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Article 960.

affects the venue but not the jurisdiction of the Court

Neither party denies that the late Fr. Rodriguez is
Preference of Testacy over Intestacy deceased, or that he left personal property in Hagonoy,
Rodriguez vs. Borja province of Bulacan
The estate proceedings having been initiated in the
Facts: Bulacan Court of First Instance ahead of any other, that
court is entitled to assume jurisdiction to the exclusion
Fr. Celestino Rodriguez died. Hence, Apolonia of all other courts, even if it were a case of wrong venue
Pangilinan and Adelaida Jacalan delivered to the Clerk by express provisions of Rule 73 (old Rule 75) of the
of Court of Bulacan a purported will and testament and Rules of Court, since the same enjoins that:
the Fr. Rodriguez. In this case, through a leave of court, The Court first taking cognizance of the settlement of the
Maria Rodriguez and Angela Rodriguez filed a petition estate of a decedent shall exercise jurisdiction to the
to allow them to examine the said will. However, the exclusion of all other courts. (Sec. 1)
same was withdrawn. This disposition presupposes that two or more courts
What petitioners did was they filed before CFI Rizal a have been asked to take cognizance of the settlement of
petition for the settlement of the intestate estate of Fr. the estate. Of them only one could be of proper venue,
Rodriguez for not having left a will and that Maria yet the rule grants precedence to that Court whose
Rodriguez be appointed as Special Administratix for the jurisdiction is first invoked, without taking venue into
estate. account.
On the other hand, Apolonia and Adelaida filed a
petition in this Court for the probation of the will (2) Intestate succession is only subsidiary or subordinate
delivered by them. They alleged that he there was a will to testate succession,
and that real properties were left at Rizal, Cavite, The other reason is that, in our system of civil law,
Quezon City and Bulacan. intestate succession is only subsidiary or subordinate
Petitioners contend that since the intestate to the testate, since intestacy only takes place in the
proceedings filed before CFI Rizal was earlier filed at absence of a valid operative will. Says Article 960 of the
8AM and that the probate petition by respondent was Civil Code of the Philippines:
only filed later at 11AM in CFI Bulacan, the latter court ART. 960. Legal or intestate succession takes place:
acquired no jurisdiction in entertaining the petition for (1) If a person dies without a will, or with a void
probate. will, or one which has subsequently lost its validity;
o Hence, this became the basis of their MTD (2) When the will does not institute an heir to, or
based on pending intestate settlement. dispose of all the property belonging to the
Respondents contend that CFI acquired jurisdiction testator. In such case, legal succession shall take
since they delivered the same earlier which was on place only with respect to the property in which the
March 4 to the clerk of court. testator has not disposed;
(3) If the suspensive condition attached to the
CFI Bulacan= Favored respondents. Denied MTD. They institution of heir does not happen or is not
knew that the purported will was already deposited in CFI fulfilled, or if the heir dies before the testator, or
Bulacan for they even filed a petition to examine the same. repudiates the inheritance, there being no
And that they filed an intestate proceedings before CFI Rizal substitution, and no right of accretion takes place;
to prevent CFI Bulacan from exercising jurisdiction. MR= (4) When the heir instituted is incapable of
Denied. succeeding, except in cases provided in this Code.
Issue: Therefore, as ruled in Castro, et al. vs. Martinez, 10 Phil.
307, "only after final decision as to the nullity of testate
(1) WON the CFI Bulacan validly acquired jurisdiction succession could an intestate succession be instituted
over the last will and testament of the deceased. (YES.) in the form of pre-established action". The institution of
(2) WON intestate succession is only subsidiary or intestacy proceedings in Rizal may not thus proceed
subordinate to the testate proceedings. (YES.) while the probate of the purported will of Father
Rodriguez is pending.
Held: We rule that the Bulacan Court of First Instance was
(1) CFI Bulacan validly acquired jurisdiction. entitled to priority in the settlement of the estate in
question, and that in refusing to dismiss the probate.
We can not disregard Fr. Rodriguez's 33 years of
proceedings, said court did not commit any abuse of
residence as parish priest in Hagonoy, Bulacan (1930-
discretion. It is the proceedings in the Rizal Court that
1963); but even if we do so, and consider that he
should be discontinued.
retained throughout some animus revertendi to the
place of his birth in Paraaque, Rizal, that detail would SC= Petition DENIED. CFI Bulacan Affirmed.
