of the
After a careful review of the records, we find merit in the petitioner's contention that the approval of the project of The probate court, in the exercise of its
Regional Trial Court, Branch 26, lacked jurisdiction to entertain Concordia Villanueva's jurisdiction to make distribution, has power to determine the proportion
action for partition and recovery of her share of the estate of Esteban Javellana, Jr. while or parts to which each distributed is entitled. ... The power to determine
the probate proceedings (Spl, Proc. No. 2540) for the settlement of said estate are still the legality or illegality of the testamentary provision is inherent in the
pending in Branch 23 of the same court, there being as yet no orders for the submission jurisdiction of the court making a just and legal distribution of the
and approval of the administratix's inventory and accounting, distributing the residue of inheritance. ... To hold that a separate and independent action is
the estate to the heir, and terminating the proceedings (p. 31, Record). necessary to that effect, would be contrary to the general tendency of
It is the order of distribution directing the delivery of the residue of the estate to the the jurisprudence of avoiding multiplicity of suits; and is further,
persons entitled thereto that brings to a close the intestate proceedings, puts an end to expensive, dilatory, and impractical. (Marcelino v. Antonio, 70 Phil.
the administration and thus far relieves the administrator from his duties (Santiesteban v. 388)
Santiesteban, 68 Phil. 367, Philippine Commercial and Industrial Bank v. Escolin, et al., A judicial declaration that a certain person is the only heir of the
L-27860, March 29, 1974, 56 SCRA 266). decedent is exclusively within the range of the administratrix
The assailed order of Judge Adil in Spl. Proc. No. 2540 declaring Celedonia as the sole proceedings and can not properly be made an independent action.
heir of the estate of Esteban Javellana, Jr. did not toll the end of the proceedings. As a (Litam v. Espiritu, 100 Phil. 364)
matter of fact, the last paragraph of the order directed the administratrix to "hurry up the A separate action for the declaration of heirs is not proper. (Pimentel v.
settlement of the estate." The pertinent portions of the order are quoted below: Palanca, 5 Phil. 436)
2. As regards the second incident [Motion for Declaration of Miss partition by itself alone does not terminate the probate proceeding
Celedonia Solivio as Sole Heir, dated March 7, 1978], it appears from (Timbol v. Cano, 1 SCRA 1271, 1276, L-15445, April 29, 1961;
the record that despite the notices posted and the publication of these Siguiong v. Tecson, 89 Phil. pp. 28, 30). As long as the order of the
proceedings as required by law, no other heirs came out to interpose distribution of the estate has not been complied with, the probate
any opposition to the instant proceeding. It further appears that herein proceedings cannot be deemed closed and terminated Siguiong v.
Administratrix is the only claimant-heir to the estate of the late Esteban Tecson, supra); because a judicial partition is not final and conclusive
Javellana who died on February 26, 1977. and does not prevent the heirs from bringing an action to obtain his
During the hearing of the motion for declaration as heir on March 17, share, provided the prescriptive period therefore has not elapsed (Mari
1978, it was established that the late Esteban Javellana died single, v. Bonilia, 83 Phil. 137). The better practice, however, for the heir who
without any known issue, and without any surviving parents. His has not received his share, is to demand his share through a proper
nearest relative is the herein Administratrix, an elder [sic] sister of his motion in the same probate or administration proceedings, or for
late mother who reared him and with whom he had always been living reopening of the probate or administrative proceedings if it had already
with [sic] during his lifetime. been closed, and not through an independent action, which would be
xxxxxxxxx tried by another court or Judge which may thus reverse a decision or
2. Miss Celedonia Solivio, Administratrix of this estate, is hereby order of the probate or intestate court already final and executed and
declared as the sole and legal heir of the late Esteban S. Javellana, re-shuffle properties long ago distributed and disposed of. (Ramos v.
who died intestate on February 26, 1977 at La Paz, Iloilo City. Ortuzar, 89 Phil. 730, 741-742; Timbol v. Cano, supra; Jingco v. Daluz,
The Administratrix is hereby instructed to hurry up with the settlement L-5107, April 24, 1953, 92 Phil. 1082; Roman Catholic v. Agustines, L-
of this estate so that it can be terminated. (pp, 14-16, Record) 14710, March 29, 1960, 107 Phil. 455, 460-461; Emphasis supplied)
In view of the pendency of the probate proceedings in Branch 11 of the Court of First In Litam et al., v. Rivera, 100 Phil. 364, where despite the pendency of the special
Instance (now RTC, Branch 23), Concordia's motion to set aside the order declaring proceedings for the settlement of the intestate estate of the deceased Rafael Litam the
Celedonia as sole heir of Esteban, and to have herself (Concordia) declared as co-heir plaintiffs-appellants filed a civil action in which they claimed that they were the children
and recover her share of the properties of the deceased, was properly filed by her in Spl. by a previous marriage of the deceased to a Chinese woman, hence, entitled to inherit
Proc. No. 2540. Her remedy when the court denied her motion, was to elevate the denial his one-half share of the conjugal properties acquired during his marriage to Marcosa
to the Court of Appeals for review on certiorari. However, instead of availing of that Rivera, the trial court in the civil case declared that the plaintiffs-appellants were not
remedy, she filed more than one year later, a separate action for the same purpose in children of the deceased, that the properties in question were paraphernal properties of
Branch 26 of the court. We hold that the separate action was improperly filed for it is the his wife, Marcosa Rivera, and that the latter was his only heir. On appeal to this Court,
probate court that has exclusive jurisdiction to make a just and legal distribution of the we ruled that "such declarations (that Marcosa Rivera was the only heir of the decedent)
estate. is improper, in Civil Case No. 2071, it being within the exclusive competence of the court
In the interest of orderly procedure and to avoid confusing and conflicting dispositions of in Special Proceedings No. 1537, in which it is not as yet, in issue, and, will not be,
a decedent's estate, a court should not interfere with probate proceedings pending in a ordinarily, in issue until the presentation of the project of partition. (p. 378).
co-equal court. Thus, did we rule in Guilas v. Judge of the Court of First Instance of However, in the Guilas case, supra, since the estate proceedings had been closed and
Pampanga, L-26695, January 31, 1972, 43 SCRA 111, 117, where a daughter filed a terminated for over three years, the action for annulment of the project of partition was
separate action to annul a project of partition executed between her and her father in the allowed to continue. Considering that in the instant case, the estate proceedings are still
proceedings for the settlement of the estate of her mother: pending, but nonetheless, Concordia had lost her right to have herself declared as co-
The probate court loses jurisdiction of an estate under administration heir in said proceedings, We have opted likewise to proceed to discuss the merits of her
only after the payment of all the debts and the remaining estate claim in the interest of justice.
The orders of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 26, in Civil Case No. 13207 setting aside Evidently, Concordia was not prevented from intervening in the proceedings. She stayed
the probate proceedings in Branch 23 (formerly Branch 11) on the ground of extrinsic away by choice. Besides, she knew that the estate came exclusively from Esteban's
fraud, and declaring Concordia Villanueva to be a co-heir of Celedonia to the estate of mother, Salustia Solivio, and she had agreed with Celedonia to place it in a foundation as
Esteban, Jr., ordering the partition of the estate, and requiring the administratrix, the deceased had planned to do.
Celedonia, to submit an inventory and accounting of the estate, were improper 2. The probate proceedings are proceedings in rem. Notice of the time
and officious, to say the least, for these matters he within the exclusive competence of and place of hearing of the petition is required to be published (Sec. 3,
the probate court. Rule 76 in relation to Sec. 3, Rule 79, Rules of Court). Notice of the
II. The question of extrinsic fraud hearing of Celedonia's original petition was published in the "Visayan
Was Concordia prevented from intervening in the intestate proceedings by extrinsic Tribune" on April 25, May 2 and 9, 1977 (Exh 4, p. 197, Record).
fraud employed by Celedonia? It is noteworthy that extrinsic fraud was not alleged in Similarly, notice of the hearing of her amended petition of May 26,
Concordia's original complaint in Civil Case No. 13207. It was only in her amended 1977 for the settlement of the estate was, by order of the court,
complaint of March 6, 1980, that extrinsic fraud was alleged for the first time. published in "Bagong Kasanag" (New Light) issues of May 27, June 3
Extrinsic fraud, as a ground for annulment of judgment, is any act or and 10, 1977 (pp. 182-305, Record). The publication of the notice of
conduct of the prevailing party which prevented a fair submission of the the proceedings was constructive notice to the whole world. Concordia
controversy (Francisco v. David, 38 O.G. 714). A fraud 'which prevents was not deprived of her right to intervene in the proceedings for she
a party from having a trial or presenting all of his case to the court, or had actual, as well as constructive notice of the same. As pointed out
one which operates upon matters pertaining, not to the judgment itself, by the probate court in its order of October 27, 1978:
but to the manner by which such judgment was procured so much so ... . The move of Concordia Javellana, however, was filed about five
that there was no fair submission of the controversy. For instance, if months after Celedonia Solivio was declared as the sole heir. ... .
through fraudulent machination by one [his adversary], a litigant was Considering that this proceeding is one in rem and had been duly
induced to withdraw his defense or was prevented from presenting an published as required by law, despite which the present movant only
available defense or cause of action in the case wherein the judgment came to court now, then she is guilty of laches for sleeping on her
was obtained, such that the aggrieved party was deprived of his day in alleged right. (p. 22, Record)
court through no fault of his own, the equitable relief against such The court noted that Concordia's motion did not comply with the requisites of a petition
judgment may be availed of. (Yatco v. Sumagui, 44623-R, July 31, for relief from judgment nor a motion for new trial.
1971). (cited in Philippine Law Dictionary, 1972 Ed. by Moreno; Varela The rule is stated in 49 Corpus Juris Secundum 8030 as follows:
v. Villanueva, et al., 96 Phil. 248) Where petition was sufficient to invoke statutory jurisdiction of probate
A judgment may be annulled on the ground of extrinsic or collateral court and proceeding was in rem no subsequent errors or irregularities
fraud, as distinguished from intrinsic fraud, which connotes any are available on collateral attack. (Bedwell v. Dean 132 So. 20)
fraudulent scheme executed by a prevailing litigant 'outside the trial of Celedonia's allegation in her petition that she was the sole heir of Esteban within the third
a case against the defeated party, or his agents, attorneys or degree on his mother's side was not false. Moreover, it was made in good faith and in the
witnesses, whereby said defeated party is prevented from presenting honest belief that because the properties of Esteban had come from his mother, not his
fully and fairly his side of the case. ... The overriding consideration is father, she, as Esteban's nearest surviving relative on his mother's side, is the rightful
that the fraudulent scheme of the prevailing litigant prevented a party heir to them. It would have been self-defeating and inconsistent with her claim of sole
from having his day in court or from presenting his case. The fraud, heirship if she stated in her petition that Concordia was her co-heir. Her omission to so
therefore, is one that affects and goes into the jurisdiction of the court. state did not constitute extrinsic fraud.
(Libudan v. Gil, L-21163, May 17, 1972, 45 SCRA 17, 27-29; Sterling Failure to disclose to the adversary, or to the court, matters which
Investment Corp. v. Ruiz, L-30694, October 31, 1969, 30 SCRA 318, would defeat one's own claim or defense is not such extrinsic fraud as
323) will justify or require vacation of the judgment. (49 C.J.S. 489, citing
The charge of extrinsic fraud is, however, unwarranted for the following reasons: Young v. Young, 2 SE 2d 622; First National Bank & Trust Co. of King
1. Concordia was not unaware of the special proceeding intended to City v. Bowman, 15 SW 2d 842; Price v. Smith, 109 SW 2d 1144,
be filed by Celedonia. She admitted in her complaint that she and 1149)
Celedonia had agreed that the latter would "initiate the necessary It should be remembered that a petition for administration of a decedent's estate may be
proceeding" and pay the taxes and obligations of the estate. Thus filed by any "interested person" (Sec. 2, Rule 79, Rules of Court). The filing of
paragraph 6 of her complaint alleged: Celedonia's petition did not preclude Concordia from filing her own.
