You are on page 1of 28

G.R. No.

L-23638 October 12, 1967 On February 27, 1962, after receiving further evidence on the issue For one, if the will is not entitled to probate, or its probate is denied, all
DIONISIO FERNANDEZ, EUSEBIO REYES and LUISA whether the execution by the testatrix of deeds of sale of the larger portion questions of revocation become superfluous in law, there is no such will and
REYES, petitioners, of her estate in favor of the testamentary heir, made in 1943 and 1944, hence there would be nothing to revoke. Then, again, the revocation invoked by
vs. subsequent to the execution of her 1930 testament, had revoked the latter the oppositors-appellants is not an express one, but merely implied from
ISMAELA DIMAGIBA, respondent. under Article 957(2) of the 1950 Civil Code (Art. 869 of the Civil Code of subsequent acts of the testatrix allegedly evidencing an abandonment of the
1889), the trial Court resolved against the oppositors and held the will of original intention to bequeath or devise the properties concerned. As such, the
---------------------------------------- the late Benedicta de los Reyes "unaffected and unrevoked by the deeds of revocation would not affect the will itself, but merely the particular devise or
G.R. No. L-23662 October 12, 1967 sale." Whereupon, the oppositors elevated the case to the Court of legacy. Only the total and absolute revocation can preclude probate of the
Appeals. revoked testament (Trillana vs. Crisostomo, supra.).
MARIANO REYES, CESAR REYES, LEONOR REYES and
PACIENCIA REYES, petitioners, The appellate Court held that the decree of June 20, 1958, admitting the As to the issue of estoppel, we have already ruled in Guevara vs. Guevara, 98
vs. will to probate, had become final for lack of opportune appeal; that the Phil. 249, that the presentation and probate of a will are requirements of public
ISMAELA DIMAGIBA, respondent. same was appealable independently of the issue of implied revocation; that policy, being primarily designed to protect the testator's, expressed wishes,
contrary to the claim of oppositors-appellants, there had been no legal which are entitled to respect as a consequence of the decedent's ownership and
Jose D. Villena for petitioners.
revocation by the execution of the 1943 and 1944 deeds of sale, because right of disposition within legal limits. Evidence of it is the duty imposed on a
Antonio Barredo and Exequiel M. Zaballero for respondent. the latter had been made in favor of the legatee herself, and affirmed the custodian of a will to deliver the same to the Court, and the fine and
REYES, J.B.L., Actg. C.J.: decision of the Court of First Instance. imprisonment prescribed for its violation (Revised Rule 75). It would be a non
The heirs intestate of the late Benedicta de los Reyes have petitioned for a Oppositors then appealed to this Court. sequitur to allow public policy to be evaded on the pretext of estoppel. Whether
review of the decision of the Court of Appeals (in CA-G. R. No. 31221- or not the order overruling the allegation of estoppel is still appealable or not, the
In this instance, both sets of oppositors-appellants pose three main issues: defense is patently unmeritorious and the Court of Appeals correctly so ruled.
R) affirming that of the Court of First Instance of Bulacan, in Special (a) whether or not the decree of the Court of First Instance allowing the
Proceeding No. 831 of said Court, admitting to probate the alleged last The last issue, that of revocation, is predicated on paragraph 2 of Article 957 of
will to probate had become final for lack of appeal; (b) whether or not the
will and testament of the deceased, and overruling the opposition to the order of the Court of origin dated July 27, 1959, overruling the estoppel the Civil Code of 1950 (Art. 869 of the Code of 1889), which recites:
probate. invoked by oppositors-appellants had likewise become final; and (c) Art. 957. The legacy or devise shall be without effect:
It appears from the record that on January 19, 1955, Ismaela Dimagiba, whether or not the 1930 will of Benedicta de los Reyes had been impliedly (1) . . . .
now respondent, submitted to the Court of First Instance a petition for the revoked by her execution of deeds of conveyance in favor of the proponent
probate of the purported will of the late Benedicta de los Reyes, executed on March 26, 1943 and April 3, 1944. (2) If the testator by any title or for any cause alienates the thing
on October 22, 1930, and annexed to the petition. The will instituted the bequeathed or any part thereof, it being understood that in the latter
As to the first point, oppositors-appellants contend that the order allowing case the legacy or devise shall be without effect only with respect to
petitioner as the sole heir of the estate of the deceased. The petition was the will to probate should be considered interlocutory, because it fails to
set for hearing, and in due time, Dionisio Fernandez, Eusebio Reyes and the part thus alienated. If after the alienation the thing should again
resolve the issues of estoppel and revocation propounded in their belong to the testator, even if it be by reason of nullity of the contract,
Luisa Reyes and one month later, Mariano, Cesar, Leonor and Paciencia, opposition. We agree with the Court of Appeals that the appellant's stand
all surnamed Reyes, all claiming to be heirs intestate of the decedent, filed the legacy or devise shall not thereafter be valid, unless the
is untenable. It is elementary that a probate decree finally and definitively reacquisition shall have been effected by virtue of the exercise of the
oppositions to the probate asked. Grounds advanced for the opposition
settles all questions concerning capacity of the testator and the proper right of repurchase;
were forgery, vices of consent of the testatrix, estoppel by laches of the execution and witnessing of his last will and testament, irrespective of
proponent and revocation of the will by two deeds of conveyance of the whether its provisions are valid and enforceable or otherwise. (Montañano xxx xxx xxx
major portion of the estate made by the testatrix in favor of the proponent
vs. Suesa, 14 Phil. 676; Mercado vs. Santos, 66 Phil. 215; Trillana vs. It is well to note that, unlike in the French and Italian Codes, the basis of the
in 1943 and 1944, but which conveyances were finally set aside by this Crisostomo, 89 Phil. 710). As such, the probate order is final and
Supreme Court in a decision promulgated on August 3, 1954, in cases quoted provision is a presumed change of intention on the part of the testator. As
appealable; and it is so recognized by express provisions of Section 1 of pointed out by Manresa in his Commentaries on Article 869 of the Civil Code
G.R. Nos. L-5618 and L-5620 (unpublished).
Rule 109, that specifically prescribes that "any interested person may (Vol. 6, 7th Ed., p. 743) —
After trial on the formulated issues, the Court of First Instance, by appeal in special proceedings from an order or judgment . . . where such
decision of June 20, 1958, found that the will was genuine and properly order or judgment: (a) allows or disallows a will." Este caso se funda en la presunta voluntad del testador. Si este,
executed; but deferred resolution on the questions of estoppel and despues de legar, se desprende de la cosa por titulo lucrativo u
Appellants argue that they were entitled to await the trial Court's resolution oneroso, hace desaparecer su derecho sobra ella, dando lugar a la
revocation "until such time when we shall pass upon the intrinsic validity on the other grounds of their opposition before taking an appeal, as
of the provisions of the will or when the question of adjudication of the presuncion de que ha cambiado de voluntad, y no quiere que el
otherwise there would be a multiplicity of recourses to the higher Courts. legado se cumpla. Mas para que pueda presumirse esa voluntad, es
properties is opportunely presented."
This contention is without weight, since Rule 109, section 1, expressly necesario que medien actos del testador que la indiquen. Si la perdida
Oppositors Fernandez and Reyes petitioned for reconsideration, and/or enumerates six different instances when appeal may be taken in special del derecho sobre la cosa ha sido independiente de la voluntad del
new trial, insisting that the issues of estoppel and revocation be proceedings. testador, el legado podraquedar sin efecto, mas no en virtud del
considered and resolved; whereupon, on July 27, 1959, the Court numero 2 del articulo 869, que exige siempre actos voluntarios de
There being no controversy that the probate decree of the Court below was
overruled the claim that proponent was in estoppel to ask for the probate not appealed on time, the same had become final and conclusive. Hence, enajenacion por parte del mismo testador.
of the will, but "reserving unto the parties the right to raise the issue of the appellate courts may no longer revoke said decree nor review the
implied revocation at the opportune time." As observed by the Court of Appeals, the existence of any such change or
evidence upon which it is made to rest. Thus, the appeal belatedly lodged departure from the original intent of the testatrix, expressed in her 1930
On January 11, 1960, the Court of First Instance appointed Ricardo Cruz against the decree was correctly dismissed. testament, is rendered doubtful by the circumstance that the subsequent
as administrator for the sole purpose of submitting an inventory of the The alleged revocation implied from the execution of the deeds of alienations in 1943 and 1944 were executed in favor of the legatee herself,
estate, and this was done on February 9, 1960. appellee Dimagiba. In fact, as found by the Court of Appeals in its decision
conveyance in favor of the testamentary heir is plainly irrelevant to and
separate from the question of whether the testament was duly executed. annulling these conveyances (affirmed in that point by this Supreme Court
1
in Reyes vs. Court of Appeals and Dimagiba, L-5618 and L-5620, Briefly, the facts and circumstances that brought about this present appeal "That the aforesaid share of Filomena Diaz should be
promulgated on July 31, 1954), "no consideration whatever was paid by may be narrated as follows: distributed not only between her children, Milagros Belen
respondent Dimagiba" on account of the transfers, thereby rendering it Benigno Diaz executed a codicil on September 29, 1944, the pertinent de Olaguera and Onesima D. Belen, but also among her
even more doubtful whether in conveying the property to her legatee, the provisions of which read: other legitimate descendants, if any,
testatrix merely intended to comply in advance with what she had for descendientes include not only children but also
ordained in her testament, rather than an alteration or departure 9.0 — En caso de muerte de alguno o de todos los legatarios grandchildren, etc., and in this connection. it is not amiss
therefrom.1 Revocation being an exception, we believe, with the Courts nom brados por mi, seran beneficiarios o sea parasan los to observe that one may be a descendant and not yet not be
below, that in the circumstances of the particular case, Article 957 of the legados a favor solamente de los descendientes y ascendientes an heir, and vice versa, one may be an heir and yet not be a
Civil Code of the Philippines, does not apply to the case at bar. legitimos, pero no a los viudos conyuges. descendant.
Not only that, but even if it were applicable, the annulment of the 10.0 — Transcurridos diez o quince años despues de mi muerte From this order Onesima D. Belen has appealed to this Court, insisting that (1)
conveyances would not necessarily result in the revocation of the legacies, todas mispropiedades, muebles o inmuebles, derechos y the Court below was in error in holding that its former resolution of September
if we bear in mind that the findings made in the decision decreeing the ventajosos, pueden proceder a la venta de todos dando 16, 1955 had been affirmed by our decision of February 28, 1958 in the case of
annulment of the subsequent 1943 and 1944 deeds of sale were also that preferencia a los legatarios y de su importe total se deduciran Arguelles vs. Belen de Olaguera, G.R. No. L-10164 Feb. 28, 1958; and (2) that
mil pesos (P1,000) para los cuartrohijos de mi difunto hermano the term "sus descendeintes legitimos," as used in the codicil, should be
it was the moral influence, originating from their confidential Fabian, todos los gastos y reservando una cantidad suficiente y
relationship, which was the only cause for the execution of interpreted to mean descendants nearest in the degree to the original legatee
bein calcumada para sufrugar se distriburia a las siguientes Filomena Diaz. In the present case, they are her two daughters (Milagros and
Exhs. A and B (the 1943 and 1944 conveyances). (Decision, L- personas que aun vuiven, o a sus descendientes legitimos:
5618 and L-5620). Onesima Belen), thereby excluding the seven grandchildren of said legatee.
A Isabel M. de Santiago — cincuente por ciento As to her first point, the appellant is the correct ion her view that the trial court's
If the annulment was due to undue influence, as the quoted passage (50%)
implies, then the transferor was not expressing her own free will and interpretation of clause 10 of the codicil to the will of Benigno Diaz has not been
Los hijos de Domingo Legarda — treinta por ciente affirmed in our previous decision (G.R. No. L-10164). Perusal of that judgment
intent in making the conveyances. Hence, it can not be concluded, either, (30%)
that such conveyances established a decision on her part to abandon the will show that this Court left the issue open at the time, contenting itself with
Filomena Diaz — diez por ciento (10%) pointing out that the then appellant Administrator of the estate of Folimena Diaz
original legacy. Nestor M. Santiago — diez por ciento (10%) was not the proper party to the raise the particular issue.
True it is that the legal provision quoted prescribes that the recovery of On November 7, 1944, Benigno Diaz died; and the aforesaid codicil,
the alienated property "even if it be by reason of the nullity of the As the actual meaning of the provision —
together with the will, was admitted to probate in Special Proceedings No.
contract" does not revive the legacy; but as pointed out by Scaevola 894 of the same Court of First Instance of Manila. The proceedings for the El restro se distribuira a las siguientes personas que aun viven, o a sus
(Codigo Civil, Vol. XV, 4th Ed., pp. 324-325) the "nullity of the contract" administration of the estate of Benigno Diaz were closed in 1950 and the descendientes legitimos,
can not be taken in an absolute sense.2 Certainly, it could not be estate was thereafter put under the administration of the appellee Bank of it is undeniable that but this cluase the testator ordained a simple substitution
maintained, for example, that if a testator's subsequent alienation were the Philippine Islands, as trustee for the benefit of the legatees. (sustitucion vulgar) with a plurality of substitutes for each legatee. This form of
avoided because the testator was mentally deranged at the time, the substitution authorized by the first poart of Article 860 of the Civil Code (Art.
revocatory effect ordained by the article should still ensue. And the same Filomena Diaz died on February 8, 1954, leaving two legitimate children,
Milagros Belen de Olsguera, married, with seven (7) legitimate children, 778 of the Code of 1889):
thing could be said if the alienation (posterior to the will) were avoided on
account of physical or mental duress. Yet, an alienation through undue and Onesima D. Belen, single. Two or more persons may be substituted for one and one person for
influence in no way differs from one made through violence or On March 19, 1958, Onesima D. Belen filed a petition in Special two or more heirs.
intimidation. In either case, the transferor is not expressing his real Proceedings No. 9226, contending that the amount that would have The issue is now squarely before us : do the words "sus descendientes legitimos"
intent,3 and it can not be held that there was in fact an alienation that appertained to Filomena Diaz under the codicil should now be refer conjointly to all living descendant (children and grandchildren) of the
could produce a revocation of the anterior bequest. divided(equally) only between herself and Milagros Belen de Olaguera, as legatee, as a class; or they refer to the descendants nearest in degree?
In view of the foregoing considerations, the appealed decision of the the surviving children of the said deceased, to the exclusion, in other Appellant Onesima Belen contends that the phrase should be taken to mean the
Court of Appeals is hereby affirmed. Costs against appellants Reyes and words, of the seven (7) legitimate children of Milagros Belen de Olaguera. relatives nearest in degree to Filomena Diaz; and that the legacy should be
Fernandez. So ordered. The court, in its order on May 23, 1958 denied, as initially pointed out therefore divided equally between her and her sister Milagros Belen de
Onesima's petition. More specifically, the court said: Olaguera, to the exclusion of the latter's sons and daughters, grand children of
G.R. No. L-14474 October 31, 1960
After due consideration of the petition filed by Onesima D. the original legatee, Filomena Diaz. As authority in support of her thesis,
ONESIMA D. BELEN, petitioner-appellant, Belen on March 19, 1958, wherein it is prayed that the trustee appellant invokes Article 959 of the Civil Code of the Philippines
vs. Bank of the Philippine Island be directed to deliver to her "one- (reproducing ne varieter Article 751 of the Code of 1889):
BANK OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS and MILAGROS BELEN half of whatever share is due to the deceased Filomena Diaz as
DE OLAGUERA, oppositors-appellees. A distribution made in general terms in favor of the testator's relatives
legatee in the will and codicil of the deceased testator Benigno shall be understood as made in favor of those nearest in degree.
E. A. Beltran for appellant. Diaz y Heredia, subject of trusteeship in these proceedings,"
E. P. Villar for appellees. this Court of the resolution of September 28, 1959, in which The argument fails to note that this article is specifically limited in its
R. F. Aviado for Trustee Bank. resolution the following was declared: application to the case where the beneficiaries are relatives of the testator, not
those of the legatee. In such an event, the law assumes that the testator intended
REYES, J.B.L., J.: "That the share of Filomena Diaz in the residue of to refer to the rules of intestacy, in order to benefit the relatives closest to him,
Appeal from an order, dated May 23, 1958 of the Court of First Instance the proceeds of the sale of the properties covered in because, as Manresa observes, —
of Manila in Special Proceedings No. 9226, denying appellant's petition paragraph 10 of the codicil aforesaid does not and
should not from part of her estate; it pertains to her la razon y la logica ha cen fundadamente suponer que, al procurar
therein as hereafter discussed. este favorecer a sus parientes, habria de ajustarse mas a ligadas al
legitimate descendants; and
2
mismo (testador) por los vinculos de la sanger y de la familia Con poco acierto, a nuestro juicio, los autores del vigente (c) Rejected finally the rule of Article 1022 (old Art. 986), that vacancies in the
(6 Manresa, Comm., 7th Ed., p. 72). Codigo han suprimido esta salvedad del Proyecto del 51, y con free part should be filed according to the rules of accretion or substitution (not
But the ratios legis (that among a testator's relative the closest are dearest) ello han instaurado una norma rigida, distanciada de lo que representation); and in default of these two, ultimately inherited by the testator's
obviously does not supply where the beneficiaries are relatives of another exige la equidad y de lo que suelen establecer los Codiogos own heirs intestate:
person (the legatee) and noot of the testator . There is no logical reason in extranjeros. Los commentaristas convienen en que la supresion ART. 1022. In testamentary succession, when the right of accretion
this case to presume that the testator intended to refer to the rules of ha sido intencionada, y por consiguiente el proposito del does not take place, the vacant portion of the instituted heirs, if no
intestacy, for he precisely made a testament and provided substitutes for legaslador es que en esta clase de llamamientos no se da el substitute has been designated, shall pass to the legal heirs of the
each legatee; nor can it be said that his affections would prefer the nearest derecho, de representacion. Dice Manresa que el art. 751 "tiene testator, who shall receive it with the same charges and obligations.
relatives of the legatee to those more distant, since he envisages all of por favorecidos con tal institucion, no a los parientes de mejor
derecho, sino a los mas proximos en grado y, por lo tanto, los There is no doubt that, the testator's intention being the cardinal rule of
them in a group, and only as mere substitutes for a preferred beneficiary. succession in the absence of compulsory (forced) heirs, he could have rendered
de primer grado excluiran a los de segundo y asi sucesivamente,
Should Article 959 (old Art. 751) be applied by anology? There are toda vez que la art. 915". La misma interpretacion dan al inoperative all the articles mentioned, if he had so desired. But without any other
various reasons against this. The most important one is that under this articulo de referencia NAVARRO AMANDI, MUCIUS supporting circumstances, we deem expression "o a sus desecendientes
article, as recognized by the principal commentators on the Code of 1889, SCAEVOLA, SANCHEZ ROMAN y VALVERDE. legitimos," the testator Benigno Diaz did intend to circumvent all the legal
the nearest of exclude all the farther relatives and right of representation provisions heretofore quoted. It was incumbent upon appellant to prove such
does not operate. Castan, in his monograph "El derecho de representacion The result would be that by applying to the descendants of Filorema Diaz intention on the part of the testator; yet she has not done so.
y mecanimos jurididos afines en la sucesion testamentaria" (Reus, 1942), the "nearest relatives" rule of Article 959, the inheritance would be limited
to her children, or anyone of them, excluding the grandchildren altogether. It is interesting to note that even under the Anglo-Saxon doctrine, the courts are
says on this question (Pp. 13, 14, 15): divided on the question whether a bequest to "relatives" or "issue," made in
This could hardly be the intention of the testator who, in the selfsame
En el subgrupo ibericio de Europia y America predomina, clause 10 of his council (ante), speaks of "cuatro hijos de mi difunto general terms, gives rise to succession per capita or per stripes. In Wyeth, et al.,
aunque haya ex excepciones, cuando menos en principio, no hermano Fabian" and of "los hijos de Domingo Legarda," as well as of vs. Crane, 174 N.E. 871, the Supreme Court of Illinois said;
tiene cabida en la sucesion testamentaria. Asi, por ejemplo, lo "descendientes legitimos" of the other legates, to us indicating clearly that The meaning of the word "descendants", when used in a will or deed
establece la doctrina cientifica en Portugal y en la Argentina y he understood well that hijos and descendientes are not synonymous terms. to designate a class to take property passing by the will or deed, has
lo ha sancionado la jurisprudencia en Cuba. Observe that, in referring to the substitutes of Filomena Diaz, Nestor been frequently considered and decided by the Court of England and
En igual sentido, en la doctrina española es opinion general Santiago and Isabel M. de Santiago, the testator, does not even use the the United States. They established rule in England from an early date
que el derecho de representacion, dentro del Codigo civil, no description "sus hijos o descendientes," but only "descendientes". was that the word "descendants" or the word "issued" unexplained by
tiene lugar mas que en la sucesion intestada, y en la It is suggested that "descendientes legitimos" could mean the nearest anything in the context of the instrument, means all persons
testamentaria en la parte refernte a las legitimas. MUCIUS descendant but with the right of representation in favor of the more distant descending lineally from another, to the remotest degree, and includes
SCAEVOLA juzga que la reopresentacion, atraida por la relatives. Unquestionably, the testator was at liberty to provide a series of persons descended, even though their parents are living, and that such
herencia legitima, es repelida por la testada, y apunta, como successive substitutions in the order of proximity of relationship to the descendants take per capita stripes.
razon de ello, la de que "la primera descansa en la ley de la original legatee. And he, likewise, was free to ordain that the more distant The courts of this country are divided on the question of whether in
sangre, en el parentesco con su consiguiente atributo de linea y descendants should enjoy the right of representation as in intestate case of a gift or conveyance to "descendants" or "issue", children take
grado, elementos propios o indispensabnles para la succession. But to arrive at such conclusion, we must declare that the concurrently with their parents. The so- called English rule has been
repretascion , en tanto que l asegunda se basa exclusivamente testator had:. adhered to in New York, New Jersey, and Tenessee. . . . On the other
en la voluntad del testador, elemento diverso, en la orderen hand, the courts of Massachusetts, Maine, Rhode Island and South
legal, al de la naturaleza o de la sandre". Y el maestro DE (a) Rejected, or intended to reject, the right of accretion among co-heirs
and co-legatees, as established for testamentary successions by Articles Carolina have held that, in case of a gift or conveyance to
DIEGO, con orientacion anologa, piensa que como el titulo de descendants or issue, unexplained by anything in the context of
la sucesion testada es de origen voluntario y caracter 10016 (old Art. 982) and 1019, and intended to replace such accretion with
representation; instrument, children do not take currently with their parents.
personalismo, es evidente que no hay terminos habiles para el
derecho de representacion: los llamamientos son individuales y ART. 1016. In order that the right of accretion may take place We conclude that in the absence of other indications of contrary intent, the
la premoriencia del instituido, como su incapacidad, aniquilan in a testamentary succession, it shall be necessary: proper rule to apply in the instant case is that the testator, by designating a class
la institucion. or group of legatees, intended all members thereof to succeed per capita, in
(1) That two or more persons be called to the same inheritance, consonance with article 846. So that the original legacy to Filomena Diaz should
In the second place, the history of Article 751 (of the 1889 Code) shown or to the same portion thereof, pro indiviso; and be equally divided among her surviving children and grandchidren.
that the right of representation was deliberately suppressed. Says Castan (2) That one of the persons thus called die before the testator or
(op. cit., 24): The order appealed from is affirmed, with costs to the appellant..
renounce the inheritance, or be incapacitated to receive it.
En nuestra Patria opino GARCIA GOYENA que debia tener a G.R. No. L-66574 February 21, 1990
xxx xxx xxx
los parientos mas representacion aun cuando el testator llame ANSELMA DIAZ, guardian of VICTOR, RODRIGO, ANSELMINA and
abiertamente la voluntad del testador, debe "observarse el ART. 1019. The heirs to whom the petition goes by the right of MIGUEL, all surnamed SANTERO, and FELIXBERTA PACURSA,
orden de la sucesion legitima, al que se presume que en todo lo accretion take it in the same proportion that they inherit. guardian of FEDERICO SANTERO, et al., petitioners,
demas quiso atemperase. Poe ello, el art. 562 Proyecto de 1851 (b) Refused, likewise, the rule of Article 846 (reproduced from Article 765 vs.
quedo redactadso asi: "La disposicion hecha simple y of the Code of 1889) providing that: INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT and FELISA PAMUTI
generalmente a favor de los parientes del testador, se entiende JARDIN, respondents.
hecha en favor de los mas proximos en grado ; pero habra Heirs instituted without designation of shares shall inherit in
equal parts, Ambrosio Padilla, Mempin & Reyes Law Offices for petitioners.
lugar al derecho de representacion con todos sus efectos, con
arreglo al tittulo siguiento". which would not obtain if the right of representation were to apply; Pedro S. Sarino for respondent Felisa Pamuti Jardin.

