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Panganiban v Oamil

22 January 2008 | Ynares-Santiago


Overview: When Partenio executed the Agreement to Sell, Oamil knew that the property she was purchasing was conjugal
property owned in common by Partenio and the heirs of his deceased wife. Yet, Oamil did not intervene nor take any part or
opposition as assignee in the partition proceedings. She did not exercise her rights granted her. As Partenios successor-ininterest, Oamil could not acquire any superior right in the property than what Partenio is entitled to or could transfer or
alienate after partition.The TC decision was rendered without any effect because the heirs of Partenio as co-partners should
have been included in the suit.
Statement of the Case
Petition for review on certiorari
Statement of Facts
Julita Oamil filed a complaint for specific performance with damages praying that Partenio Rombaua be ordered to
execute a final deed of sale over the parcel of land which was subject of a prior Agreement to sell executed by and
between them. Oamil claims that such land is the conjugal share of Partenio from the lot of his deceased wife and the rest of
the lots are co-owned by their heirs (other petitioners in this case). Partenio was declard in default and the TC promulgated a
decision ordering the execution of the deed of absolute sale. However, the TC did not specifiy which portion of the property
shoulde be deed to Oamil as buyer of Partenios share.
The heirs filed a verified petition from relief from the decision of the TC on the ground that Partenios share is being
litigated in a partition case which is pending with the CA, hence the TC may not render a decision disposing of a definite area
in Oamils favor and that they were unjustly deprived of their right to protect their interests, notwithstanding that they were
indispensable parties, when they were not impleaded in the case. TC denied the petition for relief.
Sotero Gan filed a motion for leave of court to intervene on the ground that he is the rightful and actual owner of
Partenios conjugal share. TC denied his motion for being filed out of time. CA affirmed the denial of the TC.
Applicable Laws:
Issues:
WON the heirs can intervene? Yes, the TC committed error in its decision.
WON Gan can intervene? No, it was filed out of time (no ratio for this, SC just affirmed CA for the same ground).
Rationale
Under a co-ownership, the ownership of an undivided thing or right belongs to different persons. During the
existence of the co-ownership, no individual can claim title to any definite portion of the community property until the partition
thereof; and prior to the partition, all that the co-owner has is an ideal or abstract quota or proportionate share in the entire
land or thing. Before partition in a co-ownership, every co-owner has the absolute ownership of his undivided interest in the
common property. The co-owner is free to alienate, assign, mortgage this undivided interest, except as to purely personal
rights. The effect of any such transfer is limited to the portion which may be awarded to him upon the partition of the
property.
As Partenios successor-in-interest, Oamil could not acquire any superior right in the property than what Partenio is
entitled to or could transfer or alienate after partition. When Partenio executed the Agreement to Sell, Oamil knew that the
property she was purchasing was conjugal property owned in common by Partenio and the heirs of his deceased wife. Yet,
Oamil did not intervene nor take any part or opposition as assignee in the partition proceedings. She did not exercise her
rights granted her. Instead, she decided to suspend the proceedings and hold the same in abeyance while the appeal in her
special civil action remain unresolved. It was also irregular for Oamil to have obtained a certificate being aware of the
existing co-ownership had not been terminated.
It is to be noted that the court trying the civil suit was not a partition court and had no jurisdiction to act as one. TCs
trying an ordinary action cannot resolve to perform acts pertaining to a special proceeding because it is subject to specific
prescribed rules. The TC also disregarded the previous cases decision when it awarded and undefined portion. As a court
litgating an ordinary civil suit, it could only determine the rights and obligations of the parties with respect to Partenios
undivided share.
Judgment: decision of CA is reversed and set aside.

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