You are on page 1of 110

EN BANC

[G.R. No. L-29192. February 22, 1971.]


GERTRUDES DE LOS SANTOS, plaintiff-appellee, vs. MAXIMO
DE LA CRUZ, defendant-appellant.
Benjamin Pineda for plaintiff-appellee.
Ceasar R. Monteclaros for defendant-appellant.
D E C I S I O N
VILLAMOR, J p:
Direct appeal to this Court on questions of law from the judgment of the
Court of First Instance of Rizal, Branch IX, in its Civil Case No. Q-8792.
From the record of this case, we cull the following salient facts: On May 21, 1965,
Gertrudes de los Santos filed a complaint for specific performance against
Maximo de la Cruz, alleging, among others, that on August 24, 1963, she and
several co-heirs, including the defendant, executed an extrajudicial partition
agreement (a copy of which was attached to the complaint) over a certain portion
of land with an area of around 20,000 sq. m.; that the parties thereto had agreed
to adjudicate three (3) lots to the defendant, in addition to his corresponding
share, on condition that the latter would undertake the development and
subdivision of the estate which was the subject matter of the agreement, all
expenses in 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 the
other co-heirs, and by the residents of the subdivision, the defendant refused to
perform his aforesaid obligation although he had already sold the aforesaid lots.
The plaintiff prayed the court to order the defendant to comply with his obligation
under the extra-judicial partition agreement and to pay the sum of P1,000.00 as
attorney's fees and costs.
In his answer, the defendant admitted the due execution of the extrajudicial
partition agreement, but set up the affirmative defenses that the plaintiff had no
cause of action against him because the said agreement was void with respect to
her, for the reason that the plaintiff was not an heir of Pelagia de la Cruz,
deceased owner of the property, and was included in the extrajudicial partition
agreement by mistake; and that although he had disposed of the three lots
adjudicated to him, nevertheless the proceeds of the sale were not sufficient to
develop and improve properly the subdivided estate. The answer contained a
counterclaim wherein the defendant alleged that the plaintiff had likewise sold her
share in the estate for P10,000.00, and that the extrajudicial partition agreement
being void insofar as the latter was concerned, he was entitled to one-fourth (1/4)
of the proceeds as his share by way of reversion. The defendant prayed that the
complaint be dismissed; that the extrajudicial partition agreement be declared
void with respect to the plaintiff; and, on his counterclaim, that the plaintiff be
ordered to pay him the sum of P2,500.00.
On motion of the defendant, the court below entered an order on July 19, 1965,
declaring the plaintiff in default for not having answered the counterclaim.
On July 6, 1966, the case was submitted for decision on the following stipulation
of facts:
"1. That the parties admit the existence and execution of the 'Extra-
Judicial Partition Agreement' dated August 24, 1963, which we marked
as Exhibit 'A' for the plaintiff, and Exhibit "1" for the defendant, which
partition agreement was marked as Annex 'A' in the complaint;
"2. That the parties agree that the original purpose of the above-
mentioned Extra-Judicial Partition Agreement was for the distribution of
the lard in question for the heirs of Pelagia de al Cruz; however the
parties further agree that several lots in the said land have been sold by
some of the co-heirs, and there are now several houses constructed
therein and residents therein;
"3. That the parties agree that the defendant is the appointed
Administrator and In-charge of the development and subdivision of the
land in question, as provided for in the aforementioned extrajudicial
partition agreement;
"4. That parties agree that Lots 1, 2 and 3 as described on page 3, 3rd
paragraph to the last of said partition agreement have been sold by the
defendant herein; and parties further agree that there are no properly
constructed roads, nor proper light and water facilities;
"5. That the parties agree that the defendant is the nephew of the
deceased Pelagia de la Cruz aforementioned, who was the owner and
predecessor in interest of the land which was the subject matter of the
extrajudicial partition agreement;
"6. That the parties agree that the plaintiff is the grandniece of the said
Pelagia de la Cruz;
"7. That Pelagia de la Cruz died intestate and without issue on October
16, 1962, as evidenced by a death certificate, which is marked as Exhibit
'2' for the defendant; 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 Cruz
died on September 22, 1935, as evidenced by Exhibit '3' for the
defendant."
In its decision dated November 3, 1966, the court a quo held that the defendant,
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;
hence, he must abide by the terms of the agreement. The court ordered the
defendant "to perform his obligations to develop Lots 1, 2 and 3 of (LRC) Psd-
29561 as described on page 2 of the Extrajudicial Partition Agreement"
(meaning, apparently, that the defendant should develop the subdivision because
said Lots 1, 2 and 3 were intended to be sold for this purpose), and to pay the
plaintiff the sum of P2,000.00 as actual damages, the sum of P500.00 as
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
denied. Hence, this appeal.
The seven (7) errors assigned by defendant-appellant in his brief boil down to the
following:
1. The court a quo erred in not holding that the extrajudicial partition
agreement is null and void with respect to plaintiff-appellee, and,
consequently, that plaintiff-appellee has no cause of action against
defendant-appellant.
2. The court a quo erred in holding that defendant-appellant is estopped
from questioning plaintiff-appellee's right to have the agreement
enforced.
3. The court a quo erred in ordering defendant-appellant to pay actual
damages to plaintiff-appellee, and, on the other hand, in not granting the
relief prayed for by defendant-appellant in his counterclaim.
We shall discuss seriatim these errors as thus condensed.
1. In the stipulation of facts submitted to the court below, the parties admit that
the owner of the estate, subject matter of the extrajudicial partition agreement,
was Pelagia de la Cruz, who died intestate on October 16, 1962 that defendant-
appellant is a nephew of the said decedent; that plaintiff-appellee is a grandniece
of Pelagia de la Cruz, her mother, Marciana de la Cruz, being a niece of the said
Pelagia de la Cruz; that plaintiff-appellee's mother died on September 22, 1935,
thus pre-deceasingPelagia de la Cruz; and that the purpose of the extrajudicial
partition agreement was to divide and distribute the estate among the heirs of
Pelagia de la Cruz.
The pivotal question is whether, in the premises, plaintiff-appellee is an heir of
the decedent. We are convinced that she is not. Plaintiff-appellee being a mere
grandniece of Pelagia de la Cruz, she could not inherit from the latter by right of
representation.
