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ELOY IMPERIAL vs. COURT OF APPEALS 5.

RTC held the donation to be inofficious and impairing the legitime of Victor,
October 8, 1999| GONZAGA-REYES, J.| Acceptance and Repudiation of Inheritance because at the time of Leoncios death, the latter left no property other than the
Digester: Ramos, Mildredanne subject land which he had donated to Eloy. Eloys allegation that other properties
existed and were inherited by Victor was not substantiated.
SUMMARY: Leoncio sold parcel of land to his acknowledged natural son Eloy 6. CA affirmed in toto the decision of the RTC. Both courts ruled that the applicable
Imperial. But later on, he filed a complaint for annulment of the sale alleging that he prescriptive period is 30 years..
was deceived by his son. They entered into a compromise agreement. Leoncio died and
Victor, his adopted child, substituted him in the execution of the compromise RULING: Petition granted on grounds of prescription and laches. CA decision is
agreement. However, in 1977, Victor died single and without issue. Ricardo, Victorss reversed and set aside.
natural father, died too. Cesar and Teresa, children of Ricardo, filed a complaint for
annulment of the donation. A motion to dismiss was filed on the ground of res judicata. THERE IS NO RES JUDICATA IN THIS CASE.
SC ruled that the action for inofficious donation has prescribed. There is no identity of parties and of cause of action as between the two cases.
DOCTRINE: Our law on succession does not countenance tacit repudiation of Victors participation in the previous case was in representation of the interests of
inheritance. Rather, it requires an express act on the part of the heir. Thus, under the original plaintiff, Leoncio.
Article 1051 of Civil Code: The repudiation of an inheritance shall be made in a public The purpose behind the rule on substitution of parties is to ensure that the
or authentic instrument, or by peftition presented to the court having jurisdiction over deceased party would continue to be properly represented in the suit through the
the testamentary or intestate proceedings.If the heir should die without having duly appointed legal representative of the estate, or his heir, as in this case, for
accepted or repudiated the inheritance, his right shall be transmitted to his heirs. which no court appointment is required. Moreover, Leoncios cause of action as
donor of the property was fraud.
FACTS: While the same circumstances of fraud and deceit are alleged in present complaint,
1. Leoncio Imperial was the registered owner of a 32,837 sqm land in Albay. He sold it also raises the additional ground of inofficiousness of donation.
the said lot for P1.00 to his natural son, Eloy Imperial, who then acquired TCT o Inofficiousness of donation does not, and could not, form part of Leoncios
over the land and proceeded to subdivide it. All parties admit that despite the cause of action in the previous case.
contracts designation as one of Absolute Sale, it was in fact a donation. o Inofficiousness as a cause of action may arise only upon the death of the
2. Barely two years after the donation, Leoncio filed a complaint for annulment of the donor, as the value of the donation will then be contrasted with the net value
Deed of Absolute Sale on the ground that he was deceived by Eloy into signing the of the estate of the donor-deceased.
document. The dispute was resolved through a compromise agreement, approved
by the court, under which terms: (1) Leoncio recognized the legality and validity of TERESA AND THE HEIRS OF CESAR CAN QUESTION THE
Eloys rights to the land donated; and (2) Eloy agreed to sell a 1,000 sqm portion of DONATION (important part of case; read with DOCTRINE)
the donated land, and to deposit the proceeds in a bank, for the disposal of No renunciation of legitime may be presumed from Victors substitution in the
Leoncio. In case of Leoncios death, the balance of the deposit will be withdrawn previous case. At the time of the substitution, the judgment approving the
by Eloy to defray burial costs. compromise agreement has already been rendered.
3. Pending execution of the above judgment, Leoncio died, leaving only two heirs o Victor merely participated in the execution of the compromise judgment. He
Eloy, who is his acknowledged natural son, and an adopted son, Victor. Victor was was not a party to the compromise agreement.
substituted in place of Leoncio in the above case, and it was he who moved for o More importantly, the law on succession does not countenance tacit
execution of judgment. Said motion was duly granted. repudiation of inheritance. It requires an express act on the part of the
4. After fifteen years, Victor died single and without issue, survived only by his natural heir.
father, Ricardo Villalon, who was a lessee of a portion of the land. Four years
hence, Ricardo died, leaving as heirs his two children, Cesar and Teresa. Five years Art. 1051. The repudiation of an inheritance shall be made in a public or
further, Cesar and Teresa filed a complaint for annulment of the donation. Eloy authentic instrument, or by petition presented to the court having jurisdiction
