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REMEDIAL LAW: CIVIL PROCEDURE

FELICITAS L. SALAZAR v. REMEDIOS FELIAS


G.R. No. 213972, February 05, 2018, SECOND DIVISION
(REYES, JR., J.)

DOCTRINE:

The movant's claim that his/her property is exempt from execution for being
a family home is not a magic wand that will freeze the court's hand and forestall the
execution of a final and executory ruling. It is imperative that the claim for
exemption must be set up and proven.

FACTS:

Private respondent Remedios Felias, representing the heirs of Catalino


Nivera, filed a Complaint for Recovery of Ownership, Possession and Damages
against the Spouses Lastimosa. After trial, a Decision declaring the Heirs of Nivera
as the absolute owners of the parcels of land in question was rendered and
thereafter became final and executory. Consequently, the Heirs of Nivera filed a
Motion for Execution and Demolition. The RTC granted the motion. The Heirs of
Lastimosa filed a Motion to Order the Sheriff to Desist from Demolition contending
that the execution cannot continue as it is being enforced against their family
home, a property exempted by law from execution.

ISSUE:

Can the execution proceed against the petitioners’ family home?

RULING:

Yes. It is not sufficient for the claimant to merely allege that the property
subject to execution is a family home. The claim for exemption must be set up and
proved. It is imperative that the movant’s claim must be backed with evidence
showing that the home was indeed (i) duly constituted as a family home, (ii)
constituted jointly by the husband and wife or by an unmarried head of a family,
(iii) resided in by the family (or any of the family home's beneficiaries), (iv) forms
part of the properties of the absolute community or the conjugal partnership, or of
the exclusive properties of either spouse with the latter's consent, or property of the
unmarried head of the family, and (v) has an actual value of Php300,000.00 in
urban areas, and Php200,000.00 in rural areas. The law also explicitly mandates
that the occupancy of the family home, either by the owner thereof, or by any of its
beneficiaries, must be actual. This occupancy must be real, or actually existing, as
opposed to something merely possible, or that which is merely presumptive or
constructive.

Felicitas' argument that the property subject of the writ of execution is a


family home, is an unsubstantiated allegation that cannot defeat the binding nature
of a final and executory judgment. Thus, the Writ of Execution and Demolition
issued by the court must perforce be given effect.

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