6. ... for the purpose of facilitating the settlement of the estate of the III. On the question of reserva troncal
late Esteban Javellana, Jr. at the lowest possible cost and the least We find no merit in the petitioner's argument that the estate of the deceased was subject
effort, the plaintiff and the defendant agreed that the defendant shall to reserva troncal and that it pertains to her as his only relative within the third degree on
initiate the necessary proceeding, cause the payment of taxes and his mother's side. The reserva troncal provision of the Civil Code is found in Article 891
other obligations, and to do everything else required by law, and which reads as follows:
thereafter, secure the partition of the estate between her and the ART. 891. The ascendant who inherits from his descendant any
plaintiff, [although Celedonia denied that they agreed to partition the property which the latter may have acquired by gratuitous title from
estate, for their agreement was to place the estate in a foundation.] (p. another ascendant, or a brother or sister, is obliged to reserve such
2, Record; emphasis supplied) property as he may have acquired by operation of law for the benefit of
relatives who are within the third degree and who belong to the line she is bound by that agreement. It is true that by that agreement, she did not waive her
from which said property came. inheritance in favor of Celedonia, but she did agree to place all of Esteban's estate in the
The persons involved in reserva troncal are: "Salustia Solivio Vda. de Javellana Foundation" which Esteban, Jr., during his lifetime,
1. The person obliged to reserve is the reservor (reservista)the planned to set up to honor his mother and to finance the education of indigent but
ascendant who inherits by operation of law property from his deserving students as well.
descendants. Her admission may not be taken lightly as the lower court did. Being a judicial admission,
2. The persons for whom the property is reserved are the it is conclusive and no evidence need be presented to prove the agreement (Cunanan v.
reservees (reservatarios)relatives within the third degree counted Amparo, 80 Phil. 227; Granada v. Philippine National Bank, L-20745, Sept. 2, 1966, 18
from the descendant (propositus), and belonging to the line from which SCRA 1; Sta. Ana v. Maliwat, L-23023, Aug. 31, 1968, 24 SCRA 1018; People v.
the property came. Encipido, G.R.70091, Dec. 29, 1986, 146 SCRA 478; and Rodillas v. Sandiganbayan,
3. The propositusthe descendant who received by gratuitous title G.R. 58652, May 20, 1988, 161 SCRA 347).
and died without issue, making his other ascendant inherit by operation The admission was never withdrawn or impugned by Concordia who, significantly, did
of law. (p. 692, Civil Law by Padilla, Vol. II, 1956 Ed.) not even testify in the case, although she could have done so by deposition if she were
Clearly, the property of the deceased, Esteban Javellana, Jr., is not reservable property, supposedly indisposed to attend the trial. Only her husband, Narciso, and son-in-law,
for Esteban, Jr. was not an ascendant, but the descendant of his mother, Salustia Juanito Domin, actively participated in the trial. Her husband confirmed the agreement
Solivio, from whom he inherited the properties in question. Therefore, he did not hold his between his wife and Celedonia, but he endeavored to dilute it by alleging that his wife
inheritance subject to a reservation in favor of his aunt, Celedonia Solivio, who is his did not intend to give all, but only one-half, of her share to the foundation (p. 323,
relative within the third degree on his mother's side. The reserva troncal applies to Record).
properties inherited by an ascendant from a descendant who inherited it from another The records show that the "Salustia Solivio Vda. de Javellana Foundation" was
ascendant or 9 brother or sister. It does not apply to property inherited by a descendant established and duly registered in the Securities and Exchange Commission under Reg.
from his ascendant, the reverse of the situation covered by Article 891. No. 0100027 for the following principal purposes:
Since the deceased, Esteban Javellana, Jr., died without descendants, ascendants, 1. To provide for the establishment and/or setting up of scholarships
illegitimate children, surviving spouse, brothers, sisters, nephews or nieces, what should for such deserving students as the Board of Trustees of the
apply in the distribution of his estate are Articles 1003 and 1009 of the Civil Code which Foundation may decide of at least one scholar each to study at West
provide: Visayas State College, and the University of the Philippines in the
ART. 1003. If there are no descendants, ascendants, illegitimate Visayas both located in Iloilo City.
children, or a surviving spouse, the collateral relatives shall succeed to 2. To provide a scholarship for at least one scholar for St. Clements
the entire estate of the deceased in accordance with the following Redemptorist Community for a deserving student who has the religious
articles. vocation to become a priest.
ART. 1009. Should there be neither brothers nor sisters, nor children of 3. To foster, develop, and encourage activities that will promote the
brothers or sisters, the other collateral relatives shall succeed to the advancement and enrichment of the various fields of educational
estate. endeavors, especially in literary arts. Scholarships provided for by this
The latter shall succeed without distinction of lines or preference foundation may be named after its benevolent benefactors as a token
among them by reason of relationship by the whole blood. of gratitude for their contributions.
Therefore, the Court of Appeals correctly held that: 4. To direct or undertake surveys and studies in the community to
Both plaintiff-appellee and defendant-appellant being relatives of the determine community needs and be able to alleviate partially or totally
decedent within the third degree in the collateral line, each, therefore, said needs.
shall succeed to the subject estate 'without distinction of line or 5. To maintain and provide the necessary activities for the proper care
preference among them by reason of relationship by the whole blood,' of the Solivio-Javellana mausoleum at Christ the King Memorial Park,
and is entitled one-half (1/2) share and share alike of the estate. (p. 57, Jaro, Iloilo City, and the Javellana Memorial at the West Visayas State
Rollo) College, as a token of appreciation for the contribution of the estate of
IV. The question of Concordia's one-half share the late Esteban S. Javellana which has made this foundation possible.
However, inasmuch as Concordia had agreed to deliver the estate of the deceased to the Also, in perpetuation of his Roman Catholic beliefs and those of his
foundation in honor of his mother, Salustia Solivio Vda. de Javellana (from whom the mother, Gregorian masses or their equivalents will be offered every
estate came), an agreement which she ratified and confirmed in her "Motion to Reopen February and October, and Requiem masses every February 25th and
and/or Reconsider Order dated April 3, 1978" which she filed in Spl. Proceeding No. October llth, their death anniversaries, as part of this provision.
2540: 6. To receive gifts, legacies, donations, contributions, endowments and
4. That ... prior to the filing of the petition they (petitioner Celedonia financial aids or loans from whatever source, to invest and reinvest the
Solivio and movant Concordia Javellana) have agreed to make the funds, collect the income thereof and pay or apply only the income or
estate of the decedent a foundation, besides they have closely known such part thereof as shall be determined by the Trustees for such
each other due to their filiation to the decedent and they have been endeavors as may be necessary to carry out the objectives of the
visiting each other's house which are not far away for (sic) each other. Foundation.
(p. 234, Record; Emphasis supplied) 7. To acquire, purchase, own, hold, operate, develop, lease, mortgage,
pledge, exchange, sell, transfer, or otherwise, invest, trade, or deal, in
any manner permitted by law, in real and personal property of every TERESITA P. DELOS SANTOS-CABUHAT, MERCEDITA P. DELOS SANTOS, LYDIA
kind and description or any interest herein. P. DELOS SANTOS VDA. DE HILARIO, PERFECTO P. DELOS SANTOS, JR., and
8. To do and perform all acts and things necessary, suitable or proper CECILIA M. MENDOZA,Respondents.
for the accomplishments of any of the purposes herein enumerated or DECISION
which shall at any time appear conducive to the protection or benefit of REYES, J.:
the corporation, including the exercise of the powers, authorities and Reserva troncal is a special rule designed primarily to assure the return of a reservable
attributes concerned upon the corporation organized under the laws of property to the third degree relatives belonging to the line from which the property
the Philippines in general, and upon domestic corporation of like nature originally came, and avoid its being dissipated into and by the relatives of the inheriting
in particular. (pp. 9-10, Rollo) ascendant.1
As alleged without contradiction in the petition' for review: The Facts
The Foundation began to function in June, 1982, and three (3) of its The properties subject in the instant case are three parcels of land located in Sta. Maria,
eight Esteban Javellana scholars graduated in 1986, one (1) from UPV Bulacan: (1) Lot 1681-B, with an area of 7,749 square meters;2 (2) Lot 1684, with an area
graduated Cum Laude and two (2) from WVSU graduated with honors; of 5,667 sq m;3 and (3) Lot No. 1646-B, with an area of 880 sq m.4 Lot Nos. 1681-B and
one was a Cum Laude and the other was a recipient of Lagos Lopez 1684 are presently in the name of respondent Julia Delos Santos5(respondent). Lot No.
award for teaching for being the most outstanding student teacher. 1646-B, on the other hand, is also in the name of respondent but co-owned by Victoria
The Foundation has four (4) high school scholars in Guiso Barangay Pantaleon, who bought one-half of the property from petitioner Maria Mendoza and her
High School, the site of which was donated by the Foundation. The siblings.
School has been selected as the Pilot Barangay High School for Petitioners are grandchildren of Placido Mendoza (Placido) and Dominga Mendoza
Region VI. (Dominga). Placido and Dominga had four children: Antonio, Exequiel, married to
The Foundation has a special scholar, Fr. Elbert Vasquez, who would Leonor, Apolonio and Valentin. Petitioners Maria, Deogracias, Dionisia, Adoracion,
be ordained this year. He studied at St. Francis Xavier Major Regional Marcela and Ricardo are the children of Antonio. Petitioners Juliana, Fely, Mercedes,
Seminary at Davao City. The Foundation likewise is a member of the Elvira and Fortunato, on the other hand, are Valentins children. Petitioners alleged that
Redemptorist Association that gives yearly donations to help poor the properties were part of Placido and Domingas properties that were subject of an oral
students who want to become Redemptorist priests or brothers. It partition and subsequently adjudicated to Exequiel. After Exequiels death, it passed on
gives yearly awards for Creative writing known as the Esteban to his spouse Leonor and only daughter, Gregoria. After Leonors death, her share went
Javellana Award. to Gregoria. In 1992, Gregoria died intestate and without issue. They claimed that after
Further, the Foundation had constructed the Esteban S. Javellana Gregorias death, respondent, who is Leonors sister, adjudicated unto herself all these
Multi-purpose Center at the West Visayas State University for properties as the sole surviving heir of Leonor and Gregoria. Hence, petitioners claim
teachers' and students' use, and has likewise contributed to religious that the properties should have been reserved by respondent in their behalf and must
civic and cultural fund-raising drives, amongst other's. (p. 10, Rollo) now revert back to them, applying Article 891 of the Civil Code on reserva troncal.
Having agreed to contribute her share of the decedent's estate to the Foundation, Respondent, however, denies any obligation to reserve the properties as these did not
Concordia is obligated to honor her commitment as Celedonia has honored hers. originate from petitioners familial line and were not originally owned by Placido and
WHEREFORE, the petition for review is granted. The decision of the trial court and the Dominga. According to respondent, the properties were bought by Exequiel and Antonio
Court of Appeals are hereby SET ASIDE. Concordia J. Villanueva is declared an heir of from a certain Alfonso Ramos in 1931. It appears, however, that it was only Exequiel who
the late Esteban Javellana, Jr. entitled to one-half of his estate. However, comformably was in possession of the properties.6
with the agreement between her and her co-heir, Celedonia Solivio, the entire estate of The Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Malolos, Bulacan, Branch 6, found merit in petitioners
the deceased should be conveyed to the "Salustia Solivio Vda. de Javallana claim and granted their action for Recovery of Possession by Reserva Troncal,
Foundation," of which both the petitioner and the private respondent shall be trustees, Cancellation of TCT and Reconveyance. In its Decision dated November 4, 2002, the
and each shall be entitled to nominate an equal number of trustees to constitute the RTC disposed as follows:
Board of Trustees of the Foundation which shall administer the same for the purposes WHEREFORE, premised from the foregoing judgment is hereby rendered:
set forth in its charter. The petitioner, as administratrix of the estate, shall submit to the 1. Ordering respondents (heirs of Julia Policarpio) to reconvey the three (3)
probate court an inventory and accounting of the estate of the deceased preparatory to parcels of land subject of this action in the name of the plaintiffs enumerated in
terminating the proceedings therein. the complaint including intervenor Maria Cecilia M. Mendoza except one-half of
SO ORDERED. the property described in the old title, TCT No. T-124852(M) which belongs to
Narvasa, Cruz, Gancayco and Grio-Aquino, JJ., concur. Victorina Pantaleon;
G.R. No. 176422 March 20, 2013 2. Ordering the Register of Deeds of Bulacan to cancel the titles in the name of
MARIA MENDOZA, in her own capacity and as Attorney-in-fact of DEOGRACIAS, Julia Policarpio, TCT No. T-149033(M), T-183631(M) and T-149035(M) and
MARCELA, DIONISIA, ADORA CION, all surnamed MENDOZA, REMEDIOS reconvey the same to the enumerated plaintiffs; and
MONTILLA, FELY BAUTISTA, JULIANA GUILALAS and ELVIRA 3. No pronouncement as to claims for attorneys fees and damages and costs.