3
RESOLUTION Petitioners claim that the amendment of Articles 941 and 943 of the old "The rules laid down in Article 982 that 'grandchildren and other descendants
Civil Code (Civil Code of Spain) by Articles 990 and 992 of the new Civil shall inherit by right of representation and in Article 902 that the rights of
Code (Civil Code of the Philippines) constitute a substantial and not illegitimate children ... are transmitted upon their death to their descendants,
PARAS, J.: merely a formal change, which grants illegitimate children certain whether legitimate or illegitimate are subject to the limitation prescribed by
The decision of the Second Division of this Court in the case of Anselma successional rights. We do not dispute the fact that the New Civil Code has Article 992 to the end that an illegitimate child has no right to inherit ab
Diaz, et al. vs. Intermediate Appellate Court, et al., G.R. No. 6574, given illegitimate children successional rights, which rights were never intestato from the legitimate children and relatives of his father or mother."'
promulgated June 17, 1987 declaring Felisa Pamuti-Jardin to be the sole before enjoyed by them under the Old Civil Code. They were during that (Amicus Curiae's Opinion by former Justice Minister Ricardo C. Puno, p. 12)
legitimate heir to the intestate estate of the late Simona Pamuti Vda. de time merely entitled to support. In fact, they are now considered as "Article 992 of the New Civil Code provides a barrier or iron curtain in that it
Santero, and its Resolution of February 24, 1988 denying the Motion for compulsory primary heirs under Article 887 of the new Civil Code (No. 5 prohibits absolutely a succession ab intestato between the illegitimate child and
Reconsideration dated July 2, 1987, are being challenged in this Second in the order of intestate succession). Again, We do not deny that fact. the legitimate children and relatives of the father or mother of said illegitimate
Motion for Reconsideration dated July 5, 1988. After the parties had filed These are only some of the many rights granted by the new Code to child. They may have a natural tie of blood, but this is not recognized by law for
their respective pleadings, the Court, in a resolution dated October 27, illegitimate children. But that is all. A careful evaluation of the New Civil the purpose of Article 992. Between the legitimate family and the illegitimate
1988, resolved to grant the request of the petitioners for oral argument Code provisions, especially Articles 902, 982, 989, and 990, claimed by family there is presumed to be an intervening antagonism and incompatibility.
before the court en banc, and the case was set for hearing on November petitioners to have conferred illegitimate children the right to represent The illegitimate child is disgracefully looked down upon by the legitimate
17, 1988 to resolve the question: Does the term "relatives" in Article 992 their parents in the inheritance of their legitimate grandparents, would in family; and the family is in turn, hated by the illegitimate child; the latter
of the New Civil Code which reads: point of fact reveal that such right to this time does not exist. considers the privileged condition of the former, and the resources of which it is
An illegitimate child has no right to inherit ab Let Us take a closer look at the above-cited provisions. thereby deprived; the former, in turn, sees in the illegitimate child nothing but
intestato from the legitimate children or relatives of Art.902. The rights of illegitimate children set forth in the the product of sin, palpable evidence of a blemish broken in life; the law does no
his father or mother; nor shall such children or preceding articles are transmitted upon their death to their more than recognize this truth, by avoiding further ground of resentment." (7
relatives inherit in the same manner from the descendants, whether legitimate or illegitimate. Manresa 110 cited in Grey v. Fable 40 OG (First S) No. 3, p. 196).
illegitimate child. According to petitioners, the commentaries of Manresa as above- quoted are
Art. 982. The grandchildren and other descendants shall inherit
include the legitimate parents of the father or mother of the illegitimate by right of representation and if any one of them should have based on Articles 939 to 944 of the old Civil Code and are therefore inapplicable
children? Invited to discuss as amici curiaeduring the hearing were the died, leaving several heirs, the portion pertaining to him shall to the New Civil Code and to the case at bar. Petitioners further argue that the
following: Justice Jose B.L. Reyes, former Justice Minister Ricardo C. be divided among the latter in equal portions. (933) consistent doctrine adopted by this Court in the cases of Llorente vs. Rodriguez,
Puno, Dr. Arturo Tolentino, former Justice Eduardo Caguioa, and et al., 10 Phil., 585; Centeno vs. Centeno, 52 Phil. 322, and Oyao vs. Oyao, 94
Professor Ruben Balane. Art. 989. If, together with illegitimate children, there should Phil. 204, cited by former Justice Minister Justice Puno, Justice Caguioa, and
survive descendants of another illegitimate child who is dead, Prof. Balane, which identically held that an illegitimate child has no right to
The facts of the case, as synthesized in the assailed decision, are as the former shall succeed in their own right and the latter by succeed ab intestato the legitimate father or mother of his natural parent (also a
follows: right of representation. (940a) legitimate child himself is already abrogated by the amendments made by the
It is undisputed: 1) that Felisa Pamuti Jardin is a niece of Art. 990. The hereditary rights granted by the two preceding Now Civil Code and thus cannot be made to apply to the instant case.
Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero who together with Felisa's articles to illegitimate children shall be transmitted upon their Once more, We decline to agree with petitioner. We are fully aware of certain
mother Juliana were the only legitimate children of the spouses death to their descendants, who shall inherit by right substantial changes in our law of succcession, but there is no change whatsoever
Felipe Pamuti and Petronila Asuncion; 2) that Juliana married of representation from their deceased grandparent. (941a) with respect to the provision of Article 992 of the Civil Code. Otherwise, by the
Simon Jardin and out of their union were born Felisa Pamuti Emphasis supplied). said substantial change, Article 992, which was a reproduction •f Article 943 of
and another child who died during infancy; 3) that Simona the Civil Code of Spain, should have been suppressed or at least modified to
Pamuti Vda. de Santero is the widow of Pascual Santero and Articles 902, 989, and 990 clearly speak of successional rights
of illegitimate children, which rights are transmitted to their descendants clarify the matters which are now the subject of the present controversy. While
the mother of Pablo Santero; 4) that Pablo Santero was the
upon their death. The descendants (of these illegitimate children) who may the New Civil Code may have granted successional rights to illegitimate
only legitimate son of his parents Pascual Santero and Simona children, those articles, however, in conjunction with Article 992, prohibit the
Pamuti Vda. de Santero; 5) that Pascual Santero died in 1970; inherit by virtue of the right of representation may be legitimate or
illegitimate. In whatever manner, one should not overlook the fact that the right of representation from being exercised where the person to be represented
Pablo Santero in 1973 and Simona Santero in 1976; 6) that
persons to be represented are themselves illegitimate. The three named is a legitimate child. Needless to say, the determining factor is the legitimacy or
Pablo Santero, at the time of his death was survived by his illegitimacy of the person to be represented. If the person to be represented is an
mother Simona Santero and his six minor natural children to provisions are very clear on this matter. The right of representation is not
available to illegitimate descendants of legitimate children in the illegitimate child, then his descendants, whether legitimate or illegitimate, may
wit: four minor children with Anselma Diaz and two minor
inheritance of a legitimate grandparent. It may be argued, as done by represent him; however, if the person to be represented is legitimate, his
children with Felixberta Pacursa. illegitimate descendants cannot represent him because the law provides that only
(pp. 1-2, Decision; pp. 190-191, Rollo) petitioners, that the illegitimate descendant of a legitimate child is entitled
to represent by virtue of the provisions of Article 982, which provides that his legitimate descendants may exercise the right of representation by reason of
Briefly stated, the real issue in the instant case is this — who are the legal "the grandchildren and other descendants shall inherit by right of the barrier imposed Article 992. In this wise, the commentaries of Manresa on
heirs of Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero — her niece Felisa Pamuti-Jardin representation." Such a conclusion is erroneous. It would allow intestate the matter in issue, even though based on the old Civil Code, are still very much
or her grandchildren (the natural children of Pablo Santero)? succession by an illegitimate child to the legitimate parent of his father or applicable to the New Civil Code because the amendment, although substantial,
The present controversy is confined solely to the intestate estate of mother, a situation which would set at naught the provisions of Article did not consist of giving illegitimate children the right to represent their natural
Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero. In connection therewith, We are tasked 992. Article 982 is inapplicable to instant case because Article 992 parents (legitimate) in the intestate succession of their grandparents (legitimate).
with determining anew whether petitioners as illegitimate children of prohibits absolutely a succession ab intestato between the illegitimate It is with the same line of reasoning that the three aforecited cases may be said to
Pablo Santero could inherit from Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero, by child and the legitimate children and relatives of the father or mother. It be still applicable to the instant case.
right of representation of their father Pablo Santero who is a legitimate may not be amiss to state that Article 982 is the general rule and Article Equally important are the reflections of the Illustrious Hon. Justice Jose B.L.
child of Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero. 992 the exception. Reyes which also find support from other civilists. We quote:
4
In the Spanish Civil Code of 1889 the right of representation any rule of interpretation. Besides, he further states that when the law nullity of the extrajudicial settlement of the estate of Jose Sebastian and
was admitted only within the legitimate family; so much so intends to use the term in a more restrictive sense, it qualifies the term with Tomasina Paul.
that Article 943 of that Code prescribed that an illegitimate the word collateral, as in Articles 1003 and 1009 of the New Civil Code. Petitioner Restituta Leonardo is the only legitimate child of the late
child can not inherit ab intestato from the legitimate children Thus, the word "relatives" is a general term and when used in a statute it spouses Tomasina Paul and Balbino Leonardo. Private respondents Teodoro,
and relatives of his father and mother. The Civil Code of the embraces not only collateral relatives but also all the kindred of the person Victor, Corazon, Piedad, as well as the late Eduvigis and Dominador, all
Philippines apparently adhered to this principle since it spoken of, unless the context indicates that it was used in a more restrictive surnamed Sebastian, are the illegitimate children of Tomasina with Jose
reproduced Article 943 of the Spanish Code in its own Art. or limited sense — which as already discussed earlier, is not so in the case Sebastian after she separated from Balbino Leonardo.
992, but with fine inconsistency, in subsequent articles (990, at bar.
995 and 998) our Code allows the hereditary portion of the In an action to declare the nullity of the extrajudicial settlement of the
illegitimate child to pass to his own descendants, whether To recapitulate, We quote this: estate of Tomasina Paul and Jose Sebastian before Branch 57, RTC of San
legitimate or illegitimate. So that while Art. 992 prevents the The lines of this distinction between legitimates and Carlos City, Pangasinan, petitioner alleged that, on June 24, 1988, at around 5:00
illegitimate issue of a legitimate child from representing him in illegitimates. which goes back very far in legal history, have p.m., private respondent Corazon Sebastian and her niece Julieta Sebastian, and
the intestate succession of the grandparent, the illegitimates of been softened but not erased by present law. Our legislation has a certain Bitang, came to petitioners house to persuade her to sign a deed of
an illegitimate child can now do so. This difference being not gone so far as to place legitimate and illegitimate children extrajudicial partition of the estate of Tomasina Paul and Jose Sebastian. Before
indefensible and unwarranted, in the future revision of the on exactly the same footing. Even the Family Code of 1987 signing the document, petitioner allegedly insisted that they wait for her husband
Civil Code we shall have to make a choice and decide either (EO 209) has not abolished the gradation between legitimate Jose Ramos so he could translate the document which was written in English.
that the illegitimate issue enjoys in all cases the right of and illegitimate children (although it has done away with the Petitioner, however, proceeded to sign the document even without her husband
representation, in which case Art. 992 must be suppressed; or sub-classification of illegitimates into natural and 'spurious'). It and without reading the document, on the assurance of private respondent
contrariwise maintain said article and modify Articles 992 and would thus be correct to say that illegitimate children have only Corazon Sebastian that petitioners share as a legitimate daughter of Tomasina
998. The first solution would be more in accord with an those rights which are expressly or clearly granted to them by Paul was provided for in the extrajudicial partition. Petitioner then asked private
enlightened attitude vis-a-vis illegitimate children. (Reflections law (vide Tolentino, Civil Code of the Philippines, 1973 ed., respondent Corazon and her companions to wait for her husband so he could
on the Reform of hereditary Succession, JOURNAL of the vol. III, p. 291). (Amicus Curiae's Opinion by Prof. Ruben read the document. When petitioners husband arrived, however, private
Integrated Bar of the Philippines, First Quartet 1976, Volume Balane, p. 12). respondent Corazon and her companions had left without leaving a copy of the
4, Number 1, pp. 40-41). (p. 7, Decision; p. 196, Rollo) document. It was only when petitioner hired a lawyer that they were able to
In the light of the foregoing, We conclude that until Article 992 is secure a copy and read the contents thereof.
It is therefore clear from Article 992 of the New Civil Code that the suppressed or at least amended to clarify the term "relatives" there is no
phrase "legitimate children and relatives of his father or mother" includes other alternative but to apply the law literally. Thus, We hereby reiterate Petitioner refuted[3] private respondents claim that they were the
Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero as the word "relative" is broad enough to the decision of June 17, 1987 and declare Felisa Pamuti-Jardin to be the legitimate children and sole heirs of Jose Sebastian and Tomasina Paul. Despite
comprehend all the kindred of the person spoken of. (Comment, p. 139 sole heir to the intestate estate of Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero, to the the (de facto) separation of petitioners father Balbino Leonardo and Tomasina
Rollo citing p. 2862 Bouvier's Law Dictionary vol. 11, Third Revision, exclusion of petitioners. Paul, the latter remained the lawful wife of Balbino. Petitioner maintained that
Eight Edition) The record reveals that from the commencement of this no joint settlement of the estate of Jose Sebastian and Tomasina Paul could be
WHEREFORE, the second Motion for Reconsideration is DENIED, and effected since what existed between them was co-ownership, not conjugal
case the only parties who claimed to be the legitimate heirs of the late
Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero are Felisa Pamuti Jardin and the six the assailed decision is hereby AFFIRMED. partnership. They were never married to each other. The extrajudicial partition
minor natural or illegitimate children of Pablo Santero. Since petitioners SO ORDERED. was therefore unlawful and illegal.
herein are barred by the provisions of Article 992, the respondent G.R. No. 125485. September 13, 2004] Petitioner also claimed that her consent was vitiated because she was
Intermediate Appellate Court did not commit any error in holding Felisa deceived into signing the extrajudicial settlement. She further denied having
RESTITUTA
Pamuti Jardin to be the sole legitimate heir to the intestate estate of the LEONARDO, assisted by JOSE T. RAMOS, petitioners, appeared before Judge Juan Austria of the Municipal Trial Court (MTC) of
late Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero. vs. COURT OF APPEALS, and TEODORO SEBASTIAN, VICENTE Urbiztondo, Pangasinan on July 27, 1988 to acknowledge the execution of the
SEBASTIAN, CORAZON SEBASTIAN, assisted by ANDRES extrajudicial partition.
It is Our shared view that the word "relatives" should be construed in its MARCELO; PEDAD SEBASTIAN, HEIRS OF EDUVIGIS
general acceptation. Amicus curiae Prof. Ruben Balane has this to say: SEBASTIAN, namely: EDUARDO S. TENORLAS, ABELARDO J. Private respondents, in their answer with counterclaim,[4] raised the
The term relatives, although used many times in the Code, is TENORLAS, ADELA S. and SOLEDAD S. TENORLAS, represented defense of lack of cause of action. They insisted that the document in question
not defined by it. In accordance therefore with the canons of by EDUARDO S. TENORLAS, and HEIRS OF DOMINADOR, was valid and binding between the parties. According to them, on July 27, 1988,
statutory interpretation, it should be understood to have a namely: NAPOLEON SEBASTIAN, RUPERTO SEBASTIAN, they personally appeared before Judge Austria of the MTC of Urbiztondo, who
general and inclusive scope, inasmuch as the term is a general ADORACION SEBASTIAN, PRISCILLA SEBASTIAN, LITA read and explained the contents of the document which all of them, including
one. Generalia verba sunt generaliter intelligenda. That the SEBASTIAN, TITA SEBASTIAN and GLORIA SEBASTIAN, petitioner, voluntarily signed.
law does not make a distinction prevents us from making represented by NAPOLEON SEBASTIAN; EVELYN SEBASTIAN; Private respondents contended that their declaration that they were
one: Ubi lex non distinguit, nec nos distinguera AURORA SEBASTIAN; and JULIETA SEBASTIAN, respondents. legitimate children of Jose Sebastian and Tomasina Paul did not affect the
debemus. Esrinche, in his Diccionario de Legislacion y DECISION validity of the extrajudicial partition. Petitioners act of signing the document
Jurisprudencia defines parientes as "los que estan relacionados estopped her to deny or question its validity. They moreover averred that the
por los vinculos de la sangre, ya sea por proceder unos de CORONA, J.: action filed by petitioner was incompatible with her complaint. Considering that
otros, como los descendientes y ascendientes, ya sea por This is a petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court petitioner claimed vitiation of consent, the proper action was annulment and not
proceder de una misma raiz o tronco, como los colaterales. seeking to reverse and set aside the decision[1] of the Court of Appeals declaration of nullity of the instrument.
(cited in Scaevola, op. cit., p. 457). (p. 377, Rollo) which in turn affirmed the judgment[2] of Branch 57, Regional Trial Court On July 27, 1989, petitioner filed an amended complaint[5] to include
According to Prof. Balane, to interpret the term relatives in Article 992 in (RTC) of San Carlos City, dismissing for lack of cause of action the
parties to the extrajudicial partition who were not named as defendants in the
a more restrictive sense than it is used and intended is not warranted by complaint filed by petitioner against private respondents for declaration of original complaint.
5
During the August 23, 1990 pre-trial conference,[6] no amicable contract is entered into but the consent of one of the contracting parties
Q:isDid they come in?
settlement was reached and the parties agreed that the only issue to be vitiated by mistake or fraud committed by the other.[15] A: Yes, sir.
resolved was whether petitioners consent to the extrajudicial partition was Thus, in case one of the parties to a contract is unable to read Q:
andWho was the companion of your half sister Corazon Sebastian when she
voluntarily given. fraud is alleged, the person enforcing the contract must show that the terms arrived in your house?
In a decision dated February 22, 1993, the RTC of San Carlos City, thereof have been fully explained to the former.[16] Where a party is
Pangasinan rendered a decision[7] dismissing the complaint as well as the unable to read, and he expressly pleads in his reply that he signedA: theJulita Sebastian and her daughter Bitang, sir.
counterclaim. The court a quo ruled that the element of duress or fraud voucher in question without knowing (its) contents which have not been Q: And who is this Julita Sebastian to you?
that vitiates consent was not established and that the proper action was the explained to him, this plea is tantamount to one of mistake or fraud in the
reformation of the instrument, not the declaration of nullity of the execution of the voucher or receipt in question and the burden is shiftedA:toShe is my niece, sir.
extrajudicial settlement of estate. By way of obiter dictum, the trial court the other party to show that the former fully understood the contents ofQ:theAnd then when they got inside the house, what happened?
stated that, being a legitimate child, petitioner was entitled to one-half (or document; and if he fails to prove this, the presumption of mistake (ifA: notI asked them their purpose, sir.
19,282.5 sq.m.) of Tomasina Pauls estate as her legitime. The 7,671.75 fraud) stands unrebutted and controlling.[17]
square meters allotted to her in the assailed extrajudicial partition was Q: Did they tell you their purpose?
Contracts where consent is given by mistake or because of violence,
therefore less than her correct share as provided by law. intimidation, undue influence or fraud are voidable.[18] These A: I asked their purpose in coming to our house and they told me, I came here
On appeal, the Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment of the trial circumstances are defects of the will, the existence of which impairs the because I have a partition executed so that the share of each one of us will
court in its May 23, 1996 decision.[8] Hence, this petition for review freedom, intelligence, spontaneity and voluntariness of the party in giving be given, she said sir.
on certiorari under Rule 45. consent to the agreement. In determining whether consent is vitiatedQ:byDid you see that document?
The sole issue in this case is whether the consent given by any of the circumstances mentioned in Art. 1330 of the Civil Code, courts
A: Yes, sir.
petitioner to the extrajudicial settlement of estate was given voluntarily. are given a wide latitude in weighing the facts or circumstances in a given
case and in deciding in favor of what they believe actually occurred, ATTY. L. TULAGAN
We hold that it was not. considering the age, physical infirmity, intelligence, relationship andQ: theDid you read the document?
The essence of consent is the agreement of the parties on the terms conduct of the parties at the time of making the contract and subsequent
thereto, irrespective of whether the contract is in a public or private A: No, sir because I was waiting for my husband to have that document read or
of the contract, the acceptance by one of the offer made by the other. It is
writing.[19] translated to me because I could not understand, sir.
the concurrence of the minds of the parties on the object and the cause
which constitutes the contract.[9] The area of agreement must extend to Although under Art. 1332 there exists a presumption of mistakeQ:orWhat could you not understand?
all points that the parties deem material or there is no consent at all.[10] error accorded by the law to those who have not had the benefit of a goodA: I can not understand English, sir.
To be valid, consent must meet the following requisites: (a) it education, one who alleges any defect or the lack of a valid consent to a
Q: But anyway, can you read?
should be intelligent, or with an exact notion of the matter to which it contract must establish the same by full, clear and convincing evidence,
refers; (b) it should be free and (c) it should be spontaneous. Intelligence not merely by preponderance of evidence.[20] Hence, even as the burden A: Yes, sir in Pangasinan.
in consent is vitiated by error; freedom by violence, intimidation or undue of proof shifts to the defendants to rebut the presumption of mistake,Q: theNow, that document which according to you was brought by your half sister
influence; and spontaneity by fraud.[11] plaintiff who alleges such mistake (or fraud) must show that his personal Corazon Sebastian, what happened to that document?
circumstances warrant the application of Art. 1332.
In determining the effect of an alleged error, the courts must A: Corazon Sebastian request(ed) me to sign, sir.
consider both the objective and subjective aspects of the case which is the In this case, the presumption of mistake or error on the part of
petitioner was not sufficiently rebutted by private respondents. Private Q: Did you sign immediately?
intellectual capacity of the person who committed the mistake.[12]
respondents failed to offer any evidence to prove that the extrajudicial A: Yes, sir, because according to her, all my shares were embodied in that
Mistake, on the other hand, in order to invalidate consent should settlement of estate was explained in a language known to the document as a legal daughter.[21]
refer to the substance of the thing which is the object of the contract, or to
petitioner, i.e. the Pangasinan dialect. Clearly, petitioner, who only Petitioners wish to wait for her husband, Jose T. Ramos, to explain to her
those conditions which have principally moved one or both parties to finished Grade 3, was not in a position to give her free, voluntary and
enter into the contract.[13] the contents of the document in the Pangasinan dialect was a reasonable and
spontaneous consent without having the document, which was in English, prudent act that showed her uncertainty over what was written. Due to her
According to the late civil law authority, Arturo M. Tolentino, the explained to her in the Pangasinan dialect. She stated in open court that she limited educational attainment, she could not understand the document in
(old) rule that a party is presumed to know the import of a document to did not understand English. Her testimony, translated into English, was as
English. She wanted to seek assistance from her husband who was then out of
which he affixes his signature and is bound thereby, has been altered by follows: the house. However, due to the misrepresentation, deception and undue pressure
Art. 1332 of the Civil Code. The provision states that [w]hen one of the
Q: While you were there is your house at barangay Angatel, Urbiztondo, of her half-sister Corazon Sebastian, petitioner signed the document. Corazon
parties is unable to read, or if the contract is in a language not understood Pangasinan, what happened? assured petitioner that she would receive her legitimate share in the estate of
by him, and mistake or fraud is alleged, the person enforcing the contract
A: On June 24, 1988, I was in our house because I got sick, sir. their late mother.
must show that the terms thereof have been fully explained to the former.
Q: What happened? Later on, when petitioners husband examined the extrajudicial partition
Article 1332 was a provision taken from american law,
agreement, he found out that petitioner was deprived of her full legitime. Under
necessitated by the fact that there continues to be a fair number of people
A: When the time was about 5:00 oclock, I was awaken by my daughter- the law, petitioners share should have been one-half of her mothers estate,
in this country without the benefit of a good education or documents have in-law, Rita Ramos, and told me that my half sister Corazon would comprising a total area of 19,282.50 square meters. Under the defective
been written in English or Spanish.[14] The provision was intended to like to tell us something, sir. extrajudicial settlement of estate, however, petitioner was to receive only
protect a party to a contract disadvantaged by illiteracy, ignorance, mental
Q: What did you do? 7,671.75 square meters. This was a substantial mistake clearly prejudicial to the
weakness or some other handicap. It contemplates a situation wherein a
substantive interests of petitioner in her mothers estate. There is no doubt that,
A: I let them come in, sir.
given her lack of education, petitioner is protected by Art. 1332 of the Civil
6
Code. There is reason to believe that, had the provisions of the about this, as a matter of fact, I do not even know this person Private respondents also maintain that petitioner has no cause of action
extrajudicial agreement been explained to her in the Pangasinan dialect, personally since the remedy that should be pursued is an action for annulment and not for
she would not have consented to the significant and unreasonable WITNESS: declaration of nullity. Private respondents therefore pray for the dismissal of this
diminution of her rights. petition on the ground of lack of cause of action.
Somebody that kind of name appeared before me.
MTC Judge Austria, the officer who notarized the extrajudicial Before ruling on this procedural matter, a distinction between an action
settlement, stated that he explained the contents to all the parties ATTY. L. TULAGAN: for annulment and one for declaration of nullity of an agreement is called for.
concerned. Granting arguendo, however, that Judge Austria did indeed Q: Since you do not know everybody from Urbiztondo, Pangasinan it is An action for annulment of contract is one filed where consent is vitiated
explain the provisions of the agreement to them, the records do not reflect possible that another person appeared and signed for that name? by lack of legal capacity of one of the contracting parties, or by mistake,
that he explained it to petitioner in a language or dialect known to her. violence, intimidation, undue influence or fraud.[29] By its very nature,
Judge Austria never stated in his testimony before the court a quo what A: Yes, possible.[23]
annulment contemplates a contract which is voidable, that is, valid until
language or dialect he used in explaining the contents of the document to Therefore, the presumption of mistake under Article 1332 is
annulled. Such contract is binding on all the contracting parties until annulled
the parties.[22] Significantly, he was not even certain if the parties to the controlling, having remained unrebutted by private respondents. The and set aside by a court of law. It may be ratified. An action for annulment of
agreement were present during the notarization of the document: evidence proving that the document was not fully explained to petitioner in contract has a four-year prescriptive period.[30]
a language known to her, given her low educational attainment, remained
TTY. TULAGAN On the other hand, an action for declaration of nullity of contract
uncontradicted by private respondents. We find that, in the light of the
Reflected upon all the pages of this Exhibit 1 are numerous signatures, circumstances presented by the testimonies of the witnesses for both presupposes a void contract or one where all of the requisites prescribed by law
two of whom belongs (sic) to Piedad Paul Sebastian and Eduardo parties, the consent of petitioner was invalidated by a substantial mistake for contracts are present but the cause, object or purpose is contrary to law,
Sebastian Tenorlas. or error, rendering the agreement voidable. The extrajudicial partition morals, good customs, public order or public policy, prohibited by law or
TTY. D. TULAGAN between private respondents and petitioner should therefore be annulled declared by law to be void.[31] Such contract as a rule produces no legal and
and set aside on the ground of mistake. binding effect even if it is not set aside by direct legal action. Neither may it be
ontinuing) ratified. An action for the declaration of nullity of contract is imprescriptible.[32]
In Rural Bank of Caloocan, Inc. v. Court of Appeals,[24] we ruled
e Philippines on July, 1989, will you please educate us now Judge that a contract may be annulled on the ground of vitiated consent, even if The petitioners pleading was for the declaration of nullity of the
Austria on this document? the act complained of is committed by a third party without the connivance extrajudicial settlement of estate. However, this did not necessarily mean the
TTY. O. DE GUZMAN or complicity of one of the contracting parties. We found that a substantial automatic dismissal of the case on the ground of lack of cause of action.
at will be improper, your Honor. mistake arose from the employment of fraud or misrepresentation. The Granting that the action filed by petitioner was incompatible with her
plaintiff in that case was a 70-year-old unschooled and unlettered woman allegations, it is not the caption of the pleading but the allegations that determine
OURT who signed an unauthorized loan obtained by a third party on her behalf. the nature of the action.[33] The court should grant the relief warranted by the
hat is the question, you repeat the question. The Court annulled the contract due to a substantial mistake which allegations and the proof even if no such relief is prayed for.[34] In this case, the
invalidated her consent. allegations in the pleading and the evidence adduced point to no other remedy
TERPRETER:
By the same reasoning, if it is one of the contracting parties who but to annul the extrajudicial settlement of estate because of vitiated consent.
flected upon all the pages of this Exhibit 1 are numerous signatures, commits the fraud or misrepresentation, such contract may all the more be
two of whom belongs (sic) to Piedad Paul Sebastian and Eduardo WHEREFORE, the decision of the Court of Appeals dated 23 May 1996
annulled due to substantial mistake. is hereby REVERSED. The extrajudicial settlement of the estate of Tomasina
Sebastian Tenorlas, in your just concluded testimony, you said that
everyone of them appeared with you, we have here a documented In Remalante v. Tibe,[25] this Court ruled that misrepresentation to Paul and Jose Sebastian is hereby ANNULLED and SET ASIDE. No cost.
evidence coming from the Department of Justice, Bureau of an illiterate woman who did not know how to read and write, nor SO ORDERED.
Immigration and Deportation, Manila, certifying that Piedad Paul understand English, is fraudulent. Thus, the deed of sale was considered
vitiated with substantial error and fraud. This Court further held:[26] G.R. No. L-19281 June 30, 1965
Sebastian and Eduardo Sebastian Tenorlas did not arrive in the
Philippines or departed from the Philippines on July, 1998, will Since it has been established by uncontradicted evidence that the plaintiff IN THE MATTER OF THE INTESTATE ESTATE OF PEDRO
you please educate us now Judge Austria on this document? is practically unschooled and illiterate, not knowing how to read, write and SANTILLON, CLARO SANTILLON, petitioner-appellant,
understand the English language in which Exhibit 22 was drafted, it would vs.
TTY. O. DE GUZMAN:
have been incumbent upon the defendant to show that the terms there of PERFECTA MIRANDA, BENITO U. MIRANDA and ROSARIO
our Honor please, before the witness answer, may we examine the have been fully explained to the plaintiff. The evidence is entirely lacking CORRALES, oppositors-appellees.
certification first and may we state for the record that the month of
at this point, and the lack of it is fatal to the cause of the defendant for his Clodualdo P. Surio and Claro Santillon (in his own behalf) for petitioner-
July, 1998 does not specify any date. failure to discharge the burden of proof. appellant.
TTY. L. TULAGAN: Generally, the remedy of appeal by certiorari under Rule 45 of the Patricio M. Patajo for oppositors-appellees.
ly. Rules of Court contemplates only questions of law and not issues of BENGZON, C.J.:
TTY. O. DE GUZMAN: fact.[27] This rule, however, is inapplicable in cases such as the one at bar This is an appeal from the order of the Court of First Instance of Pangasinan,
where the factual findings complained of are absolutely devoid of support specifying the respective shares of the principal parties herein in the intestate
ut not a particular date, for the record. in the records or the assailed judgment of the appellate court is based on a estate of Pedro Santillon.
TTY. L. TULAGAN: misapprehension of facts.[28] Thus, this case is an exception to the general
rule on the conclusiveness of facts, the evidence pointing to no other On November 21, 1953, Santillon died without testament in Tayug, Pangasinan,
For the whole month of July, no departure and no arrival. This is a his residence, leaving one son, Claro, and his wife, Perfecta Miranda. During his
conclusion but the existence of vitiated consent, given the diminished
certificate from the Bureau of Immigration, Manila. I do not know marriage, Pedro acquired several parcels of land located in that province.
intellectual capacity of the petitioner and the misrepresentation of private
respondent Corazon Sebastian on the contents of the extrajudicial partition.