"ART. 972. The right of representation takes place in the direct
descending line, but never in the ascending.
"In the collateral line, it takes place only in favor of the children of
brothers or sisters, whether they be of the full or half blood."
Much less could plaintiff-appellee inherit in her own right.
"ART. 962. In every inheritance, the relative nearest in degree excludes
the more distant ones, saving the right of representation when it properly
takes place . . ."
Applying these two (2) provisions, this Court, in Linart y Pavia vs. Ugarte y
Iturralde, 5 Phil., 176 (1905), said:
". . . [I]n an intestate succession a grandniece of the deceased can not
participate with a niece in the inheritance, because the latter being a
nearer relative, the more distant grandniece is excluded. In the collateral
line the right of representation does not obtain beyond sons and
daughters of the brothers and sisters, which would have been the case if
Pablo Linart, the father of the plaintiff, had survived his deceased uncle."
In the present case, the relatives "nearest in degree" to Pelagia de la Cruz are
her nephews and nieces, one of whom is defendant-appellant. Necessarily,
plaintiff-appellee, a grandniece, is excluded by law from the inheritance.
But what is the legal effect of plaintiff-appellee's inclusion and participation in the
extrajudicial partition agreement insofar as her right to bring the present action is
concerned? They did not confer upon her the right to institute this action. The
express purpose of the extrajudicial partition agreement, as admitted by the
parties in the stipulation of facts, was to divide the estate among the heirs of
Pelagia de la Cruz. Indeed, the said agreement itself states that plaintiff-appellee
was participating therein in representation of her deceased mother. The pertinent
portion of the agreement is herein quoted, thus:
"NOW, THEREFORE, we . . . and Diego delos Santos, married to
Anastacia dela Cruz, Mariano delos Santos married to Andrea
Ramoy: Gertrudes delos Santos, married to Pascual Acuna; Alejo delos
Santos, married to Leonila David; and Sotera delos Santos, married to
Narciso Ramota; all in representation of our mother, MARCIANA DELA
CRUZ, . . ., do hereby by these presents, mutually, voluntarily and
amicably agree among ourselves to equitably divide the property left by
the deceased PELAGIA DELA CRUZ, and adjudicate unto ourselves
definite and independent portions of the estate in the following manner . .
."
It is quite apparent that in executing the partition agreement, the parties
thereto were laboring under the erroneous belief that plaintiff-appellee was
one of the legal heirs of Pelagia de la Cruz. Plaintiff-appellee not being such
an heir, the partition is void with respect to her, pursuant to Article 1105 of the
Civil Code, which reads:

"ART. 1105. A partition which includes a person believed to be an heir,
but who is not, shall be void only with respect to such person."
Partition of property affected between a person entitled to inherit from the
deceased owner thereof and another person who thought he was an heir,
when he was not really and lawfully such, to the prejudice of the rights of the
true heir designated by law to succeed the deceased, is null and void (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 enforced.
2. The extrajudicial partition agreement being void with respect to plaintiff-
appellee, she may not be heard to assert estoppel against defendant-appellant.
Estoppel cannot be predicated on a void contract (17 Am. Jur. 605), or on acts
which are prohibited by law or are against public policy (Baltazar vs. Lingayen
Gulf Electric Power Co., et al., G.R. Nos. 16236-38, June 30, 1965 [14 SCRA
522]). In Ramiro vs. Grao, et al., 54 Phil., 744 (1930), this Court held:
"No estoppel arises where the representation or conduct of the party
sought to be estopped is due to ignorance founded upon a mistake. And
while there is authority to the contrary, the weight of authority is that the
acts and declarations of a party based upon an innocent mistake as to
his legal rights will not estop him to assert the same, especially where
every fact known to the party sought to be estopped is equally well
known to the party setting up the estoppel. (21 C.J., 1125, 1126.)"
And in Capili, et al. vs. Court of Appeals, et al., G.R. No. L-18148, February
28, 1963 (7 SCRA 367), this Court said:
"Finally, petitioners-appellants claim that appellees are estopped to raise
the question of ownership of the properties involved because the widow
herself, during her lifetime, not only did not object to the inclusion of
these properties in the inventory of the assets of her deceased husband,
but also signed an extra-judicial partition of those inventoried properties.
But the very authorities cited by appellants require that to constitute
estoppel, the actor must have knowledge of the facts and be apprised of
his rights at the time he performs the act constituting estoppel, because
silence without knowledge works no estoppel . . ."
3. The award of actual damages in favor of plaintiff-appellee cannot be sustained
in view of the conclusion we have arrived at above. Furthermore, actual or
compensatory damages must be duly proved (Article 2199, Civil Code). Here, no
proof of such damages was presented inasmuch as the case was decided on a
stipulation of facts and no evidence was adduced before the trial court.
We now come to defendant-appellant's counterclaim, in which he alleged that
plaintiff-appellee sold her share to a certain person for the price of P10,000.00,
and claims that he is entitled to one-fourth (1/4) of the proceeds by right of
reversion. It will be noted that plaintiff-appellee had been declared in default on
defendant-appellant's counterclaim; but the latter did not present any evidence to
prove the material allegation therein more specifically, the alleged sale of the
former's share for the sum of P10,000.00. That no such evidence had been
adduced is understandable, for the parties expressly submitted the case for the
resolution of the court upon their stipulation of facts which, unfortunately, did not
make any mention of the alleged sale; and neither had defendant made any offer
or move to introduce the necessary evidence to that effect for the consideration
and evaluation by the trial court.
Defendant-appellant contends, however, that in view of plaintiff-appellee's having
been declared in default, the latter must be deemed to have admitted all the
allegations in his counterclaim, so that the court a quo should have granted the
relief prayed for by him. We find no merit in this contention.
Section 1, Rule 18 of the Revised Rules of Court, reads:
"SECTION 1. Judgment by default. If the defendant fails to answer
within the time specified in these rules, the court shall, upon motion of
the plaintiff and proof of such failure, declare the defendant in default.
Thereupon the court shall proceed to receive the plaintiff's evidence and
render judgment granting him such relief as the complaint and the fact
proven may warrant. This provision applies where no answer is made to
a counterclaim, crossclaim, or third-party complaint within the period
provided in this rule."