not imply that the Bulacan court lacked jurisdiction. As
ruled in previous decisions, the power to settle
decedents' estates is conferred by law upon all courts of
first instance, and the domicile of the testator only
Article 962 saving the right of representation when it properly
takes place . . ."
Rules of Proximity
Applying these two (2) provisions, this Court held that
(a) De Los Santos (Grandniece) vs. De La Cruz in an intestate succession, a grandniece of the deceased
(Nephew) cannot participate with a niece in the inheritance,
Facts: because the latter being a nearer relative, the more
distant grandniece is excluded. In the collateral line the
Petitioner Gertrudes de los Santos and several co-heirs right of representation does not obtain beyond sons
including defendant de la Cruz executed an and daughters of the brothers and sisters.
extrajudicial partition agreement over a portion of land In the present case, the relatives "nearest in degree" to
with an area of 20000 sq. m. Pelagia de la Cruz are her nephews and nieces, one of
They agreed to adjudicate three lots to defendant de la whom is defendant-appellant. Necessarily, plaintiff-
Cruz with the condition that he will undertake the appellee, a grandniece, is excluded by law from the
development and subdivision of the estate. The inheritance.
expenses will be defrayed from the proceeds of the sale.
Despite the demand of the plaintiff, other co heirs and Question: But what is the legal effect of plaintiff-appellees
residents of the subdivision, de la Cruz failed to perform inclusion and participation in the extrajudicial partition
his obligation despite being able to sell the land. agreement insofar as her right to bring the present action is
Hence, petitioner filed a complaint for specific
performance against Maximo de la Cruz to comply with They did not confer upon her the right to institute this
his obligation under the extra-judicial partition action. The express purpose of the extrajudicial
agreement and pay the sum of P1K as AFs and costs. partition agreement, as admitted by the parties in the
Defendant answered that the said agreement exist, stipulation of facts, was to divide the estate among the
however he alleged that plaintiff has no cause of action heirs of Pelagia de la Cruz. Indeed, the said agreement
and agreement was void insofar as she is concerned. itself states that plaintiff-appellee was
o She was not the heir of Pelagia de la Cruz who participating therein in representation of her
was the owner of the property. She was deceased mother Murciana.
included therein by mistake. It is quite apparent that in executing the partition
o Even if the lands were sold, not enough. agreement, the parties thereto were laboring under the
o In his CC, he alleged that plaintiff sold her share erroneous belief that plaintiff-appellee was one of the
and because her share was void insofar as she legal heirs of Pelagia de la Cruz. Plaintiff-appellee not
is concerned, plaintiff is entitled by by way being such an heir, the partition is void with respect to
of reversion. her, pursuant to Article 1105 of the Civil Code, which
o Prayed that case be dismissed and plaintiffs reads:
share in the agreement be void and she be "ART. 1105. A partition which includes a person
ordered to pay defendant P2.5K. believed to be an heir, but who is not, shall be void
CFI Rizal= Defendant estopped to raise the issue of the right only with respect to such person."
of the plaintiff to inherit and as such, he should abide by the Partition of property affected between a person
agreement. Ordered to perform his obligation. entitled to inherit from the deceased owner thereof and
another person who thought he was an heir, when he
MNT= Denied. Hence this appeal. was not really and lawfully such, to the prejudice of the
rights of the true heir designated by law to succeed the
Issue: WON plaintiff is an heir of the decedent and WON deceased, is null and void. A fortiori, plaintiff-appellee
defendant is estopped from asserting his right against could hardly derive from the agreement the right to
plaintiff. (NO.) have its terms enforced.
Held: The extrajudicial partition agreement being void with
respect to plaintiff-appellee, she may not be heard to
We are convinced that she is not. Plaintiff-appellee assert estoppel against defendant-appellant. Estoppel
being a mere grandniece of Pelagia de la Cruz, she could cannot be predicated on a void contract (17 Am. Jur.
not inherit from the latter by right of representation. 605), or on acts which are prohibited by law or are
"ART. 972. The right of representation takes place against public policy.
in the direct descending line, but never in the
ascending. In the collateral line, it takes place only SC= Maximo de la Cruz is absolved from liability.
in favor of the children of brothers or sisters, Plaintiff is ordered to reconvey the share to Maximo