7
About four years after his death, Claro Santillon filed a petition for letters As she gets one-fourth, therefore, I get 3/4, says Claro. Perfecta, on the apply the article to this case on the ground that "child" is not included in
of administration. Opposition to said petition was entered by the widow other hand, cites Art. 996 which provides: "children," the consequences would be tremendous, because "children" will not
Perfecta Miranda and the spouses Benito U. Miranda and Rosario If a widow or widower and legitimate children or descendants include "child" in the following articles:
Corrales on the following grounds: (a) that the properties enumerated in are left, the surviving spouse has in the succession the same ART. 887. — The following are compulsory heirs: (1) legitimate
the petition were all conjugal, except three parcels which Perfecta share as that of each of the children. children and descendants ... .
Miranda claimed to be her exclusive properties; (b) that Perfecta Miranda
by virtue of two documents had conveyed 3/4 of her undivided share in Replying to Perfecta's claim, Claro says the article is unjust and ART. 888. — The legitime of legitimate children and descendants
most of the properties enumerated in the petition to said spouses Benito unequitable to the extent that it grants the widow the same share as that of consists of one-half of the hereditary estate ... .
and Rosario; (c) that administration of the estate was not necessary, there the children in intestate succession, whereas in testate, she is given 1/4 and ART. 896. — Illegitimate children who may survive ... are entitled to
being a case for partition pending; and (d) that if administration was the only child 1/2. one-fourth of the hereditary estate ... . (See also Art. 901).
necessary at all, the oppositor Perfecta Miranda and not the petitioner was Oppositor Perfecta Miranda, on the other hand, contends that Art. 996
better qualified for the post. It appears that subsequently, oppositor In fact, those who say "children" in Art. 996 does not include "child" seem to be
should control, regardless of its alleged inequity, being as it is, a provision inconsistent when they argue from the premise that "in testate succession the
Perfecta Miranda was appointed administratrix of the estate. on intestate succession involving a surviving spouse and a legitimate child, only legitimate child gets one-half and the widow, one-fourth." The
On March 22, 1961, the court appointed commissioners to draft within inasmuch as in statutory construction, the plural word "children" includes inconsistency is clear, because the only legitimate child gets one-half under Art.
sixty days, a project of partition and distribution of all the properties of the singular "child." 888, which speaks of "children," not "child." So if "children" in Art. 888
the deceased Pedro Santillon. Art. 892 of the New Civil Code falls under the chapter on Testamentary includes "child," the same meaning should be given to Art. 996.
On April 25, 1961, Claro filed a "Motion to Declare Share of Heirs" and Succession; whereas Art. 996 comes under the chapter on Legal or B. Unfairness of Art. 996. — Such position, more clearly stated, is this: In testate
to resolve the conflicting claims of the parties with respect to their Intestate Succession. Such being the case, it is obvious that Claro cannot succession, where there is only one child of the marriage, the child gets one-half,
respective rights in the estate. Invoking Art. 892 of the New Civil Code, rely on Art. 892 to support his claim to 3/4 of his father's estate. Art 892 and the widow or widower one-fourth. But in intestate , if Art. 996 is applied
he insisted that after deducting 1/2 from the conjugal properties is the merely fixes the legitime of the surviving spouse and Art. 888 thereof, the now, the child gets one-half, and the widow or widower one-half. Unfair or
conjugal share of Perfecta, the remaining 1/2 must be divided as follows: legitime of children in testate succession. While it may indicate the intent inequitable, they insist.
1/4 for her and 3/4 for him. Oppositor Perfecta, on the other hand, of the law with respect to the ideal shares that a child and a spouse should
get when they concur with each other, it does not fix the amount of shares On this point, it is not correct to assume that in testate succession the widow or
claimed that besides her conjugal half, she was entitled under Art. 996 of
the New Civil Code to another 1/2 of the remaining half. In other words, that such child and spouse are entitled to when intestacy occurs. Because if widower "gets only one-fourth." She or he may get one-half — if the testator so
Claro claimed 3/4 of Pedro's inheritance, while Perfecta claimed 1/2. the latter happens, the pertinent provision on intestate succession shall wishes. So, the law virtually leaves it to each of the spouses to decide (by
apply, i.e., Art. 996. testament, whether his or her only child shall get more than his or her survivor).
After due notice and hearing, the court, on June 28, 1961, issued an order,
the dispositive portion of which reads: Some commentators of our New Civil Code seem to support Claro's Our conclusion (equal shares) seems a logical inference from the circumstance
contention; at least, his objection to fifty-fifty sharing. But others confirm that whereas Article 834 of the Spanish Civil Code, from which Art. 996 was
IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING CONSIDERATIONS it is the half and half idea of the Pangasinan court. taken, contained two paragraphs governing two contingencies, the first, where
hereby ruled and ordered that in the intestate succession of the the widow or widower survives with legitimate children (general rule), and the
deceased Pedro Santillon, the surviving spouse Perfecta This is, remember, intestate proceedings. In the New Civil Code's chapter second, where the widow or widower survives with only one child (exception),
Miranda shall inherit ONE-HALF (1/2) share and the on legal or intestate succession, the only article applicable is Art. 996. Our Art. 996 omitted to provide for the second situation, thereby indicating the
remaining ONE-HALF (1/2) share for the only son, Atty. colleague, Mr. Justice J.B.L. Reyes, professor of Civil Law, is quoted as legislator's desire to promulgate just one general rule applicable to both
Claro Santillon. This is after deducting the share of the widow having expressed the opinion that under this article, when the widow situations.
as co-owner of the conjugal properties. ... . survives with only one legitimate child, they share the estate in equal
parts. 1 Senator Tolentino in his commentaries writes as follows: The resultant division may be unfair as some writers explain — and this we are
From this order, petitioner Claro Santillon has appealed to this Court. not called upon to discuss — but it is the clear mandate of the statute, which we
Two questions of law are involved. The first, raised in Perfecta's Motion One child Surviving. — If there is only one legitimate child are bound to enforce.
to Dismiss Appeal, is whether the order of the lower court is appealable. surviving with the spouse, since they share equally, one-half of
And the second, raised in appellant's lone assignment of error, is: How the estate goes to the child and the other half goes to the The appealed decision is affirmed. No costs in this instance.
shall the estate of a person who dies intestate be divided when the only surviving spouse. Although the law refers to "children or G.R. No. L-37365 November 29, 1977
survivors are the spouse and one legitimate child? descendants," the rule in statutory construction that the plural
GAUDENCIO BICOMONG, et al., plaintiffs-appellees,
can be understood to include the singular is applicable in this
The First Issue: — It is clear that the order of the lower court is final and, case. (Tolentino, Civil Code of the Philippines, Vol. III, p. 436.) vs.
therefore, appealable to this Court. GERONIMO ALMANZA, et al., defendant. FLORENTINO
The theory of those holding otherwise seems to be premised on these CARTENA, defendant-appellant.
Under Rule 109, sec. 1, a person may appeal in special proceedings from propositions: (a) Art. 996 speaks of "Children," therefore it does not apply
an order of the Court of First Instance where such order "determines ... the when there is only one "child"; consequently Art. 892 (and Art. 888) Antonio E. Lacsam & Cesar A. Azucena, Jr. for appellant.
distributive share of the estate to which such person is entitled." should be applied, thru a process of judicial construction and analogy; (b) Ricardo A. Fabros, Jr. for appellees.
The Second Issue: — Petitioner rests his claim to 3/4 of his father's estate Art. 996 is unjust or unfair because, whereas in testate succession, the
on Art. 892 of the New Civil Code which provides that: widow is assigned one-fourth only (Art. 892), she would get 1/2 in
intestate. GUERRERO, J.:
If only the legitimate child or descendant of the deceased
survives the widow or widower shall be entitled to one-fourth A. Children. — It is a maxim of statutory construction that words in plural This is an appeal certified to this Court by the Court of Appeals 1 in accordance
of the hereditary estate. ... . include the singular. 2 So Art. 996 could or should be read (and so applied) with the provisions of Sec. 17, paragraph (4) of the Judiciary Act of 1948, as
: "If the widow or widower and a legitimate child are left, the surviving amended, since the only issue raised is the correct application of the law and
spouse has the same share as that of the child." Indeed, if we refuse to jurisprudence on the matter which is purely a legal question.

8
The following findings of fact by the Court of First Instance of Laguna W. by Feliciana Glorioso Covered by Tax No. 12713 for the
and San Pablo City in Civil Case No. SP-265, and adopted by the Court of year 1948 in the name of Silvestra Glorioso, now Tax No.
Appeals, show that: 31232, assessed at P170.00 in the name of defendant Geronimo
Simeon Bagsic was married to Sisenanda Barcenas on June 8, Almanza;
1859 (Exh. "D") Of this marriage there were born three B. A parcel of land, also situated in Bo. San Ignacio, City of
children namely: Perpetua Bagsic (Exhibit G), Igmedia Bagsic San Pablo, planted with fruit bearing coconut trees, with an area
(Exhibit F), and Ignacio Bagsic (Exhibit H). Sisenanda of 9,455 sq. m. Bounded on the N. by Paulino Gajuco; on the E.
Barcenas died ahead of her husband Simeon Bagsic. by Felisa Gavino and German Garigan; on the S. by Esteban Three sets of plaintiffs filed the complaint on December 1, 1959, namely: (a) the
On June 3, 1885, Simeon Bagsic remarried Silvestra Glorioso Calayag; and on the W. by Laureano Ambion, Covered by Tax Bicomongs, children of Perpetua Bagsic; (b) the Tolentinos, children of Igmedia
(Exhibit "E"). Of this second marriage were born two children, No. 12714 for the year 1948 in the name of defendant Bagsic; and (c) Francisco Bagsic, daughter of Ignacio Bagsic, in the Court of
Felipa Bagsic (Exhibit J) and Maura Bagsic (Exhibit I). Geronimo Almanza; First Instance of Laguna and San Pablo City against the defendants Geronimo
Simeon Bagsic died sometime in 1901. Silvestra Glorioso also C. A parcel of land situated in same Bo. San Ignacio, City of Almanza and Engracio Menese for the recovery of their lawful shares in the
died. San Pablo, planted with 376 fruit bearing coconut trees and properties left by Maura Bagsic.

Ignacio Bagsic died on April 18, 1939 (Exhibit C) leaving the having an area of 11,739 sq. m. Bounded on the N. by Jacinto After the death of Maura Bagsic, the above-described properties passed on to
plaintiff Francisca Bagsic as his only heir. Igmedia Bagsic also Alvero, Anacleto Glorioso and Bernardino Alma; on the E. by Cristela Almanza who took charge of the administration of the same. Thereupon,
died on August 19, 1944 (Exhibit B) survived by the plaintiffs Bernardino Alma; on the S. by Rosendo Banaad, Jacinto Alvero the plaintiffs approached her and requested for the partition of their aunt's
Dionisio Tolentino, Maria Tolentino and Petra Tolentino. and Casayan River; and on the W. by Anacleto Glorioso properties. However, they were prevailed upon by Cristeta Almanza not to
Covered by Tax No. 12715 for the year 1948 in the name of divide the properties yet as the expenses for the last illness and burial of Maura
Perpetua Bagsic died on July 1, 1945 (Exhibit A). Surviving Silvestra Glorioso, now Tax No. 31234, assessed at P2,720.00 Bagsic had not yet been paid. Having agreed to defer the partition of the same,
her are her heirs, the plaintiffs Gaudencio Bicomong, Felicidad in the name of defendant Geronimo Almanza; the plaintiffs brought out the subject again sometime in 1959 only. This time
Bicomong, Salome Bicomong, and Gervacio Bicomong. Cristeta Almanza acceded to the request as the debts, accordingly, had already
D. A residential lot, situated at P. Alcantara Street, Int., City of
Of the children of the second marriage, Maura Bagsic died also San Pablo, with an area of 153, sq. m. Bounded on the N. by been paid. Unfortunately, she died without the division of the properties having
on April 14, 1952 leaving no heir as her husband died ahead of heirs of Pedro Calampiano; on the E. by Petronilo Cartago; on been effected, thereby leaving the possession and administration of the same to
her. Felipa Bagsic, the other daughter of the second Geronimo the S. by Ignacio Yerro; and on the W. by Melecio Cabrera. the defendants.
Almanza and her daughter Cristeta Almanza. But five (5) Covered by Tax No. 17653 for the year 1948 in the name of After trial, the court rendered judgment, the dispositive portion of which reads:
months before the present suit was filed or on July 23, 1959, Silvestra Glorioso, now Tax No. 21452, assessed at P610.00 in
Cristeta Almanza died leaving behind her husband, the WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of
the name of Cristeta Almanza; and the plaintiffs who are hereby declared to be entitled to ten
defendant herein Engracio Manese (Exhibit 1-Manese) and her
father Geronimo Almanza. E. A parcel of coconut land, situated at Bo. Buenavista, twenty-fourth (10/24) share on the five parcels of land in
Candelaria, Quezon, planted with 300 coconut trees fruit dispute. The defendant Engracio Manese and the heirs of
(
bearing. Area - 24,990 sq. m. Bounded on the N. (Ilaya) by the deceased Geronimo Almanza, who are represented in
R
heirs of Pedro de Gala on the E. by Julian Garcia; on the S. the instant case by the administrator Florentino Cartena,
(Ibaba) byo Julian Garcia, and on the W. by Taguan River. are hereby required to pay the plaintiffs from July 23,
Covered byl Tax No. 21452, assessed at P910.00. 1959 the sum of P625.00 per annum until the ten-twenty
l fourth (10/24) share on the five parcels of land are
o (
delivered to
R the plaintiffs, with legal interest from the time
, this decision
e shall have become final.
p With costscagainst the defendants.
p SO ORDERED.o
. r
City of Sand Pablo, September 21, 1962.
2
- o
3 n
)
A
The subject matter of the complaint in Civil Case No. SP-265 concerns p
the one-half undivided share of Maura Bagsic in the following described p
five (5) parcels of land which she inherited from her deceased mother, e
Silvestra Glorioso, to wit: a
A. A parcel of land in Bo. San Ignacio, City of San Pablo, l
planted with 38 fruit bearing coconut trees, with an area of ,
1,077, sq. m. Bounded on the N. by German Garingan; on the
E. by Juan Aliagas; on the S. by Bernardino Alina; and on the p

9
Art. 1004 of the New Civil Code which provides that "should the only Melanie Baldovino, et al., No. L-11960, December 27, 1958, 104 Phil. 1065
survivors be brothers and sisters B of the full blood, they shall inherit in (unreported) and in Alviar vs. Alviar, No. L-22402, June 30, 1969, 28 SCRA
equal shares," and he concludesAwith the rule that the relatives nearest in 610).
degree excludes the more distantUones. (Art. 962, New Civil Code) The contention of the appellant that Maura Bagsic should be succeeded by
T
On the other hand, plaintiffs-appellees claim that the date of death of Felipa Bagsic, her sister of full blood, to the exclusion of the nephews and nieces
Felipa Bagsic was not raised asIan issue in the trial court. It was even the of half blood citing Art. 1004, NCC is unmeritorious and erroneous for it is
S as clearly shown in the transcript of the
subject of stipulation of the parties based on an erroneous factual assumption, that is, that Felipa Bagsic died in
T
stenographic notes that Felipa Bagsic died on May 9. 1945. 3 1955, which as indicated here before, is not true as she died on May 9, 1945,
A thus she predeceased her sister Maura Bagsic.
The Court of Appeals ruled that the facts of the case have been duly
established in the trial court and Jthat the only issue left for determination is We find the judgment of the trial court to be in consonance with law and
a purely legal question involving u the correct application of the law and jurisprudence.
jurisprudence on the matter, hence d the appellate court certified this case to
g ACCORDINGLY, the judgment of the trial court is hereby affirmed. No costs.
Us.
e G.R. Nos. 89224-25 January 23, 1992
We hold that the provisions of Art. 975, 1006 and 1008 of the New Civil
Code are applicable to the admitted R facts of the case at bar. These Articles MAURICIO SAYSON, ROSARIO SAYSON-MALONDA, BASILISA
provide: e SAYSON-LIRIO, REMEDIOS SAYSON-REYES and JUANA C.
c BAUTISTA, petitioners,
Art. 975. When
o children of one or more brothers or vs.
sisters of rtile deceased survive, they shall inherit THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, DELIA SAYSON, assisted by
from the latter
d by representation, if they survive with her husband, CIRILO CEDO, JR., EDMUNDO SAYSON AND DORIBEL
their uncles or aunts. But if they alone survive, they SAYSON, respondents.
shall inherit
o in equal portions."
Art. 1006.n Should brothers and sisters of the full
blood survive together with brothers and sisters of CRUZ, J.:
A the former shall be entitled to a share
the half blood, At issue in this case is the status of the private respondents and their capacity to
double thatp of the latter. inherit from their alleged parents and grandparents. The petitioners deny them
p that right, asserting if for themselves to the exclusion of all others.
Art. 1008.eChildren of brothers and sisters of the half
blood shall a succeed per capita or per stirpes, in The relevant genealogical facts are as follows.
accordancel with the rules laid down for brothers and
sisters of the full blood. Eleno and Rafaela Sayson begot five children, namely, Mauricio, Rosario,
, Basilisa, Remedios and Teodoro. Eleno died on November 10, 1952, and
In the absence of defendants, ascendants, illegitimate children, or a Rafaela on May 15, 1976. Teodoro, who had married Isabel Bautista, died on
surviving spouse, Article 1003p of the New Civil Code provides that March 23, 1972. His wife died nine years later, on March 26, 1981. Their
collateral relatives shall succeed . to the entire estate of the deceased. It properties were left in the possession of Delia, Edmundo, and Doribel, all
appearing that Maura Bagsic died intestate without an issue, and her surnamed Sayson, who claim to be their children.
husband and all her ascendants had 4 died ahead of her, she is succeeded by
the surviving collateral relatives,7 namely the daughter of her sister of full On April 25, 1983, Mauricio, Rosario, Basilisa, and Remedios, together with
blood and the ten (10) children of her brother and two (2) sisters of half Juana C. Bautista, Isabel's mother, filed a complaint for partition and accounting
From the aforesaid decision of the trial court, Florentino Cartena, the of the intestate estate of Teodoro and Isabel Sayson. It was docketed as Civil
substitute defendant for Geronimo Almanza, appealed to the Court of blood in accordance with the provision of Art. 975 of the New Civil Code.
Case No. 1030 in Branch 13 of the Regional Trial Court of Albay. The action
Appeals. The other defendant, Engracio Manese, did not appeal and By virtue of said provision, the aforementioned nephews and nieces are was resisted by Delia, Edmundo and Doribel Sayson, who alleged successional
execution was issued with respect to the parcels of land in his possession, entitled to inherit in their own right. In Abellana-Bacayo vs. Ferraris- rights to the disputed estate as the decedents' lawful descendants.
that is, those described under Letters D and E in the complaint. Hence, the Borromeo, L-19382, August 31, I965, 14 SCRA 986, this Court held that
"nephews and nieces alone do not inherit by right of representation (that is On July 11, 1983, Delia, Edmundo and Doribel filed their own complaint, this
subject matter of the case on appeal was limited to the one-half undivided
per stirpes) unless concurring with brothers or sisters of the deceased." time for the accounting and partition of the intestate estate of Eleno and Rafaela
portion of only three of the five parcels of land described under letters A,
Sayson, against the couple's four surviving children. This was docketed as Civil
B and C in the complaint which defendant Cartena admitted to be only in Under the same provision, Art. 975, which makes no qualification as to Case No. 1042 in the Regional Trial Court of Albay, Branch 12. The
his possession. 2 whether the nephews or nieces are on the maternal or paternal line and complainants asserted the defense they raised in Civil Case No. 1030, to wit, that
On appeal, defendant-appellant Cartena contends that the provisions of without preference as to whether their relationship to the deceased is by Delia and Edmundo were the adopted children and Doribel was the legitimate
Arts. 995, 1006 and 1008 of the New Civil Code, applied by the trial whole or half blood, the sole niece of whole blood of the deceased does not daughter of Teodoro and Isabel. As such, they were entitled to inherit Teodoro's
court in allowing plaintiffs-appellees to succeed to the properties left by exclude the ten nephews and n of half blood. The only difference in their share in his parents' estate by right of representation.
Maura Bagsic were not the applicable provisions. He asserts that in the right of succession is provided in Art. 1008, NCC in relation to Article
Both cases were decided in favor of the herein private respondents on the basis
course of the trial of the case in the lower court, plaintiffs requested 1006 of the New Civil Code (supra), which provisions, in effect, entitle the
sole niece of full blood to a share double that of the nephews and nieces of of practically the same evidence.
defendants to admit that Felipa Bagsic, the sole sister of full blood of
Maura Bagsic, died on May 9. 1955. Since Maura Bagsic died on April half blood. Such distinction between whole and half blood relationships
14, 1952, Felipa succeeded to Maura's estate. In support thereof, he cites with the deceased has been recognized in Dionisia Padura, et al. vs.
10
Judge Rafael P. Santelices declared in his decision dated May 26, were proper parties, what they should have done was seasonably appeal to have been valid, while another court would hold it to have been of
1986, 1 that Delia and Edmundo were the legally adopted children of the decree of adoption, pointing to the birth of Doribel that disqualified no avail. (Emphasis supplied.)
Teodoro and Isabel from adopting Delia and Edmundo. They did not. In On the question of Doribel's legitimacy, we hold that the findings of the trial
Teodoro and Isabel Sayson by virtue of the decree of adoption dated
fact, they should have done this earlier, before the decree of adoption was courts as affirmed by the respondent court must be sustained. Doribel's birth
March 9, 1967. 2 Doribel was their legitimate daughter as evidenced by issued. They did not, although Mauricio claimed he had personal certificate is a formidable piece of evidence. It is one of the prescribed means of
her birth certificate dated February 27, 1967. 3 Consequently, the three knowledge of such birth. recognition under Article 265 of the Civil Code and Article 172 of the Family
children were entitled to inherit from Eleno and Rafaela by right of As the respondent court correctly observed: Code. It is true, as the petitioners stress, that the birth certificate offers
representation. When Doribel was born on February 27, 1967, or about TEN only prima facie evidence 9 of filiation and may be refuted by contrary
(10) days before the issuance of the Order of Adoption, the evidence. However, such evidence is lacking in the case at bar.
In his decision dated September 30, 1986, 4 Judge Jose S. Sañez
petitioners could have notified the court about the fact of birth
dismissed Civil Case No. 1030, holding that the defendants, being the Mauricio's testimony that he was present when Doribel was born to Edita Abila
of DORIBEL and perhaps withdrew the petition or perhaps
legitimate heirs of Teodoro and Isabel as established by the was understandbly suspect, coming as it did from an interested party. The
petitioners could have filed a petition for the revocation or
aforementioned evidence, excluded the plaintiffs from sharing in their rescission of the adoption (although the birth of a child is not affidavit of Abila 10 denying her earlier statement in the petition for the
estate. one of those provided by law for the revocation or rescission of guardianship of Doribel is of course hearsay, let alone the fact that it was never
Both cases were appealed to the Court of Appeals, where they were an adoption). The court is of the considered opinion that the offered in evidence in the lower courts. Even without it, however, the birth
consolidated. In its own decision dated February 28, 1989, 5 the adoption of the plaintiffs DELIA and EDMUNDO SAYSON is certificate must be upheld in line with Legaspi v. Court of Appeals, 11where we
valid, outstanding and binding to the present, the same not
respondent court disposed as follows: ruled that "the evidentiary nature of public documents must be sustained in the
having been revoked or rescinded.
WHEREFORE, in Civil Case No. 1030 (CA-G.R. absence of strong, complete and conclusive proof of its falsity or nullity."
Not having any information of Doribel's birth to Teodoro and Isabel
No. 11541), the appealed decision is hereby Another reason why the petitioners' challenge must fail is the impropriety of the
Sayson, the trial judge cannot be faulted for granting the petition for
AFFIRMED. In Civil case No. 1042 (CA-G.R. No. present proceedings for that purpose. Doribel's legitimacy cannot be questioned
adoption on the finding inter alia that the adopting parents were not
12364), the appealed decision is MODIFIED in that in a complaint for partition and accounting but in a direct action seasonably filed
disqualified.
Delia and Edmundo Sayson are disqualified from by the proper party.
inheriting from the estate of the deceased spouses A no less important argument against the petitioners is that their challenge
The presumption of legitimacy in the Civil Code . . . does
Eleno and Rafaela Sayson, but is affirmed in all to the validity of the adoption cannot be made collaterally, as in their
not have this purely evidential character. It serves a more
other respects. action for partition, but in a direct proceeding frontally addressing the
fundamental purpose. It actually fixes a civil status for the
issue.
SO ORDERED. child born in wedlock, and that civil status cannot be
The settled rule is that a finding that the requisite jurisdictional attacked collaterally. The legitimacy of the child can be
That judgment is now before us in this petition for review by certiorari.
facts exists, whether erroneous or not, cannot be questioned in impugned only in a direct action brought for that purpose,
Reversal of the respondent court is sought on the ground that it
a collateral proceeding, for a presumption arises in such cases by the proper parties, and within the period limited by law.
disregarded the evidence of the petitioners and misapplied the pertinent
where the validity of the judgment is thus attacked that the
law and jurisprudence when it declared the private respondents as the The legitimacy of the child cannot be contested by way of
necessary jurisdictional facts were proven [Freeman on
exclusive heirs of Teodoro and Isabel Sayson. defense or as a collateral issue in another action for a
Judgments, Vol. I, Sec. 350, pp. 719-720]. (Emphasis supplied.)
The contention of the petitioners is that Delia and Edmundo were not different purpose. . . . 12 (Emphasis supplied.)
In the case of Santos v. Aranzanso, 8 this Court declared:
legally adopted because Doribel had already been born on February 27,
Anent this point, the rulings are summed up in 2 In consequence of the above observations, we hold that Doribel, as the legitimate
1967, when the decree of adoption was issued on March 9, 1967. The
American Jurisprudence, 2nd Series, Adoption, Sec. daughter of Teodoro and Isabel Sayson, and Delia and Edmundo, as their
birth of Doribel disqualified her parents from adopting. The pertinent
75, p. 922, thus: adopted children, are the exclusive heirs to the intestate estate of the deceased
provision is Article 335 of the Civil Code, naming among those who
couple, conformably to the following Article 979 of the Civil Code:
cannot adopt "(1) Those who have legitimate, legitimated, acknowledged An adoption order implies the finding of the necessary facts and
natural children, or natural children by legal fiction." the burden of proof is on the party attacking it; it cannot be Art. 979. Legitimate children and their descendants
considered void merely because the fact needed to show succeed the parents and other ascendants, without
Curiously enough, the petitioners also argue that Doribel herself is not the
statutory compliance is obscure. While a judicial determination distinction as to sex or age, and even if they should come
legitimate daughter of Teodoro and Isabel but was in fact born to one
of some particular fact, such as the abandonment of his next of from different marriages.
Edita Abila, who manifested in a petition for guardianship of the child
kin to the adoption, may be essential to the exercise of An adopted child succeeds to the property of the adopting
that she was her natural mother. 6
jurisdiction to enter the order of adoption, this does not make it parents in the same manner as a legitimate child.
The inconsistency of this position is immediately apparent. The essential to the jurisdictional validity of the decree that the fact The philosophy underlying this article is that a person's love descends first to his
petitioners seek to annul the adoption of Delia and Edmundo on the be determined upon proper evidence, or necessarily in children and grandchildren before it ascends to his parents and thereafter spreads
ground that Teodoro and Isabel already had a legitimate daughter at the accordance with the truth; a mere error cannot affect the among his collateral relatives. It is also supposed that one of his purposes in
time but in the same breath try to demolish this argument by denying that jurisdiction, and the determination must stand until reversed on acquiring properties is to leave them eventually to his children as a token of his
Doribel was born to the couple. appeal, and hence cannot be collaterally attacked. If this were love for them and as a provision for their continued care even after he is gone
On top of this, there is the vital question of timeliness. It is too late now to not the rule, the status of adopted children would always be from this earth.
challenge the decree of adoption, years after it became final and uncertain, since the evidence might not be the same at all
investigations, and might be regarded with different effect by Coming now to the right of representation, we stress first the following pertinent
executory. That was way back in 1967. 7 Assuming the the petitioners different tribunals, and the adoption might be held by one court provisions of the Civil Code:

11
Art. 970. Representation is a right created by fiction From the record of this case, we cull the following salient facts: On May 4. That parties agree that Lots 1, 2 and 3 as described on page 3, 3rd
of law, by virtue of which the representative is 21, 1965, Gertrudes de los Santos filed a complaint for specific paragraph to the last of said partition agreement have been sold by the
raised to the place and the degree of the person performance against Maximo de la Cruz, alleging, among others, that on defendant herein; and parties further agree that there are no properly
represented, and acquires the rights which the latter August 24, 1963, she and several co-heirs, including the defendant, constructed roads, nor proper light and water facilities;
would have if he were living or if he could have executed an extrajudicial partition agreement (a copy of which was 5. That the parties agree that the defendant is the nephew of the
inherited. attached to the complaint) over a certain portion of land with an area of deceased Pelagia de la Cruz aforementioned, who was the owner and
Art. 971. The representative is called to the around 20,000 sq. m.; that the parties thereto had agreed to adjudicate three predecessor in interest of the land which was the subject matter of the
succession by the law and not by the person (3) lots to the defendant, in addition to his corresponding share, on extra-judicial partition agreement;
represented. The representative does not succeed condition that the latter would undertake the development and subdivision
of the estate which was the subject matter of the agreement, all expenses in 6. That the parties agree that the plaintiff is the grandniece of the said
the person represented but the one who the person Pelagia de la Cruz;
represented would have succeeded. connection therewith to be defrayed from the proceeds of the sale of the
aforementioned three (3) lots; that in spite of demands by the plaintiff, by 7. That Pelagia de la Cruz died intestate and without issue on October
Art. 981. Should children of the deceased and the co-heirs, and by the residents of the subdivision, the defendant refused 16, 1962, as evidenced by a death certificate, which is marked as
descendants of other children who are dead, to perform his aforesaid obligation although he had already sold the Exhibit "2" for tap defendant; and
survive, the former shall inherit in their own right, aforesaid lots. The plaintiff prayed the court to order the defendant to
and the latter by right of representation. comply with his obligation under the extrajudicial partition agreement and 8. That Marciana de la Cruz is the mother of the plaintiff and the
niece of the said Pelagia de la Cruz, and that the said Marciana de la
There is no question that as the legitimate daughter of Teodoro and thus to pay the sum of P1,000.00 as attorney's fees and costs.
Cruz died on September 22, 1935, as evidenced by Exhibit "3" for the
the granddaughter of Eleno and Rafaela, Doribel has a right to represent In his answer, the defendant admitted the due execution of the extrajudicial defendant.
her deceased father in the distribution of the intestate estate of her partition agreement, but set up the affirmative defenses that the plaintiff
grandparents. Under Article 981, quoted above, she is entitled to the share In its decision dated November 3, 1966, the court a quo held that the defendant,
had no cause of action against him because the said agreement was void
her father would have directly inherited had he survived, which shall be with respect to her, for the reason that the plaintiff was not an heir of being a party to the extrajudicial partition agreement, was estopped from raising
in issue the right of the plaintiff to inherit from the decedent Pelagia de la Cruz;
equal to the shares of her grandparents' other children. 13 Pelagia de la Cruz, deceased owner of the property, and was included in
hence, he must abide by the terms of the agreement. The court ordered the
the extrajudicial partition agreement by mistake; and that although he had
But a different conclusion must be reached in the case of Delia and disposed of the three lots adjudicated to him, nevertheless the proceeds of defendant "to perform his obligations to develop Lots 1, 2 and 3 of (LRC) Psd-
Edmundo, to whom the grandparents were total strangers. While it is true the sale were not sufficient to develop and improve properly the 29561 as described on page 2 of the Extrajudicial Partition Agreement"
that the adopted child shall be deemed to be a legitimate child and have (meaning, apparently, that the defendant should develop the subdivision because
subdivided estate. The answer contained a counterclaim wherein the
the same right as the latter, these rights do not include the right of defendant alleged that the plaintiff had likewise sold her share in the estate said Lots 1, 2 and 3 were intended to be sold for this purpose), and to pay the
representation. The relationship created by the adoption is between only for P10,000.00, and that the extrajudicial partition agreement being void plaintiff the sum of P2,000.00 as actual damages, the sum of P500.00 as
the adopting parents and the adopted child and does not extend to the insofar as the latter was concerned, he was entitled to one-fourth (1/4) of attorney's fees, and the costs. No disposition was made of defendant's
counterclaim. The defendant filed a "Motion for New Trial" but the same was
blood relatives of either party. 14 the proceeds as his share by way of reversion. The defendant prayed that
denied. Hence, this appeal.
the complaint be dismissed; that the extrajudicial partition agreement be
In sum, we agree with the lower courts that Delia and Edmundo as the declared void with respect to the plaintiff; and, on his counterclaim, that The seven (7) errors assigned by defendant-appellant in his brief boil down to
adopted children and Doribel as the legitimate daughter of Teodoro the plaintiff be ordered to pay him the sum of P2,500.00. the following:
Sayson and Isabel Bautista, are their exclusive heirs and are under no
obligation to share the estate of their parents with the petitioners. The On motion of the defendant, the court below entered an order on July 19, 1. The court a quo erred in not holding that the extrajudicial partition
Court of Appeals was correct, however, in holding that only Doribel has 1965, declaring the plaintiff in default for not having answered the agreement is null and void with respect to plaintiff-appellee, and,
the right of representation in the inheritance of her grandparents' intestate counterclaim. consequently, that plaintiff-appellee has no cause of action against
estate, the other private respondents being only the adoptive children of defendant-appellant.
On July 6, 1966, the case was submitted for decision on the following
the deceased Teodoro. stipulation of facts: 2. The court a quo erred in holding that defendant-appellant is
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED, and the challenged decision of 1. That the parties admit the existence and execution of the estopped from questioning plaintiff-appellee's right to have the
the Court of Appeals is AFFIRMED in toto, with costs against the agreement enforced.
"Extra-Judicial Partition Agreement" dated August 24, 1963,
petitioners. which was marked as Exhibit "A" for the plaintiff, and Exhibit 3. The court a quo erred in ordering defendant-appellant to pay actual
G.R. No. L-29192 February 22, 1971 "I" for the defendant, which partition agreement was marked as damages to plaintiff-appellee, and, on the other hand, in not granting
Annex "A" in the complaint; the relief prayed for by defendant-appellant in his counterclaim.
GERTRUDES DE LOS SANTOS, plaintiff-appellee,
vs. 2. That the parties agree that the original purpose of the above- We shall discuss seriatim these errors as thus condensed.
MAXIMO DE LA CRUZ, defendant-appellant. mentioned Extra-Judicial Partition Agreement was for the 1. In the stipulation of facts submitted to the court below, the parties admit that
distribution of the in question for the heirs of Pelagia de la the owner of the estate, subject matter of the extrajudicial partition agreement,
Benjamin Pineda for plaintiff-appellee. Cruz; however the parties further agree that several lots in the was Pelagia de la Cruz, who died intestate on October 16, 1962; that defendant-
Ceasar R. Monteclaros for defendant-appellant. said land have been sold by some of the co-heirs, and there are appellant is a nephew of the said decedent; that plaintiff-appellee is a grandniece
houses several houses constructed therein and residents therein; of Pelagia de la Cruz, her mother, Marciana de la Cruz, being a niece of the said
VILLAMOR, J.: 3. That the parties agree that the defendant is the appointed Pelagia de la Cruz; that plaintiff-appellee's mother died on September 22, 1935,
Administrator and In-charge of the development and thus predeceasing Pelagia de la Cruz; and that the purpose of the extrajudicial
Direct appeal to this Court on questions of law from the judgment of the subdivision of the land in question, as provided for in the partition agreement was to divide and distribute the estate among the heirs of
Court of First Instance of Rizal, Branch IX, in its Civil Case No. Q-8792. aforementioned extrajudicial partition agreement; Pelagia de la Cruz.