The abovequoted rule was taken from Sections 128 and 129 of the Code of
Civil Procedure. In Macondray & Co. vs. Eustaquio, 64 Phil., 446 (1937), this
Court said:
"Under section 128 of our Code of Civil Procedure, the judgment by
default against a defendant who has neither appeared nor filed his
answer does not imply a waiver of rights except that of being heard and
of presenting evidence in his favor. It does not imply admission by the
defendant of the facts and causes of action of the plaintiff, because the
codal section requires the latter to adduce his evidence in support of his
allegations as an indispensable condition before final judgment could be
given in his favor. Nor could it be interpreted as an admission by the
defendant that the plaintiff's causes of action find support in the law or
that the latter is entitled to the relief prayed for . . ."
Nevertheless, the basic fact appears in the stipulation submitted by the parties
that said plaintiff-appellee admitted having received a portion of the estate by
virtue of the extrajudicial partition agreement dated August 24, 1963, to wit:
"(9). Lot 9, (LRC) Psd-29561, containing an area of 1,691 sq. m. as
described in the Technical Description to be adjudicated to Diego delos
Santos, married to Anastacia dela Cruz; Mariano delos Santos, married
to Regina Baluyot; Hilario delos Santos, married to Andrea
Ramoy; Gertrudes delos Santos, married to Pascual Acuna; Alejo delos
Santos, married to Leonila David; and Sotera delos Santos, married to
Narciso Ramota, in co-ownership, share and share alike."
Such being the case, defendant-appellant is apparently correct in his
contention that the lower court erred in not passing on his counterclaim and,
consequently, in not sentencing appellee to turn over to him his corresponding
share of said portion received by appellee under the void partition. Remote
relatives or unrelated persons who unduly received and took possession of
the property of a deceased person without any right, by virtue of a null and
void partition, must restore it to the legitimate successor in the inheritance (De
Torres vs. De Torres, et al., supra). Of course, if such share has already been
disposed of by appellee to a bona fidepurchaser, as seems to be indicated in
the unproven allegations of the counterclaim, We cannot render judgment
awarding any specific amount 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 counterclaim has not been touched upon in the
stipulation of facts nor has it been supported by evidence which appellant
should have presented in the lower court but did not.
IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING CONSIDERATIONS, the judgment appealed
from is hereby reversed and set aside; the defendant-appellant is absolved from
any liability to and in favor of plaintiff-appellee; and, on appellant's counterclaim,
appellee is hereby sentenced to restore or reconvey to him his corresponding
share of the property she has received under the extrajudicial partition
hereinbefore mentioned if the same has not already been disposed of as alleged.
Costs in both instance against plaintiff-appellee.
Concepcion, C.J., Reyes, J.B.L., Dizon, Makalintal, Zaldivar, Castro, Fernando,
Teehankee, Barredo and Makasiar, JJ., concur.
||| (de los Santos v. de la Cruz, G.R. No. L-29192, February 22, 1971)
EN BANC
[G.R. No. L-18753. March 26, 1965.]
VICENTE B. TEOTICO, petitioner-appellant, vs.
ANA DEL VAL CHAN, ETC., oppositor-appellant.
Antonio Gonzales for petitioner-appellants.
J. C. Zulueta, G.D. David & N.J. Quisumbing for oppositor-appellee.
SYLLABUS
1. CITIZENSHIP; NATURALIZATION; ALIEN WIFE OF CITIZEN NOT
AUTOMATICALLY CITIZEN BUT MUST PROVE COMPLIANCE WITH
REQUIREMENTS. The alien wife of a Filipino citizen does not automatically
become a Philippine citizen upon her husband's naturalization. She must first
prove that she has all the qualifications required by Section 2 and none of the
disqualifications enumerated in Section 4 of the Naturalization Law before she
may be deemed a Philippine citizen.
2. ID.; ID.; ID.; REASON FOR RULE; POLICY OF SELECTIVE ADMISSION TO
PHILIPPINE CITIZENSHIP. The rule laid down by this Court in this and in
other cases heretofore decided is believed to be in line with the national policy of
selective admission to Philippine citizenship which after all is a privilege granted
only to those who are found worthy thereof, and not indiscriminately to anybody
at all on the basis alone of marriage to a man who is a citizen of the Philippines,
irrespective of moral character, ideological belief, and identification with Filipino
ideals, customs and traditions.
D E C I S I O N
BAUTISTA ANGELO, J p:
Maria Mortera y Balsalobre Vda. de Aguirre died on July 14, 1955 in the
City of Manila leaving properties worth P600,000.00. She left a will written in
Spanish which she executed at her residence in No. 2 Legarda St., Quiapo,
Manila. She affixed her signature at the bottom of the will and on the left
margin of each and every page thereof in the presence of Pilar Borja, Pilar G.
Sanchez, and Modesto Formilleza, who in turn affixed their signatures below
the attestation clause and on the left margin of each and every page of the will
in the presence of the testatrix and of each other. Said will was acknowledged
before Notary Public Niceforo S. Agaton by the testatrix and her witnesses.
In said will the testatrix made the following preliminary statement: that she was
possessed of the full use of her mental faculties; that she was free from illegal
pressure or influence of any kind from the beneficiaries of the will and from any
influence of fear or threat; that she freely and spontaneously executed said will
and that she had neither ascendants nor descendants of any kind such that she
could dispose of all her estate.
Among the many legacies and devises made in the will was one of P20,000.00 to
Rene A. Teotico, married to the testatrix's niece named Josefina Mortera. To said
spouses the testatrix left the usufruct of her interest in the Calvo building, while
the naked ownership thereof she left in equal parts to her grandchildren who are
the legitimate children of said spouses. The testatrix also instituted Josefina
Mortera as her sole and universal heir to all the remainder of her properties not
otherwise disposed of in the will.
On July 17, 1955, Vicente B. Teotico filed a petition for the probate of the will
before the Court of First Instance of Manila which was set for hearing on
September 3, 1955 after the requisite publication and service to all parties
concerned.