whether they be of the full or half blood." which she received under the agreement if the same has
not already been disposed of as alleged.
Much less could plaintiff-appellee inherit in her own
ART. 962. In every inheritance, the relative
nearest in degree excludes the more distant ones,
(b) Ofelia Bagunu vs. Pastora Piedad belong) who are sixth in the order of preference
following, firstly, the legitimate children and
Facts: descendants, secondly, the legitimate parents and
Petitioner is the daughter of a first cousin of the ascendants, thirdly, the illegitimate children and
deceased or a fifth-degree relative of the decedent. descendants, fourthly, the surviving spouse, and fifthly,
Respondent is the maternal aunt of the decedent, a the brothers and sisters/nephews and nieces, of the
third degree relative of the decedent. decedent.
o Augusto Pieded, decedent, died without any Among collateral relatives, except only in the case of
direct descendants or ascendants. nephews and nieces of the decedent concurring with
In 1995, petitioner Ofelia Hernando Bagunu moved to their uncles or aunts, the rule of proximity, expressed
intervene in Special Proceedings No. 3652, entitled "In in Article 962, aforequoted, of the Code, is an absolute
the Matter of the Intestate Proceedings of the Estate of rule. In determining the degree of relationship of the
Augusto H. Piedad," pending before the Regional Trial collateral relatives to the decedent, Article 966 of the
Court ("RTC"), Branch 117, of Pasay City. Civil Code gives direction.
o Asserting entitlement to a share of the estate of
the late Augusto H. Piedad, petitioner assailed "Article 966. x x x
the finality of the order of the trial court
awarding the entire estate to respondent
Pastora Piedad contending that the "In the collateral line, ascent is made to the
proceedings were tainted with procedural common ancestor and then descent is made to the
infirmities, including an incomplete person with whom the computation is to be
publication of the notice of hearing, lack of made. Thus, a person is two degrees removed from
personal notice to the heirs and creditors, and his brother, three from his uncle, who is the brother
irregularity in the disbursements of of his father, four from his first cousin and so forth."
allowances and withdrawals by the
administrator of the estate.
Respondent, being a relative within the third civil
RTC= Denied the motion. CA= Dismissed the appeal. Only degree, of the late Augusto H. Piedad excludes
questions of law not facts. petitioner, a relative of the fifth degree, from
succeeding ab intestato to the estate of the
Issue: Can petitioner, a collateral relative of the fifth civil
degree, inherit alongside respondent, a collateral relative of
The provisions of Article 1009 and Article 1010 of the
the third civil degree? Elsewise stated, does the rule of
Civil Code
proximity in intestate succession find application among
"Article 1009. Should there be neither brothers nor
collateral relatives? (YES. Hence, 3rd degree collateral
sisters nor children of brothers or sisters, the other
relatives excludes 5th degree in this case.)
collateral relatives shall succeed to the estate.
"The latter shall succeed without distinction of
The rule on proximity is a concept that favors the lines or preference among them by reason of
relatives nearest in degree to the decedent and relationship by the whole blood."
excludes the more distant ones except when and to the
extent that the right of representation can apply. "Article 1010. The right to inherit ab intestato shall
not extend beyond the fifth degree of relationship
By right of representation, a more distant blood relative
in the collateral line."
of a decedent is, by operation of law, "raised to the same
place and degree" of relationship as that of a closer
invoked by petitioner do not at all support her cause.
blood relative of the same decedent. The representative
The law means only that among the other collateral
thereby steps into the shoes of the person he represents
relatives (the sixth in the line of succession), no
and succeeds, not from the latter, but from the person
preference or distinction shall be observed "by reason
to whose estate the person represented would have
of relationship by the whole blood."
In fine, a maternal aunt can inherit alongside a paternal
In the direct line, right of representation is proper only uncle, and a first cousin of the full blood can inherit
in the descending, never in the ascending, line. In the equally with a first cousin of the half blood, but an uncle
collateral line, the right of representation may only take or an aunt, being a third-degree relative, excludes the
place in favor of the children of brothers or sisters of cousins of the decedent, being in the fourth-degree of
the decedent when such children survive with their relationship; the latter, in turn, would have priority in
uncles or aunts. succession to a fifth-degree relative.