12
The pivotal question is whether, in the premises, plaintiff-appellee is a being such a heir, the partition is void with respect to her, pursuant to P10,000.00, and claims that he is entitled to one-fourth (1/4) of the proceeds by
heir of the decedent. We are convinced that she is not. Plaintiff-appellee Article 1105 of the Civil Code, which reads: right of reversion. It will be noted that plaintiff-appellee had been declared in
being a mere grandniece of Pelagia de la Cruz, she could not inherit from ART. 1105. A partition which includes a person believed to be default on defendant-appellant's counterclaim; but the latter did not present any
the latter by right of representation. a heir, but who is not, shall be void only with respect to such evidence to prove the material allegation therein — more specifically, the
ART. 972. The right of representation takes place in person. alleged sale of the former's share for the sum of P10,000.00. That no such
the direct descending line, but never in the evidence had been adduced is understandable, for the parties expressly submitted
Partition of property affected between a person entitled to inherit from the the case for the resolution of the court upon their stipulation of facts which,
ascending. deceased owner thereof and another person who thought he was an heir, unfortunately, did not make any mention of the alleged sale; and neither had
In the collateral line, it takes place only in favor of when he was not really and lawfully such, to the prejudice of the rights of defendant made any offer or move to introduce the necessary evidence to that
the children of brothers or sisters, whether they be the true heir designated by law to succeed the deceased, is null and void effect for the consideration and evaluation by the trial court.
of the full or half blood. (De Torres vs. De Torres, et al., 28 Phil. 49). A fortiori, plaintiff-appellee
could hardly derive from the agreement the right to have its terms Defendant-appellant contends, however, that in view of plaintiff-appellee's
Much less could plaintiff-appellee inherit in her own right. having been declared in default, the latter must be deemed to have admitted all
enforced.
ART. 962. In every inheritance, the relative nearest the allegations in his counterclaim, so that the court a quo should have granted
in degree excludes the more distant ones, saving the 2. The extrajudicial partition agreement being void with respect to the relief prayed for by him. We find no merit in this contention.
right of representation when it properly takes place. plaintiff-appellee, she may not be heard to assert estoppel against
defendant-appellant. Estoppel cannot be predicated on a void contract (17 Section 1, Rule 18 of the Revised Rules of Court, reads:
... .
Am. Jur. 605), or on acts which are prohibited by law or are against public SECTION 1. Judgment by default.—if the defendant fails
Applying these two (2) provisions, this Court, in Linart y Pavia vs. policy (Baltazar vs. Lingayen Gulf Electric Power Co., et al., G.R. Nos. to answer within the time specified in these rules, the court
Ugarte y Iturralde, 5 Phil., 176 (1905), said, 16236-38, June 30, 1965 [14 SCRA 5221). In Ramiro vs. Graño, et al., 54 shall, upon motion of the plaintiff and proof of such
... [I]n an intestate succession a grandniece of the deceased and Phil., 744 (1930), this Court held: failure, declare the defendant in default. Thereupon the
not participate with a niece in the inheritance, because the No estoppel arises where the representation or court shall proceed to receive the plaintiff's evidence and
latter being a nearer relative, the more distant grandniece is conduct the party sought to be estopped is due to render judgment granting him such relief as the complaint
excluded. In the collateral line the right of representation does ignorance founded upon a mistake. And which there and the facts proven may warrant. This provision applies
not obtain beyond sons and daughters of the brothers and is authority to the contrary, the weight of authority is where no answer is made to a counterclaim, crossclaim or
sisters, which would have been the case if Pablo Linart, the that the acts and declarations of a party based upon third-party complaint within the period provided in this
father of the plaintiff, had survived his deceased uncle. an innocent mistake as to his legal rights will not rule.
In the present case, the relatives "nearest in degree" to Pelagia de la Cruz estop him to assert the same, especially where every The abovequoted rule was taken from Sections 128 and 129 of the Code of Civil
are her nephews and nieces, one of whom is defendant-appellant. fact known to the party sought to be estopped is Procedure. In Macondray & Co. vs. Eustaquio, 64 Phil., 446 (1937), this Court
Necessarily, plaintiff-appellee, a grandniece is excluded by law from the equally well known to the party setting up the said:
inheritance. estoppel. (21 C.J., 1125, 1126.) Under section 128 of our Code of Civil Procedure, the
But what is the legal effect of plaintiff-appellee's inclusion and And in Capili, et al. vs. Court of Appeals, et al., G.R. No. L-18148, judgment by default against a defendant who has neither
participation in the extrajudicial partition agreement insofar as her right to February 28, 1963 (7 SCRA 367), this Court said: appeared nor filed his answer does not imply a waiver of
bring the present action is concerned? They did not confer upon her the Finally, petitioners-appellants claim that appellees rights except that of being heard and of presenting
right to institute this action. The express purpose of the extrajudicial are estopped to raise the question of ownership of evidence in his favor. It does not imply admission by the
partition agreement, as admitted by the parties in the stipulation of facts, the properties involved because the widow herself, defendant of the facts and causes of action of the plaintiff,
was to divide the estate among the heirs of Pelagia de la Cruz. Indeed, the during her lifetime, not only did not object to the because the codal section requires the latter to adduce his
said agreement itself states that plaintiff-appellee was participating inclusion of these properties in the inventory of the evidence in support of his allegations as an indispensable
therein in representation of her deceased mother. The pertinent portion of assets of her deceased husband, but also signed an condition before final judgment could be given in his
the agreement is herein quoted, thus: extra-judicial partition of those inventoried favor. Nor could it be interpreted as an admission by the
properties. But the very authorities cited by defendant that the plaintiff's causes of action find support
NOW, THEREFORE, we ... and Diego de los Santos, married
appellants require that to constitute estoppel, the in the law or that the latter is entitled to the relief prayed
to Anastasia de la Cruz; Mariano delos Santos married to for. ... .
Andrea Ramoy; Gertrudes delos Santos, married to Pascual actor must have knowledge of the facts and be
Acuna; Alejo delos Santos, married to Leonila David; and apprised of his rights at the time he performs the act Nevertheless, the basic fact appears in the stipulation submitted by the parties
Sotera delos Santos, married to Narciso Ramota; all in constituting estoppel, because silence without that said plaintiff-appellee admitted having received a portion of the estate by
representation of our mother, MARCIANA DELA CRUZ, ..., knowledge works no estoppel. ... . virtue of the extrajudicial partition agreement dated August 24, 1963, to wit:
do hereby by these presents, mutually, voluntarily and 3. The award of actual damages in favor of plaintiff-appellee cannot be (9). Lot 9, (LRC) Psd-29561, containing an area of 1,691
amicably agree among ourselves to equitably divide the sustained in view of the conclusion we have arrived at above. Furthermore, sq. m. as described in the Technical Description to be
property left by the deceased PELAGIA DELA CRUZ, and actual or compensatory damages must be duly proved (Article 2199, Civil adjudicated to Diego delos Santos, married to Anastacia
adjudicate unto ourselves definite and independent portions of Code). Here, no proof of such damages was presented inasmuch as the dela Cruz; Mariano delos Santos, married to Regina
the estate in the following manner ... . case was decided on a stipulation of facts and no evidence was adduced Baluyot; Hilario delos Santos, married to Andrea
It is quite apparent that in executing the partition agreement, the parties before the trial court. Ramoy; Gertrudes delos Santos, married to Pascual
thereto were laboring under the erroneous belief that plaintiff-appellee We now come to defendant-appellant's counterclaim, in which he alleged Acuna; Alejo delos Santos, married to Leonila David; and
was one of the legal heirs of Pelagia de la Cruz. Plaintiff-appellee not that plaintiff-appelee sold her share to a certain person for the price of Sotera delos Santos, married to Narciso Ramota, in co-
ownership, share and share alike.
13
Such being the case, defendant-appellant is apparently correct in his she bore respondent Apolonia Garcia (Apolonia), who married Primo 1. The plaintiffs are hereby declared the true and lawful owners, and
contention that the lower court erred in not passing on his counterclaim Legaspi. Alejandra died without a will in 1935, and was survived by entitled to the possession of the parcel of land of 12,480 square
and, consequently, in not sentencing appellee to turn over to him his Apolonia and Crisanto Miralles, the son of Ciriaca (who had predeceased meters in area, declared in the name of plaintiff Rosario S.
corresponding share of said portion received by appellee under the void Alejandra in 1924) and Victor Miralles; hence, Crisanto Miralles was Tumbokon, under Tax Declaration No. 29220, situated in Barangay
partition. Remote relatives or unrelated person who unduly received and Alejandra’s grandson. Buenavista (formerly San Isidro), Ibajay, Aklan;
took possession of the property of a deceased person without any right, by The ownership and possession of the parcel of land became controversial 2. The defendants are ordered and directed to vacate the land in
virtue of a null and void partition, must restore it to the legitimate after Spouses Nicanor Tumbokon and Rosario Sespeñe (petitioners) question, and restore and deliver the possession thereof to the
successor in the inheritance (De Torres vs. De Torres, et al., supra). Of asserted their right in it by virtue of their purchase of it from Cresenciana plaintiffs; and
course, if such share has already been disposed of by appellee to a bona Inog, who had supposedly acquired it by purchase from Victor Miralles.
fide purchaser, as seems to be indicated in the unproven allegations of the 3. No pronouncement as to damages, but with costs against the
The tug-of-war over the property between the petitioners and the defendants.
counterclaim, We cannot render judgment awarding any specific amount respondents first led to the commencement of a criminal case. The Spouses
to defendant-appellant as his proportionate share of the proceeds of such
sale for the reason that, as already stated above, this aspect of the
Nicanor Tumbokon and Rosario Sespeñe filed a criminal complaint for SO ORDERED.5
qualified theft against respondents Apolonia and Paulina S. Magtanum and
counterclaim has not been touched upon in the stipulation of facts nor has others not parties herein, namely: Rosendo Magtanum, Antonio The respondents appealed to the CA.
it been supported by evidence which appellant should have presented in Magtanum, Ulpiano Mangilaya, charging them with stealing coconut fruits On May 15, 2001, the CA reversed the decision of the RTC and dismissed the
the lower court but did not.
from the land subject of the present case.1 The criminal case, docketed as complaint,6 opining and ruling thus:
IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING CONSIDERATIONS, the judgment
Criminal Case No. 2269, was assigned to Branch III of the erstwhile Court
appealed from is hereby reversed and set aside; the defendant-appellant is The appellees trace their acquisition of the subject lot to the admitted primal
absolved from any ability to and in favor of plaintiff-appellee; and, on of First Instance (CFI) of Aklan.2 owner Alejandra Sespeñe through her supposed sale of it to her son-in-law
appellant's counterclaim, appellee is hereby sentenced to restore or Victor Miralles, who sold this to Cresenciana Inog, and who in turn sold it to the
After trial, the CFI found the respondents and their co-accused guilty as
reconvey to him his corresponding share of the property she has received charged in its decision dated June 10, 1972. The respondents appealed appellees. In the process, they presented the Deed of Absolute Sale (Exh. "B",
under the extrajudicial partition hereinbefore mentioned if the same has (C.A.-G.R. No. 13830-CR), but the CA affirmed their conviction on June 19, 1957) executed by Victor Miralles in favor of Cresenciana Inog but
not already been disposed of as alleged. Costs in both instance against wherein it is provided in the said instrument that:
February 19, 1975, whereby the CA rejected respondent Apolonia’s
plaintiff-appellee. That this parcel of land abovementioned was inherited from the deceased
defense of ownership of the land.3
G.R. No. 153736 August 12, 2010 Alejandra Sespeñe, by the party of the First Part being the sole heir of the said
In the meanwhile, on September 21, 1972, or prior to the CA’s rendition of Alejandra Sespeñe, having no other brothers or sisters.
SPOUSES NICANOR TUMBOKON (deceased), substituted by:
its decision in the criminal case, the petitioners commenced this suit for
ROSARIO SESPEÑE and their Children, namely: NICANOR S. This claim of being the sole heir is obviously false and erroneous for Alejandra
recovery of ownership and possession of real property with damages
TUMBOKON, JR., NELIA S. TUMBOKON, NEMIA T. SEGOVIA, Sespeñe had more than one intestate heir, and Victor Miralles as a mere son-in-
against the respondents in the CFI. This suit, docketed as Civil Case No.
NOBELLA S. TUMBOKON, NABIGAIL T. TAAY, NAZARENE T. law could not be one of them.
240 and entitled Spouses Nicanor P. Tumbokon and Rosario S. Sespeñe v.
MONTALVO, NORGEL S. TUMBOKON, NEYSA S. TUMBOKON, This also damages and puts to serious doubt their other and contradictory claim
Apolonia G. Legaspi, Jesus Legaspi, Alejandra Legaspi, Primo Legaspi,
SILVESTRE S. TUMBOKON, NORA T. MILCZAREK, NONITA T. that Victor Miralles instead bought the lot from Alejandra Sespeñe. This
Jose Legaspi, and Paulina S. de Magtanum, was assigned also to Branch
CARPIO, NERLYN S. TUMBOKON, and NINFA T. supposed sale was oral, one that can of course be facilely feigned. And it is
III of the CFI, and involved the same parcel of land from where the
SOLIDUM, Petitioners, likely to be so for the claim is sweeping, vacuous and devoid of the standard
coconut fruits subject of the crime of qualified theft in Criminal Case No.
vs. particulars like what was the price, when and where was the sale made, who
2269 had been taken.
APOLONIA G. LEGASPI, and PAULINA S. DE were present, or who knew of it. The record is bereft too of documentary proof
MAGTANUM, Respondents. On February 17, 1994, the RTC, which meanwhile replaced the CFI
that Victor Miralles exercised the rights and performed the obligations of an
following the implementation of the Judiciary Reorganization
DECISION owner for no tax declarations nor tax receipt has been submitted or even
Act,4 rendered its decision in favor of the petitioners herein, holding and adverted to.
BERSAMIN, J.:
disposing thus: The testimonial evidence of the appellants as to ownership, the sale and
The question presented in this appeal is whether the ruling in a criminal
After a careful study of the evidence on record, the Court finds that the possession is inadequate, with even the appellant Nicanor Tumbokon stating
prosecution for qualified theft (involving coconut fruits) bound the
complainant (petitioners herein) and the accused (respondents herein) on plaintiffs were able to establish that plaintiff Rosario Sespeñe Tumbokon that:
the issue of ownership of the land, which was brought up as a defense, as purchased the land in question from Cresenciana Inog on December 31, Q Did you come to know before you purchase (sic) the property from
to preclude the Regional Trial Court (RTC) or the Court of Appeals (CA) 1959 (Exh. "C"). Cresenciana Inog, in turn, acquired the land by purchase whom did V. Miralles acquired (sic) the land?
from adjudicating the same issue in a civil case filed prior to the from Victor Miralles on June 19, 1957 (Exh. "B"). Seven (7) years before,
on May 8, 1950, the land was mortgaged by Victor Miralles to A No, sir.
promulgation of the decision in the criminal case.
Cresenciana Inog as shown by a Deed of Pacto de Retro (Exh. "A"), and xxx
Under contention herein are the ownership and possession of that parcel from 1950 up to 1959, Cresenciana Inog was in continuous and peaceful
of land with an area of 12,480 square meters, more or less, situated in Q And you did not come to know out (sic) and why V. Miralles came
possession of the land in question. xxx
Barangay Buenavista (formerly Barangay San Isidro, in the Municipality to possess the land under litigation before it was sold to C. Inog?
of Ibajay, Province of Aklan. The land – planted to rice, corn, and xxxx
A All I was informed was V. Miralles became automatically the heir
coconuts – was originally owned by the late Alejandra Sespeñe WHEREFORE, finding preponderance of evidence in favor of the of A. Sespeñe after the death of the wife which is the only daughter of
(Alejandra), who had had two marriages. The first marriage was to plaintiffs, judgment is hereby rendered as follows: A. Sespeñe.
Gaudencio Franco, by whom she bore Ciriaca Franco, whose husband
was Victor Miralles. The second marriage was to Jose Garcia, by whom
14
Q How did you know that V. Miralles became automatically Nicanor Tumbokon and his wife Rosario have ever possessed Ruling
the heir of the land after the death of his wife? and usufructed this land under litigation? The petition has no merit.
A He is the only son-in-law. (TSN, pp. 2-3, Feb. 26, 1974; A No, sir. A
emphasis supplied) Q You also stated a while ago that you know Victor Miralles, Reversal by the CA was supported
While Victor Miralles may have been in physical possession of do you know if Victor Miralles had ever possessed this under by law and the evidence on record
the lot for a while, this was not as owner but as mere litigation?
Administrator as was clearly appearing in tax declaration no. The CA correctly found that the petitioners’ claim of ownership could not be
A No, he had not. (p. 9, ibid; emphasis supplied) legally and factually sustained.
21714 ("Exhs. "J", "1").The corroboration in this by Lourdes
Macawili (TSN, June 7, 1973) does not help the appellees Thus neither do We buy the appellee’s contention that ownership of the First of all, the petitioners adduced no competent evidence to establish that
(herein petitioners) any for she never knew the source of the disputed land was acquired by their predecessors-in-interest thru lapse of Victor Miralles, the transferor of the land to Cresenciana Inog (the petitioners’
property. Neither does the testimony of Crisanto Miralles time. Acquisitive prescription requires possession in the concept of owner, immediate predecessor in interest) had any legal right in the first place to transfer
succor the appellees (petitioners). He was the son of Victor and they have not been able to prove even mere possession. ownership. He was not himself an heir of Alejandra, being only her son-in-law
Miralles and the husband of the said Cresenciana Inog, the As proponents it was incumbent upon the appellees to prove that they were (as the husband of Ciriaca, one of Alejandra’s two daughters). Thus, the
supposed buyer, owner and possessor of the land in question the owners of the lot and that they were being unlawfully deprived of their statement in the deed of absolute sale (Exhibit B) entered into between Victor
from 1950-1957, and yet Crisanto Miralles could only say: possession thereof. But this they failed to do. It is a basic rule in evidence Miralles and Cresenciana Inog, to the effect that the "parcel of land was inherited
Q Are there improvements on the land in question? that each party must prove his affirmative allegation. Since the burden of from the deceased Alejandra Sespeñe" by Victor Miralles "being the sole heir of
evidence lies with the party who asserts the affirmative allegation, the the said Alejandra Sespeñe, having no other brothers or sisters," was outrightly
A I do not know because I did not bother to go to the land in plaintiff or complainant has to prove this affirmative allegations in the false.
question.(TSN, p. 4, Aug. 18, 1973; emphasis supplied)] complaint and the defendant or the respondent has to prove the affirmative Secondly, a decedent’s compulsory heirs in whose favor the law reserves a part
These strongly suggest that the sales and claim of possession allegation in his affirmative defenses and counterclaim.(AKELCO vs. of the decedent’s estate are exclusively the persons enumerated in Article 887,
were shams, and are further demolished by the following NLRC, G.R. No. 121439, Jan 25,2000) Civil Code, viz:
testimonies: But this hoary rule also cuts both ways. Appellants too must also prove the Article 887. The following are compulsory heirs:
Q After the death of Alejandra Sespeñe who inherited this land allegations to support their prayer to declare the litigated lot the exclusive
in question? property of the defendants Apolonia G. Legaspi and Paulina S. (1) Legitimate children and descendants, with respect to their
Magtanum; (Answer, p. 6, record). Apolonia Legaspi however is only one legitimate parents and ascendants;
A Apolonia.
of the putative intestate heirs of Alejandra Sespeñe, the other being (2) In default of the foregoing, legitimate parents and ascendants,
Q At present who is in possession of the land in question? Crisanto Miralles who stands in the stead of Ciriaca, his predeceased with respect to their legitimate children and descendants;
A Apolonia Legaspi. mother and other daughter of the decedent. But then no judgment can be
made as to their successional rights for Crisanto Miralles was never (3) The widow or widower;
Q From the time that Apolonia Legaspi took possession of the impleaded. Neither is there a proof that can convince that Paulina S. (4) Acknowledged natural children, and natural children by legal
land up to the present do you know if anybody interrupted her Magtanum who is merely a niece of the decedent, should also be declared fiction;
possession?
a co-owner of the inherited lot. (5) Other illegitimate children referred to in article 287.
A No sir. (tsn, Urbana Tañ-an Vda. de Franco, p. 7, Nov. 24, Because of said inadequacies, We cannot rule beyond the holding that the
1977) Compulsory heirs mentioned in Nos. 3, 4, and 5 are not excluded by those in
appellees (petitioners) are not the owners and therefore not entitled to the Nos. 1 and 2; neither do they exclude one another.
xxx recovery of the litigated lot.
In all cases of illegitimate children, their filiation must be duly proved.
Q Now, since when did you know the land in question? WHEREFORE, the appealed Decision is REVERSED and SET ASIDE
and in its place judgment is rendered DISMISSING the Complaint. The father or mother of illegitimate children of the three classes mentioned, shall
A Since I was at the age of 20 yrs. old. (TSN; Crispina inherit from them in the manner and to the extent established by this Code.
Taladtad, p. 3; Jan. 20, 1977; [she was 74 yrs. old at the time
SO ORDERED.7 (807a)
of this testimony]).
Hence, the petitioners appeal by petition for review on certiorari. Only two forced heirs survived Alejandra upon her death, namely: respondent
xxx Apolonia, her daughter, and Crisanto Miralles, her grandson. The latter
Issues
Q And for how long has Apolonia Garcia Legaspi been in succeeded Alejandra by right of representation because his mother, Ciriaca, had
possession of the land in question? The issues to be resolved are the following: predeceased Alejandra. Representation is a right created by fiction of law, by
A Since the time I was at the age of 20 yrs. old when I was 1. Whether or not the decision in C.A.-G.R. CV 45672 virtue of which the representative is raised to the place and the degree of the
been (sic) invited there to work up to the present she is in reversing the decision of the RTC in Civil Case No. 240 was person represented, and acquires the rights which the latter would have if she
possession of the land. supported by law and the evidence on record; were living or if she could have inherited.8 Herein, the representative (Crisanto
Q You said that you know Cresenciana Inog, do you know if 2. Whether or not the decision in C.A.-G.R. No. 13830-CR Miralles) was called to the succession by law and not by the person represented
Cresenciana Inog has ever possessed the land in question? affirming the decision of the CFI of Aklan in Criminal Case (Ciriaca); he thus succeeded Alejandra, not Ciriaca. 9
No. 2269 had the effect of res judicata on the issue of
A Never. The foregoing undeniable facts rendered the hearsay testimony of Nicanor
ownership of the land involved in Civil Case No. 240,
Q You also said that you know Nicanor Tumbokon and his considering that such land was the same land involved in Tumbokon to the effect that he had been informed that Victor Miralles had
wife Rosario Tumbokon, my question is do you know if this Criminal Case No. 2269. "bec[o]me automatically the heir" of Alejandra "after the death of his wife," the
wife being "the only daughter" and he "the only son-in-law" a plain irrelevancy.
15
Thirdly, Victor Miralles’ supposed acquisition of the land by oral sale long as it remains unreversed, should be conclusive upon the parties and
from Alejandra had no competent factual support in the records. For one, those in privity with them in law or estate.14 PARTITION AND DISTRIBUTION
the oral sale was incompatible with the petitioners’ anchor claim that he
had acquired the land by inheritance from Alejandra. Also, the evidence For res judicata to bar the institution of a subsequent action, the following
that the petitioners adduced on the oral sale was insufficient and requisites must concur: (1) the former judgment must be final; (2) it must G.R. No. 114151 September 17, 1998
incredible, warranting the CA’s rejection of the oral sale under the have been rendered by a court having jurisdiction over the subject matter
following terms: and the parties; (3) it must be a judgment on the merits; and (4) there must MAURICIA ALEJANDRINO, petitioner,
be between the first and second actions (a) identity of parties, (b) identity vs.
This also damages and puts to serious doubt their other and contradictory THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, HON. BENIGNO G.
claim that Victor Miralles instead bought the lot from Alejandra Sespeñe. of the subject matter, and (c) identity of cause of action.151avvph!1 GAVIOLA, RTC-9, CEBU CITY, and LICERIO P. NIQUE, respondents.
This supposed sale was oral, one that can of course be facilely feigned. The doctrine of res judicata has two aspects: the first, known as bar by
And it is likely to be so for the claim is sweeping, vacuous and devoid of prior judgment, or estoppel by verdict, is the effect of a judgment as a bar
the standard particulars like what was the price, when and where was the to the prosecution of a second action upon the same claim, demand, or ROMERO, J.:
sale made, who were present, or who knew of it. The record is bereft too cause of action; the second, known as conclusiveness of judgment, also Questioned in this petition for review on certiorari is the Decision 1 of the Court
of documentary proof that Victor Miralles exercised the rights and known as the rule of auter action pendant, ordains that issues actually and of Appeals which ruled that the trial court, in an action for quieting of title, did
performed the obligations of an owner for no tax declarations nor tax directly resolved in a former suit cannot again be raised in any future case not act in excess of jurisdiction when it issued an order for the segregation of
receipt has been submitted or even adverted to.10 between the same parties involving a different cause of action and has the property, after the finality of its decision.
With Victor Miralles lacking any just and legal right in the land, except as effect of preclusion of issues only.16 The facts show that the late spouses Jacinto Alejandrino and Enrica Labunos left
an heir of Ciriaca, the transfer of the land from him to Cresenciana Inog their six children named Marcelino, Gregorio, Ciriaco, Mauricia, Laurencia and
Based on the foregoing standards, this action is not barred by the doctrine
was ineffectual. As a consequence, Cresenciana Inog did not legally Abundio a 219-square-meter lot in Mambaling, Cebu City identified as Lot No.
of res judicata.
acquire the land, and, in turn, did not validly transfer it to the petitioners. 2798 and covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. 19658. Upon the demise of
First of all, bar by prior judgment, the first aspect of the doctrine, is not the Alejandrino spouses, the property should have been divided among their
B applicable, because the causes of action in the civil and the criminal children with each child having a share of 36.50 square meters. However, the
Bar by res judicata is not applicable. actions were different and distinct from each other. The civil action is for estate of the Alejandrino spouses was not settled in accordance with the
The petitioners submit that the final ruling in the criminal case had the recovery of ownership of the land filed by the petitioners, while the procedure outlined in the Rules of Court.
already determined the issue of ownership of the land; and that such criminal action was to determine whether the act of the respondents of
Petitioner Mauricia (one of the children) allegedly purchased 12.17 square
ruling in the criminal case barred the issue of ownership in the civil case taking the coconut fruits from the trees growing within the disputed land
meters of Gregorio's share, 36.50 square meters of Ciriaco's share and 12.17
under the doctrine ofres judicata. constituted the crime of qualified theft. In the former, the main issue is the
square meters of Abundio's share thereby giving her a total area of 97.43 square
legal ownership of the land, but in the latter, the legal ownership of the
The submission has no merit. meters, including her own share of 36.50 square meters. It turned out, however,
land was not the main issue. The issue of guilt or innocence was not
that a third party named Licerio Nique, the private respondent in this case, also
Res judicata means a matter adjudged, a thing judicially acted upon or dependent on the ownership of the land, inasmuch as a person could be
purchased portions of the property, to wit: 36.50 square meters from
guilty of theft of the growing fruits even if he were the owner of the land.
decided; a thing or matter settled by judgment.11 The doctrine of res Laurencia, 36.50 square meters from Gregorio "through Laurencia," 12.17
judicata is an old axiom of law, dictated by wisdom and sanctified by age, Conclusiveness of judgment is not also applicable. The petitioners square meters from Abundio also "through Laurencia" and 36.50 square meters
and founded on the broad principle that it is to the interest of the public themselves commenced both actions, and fully and directly participated in from Marcelino or a total area of Laurencia" and 36.50 square meters from
that there should be an end to litigation by the same parties over a subject the trial of both actions. Any estoppel from assailing the authority of the Marcelino or a total area of 121.67 square meters of the Alejandrino property. 2
once fully and fairly adjudicated. It has been appropriately said that the CA to determine the ownership of the land based on the evidence
However, Laurencia (the alleged seller of most of the 121.67 square meters of
doctrine is a rule pervading every well-regulated system of jurisprudence, presented in the civil action applied only to the petitioners, who should not
the property) later questioned the sale in an action for quieting of title and
and is put upon two grounds embodied in various maxims of the common be allowed to assail the outcome of the civil action after the CA had ruled
damages against private respondent Nique. It was docketed as Civil Case No.
law: the one, public policy and necessity, which makes it to the interest of adversely against them.
CEB-7038 in the Regional Trial Court of Cebu City, Branch 9 presided by Judge
the State that there should be an end to litigation – reipublicae ut sit finis Moreover, the doctrine of conclusiveness of judgment is subject to Benigno G. Gaviola. In due course, the lower court rendered a decision on
litium; the other, the hardship on the individual that he should be vexed exceptions, such as where there is a change in the applicable legal context, November 27, 1990 disposing of the case as follows:
twice for one and the same cause – nemo debet bis vexari pro una et
or to avoid inequitable administration of justice.17 Applying the doctrine WHEREFORE, the Court hereby renders judgment in
eadem causa. A contrary doctrine will subject the public peace and quiet
to the will and neglect of individuals and prefer the gratification of the of conclusiveness of judgments to this case will surely be iniquitous to the favor of defendant and against plaintiff, dismissing the
respondents who have rightly relied on the civil case, not on the criminal complaint filed by plaintiff against defendant, and on the
litigious disposition on the part of suitors to the preservation of the public
case, to settle the issue of ownership of the land. This action for recovery Counterclaim and prayer of defendant in its Answer, the
tranquillity and happiness.12 of ownership was brought precisely to settle the issue of ownership of the Court hereby declares defendant as the owner in fee
Under the doctrine of res judicata, a final judgment or decree on the property. In contrast, the pronouncement on ownership of the land made in simple of the share of plaintiff Laurencia Alejandrino and
merits rendered by a court of competent jurisdiction is conclusive of the the criminal case was only the response to the respondents having raised the shares of Marcelino, Gregorio and Abundio, all
rights of the parties or their privies in all later suits and on all points and the ownership as a matter of defense. surnamed Alejandrino, of the parcel of land known as Lot
No. 2798 and covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No.
matters determined in the previous suit.13 The foundation principle upon WHEREFORE, the petition for review on certiorari is denied, and the
19658 which 4 shares totals an area of 146 square meters
which the doctrine rests is that the parties ought not to be permitted to decision rendered on May 15, 2001 by the Court of Appeals is affirmed.
more or less; and the Court further Orders plaintiff to:
litigate the same issue more than once; that when a right or fact has been Costs of suit to be paid by the petitioners.
1. Vacate the premises subject of the
judicially tried and determined by a court of competent jurisdiction, so SO ORDERED. complaint and surrender the property
16
to defendant to the extent of For resolution is a "Motion to Order Segregation of because Laurencia and Maurecia had already executed an
the 4 shares aforementioned; 146 Square Meters In Lot No. 2798" dated January extrajudicial partition indicating where their respective shares shall be
2. Pay the defendant the 15, 1993 filed by defendant and the "Opposition" located (Exh. '16'). To deny the segregation is to make the decision of
amount of P15,000.00 as thereto dated February 2, 1992 by plaintiff. Movant- this Court just about valueless is not altogether useless. The matter of
litigation and necessary defendant also filed a rejoinder dated February 15, allowing the segregation should be read into the decision.
expenses; the sum of 1993 to the Opposition. The bottomline is still that plaintiff Laurencia, despite the fact that the
P10,000.00 as reimbursement After going over the allegations in the motion, the decision of this Court had long become final; and despite the fact that
for attorney's fees; the sum of opposition thereto and the rejoinder as well as the she even withdraw (sic) her appeal, she still is enjoying the fruits of
P10,000.00 as moral damages records of the case, particularly the decision the property to the exclusion of the rightful owner.
and P10,000.00 as exemplary rendered by this Court and the Order dated October WHEREFORE, the Court hereby Grants the motion. The defendant
damages; 28, 1992, denying the motion for reconsideration Licerio Nique may proceed to segregate his 2146 (sic) sq. meters
3. Plus costs. filed by plaintiffs and allowing the issuance of a writ from Lot No. 2798 covered by TCT. No. 19658, by having the same
of execution, the Court is inclined to Grant the surveyed by a competent Geodetic Engineer, at the expense of
SO ORDERED. 3 instant motion. movant-defendant.
Laurencia appealed the decision to the Court of Appeals under CA-G.R. xxx xxx xxx
CV No. 33433 but later withdrew the same. 4 On April 13, 1992, the SO ORDERED. 6
Court of Appeals considered the appeal withdrawn in accordance with In addition thereto, the Court makes the following Petitioner Mauricia questioned this order of the lower court in a petition
Rule 50 of the Rules of Court. 5 observation: for certiorari and prohibition with prayer for the issuance of a writ of
Meanwhile, herein petitioner Mauricia Alejandrino filed on May 5, 1992 1. Plaintiff (oppositor) has a total share of 146 square meters. preliminary injunction filed before the Court of Appeals. In due course, the
before the Regional Trial Court of Cebu City, Branch VII, a complaint for This is admitted by her in her complaint (par. 4 thereof). In the Court of Appeals dismissed the petition in a Decision promulgated on August
redemption and recovery of properties with damages against private decision rendered by this Court, this share now belongs to 25, 1993.
respondent Nique that was docketed as Civil Case No. CEB-11673. defendant movant by way of sale. The decision of this Court The Court of Appeals stated that, in issuing the questioned order of May 6, 1993,
Adelino B. Sitoy, Laurencia's counsel in Civil Case No. CEB-7038, filed has long become final. the respondent court was merely performing its job of seeing to it that "execution
Civil Case No. CEB-11673 for petitioner Mauricia. 2. The total area of the land is 219 sq. meters (par. 2 of of a final judgment must conform to that decreed in the dispositive part of the
The amended complaint in the latter case dated May 17, 1992 alleged that complaint), thus, the share of Mauricia Alejandrino is only 73 decision." It ratiocinated thus:
private respondent Nique never notified petitioner Mauricia of the square meters. . . . . In ordering the segregation of the 146 square meters, respondent
purchase of 121.67 square meters of the undivided Lot No. 2798 nor did 3. As early as June 10, 1983, Mauricia Alejandrino and Judge correctly referred to the text of the decision to ascertain which
he give petitioner Mauricia the preemptive right to buy the area as a co- Laurencia Alejandrino had entered into an "Extrajudicial portion of the land covered by TCT No. 19658 was actually sold by
owner of the same lot. As such co-owner, petitioner Mauricia manifested Settlement of Estate" whereby they agreed to divide the land Laurencia Alejandrino (sister of herein petitioner Mauricia) to private
her willingness to deposit with the court the amount of P29,777.78, the subject of this case with Laurencia Alejandrino owning 146 respondent Nique. The respondent Judge did not err in relying upon
acquisition cost of the portion purchased by private respondent Nique. square meters in the frontage and Mauricia Alejandrino owning Exhibit '16', the Deed of Extrajudicial Settlement, dated June 10,
Petitioner Mauricia also alleged that she demanded from private 75 square meters in the back portion (Exh. '16', Extrajudicial 1983, mentioned in page 3 of the Decision. Pertinent portion of
respondent the area of around 24.34 square meters that the latter had Settlement of Estate, par. 1) (emphasis supplied), and that the Exhibit '6' reads:
"unduly, baselessly and maliciously claimed as his own but which, as part parties assure each other and their successor in interest that a NOW, THEREFORE, the above-named parties-heirs hereby
of Lot No. 2798, actually belongs to her." The amended complaint prayed right of way of two meters is granted to each party by the other stipulates (sic), declare and agree as follows:
that petitioner Mauricia be allowed to redeem the area of 121.67 square permanently (Exh. '16', par. 2). This partition is signed by the
meters under the redemption price of P29,777.78 and that private parties and their witnesses. Although not notarized, it is 1. That the parties have agreed to divide the parcel of land with
respondent Nique be ordered to execute the necessary documents for the certainly valid as between the parties, Maurecia (sic) Laurencia Alejandrino owning 146 square meters in the frontage and
redemption and the eventual transfer of certificate of title to her. The Alejandrino, being an immediate party, may not renege on this. Mauricia Alejandrino 73 square meters in the back portions;
amended complaint further prayed for the return to petitioner Mauricia of 4. Since the share of defendant Licerio P. Nique is specifically 2. That the parties mutually and reciprocally assure each other and
the 24.34-square-meter portion of the lot and for damages amounting to known to be 146 square meters, and that its location shall be on their successor of interest (sic) that a right of way of two meters is
P115,000 and attorney's fees of P30,000. the "frontage" of the property while the 73 square meters of granted to each party to the other permanently. (emphasis supplied,
On August 2, 1993, the lower court granted the motion to admit the Maurecia (sic) Alejandrino shall be at the back portion, then, Annex '1', Comment, p. 65, Rollo).
amended complaint and forthwith ordered the defendant therein to file an the Court cannot see its way clear, why the 146 sq. meters share duly signed by herein petitioner and witnessed by private respondent
amended answer. of defendant may not be segregated. Nique. It readily reveals that when Laurencia subsequently sold her
In Civil Case No. CEB-7038 in the meantime, private respondent filed a 5. The contention by oppositor that the "segregation of shares to herein private respondent, per the Deed of Absolute Sale
motion for the segregation of the 146-square-meter portion of the property defendant's share of 146 sq. meters from Lot No. 2798 was not dated October 29, 1986 (Exhs. 'B' and '10'), the parties must have
that had been declared by the trial court as his own by virtue of purchase. decreed in the judgment" is a rather narrow way of looking at referred to the 146 square meters in the frontage described in said
On May 6, 1993, the trial court issued an order the pertinent portions of the judgment. Paragraph 1 of the dispositive portion of the document, Exhibit '16'. Laurencia had no authority to sell more, or,
which read as follows: judgment by this Court, Orders plaintiff to "vacate the premises less, than that agreed upon in the extrajudicial settlement between her
subject of the complaint and surrender the property to defendant and herein petitioner Mauricia. Insofar as the latter is concerned, she
ORDER is estopped from claiming that said extrajudicial settlement was a
to the extent of the 4 shares aforementioned." The 4 shares of
Laurencia Alejandrino of 146 sq. meters can be segregated fatally defective instrument because it was not notarized nor