MENDOZA, Petitioners, SO ORDERED.7
vs. On appeal, the Court of Appeals (CA) reversed and set aside the RTC decision and
JULIA POLl CARPIO DELOS SANTOS, substituted by her heirs, CARMEN P. dismissed the complaint filed by petitioners. The dispositive portion of the CA Decision
DELOS SANTOS, ROSA BUENA VENTURA, ZENAIDA P. DELOS SANTOS VDA. DE dated November 16, 2006 provides:
MATEO, LEONILA P. DELOS SANTOS, ELVIRA P. DELOS SANTOS VDA. DE JOSE,
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the November 4, 2002 Decision of the Regional
Trial Court, Br. 6, Third Judicial Region, Malolos, Bulacan, is REVERSED and SET
ASIDE. The Third Amended Complaint in Civil Case No. 609-M-92 is hereby
DISMISSED. Costs against the Plaintiffs-Appellants.
SO ORDERED.8
Petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration but the CA denied the same per
Resolution9 dated January 17, 2007.
In dismissing the complaint, the CA ruled that petitioners failed to establish that Placido
and Dominga owned the properties in dispute.10 The CA also ruled that even assuming
that Placido and Dominga previously owned the properties, it still cannot be subject to
reserva troncal as neither Exequiel predeceased Placido and Dominga nor did Gregoria
predecease Exequiel.11
Now before the Court, petitioners argue that:
A.
THE HONORABLE [CA] GRIEVOUSLY ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE
SUBJECT PROPERTIES ARE NOT RESERVABLE PROPERTIES, COMING
AS THEY DO FROM THE FAMILY LINE OF THE PETITIONERS MENDOZAS.
B.
THE HONORABLE [CA] GRIEVOUSLY ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE
PETITIONERS MENDOZAS DO NOT HAVE A RIGHT TO THE SUBJECT
PROPERTIES BY VIRTUE OF THE LAW ON RESERVA TRONCAL.12
Petitioners take exception to the ruling of the CA, contending that it is sufficient that the
properties came from the paternal line of Gregoria for it to be subject to reserva troncal. The fallacy in the CAs resolution is that it proceeded from the erroneous premise that
They also claim the properties in representation of their own predecessors, Antonio and Placido is the ascendant contemplated in Article 891 of the Civil Code. From thence, it
Valentin, who were the brothers of Exequiel.13 sought to trace the origin of the subject properties back to Placido and Dominga,
Ruling of the Court determine whether Exequiel predeceased Placido and whether Gregoria predeceased
This petition is one for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. The Exequiel.
general rule in this regard is that it should raise only questions of law. There are, The persons involved in reserva troncal are:
however, admitted exceptions to this rule, one of which is when the CAs findings are (1) The ascendant or brother or sister from whom the property was received by
contrary to those of the trial court.14 This being the case in the petition at hand, the Court the descendant by lucrative or gratuitous title;
must now look into the differing findings and conclusion of the RTC and the CA on the (2) The descendant or prepositus (propositus) who received the property;
two issues that arise one, whether the properties in dispute are reservable properties (3) The reservor (reservista), the other ascendant who obtained the property
and two, whether petitioners are entitled to a reservation of these properties. from the prepositus by operation of law; and
Article 891 of the Civil Code on reserva troncal (4) The reservee (reservatario) who is within the third degree from the
The principle of reserva troncal is provided in Article 891 of the Civil Code: prepositus and who belongs to the (linea o tronco) from which the property
Art. 891. The ascendant who inherits from his descendant any property which the latter came and for whom the property should be reserved by the reservor. 16
may have acquired by gratuitous title from another ascendant, or a brother or sister, is It should be pointed out that the ownership of the properties should be reckoned only
obliged to reserve such property as he may have acquired by operation of law for the from Exequiels as he is the ascendant from where the first transmission occurred, or
benefit of relatives who are within the third degree and belong to the line from which said from whom Gregoria inherited the properties in dispute. The law does not go farther than
property came. (Emphasis ours) such ascendant/brother/sister in determining the lineal character of the property.17It was
There are three (3) lines of transmission in reserva troncal. The first transmission is by also immaterial for the CA to determine whether Exequiel predeceased Placido and
gratuitous title, whether by inheritance or donation, from an ascendant/brother/sister to a Dominga or whether Gregoria predeceased Exequiel. What is pertinent is that Exequiel
descendant called the prepositus. The second transmission is by operation of law from owned the properties and he is the ascendant from whom the properties in dispute
the prepositus to the other ascendant or reservor, also called the reservista. The third originally came. Gregoria, on the other hand, is the descendant who received the
and last transmission is from the reservista to the reservees or reservatarios who must properties from Exequiel by gratuitous title.
be relatives within the third degree from which the property came. 15 Moreover, Article 891 simply requires that the property should have been acquired by the
The lineal character of the descendant or prepositus from an ascendant by gratuitous or lucrative title. A
reservable property is reckoned transmission is gratuitous or by gratuitous title when the recipient does not give anything
from the ascendant from whom the in return.18 At risk of being repetitious, what was clearly established in this case is that
prepositus received the property by the properties in dispute were owned by Exequiel (ascendant). After his death, Gregoria
gratuitous title (descendant/prepositus) acquired the properties as inheritance.
Based on the circumstances of the present case, Article 891 on reserva troncal is not Ascendants, descendants and
applicable. collateral relatives under Article
964 of the Civil Code
Article 891 provides that the person obliged to reserve the property should be an person from whom the reservable property came. x x x.23 (Emphasis and underscoring
ascendant (also known as the reservor/reservista) of the descendant/prepositus. Julia, ours)
however, is not Gregorias ascendant; rather, she is Gregorias collateral relative. The conclusion, therefore, is that while it may appear that the properties are reservable in
Article 964 of the Civil Code provides for the series of degrees among ascendants and character, petitioners cannot benefit from reserva troncal. First, because Julia, who now
descendants, and those who are not ascendants and descendants but come from a holds the properties in dispute, is not the other ascendant within the purview of Article
common ancestor, viz: 891 of the Civil Code and second, because petitioners are not Gregorias relatives within
Art. 964. A series of degrees forms a line, which may be either direct or the third degree. Hence, the CAs disposition that the complaint filed with the RTC should
collateral.1wphi1 A direct line is that constituted by the series of degrees among be dismissed, only on this point, is correct. If at all, what should apply in the distribution
ascendants and descendants. of Gregorias estate are Articles 1003 and 1009 of the Civil Code, which provide:
A collateral line is that constituted by the series of degrees among persons who are not Art. 1003. If there are no descendants, ascendants, illegitimate children, or a surviving
ascendants and descendants, but who come from a common ancestor. (Emphasis and spouse, the collateral relatives shall succeed to the entire estate of the deceased in
italics ours) accordance with the following articles.
Gregorias ascendants are her parents, Exequiel and Leonor, her grandparents, great- Art. 1009. Should there be neither brothers nor sisters, nor children of brothers or sisters,
grandparents and so on. On the other hand, Gregorias descendants, if she had one, the other collateral relatives shall succeed to the estate.
would be her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Not being Gregorias The latter shall succeed without distinction of lines or preference among them by reason
ascendants, both petitioners and Julia, therefore, are her collateral relatives. In of relationship by the whole blood.
determining the collateral line of relationship, ascent is made to the common ancestor Nevertheless, the Court is not in the proper position to determine the proper distribution
and then descent to the relative from whom the computation is made. In the case of of Gregorias estate at this point as the cause of action relied upon by petitioners in their
Julias collateral relationship with Gregoria, ascent is to be made from Gregoria to her complaint filed with the RTC is based solely on reserva troncal. Further, any
mother Leonor (one line/degree), then to the common ancestor, that is, Julia and determination would necessarily entail reception of evidence on Gregorias entire estate
Leonors parents (second line/degree), and then descent to Julia, her aunt (third and the heirs entitled thereto, which is best accomplished in an action filed specifically for
line/degree). Thus, Julia is Gregorias collateral relative within the third degree and not that purpose.
her ascendant. A reservista acquires ownership of
First cousins of the the reservable property until the
descendant/prepositus are fourth reservation takes place or is
degree relatives and cannot be extinguished
considered reservees/reservatarios Before concluding, the Court takes note of a palpable error in the RTCs disposition of
Moreover, petitioners cannot be considered reservees/reservatarios as they are not the case. In upholding the right of petitioners over the properties, the RTC ordered the
relatives within the third degree of Gregoria from whom the properties came. The person reconveyance of the properties to petitioners and the transfer of the titles in their names.
from whom the degree should be reckoned is the descendant/prepositusthe one at the What the RTC should have done, assuming for arguments sake that reserva troncal is
end of the line from which the property came and upon whom the property last revolved applicable, is have the reservable nature of the property registered on respondents titles.
by descent.19 It is Gregoria in this case. Petitioners are Gregorias fourth degree In fact, respondent, as reservista, has the duty to reserve and to annotate the reservable
relatives, being her first cousins. First cousins of the prepositus are fourth degree character of the property on the title.24 In reserva troncal, the reservista who inherits from
relatives and are not reservees or reservatarios.20 a prepositus, whether by the latters wish or by operation of law, acquires the inheritance
They cannot even claim representation of their predecessors Antonio and Valentin as by virtue of a title perfectly transferring absolute ownership. All the attributes of
Article 891 grants a personal right of reservation only to the relatives up to the third ownership belong to him exclusively.25
degree from whom the reservable properties came. The only recognized exemption is in The reservor has the legal title and dominion to the reservable property but subject to the
the case of nephews and nieces of the prepositus, who have the right to represent their resolutory condition that such title is extinguished if the reservor predeceased the
ascendants (fathers and mothers) who are the brothers/sisters of the prepositus and reservee. The reservor is a usufructuary of the reservable property. He may alienate it
relatives within the third degree.21 In Florentino v. Florentino,22 the Court stated: subject to the reservation. The transferee gets the revocable and conditional ownership
Following the order prescribed by law in legitimate succession, when there are relatives of the reservor. The transferees rights are revoked upon the survival of the reservees at
of the descendant within the third degree, the right of the nearest relative, called the time of the death of the reservor but become indefeasible when the reservees
reservatario, over the property which the reservista (person holding it subject to predecease the reservor.26 (Citations omitted)
reservation) should return to him, excludes that of the one more remote. The right of It is when the reservation takes place or is extinguished, 27 that a reservatario becomes,
representation cannot be alleged when the one claiming same as a reservatario of the by operation of law, the owner of the reservable property. 28 In any event, the foregoing
reservable property is not among the relatives within the third degree belong to the line discussion does not detract from the fact that petitioners are not entitled to a reservation
from which such property came, inasmuch as the right granted by the Civil Code in of the properties in dispute.
Article 811 now Article 891 is in the highest degree personal and for the exclusive benefit WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The Decision dated November 16, 2006 and
of the designated persons who are the relatives, within the third degree, of the person Resolution dated January 17, 2007 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 77694
from whom the reservable property came. Therefore, relatives of the fourth and the insofar as it dismissed the Third Amended Complaint in Civil Case No. 609-M-92 are
succeeding degrees can never be considered as reservatarios, since the law does not AFFIRMED. This Decision is without prejudice to any civil action that the heirs of
recognize them as such. Gregoria
x x x Nevertheless there is right of representation on the part of reservatarios who are Mendoza may file for the settlement of her estate or for the determination of ownership of
within the third degree mentioned by law, as in the case of nephews of the deceased the properties in question.
SO ORDERED. complaint is entitled to one-seventh of the fruits of the reservable property described
[PADURA v BALDOVINO on separate document] therein, either by direct participation or by representation, in the manner mentioned in
paragraph 9 of the complaint.