Ana del Val Chan, claiming to be an adopted child of Francisca Mortera, a
deceased sister of the testatrix, as well as an acknowledged natural child of Jose
Mortera, a deceased brother of the same testatrix, filed on September 2, 1955 an
opposition to the probate of the will alleging the following grounds: (1) said will
was not executed as required by law; (2) the testatrix was physically and
mentally incapable to execute the will at the time of its execution; and (3) the will
was executed under duress, threat or influence of fear.
Vicente B. Teotico filed a motion to dismiss the opposition alleging that the
oppositor had no legal personality to intervene. The probate court, after due
hearing, allowed the oppositor to intervene as an adopted child of Francisco
Mortera, and on June 17, 1959, the oppositor amended her opposition by
alleging the additional ground that the will is inoperative as to the share of Dr.
Rene Teotico because the latter was the physician who took care of the testatrix
during her last illness.
After the parties had presented their evidence, the probate court rendered its
decision on November 10, 1960 admitting the will to probate but declaring the
disposition made in favor of Dr. Rene Teotico void with the statement that the
portion to be vacated by the annulment should pass to the testatrix's heirs by way
of intestate succession.
Petitioner Teotico, together with the universal heir Josefina Mortera, filed a
motion for reconsideration of that part of the decision which declares the portion
of the estate to be vacated by the nullity of the legacy made to Dr.
Rene Teotico as passing to the legal heirs, while the oppositor filed also a motion
for reconsideration of the portion of the judgment which decrees the probate of
the will. On his part, Dr. Rene Teotico requested leave to intervene and to file a
motion for reconsideration with regard to that portion of the decision which
nullified the legacy made in his favor.
The motions for reconsideration above adverted to having been denied, both
petitioner and oppositor appealed from the decision, the former from that portion
which nullifies the legacy in favor of Dr. Rene Teotico and declares the vacated
portion as subject of succession in favor of the legal heirs, and the latter from that
portion which admits the will to probate. And in this instance both petitioner and
oppositor assign several error which, stripped of non-essentials, may be boiled
down to the following: (1) Has oppositor Ana del Val Chan the right to intervene
in this proceeding?; (2) Has the will in question been duly admitted to probate?;
and (3) Did the probate court commit an error in passing on the intrinsic validity
of the provisions of the will and in determining who should inherit the portion to
be vacated by the nullification of the legacy made in favor of Dr. Rene Teotico?
These issues will be discussed separately.
1. It is a well-settled rule that in order that a person may be allowed to intervene
in a probate proceeding he must have an interest in the estate, or in the will, or in
the property to be affected by it either as executor or as a claimant of the estate
(Ngo The Hua vs. Chung Kiat Hua, et al., L-17091, September 30, 1963); and an
interested party has been defined as one who would be benefitted by the estate
such as an heir or one who has a claim against the estate like a creditor (Idem.).
On the other hand, in Saguinsin vs. Lindayag, et al., L-17750, December 17,
1962, this Court said:
"According to Section 2, Rule 80 of the Rules of Court, a
petition for letters of administration must be filed by an 'interested
person.' An interested party has been defined in this connection as
one who would be benefitted by the estate, such as an heir, or one
who has a claim against the estate, such as a creditor (Intestate
Estate of Julio Magbanwa 40 O.G., 1171). And it is well settled in
this jurisdiction that in civil actions as well as special proceedings,
the interest required in order that a person may be a party thereto
must be material and direct, and not merely indirect or contingent.
(Trillana vs. Crisostomo, G. R. No. L-3370, August 22, 1951;
Rapinosa vs. Barrion, 70 Phil. 311)."
The question now may be asked: Has oppositor any interest in any of the
provisions of the will, and, in the negative, would she acquire any right to the
estate in the event that the will is denied probate?
Under the terms of the will, oppositor has no right to intervene because she has
no interest in the estate either as heir, executor, or administrator, nor does she
have any claim to any property affected by the will, because it nowhere appears
therein any provision designating her as heir, legatee or devisee of any portion of
the estate. She has also no interest in the will either as administratrix or
executrix. Neither has she any claim against any portion of the estate because
she is not a co-owner thereof, and while she previously had an interest in the
Calvo building located in Escolta, she had already disposed of it long before the
execution of the will.
In the supposition that the will is denied probate, would the oppositor acquire any
interest in any portion of the estate left by the testatrix? She would acquire such
right only if she were a legal heir of the deceased, but she is not under our Civil
Code. It is true that oppositor claims to be an acknowledged natural child of Jose
Mortera, a deceased brother of the deceased, and also an adopted daughter of
Francisca Mortera, a deceased sister of the testatrix, but such claim cannot give
her any comfort for, even if it be true, the law does not give her any right to
succeed to the estate of the deceased sister of both Jose Mortera and Francisca
Mortera. And this is so because being an illegitimate child she is prohibited by
law from succeeding to the legitimate relatives of her natural father. Thus, Article
992 of our Civil Code provides: "An illegitimate child has no right to inherit ab
intestato from the legitimate children and relatives of his father or mother; . . ."
And the philosophy behind this provision is well expressed in Grey vs. Fabie, 68
Phil., 128, as follows:
"'Between the natural child and the legitimate relatives of the
father or mother who acknowledged it, the Code denies any right of
succession. They cannot be called relatives and they have no right
to inherit. Of course, there is a blood tie, but the law does not
recognize it. In this, article 943 is based upon the reality of the facts
and upon the presumptive will of the interested parties; the natural
child is disgracefully looked down upon by the legitimate family; the
legitimate family is, in turn, hated by the natural child; the latter
considers the privileged condition of the former and the resources
of which it is thereby deprived; the former, in turn, sees in the
natural child nothing but the product of sin, a palpable evidence of
a blemish upon the family. Every relation is ordinarily broken in life;
the law does no more them recognize this truth, by avoiding further
grounds of resentment.' (7 Manresa, 3d ed., p. 110.)"

The oppositor cannot also derive comfort from the fact that she is an adopted
child of Francisca Mortera because under our law the relationship established by
adoption is limited solely to the adopter and the adopted does not extend to the
relatives of the adopting parents or of the adopted child except only as expressly
provided for by law. Hence, no relationship is created between the adopted and
the collaterals of the adopting parents. As a consequence, the adopted is an heir
of the adopter but not of the relatives of the adopter.