17
published. What is important is that private respondent accordance with the decision of the lower court. He charges counsel for the shares of the other co-owners. The prohibition is premised on the elementary
personally knew about Laurencia and Mauricia's agreement petitioner with exhibiting "unethical conduct and practice" in appearing as rule that "no one can give what he does not have" (Nemo dat quod non habet).
because he was a witness to said agreement and he relied upon counsel for petitioner in Civil Case No. CEB-11673 after he had appeared Thus, we held in Bailon-Casilao vs. Court of Appeals (G.R. No. 78178, April 15,
it when he purchased the 146 square meters from Laurencia. for complainant Laurencia in CA-G.R. CV No. 33433 or Civil Case No. 1988, 160 SCRA 738, 745), viz:
It cannot be validly claimed by petitioner that she was deprived CEB-7038. . . . since a co-owner is entitled to sell his undivided share, a sale of
of her property without due process of law considering that Under the circumstances of this case, the ultimate issue that needs the entire property by one co-owner without the consent of the other
private respondent is merely segregating the portion of the land determination is whether or not as an heir of the Alejandrino property, co-owners is not null and void. However, only the rights of the co-
actually sold to him by Laurencia Alejandrino and it does not Laurencia may validly sell specific portions thereof to a third party. owner-seller are transferred, thereby making the buyer a co-owner of
affect the 73 square meters that properly pertain to petitioner. Art. 1078 of the Civil Code provides that where there are two or more the property.
Moreover, the Supreme Court has ruled that where there is heirs, the whole estate of the decedent is, before partition, owned in The proper action in cases like this is not for the nullification of the
ambiguity caused by an omission or mistake in the dispositive common by such heirs, subject to the payment of the debts of the deceased. sale or for the recovery of possession of the thing owned in common
portion of a decision the court may clarify such ambiguity by Under a co-ownership, the ownership of an undivided thing or right from the third person who substituted the co-owner or co-owners who
an amendment even after the judgment had become final, and belongs to different persons. 9 Each co-owner of property which is alienated their shares, but the DIVISION of the common property of
for this purpose it may resort to the pleadings filed by the held pro indiviso exercises his rights over the whole property and may use the co-owners who possessed and administered it. 2
parties, the court's finding of facts and conclusions of law as and enjoy the same with no other limitation than that he shall not injure the The legality of Laurencia's alienation of portions of the estate of the Alejandrino
expressed in the body of the decision (Republic Surety and interests of his co-owners. The underlying rationale is that until a division spouses was settled in Civil Case No. CEB-7038. The decision in that case had
Insurance Co., Inc., et al., vs. Intermediate Appellate Court, et is made, the respective share of each cannot be determined and every co- become final and executory with Laurencia's withdrawal of her appeal. When
al., 152 SCRA 309). The assailed order, in effect, clarifies the owner exercises, together with his co-participants, joint ownership over private respondent filed a motion for the segregation of the portions of the
exact location of the 146 square meters pursuant to Exhibit the pro indiviso property, in addition to his use and enjoyment of the property that were adjudged in his favor, private respondent was in effect calling
'16'. Respondent court did not act in excess of its jurisdiction. same. 10 for the partition of the property. However, under the law, partition of the estate
Hence, writs of certiorari and prohibition do not lie in this Although the right of an heir over the property of the decedent is inchoate of a decedent may only be effected by (1) the heirs themselves extrajudicially,
case. 7 as long as the estate has not been fully settled and partitioned, 11 the law (2) by the court in an ordinary action for partition, or in the course of
Petitioner Mauricia filed a motion for the reconsideration of the Court of allows a co-owner to exercise rights of ownership over such inchoate right. administration proceedings, (3) by the testator himself, and (4) by the third
Appeals' decision. However, on February 15, 1994, the Court of Appeals Thus, the Civil Code provides: person designated by the testator. 13
denied the same for lack of merit "there being no new ground or Art. 493. Each co-owner shall have the full ownership of his The trial court may not, therefore, order partition of an estate in an action for
compelling reason that justifies a reconsideration" of its Decision. 8 part and of the fruits and benefits pertaining thereto, and he quieting of title. As there is no pending administration proceedings, the property
In the instant petition for review on certiorari, petitioner assails the may therefore alienate, assign or mortgage it, and even of the Alejandrino spouses can only be partitioned by the heirs themselves in an
decision of the Court of Appeals, contending that the lower court acted substitute another person in its enjoyment, except when extrajudicial settlement of estate. However, evidence on the extrajudicial
beyond its jurisdiction in ordering the segregation of the property bought personal rights are involved. But the effect of the alienation or settlement of estate was offered before the trial court and it became the basis for
by private respondent as the same was not decreed in its judgment, which the mortgage, with respect to the co-owners, shall be limited to the order for segregation of the property sold to private respondent. Petitioner
had long become final and executory. Petitioner argues thatpartition of the portion which may be allotted to him in the division upon Mauricia does not deny the fact of the execution of the deed of extrajudicial
the property cannot be effected because private respondent is also a the termination of the co-ownership. settlement of the estate. She only questions its validity on account of the absence
defendant in Civil Case No. CEB-11673. She asserts that Exhibit 16, the With respect to properties shared in common by virtue of inheritance, of notarization of the document and the non-publication thereof.
extrajudicial settlement of estate referred to in the questioned order of the alienation of a pro indiviso portion thereof is specifically governed by On extrajudicial settlement of estate, Section 1 of Rule 74 of the Rules of Court
lower court, was not discussed in the decision of the lower court and even Article 1088 that provides: provides:
if it were, she could not be bound thereby considering that she was not a
party litigant in Civil Case No. CEB-7038. She questions the validity of Art. 1088. Should any of the heirs sell his hereditary rights to a If the decedent left no will and no debts and the heirs are all of age, or
the deed of extrajudicial settlement because it was not notarized or stranger before the partition, any or all of the co-heirs may be the minors are represented by their judicial or legal representatives
published. subrogated to the rights of the purchaser by reimbursing him for duly authorized for the purpose, the parties may, without securing
the price of the sale, provided they do so within the period of letters of administration, divide the estate among themselves as they
In his comment on the petition, private respondent alleges that although one month from the time they were notified in writing of the see fit by means of a public instrument filed in the office of the
petitioner was not a party litigant in Civil Case No. CEB-7038, she is sale by the vendor. register of deeds, and should they disagree, they may do so in an
estopped from questioning the decision in that case and filing the instant ordinary action for partition. . . . .
petition because she had "knowledge of the existence of said case" In the instant case, Laurencia was within her hereditary rights in selling
where res judicata had set in. He adds that the instant petition was filed in her pro indiviso share in Lot No. 2798. However, because the property had The fact of the extrajudicial settlement or administration shall be
violation of Circular No. 28-91 on forum shopping "in that the Petitioner not yet been partitioned in accordance with the Rules of Court, no published in a newspaper of general circulation in the manner
in the instant petition whose counsel is also the counsel of plaintiff- particular portion of the property could be identified as yet and delineated provided in the next succeeding section; but no extrajudicial
appellant Laurencia Alejandrino in CA-G.R. CV No. . . ., had filed a civil as the object of the sale. Thus, interpreting Article 493 of the Civil Code settlement shall be binding upon any person who has not participated
action — Civil Case No. CEB-11673 . . . for "REDEMPTION & providing that an alienation of a co-owned property "shall be limited to the therein or had no notice thereof.
RECOVERY OF PROPERTIES WITH DAMAGES", which is presently portion which may be allotted to (the seller) in the division upon the Notarization of the deed of extrajudicial settlement has the effect of
pending before Branch 7 of the Regional Trial Court of Cebu City." He termination of the co-ownership, the Court said: making it a public document 14 that can bind third parties. However,
asserts that the lower court did not exceed its jurisdiction and/or commit . . . (p)ursuant to this law, a co-owner has the right to alienate his pro- this formal requirement appears to be superseded by the substantive
grave abuse of discretion in granting his motion for segregation of the 146 indiviso share in the co-owned property even without the consent of the provision of the Civil Code that states:
square meters of the land involved that rightfully belonged to him in other co-owners. Nevertheless, as a mere part owner, he cannot alienate

18
Art. 1082. Every act which is intended to put an end named Marcelino, Gregorio, Ciriaco and Abundio did not participate in the property involved in order to avoid multiplicity of suits. However, such an
to indivision among co-heirs and legatees or extrajudicial settlement of estate affect its validity. In her amended omission is not a sufficient ground for administrative sanction.
devisees is deemed to be a partition, although it complaint in Civil Case No. CEB-11673, petitioner Mauricia herself WHEREFORE, the instant petition for review on certiorari is hereby DENIED
should purport to be a sale, an exchange, a admitted having acquired by purchase the rights over the shares of her for lack of merit. Costs against petitioner.
compromise, or any other transaction. brothers.
SO ORDERED.
By this provision, it appears that when a co-owner sells his inchoate right On the part of Laurencia, the court found that she had transmitted her
in the co-ownership, he expresses his intention to "put an end to rights over portions she had acquired from her brothers to private G.R. No. 133345 March 9, 2000
indivision among (his) co-heirs." Partition among co-owners may thus be respondent Nique. The sale was made after the execution of the deed of JOSEFA CH. MAESTRADO, as substituted by her daughter LOURDES
evidenced by the overt act of a co-owner of renouncing his right over the extrajudicial settlement of the estate that private respondent himself MAESTRADO-LAVIÑA and CARMEN CH. ABAYA, petitioners,
property regardless of the form it takes. In effect, Laurencia expressed her witnessed. The extrajudicial settlement of estate having constituted a vs.
intention to terminate the co-owner by selling her share to private partition of the property, Laurencia validly transferred ownership over the THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, Ninth Division and JESUS C.
respondent. specific front portion of the property with an area of 146 square meters. ROA, JR., RAMON P. CHAVES and NATIVIDAD S.
Moreover, the execution of the deed of extrajudicial settlement of the The trial court, therefore, did not abuse its discretion in issuing the order SANTOS, respondents.
estate reflected the intention of both Laurencia and petitioner Mauricia to for the segregation of the property. In so doing, it was merely reiterating x-----------------------x
physically divide the property. Both of them had acquired the shares of the partition of the property by petitioner Mauricia and her sister Laurencia
their brothers and therefore it was only the two of them that needed to that was embodied in the deed of extrajudicial settlement of estate. The G.R. No. 133324 March 9, 2000
settle the estate. The fact that the document was not notarized is no order may likewise be deemed as a clarification of its decision that had JOSEFA CHAVES MAESTRADO and CARMEN CHAVES
hindrance to its effectivity as regards the two of them. The partition of become final and executory. Such clarification was needed lest proper ABAYA, petitioners,
inherited property need not be embodied in a public document. In this execution of the decision be rendered futile. vs.
regard, Tolentino subscribes to that opinion when he states as follows: The Court finds no merit in the issue of forum shopping raised by private JESUS C. ROA, JR., RAMON P. CHAVES and NATIVIDAD S.
. . . . We believe, however, that the public instrument is not respondent. Forum shopping exists where the elements of litis SANTOS, respondents.
essential to the validity of the partition. This is not one of those pendentia are present or where a final judgment in one case will amount DE LEON, JR. J.:
contracts in which form is of the essence. The public to res judicata in the other. 17 Because the judgment in Civil Case No. Before us are two (2) consolidated petitions for review on certiorari of the
instrument is necessary only for the registration of the contract, CEB-7028 is already final and executory, the existence of res judicata is
but not for its validity. The validity of an oral contract among determinative of whether or not petitioner is guilty of forum shopping. For Decision 1 of the Court of Appeals 2 dated November 28, 1997 declaring Lot
the heirs, terminating the co-ownership, has been recognized the principle of res judicata to apply, the following must be present: (1) a No. 5872, located in Kauswagan, Cagayan de Oro City, as common property of
by the Supreme Court in a decision . . . (where) that tribunal decision on the merits; (2) by a court of competent jurisdiction; (3) the the heirs of the deceased spouses, Ramon and Rosario Chaves, and ordering its
said: "An agreement among the heirs that a certain lot should decision is final; and (4) the two actions involve identical parties, subject equal division among all the co-owners. The Court of Appeals affirmed the
be sold and its proceeds paid to one of them is a valid oral matter and causes of action. 18 The fourth element is not present in this Decision of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 23 of Cagayan de Oro City, which
contract, and the same has the force of law between the parties case. The parties are not identical because petitioner was not impleaded in dismissed petitioners' action against the private respondents for Quieting of Title
from and after the original assent thereto, and no one of them Civil Case No. CEB-7028. While the subject matter may be the same over the said lot.
may withdraw or oppose its execution without the consent of property, of the Alejandrino spouses, the causes of action are different. The pertinent facts are the following:
all". Civil. Case No. CEB-7028 is an action for quieting of title and damages
while Civil Case No. CEB-11673 is for redemption and recovery of These consolidated cases involve the status of Lot No. 5872 and the rights of the
In a still later case, the Supreme Court held that "partition contending parties thereto. The said lot which has an area of 57.601 square
among heirs or renunciation of an inheritance by some of them properties.
meters, however, is still registered in the name of the deceased spouses Ramon
is not exactly a conveyance for the reason that it does not It appears moreover, that private respondent's argument on forum shopping and Rosario Chaves. The spouses Ramon and Rosario died intestate in 1943 and
involve transfer of property from one to the other, but rather a is anchored on the fact that counsel for both plaintiffs in those two cases is 1944, respectively. They were survived by the following heirs, namely: Carmen
confirmation or ratification of title or right to property by the one and the same, thereby implying that the same counsel merely wanted Chaves-Abaya, Josefa Chaves-Maestrado, Angel Chaves, Amparo Chaves-Roa,
heir renouncing in favor of another heir accepting and to prevail in the second case after having failed to do so in the first. The Concepcion Chaves-Sanvictores and Salvador Chaves.
receiving the inheritance." Hence, the court concluded, "it is records show, however, that Laurencia executed an affidavit 19 consenting
competent for the heirs of an estate to enter into an oral to the appearance of her counsel in any case that petitioner Mauricia might To settle the estate of the said deceased spouses, Angel Chaves initiated intestate
agreement for distribution of the estate among themselves." 15 file against private respondent. She affirmed in that affidavit that she could proceedings 3 in the Court of First Instance of Manila and was appointed
The deed of extrajudicial settlement executed by Mauricia and Laurencia be included even as a defendant in any case that petitioner Mauricia would administrator of said estates in the process. An inventory of the estates was made
evidence their intention to partition the property. It delineates what file because she "fully agree(d)" with whatever cause of action Mauricia and thereafter, the heirs agreed on a project of partition. Thus, they filed an
would have against private respondent. Such a statement can hardly
portion of the property belongs to each other. That it was not notarized is action for partition 4 before the Court of First Instance of Misamis Oriental.
immaterial in view of Mauricia's admission that she did execute the deed constitute a proper basis for a finding of forum shopping, much less
evidence of misconduct on the part of counsel. As noted earlier, the two The court appointed Hernando Roa, husband of Amparo Chaves-Roa, as
of extrajudicial settlement. Neither is the fact that the trial court only receiver. On June 6, 1956, the court rendered a decision approving the project of
mentioned the existence of such document in its decision in Civil Case cases have different causes of action and the two plaintiffs who would
have conflicting claims under the facts of the case actually presented a partition. However, the records of said case are missing and although
No. CEB-7028. That document was formally offered in evidence and the respondents claimed otherwise, they failed to present a copy of said decision.
court is deemed to have duly considered 16 it in deciding the case. the united stand against private respondent. If there is any charge that could be
case. The court has in its favor the presumption of regularity of the leveled against counsel, it is his lack of thoroughness in pursuing the This notwithstanding, the estate was actually divided in this wise: (1) Lot No.
performance of its task that has not been rebutted by petitioner Mauricia. action for quieting of title. As counsel for plaintiff therein, he could have 3046 situated in Bulalong, Cagayan de Oro City, consisting of 44 hectares of
Neither may the fact that the other heirs of the Alejandrino spouses, impleaded petitioner Mauricia knowing fully well her interest in the coconut land was distributed equally among four (4) heirs, namely: (a)
Concepcion Chaves-Sanvictores; (b) Angel Chaves; (c) Amparo Chaves-Roa;
19
and (d) Ramon Chaves, while (2) Lot Nos. 5925, 5934, 1327 and 5872, all Respondents dispute the voluntariness of their consent or the consent of On May 29, 1998, petitioner Lourdes Maestrado-Lavina, in substitution of her
located in Kauswagan, Cagayan de Oro City and consisting of an their predecessors-in-interest to the quitclaims. Ramon claims to have been deceased mother Josefa Chaves-Maestrado, fled a petition for review
aggregate area of 14 hectares was distributed equally between petitioners betrayed by his lawyer, Francisco Velez, who is the son-in-law of on certiorari with this Court. 12 Petitioner Carmen Chaves-abaya also filed her
(a) Josefa Chaves-Maestrado; and (b) Carmen Chaves-Abaya. petitioner Josefa Maestrado. He allegedly signed the quitclaim without
reading it because his lawyer had already read it. He believed that since his own petition for review on certiorari on June 1, 1998. 13 Since the two
At the time of the actual partition, Salvador Chaves had already died. His
share was given to his only son, Ramon, who is the namesake of lawyer was protecting his interest, it was all right to sign it after hearing no petitions involve the same facts and issues, we decided in a Resolution 14 to
Salvador's father. In 1956, the year the partition case was decided and objections from said lawyer. On the other hand, Angel signed the
consolidate the said cases.
effected, receiver Hernando Roa delivered the respective shares of said quitclaim "out of respect" for petitioners. On the other hand, Concepcion
signed because she was misled by alleged misrepresentations in the Petitioner Maestrado-Lavina assigns the following errors:
heirs in accordance with the above scheme. Subsequently, Concepcion
sold her share to Angel, while Ramon sold his share to Amparo. Hence, "Whereas Clauses" of the quitclaim to the effect that the lot was I. THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN AFFIRMING THE
one-half (1/2) of Lot No. 3046 went to Angel and the other half to inadvertently omitted and not deliberately omitted due to doubts on its TRIAL COURT'S DECISION DECLARING LOT 5872 AS STILL
Amparo.1âwphi1.nêt status. 9 COMMON PROPERTY, THEREBY EFFECTIVELY
NULLIFYING THE VERBAL PARTITION AGREEMENT
Significantly, Lot No. 5872 was not included in any of the following Six (6) years after the execution of the quitclaims, respondents discovered REACHED AND IMPLEMENTED BY THE CHILDREN/HEIRS
documents: (1) the inventory of properties of the estate submitted to the that Lot No. 5872 is still in the name of the deceased spouses Ramon and OF DECEDENTS RAMON AND ROSARIO CHAVES WAY
court in the proceedings for the settlement of said estate; (2) the project of Rosario Chaves. Thus, on October 14, 1983, respondent Ramon Chaves, BACK IN 1956;
partition submitted to the court for approval; (3) the properties receiver sole heir of Salvador Chaves, and respondent Jesus Roa, son of Amparo
Hernando Roa had taken possession of, which he listed in the Chaves-Roa, wrote a letter to their uncle Angel Chaves to inform him of II. THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN AFFIRMING THE
"Constancia" submitted to the court; and (4) the court order approving the that said property which they claim to belong to the estate of their TRIAL COURT'S DECISION DECLARING LOT 5872 AS STILL
partition. Decedent Ramon Chaves acquired Lot No. 5872 from Felomino deceased grandparents, has not yet been distributed to the concerned heirs. COMMON PROPERTY UPON ITS CONCLUSION THAT THE
Bautista, Sr. but he subsequently delivered it to the spouses Hernando Hence, they requested Angel Chaves to distribute and deliver it to the SIGNATURES OF RESPONDENTS ON THE DULY NOTARIZED
QUITCLAIMS WERE OBTAINED THROUGH FRAUD;
Roa and Amparo Chaves-Roa. 5 It was thereafter delivered to petitioners heirs. 10 On October 24, 1983, respondent Natividad Santos, daughter
during the actual partition in 1956, and petitioners have been in and attorney-in-fact of Concepcion Chaves-Sanvictores, also wrote a III. THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN ITS LEGAL
possession of the same since then. similar letter to Angel Chaves. On December 1, 1983, Angel Chaves CONCLUSION THAT, ON THE BASIS ALONE OF THE CLAIMS
transmitted the said letters to petitioner Carmen Abaya and requested her THAT (A) RAMON CHAVES SIGNED THE QUITCLAIM
As to the omission of Lot No. 5872 in the inventory and project of WITHOUT READING IT; AND THAT (B) ANGEL CHAVES
partition, the parties offer different explanations. Respondents claim that to respond.
SIGNED THE QUITCLAIM OUT OF RESPECT, THERE WAS
due to the series of involving the said lot, the heirs were unsure if it In response, petitioners filed, on December 22, 1983, an action for FRAUD AS WOULD VITIATE RESPONDENTS CONSENT TO
belonged to the decedents' estate at all. As a result they deferred its
Quieting of Title 11 against respondents in the Regional Trial Court of THE QUITCLAIMS;
inclusion in the inventory of the properties of the estate as well as its
distribution pending the investigation of its status. In fact, administrator Cagayan de Oro. On April 10, 1995, the trial court rendered its Decision in IV. THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN AFFIRMING THE
Angel Chaves filed a motion in the proceedings for the settlement of the favor of respondents, the dispositive portion of which reads as follows: TRIAL COURT'S CONCLUSION THAT PETITIONERS HAVE
estate to include the said lot in the inventory but the court did not act on it. In view of these facts, the court therefore considers the NO CAPACITY TO SUE FOR QUIETING OF TITLE OR
Petitioners, on the other hand, insist that the omission was inadvertent and property, Lot 5872 still common property. Consequently, the REMOVAL OF CLOUD THEREON ON THE BASIS ALONE
the inaction of the court on the motion was due to the compromise property must be divided in six (6) parts, there being six heirs. THAT PETITIONERS ARE NOT THE REGISTERED OWNERS
But since the group of Jesus Roa already quitclaimed in favor OF LOT 5872;
agreement entered into by the heirs. 6
of plaintiffs and the same is true with Angel Chaves, the V. IT BEING UNDISPUTED THAT THE FACTS GIVING RISE
Petitioners' thesis consists of the existence of an oral partition agreement defendants Natividad Santos and Ramon Chaves shall receive TO CLOUD ON JOSEFA'S AND CARMEN'S OWNERSHIP OVER
entered into by all heirs soon after the death of their parents. The one-sixth (1/6) each out of Lot 5872 and the balance will be LOT 5872 SURFACED ONLY IN 1983 AND PETITIONERS
proposed project of partition was allegedly based on it but the court's divided equally by the plaintiffs Josefa-Chaves-Maestrado FILED THE CORRESPONDING ACTION TO QUIET TITLE OR
order of partition failed to embody such oral agreement due to the represented by her daughters and the other half to Carmen REMOVE CLOUD THEREON ALSO IN 1983, THE COURT OF
omission of Lot No. 5872. For some reason, however, the actual partition Chaves-Abaya. APPEALS ERRED IN AFFIRMING THE TRIAL COURT'S
of the estate conformed to the alleged oral agreement. CONCLUSION THAT PETITIONERS ARE GUILTY OF
With no other pronouncements.
Petitioners claim that they failed to notice the non-inclusion of Lot No.
SO ORDERED. LACHES. 15
5872 in the court's order. They only realized such fact after the death in
1976 of Silvino Maestrado, the husband of petitioner Josefa. They The petitioners appealed to the Court of Appeals which in a Decision, Petitioner Carmen Chaves-Abaya, on the other hand, assigns the following
discovered among Silvino's belongings, the partition order and found out promulgated on November 28, 1997, sustained the said Decision of the errors:
trial court, in this wise:
that Lot No 5872 was not included therein. 7 I. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED A
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing premises, the Decision CLEAR ERROR IN THE INTERPRETATION OF LAW IN
In an effort to set things right, petitioners prepared a quitclaim to confirm dated April 10, 1995 subject of the appeal, is hereby HOLDING THAT THERE WAS FRAUD IN OBTAINING THE
the alleged or a agreement. On August 16, 1977, Angel, Concepcion and AFFIRMED in toto. CONSENT OF PRIVATE RESPONDENT RAMON P. CHAVES
Ramon signed a notarized quitclaim in favor of petitioners. Amparo was AND CONCEPCION CHAVES SANVICTORES, THE MOTHER
unable to sign because she had an accident and had passed away on the Costs against the plaintiffs-appellants.
OF PRIVATE RESPONDENT NATIVIDAD SANTOS, TO THE
following day. It was her heirs who signed a similarly worded and SO ORDERED. DEEDS OF QUITCLAIM;
notarized quitclaim on September 8, 1977. 8