G.R. No. L-14856 November 15, 1919 That several times the plaintiffs have, in an amicable manner, asked the defendants to
ENCARNACION FLORENTINO, ET AL., plaintiffs-appellants, deliver their corresponding part of the reservable property; that without any justifiable
vs. motive the defendants have refused and do refuse to deliver said property or to pay for
MERCEDES FLORENTINO, ET AL., defendants-appellees. its value; that for nine years Mercedes Florentino has been receiving, as rent for the
Ramon Querubin, Simeon Ramos and Orense and Vera for appellants. lands mentioned, 360 bundles of palay at fifty pesos per bundle and 90 bundles of corn
Vicente Foz, Jose Singsong Tongson and Angel Encarnacion for appellees. at four pesos per bundle; that thereby the plaintiffs have suffered damages in the sum of
fifteen thousand four hundred and twenty-eight pesos and fifty-eight centavos, in addition
to three hundred and eight pesos and fifty-eight centavos for the value of the fruits not
TORRES, J.: gathered, of one thousand pesos (P1,000) for the unjustifiable retention of the
On January 17, 1918, counsel for Encarnacion (together with her husband Simeon aforementioned reservable property and for the expenses of this suit. Wherefore they
Serrano), Gabriel, Magdalena, Ramon, Miguel, Victorino, and Antonino of the surname pray it be declared that all the foregoing property is reservable property; that the plaintiffs
Florentino; for Miguel Florentino, guardian ad litem of the minor Rosario Florentino; for had and do have a right to the same, in the quantity and proportion mentioned in the
Eugenio Singson, the father and guardian ad litem of Emilia, Jesus, Lourdes, Caridad, aforementioned paragraph 9 of the complaint; that the defendants Mercedes Florentino
and Dolores of the surname Singson y Florentino; and for Eugenio Singson, guardian of and her husband be ordered to deliver to the plaintiffs their share of the property in
the minors Jose and Asuncion Florentino, filed a complaint in the Court of First Instance question, of the palay and of the corn above mentioned, or their value; and that they be
of Ilocos Sur, against Mercedes Florentino and her husband, alleging as follows: condemned to pay the plaintiffs the sum of one thousand pesos (P1,000) together with
That Apolonio Isabelo Florentino II married the first time Antonia Faz de Leon; that during the costs of this instance.
the marriage he begot nine children called, Jose, Juan, Maria, Encarnacion, Isabel, To the preceding complaint counsel for the defendants demurred, alleging that the cause
Espirita, Gabriel, Pedro, and Magdalena of the surname Florentino y de Leon; that on of action is based on the obligation of the widow Severina Faz de Leon to reserve the
becoming a widower he married the second time Severina Faz de Leon with whom he property she inherited from her deceased son Apolonio Florentino y de Leon who, in turn,
had two children, Mercedes and Apolonio III of the surname Florentino y de Leon; that inherited same from his father Apolonio Isabelo Florentino; that, there being no allegation
Apolonio Isabelo Florentino II died on February 13, 1890; that he was survived by his to the contrary, it is to be presumed that the widow Severina Faz de Leon did not remarry
second wife Severina Faz de Leon and the ten children first above mentioned; that his after the death of this husband nor have any natural child; that the right claimed by the
eleventh son, Apolonio III, was born on the following 4th of March 1890. plaintiffs is not that mentioned in article 968 and the following articles, but that
That of the deceased Apolonio Isabelo's aforementioned eleven children, Juan, established in article 811 of the Civil Code; that the object of the provisions of the
Maria and Isabel died single, without leaving any ascendants or descendants; that aforementioned articles is to avoid the transfer of said reservable property to those
Ramon, Miguel, Victorino, Antonio, and Rosario are the legitimate children of the extraneous to the family of the owner thereof; that if the property inherited by the widow
deceased Jose Florentino who was one of the children of the deceased Apolonio Isabelo; Severina Faz de Leon from her deceased son Apolonio Florentino y Faz de Leon
that Emilia, Jesus, Lourdes, Caridad, and Dolores are the legitimate children of Espirita (property which originated from his father and her husband) has all passed into the
Florentino, now deceased, and her husband Eugenio Singson; that Jose and Asuncion hands of the defendant, Mercedes Florentino y Encarnacion, a daughter of the common
are the children of Pedro Florentino, another son of the deceased Apolonio Isabelo ancestor's second marriage (said Apolonio Isabelo Florentino with the deceased
Florentino. Severina Faz de Leon) it is evident that the property left at the death of the posthumos
That on January 17 and February 13, 1890, Apolonio Isabelo Florentino executed a will son Apolonio Florentino y Faz de Leon did not pass after the death of his mother
before the notary public of Ilocos Sur, instituting as his universal heirs his aforementioned Severina, his legitimate heirs as an ascendant, into the hands of strangers; that said
ten children, the posthumos Apolonio III and his widow Severina Faz de Leon; that he property having been inherited by Mercedes Florentino y Encarnacion from her mother
declared, in one of the paragraphs of said will, all his property should be divided among (Severina), article 811 of the Civil Code is absolutely inapplicable to the present case
all of his children of both marriages. because, when the defendant Mercedes, by operation law, entered into and succeeded
That, in the partition of the said testator's estate, there was given to Apolonio Florentino to, the possession, of the property lawfully inherited from her mother Severina Faz de
III, his posthumos son, the property marked with the letters A, B, C, D, E, and F in the Leon, said property had, while in the possession of her mother, lost the character of
complaint, a gold rosary, pieces of gold, of silver and of table service, livestock, palay, reservable property there being a legitimate daughter of Severina Faz de Leon with
some personal property and other objects mentioned in the complaint. the right to succeed her in all her rights, property and actions; that the restraints of the
That Apolonio Florentino III, the posthumos son of the second marriage, died in 1891; law whereby said property may not passed into the possession of strangers are void,
that his mother, Severina Faz de Leon, succeeded to all his property described in the inasmuch as the said widow had no obligation to reserve same, as Mercedes Florentino
complaint; that the widow, Severina Faz de Leon died on November 18, 1908, leaving a is a forced heiress of her mother Severina Faz de Leon; that, in the present case, there is
will instituting as her universal heiress her only living daughter, Mercedes Florentino; no property reserved for the plaintiffs since there is a forced heiress, entitled to the
that, as such heir, said daughter took possession of all the property left at the death of property left by the death of the widow Severina Faz de Leon who never remarried; that
her mother, Severina Faz de Leon; that among same is included the property, described the obligation to reserve is secondary to the duty of respecting the legitime; that in the
in the complaint, which the said Severina Faz de Leon inherited from her deceased son, instant case, the widow Severina Faz de Leon was in duty bound to respect the legitime
the posthumos Apolonio, as reservable property; that, as a reservist, the heir of the said of her daughter Mercedes the defendant; that her obligation to reserve the property could
Mercedes Florentino deceased had been gathering for herself alone the fruits of lands not be fulfilled to the prejudice of the legitime which belongs to her forced heiress, citing
described in the complaint; that each and every one of the parties mentioned in said in support of these statements the decision of the supreme court of Spain of January 4,
1911; that, finally, the application of article 811 of the Civil Code in favor of the plaintiffs Any ascendant who inherits from his descendant any property acquired by the
would presuppose the exclusion of the defendant from here right to succeed exclusively latter gratuitously from some other ascendant, or from a brother or sister, is
to all the property, rights and actions left by her legitimate mother, although the said obliged to reserve such of the property as he may have acquired by operation of
defendant has a better right than the plaintiffs; and that there would be injustice if the law for the benefit of relatives within the third degree belonging to the line from
property claimed be adjudicated to the plaintiffs, as well as violation of section 5 of the which such property came.
Jones Law which invalidates any law depriving any person of an equal protection. During the marriage of Apolonio Isabelo Florentino II and Severina Faz de Leon two
Wherefore they prayed that the demurrer be sustained, with costs against the plaintiffs. children were born, namely the defendant Mercedes Florentino and Apolonio Florentino
After the hearing of the demurrer, on August 22, 1918, the judge absolved the III (born after the death of his father). At the death of Apolonio Isabelo Florentino under a
defendants from the complaint and condemned the plaintiffs to pay the costs. will, his eleven children succeeded to the inheritance he left, one of whom, the
Counsel for the plaintiffs excepted to this order, moved to vacate it and to grant them a posthumos son Apolonio III, was given, as his share, the aforementioned property
new trial; said motion was overruled; the plaintiffs expected thereto and filed the enumerated in the complaint. In 1891 the said posthumos son Apolonio Florentino III
corresponding bill of exceptions which was allowed, certified and forwarded to the clerk died and was succeeded by his legitimate mother Severina Faz de Leon, who inherited
of this court. the property he left and who on dying, November 18, 1908, instituted by will as her sole
On appeal the trial judge sustained the demurrer of the defendants to the complaint of heiress her surviving daughter, Mercedes Florentino, the defendant herein, who took
the plaintiffs, but, instead of ordering the latter to amend their complaint within the period possession of all property left by her father, same constituting the inheritance. Included in
prescribed by the rules undoubtedly believing that the plaintiffs could not alter nor said inheritance is the property, specified in by the posthumos son Apolonio Florentino III
change the facts constituting the cause of action, and that, as both parties were agreed from his father Apolonio Isabelo Florentino, and which, at the death of the said
as to the facts alleged in the complaint as well as in the demurrer, every question posthumos son, had in turn been inherited by his mother, Severina Faz de Leon. Even if
reduced itself to one of the law, already submitted to the decision of the court the said Severina left in her will said property, together with her own, to her only daughter and
judge, disregarding the ordinary procedure established by law, decided the case by forced heiress, Mercedes Florentino, nevertheless this property had not lost its
absolving the defendants from the complaint and by condemning the plaintiffs to pay the reservable nature inasmuch as it originated from the common ancestor of the litigants,
costs of the instance. Apolonio Isabelo; was inherited by his son Apolonio III; was transmitted by same (by
There certainly was no real trial, inasmuch as the defendants, instead of answering the operation of law) to his legitimate mother and ascendant, Severina Faz de Leon.
complaint of the plaintiffs, confined themselves to filing a demurrer based on the ground The posthumos son, Apolonio Florentino III, acquired the property, now claimed by his
that the facts alleged in the complaint do not constitute a cause of action. However, the brothers, by a lucrative title or by inheritance from his aforementioned legitimate father,
judge preferred to absolve the defendants, thereby making an end to the cause, instead Apolonio Isabelo Florentino II. Although said property was inherited by his mother,
of dismissing the same, because undoubtedly he believed, in view of the controversy Severina Faz de Leon, nevertheless, she was in duty bound, according to article 811 of
between the parties, that the arguments adduced to support the demurrer would be the the Civil Code, to reserve the property thus acquired for the benefit of the relatives, within
same which the defendants would allege in their answer those dealing with a mere the third degree, of the line from which such property came.
question of law which the courts would have to decide and that, the demurrer having According to the provisions of law, ascendants do not inherit the reservable property, but
been sustained, if the plaintiffs should insist they could do no less upon alleging the its enjoyment, use or trust, merely for the reason that said law imposes the obligation to
same facts as those set out in their complaint and if another demurrer were afterwards reserve and preserve same for certain designated persons who, on the death of the said
set up, he would be obliged to dismiss said complaint with costs against the plaintiffs ascendants reservists, (taking into consideration the nature of the line from which such
in spite of being undoubtedly convinced in the instant case that the plaintiffs absolutely property came) acquire the ownership of said property in fact and by operation of law in
lack the right to bring the action stated in their complaint. the same manner as forced heirs (because they are also such) said property reverts
Being of the opinion that the emendation of the indicated defects is not necessary as to said line as long as the aforementioned persons who, from the death of the ascendant-
in this case what has been done does not prejudice the parties the appellate court will reservists, acquire in fact the right of reservatarios (person for whom property is
now proceed to decide the suit according to its merits, as found in the record and to the reserved), and are relatives, within the third degree, of the descendant from whom the
legal provisions applicable to the question of law in controversy so that unnecessary reservable property came.