The right of representation does not apply to SC= Petition is DENIED.

"other collateral relatives within the fifth civil degree"
(to which group both petitioner and respondent
(c) Heirs of Pascasio Uriarte vs. Court of Appeals Held:
Facts: After due consideration of the petition, we find it to be
without merit. As already stated, Justa left a piece of
Pedro Arreza and Ursula Tubil had a daughter named land consisting 2.7 hectares. Half of this land (0.5
Agatonica Arreza. Agatonica had a son Benedicto hectares), as the Court of Appeals found, formerly was
Estrada who is the respondent in this case. conjugal property of her parents, Juan Arnaldo and
o When Pedro died, Ursula married Juan Arnaldo Ursula Tubil. The rest, consisting of 2.2 hectares, was
and had a daughter named Justa, decedent. acquired by Justa after the death of her parents.
o Benedicto is the nephew of half-sister of his As a preliminary matter, petitioners contend that the
mother, Justa. Court of Appeals gravely abused its discretion in
Dominga Arnaldo and Justas father are brothers. holding that private respondent is the son of Agatonica
Domingo is married to Catalina. They had two children, Arreza, who was the half-sister of Justa Arnaldo.
Gregoria and Primitiva. Petitioners are raising this issue only now. It is well-
o Gregorio had 5 children, Jorencio, Enecia, settled, however, that questions not taken up during the
Nicolas, Lupecino and Felisa, petitioners trial of a case cannot be raised for the first time on
herein. appeal.
o Primitiva married Conrado and had six Indeed, given the fact that 0.5 hectares of the land in
children, Josefina, Gaudencia, Simplicio, question belonged to the conjugal partnership of Justas
Domingo, Virgilio and Pascasio. parents, Justa was entitled to 0.125 hectares of the half
Pascasio had four children, Roselyn, hectare land as her fathers (Juan Arnaldos) share in the
Madrilyn, Lourdes and Felomina. conjugal property, while petitioners are entitled to the
Petitioners herein including widow, other 0.125 hectares. In addition, Justa inherited her
Pascasio is already dead in this case. mothers (Ursula Tubils) share consisting of 0.25
Respondent Benedicto brought a case for partition hectares. Plus the 2.2 hectares which belonged to her in
before RTC for a land left by Justa consisting of 2.7 ha her own right, Justa owned a total of 2.575 or 2.58
acquired from parents and by purchase. hectares of the 2.7-hectare land. This 2.58-hectare land
o He claims to be the sole surviving heir of Justa was inherited by private respondent Benedicto Estrada
for latter died with no issue. as Justas nearest surviving relative.
o Pascasio refused to give him share of the In this case, plaintiff is the son of Agatonica, the half-
harvest. sister of Justa. He is thus a third degree relative of Justa.
o Pascasio had no right to enter land of Justa but On the other hand, defendants and intervenors are the
could only claim 0.5 ha which Justa inherited sons and daughters of Justas cousin. They are thus fifth
from parents. degree relatives of Justa.
Pascasio died during pendency hence
Applying the principle that the nearest excludes the
substituted by heirs.
farthest, then plaintiff is the lawful heir of Justa. The fact
Petitioners herein, Pascasios heirs, contend that they that his mother is only a half-sister of Justa is of no
are entitled for the entire land. moment.
o Juan (Justas father) and Domingo acquired the
Nevertheless, petitioners make much of the fact that
properties from Ambrocio (Great granduncle
private respondent is not an Arnaldo, his mother being
of petitioners) in a holographic will.
Ursulas daughter not by Juan Arnaldo but by Pedro
o Domingo was entitled 2/3 while Juan 1/3.
Arreza.They claim that this being the case, private
o Property has always been in their possession
respondent is not an heir of Justa and thus not qualified
and that Justa never asserted exclusive right
to share in her estate.
but only received share from harvest.
Petitioners misappreciate the relationship between
o Also, respondent Benedicto had no right since
Justa and private respondent. As already stated, private
he was not an heir of Ambrocio Arnaldo.
respondent is the son of Justas half-sister Agatonica. He
RTC= Favored petitioners contention. Nearest relative of is therefore Justas nephew. A nephew is considered a
Justa were the children of her Uncle Domingo to whom her collateral relative who may inherit if no descendant,