20
II. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN partition despite a contrary court order. Despite claims of private partition.. No one among the heirs disturbed this status quo for a period of
RULING THAT THE ACTION FOR QUIETING OF TITLE respondents that Lot No. 5872 was mistakenly delivered to the petitioners, twenty-seven (27) years.
WAS NOT BROUGHT BY THE PERSON IN WHOSE nothing was done to rectify it for a period of twenty-seven (27) years from Final. The said notarized quitclaims signed by the heirs in favor of petitioners
NAME THE TITLE IS ISSUED; 1983. are not vitiated by fraud.1âwphi1 Hence, they are valid.
III. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN We are convinced, however, that there was indeed an oral agreement of Since the oral partition has been duly established, the notarized quitclaims
RULING THAT PETITIONERS WERE GUILTY OF partition entered into by the heirs/parties. This is the only way we can confirmed such prior oral agreement as well as the petitioners' title of ownership
LACHES FOR HAVING SLEPT ON THEIR RIGHTS FOR make sense out of the actual partition of the properties of the estate despite over the subject Lot No. 5872. More importantly, independent of such oral
MORE THAN 25 YEARS. 16 claims that a court order provided otherwise. Prior to the actual partition, partition, the quitclaims in the instant case are valid contracts of waiver of
petitioners were not in possession of Lot. No. 5872 but for some reason or property rights.
We grant the consolidated petitions, the same being impressed with merit. another, it was delivered to them. From 1956, the year of the actual
partition of the estate of the deceased Chaves spouses, until 1983, no one The freedom to enter into contracts, such as the quitclaims in the instant case, is
First. Petitioners are proper parties to bring an action for quieting of title.
Persons having legal as well as equitable title to or interest in a real among the heirs questioned petitioners' possession of or ownership over protected by law 31 and the courts are not quick to interfere with such freedom
property may bring such action and "title" here does not necessarily said Lot No. 5872. Hence, we are convinced that there was indeed an oral unless the contract is contrary to law, morals, good customs, public policy or
denote a certificate of title issued in favor of the person filing the agreement of partition among the said heirs and the distribution of the
properties was consistent with such oral agreement. In any event, the public order. 32 Quitclaims, being contracts of waiver, involve the
suit. 17 Moreover, if the plaintiff in an action for quieting of title is in parties had plenty of time to rectify the situation but no such move was relinquishment of rights, with knowledge of their existence and intent to
possession of the property being litigated, such action is done until 1983. relinquish them. 33 The intent to waive rights must be clearly and convincingly
imprescriptible. 18 One who is in actual possession of a land, claiming A possessor or real estate property is presumed to have title thereto unless shown. Moreover, when the only proof of intent is the act of a party, such act
to be the owner thereof may wait until his possession is disturbed or his should be manifestly consistent and indicative of an intent to voluntarily
the adverse claimant establishes a better right. 23 In the instant case it is
title is attacked before taking steps to vindicate his right because his relinquish a particular right such that no other reasonable explanation of his
undisturbed possession gives him a continuing right to seek the aid of the the petitioners, being the possessors of Lot No. 5872, who have established
a superior right thereto by virtue of the oral partition which was also conduct is possible. 34
courts to ascertain the nature of the adverse claim and its effects on his
confirmed by the notarized quitclaims of the heirs. In the instant case, the terms of the subject quitclaims dated August 16, 1977 and
title. 19
Partition is the separation, division and assignment of a thing held in September 8, 1977 are clear; and the heirs signatures thereon have no other
Although prescription and laches are distinct concepts, we have held, significance but their conformity thereto resulting in a valid waiver of property
common among those to whom it may belong. 24 If may be effected
nonetheless, that in some instances, the doctrine of laches is inapplicable rights. 35 Herein respondents quite belatedly and vainly attempted to invoke
where the action was filed within the prescriptive period provided by extra-judicially by the heirs themselves through a public instrument filed
alleged fraud in the execution of the said quitclaims but we are not convinced. In
law. 20 Thus, laches does not apply in this case because petitioners' before the register of deeds. 25
other words, the said quitclaims being duly notarized and acknowledged before a
possession of the subject lot has rendered their right to bring an action for However, as between the parties, a public instrument is neither constitutive notary public, deserve full credence and are valid and enforceable in the absence
quieting of title imprescriptible and, hence, not barred by laches. nor an inherent element of a contract of partition. 26 Since registration of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. 36 In the case at bench, it is our
Moreover, since laches is a creation of equity, acts or conduct alleged to
serves as constructive notice to third persons, an oral partition by the heirs view and we hold that the execution of the said quitclaims was not fraudulent.
constitute the same must be intentional and unequivocal so as to avoid
is valid if no creditors are affected. 27 Moreover, even the requirement of Fraud refers to all kinds of deception, whether through insidious machination,
injustice. 21Laches operates not really to penalize neglect or sleeping on
a written memorandum under the statute of frauds does not apply to manipulation, concealment or misrepresentation to lead another party into
one's rights, but rather to avoid recognizing a right when to do so would
partitions effected by the heirs where no creditors are involved considering error. 37 The deceit employed must be serious. It must be sufficient to impress
result in a clearly inequitable situation. 22 that such transaction is not a conveyance of property resulting in change of or lead an ordinarily prudent person into error, taking into account the
In the case at bench, the cloud on petitioners' title to the subject property ownership but merely a designation and segregation of that part which
circumstances of each case. 38Silence or concealment, by itself, does not
came about only on December 1, 1983 when Angel Chaves transmitted belongs to each heir. 28
constitute fraud, unless there is a special duty to disclose certain
respondents' letters to petitioners, while petitioners' action was filed on
Nevertheless, respondent court was convinced that Lot No. 5872 is still facts. 39Moreover, the bare existence of confidential relation between the
December 22, 1983. Clearly, no laches could set in under the
common property of the heirs of the deceased spouses Ramon and Rosario
circumstances since petitioners were prompt and vigilant in protecting parties, standing alone, does not raise the presumption of fraud. 40
Chaves because the TCT covering the said property is still registered in the
their rights.
name of the said deceased spouses. unfortunately, respondent court was Dolo causante or fraud which attends the execution of a contract is an essential
Second. Lot No. 5872 is no longer common property of the heirs of the oblivious to the doctrine that the act of registration of a voluntary cause that vitiates consent and hence, it is a ground for the annulment of a
deceased spouses Ramon and Rosario Chaves. Petitioners' ownership over instrument is the operative act which conveys or affects registered land
said lot was acquired by reason of the oral partition agreed upon by the insofar as third persons are concerned. Hence, even without registration, contract. 41 Fraud is never presumed, otherwise, courts would be indulging in
deceased spouses' heirs sometime before 1956. That oral agreement was speculations and surmises. 42 It must be established by clear and convincing
the contract is still valid as between the parties. 29 In fact, it has been
confirmed by the notarized quitclaims executed by the said heirs on
recently held and reiterated by this Court that neither a Transfer Certificate evidence but it was not so in the case at bench. A mere preponderance of
August 16, 1977 and September 8, 1977, supra.
of Title nor a subdivision plan is essential to the validity of an oral evidence is not even adequate to prove fraud. 43
It appeared that the decision in Civil Case No. 867, which ordered the
partition of the decedents' estate, was not presented by either party partition. 30 The instances of fraud allegedly committed in the case at bench are not the kind
thereto. The existence of the oral partition together with the said In sum, the most persuasive circumstance pointing to the existence of the of fraud contemplated by law. On the contrary, they constitute mere carelessness
quitclaims is the bone of contention in this case. It appeared, however, oral partition is the fact that the terms of the actual partition and in the conduct of the affairs of the heirs concerned. We have consistently denied
that the actual partition of the estate conformed to the alleged oral distribution of the estate are identical to the sharing scheme in the oral relief to a party who seeks to avoid the performance of an obligation voluntarily

21
assumed because they turned out to be disastrous or unwise contracts, The property was originally owned by Agrifina Francia and the Nonetheless, this transaction did not materialize for the
even if there was a mistake of law or fact. 44Moreover, we do not set ownership thereof was transmitted upon her death to her three reasons that Clarita Carin subsequently offered to redeem
(3) children, to wit: Isidro, Consolacion, and Emilio (herein the shares sold by her children by returning the amount
aside contracts merely because solicitation, importunity, argument,
appellees' predecessor-in-interest) in the proportion of one-third already received by her son, Agustinito. By reason of their
persuasion or appeal to affection were used to obtain the consent of the
(1/3) each. Consolacion Hermoso, married to Manuel Cruz, good relations and it appearing that the sale was made
other party. 45 later bought the one-third (1/3) undivided share of her brother, without the knowledge and consent of Clarita Carin, Ben
In a nutshell, the quitclaims dated August 16, 1977 and September 8, Isidro Hermoso. Thus, as indicated in OCT No. 0-1054 (M), Palaganas accepted the offer without suspiration.
1977 in the case at bench are valid, duly confirmed and undeniably Consolacion Hermoso owns two-thirds (2/3) thereof and the In the month of October of the same year, Agustinito, then
established the title of ownership of the petitioners over the subject Lot remaining one-third (1/3) is in the name of the Heirs of Emilio reviewing for the Bar Examinations, and Danilo, in dire
No. 5872. Hermoso [Exhibit 'A']. need of money, for the second time offered to sell their
WHEREFORE, the instant consolidated petitions are GRANTED. The On May 29, 1974, the Heirs of Emilio Hermoso respective shares to Ben Palaganas who acted for and in
Decision of the Court of Appeals, dated November 28, 1997, is hereby executed a duly notarized ["Agreement" Exh. "1- behalf of his brother, Dr. Ceferino Palaganas, and sister,
REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The petitioners' action praying for the A"], the pertinent portion of which reads, as follows: Dr. Amanda Palaganas (Palaganases, for brevity), this time
quieting of their title of ownership over Lot No. 5872, located in 2. That it is hereby agreed that for the convenience of all parties giving assurance that their mother (Clarita Carin) had
Kauswagan, Cagayan de Oro, is granted. Costs against the following shall be observed in the partition of the above- already consented to the transaction and that they could
respondents.1âwphi1.nêt mentioned properties; that the share of CLARITA P. CARIN convince their sister, Victoria, to finally agree to an
shall in all cases be adjacent to the properties adjudicated to exchange of shares with Danilo. Elated with this
SO ORDERED. development, the Palaganases even offered a higher price
CONSOLACION HERMOSO CRUZ; then following by the
shares pertaining to DANILO CIRIACO HERMOSO, [P500,000.00] for the sale.
VICTORINA P. HERMOSO, ROGELIO P. HERMOSO and Thus, with these assurances, the parties executed on
AGUSTINITO P. HERMOSO, respectively, except in the January 30, 1980 a duly notarized "Deed of Absolute Sale
G.R. No. 108580 December 29, 1998 partition of the parcel of land situated in Calvario, Over Two Undivided Shares To A Parcel of Land" (Annex
CLARITA P. HERMOSO and VICTORIA P. Meycauayan, Bulacan, which is the subject of the DEED OF "B", Plaintiffs-Appellees; Exhibit 2, Appellants) with the
HERMOSO, petitioners, EXCHANGE above-mentioned, in which case the share Hermoso brothers receiving P300,000.00 upon the
vs. pertaining to CLARITA P. CARIN shall be adjacent to execution of the contract, P100,000.00 to be paid upon the
COURT OF APPEALS, SPOUSES CEFERINO C. PALAGANAS, the stonewall that segregates the share of CONSOLACION eviction of the squatters/tenants thereon, and the balance
AZUCENA R. PALAGANAS and DR. AMANDA C. HERMOSO CRUZ, then followed by the shares pertaining to of P100,000.00 to be paid upon the issuance of title in the
PALAGANAS, respondents. ROGELIO P. HERMOSO, DANILO CIRIANO HERMOSO, name of the vendees.
VICTORINA P. HERMOSO, and AGUSTINITO P. Upon the commencement of the present action (October 8,
HERMOSO, at the extreme end, respectively. [Emphasis and 1984), the Hermoso brothers have already received a total
MARTINEZ, J.: underscoring Ours]. amount of P401,500.00 with the last condition — transfer
This petition seeks the review of the decision dated July 24, 1992 1 of Sometime in July, 1979, third party defendants- of title — not having been yet fulfilled.
the Court of Appeals which reversed the decision dated February 15, appellees Agustinito Hermoso and Danilo Hermoso Contrary to the assurances made by the Hermoso brothers,
1990 of the Regional Trial Court of Bulacan in an action for legal ('Hermoso brothers' for brevity) offered to sell their plaintiffs-appellees allegedly came to have known of the
redemption instituted by the petitioners against the private respondents. respective shares to the land in dispute to one transaction only sometime between May, 1983 and
The motion for reconsideration of petitioners was likewise denied by the Benjamin Palaganas, brother of appellees Ceferino January, 1984 (Complaint, par. 8 in relation to TSN, 21
Palaganas and Amanda Palaganas, who are old
respondent court in its resolution dated December 22, 1992. 2 family acquaintances of the Hermosos since the
Nov. 1984, p. 32, Victoria Hermoso). Thereafter,
plaintiffs-appellees allegedly made arrangements to
There is not much dispute about the background facts, thus we quote with lifetime of their late landlord, Don Marcos Hermoso. negotiate for the redemption of the shares sold by the
favor the factual antecedents as summarized by the Court of Appeals, to Upon being shown a copy of the duly notarized Hermoso brothers. This time however, the Palaganases
wit: "Agreement" [Exh. "1-A"], Ben Palaganas, together were not so open to the idea of the offered repurchase for
Emilio Hermoso, now deceased, and plaintiff Clarita Hermoso, with the Hermoso brothers, approached Atty. Ireneo the value of the property in dispute had considerably
were husband and wife whose union was blessed with the E. Guardiano concerning the preparation of a increased and that they have already set foothold on said
following children: Rogelio, Victoria (another plaintiff- contract of sale, with the latter noting that the shares property by reason of their investments and the plans made
appellee), Agustinito and Danilo Ciriaco, all surnamed offered for sale are separated by the share of for its development. Furthermore, they relied upon the
Hermoso (the latter two being third party defendants- Victoria Hermoso; hence, it would be more feasible assurances made by the Hermoso brothers that the
appellees). Emilio Hermoso died on June 22, 1957, leaving as for Danilo Ciriaco to execute a deed of exchange transaction is known to Clarita Carin and Victoria
his surviving heirs, his wife Clarita, and the four above-named with his sister, Victoria [TSN, 29 October 1986, p. Hermoso. 3
children. Among the properties left by Emilio Hermoso is an 8]. A "Deed if Exchange" [Exh. "11"] was thereafter
undivided one-third portion of a parcel of land, the whole of drawn and signed by Danilo Ciriaco Hermoso but Consequently, considering the adamant refusal of the private respondents to
which consisting of 7,842 square meters, more or less, is now the same was not however signed by Victoria resell the disputed lots, petitioners on October 8, 1984 filed a complaint for legal
covered by OCT No. 0-1054 (M) issued in 1983, situated at Hermoso. redemption before the Regional Trial Court of Bulacan, Branch 7, Malolos, with
Calvario, Meycauayan, Bulacan. prayer for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction to enjoin defendants
third-party plaintiffs from proceeding with the construction of the building
22
thereon. The trial court issued the writ prayed for. After trial on the THE RESPONDENT COURT ERRED IN NOT In fact, there is no division yet between the spouses, Manuel Cruz and
merits, the court a quo issued its decision dated February 15, 1990, the AGREEING WITH THE HOLDING OF THE Consolacion Hermoso Cruz on one hand and the Heirs of Emilio
dispositive portion of which reads: TRIAL COURT THAT THE AGREEMENT, Hermoso on the other. This fact of co-ownership is easily discernible
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered in MARKED AS EXHIBIT "1-A," IS NOT A DEED in the title itself which has not yet been cancelled, and therefore still
favor of the plaintiffs and against the defendants OF PARTITION BUT IS A MERE SCHEME AS subsisting.
and third-party defendants as follows: TO HOW TO PARTITION THE PROPERTY IN Therefore, it is ordered by the Court that said land be registered in
QUESTION WHICH IS TEMPORARY IN accordance with the provisions of the Land Registration Act, as
1. Ordering the defendants to allow the redemption of the CHARACTER AND SUBJECT TO CHANGE AT
shares sold to them by their vendors, the third party defendants amended, in the name of said spouses. Manuel C. Cruz and
ANY TIME AND IS NULL AND VOID AS FAR Consolacion Hermoso; and heirs of Emilio Hermoso, namely: Clarita
herein, and upon payment of the amount of Four Hundred One AS PETITIONER VICTORIA P. HERMOSO IS
Thousand Five Hundred (P401,500.00) Pesos, to surrender the Pajo, Victoria Hermoso, Rogelio Hermoso, Agustinito Hermoso, and
CONCERNED BECAUSE SHE WAS STILL A Danilo Hermoso as their exclusive property, —
possession of the portion of the land covered by OCT No. 0- MINOR WHEN SAID AGREEMENT WAS
1054 (N), together with whatever improvement they have EXECUTED AND HER CO-PETITIONER The documents relating to the shares of the third party defendants
constructed on the property, to the plaintiffs; CLARITA P. HERMOSO HAD NO AUTHORITY readily show this fact of co-ownership. Thus, in the untitled
2. Ordering the defendants to pay the plaintiffs, the amount of TO SIGN SAID AGREEMENT IN HER BEHALF; instrument introduced by the defendants marked as Exhibit 3 which is
Twenty Thousand (P20,000.00) Pesos by way of actual an agreement to sell purportedly bearing the date October 10, 1979
II. signed by the Hermoso brothers, Agustinito and Danilo and stating
damages to cover the transportation expenses of the plaintiffs
from Cebu to Malolos and back and also attorney's fees in the THE RESPONDENT COURT ERRED IN NOT how the P500,000.00 consideration of the sale shall be paid, what was
amount of Fifteen Thousand (P15,000.00) Pesos which HOLDING THAT THE PROPERTY IN referred to have been sold were the shares, rights and interests over
plaintiffs have paid or are bound to pay their counsel; QUESTION WAS STILL UNDIVIDED AND WAS the land of the said vendors. This document states, among others:
STILL UNDER CO-OWNERSHIP DESPITE THE That we have agreed to transfer and convey unto spouses Dr.
3. Ordering the third party defendants to pay the defendants, EXECUTION OF THE AGREEMENT MARKED
damages by way of legal interest in the amount computed at Ceferino C. Palaganas and Azucena R. Palaganas, both of legal age,
AS EXHIBIT "1-A" BECAUSE CONSOLACION Filipinos and with residence and postal address at Bañga.
the rate of twelve (12%) percent of the P401,500.00 which HERMOSO, CO-OWNER OF 2/3 OF SAID
shall commence from the date of the filing of the complaint on Meycauayan, Bulacan all our shares, rights and interests over the
PROPERTY, WAS NOT A PARTY TO SAID aboved escribed parcel of land free from all liens and encumbrances
October 8, 1984 until the said amount of P401,500.00 shall AGREEMENT;
have been completely paid to the defendants by the said under the following terms and conditions . . . Cf. Exhibit 3, def.,
plaintiffs. III. emphasis supplied.
THE RESPONDENT COURT ERRED IN The document signed by the two brothers on January 30, 1980 was
Costs against the defendants. 4 COUNTING THE DATE WHEN THE RIGHT OF obviously prepared at the instances of Ben Palagas. Acknowledged
On appeal, the issues were simplified by the respondent court as follows: REDEMPTION SHOULD BE EXERCISED FROM before Notary Public Irineo Guardiano whose advise was sought by
THE TIME THE PETITIONERS MADE A Ben Palaganas, its title is immediately revealing, as it is titled "Deed
1. Whether or not the property in dispute is still co-owned or FORMAL OFFER TO REDEEM INSTEAD OF of Absolute Sale Over Two Undivided Shares to a Parcel of Land"
has actually been partitioned thereby terminating the co- FROM THE TIME THE PETITIONERS STARTED Cf. Exhibit C. pl., Exhibit 2, def., underlining supplied. It is also
ownership; NEGOTIATING FOR THE REDEMPTION OF stated in this document that what was sold by the Hermoso brothers
2. If otherwise, whether or not the plaintiffs-appellees could THE TWO UNDIVIDED SHARES AFTER THEY were "shares, rights and interests over the above-described parcel of
still exercise the rights of redemption. WERE CERTAIN THAT SAID UNDIVIDED land" (which obviously refers to the land in question).
SHARES WERE SOLD TO THE PRIVATE It is significant to note that in the deed of sale marked as Exhibit 2,
The respondent court disagreed with the findings of the trial court and
was of the view "that laws and jurisprudence favor the appellants, hence RESPONDENTS. 6 defendant, the area of the shares of the vendors, the Hermoso brothers
we reverse." The dispositive portion of the appellate court's decision were not specified. What was mentioned on the matter of area is that
The trial and appellate courts disagreed as to the interpretation to be given
reads: of the whole parcel which is 7,829 square meters. If there was a
to the agreements and contracts and to the notice of sale involved in this
partition or separation of the portions of the whole land assigned to
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the judgment case.
the owners named in the title, the parcels conveyed could have been
appealed from is hereby REVERSED, and a new
In the trial court, petitioners posited the theory that the disputed land is still described with their specified metes and bounds.
one is entered dismissing the Complaint and under co-ownership. On the basis of the same documentary evidence, the
ordering Third-Party Defendants to pay on the There was no subdivision plan presented by the defendants. In fact,
private respondents contend that what the two brothers sold was already
Third Party Complaint, the Third Party Plaintiffs there was none as yet executed by a duly licensed geodetic engineer
definite since partition had already been effected.
the amount of P10,000.00 by way of attorney's fees. on that registered land. Ben Palaganas who was then dealing with the
The first two (2) grounds for this petition refer to the nature of the land Hermoso brothers, the named vendors in the document, is a highly
The parties shall bear their respective costs. 5 sold to the respondents. The question is: Was it still under co-ownership or educated man. As he had testified, he is an accountant by profession
had it already been partitioned and divided among the co-owners? and he had served as head of a department of the Central Bank until
In this petition for review, Clarita P. Hermoso, now Clarita Carin after her
remarriage, and her daughter Victoria P. Hermoso, raise the following In finding that the parcel of land covered and described in OCT No. O- his retirement from the government. In the opinion of this court, he
grounds: 1054 (M) had not been divided or partitioned among the co-owners, the knew all along that what he or his principals were buying at the time
trial court said: were the undivided shares, participation and interests of the vendors
I. to the land. His claim later in court that the shares of the vendors
could already be identified and segregated is difficult to believe. If his

23
claim were true, Ben Palaganas with his experience and We agree with the trial court's findings that the records show co-ownership The absence of a deed of partition between Consolacion on the one hand, and the
educational background could have easily managed to of undivided property instead of definite portions of land having been heirs of Emilio on the other, is bolstered by the fact that the registered ownership
executed the proper document as a basis of an ultimate assigned and separately owned by each of the co-owners. is that of the original owner over the entire property.
issuance of title in the name of the vendees. The document It should be stressed that it was Ben Palaganas, the vendee, who prepared The deed of sale executed by the Hermoso brothers on January 30, 1980,
which he relied upon which is Exhibit 1-A as the basis for his the Deed of Sale. The private respondents never had a hand in the referred to undivided shares. Prior to the execution of this document, the
conclusion that the Hermoso brothers were selling definite preparation of the document, even if the purchase was made in their Hermoso brothers were parties to a non-notarized certification dated October 10,
parcels of land is belied by the recitals of the documents he behalf. The document states that it is a "Deed of Absolute Sale Over Two
himself introduced to the court, viz. Exhibits 2 and 3. The 1979, 13 acknowledging the receipt of P25,000.00 from the respondents, and
Undivided Shares to a Parcel of Land." 9 Ben Palaganas who prepared the
document, Exhibit 1-A, if at all, could at best be considered as wherein they were described as co-owners with the petitioners. 14
a scheme how the land could be divided in the future among deed of sale, knew and intended that the transaction was over "Two
the heirs of Emilio Hermoso. Temporary in nature and subject Undivided Shares" of land. After all, as observed by the trial court, Ben The second paragraph of the certification states that "We have agreed to sell,
to the conformity of the 2 sets of co-owners to the land, the Palaganas was an accountant and was, prior to retirement from government transfer and convey unto the spouses Dr. Ceferino C. Palaganas and Azucena R.
spouses Manuel Cruz and Consolacion Hermoso Cruz had not service, the head of a department in the Central Bank. Again, we quote the Palaganas. . . all our shares, rights and interests over the above-described parcel
participated in its execution. As it was, there was no sound trial court on this point, thus: of land . . . ." 15 Note that the vendors who have described themselves as "co-
basis for Ben Palaganas or his principals to have assumed that In the opinion of this court, he knew all along that owners" agreed merely to sell their shares, rights and interests over the land.
Exhibit 1-A could be enforced against the spouses Manuel what he or his principals were buying at the time They were not "selling" but were "agreeing to sell." They did not sell a specific
Cruz and Consolacion Cruz and other third persons. 7 were the undivided shares, participation and interests portion of land but sold "shares, rights and interests." It is to be further noted that
of the vendors to the land. His claim later in court as late as 1979 and 1980, Ben Palaganas and the Hermoso brothers, the parties to
In overturning the aforequoted opinion of the trial court, the respondent that the shares of the vendors could already be the deeds of sale, were in complete agreement that there was a co-ownership.
court said that: identified and segregated is difficult to believe. If his The basis for the opinion of the respondent court that the co-ownership had been
In ascertaining whether the community still subsists, or that it claim were true, Ben Palaganas with his experience terminated and the property was subdivided is the document dated May 24, 1974
had already been extinguished by partition among the co- and educational background could have easily denominated "Agreement," executed by the heirs of Emilio Hermoso. The
owners, it is not a mandatory requirement that the property co- managed to execute the proper document as a basis pertinent portion of the agreement, which has been earlier cited and for
owned had been determined with unmistakable definiteness of an ultimate issuance of title in the name of the emphasis, is reproduced hereunder runs as follows:
and clarity, as where the property has been given a technical vendees. The document which he relied upon which
description after proper geodetic survey; it is only required that is Exhibit 1-A as the basis for his conclusion that the 2. That it is hereby agreed that for the convenience of all parties the
the shares are properly determinable and the proper Hermoso brothers were selling definite parcels of following shall be observed in the partition of the above-mentioned
arrangements thereof identifiable, as when nothing is left for land is belied by the recitals of the documents he properties: that the share of CLARITA P. CARIN shall in all cases be
the co-owners to do but to actually occupy the portion himself introduced to the court, viz., Exhibits 2 and adjacent to the properties adjudicated to CONSOLACION
pertaining to their share without any dispute arising over the HERMOSO CRUZ; then followed by the shares pertaining to
3. 10 DANILO CIRIACO HERMOSO, VICTORINA P. HERMOSO,
extent of their respective shares and the respective position of
the parcels they are entitled to occupy. Ben Palaganas' understanding and interpretation must necessarily prevail ROGELIO P. HERMOSO and AGUSTINITO P. HERMOSO,
over that of the private respondents' who were not present during the respectively, except in the partition of the parcel of land situated in
Although OCT No. 0-1054 (M) reveals on its face Calvario, Meycauayan, Bulacan, which is the subject of the DEED
transaction and whose claims are colored by self-interest. In fact, the same
the existence of co-ownership between Consolacion OF EXCHANGE above-mentioned, in which case the share
document refers to the brothers as co-owners of undivided shares in the
Hermoso-Cruz and the Heirs of Emilio Hermoso, pertaining to CLARITA P. CARIN shall be adjacent to
the fact that the shares are separated by disputed property. 11
the stonewall that segregates the share of CONSOLACION
a stonewall (Cf. Exh. 1-A) unmistakably reveals the It is plain from the deed of sale of two undivided shares that the absence of HERMOSO CRUZ, then followed by the shares pertaining to
determinate or determinable character of the a clear partition among the heirs of Emilio Hermoso complemented the ROGELIO P. HERMOSO, DANILO CIRIACO HERMOSO,
property described under said certificate of title. similar absence of a division of properties between the heirs and their aunt VICTORINIA P. HERMOSO, and AGUSTINITO P. HERMOSO, at
The court a quo subscribed to the theory that Consolacion Hermoso Cruz. Two of the heirs were selling shares of the extreme end, respectively.
Exhibit 1-A is merely a "scheme [of] how the land undivided property which in turn was also an undivided portion of a much We agree with the trial court that this Agreement was merely a scheme as to how
could be divided in the future among the heirs of larger undivided inheritance. the land would be subdivided in the future among the heirs. The owner of two-
Emilio Hermoso." (g.v., Decision, p. 5) Be that as it The alleged documents of exchange presented by the respondents to show thirds (2/3) of the property, Consolacion Hermoso, was not a party to the
may, there is nothing more left to be done but the a partition with Consolacion would, to our mind, fall under the same agreement. As a majority owner of the undivided property, she could have
actual subdivision of the properly by a duly licensed category as the "1994 Agreement" among the heirs of Emilio Hermoso, as demanded and insisted on getting the particular portions which the respondent
geodetic engineer prior to the actual titling of their we shall hereinafter discuss. court ruled had already been segregated in favor of the two vendors-brothers.
respective shares. The corresponding shares of each The agreement among the heirs of Emilio Hermoso as to shares following one
of the heirs of Emilio Hermoso is not in dispute — The allegation about Consolacion having segregated and having given her
2/3 share of the inheritance viz-a-viz the 1/3 share of the heirs of Emilio another in a specific order cannot be binding on the co-owner who owns 2/3 of
one-fifth each; and their proper respective the entire parcel but who was not a signatory or party to the document.
arrangements, one after another, had likewise been Hermoso is belied by the letter sent by husband Manuel Cruz in August
1981 to the Register of Deeds of Bulacan which intimated his desire to buy The reference to a stonewall separating the shares of Consolacion Hermoso Cruz
included under Exhibit 1-A. 8 from the share of Clarita Carin and the use thereof as reference point should not
the property of his co-owners in his capacity as such. 12 The spouses
be taken to mean that thereby a partition was effected among the heirs. The
Cruz wanted to buy properties which they heard had been alienated by
statement of the Heirs of Emilio Hermoso that the 2/3 portion of the co-owner in
their co-owners.