delay and greater expense may be avoided, inasmuch as, even if all the ordinary Any ascendant who inherits from his descendant any property, while there are living,
proceedings be followed, the suit would be subsequently decided in the manner and within the third degree, relatives of the latter, is nothing but a life usufructuary or a
terms that it is now decided in the opinion thoughtfully and conscientiously formed for its fiduciary of the reservable property received. He is, however, the legitimate owner of his
determination. own property which is not reservable property and which constitutes his legitime,
In order to decide whether the plaintiffs are or are not entitled to invoke, in their favor, the according to article 809 of the Civil Code. But if, afterwards, all of the relatives, within the
provisions of article 811 of the Civil Code, and whether the same article is applicable to third degree, of the descendant (from whom came the reservable property) die or
the question of law presented in this suit, it is necessary to determine whether the disappear, the said property becomes free property, by operation of law, and is thereby
property enumerated in paragraph 5 of the complaint is of the nature of reservable converted into the legitime of the ascendant heir who can transmit it at his death to his
property; and if so, whether in accordance with the provision of the Civil Code in article legitimate successors or testamentary heirs. This property has now lost its nature of
811, Severina Faz de Leon (the widow of the deceased Apolonio Isabelo Florentino) who reservable property, pertaining thereto at the death of the relatives, called reservatarios,
inherited said property from her son Apolonio Florentino III (born after the death of his who belonged within the third degree to the line from which such property
father Apolonio Isabelo) had the obligation to preserve and reserve same for the came.lawphil.net
relatives, within the third degree, of her aforementioned deceased son Apolonio III. Following the order prescribed by law in legitimate succession, when there are relatives
The above mentioned article reads: of the descendant within the third degree, the right of the nearest relative,
called reservatario, over the property which the reservista (person holding it subject to
reservation) should return to him, excludes that of the one more remote. The right of strangers had been avoided; and that the hope or expectation on the part of the plaintiffs
representation cannot be alleged when the one claiming same as a reservatario of the of the right to acquire the property of the deceased Apolonio III never did come into
reservable property is not among the relatives within the third degree belonging to the existence because there is a forced heiress who is entitled to such property.
line from which such property came, inasmuch as the right granted by the Civil Code in The judgment appealed from is also founded on the theory that article 811 of the Civil
article 811 is in the highest degree personal and for the exclusive benefit of designated Code does not destroy the system of legitimate succession and that the pretension of the
persons who are the relatives, within the third degree, of the person from whom the plaintiffs to apply said article in the instant case would be permitting the reservable right
reservable property came. Therefore, relatives of the fourth and the succeeding degrees to reduce and impair the forced legitimate which exclusively belongs to the defendant
can never be considered as reservatarios, since the law does not recognize them as Mercedes Florentino, in violation of the precept of article 813 of the same Code which
such. provides that the testator cannot deprive his heirs of their legitime, except in the cases
In spite of what has been said relative to the right of representation on the part of one expressly determined by law. Neither can he impose upon it any burden, condition, or
alleging his right as reservatario who is not within the third degree of relationship, substitution of any kind whatsoever, saving the provisions concerning the usufruct of the
nevertheless there is right of representation on the part of reservatarios who are within surviving spouse, citing the decision of the Supreme Court of Spain of January 4, 1911.
the third degree mentioned by law, as in the case of nephews of the deceased person The principal question submitted to the court for decision consists mainly in determining
from whom the reservable property came. These reservatarios have the right to whether they property left at the death of Apolonio III, the posthumos son of Apolonio
represent their ascendants (fathers and mothers) who are the brothers of the said Isabelo II, was or was not invested with the character of reservable property when it was
deceased person and relatives within the third degree in accordance with article 811 of received by his mother, Severina Faz de Leon.
the Civil Code. The property enumerated by the plaintiffs in paragraph 5 of their complaint came, without
In this case it is conceded without denial by defendants, that the plaintiffs Encarnacion, any doubt whatsoever, from the common ancestor Apolonio Isabelo II, and when, on the
Gabriel and Magdalena are the legitimate children of the first marriage of the deceased death of Apolonio III without issue the same passed by operation of law into the hands of
Apolonio Isabelo Florentino II; that Ramon, Miguel, Ceferino, Antonio, and Rosario are his legitimate mother, Severina Faz de Leon, it became reservable property, in
both grandchildren of Apolonio Isabelo Florentino II, and children of his deceased son, accordance with the provision of article 811 of the Code, with the object that the same
Jose Florentino; that the same have the right to represent their aforementioned father, should not fall into the possession of persons other than those comprehended within the
Jose Florentino; that Emilia, Jesus, Lourdes, Caridad, and Dolores are the legitimate order of person other than those comprehended within the order of succession traced by
children of the deceased Espirita Florentino, one of the daughters of the deceased the law from Apolonio Isabelo II, the source of said property. If this property was in fact
Apolonio Isabelo Florentino II, and represent the right of their aforementioned mother; clothed with the character and condition of reservable property when Severina Faz de
and that the other plaintiffs, Jose and Asuncion, have also the right to represent their Leon inherited same from her son Apolonio III, she did not thereby acquire the dominion
legitimate father Pedro Florentino one of the sons of the aforementioned Apolonio or right of ownership but only the right of usufruct or of fiduciary with the necessary
Isabelo Florentino II. It is a fact, admitted by both parties, that the other children of the obligation to preserve and to deliver or return it as such reservable property to her
first marriage of the deceased Apolonio Isabelo Florentino II died without issue so that deceased son's relatives within the third degree, among whom is her daughter,
this decision does not deal with them. Mercedes Florentino.
There are then seven "reservatarios" who are entitled to the reservable property left at Reservable property neither comes, nor falls under, the absolute dominion of the
the death of Apolonio III; the posthumos son of the aforementioned Apolonio Isabelo II, to ascendant who inherits and receives same from his descendant, therefore it does not
wit, his three children of his first marriage Encarnacion, Gabriel, Magdalena; his three form part of his own property nor become the legitimate of his forced heirs. It becomes
children, Jose, Espirita and Pedro who are represented by their own twelve children his own property only in case that all the relatives of his descendant shall have died
respectively; and Mercedes Florentino, his daughter by a second marriage. All of the (reservista) in which case said reservable property losses such character.
plaintiffs are the relatives of the deceased posthumos son, Apolonio Florentino III, within With full right Severina Faz de Leon could have disposed in her will of all her own
the third degree (four of whom being his half-brothers and the remaining twelve being his property in favor of her only living daughter, Mercedes Florentino, as forced heiress. But
nephews as they are the children of his three half-brothers). As the first four are his whatever provision there is in her will concerning the reservable property received from
relatives within the third degree in their own right and the other twelve are such by her son Apolonio III, or rather, whatever provision will reduce the rights of the
representation, all of them are indisputably entitled as reservatarios to the property which other reservatarios, the half brothers and nephews of her daughter Mercedes, is
came from the common ancestor, Apolonio Isabelo, to Apolonio Florentino III by unlawful, null and void, inasmuch as said property is not her own and she has only the
inheritance during his life-time, and in turn by inheritance to his legitimate mother, right of usufruct or of fiduciary, with the obligation to preserve and to deliver same to
Severina Faz de Leon, widow of the aforementioned Apolonio Isabelo Florentino II. the reservatarios, one of whom is her own daughter, Mercedes Florentino.
In spite of the provisions of article 811 of the Civil Code already cited, the trial judge It cannot reasonably be affirmed, founded upon an express provision of law, that by
refused to accept the theory of the plaintiffs and, accepting that of the defendants, operation of law all of the reservable property, received during lifetime by Severina Faz
absolved the latter from the complaint on the ground that said article is absolutely de Leon from her son, Apolonio III, constitutes or forms parts of the legitime pertaining to
inapplicable to the instant case, inasmuch as the defendant Mercedes Florentino Mercedes Florentino. If said property did not come to be the legitimate and exclusive
survived her brother, Apolonio III, from whom the reservable property came and her property of Severina Faz de Leon, her only legitimate and forced heiress, the defendant
mother, Severina Faz de Leon, the widow of her father, Apolonio Isabelo Florentino II; Mercedes, could not inherit all by operation of law and in accordance with the order of
that the defendant Mercedes, being the only daughter of Severina Faz de Leon, is legitimate succession, because the other relatives of the deceased Apolonio III, within
likewise her forced heiress; that when she inherited the property left at the death of her the third degree, as well as herself are entitled to such reservable property.
mother, together with that which came from her deceased brother Apolonio III, the For this reason, in no manner can it be claimed that the legitime of Mercedes Florentino,
fundamental object of article 811 of the Code was thereby complied with, inasmuch as coming from the inheritance of her mother Severina Faz de Leon, has been reduced and
the danger that the property coming from the same line might fall into the hands of impaired; and the application of article 811 of the Code to the instant case in no way
prejudices the rights of the defendant Mercedes Florentino, inasmuch as she is entitled together with her husband Angel Encarnacion, shall deliver to the plaintiffs, jointly, six-
to a part only of the reservable property, there being no lawful or just reason which sevenths of the fruits or rents, claimed from said portion of the land and of the quantity
serves as real foundation to disregard the right to Apolonio III's other relatives, within the claimed, from January 17, 1918, until fully delivered; and that the indemnity for one
third degree, to participate in the reservable property in question. As these relatives are thousand pesos (P1,000) prayed for in the complaint is denied, without special findings
at present living, claiming for it with an indisputable right, we cannot find any reasonable as to the costs of both instances. So ordered.
and lawful motive why their rights should not be upheld and why they should not be Arellano, C.J., Johnson, Araullo, Street, Malcolm and Avancea, JJ., concur.
granted equal participation with the defendant in the litigated property. G.R. No. L-28032 September 24, 1986
The claim that because of Severina Faz de Leon's forced heiress, her daughter FRANCISCA TIOCO DE PAPA, MANUEL TIOCO, NICOLAS TIOCO and JANUARIO
Mercedes, the property received from the deceased son Apolonio III lost the character, PAPA, plaintiffs-appellees,
previously held, of reservable property; and that the mother, the said Severina, therefore, vs.
had no further obligation to reserve same for the relatives within the third degree of the DALISAY TONGKO CAMACHO, PRIMO TONGKO and GODOFREDO
deceased Apolonio III, is evidently erroneous for the reason that, as has been already CAMACHO, defendants-appellants.
stated, the reservable property, left in a will by the aforementioned Severina to her only
daughter Mercedes, does not form part of the inheritance left by her death nor of the NARVASA, J.:
legitimate of the heiress Mercedes. Just because she has a forced heiress, with a right to This case, which involves the application of Article 891 of the Civil Code on reserva
her inheritance, does not relieve Severina of her obligation to reserve the property which troncal, was submitted for judgment in the lower court by all the parties on the following
she received from her deceased son, nor did same lose the character of reservable "Stipulation of Facts and Partial Compromise":
property, held before the reservatariosreceived same. 1. They stipulate that the defendant Dalisay D. Tongko-Camacho and
It is true that when Mercedes Florentino, the heiress of the reservista Severina, took the plaintiffs, Francisco Tioco de Papa, Manuel Tioco and Nicolas
possession of the property in question, same did not pass into the hands of strangers. Tioco, are legitimate relatives, plaintiffs being said defendant's
But it is likewise true that the said Mercedes is not the only reservataria. And there is no grandaunt and granduncles.
reason founded upon law and upon the principle of justice why the other reservatarios, 2. They stipulate that plaintiffs and defendant Dalisay D. Tongo-
the other brothers and nephews, relatives within the third degree in accordance with the Camacho have as a common ancestor the late Balbino Tioco (who had
precept of article 811 of the Civil Code, should be deprived of portions of the property a sister by the name of Romana Tioco), father of plaintiffs and great
which, as reservable property, pertain to them. grandfather of defendant. The family relationship of the parties is as
From the foregoing it has been shown that the doctrine announced by the Supreme shown in the chart attached hereto as Annex 'A' and made an integral
Court of Spain on January 4, 1911, for the violation of articles 811, 968 and consequently part of this stipulation.
of the Civil Code is not applicable in the instant case. 3. They stipulate that Romana Tioco during her lifetime gratuitously
Following the provisions of article 813, the Supreme Court of Spain held that the legitime donated four (4) parcels of land to her niece Toribia Tioco (legitimate
of the forced heirs cannot be reduced or impaired and said article is expressly respected sister of plaintiffs), which parcels of land are presently covered by
in this decision. Transfer Certificates of Title Nos. A-64165, 64166 and 64167 of the
However, in spite of the efforts of the appellee to defend their supposed rights, it has not Registry of Deeds of Manila, copies of which are attached to this
been shown, upon any legal foundation, that the reservable property belonged to, and stipulation as Annexes 'B', 'B-l', and 'B-2'.
was under the absolute dominion of, the reservista, there being relatives within the third 4. They stipulate that Toribia Tioco died intestate in l9l5, survived by
degree of the person from whom same came; that said property, upon passing into the her husband, Eustacio Dizon, and their two legitimate children,
hands of the forced heiress of the deceased reservista, formed part of the legitime of the Faustino Dizon and Trinidad Dizon (mother of defendant Dalisay D,
former; and that the said forced heiress, in addition to being a reservataria, had an Tongko-Camacho) and leaving the afore-mentioned four (4) parcels of
exclusive right to receive all of said property and to deprive the other reservatarios, her land as the inheritance of her said two children in equal pro-indiviso
relatives within the third degree of certain portions thereof. shares.