"The relationship established by the adoption, however, is
limited to the adopting parent, and does not extend to his other
relatives, except as expressly provided by law. Thus, the adopted
child cannot be considered as a relative of the ascendants and
collaterals of the adopting parents, nor of the legitimate children
which they may have after the adoption, except that the law
imposes certain impediments to marriage by reason of adoption.
Neither are the children of the adopted considered as descendants
of the adopter. The relationship created is exclusively between, the
adopter and the adopted, and does not extend to the relatives of
either." (Tolentino, Civil Code of the Philippines, Vol. 1, p. 652)
"Relationship by adoption is limited to adopter and adopted,
and does not extend to other members of the family of either; but
the adopted is prohibited to marry the children of the adopter to
avoid scandal." (An Outline of Philippines Civil law by Justice Jose
B. L, Reyes and Ricardo C. Puno, Vol. 1, p. 313; See alsoCaguioa,
Comments and Cases on Civil law, 1955, Vol. 1, pp. 312-313;
Paras, Civil Code of the Philippines, 1959 ed., Vol. 1, p. 515)
It thus appears that the oppositor has no right to intervene either as testamentary
or as legal heir in this probate proceeding contrary to the ruling of the court a
quo.
2. The next question to be determined is whether the will Exhibit A was duly
admitted to probate. Oppositor claims that the same should not have been
admitted not only because it was not properly attested to but also because it was
procured thru pressure and influence and the testatrix affixed her signature by
mistake believing that it contained her true intent.
The claim that the will was not properly attested to is contradicted by the
evidence of record. In this respect it is fit that we state briefly the declarations of
the instrumental witnesses.
Pilar Borja testified that the testatrix was in perfect state of health at the time she
executed the will for she carried her conversation with her intelligently; that the
testatrix signed immediately above the attestation clause and on each and every
page thereof at the left-hand margin in the presence of the three instrumental
witnesses and the notary public; that it was the testatrix herself who asked her
and the other witnesses to act as such; and that the testatrix was the first one to
sign and later she gave the will to the witnesses who read and signed it.
Pilar G. Sanchez also testified that she knew the testatrix since 1945; that it was
the testatrix herself who asked her to be a witness to the will; that the testatrix
was the first one to sign and she gave the will later to the witnesses to sign and
afterwards she gave it to the notary public; that on the day of the execution of the
will the testatrix was in the best of health.
Modesto Formilleza also testified that he was asked by the testatrix to be one of
the witnesses to the will; that he read and understood the attestation clause
before he signed the document, and that all the witnesses spoke either in
Spanish or in Tagalog. He finally said that the instrumental witnesses and the
testatrix signed the will at the same time and place and identified their signatures.
This evidence which has not been successfully refuted proves conclusively, that
the will was duly executed because it was signed by the testatrix and her
instrumental witnesses and the notary public in the manner provided for by law.
The claim that the will was procured by improper pressure and influence is also
belied by the evidence. On this point the court a quo made the following
observation:
"The circumstance that the testatrix was then living under
the same roof with Dr. Rene Teotico is no proof adequate in law to
sustain the conclusion that there was improper pressure and undue
influence. Nor is the alleged fact of isolation of the testatrix from the
oppositor and her witnesses, for their supposed failure to see
personally the testatrix, attributable to the vehemence of Dr.
Rene Teotico to exclude visitors, took place years after the
execution of the will on May 17, 1951. Although those facts may
have some weight to support the theory of the oppositor, yet they
must perforce yield to the weightier fact that nothing could have
prevented the testatrix, had she really wanted to, from
subsequently revoking her 1951 will if it did not in fact reflect and
express her own testamentary dispositions. For, as testified to by
the oppositor and her witnesses, the testatrix was often seen at the
Escolta, in Quiapo and in Sta. Cruz, Manila, walking and
accompanied by no one. In fact, on different occasions, each of
them was able to talk with her."
We have examined the evidence on the matter and we are fully in accord with
the foregoing observation. Moreover, the mere claim that Josefina Mortera and
her husband Rene Teotico had the opportunity to exert pressure on the testatrix
simply because she lived in their house several years prior to the execution of
the will and that she was old and suffering from hypertension in that she was
virtually isolated from her friends for several years prior to her death is insufficient
to disprove what the instrumental witnesses had testified that the testatrix freely
and voluntarily and with full consciousness of the solemnity of the occasion
executed the will under consideration. The exercise of improper pressure and
undue influence must be supported by substantial evidence and must be of a
kind that would overpower and subjugate the mind of the testatrix as to destroy
her free agency and make her express the will of another rather than her own
(Coso vs. Deza, 42 Phil., 596). The burden is on the person challenging the will
that such influence was exerted at the time of its execution, a matter which here
was not done, for the evidence presented not only is sufficient but was disproved
by the testimony the instrumental witnesses.
3. The question of whether the probate court could determine the intrinsic validity
of the provisions of a will has been decided by this Court in a long line of
decisions among which the following may be cited:
"Opposition to the intrinsic validity or legality of the
provisions of the will cannot be entertained in probate proceeding
because its only purpose is merely to determine if the will has been
executed in accordance with the requirements of the law."
(Palacios vs. Palacios, 58 O.G. 220)
". . . The authentication of a will decides no other questions
than such as touch upon the capacity of the testator and the
compliance with those requisites or solemnities which the law
prescribes for the validity of wills. It does not determine nor even by
implication prejudge the validity or efficiency of the provisions;
these may be impugned as being vicious or null, notwithstanding its
authentication. The questions relating to these points remain
entirely unaffected, and may be raised even after the will has been
authenticated. . . .