entire estate passed to the exclusion of other relatives. ascendant, or spouse survive the decedent. That private
respondent is only a half-blood relative is
CA= Reversed RTC. Justas parents acquired 0.5 ha during immaterial. This alone does not disqualify him from
their marriage. As nephew of Justa by her half-sister, being his aunts heir. As the Court of Appeals correctly
respondent was held to be entitled to the share in the estate pointed out, The determination of whether the
of Justa. 0.25 for petitioners and 0.25 to respondent. relationship is of the full or half blood is important only
to determine the extent of the share of the survivors.
Hence, this petition.
SC= Petition DENIED. CA Affirmed.
Issue: Who among the petitioners and respondent is
entitled to Justas estate as her nearest relatives within the
meaning of Art. 962. (Respondent)
Section 2. Right of Representation have inherited from her in representation of her father
Vicente, assuming the private respondent was a lawful
Article 970-971. heir.
5. An adopted child may not represent his adoptive
But herein lies the crux, for she is not. As a spurious
child of Vicente, Carmelita is barred from inheriting
(a) Isabel De La Puerta vs. Court of Appeals from Dominga because of Article 992 of the Civil Code,
which lays down the barrier between the legitimate and
Facts: illegitimate families.
Dominga Revuelta had three children, Alfredo, Vicente Applying this rule in Leonardo v. Court of Appeals, this
and Isabel. When she died, Isabel was given the free Court declared that even if it is true that petitioner is
portion and was appointed as executrix. the child of Sotero Leonardo, still he cannot, by right of
representation. At most, petitioner would be an
When Isabel petitioned for the probate of the will, it
illegitimate child who has no right to inherit ab
was opposed by the brothers on the ground that their
intestato from the legitimate children and relatives of
mother was already senile and did not fully
his father, like the deceased Francisca Reyes.
comprehend its meaning. However, she was still
appointed as special administratix, The reason for this rule was explained in the recent case
o In this time, Alfredo died hence Vicente was left of Diaz v. Intermediate Appellate Court which held that
as the lone oppositor. Article 992 of the New Civil Code provides a barrier or
iron curtain in that it prohibits absolutely a succession
Vicente filed with CFI Quezon a petition to adopt ab intestato between the illegitimate child and the
Carmelita de la Puerta which was granted. This decision legitimate children and relatives of the father or mother
was appealed by Isabel to CA but during pendency, of said legitimate child. They may have a natural tie of
Vicente died. She subsequently filed an MTD. blood, but this is not recognized by law for the purpose
of Article 992. Between the legitimate family and the
Carmelita was allowed to intervene and filed a motion illegitimate family there is presumed to be an
for the payment to her a monthly allowance as the intervening antagonism and incompatibility. The
acknowledged natural child of Vicente. illegitimate child is disgracefully looked down upon by
Probate Court= Granted the motion. Sufficient was the legitimate family; the family is in turn, hated by the
evidence and Isabels evidence was way too weak. illegitimate child; the latter considers the privileged
condition of the former, and the resources of which it is
Lower Court= Affirmed Probate Court. Hence, this petition. thereby deprived; the former, in turn, sees in the
illegitimate child nothing but the product of sin,
Issue: WON Carmelita as adopted child of Vicente may palpable evidence of a blemish broken in life; the law
claim support and successional rights to the estate of
does no more than recognize this truth, by avoiding
Dominga Revuelta. (NO. Only to his father.) further ground of resentment."
Indeed, even as an adopted child, Carmelita would still
The answer to the question posed must be in the be barred from inheriting from Dominga Revuelta for
negative. The first reason is that Vicente de la Puerta there would be no natural kindred ties between them
did not predecease his mother; and the second is that and consequently, no legal ties to bind them either. As
Carmelita is a spurious child. aptly pointed out by Dr. Arturo M. Tolentino:

It is settled that in testamentary succession, the right of If the adopting parent should die before the
representation can take place only in the following adopted child, the latter cannot represent the
cases: first, when the person represented dies before former in the inheritance from the parents or
the testator; second, when the person represented is ascendants of the adopter. The adopted child is not
incapable of succeeding the testator; and third, when related to the deceased in that case, because the
the person represented is disinherited by the testator. filiation created by fiction of law is exclusively
In all of these cases, since there is a vacancy in the between the adopter and the adopted. "By
inheritance, the law calls the children or descendants of adoption, the adopters can make for themselves an
the person represented to succeed by right of heir, but they cannot thus make one for their
representation kindred."

Not having predeceased Dominga Revuelta, her son Her claims for support and inheritance should
Vicente had the right to inherit from her directly or in therefore be filed in the proceedings for the settlement
his own right. No right of representation was involved, of her own fathers estate 24 and cannot be considered
nor could it be invoked by Carmelita upon her fathers in the probate of Dominga Revueltas will.
death, which came after his own mothers death. It SC=Petition is GRANTED. Appealed decision is
would have been different if Vicente was already dead REVERSED AND SET ASIDE.
when Dominga Revuelta died. Carmelita could then
(b) Mauricio Sayson, et al vs. Court of Appeals, Eleno On top of this, there is the vital question of timeliness.
It is too late now to challenge the decree of adoption,
years after it became final and executory. That was way
Eleno (died on Nov. 10, 1952) and Rafaela Sayson (died back in 1967. Assuming the the petitioners were proper
on May 15, 1976) begot five children namely, Mauricio, parties, what they should have done was seasonably
Rosario, Basilisa, Remedios and Teodoro. appeal the decree of adoption, pointing to the birth of
Doribel that disqualified Teodoro and Isabel from
o Teodoro (died on March 23, 1972) was adopting Delia and Edmundo. They did not. In fact, they
married to Isabel Bautista. He died in 1981 and should have done this earlier, before the decree of
9 years later, Isabel died. They left properties adoption was issued. They did not, although Mauricio
in the possession of alleged children namely claimed he had personal knowledge of such birth.
Delia, Edmundo, and Doribel.
Not having any information of Doribel's birth to
Teodoros brothers and sisters, and Isabels mother, Teodoro and Isabel Sayson, the trial judge cannot be
Juana, filed a complaint for partition and accounting of faulted for granting the petition for adoption on the
their intestate estates. This was resisted by the alleged finding inter alia that the adopting parents were not
children of the decedent spouses. disqualified.
Meanwhile, the alleged children filed an accounting and A no less important argument against the petitioners is
partition of the intestate estate of Eleno and Rafaela that their challenge to the validity of the adoption
Sayson against the brothers and sisters of their father cannot be made collaterally, as in their action for
Teodoro. partition, but in a direct proceeding frontally
addressing the issue.
o However, it was asserted that Delia and
Edmundo were adopted children and that only On the question of Doribel's legitimacy, we hold that the
Doribel was the legitimate child. findings of the trial courts as affirmed by the
o As such, the brothers and sisters were entitled respondent court must be sustained. Doribel's birth
to inherit from Teodoros share in his parents certificate is a formidable piece of evidence. It is one of
estate by right of representation. the prescribed means of recognition under Article 265
of the Civil Code and Article 172 of the Family Code. It
RTC Albay 12 and 13= Favored respondents on the basis is true, as the petitioners stress, that the birth
of practically the same evidence. Court ruled that Delia and certificate offers only prima facie evidence of filiation
Edmundo were legally adopted and that Doribel was a and may be refuted by contrary evidence. However,
legitimate child by virtue of BC and that they were entitled such evidence is lacking in the case at bar.
to inherit from Eleno and Rafaela by virtue of right of
representation. Mauricio's testimony that he was present when Doribel
was born to Edita Abila was understandbly suspect,
CA=Affirmed RTC but modified insofar as Delia and coming as it did from an interested party. The affidavit
Edmundo are concerned. Not entitled since disqualified. of Abila denying her earlier statement in the petition
for the guardianship of Doribel is of course hearsay, let
Issue: WON Delia and Edmundo can exercise their right of alone the fact that it was never offered in evidence in
representation to the intestate estates of Eleno and Rafaela the lower courts. Even without it, however, the birth
Sayson. (NO.) certificate must be upheld in line with Legaspi v. Court
Held: of Appeals, where we ruled that "the evidentiary nature
of public documents must be sustained in the absence
The contention of the petitioners is that Delia and of strong, complete and conclusive proof of its falsity or
Edmundo were not legally adopted because Doribel had nullity."
already been born on February 27, 1967, when the
decree of adoption was issued on March 9, 1967. The Another reason why the petitioners' challenge must fail
birth of Doribel disqualified her parents from adopting. is the impropriety of the present proceedings for that
Curiously enough, the petitioners also argue that purpose. Doribel's legitimacy cannot be questioned in a
Doribel herself is not the legitimate daughter of complaint for partition and accounting but in a direct
Teodoro and Isabel but was in fact born to one Edita action seasonably filed by the proper party.
Abila, who manifested in a petition for guardianship of The presumption of legitimacy in the Civil Code . . .
the child that she was her natural mother. does not have this purely evidential character. It
The inconsistency of this position is immediately serves a more fundamental purpose. It actually
apparent. The petitioners seek to annul the adoption of fixes a civil status for the child born in wedlock, and
Delia and Edmundo on the ground that Teodoro and that civil status cannot be attacked collaterally. The
Isabel already had a legitimate daughter at the time but legitimacy of the child can be impugned only in a
in the same breath try to demolish this argument by direct action brought for that purpose, by the
denying that Doribel was born to the couple. proper parties, and within the period limited by
The legitimacy of the child cannot be contested by total strangers. While it is true that the adopted child
way of defense or as a collateral issue in another shall be deemed to be a legitimate child and have the
action for a different purpose. (Emphasis supplied.) same right as the latter, these rights do not include the
right of representation. The relationship created by the
In consequence of the above observations, we hold that adoption is between only the adopting parents and the
Doribel, as the legitimate daughter of Teodoro and adopted child and does not extend to the blood relatives
Isabel Sayson, and Delia and Edmundo, as their adopted of either party.
children, are the exclusive heirs to the intestate estate In sum, we agree with the lower courts that Delia and
of the deceased couple, conformably to the following Edmundo as the adopted children and Doribel as the
Article 979 of the Civil Code: legitimate daughter of Teodoro Sayson and Isabel
Bautista, are their exclusive heirs and are under no
Art. 979. Legitimate children and their descendants obligation to share the estate of their parents with the
succeed the parents and other ascendants, without petitioners. The Court of Appeals was correct, however,
distinction as to sex or age, and even if they should in holding that only Doribel has the right of
come from different marriages. representation in the inheritance of her grandparents'
intestate estate, the other private respondents being
An adopted child succeeds to the property of the only the adoptive children of the deceased Teodoro.
adopting parents in the same manner as a
legitimate child. SC= Petition is DENIED. CA AFFIRMED in toto.