Concerning the prayer in the complaint relative to the indemnity for damages and the 5. They stipulate that in 1928, Balbino Tioco died intestate, survived by
delivery of the fruits collected, it is not proper to grant the first for there is no evidence of his legitimate children by his wife Marciana Felix (among them
any damage which can give rise to the obligation of refunding same. As to the second, plaintiffs) and legitimate grandchildren Faustino Dizon and Trinidad
the delivery of the fruits produced by the land forming the principal part of the reservable Dizon. In the partition of his estate, three (3) parcels of land now
property, the defendants are undoubtedly in duty bound to deliver to the plaintiffs six- covered by Transfer Certificates of Title Nos. 16545 and 16554 of the
sevenths of the fruits or rents of the portions of land claimed in the complaint, in the Registry of Deeds of Manila, copies of which are attached hereto as
quantity expressed in paragraph 11 of the same, from January 17, 1918, the date the Annexes 'C' and 'C-l', were adjudicated as the inheritance of the late
complaint was filed; and the remaining seventh part should go to the defendant Toribia Tioco, but as she had predeceased her father, Balbino Tioco,
Mercedes. the said three (3) parcels of land devolved upon her two legitimate
For the foregoing reasons it follows that with the reversal of the order of decision children Faustino Dizon and Trinidad Dizon in equal pro-indiviso
appealed from we should declare, as we hereby do, that the aforementioned property, shares.
inherited by the deceased Severina Faz de Leon from her son Apolonio Florentino III, is 6. They stipulate that in 1937, Faustino Dizon died intestate, single and
reservable property; that the plaintiffs, being relatives of the deceased Apolonio III within without issue, leaving his one-half (1/2) pro-indiviso share in the seven
the third degree, are entitled to six-sevenths of said reservable property; that the (7) parcels of land above-mentioned to his father, Eustacio Dizon, as
defendant Mercedes is entitled to the remaining seventh part thereof; that the latter, his sole intestate heir, who received the said property subject to a
reserva troncal which was subsequently annotated on the Transfer parcels of land, minus the expenses and/or real estate taxes
Certificates of Title Annexes 'B', 'B-l', 'B-2', 'C' and 'C-l'. corresponding to plaintiffs' share in the rentals.
7. They stipulate that in 1939 Trinidad Dizon-Tongko died intestate, IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, and inasmuch as the parties
and her rights and interests in the parcels of land abovementioned expressly waived all their claims against each other for damages
were inherited by her only legitimate child, defendant Dalisay D. including attorney's fees and expenses of litigation other than the legal
Tongko-Camacho, subject to the usufructuary right of her surviving interests on plaintiffs' share in the rentals, the court renders judgment
husband, defendant Primo Tongko. adjudging the plaintiffs entitled to three-eights (3/8) of the seven (7)
8. They stipulate that on June 14, 1965, Eustacio Dizon died intestate, parcels of land described in Transfer Certificate of Title Nos. T-64165,
survived his only legitimate descendant, defendant Dalisay D. Tongko- T-64166, T-64167, T-16546 and T-16554 of the Registry of Deeds of
Camacho. Manila. The defendant Dalisay D. Tioco-Camacho is hereby ordered to
9. The parties agree that defendant Dalisay D. Tongko-Camacho now make an accounting of all rents received by her on the properties
owns one-half (1/2) of all the seven (7) parcels of land involved in this action for the purpose of determining the legal interests
abovementioned as her inheritance from her mother, Trinidad Dizon- which should be paid to the plaintiffs on their shares in the rentals of
Tongko. the property in question.
10. Defendant Dalisay D. Tongko-Camacho also claims, upon legal SO ORDERED. 2
advice, the other half of the said seven (7) parcels of land Not satisfied, the defendant appealed to this Court.
abovementioned by virtue of the reserva troncal imposed thereon upon The issue raised is whether, as contended by the plaintiffs-appellees and ruled by the
the death of Faustino Dizon and under the laws on intestate lower Court, all relatives of thepraepositus within the third degree in the appropriate line
succession; but the plaintiffs, also upon legal advice, oppose her said succeed without distinction to the reservable property upon the death of
claim because they claim three-fourths (3/4) of the one-half pro- the reservista, as seems to be implicit in Art. 891 of the Civil Code, which reads:
indiviso interest in said parcel of land, which interest was inherited by Art. 891. The ascendant who inherits from his descendant any property
Eustacio Dizon from Faustino Dizon, or three-eights (3/8) of the said which the latter may have acquired by gratuitous title from another
parcels of land, by virtue of their being also third degree relatives of ascendant, or a brother or sister, is obliged to reserve such property as
Faustino Dizon. he may have acquired by operation of law for the benefit of relatives
11. The parties hereby agree to submit for judicial determination in this who are within the third degree and who belong to the line from which
case the legal issue of whether defendant Dalisay D. Tongko- said property came. (811),
Camacho is entitled to the whole of the seven (7) parcels of land in or, as asserted by the defendant-appellant, the rights of said relatives are subject to, and
question, or whether the plaintiffs, as third degree relatives of Faustino should be determined by, the rules on intestate succession.
Dizon are reservatarios (together with said defendant) of the one-half That question has already been answered in Padura vs. Baldovino, 3 where
pro-indiviso share therein which was inherited by Eustacio Dizon from the reservatario was survived by eleven nephews and nieces of the praepositus in the
his son Faustino Dizon, and entitled to three-fourths (3/4) of said one- line of origin, four of whole blood and seven of half blood, and the claim was also made
half pro-indiviso share, or three eights (3/8) of said seven (7) parcels of that all eleven were entitled to the reversionary property in equal shares. This Court,
land, and, therefore, to three-eights (3/8) of the rentals collected and to speaking through Mr. Justice J.B.L. Reyes, declared the principles of intestacy to be
be collected by defendant Dalisay P. Tongko Camacho from the controlling, and ruled that the nephews and nieces of whole blood were each entitled to a
tenants of said parcels of land, minus the expenses and/or real estate share double that of each of the nephews and nieces of half blood in accordance with
taxes corresponding to plaintiffs' share in the rentals. Article 1006 of the Civil Code. Said the Court:
12. In view of the fact that the parties are close blood relatives and The issue in this appeal may be formulated as follows: In a case
have acted upon legal advice in pursuing their respective claims, and of reserva troncal, where the only reservatarios (reservees) surviving
in order to restore and preserve harmony in their family relations, they the reservista, and belonging to the fine of origin, are nephews of the
hereby waive all their claims against each other for damages (other descendant (prepositus), but some are nephews of the half blood and
than legal interest on plaintiffs' sore in the rentals which this Honorable the others are nephews of the whole blood, should the reserved
Court may deem proper to award), attorney's fees and expenses of properties be apportioned among them equally, or should the nephews
litigation which shall be borne by the respective parties. 1 of the whole blood take a share twice as large as that of the nephews
On the basis thereof, the lower Court declared the plaintiffs Francisco Tioco, Manuel of the half blood?
Tioco and Nicolas Tioco, as well as the defendant Dalisay Tongko-Camacho, entitled, xxx xxx xxx
as reservatarios, to one-half of the seven parcels of land in dispute, in equal proportions, The case is one of first impression and has divided the Spanish
rendering judgment as follows: commentators on the subject. After mature reflection, we have
... . Resolving, therefore, the legal question submitted by the parties, concluded that the position of the appellants is correct. The reserva
the court holds that plaintiffs Francisca Tioco, Manuel Tioco and troncal is a special rule designed primarily to assure the return of the
Nicolas Tioco are entitled to three-fourths (3/4) of one-half (1/2) pro- reservable property to the third degree relatives belonging to the line
indiviso shares or three-eights (3/8) of the seven (7) parcels of land from which the property originally came, and avoid its being dissipated
involved in this action. Consequently, they are, likewise, entitled to into and by the relatives of the inheriting ascendant (reservista).
three-eights (3/8) of the rentals collected and to be collected by the xxx xxx xxx
defendant Dalisay D. Tioco-Camacho from the tenants of the said
The stated purpose of the reserva is accomplished once the property ... creandose un verdadero estado excepcional del derecho, no debe
has devolved to the specified relatives of the line of origin. But from ampliarse, sino mas bien restringirse, el alcance del precepto,
this time on, there is no further occasion for its application. In the manteniendo la excepcion mientras fuere necesaria y estuviese
relations between one reservatario and another of the same degree realmente contenida en la disposicion, y aplicando las reglas
there is no call for applying Art. 891 any longer; wherefore, the generales y fundamentales del Codigo en materia de sucesi6n, en
respective share of each in the reversionary property should be aquehos extremes no resueltos de un modo expreso, y que quedan
governed by the ordinary rules of intestate succession. In this spirit the fuera de la propia esfera de accion de la reserva que se crea.
jurisprudence of this Court and that of Spain has resolved that upon The restrictive interpretation is the more imperative in view of the new
the death of the ascendant reservista, the reservable property should Civil Code's hostility to successional reservas and reversions, as
pass, not to all the reservatarios as a class but only to those nearest in exemplified by the suppression of the reserva viudal and the reversion
degree to the descendant (prepositus), excluding legal of the Code of 1889 (Art. 812 and 968-980).
those reservatarios of more remote degree (Florentino vs. Florentino, Reversion of the reservable property being governed by the rules on intestate
40 Phil. 489-490; T.S. 8 Nov. 1894; Dir. Gen. de los Registros, Resol. succession, the plaintiffs-appellees must be held without any right thereto because, as
20 March 1905). And within the third degree of relationship from the aunt and uncles, respectively, of Faustino Dizon (the praepositus), they are excluded
descendant (prepositus), the right of representation operates in favor from the succession by his niece, the defendant-appellant, although they are related to
of nephews (Florentino vs. Florentino, supra). him within the same degree as the latter. To this effect is Abellana vs. Ferraris4 where
Following the order prescribed by law in legitimate succession when Arts. 1001, 1004, 1005 and 1009 of the Civil Code were cited and applied:
there are relatives of the descendant within the third degree, the right Nevertheless, the trial court was correct when it held that, in case of
of the nearest relative, called reservatarios over the property which the intestacy nephews and nieces of the de cujus exclude all other
reservista (person holding it subject to reservation) should return to collaterals (aunts and uncles, first cousins, etc.) from the succession.
him, excludes that of the one more remote. The right of representation This is readily apparent from Articles 1001, 1004, 1005 and 1009 of the
cannot be alleged when the one claiming same as a reservatario of the Civil Code of the Philippines, that provide as follows:
reservable property is not among the relatives within the third degree Art. 1001. Should brothers and sisters or their children survive with the
belonging to the line from which such property came, inasmuch as the widow or widower, the latter shall be entitle to one-half of the
right granted by the Civil Code in Article 811 is in the highest degree inheritance and the brothers and sisters or their children to the other
personal and for the exclusive benefit of designated persons who are half.
within the third degree of the person from whom the reservable Art. 1004. Should the only survivors be brothers and sisters of the full
property came. Therefore, relatives of the fourth and the succeeding blood, they shall inherit in equal shares.
degrees can never be considered as reservatarios, since the law does Art. 1005. Should brothers and sisters survive together with nephews
not recognize them as such. and nieces who are the children of the decedent's brothers and sisters
In spite of what has been said relative to the right of representation on of the full blood, the former shall inherit per capita, and the latter per
the part of one alleging his right as reservatario who is not within the stirpes.
third degree of relationship, nevertheless there is right of Art. 1009. Should there be neither brothers nor sisters, nor children of
representation on the part of reservatarios who are within the third brothers and sisters, the other collateral relatives shall succeed to the
degree mentioned by law, as in the case of nephews of the deceased estate.
person from whom the reservable property came. ... . (Florentino vs. Under the last article (1009), the absence of brothers, sisters, nephews
Florentino, 40 Phil. 480, 489-490) (Emphasis supplied) See also Nieva and nieces of the decedent is a precondition to the other collaterals
and Alcala vs. Alcala and de Ocampo, 41 Phil. 915) (uncles, cousins, etc.) being called to the succession. This was also
Proximity of degree and right of representation are basic principles of and more clearly the case under the Spanish Civil Code of 1889, that
ordinary intestate succession; so is the rule that whole blood brothers immediately preceded the Civil Code now in force (R.A. 386). Thus,
and nephews are entitled to a share double that of brothers and Articles 952 and 954 of the Code of 1889 prescribed as follows:
nephews of half blood. If in determining the rights of the reservatarios Art. 952. In the absence of brothers or sisters and of nephews or
inter se, proximity of degree and the right of representation of nephews nieces, children of the former, whether of the whole blood or not, the
are made to apply, the rule of double share for immediate collaterals of surviving spouse, if not separated by a final decree of divorce shall
the whole blood should be likewise operative. succeed to the entire estate of the deceased.