"From the fact that the legalization of a will does not validate
the provisions therein contained, it does not follow that such
provisions lack of efficiency, or fail to produce the effects which the
law recognizes when they are not impugned by anyone. In the
matter of wills it is a fundamental doctrine that the will of the
testator is the law governing the interested parties, and must be
punctually complied with in so far as it is not contrary to the law or
to public morals." (Montaanovs. Suesa, 14 Phil., pp. 676, 679-
680)
"To establish conclusively as against everyone, and once for
all, the facts that a will was executed with the formalities required
by law and that the testator was in a condition to make a will, is the
only purpose of the proceedings under the new code for the
probate of a will. (Sec. 625.) The judgment in such proceedings
determines and can determine nothing more. In them the court has
no power to pass upon the validity of any provisions made in the
will. It can not decide, for example, that a certain legacy is void and
another one valid." Castaeda vs. Alemany, 3 Phil., 426, 428)
Pursuant to the foregoing precedents the pronouncement made by the court a
quo declaring invalid the legacy made to Dr. Rene Teotico in the will Exhibit A
must be set aside as having been made in excess of its jurisdiction. Another
reason why said pronouncement should be set aside is that the legatee was not
given an opportunity to defend the validity of the legacy for he was not allowed to
intervene in this proceeding. As a corollary, the other pronouncements, touching
on the disposition of the estate in favor of some relatives of the deceased should
also be set aside for the same reason.
WHEREFORE, with the exception of that portion of the decision which declares
that the will in question has been duly executed and admitted the same to
probate, the rest of the decision is hereby set aside. This case is ordered
remanded to the court a quo for further proceedings. No pronouncement as to
costs.
Bengzon, C.J., Concepcion, Reyes, J.B.L., Barrera, Paredes, Regala, Makalintal,
Bengzon, J.P., and Zaldivar, JJ., concur.
Dizon, J., took no part.

||| (Teotico v. Del Val Chan, G.R. No. L-18753, March 26, 1965)
FIRST DIVISION
[G.R. Nos. 89224-25. January 23, 1992.]
MAURICIO SAYSON, ROSARIO SAYSON-MALONDA,
BASILISA SAYSON-LIRIO, REMEDIOS SAYSON-REYES and
JUANA C. BAUTISTA, petitioners, vs. THE
HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, DELIA SAYSON, assisted
by her husband, CIRILO CEDO, JR., EDMUNDO SAYSON AND
DORIBEL SAYSON,respondents.
SYLLABUS
1. REMEDIAL LAW; JUDGMENT; FINAL AND EXECUTORY; PETITIONERS
SHOULD HAVE SEASONABLY APPEALED THE DECREE OF ADOPTION.
It is too late now to challenge the decree of adoption, years after it became final
and executory. That was way back in 1967. Assuming that the petitioners were
proper parties, what they should have done was seasonably appeal the decree of
adoption, pointing to the birth of Doribel that disqualified Teodoro and Isabel from
adopting Delia and Edmundo. They did not. In fact, they should have done this
earlier, before the decree of adoption was issued. They did not, although
Mauricio claimed he had personal knowledge of such birth.
2. ID.; ADOPTION PROCEEDINGS; CHALLENGE TO THE VALIDITY OF
ADOPTION CANNOT BE MADE COLLATERALLY. A no less important
argument against the petitioners is that their challenge to the validity of the
adoption cannot be made collaterally, as in their action for partition but in a direct
proceeding frontally addressing the issue. The settled rule is that a finding that
the requisite jurisdictional facts exists, whether erroneous or not, cannot be
questioned in a collateral proceeding, for a presumption arises in such cases
where the validity of the judgment is thus attacked that the necessary
jurisdictional facts were proven [Freeman on Judgments, Vol. I, Sec. 350, pp.
719-720].
3. CIVIL LAW; PATERNITY AND FILIATION; BIRTH CERTIFICATE; ONE OF
THE PRESCRIBED MEANS OF RECOGNITION. On the question of Doribel's
legitimacy, we hold that the findings of the trial courts as affirmed by the
respondent court must be sustained. Doribel's birth certificate is a formidable
piece of evidence. It is one of the prescribed means of recognition under Article
265 of the Civil Code and Article 172 of the Family Code. It is true, as the
petitioners stress, that the birth certificate offers only prima facie evidence of
filiation and may be refuted by contrary evidence. However, such evidence is
lacking in the case at bar.
4. ID.; ID.; ID.; EVIDENTIARY NATURE OF PUBLIC DOCUMENTS TO BE
SUSTAINED ABSENT STRONG, COMPLETE AND CONCLUSIVE PROOF OF
ITS FALSITY OR NULLITY. Mauricio's testimony that he was present when
Doribel was born to Edita Abila was understandably suspect, coming as it did
from an interested party. The affidavit of Abila denying her earlier statement in
the petition for the guardianship of Doribel is of course hearsay, let alone the fact
that it was never offered in evidence in the lower courts. Even without it,
however, the birth certificate must be upheld in line with Legaspi v. Court of
Appeals, where we ruled that "the evidentiary nature of public documents must
be sustained in the absence of strong, complete and conclusive proof of its falsity
or nullity."
5. ID.; ID.; LEGITIMACY OF CHILD CAN BE QUESTIONED ONLY IN A DIRECT
ACTION. Another reason why the petitioners' challenge must fail is the
impropriety of the present proceedings for that purpose. Doribel's legitimacy
cannot be questioned in a complaint for partition and accounting but in a direct
action seasonably filed by the proper party. The presumption of legitimacy in the
Civil Code . . . does not have this purely evidential character. It serves a more
fundamental purpose. It actually fixes a civil status for the child born in wedlock,
and that civil status cannot be attacked collaterally. The legitimacy of the
child can be impugned only in a direct action brought for that purpose, by the
proper parties, and within the period limited by law. The legitimacy of the
child cannot be contested by way of defense or as a collateral issue in another
action for a different purpose. (Tolentino, Civil Code of the Philippines, vol. I, p.
559.)
6. ID.; SUCCESSION; LEGITIMATE AND ADOPTED CHILDREN SUCCEED
THE PARENTS AND ASCENDANTS; RATIONALE. The philosophy
underlying this article is that a person's love descends first to his children and
grandchildren before it ascends to his parents and thereafter spreads among his
collateral relatives. It is also supposed that one of his purposes in acquiring
properties is to leave them eventually to his children as a token of his love for
them and as a provision for their continued care even after he is gone from this
earth.
7. ID.; ID.; RIGHT OF REPRESENTATION; GRANDDAUGHTER HAS A RIGHT
TO REPRESENT HER DECEASED FATHER. There is no question that as
the legitimate daughter of Teodoro and thus the granddaughter of Eleno and
Rafaela, Doribel has a right to represent her deceased father in the distribution of
the intestate estate of her grandparents. Under Article 981, quoted above, she is
entitled to the share her father would have directly inherited had he survived,
which shall be equal to the shares of her grandparents' other children.
