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NORA B. CALALANG-PARULAN AND ELVIRA B. CALALANG VS.

ROSARIO CALALANG-
GARCIA, LEONORA CALALANG-SABILE, AND CARLITO S. CALALANG.

G.R. No. 184148, June 09, 2014

Facts:

Respondents Rosario Calalang- Garcia, Leonora Calalang-Sabile, and Carlito S.


Calalang Complaint for Annulment of Sale and Reconveyance of Property filed with the
RTC of Malolos, Bulacan on June 10, 199. They asserted ownership over a certain parcel
of land against the petitioners Nora B. Calalang-Parulan and Elvira B. Calalang. The land
in dispute was allegedly acquired by the respondents from their mother Encarnacion
Silverio, through succession as the latters compulsory heirs.

According to the respondents, their father, Pedro Calalang contracted two marriages
during his lifetime. The first marriage was with their mother Encarnacion Silverio. During
the subsistence of this marriage, their parents acquired the above-mentioned parcel of
land from their maternal grandmother Francisca Silverio. Despite enjoying continuous
possession of the land, however, their parents failed to register the same. On June 7,
1942, the first marriage was dissolved with the death of Encarnacion Silverio. It was only
then, after Pedro Calalang contracted the second marriage with Elvira Calalang, that
the former filed an application for free patent. The marriage of Pedro and Elvira
Calalang gave birth to Nora B. Calalang-Parulan and Rolando Calalang. The
respondent aver that Pedro Calalang committed fraud in such application by claiming
sole and exclusive ownership over the land since 1935 and concealing the fact that he
had three children with his first spouse.

On February 17, 1984, Pedro Calalang sold the said parcel of land to Nora B. Calalang-
Parulan as evidenced by a Deed of Sale.

The respondents argued that the sale of the land was void because Pedro Calalang
failed to obtain the consent of the respondents who were co-owners of the same. As
compulsory heirs upon the death of Encarnacion Silverio, the respondents claimed that
they acquired successional rights over the land. Thus, in alienating the land without their
consent, Pedro Calalang allegedly deprived them of their pro indiviso share in the
property.

In their Answer, the petitioners argued that the parcel of land was acquired during the
second marriage of Pedro Calalang with Elvira B. Calalang. They stressed that the
certificate of title itself stated that it was issued in the name of Pedro Calalang, married
to Elvira Berba [Calalang]. Thus, the property belonged to the conjugal partnership of
the spouses Pedro Calalang and Elvira B. Calalang.

On July 10, 2001, the trial court rendered decision in favor of the respondents.

Aggrieved by the adverse ruling, the petitioners appealed the case to the CA which
rendered the assailed Decision in favor of the plaintiff and against the defendant.

Issue:

Whether or not the respondents were deprived of their respective shares by reason of the
sale.
Ruling:

No. We note that the free patent was issued solely in the name of Pedro Calalang and
that it was issued more than 30 years after the death of Encarnacion and the dissolution
of the conjugal partnership of gains of the first marriage. Thus, we cannot subscribe to
respondents submission that the subject property originally belonged to the parents of
Encarnacion and was acquired by Pedro Calalang and Encarnacion.

We likewise cannot sustain the argument of the petitioners that the disputed property
belongs to the conjugal partnership of the second marriage of Pedro Calalang with
Elvira B. Calalang on the ground that the title was issued in the name of Pedro
Calalang, married to Elvira Berba [Calalang].

A plain reading of the Section 45 of Presidential Decree No. 1529 would clearly reveal
that the phrase Pedro Calalang, married to Elvira Berba [Calalang] merely describes
the civil status and identifies the spouse of the registered owner Pedro Calalang.
Evidently, this does not mean that the property is conjugal.

It must likewise be noted that in his application for free patent, applicant Pedro Calalang
averred that the land was first occupied and cultivated by him since 1935. But he
applied for free patent only in 1974 and was issued a free patent while already married
to Elvira B. Calalang. Thus, having possessed the subject land in the manner and for the
period required by law after the dissolution of the first marriage and before the second
marriage, the subject property ipso jure became private property and formed part of
Pedro Calalangs exclusive property. It was therefore excluded from the conjugal
partnership of gains of the second marriage.

As the sole and exclusive owner, Pedro Calalang had the right to convey his property in
favor of Nora B. Calalang-Parulan by executing a Deed of Sale on February 17, 1984. The
CA therefore erred in ruling that Pedro Calalang deprived his heirs of their respective
shares over the disputed property when he alienated the same.

It is hornbook doctrine that successional rights are vested only at the time of death.
Article 777 of the New Civil Code provides that [t]he rights to the succession are
transmitted from the moment of the death of the decedent.

The principle of transmission as of the time of the predecessors death is basic in our Civil
Code, and is supported by other related articles. Thus, the capacity of the heir is
determined as of the time the decedent died (Art. 1034); the legitime is to be computed
as of the same moment (Art. 908), and so is the inofficiousness of the donation inter vivos
(Art. 771). Similarly, the legacies of credit and remission are valid only in the amount due
and outstanding at the death of the testator (Art. 935), and he fruits accruing after that
instant are deemed to pertain to the legatee (Art. 948).

Thus, it is only upon the death of Pedro Calalang on December 27, 1989 that his heirs
acquired their respective inheritances, entitling them to their pro indiviso shares to his
whole estate. At the time of the sale of the disputed property, the rights to the succession
were not yet bestowed upon the heirs of Pedro Calalang. And absent clear and
convincing evidence that the sale was fraudulent or not duly supported by valuable
consideration (in effect an inofficious donation inter vivos), the respondents have no right
to question the sale of the disputed property on the ground that their father deprived
them of their respective shares. Well to remember, fraud must be established by clear
and convincing evidence. Mere preponderance of evidence is not even adequate to
prove fraud. The Complaint for Annulment of Sale and Reconveyance of Property must
therefore be dismissed.