In other words, the reserva troncal merely determines the group of Art. 954. Should there be neither brothers nor sisters, nor children of
relatives reservatarios to whom the property should be returned; brothers or sisters, nor a surviving spouse, the other collateral relatives
but within that group, the individual right to the property should be shall succeed to the estate of deceased.
decided by the applicable rules of ordinary intestate succession, since The latter shall succeed without distinction of lines or preference
Art. 891 does not specify otherwise. This conclusion is strengthened by among them by reason of the whole blood.
the circumstance that the reserva being an exceptional case, its It will be seen that under the preceding articles, brothers and sisters
application should be limited to what is strictly needed to accomplish and nephews and nieces inheritedab intestato ahead of the surviving
the purpose of the law. As expressed by Manresa in his Commentaries spouse, while other collaterals succeeded only after the widower or
(Vol. 6, 6th Ed., p. 250): widow. The present Civil Code of the Philippines merely placed the
spouse on a par with the nephews and nieces and brothers and sisters Melencio-Herrera, Cruz, Paras, and Feliciano, JJ., concur.
of the deceased, but without altering the preferred position of the latter Yap, J., took no part.
vis a vis the other collaterals. G.R. No. 68843-44 September 2, 1991
xxx xxx xxx MARIQUITA O. SUMAYA and LAGUNA AGRO-INDUSTRIAL COCONUT
We, therefore, hold, and so rule, that under our laws of succession, a COOPERATIVE, INC., petitioners,
decedent's uncles and aunts may not succeed ab intestato so long as vs.
nephews and nieces of the decedent survive and are willing and THE HON. INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT, and AMADEO, SANCHO,
qualified to succeed. ... DONATO, LUIS, ERASTO, LUISA, JOSE and DOLORES, all surnamed
This conclusion is fortified by the observation, also made in Padura, supra, that as to the BALANTAKBO, respondents.
reservable property, thereservatarios do not inherit from the reservista, but from the Ceriaco A. Sumaya for petitioners.
descendant praepositus: Tomas P. Aonuevo for private respondents.
... . It is likewise clear that the reservable property is no part of the
estate of the reservista, who may not dispose of it by will, as long as
there are reservatarios existing (Arroyo vs. Gerona, 58 Phil. 237). The MEDIALDEA, J.:
latter, therefore, do not inherit from the reservista, but from the This is a petition for review on certiorari of the decision of the Intermediate Appellate
descendant prepositus, of whom the reservatarios are the heirs mortis Court (now Court of Appeals) in C.A. G.R. No. CV-01292-93, which affirmed the decision
causa, subject to the condition that they must survive the reservista. of the Court of First Instance (now Regional Trial Court) of Laguna in the consolidated
(Sanchez Roman, Vol. VI, Tomo 2, p. 286; Manresa, Commentaries, cases in Civil Case No. SC-9561 and Civil Case No. SC-957.2
Vol. 6, 6th Ed., pp. 274, 310) ... . The parties entered into a stipulation of facts in the court a quo, which is summarized as
To the same effect is Cano vs, Director of Lands 5, where it was ruled that intestacy follows:
proceedings to determine the right of a reservatario are not necessary where the final Raul Balantakbo inherited from two (2) different ascendants the two (2) sets of properties
decree of the land court ordering issuance of title in the name of the reservista over subject of this case: 1) A one-third (1/3) interest, pro-indiviso in a parcel of land situated
property subject to reserva troncal Identifies the reservatario and there are no other in Dita, Lilio (Liliw) Laguna and described in paragraph 7 of the complaint in Civil Case
claimants to the latter's rights as such: No. SC-956 from his father Jose, Sr., who died on January 28, 1945; and 2) A one-
The contention that an intestacy proceeding is still necessary rests seventh (1/7) interest pro-indiviso in ten (10) parcels of registered lands described in
upon the assumption that thereservatario win succeed in, or inherit, the paragraph 6 of the complaint in Civil Case No. SC-957 from his maternal grandmother,
reservable property from the reservista. This is not true. Luisa Bautista, who died on November 3, 1950.
The reservatario is not the reservista's successor mortis causa nor is On June 13, 1952, Raul died intestate, single, without any issue, and leaving only his
the reservable property part of thereservista's estate; mother, Consuelo Joaquin Vda. de Balantakbo, as his sole surviving heir to the real
the reservatario receives the property as a conditional heir of the properties above-mentioned.
descendant (prepositus), said property merely reverting to the line of On November 3, 1952, Consuelo adjudicated unto herself the above described
origin from which it had temporarily and accidentally strayed during properties in an Affidavit entitled "Caudal Herederario del finado Raul Balantakbo" which
the reservista's lifetime. The authorities are all agreed that there provided, among others:
being reservatarios that survive the reservista, the matter must be I. Que de mi legitimo matrimonio con mi difunto esposo, Jose Balantakbo, he
deemed to have enjoyed no more than a life interest in the reservable tenido varios hijos, entre ellos si difunto hijo, llamado Raul Balantakbo.
property. II. Que mi referido hijo Raul Balantakbo, fallencio el 13 de Junio de 1952, en la
It is a consequence of these principles that upon the death of Ciudad de Pasay, durante su minolia de edad sin dejar testamento alguno.
the reservista, the reservatario nearest to the prepositus (the appellee III. Que el finado Raul Balantakbo al morir no ha dejado descendiente alguno.
in this case) becomes, automatically and by operation of law, the IV. Que soy la unica ascendiente superviviento de mi referido hijo Raul
owner of the reservable property. As already stated, that property is no Balantakbo y por lo tanto su unica heredera formosa, legitima y universal.
part of the estate of the reservista, and does not even answer for the V. Que el finado Raul Balantakbo murio sin dejar deuda alguna.
debts of the latter. ... . VI. Que el finado al morir dejo propiedades consistentes en bienes inmuebles
Had the reversionary property passed directly from the praepositus, there is no doubt situados en la Provincia de Laguna.
that the plaintiffs-appellees would have been excluded by the defendant-appellant under VII. Que dichas propriedades fueron a su vez adquiridas por el finado Raul
the rules of intestate succession. There is no reason why a different result should obtain Balantakbo per herencia de su difunto padre, Jose Balantakbo, y de su tia
simply because "the transmission of the property was delayed by the interregnum of abuela Luisa Bautista.
the reserva;" 6 i.e., the property took a "detour" through an ascendant-thereby giving rise xxx xxx xxx
to the reservation before its transmission to the reservatario. (Rollo, p. 29)
Upon the stipulated facts, and by virtue of the rulings already cited, the defendant- On December 21, 1959, Consuelo Joaquin vda. de Balantakbo sold the property
appellant Dalisay Tongko-Camacho is entitled to the entirety of the reversionary property described in Civil Case No. SC-956 to Mariquita H. Sumaya. The sale was evidenced by
to the exclusion of the plaintiffs-appellees. a deed attached as Annex "C" to the complaint. The same property was subsequently
WHEREFORE, the appealed judgment of the lower Court is reversed and set aside and sold by Mariquita Sumaya to Villa Honorio Development Corporation, Inc., on December
the complaint is dismissed, with costs against the plaintiffs-appellants. 30, 1963. On January 23, 1967, Villa Honorio Development Corporation transferred and
SO ORDERED. assigned its rights over the property in favor of Agro-Industrial Coconut Cooperative, Inc.
The documents evidencing these transfers were registered in the Registry of Deeds of This petition before Us was filed on November 12, 1984 with the petitioners assigning the
Laguna and the corresponding certificates of titles were issued. The properties are following errors allegedly committed by the appellate court:
presently in the name of Agro-Industrial Coconut Cooperative, Inc., 2/3 share and the I. The trial court erred in not finding defendants an (sic) innocent purchaser for
remaining 1/3 share is in the name of Sancho Balantakbo. value and in good faith of the properties covered by certificates of title subject of
Also on December 30, 1963, Consuelo Joaquin vda. de Balantakbo sold the properties litigation.
described in the complaint in Civil Case No. SC-957 to Villa Honorio Development II. The trial court erred in finding it unnecessary to annotate the reservable
Corporation, Inc. The latter in turn transferred and assigned all its rights to the properties interest of the reservee in the properties covered by certificates of title subject of
in favor of Laguna Agro-Industrial Coconut Cooperative, Inc. which properties are litigation.
presently in its possession. III. The trial court erred in finding that the cause of action of the plaintiffs (private
The parties admit that the certificates of titles covering the above described properties do respondents) has not yet prescribed.
not contain any annotation of its reservable character. IV. The trial court erred in awarding moral and actual damages in favor of the
On June 3, 1968, Consuelo Joaquin vda. de Balantakbo died. plaintiffs by virtue of the institution of Civil Cases Nos. 956 and 957.
On March 4, 1970, Amadeo, Sancho, Donato, Luis, and Erasto, all surnamed Petitioners would want this Court to reverse the findings of the court a quo, which the
Balantakbo, brothers in full blood of Raul Balantakbo and Luisa, Jose and Dolores, also appellate court affirmed, that they were not innocent purchasers for value. According to
all surnamed Balantakbo, surviving children of deceased Jose Balantakbo, Jr., another petitioners, before they agreed to buy the properties from the reservor (also
brother of the first named Balantakbos, filed the above mentioned civil cases to recover called reservista), Consuelo Joaquin vda. de Balantakbo, they first sought the legal
the properties described in the respective complaints which they claimed were subject to advice of their family consultant who found that there was no encumbrance nor any lien
a reserva troncal in their favor. annotated on the certificate of title coveting the properties.
The court a quo found that the two (2) cases varied only in the identity of the subject The court a quo found otherwise. Upon the death of the propositus, Raul Balantakbo,
matter of res involved, the transferees, the dates of the conveyances but involve the the reservista, Consuelo vda. de Balantakbo caused the registration of an affidavit of
same legal question of reserva troncal. Hence, the consolidation of the two (2) cases. self-adjudication of the estate of Raul, wherein it was clearly stated that the properties
After trial, the court a quo rendered a joint decision in favor of the Balantakbos, the were inherited by Raul from his father Jose, Sr., as regards the subject matter of Civil
dispositive portion of which reads: Case No. SC-956 and from his maternal grandmother, Luisa Bautista, as regards the
WHEREFORE, in both Civil Cases Nos. SC-956 and SC-957, judgment is subject matter of Civil Case No. SC-957. The court a quo further ruled that said affidavit
hereby rendered in favor of the plaintiffs and against the defendants, as follows: was, in its form, declaration and substance, a recording with the Registry of Deeds of the
1. Ordering the defendant Laguna Agro-Industrial Coconut Cooperative, Inc. to reservable character of the properties. In Spanish language, the affidavit clearly stated
convey to the plaintiffs that the affiant, Consuelo, was a lone-ascendant and heir to Raul Balantakbo, her son,
a) In Civil Case No. SC-956 the one-third (1/3) interest and who died leaving properties previously inherited from other ascendants and which
ownership, pro-indiviso, in and over the parcel of land described in properties were inventoried in the said affidavit.
paragraph three (3) sub-paragraph 1, of pages one (1) and two (2) of It was admitted that the certificates of titles covering the properties in question show that
this decision; they were free from any liens and encumbrances at the time of the sale. The fact remains
b) In Civil Case No. SC-957 the one-seventh (1/7) interest and however, that the affidavit of self-adjudication executed by Consuelo stating the source of
ownership, pro-indiviso, in and over the ten (10) parcels of land the properties thereby showing the reservable nature thereof was registered with the
described in paragraph three (3), sub-paragraph 2, of pages two (2) Register of Deeds of Laguna, and this is sufficient notice to the whole world in
and three (3) of this decision; accordance with Section 52 of the Property Registration Decree (formerly Sec. 51 of R.A.
c) The plaintiffs are to share equally in the real properties herein 496) which provides:
ordered to be conveyed to them by the defendants with plaintiffs Luisa, Sec. 52. CONSTRUCTIVE NOTICE UPON REGISTRATION. Every
Jose and Dolores, all surnamed Balantakbo, receiving one-third (1/3) conveyance, mortgage, lease, lien attachment, order, judgment, instrument or
of the one share pertaining to the other plaintiffs who are their uncles: entry affecting registered land shall, if registered, filed or entered in the Office of
2. Ordering the Laguna Agro-Industrial Coconut Cooperative, Inc. to account for the Register of Deeds for the province or city where the land to which it relates
and pay to the plaintiffs the value of the produce from the properties herein lies, be constructive notice to all persons from the time of such registering, filing
ordered to be returned to the plaintiffs, said accounting and payment of income or entering.
being for the period from January 3, 1968 until date of reconveyance of the Thus, in Gatioan v. Gaffud, G.R. No. L-21953, March 28, 1969, 27 SCRA 706, 712-713,
properties herein ordered: cited in People v. Reyes, G.R. Nos. 74226-27, July 27, 1989, 175 SCRA 597; Garcia v.