24
relation to the heirs of Emilio shall be adjacent to that of Clarita Carin for the price of the sale, provided they do so within the period after Ben Palaganas had confirmed the transaction, the petitioners confronted the
followed by the shares of Rogelio, Danilo, Victorina and Agustinito is a of one month from the time they were notified in writing of the two brothers who were compelled to admit they have sold their shares. The
statement of a desire on how the land should be subdivided. It cannot be sale by the vendor. vendor-brothers never took the initiative of informing their co-heirs in writing
said that it is a kind of division or partition of property which clearly It is to be noted that Article 1623 stresses the need for notice in writing in that they have alienated their shares. As found by the trial court, the petitioners
terminates co-ownership. The statement of Agustinito of an assignment of three other species of legal redemption namely: (1) redemption in a case immediately started negotiations with Ben Palaganas to redeem the alienated
shares cited by the respondent court was more of an expression on how a where the share of all the other co-owners or any of them are sold to a share. At this time, the payment for the shares had not yet been completed
future partition should be effected. In fact, the word "positions" was used neither by Ben Palaganas nor by the private respondents.
in addition to shares. third person; 17 (2) redemption by owners of adjoining lands when a
The observation of the trial court on this issue is enlightening, thus:
The documents evidencing the deed of sale are more authoritative in piece of rural land not exceeding one hectare in area is alienated; 18 and
It is evident from the evidence in the record that the
determining the existence of co-ownership. The May 29, 1974 (3) redemption by owners of adjoining lands in the sale of a piece of an vendors, i.e., the Hermoso brothers, Agustinito and Danilo
"Agreement" could not have been a partition or division of co-owned urban land so small and so situated that the portion thereof cannot be used had not notified in writing or even verbally their co-heirs
properties because five and six years later, as can be gleaned from the for any practical purpose within a reasonable time, having been bought which include the plaintiffs herein before or during the
October 10, 1979 certification and from the January 13, 1980 Deed of merely for speculation. 19 execution of the sale of their shares to Ben Palaganas or
Sale Over Two Undivided Shares To A Parcel of Land, both Ben the defendants. The transaction of these two brothers had
Palaganas who prepared the documents as vendee, and the brothers In all the above-cited provisions of law, the interpretation thereof always
with Ben Palaganas was kept out of the knowledge of their
Agustinito and Danilo who signed as vendors, were definite about the tilts in favor of the redemptioner and against the vendee. The purpose is to
mother and sister, the plaintiffs herein. Their need for
property being under co-ownership. As late as August, 1981, Manuel reduce the number of participants until the community is terminated, being
funds must have been urgent and it was obvious that their
Cruz, the husband of Consolacion, described the parties as "co-owners." a hindrance to the development and better administration of the
mother if advised what they intended to do with the land
The private respondents, to buttress their stance that the standards of property. 20 Thus, we agree with the trial court when it said: could have objected to it. This reaction from the plaintiffs
concrete determinability and identifiability have been met in the case at The purpose of Article 1067 (of the old Civil Code, was easily expected because when Agustinito Hermoso
bar, cited the case of De la Cruz v. Cruz. 16 We have read the case, now Article 1088 of the present Civil Code) is to sold his share to Ben Palaganas in July 1979, the same was
keep strangers to the family out of a joint ownership, aborted by the plaintiff, Clarita Carin. On this regard,
regrettably the standards are not present. In De la Cruz, the northern half
if, as is often the case, the presence of outsiders be Agustinito Hermoso, one of the two third party defendants
of the property was assigned to the plaintiff and the southern half to the
undesirable and the other heir or heirs be willing and testified:
defendant. In which case, such a division is concrete and definite, which
is not so in this case. Here, the majority co-owner, Consolacion Hermoso, in a position to repurchase the share sold (De Jesus Q — Did you inform your mother and sister about the sale of these
was not even consulted and the mention of names following one another vs. Manglapus, 81 Phil 144). While there should no properties?
was apparently only a statement of who are the co-owners-heirs. It was question that an heir may dispose his right before A — During that time?
not a formal division or partition of the bigger property still to be validly partition (Rivero vs. Serrano (CA) 46 O.G. 642;
partitioned with Consolacion, owner of two-thirds (2/3) and later, among Wenceslao vs. Calimon, 46 Phil. 906. Hernaez vs Q — Yes.
the co-heirs who owned the remaining one-third (1/3). It is only a Hernaez, 32 Phil. 214), a co-heir would have had to A — I did not.
statement of a future action to be taken. We, therefore, rule that the lot in pay only the price for which the vendee acquired it
(Hernaez vs. Hernaez, xxx xxx xxx
question is still undivided property owned in common by the co-heirs.
Ibid.) 21 ATTY. GARCIA:
The second issue herein refers to the timeliness of exercising the right of
legal redemption. The petitioners question the respondent court's ruling Q — Do you know when, for the first time, did your mother and your
It is a one-way street. It is always in favor of the redemptioner since he can
that the right had already prescribed when they exercised legal sister came to know of this sale?
compel the vendee to sell to him but he cannot be compelled by the vendee
redemption. to buy the alienated property. A — Personally, I do not know when they came upon that
The law apropos to this case is Article 1623 of the Civil Code, which knowledge.
In this case, the land has not been validly partitioned between Consolacion
provides: Hermoso, who owns 2/3 and the heirs of Emilio Hermoso who 1/3 (TSN, 5-22-86, pp. 10-11).
Art. 1623. The right of legal pre-emption or redemption shall regardless of the sentiments of Consolacion on the land in dispute may ATTY. HERMOSO:
not be exercised except within thirty days from the notice in later have been. There has been no subsequent distribution among the co-
writing by the prospective vendor, or by the vendor, as the case heirs of their specific shares. But even granting that the heirs divided the Q — Did you ever consult your mother or your sister of your desire
may be. The deed of sale shall not be recorded in the Registry properties owned in common in the May 29, 1974 Agreement, the right of to sell the property?
of Property, unless accompanied by an affidavit of the vendor legal redemption under Article 1620 of the Code, would still subsist in A — No, sir.
that he has given written notice thereof to all possible their capacity as co-owners. For, it a co-owner has offered to redeem the Q — Why not?
redemptioners. land within the period fixed by law, he has complied with the law. He may
bring the action to enforce the redemption after every offer has been A — Because I personally believe that what we were selling then
The right of redemption of co-owners excludes that of were but our right to the said property.
adjoining owners. rejected. This is exactly the situation in this case.
The respondent court found that the petitioners already had notice of the Q — How about your brother Danilo Hermoso, did he inform your
An identical provision governing co-heirs is found in Article 1088 of the mother and sister about the sale of the property?
Civil Code, quoted hereunder: sale in January 1984. Considering that the letter, 22 coursed through Atty.
Sandico, offering to redeem the property was made only in September xxx xxx xxx
Art. 1088. Should any of the heirs sell his hereditary rights to a
stranger before the partition, any or all of the co-heirs may be 1984, the appellate court was of the view that the action to enforce A — Danilo Hermoso, my brother, told me that he did not inform our
subrogated to the rights of the purchaser by reimbursing him redemption had prescribed. A perusal of the record, however, shows that mother and our sister about his desire to sell his share on the property.
25
(TSN, 5-21-87, pp. 12-13 & 15). offer to redeem the share sold in 1980 was made, the Palaganas clan no a particular case because of its peculiar circumstances. We are not bound to
ATTY. OSORIO: longer wanted to resell the property. Considering that over the intervening apply them in slavish obedience to their language."
years, they had paid on a piecemeal basis the amount of P400,000.00 to the Whether it is the vendees who will prevail as in the Alonzo doctrine, or the
Q — How about the second sale which included the share of two brothers and out of "self-respect" refused to agree to the redemption.
your brother? redemptioners as in this case, the righting of justice is the key to the resolution of
But since the property purchased had already increased in value not only the issues.
A — No, we did not inform our mother regarding our desire to "self-respect" but apparently self-interest had entered the picture.
sell our respective properties, sir. The standards and conditions of legal redemption provided under Article 1623 of
It was error for the respondent court to rule that the right of the petitioner the Civil Code have not been met in this petition. Furthermore, there is the fact
Art. 1088 of the Civil Code is applicable in the to redeem the alienated share had long prescribed. This finding fails to take that justice and equity, as the law provides, are also on the side of the petitioners.
instant case. But whether it is under this article or into account that the period of legal redemption is not a prescriptive As we said, the righting of an injustice is the key to the resolution of this case
Article 1623 of same Code, the period of 30 days period. It is a condition precedent to the exercise of the right of and thus would be the end result of our decision.
has not began to run. redemption. It is a period set by law to restrict the right of the person
The two brothers, Agustinito and Danilo Hermoso, were still students when they
When the plaintiffs had become certain after Ben exercising the right of legal redemption. 24 It is not one of prescription. sold their shares in their inheritance. In 1979, Agustinito was already a
Palaganas had confirmed the transaction that there The written notice required by Article 1623 of the Civil Code was enacted graduating student of law. According to the trial court, it was "sometime in
was such a sale covering the shares of the third to remove all doubts and uncertainty that the alienation may not be October of that year, he and his younger brother Danilo separately needed cash
party defendants (tsn, 6-19-86, pp. 20-21) sometime which there could not easily secure from their mother, Clarita Carin, one of the
in 1984, the vendors had to admit to the herein definite. 25 The co-owners must know with certainty the circumstances
plaintiffs the fact of sale. Plaintiffs immediately of the sale by his co-owners and the terms and the validity of the plaintiffs herein." 28 However, if they were strapped of cash, considering that
started negotiations with Ben Palaganas to redeem alienation. Only after said knowledge is the co-owner required to exercise their allowances were insufficient for their needs, they could have pleaded with
the shares sold by the vendors. Ben Palaganas or the the right of redemption given to him by law. their mother for additional funds instead of selling the still undivided property
defendants after all, had not completely paid the without her knowledge and against her known will. They knew that their mother
While the law requires that the notice must be in writing, it does not state
whole consideration of the sale by that time. Ben was against the very idea of selling a portion of the undivided property
any particular form thereof, so long as the reasons for a written notice are
Palaganas did not want to give money anymore to considering that Consolacion Hermoso cancelled the prior sale made by them in
present. The records of the case show that the sale of the brothers' share
the vendors as the amounts already paid had July 1979 by redeeming the property. From the records, one gets the impression
was deliberately hidden from the petitioners. For sometime after the sale,
amounted to P401,500.00 (see footnote of Ben that the two brothers, Agustinito and Danilo, were irresponsible and self-
the petitioners were ignorant about its execution. When they somehow
Palaganas in Exhibit 10). The several payments centered, failing to consider the wishes of their mother.
heard rumors about it, they had to take one step after another to find out if
made to the vendors are evidenced by Exhibits 3, 4, the information was true. Ben Palaganas, who represented the respondents in a transaction, admitted a debt
5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10. Ben Palaganas acting for of gratitude to the Hermoso family. Yet, apparently he took advantage of the
himself or for the defendants refused the offer of It is to be noted that in the case at bar, not only were the petitioners
situation. Through several years he doled out funds in installments to the two
the plaintiffs to redeem the land, claiming that the intentionally kept in the dark for several years but even after knowledge of
brothers in partial payment of the disputed property until the indebtedness had
rights to the land of his principals to the vendors' the act of the two brothers, they still had difficulty in ascertaining and
reached an amount that Agustinito and Danilo had no other recourse but to sell
shares to the land was already established. The confirming its veracity. Far from giving the notice required by law or
their inheritance and practically compelled them to execute the deed of sale in
formal demand to redeem was sent by the plaintiffs giving information on the history and details of the sale, Agustinito and
dispute.
through counsel to the defendants (Exhibit B, p. Danilo gave the petitioners the run-around until the brothers were
practically forced to admit it and the petitioners immediately went to see Again, we reiterate the salient fact that Clarita Carin, their mother, and Victoria
203, record). Still the defendants did not respond
Ben Palaganas. In their dialogue with Ben Palaganas, petitioners offered to Hermoso, their sister, were kept in the dark about the sale. Considering the
accordingly. They had instead constructed a
redeem the property, but this time, unlike the first, the offer was rejected. factual background of this case, the honorable and expected step for the
building within the land covered by the title and in a
Palaganas was to inform the petitioners about the action taken by Agustinito and
place therein, relying on the temporary scheme of When the petitioners offered to redeem within the period fixed by law,
Danilo. Instead, as the record reveals the parties to the sale concealed the
partition marked as Exhibit 1-a. To the plaintiffs, they complied with the condition precedent to the exercise of their right.
transaction from petitioners for four (4) years. It was only after hearing rumors
there was no other recourse except to go to court. The filing of an action to enforce the redemption is not the determining
about the sale when petitioners started to investigate and search for evidence to
And they did by filing this complaint on October 4, point in time. In Conejero, supra, this Court ruled that a consignation of
confirm their hear say acknowledge about the transaction. Even then, the two
1984 with the court. 23 the tendered price is not necessary as long as a valid tender is
brothers and the Palaganases gave them a hard time.
present. 26 However, the offer to redeem is indispensable. Considering
Ben Palaganas confirmed the offer to redeem. When questioned why the The Palaganas clan knew all along the strong feelings of the petitioners against
private respondents agreed to the return of the sold shares in 1979 but the indignation and the wrath of the petitioners directed at the two brothers the alienation of share in the still undivided property. This was their second
refused to do so in 1980, this witness waxed sentimental and gave a for their acts of alienating an undivided portion of the property, despite the attempt to buy the property. As a matter of fact, they knew that in 1979 when the
lengthy narration of the debt of gratitude his family owed to the Hermoso earlier redemption of the sale sold in 1979, there can be no question about land was first sold, the petitioners immediately took steps to cancel the sale upon
family. Ben Palaganas related that the patriarch Marcos Hermoso allowed the willingness and capability of the petitioners to buy back the shares sold discovery thereof. In 1980, the private respondents and Ben Palaganas still did
the Palaganas clan to build their house on his land and to stay there for 27 in 1980. exactly what the petitioners vigorously opposed and did not want to happen.
years without paying rent. And, when three sons and one daughter of the In applying Article 1623 of the Civil Code on the exercise of legal They also hid the sale from the petitioners until confronted with facts that they
Palaganases were in medical school, and the family ran out of funds, redemption to certain facts, the interpretation must be in favor of justice could no longer hide or deny. The impressions of the trial judge is worth quoting
Marcos Hermoso extended financial assistance without interest and and equity. 27 This Court explained — ". . . . We test a law by its result. hereunder thus:
payable only when the Palaganases could afford to pay. Out of respect for It is obvious that the acts of Ben Palaganas or his principals would be
A law should not be interpreted so as not to cause an injustice . . . . There
the Hermoso family, Ben Palaganas related, the private respondents considered as done in bad faith. Ben Palaganas should not be allowed
are laws which are generally valid but may seem arbitrary when applied in
agreed to the cancellation of the 1979 sale. However, in 1984 when the to say that he had relied merely on the impressions given by the

26
vendors, the Hermoso brothers. Aside from what was obvious 13, 1961. On April 14, 1961, upon the execution of a real estate mortgage The court also found that the action for partition had already prescribed. The
in the documents executed by the Hermoso brothers, he should on the land, the loan was approved by the bank. registration of the land under private respondent Rosario Diez's name amounted
have inquire nor verified said impressions made by the vendors Rosario Diez exercised rights of ownership over the land. In 1985, she to a repudiation of the co-ownership. Therefore, petitioners had ten (10) years
from the plaintiffs or any of the co-owners to the property. The brought an ejectment suit against petitioner Jovita Yap Ancog's husband from April 13, 1961 within which to bring an action to recover their share in the
evidence in the record shows that it was their intense desire to and son to evict them from the ground floor of the house built on the land property. While it is true that petitioner Gregorio Yap, Jr. was a minor at the
own a property in the place where the land is located because for failure to pay rent. Shortly thereafter, petitioner Jovita Ancog learned time the extrajudicial settlement was executed, his claim, according to the court,
of the business potentials thereat stated herein above. They did that private respondent Rosario Diez had offered the land for sale. was barred by laches.
not exercise the diligence of a good father of a family because On appeal, the Court of Appeals upheld the validity of the extrajudicial
they did not want to, what with their experience with the first Petitioner Ancog immediately informed her younger brother, petitioner
Gregorio Yap, Jr., who was living in Davao, of their mother's plan to sell settlement and sustained the trial court's dismissal of the case. The appellate
transaction affecting the share of the third party defendant, court emphasized that the extrajudicial settlement could not have been simulated
Agustinito Hermoso which took place only in July, 1979 a few the land. On June 6, 1985, they filed this action for partition in the
Regional Trial Court of Bohol where it was docketed as Civil Case No. in order to obtain a loan, as the new loan was merely "in addition to" a previous
months earlier to the transaction in question. 29 3094. As private respondent Caridad Yap was unwilling to join in the one which private respondent Diez had been able to obtain even without an
action against their mother, Caridad was impleaded as a defendant. extrajudicial settlement. Neither did petitioners adduce evidence to prove that an
There can be no doubt that the Palaganas clan were in bad faith at the time
extrajudicial settlement was indeed required in order to obtain the additional
they bought the disputed property from the Hermoso brothers. We cannot Petitioners alleged that the extrajudicial instrument was simulated and loan. The appellate court held that considering petitioner Jovita Yap Ancog's
thus close our eyes to the injustice which would befall the petitioners therefore void. They claimed that in signing the instrument they did not educational attainment (Master of Arts and Bachelor of Laws), it was
considering that this is not the first time that they have expressed their really intend to convey their interests in the property to their mother, but improbable that she would sign the settlement if she did not mean it to be such.
desire to redeem the property sold by the Hermoso brothers. Under the only to enable her to obtain a loan on the security of the land to cover Hence, this petition. Petitioners contend that the Court of Appeals erred:
circumstances, it is just and equitable to rule in favor of the exercise of expenses for Caridad's school fees and for household repairs.
legal redemption. I. IN SUSTAINING THE TRIAL COURT RULING THAT THE
At the pre-trial conference, the parties stipulated: CONTESTED EXTRAJUDICIAL SETTLEMENT (EXHIBIT "B")
WHEREFORE, the assailed decision of the Court of Appeals should be,
1. That the parcel of land in question originally IS NOT A SIMULATED ONE;
as it is hereby, REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The decision of the
Regional Trial Court dated February 15, 1990 is hereby REINSTATED. belonged to the conjugal partnership of spouses II. IN BLOATING THE EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND OF
Gregorio Yap and Rosario Diez Yap; PETITIONER JOVITA YAP ANCOG AND USING THE SAME AS
SO ORDERED.
2. That Gregorio Yap, Jr. is the legitimate child of ARGUMENT AGAINST HER CLAIM THAT SAID EXHIBIT "B"
G.R. No. 112260 June 30, 1997 spouses Gregorio Yap and Rosario Diez Yap; WAS INDEED A SIMULATED DOCUMENT;
JOVITA YAP ANCOG, and GREGORIO YAP, JR., petitioners, 3. That Gregorio Yap is not a party in the execution III. IN SUSTAINING THE TRIAL COURT'S RULING THAT
vs. of the Extra Judicial Settlement of the Estate dated PETITIONERS' ACTION FOR PARTITION HAS PRESCRIBED;
COURT OF APPEALS, ROSARIO DIEZ, and CARIDAD April 4, 1961; IV. IN RULING THAT PETITIONER GREGORIO YAP, JR., ONE
YAP, respondents.
4. That all the encumbrances found in TCT No. OF THE CO-OWNERS OF THE LITIGATED PROPERTY, HAD
(3447) T-2411 which is now marked as Exh. C for LOST HIS RIGHTS TO THE PROPERTY THROUGH
MENDOZA, J.: the plaintiffs and Exh. 2 for the defendants as Entry PRESCRIPTION OR LACHES.
No. 6719, 6720, 11561 and 11562 are admitted by We hold that both the trial court and the Court of Appeals correctly acted in
This is a petition for review of the decision 1 of the Court of Appeals in
the plaintiffs subject to the condition that the Extra upholding the extrajudicial settlement but erred in ruling that petitioner Gregorio
CA-CR. No. CV-19650, affirming the dismissal by the Regional Trial
Judicial Settlement of Estate dated April 4, 1961, Yap, Jr. was barred by laches from recovering his share in the property in
Court 2 of Bohol of an action for partition of a parcel of land which
was made by the parties that the same was only for question.
petitioners had filed.
the purpose of securing a loan with the Philippine
The land, with improvements thereon, was formerly the conjugal property National Bank. 3 To begin with, it is settled that the findings of facts of the Court of Appeals are
of the spouses Gregorio Yap and Rosario Diez. In 1946, Gregorio Yap conclusive upon the parties and are not reviewable by this Court when they are
The trial court rendered judgment dismissing petitioners' action. It an affirmation of the findings of the trial court. 6 In this case, the trial court and
died, leaving his wife, private respondent Rosario Diez, and children,
dismissed petitioners' claim that the extrajudicial settlement was simulated the Court of Appeals found no evidence to show that the extrajudicial settlement
petitioners Jovita Yap Ancog and Gregorio Yap, Jr., and private
and held it was voluntarily signed by the parties. Observing that even was required to enable private respondent Rosario Diez to obtain a loan from the
respondent Caridad Yap as his heirs.
without the need of having title in her name Rosario Diez was able to Bank of Calape. Petitioners merely claimed that the extrajudicial settlement was
In 1954 and again 1958, Rosario Diez obtained loans from the Bank of obtain a loan using the land in question as collateral, the court held that the demanded by the bank.
Calape, secured by a mortgage on the disputed land, which was annotated extrajudicial settlement could not have been simulated for the purpose of
on its Original Certificate of Title No. 622. When Rosario Diez applied enabling her to obtain another loan. Petitioners failed to overcome the To the contrary, that the heirs (Jovita Yap Ancog and Caridad Yap) meant the
again for a loan to the bank, offering the land in question as security, the presumptive validity of the extrajudicial settlement as a public instrument. extrajudicial settlement to be fully effective is shown by the fact that Rosario
bank's lawyer, Atty. Narciso de la Serna, suggested that she submit an Diez performed acts of dominion over the entire Land, beginning with its
The court instead found that petitioner Ancog had waived her right to the registration, without any objection from them. Instead, petitioner Jovita Ancog
extrajudicial settlement covering the disputed land as a means of
land, as shown by the fact that on February 28, 1975, 4 petitioner's agreed to lease the land from her mother, private respondent Rosario Diez, and
facilitating the approval of her application. The suggestion was accepted
husband, Ildefonso Ancog, leased the property from private respondent accepted from her a special power of attorney to use the land in question as
and on April 4, 1961, Atty. de la Serna prepared an extrajudicial
Diez. Furthermore, when the spouses Ancog applied for a loan to the collateral for a loan she was applying from the DBP. Indeed it was private
settlement, which the heirs, with the exception of petitioner Gregorio Yap,
Development Bank of the Philippines using the land in question as respondent Diez who paid the loan of the Ancogs in order to secure the release
Jr., then only 15 years old, signed. The document was notarized by Atty.
collateral, they accepted an appointment from Rosario Diez as the latter's of the property from mortgage.
de la Serna on April 12, 1961. As a result, OCT No. 622 was cancelled
attorney-in-fact. 5
and Transfer Certificate of Title No. 3447 (T-2411) was issued on April
27
Petitioner Jovita Yap Ancog contends that she could not have waived her was informed by Jovita Ancog of their mother's effort to sell the property,
share in the land because she is landless. For that matter, private Gregorio Yap, Jr.'s claim cannot be considered barred either by
respondent Caridad Yap is also landless, but she signed the prescription or by laches.
agreement. 7 She testified that she did so out of filial devotion to her WHEREFORE, the decision of the Court of Appeals is AFFIRMED with
mother. the MODIFICATION that this case is REMANDED to the Regional Trial
Thus, what the record of this case reveals is the intention of Jovita Ancog Court for the determination of the claim of petitioner Gregorio Yap, Jr.
and Caridad Yap to cede their interest in the land to their mother Rosario SO ORDERED.
Diez. It is immaterial that they had been initially motivated by a desire to
acquire a loan. Under Art. 1082 of the Civil Code, 8 every act which is
intended to put an end to indivision among co-heirs is deemed to be a
partition even though it should purport to be a sale, an exchange, or any
other transaction.
We hold, however, that the Court of Appeals erred in ruling that the claim
of petitioner Gregorio Yap, Jr. was barred by laches. In accordance with
Rule 74, §1 9 of the Rules of Court, as he did not take part in the partition,
he is not bound by the settlement. 10 It is uncontroverted that, at the time
the extrajudicial settlement was executed, Gregorio Yap, Jr. was a minor.
For this reason, he was not included or even informed of the partition.
Instead, the registration of the land in Rosario Diez's name created an
implied trust in his favor by analogy to Art. 1451 of the Civil Code, which
provides:
When land passes by succession to any person and
he causes the legal title to be put in the name of
another, a trust is established by implication of law
for the benefit of the true owner.
In the case of O'Laco v. Co Cho Chit, 11 Art. 1451 was held as creating a
resulting trust, which is founded on the presumed intention of the parties.
As a general rule, it arises where such may be reasonably presumed to be
the intention of the parties, as determined from the facts and
circumstances existing at the time of the transaction out of which it is
sought to be established. 12 In this case, the records disclose that the
intention of the parties to the extrajudicial settlement was to establish a
trust in favor of petitioner Yap, Jr. to the extent of his share. Rosario Diez
testified that she did not claim the entire property, 13 while Atty. de la
Serna added that the partition only involved the shares of the three
participants. 14
A cestui que trust may make a claim under a resulting trust within 10
years from the time the trust is repudiated. 15 Although the registration of
the land in private respondent Diez's name operated as a constructive
notice of her claim of ownership, it cannot be taken as an act of
repudiation adverse to petitioner Gregorio Yap, Jr.'s claim, whose share in
the property was precisely not included by the parties in the partition.
Indeed, it has not been shown whether he had been informed of her
exclusive claim over the entire property before 1985 when he was notified
by petitioner Jovita Yap Ancog of their mother's plan to sell the
property. 16
This Court has ruled that for prescription to run in favor of the trustee, the
trust must be repudiated by unequivocal acts made known to the cestui
que trust and proved by clear and conclusive evidence. Furthermore, the
rule that the prescriptive period should be counted from the date of
issuance of the Torrens certificate of title applies only to the remedy of
reconveyance under the Property Registration Decree. 17 Since the action
brought by petitioner Yap to claim his share was brought shortly after he
28