The philosophy underlying this article is that a person's

love descends first to his children and grandchildren
before it ascends to his parents and thereafter spreads
among his collateral relatives. It is also supposed that
one of his purposes in acquiring properties is to leave
them eventually to his children as a token of his love for
them and as a provision for their continued care even
after he is gone from this earth.
Coming now to the right of representation, we stress
first the following pertinent provisions of the Civil

Art. 970. Representation is a right created by fiction

of law, by virtue of which the representative is
raised to the place and the degree of the person
represented, and acquires the rights which the
latter would have if he were living or if he could
have inherited.

Art. 971. The representative is called to the

succession by the law and not by the person
represented. The representative does not succeed
the person represented but the one who the person
represented would have succeeded.

Art. 981. Should children of the deceased and

descendants of other children who are dead,
survive, the former shall inherit in their own right,
and the latter by right of representation.

There is no question that as the legitimate daughter of

Teodoro and thus the granddaughter of Eleno and
Rafaela, Doribel has a right to represent her deceased
father in the distribution of the intestate estate of her
grandparents. Under Article 981, quoted above, she is
entitled to the share her father would have directly
inherited had he survived, which shall be equal to the
shares of her grandparents' other children.
But a different conclusion must be reached in the case
of Delia and Edmundo, to whom the grandparents were
Representation in the Collateral Line

Abellana-Bacayo vs. Ferraris-Borromeo