3. In each of Civil Cases Nos. SC-956 and SC-957, defendants are to pay CA and PNB v. CA, et al., G.R. Nos. L-48971 and L-40911, both dated January 22, 1980,
plaintiffs 95 SCRA 380 and Legarda and Prieto v. Saleeby, 31 Phil. 590, 600, We held:
a. One Thousand (P1,000.00) Pesos in litigation expenses. When a conveyance has been properly recorded such record is constructive
b. Two Thousand (P2,000.00) Pesos in attorney's fees. notice of its contents and all interests, legal and equitable, included therein . . .
4. Defendants are to pay the costs in each of Civil Cases Nos. SC-956 and 957. Under the rule of notice, it is presumed that the purchaser has examined every
xxx xxx xxx instrument of record affecting the title. Such presumption is irrebuttable. He is
(p. 46, Rollo) charged with notice of every fact shown by the record and is presumed to know
This decision was appealed to the appellate court which affirmed the decision of the every fact which an examination of the record would have disclosed. This
court a quo in toto. The motion for reconsideration was denied (p. 65, Rollo) by the presumption cannot be overcome by proof of innocence or good faith.
appellate court which found no cogent reason to reverse the decision. Otherwise, the very purpose and object of the law requiring a record would be
destroyed. Such presumption cannot be defeated by proof of want of knowledge were inherited by Raul Balantakbo from his father and from his maternal grandmother,
of what the record contains any more than one may be permitted to show that and that Consuelo Vda. de Balantakbo inherited these properties from his son Raul.
he was ignorant of the provisions of the law. The rule that all persons must take The obligation to reserve rests upon the reservor, Consuelo Joaquin vda. de Balantakbo.
notice of the facts which the public record contains is a rule of law. The rule Article 891 of the New Civil Code on reserva troncal provides:
must be absolute, any variation would lead to endless confusion and useless Art. 891. The ascendant who inherits from his descendant any property which
litigation. . . . the latter may have acquired by gratuitous title from another ascendant or a
In the case of Bass v. De la Rama, 73 Phil. 682, 685, the rule was laid down that the brother or sister, is obliged to reserve such property as he may have acquired
mere entry of a document in the day book without noting it on the certificate of title is not by operation of law for the benefit of relatives who are within the third degree
sufficient registration. However, that ruling was superseded by the holding in the later six and who belong to the line from which said property came. (Emphasis supplied)
cases of Levin v. Bass, 91 Phil. 420. As explained in Garcia v. CA, et al., G.R. Nos. L- We do not agree, however, with the disposition of the appellate court that there is no
48971 and 49011, January 20, 1980, 95 SCRA 380, 388, which is the prevailing doctrine need to register the reservable character of the property, if only for the protection of the
in this jurisdiction. reservees, against innocent third persons. This was suggested as early as the case
That ruling was superseded by the holding in the later six cases of Levin v. of Director of Lands v. Aguas, G.R. No. 42737, August 11, 1936, 63 Phil. 279. The main
Bass, 91 Phil. 420, where a distinction was made between voluntary and issue submitted for resolution therein was whether the reservation established by Article
involuntary registration, such as the registration of an attachment, levy upon 811 (now Art. 891 of the New Civil Code) of the Civil Code, for the benefit of the relatives
execution, notice of lis pendens, and the like. In cases of involuntary within the third degree belonging to the line of the descendant from whom the ascendant
registration, an entry thereof in the day book is a sufficient notice to all persons reservor received the property, should be understood as made in favor of all the relatives
even if the owner's duplicate certificate of title is not presented to the register of within said degree and belonging to the line above-mentioned, without distinction
deeds. legitimate, natural and illegitimate ones not having the legal status of natural children.
On the other hand, according to the said cases of Levin v. Bass, in case of However, in an obiter dictum this Court stated therein:
voluntary registration of documents an innocent purchaser for value of The reservable character of a property is but a resolutory condition of the
registered land becomes the registered owner, and, in contemplation of law the ascendant reservor's right of ownership. If the condition is fulfilled, that is, if
holder of a certificate of title, the moment he presents and files a duly notarized upon the ascendant reservor's death there are relatives having the status
and valid deed of sale and the same is entered in the day book and at the same provided in Article 811 (Art. 891, New Civil Code), the property passes, in
time he surrenders or presents the owner's duplicate certificate of title covering accordance with this special order of succession, to said relatives, or to the
the land sold and pays the registration fees, because what remains to be done nearest of kin among them, which question not being pertinent to this case,
lies not within his power to perform. The register of deeds is duty bound to need not now be determined. But if this condition is not fulfilled, the property is
perform it. (See Potenciano v. Dineros, 97 Phil. 196). released and will be adjudicated in accordance with the regular order of
In this case, the affidavit of self adjudication executed by Consuelo vda. de Balantakbo succession. The fulfillment or non-fulfillment of the resolutory condition, the
which contained a statement that the property was inherited from a descendant, Raul, efficacy or cessation of the reservation, the acquisition of rights or loss of the
which has likewise inherited by the latter from another ascendant, was registered with the vested ones, are phenomena which have nothing to do with whether the
Registry of Property. The failure of the Register of Deeds to annotate the reservable reservation has been noted or not in the certificate of title to the property. The
character of the property in the certificate of title cannot be attributed to Consuelo. purpose of the notation is nothing more than to afford to the persons entitled to
Moreover, there is sufficient proof that the petitioners had actual knowledge of the the reservation, if any,
reservable character of the properties before they bought the same from Consuelo. This due protection against any act of the reservor, which may make it ineffective . . .
matter appeared in the deed of sale (Exhibit "C") executed by Consuelo in favor of (p. 292, Ibid)
Mariquita Sumaya, the first vendee of the property litigated in Civil Case No. SC-956, as Likewise, in Dizon and Dizon v. Galang, G.R. No. 21344, January 14, 1926, 48 Phil. 601,
follows: 603, this Court ruled that the reservable character of a property may be lost to innocent
xxx xxx xxx purchasers for value. Additionally, it was ruled therein that the obligation imposed on a
That, I (Consuelo, vendor) am the absolute and exclusive owner of the one-third widowed spouse to annotate the reservable character of a property subject of reserva
(1/3) portion of the above described parcel of land by virtue of the Deed of viudal is applicable to reserva troncal. (See also Edrozo v. Sablan, G.R. No. 6878,
Extra-judicial Partition executed by the Heirs of the deceased Jose Balantakbo September 13, 1913, 25 Phil. 295).
dated December 10, 1945 and said portion in accordance with the partition Since these parcels of land have been legally transferred to third persons,
above-mentioned was adjudicated to Raul Balantakbo, single, to (sic) whom I Vicente Galang has lost ownership thereof and cannot now register nor record
inherited after his death and this property is entirely free from any encumbrance in the Registry of Deeds their reservable character; neither can he effect the fee
of any nature or kind whatsoever, . . . (p. 42, Rollo) simple, which does not belong to him, to the damage of Juan Medina and
It was admitted though that as regards the properties litigated in Civil Case SC-957, no Teodoro Jurado, who acquired the said land in good faith, free of all
such admission was made by Consuelo to put Villa Honorio Development on notice of incumbrances. An attempt was made to prove that when Juan Medina was
the reservable character of the properties. The affidavit of self-adjudication executed by advised not to buy the land he remarked, "Why did he (Vicente Galang) not
Consuelo and registered with the Registry would still be sufficient notice to bind them. inherit it from his son?" Aside from the fact that it is not clear whether this
Moreover, the Court a quo found that the petitioners and private respondents were long conservation took place in 1913 or 1914, that is, before or after the sale, it does
time acquaintances; that the Villa Honorio Development Corporation and its successors, not arise that he had any knowledge of the reservation. This did not arise from
the Laguna Agro-Industrial Coconut Cooperative Inc., are family corporations of the the fact alone that Vicente Galang had inherited the land from his son, but also
Sumayas and that the petitioners knew all along that the properties litigated in this case from the fact that, by operation of law, the son had inherited it from his mother
Rufina Dizon, which circumstance, so far as the record shows, Juan Medina
had not been aware of. We do not decide, however, whether or not Juan
Medina and Teodoro Jurado are obliged to acknowledge the reservation and to
note the same in their deeds, for the reason that there was no prayer to this
effect in the complaint and no question raised in regard thereto.
Consistent with the rule in reserva viudal where the person obliged to reserve (the
widowed spouse) had the obligation to annotate in the Registry of Property the
reservable character of the property, in reserva troncal, the reservor (the ascendant who
inherited from a descendant property which the latter inherited from another descendant)
has the duty to reserve and therefore, the duty to annotate also.
The jurisprudential rule requiring annotation in the Registry of Property of the right
reserved in real property subject of reserva viudal insofar as it is applied to reserva
troncal stays despite the abolition of reserva viudal in the New Civil Code. This rule is
consistent with the rule provided in the second paragraph of Section 51 of P.D. 1529,
which provides that: "The act of registration shall be the operative act to convey or affect
the land insofar as third persons are concerned . . ." (emphasis supplied)
The properties involved in this case are already covered by a Torrens title and unless the
registration of the limitation is effected (either actual or constructive), no third persons
shall be prejudiced thereby.
The respondent appellate court did not err in finding that the cause of action of the
private respondents did not prescribe yet. The cause of action of the reservees did not
commence upon the death of the propositus Raul Balantakbo on June 13, 1952 but upon
the death of the reservor Consuelo Vda. de Balantakbo on June 3, 1968. Relatives within
the third degree in whose favor the right (or property) is reserved have no title of
ownership or of fee simple over the reserved property during the lifetime of the reservor.
Only when the reservor should die before the reservees will the latter acquire the
reserved property, thus creating a fee simple, and only then will they take their place in
the succession of the descendant of whom they are relatives within the third degree
(See Velayo Bernardo v. Siojo, G.R. No. 36078, March 11, 1933, 58 Phil. 89). The
reserva is extinguished upon the death of the reservor, as it then becomes a right of full
ownership on the part of the reservatarios, who can bring a reivindicatory suit therefor.
Nonetheless, this right if not exercised within the time for recovery may prescribe in ten
(10) years under the old Code of Civil Procedure (see Carillo v. De Paz, G.R. No. L-
22601, October 28, 1966, 18 SCRA 467, 473) or in thirty years under Article 1141 of the
New Civil Code. The actions for recovery of the reserved property was brought by herein
private respondents on March 4, 1970 or less than two (2) years from the death of the
reservor. Therefore, private respondents' cause of action has not prescribed yet.
Finally, the award of one thousand pesos (P1,000.00) for actual litigation expenses and
two thousand pesos (P2,000.00) for attorney's fees is proper under Article 2208(2) of the
New Civil Code. Private respondents were compelled to go to court to recover what
rightfully belongs to them.
ACCORDINGLY, the petition is DENIED. The questioned decision of the Intermediate
Appellate Court is AFFIRMED, except for the modification on the necessity to annotate
the reversable character of a property subject of reserva troncal.
SO ORDERED.