8. ID.; ID.; ID.; RELATIONSHIP CREATED BY ADOPTION DOES NOT EXTEND
TO THE BLOOD RELATIVES OF EITHER PARTIES. While it is true that the
adopted child shall be deemed to be a legitimate child and have the same right
as the latter, these rights do not include the right of representation. The
relationship created by the adoption is between only the adopting parents and
the adopted child and does not extend to the blood relatives of either party.
D E C I S I O N
CRUZ, J p:
At issue in this case is the status of the private respondents and their capacity to
inherit from their alleged parents and grandparents. The petitioners deny them
that right, asserting it for themselves to the exclusion of all others.
The relevant genealogical facts are as follows.
Eleno and Rafaela Sayson begot five children, namely, Mauricio, Rosario,
Basilisa, Remedios and Teodoro. Eleno died on November 10, 1952, and
Rafaela on May 15, 1976. Teodoro, who had married Isabel Bautista, died on
March 23, 1972. His wife died nine years later, on March 26, 1981. Their
properties were left in the possession of Delia, Edmundo, and Doribel, all
surnamed Sayson, who claim to be their children.
On April 25, 1983, Mauricio, Rosario, Basilisa, and Remedios, together with
Juana C. Bautista, Isabel's mother, filed a complaint for partition and accounting
of the intestate estate of Teodoro and Isabel Sayson. It was docketed as Civil
Case No. 1030 in Branch 13 of the Regional Trial Court of Albay. The action was
resisted by Delia, Edmundo and Doribel Sayson, who alleged successional rights
to the disputed estate as the decedent's lawful descendants.
On July 11, 1983, Delia, Edmundo and Doribel filed their own complaint, this time
for the accounting and partition of the intestate estate of Eleno and
Rafaela Sayson, against the couple's four surviving children. This was docketed
as Civil Case No. 1042 in the Regional Trial Court of Albay, Branch 12. The
complainants asserted the defense they raised in Civil Case No. 1030, to wit, that
Delia and Edmundo were the adopted children and Doribel was the legitimate
daughter of Teodoro and Isabel. As such, they were entitled to inherit Teodoro's
share in his parents' estate by right of representation.
Both cases were decided in favor of the herein private respondents on the basis
of practically the same evidence.
Judge Rafael P. Santelices declared in his decision dated May 26, 1986, 1 that
Delia and Edmundo were the legally adopted children of Teodoro and
Isabel Sayson by virtue of the decree of adoption dated March 9, 1967. 2 Doribel
was their legitimate daughter as evidenced by her birth certificate dated February
27, 1967. 3Consequently, the three children were entitled to inherit from Eleno
and Rafaela by right of representation.
In his decision dated September 30, 1986, 4 Judge Jose S. Saez dismissed
Civil Case No. 1030, holding that the defendants, being the legitimate heirs of
Teodoro and Isabel as established by the aforementioned evidence, excluded
the plaintiffs from sharing in their estate.
Both cases were appealed to the Court of Appeals, where they were
consolidated. In its own decision dated February 28, 1989, 5 the
respondent court disposed as follows:
WHEREFORE, in Civil Case No. 1030 (CA-G.R. No. 11541), the
appealed decision is hereby AFFIRMED. In Civil Case No. 1042 (CA-
G.R. No. 12364), the appealed decision is MODIFIED in that Delia and
Edmundo Sayson are disqualified from inheriting from the estate of the
deceased spouses Eleno and Rafaela Sayson, but is affirmed in all other
respects.
SO ORDERED.
That judgment is now before us in this petition for review by certiorari. Reversal
of the respondent court is sought on the ground that it disregarded the evidence
of the petitioners and misapplied the pertinent law and jurisprudence when it
declared the private respondents as the exclusive heirs of Teodoro and
Isabel Sayson.
The contention of the petitioners is that Delia and Edmundo were not legally
adopted because Doribel had already been born on February 27, 1967, when the
decree of adoption was issued on March 9, 1967. The birth of Doribel disqualified
her parents from adopting. The pertinent provision is Article 335 of the Civil
Code, naming among those who cannot adopt "(1) Those who have legitimate,
legitimated, acknowledged natural children, or natural children by legal fiction."
Curiously enough, the petitioners also argue that Doribel herself is not the
legitimate daughter of Teodoro and Isabel but was in fact born to one Edita Abila,
who manifested in a petition for guardianship of the child that she was her natural
mother. 6
The inconsistency of this position is immediately apparent. The petitioners seek
to annul the adoption of Delia and Edmundo on the ground that Teodoro and
Isabel already had a legitimate daughter at the time but in the same breath try to
demolish this argument by denying that Doribel was born to the couple.

On top of this, there is the vital question of timeliness. It is too late now to
challenge the decree of adoption, years after it became final and executory. That
was way back in 1967. 7 Assuming that the petitioners were proper parties, what
they should have done was seasonably appeal the decree of adoption, pointing
to the birth of Doribel that disqualified Teodoro and Isabel from adopting Delia
and Edmundo. They did not. In fact, they should have done this earlier, before
the decree of adoption was issued. They did not, although Mauricio claimed he
had personal knowledge of such birth.
As the respondent court correctly observed:
When Doribel was born on February 27, 1967, or about TEN (10) days
before the issuance of the Order of Adoption, the petitioners could have
notified the court about the fact of birth of DORIBEL and perhaps
withdrew the petition or perhaps petitioners could have filed a petition for
the revocation or rescission of the adoption (although the birth of a child
is not one of those provided by law for the revocation or rescission of an
adoption). The court is of the considered opinion that the adoption of the
plaintiffs DELIA and EDMUNDO SAYSON is valid, outstanding and
binding to the present, the same not having been revoked or rescinded.
Not having any information of Doribel's birth to Teodoro and Isabel Sayson, the
trial judge cannot be faulted for granting the petition for adoption on the
finding inter alia that the adopting parents were not disqualified.
A no less important argument against the petitioners is that their challenge to the
validity of the adoption cannot be made collaterally, as in their action for partition
but in a direct proceeding frontally addressing the issue.