moved to dismiss on the ground of res judicata, by virtue of the compromise over the testamentary or intestate proceedings.
judgment. RTC granted the MTD, but the CA reversed and remanded the case
back to the RTC for further proceedings.
o Thus, when Victor substituted Leoncio in the previous case upon the latters o The cause of action to enforce a legitime accrues upon the death of the
death, his act of moving for execution of the compromise judgment cannot be donor-decedent since it is only then that the net estate may be ascertained
considered an act of renunciation of his legitime. and on which basis, the legitimes may be determined.
o He was, therefore, not precluded or estopped from subsequently seeking the In this case, it took Teresa and the heirs of Cesar 24 years since the death of
reduction of the donation, under Article 7721. Leoncio to initiate this case. The action, therefore, has long prescribed.
o Nor are Victors heirs, upon his death, precluded from doing so, as their right
to do so is expressly recognized under Article 772, and also in Article 1053 SCs FINAL WORD ON MATTER OF COLLATION
which states that "If the heir should die without having accepted or SC observed that after finding the donation to be inofficious because Leoncio had
repudiated the inheritance, his right shall be transmitted to his heirs." no other property at the time of his death, the RTC computed the legitime of
Victor based on the area of the donated property. Hence, in its dispositive
THE ACTION HAS PRESCRIBED (ACTION FOR REDUCTION OF portion, it awarded a portion of the property to private respondents as Victors
INOFFICIOUS DONATION) legitime.
A claim for legitime does not amount to a claim of title. Our rules of succession require that before any conclusion as to the legal share
The action for reduction of an inofficious donation is not a real action over an due to a compulsory heir may be reached, the following steps must be taken:
immovable which has a prescriptive period of 30 yrs under Art. 1141 2. 1) the net estate of the decedent must be ascertained, by deducting all the payable
The prescriptive periods applicable to donations in the Civil Code are the obligations and charges from the value of the property owned by the deceased
following: at the time of his death
o 4 years, in cases of subsequent birth, appearance, recognition or adoption of a 2) the value of all donations subject to collation would be added to it.
child; Thus, it is the value of the property at the time it is donated, and not the
o 4 years, for non-compliance with conditions of the donation; property itself, which is brought to collation.
o at any time during the lifetime of the donor and his relatives entitled to o Consequently, even when the donation is found inofficious and reduced to the
support, for failure of the donor to reserve property for his or their support. extent that it impaired Victors legitime, private respondents will not receive a
Notwithstanding those enumerated, donations, the reduction of which hinges corresponding share in the property donated.
upon impairment of legitime, are not controlled by a particular prescriptive o in this case where the collatable property is an immovable, what may be
period, for which resort must be had on ordinary rules of prescription. received is: (1) an equivalent, as much as possible, in property of the same
o Under Article 1144 of the Civil Code, actions upon an obligation created by nature, class and quality; (2) if such is impracticable, the equivalent value of the
law must be brought within ten years from the time the right of action accrues. impaired legitime in cash or marketable securities; or (3) in the absence of cash
Thus, the ten-year prescriptive period applies to the obligation to reduce or securities in the estate, so much of such other property as may be necessary,
inofficious donations, required under Article 7713 of the Civil Code, to to be sold in public auction.
the extent that they impair the legitime of compulsory heirs.

1
Art. 772. Only those who at the time of the donor's death have a right to the legitime and their heirs and
successors in interest may ask for the reduction or inofficious donations.

Those referred to in the preceding paragraph cannot renounce their right during the lifetime of the donor,
either by express declaration, or by consenting to the donation.

The donees, devisees and legatees, who are not entitled to the legitime and the creditors of the deceased can
neither ask for the reduction nor avail themselves thereof.
2
Art. 1141. Real actions over immovables prescribe after thirty years.
excess; but this reduction shall not prevent the donations from taking effect during the life of the donor, nor
This provision is without prejudice to what is established for the acquisition of ownership and other real rights shall it bar the donee from appropriating the fruits.
by prescription.
For the reduction of donations the provisions of this Chapter and of Articles 911 and 912 of this Code shall
3
Art. 771. Donations which in accordance with the provisions of Article 752, are inofficious, bearing in mind govern.
the estimated net value of the donor's property at the time of his death, shall be reduced with regard to the