The settled rule is that a finding that the requisite jurisdictional facts
exists, whether erroneous or not, cannot be questioned in a collateral
proceeding, for a presumption arises in such cases where the validity of
the judgment is thus attacked that the necessary jurisdictional facts were
proven [Freeman on Judgments, Vol. I, Sec. 350, pp. 719-720].
(Emphasis supplied.)
In the case of Santos v. Aranzanso, 8 this Court declared:
Anent this point, the rulings are summed up in 2 American Jurisprudence, 2nd
Series, Adoption, Sec. 75, p. 922, thus:
An adoption order implies the finding of the necessary facts and the
burden of proof is on the party attacking it; it cannot be considered void
merely because the fact needed to show statutory compliance is
obscure. While a judicial determination of some particular fact, such as
the abandonment of his next of kin to the adoption, may be essential to
the exercise of jurisdiction to enter the order of adoption, this does not
make it essential to the jurisdictional validity of the decree that the fact
be determined upon proper evidence, or necessarily in accordance with
the truth; a mere error cannot affect the jurisdiction, and the
determination must stand until reversed on appeal, and hence cannot be
collaterally attacked. If this were not the rule, the status of adopted
children would always be uncertain, since the evidence might not be the
same at all investigations, and might be regarded with different effect by
different tribunals, and the adoption might be held by one court to have
been valid, while another court would hold it to have been of no avail.
(Emphasis supplied.)
On the question of Doribel's legitimacy, we hold that the findings of the trial
courts as affirmed by the respondent court must be sustained. Doribel's birth
certificate is a formidable piece of evidence. It is one of the prescribed means of
recognition under Article 265 of the Civil Code and Article 172 of the Family
Code. It is true, as the petitioners stress, that the birth certificate offers only prima
facie evidence 9 of filiation and may be refuted by contrary evidence. However,
such evidence is lacking in the case at bar.
Mauricio's testimony that he was present when Doribel was born to Edita Abila
was understandably suspect, coming as it did from an interested party. The
affidavit of Abila 10 denying her earlier statement in the petition for the
guardianship of Doribel is of course hearsay, let alone the fact that it was never
offered in evidence in the lower courts. Even without it, however, the birth
certificate must be upheld in line with Legaspi v. Court of Appeals, 11 where we
ruled that "the evidentiary nature of public documents must be sustained in the
absence of strong, complete and conclusive proof of its falsity or nullity."
Another reason why the petitioners' challenge must fail is the impropriety of the
present proceedings for that purpose. Doribel's legitimacy cannot be questioned
in a complaint for partition and accounting but in a direct action seasonably filed
by the proper party.
The presumption of legitimacy in the Civil Code . . . does not have this
purely evidential character. It serves a more fundamental purpose. It
actually fixes a civil status for the child born in wedlock, and that civil
status cannot be attacked collaterally. The legitimacy of the child can be
impugned only in a direct action brought for that purpose,by the proper
parties, and within the period limited by law. The legitimacy of the
child cannot be contested by way of defense or as a collateral issue in
another action for a different purpose . . . . 12
(Emphasis supplied.)
In consequence of the above observations, we hold that Doribel, as the
legitimate daughter of Teodoro and Isabel Sayson, and Delia and Edmundo, as
their adopted children, are the exclusive heirs to the intestate estate of the
deceased couple, conformably to the following Article 979 of the Civil Code:
ARTICLE 979. Legitimate children and their descendants succeed the
parents and other ascendants, without distinction as to sex or age, and
even if they should come from different marriages.
An adopted child succeeds to the property of the adopting parents in the
same manner as a legitimate child.
The philosophy underlying this article is that a person's love descends first to his
children and grandchildren before it ascends to his parents and thereafter
spreads among his collateral relatives. It is also supposed that one of his
purposes in acquiring properties is to leave them eventually to his children as a
token of his love for them and as a provision for their continued care even after
he is gone from this earth.
Coming now to the right of representation, we stress first the following pertinent
provisions of the Civil Code:
ARTICLE 970. Representation is a right created by fiction of law, by
virtue of which the representative is raised to the place and the degree of
the person represented, and acquires the rights which the latter would
have if he were living or if he could have inherited.
ARTICLE 971. The representative is called to the succession by the law
and not by the person represented. The representative does not
succeed the person represented but the one whom the person
represented would have succeeded.
ARTICLE 981. Should children of the deceased and descendants of
other children who are dead, survive, the former shall inherit in their own
right, and the latter by right of representation.
There is no question that as the legitimate daughter of Teodoro and thus the
granddaughter of Eleno and Rafaela, Doribel has a right to represent her
deceased father in the distribution of the intestate estate of her grandparents.
Under Article 981, quoted above, she is entitled to the share her father would
have directly inherited had he survived, which shall be equal to the shares of her
grandparents' other children. 13
But a different conclusion must be reached in the case of Delia and Edmundo, to
whom the grandparents were total strangers. While it is true that the adopted
child shall be deemed to be a legitimate child and have the same right as the
latter, these rights do not include the right of representation. The relationship
created by the adoption is between only the adopting parents and the adopted
child and does not extend to the blood relatives of either party. 14
In sum, we agree with the lower courts that Delia and Edmundo as the adopted
children and Doribel as the legitimate daughter of Teodoro Sayson and Isabel
Bautista, are their exclusive heirs and are under no obligation to share the estate
of their parents with the petitioners. The Court of Appeals was correct however,
in holding that only Doribel has the right of representation in the inheritance of
her grandparents' intestate estate, the other private respondents being only the
adoptive children of the deceased Teodoro.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED, and the challenged decision of
the Court of Appeals is AFFIRMED in toto, with costs against the petitioners.
Narvasa, C . J ., Grio-Aquino and Medialdea, JJ ., concur.
Footnotes
1.Rollo, pp. 66-71.
2.Exhibit C.
3.Exhibit B.
4.Rollo, pp. 60-64.
5.Martinez, J., ponente, with Castro-Bartolome and Elbinias, JJ., concurring.
6.Original Records of Civil Case No. 1042, pp. 115-117.
7.Exhibit C.
8.16 SCRA 344.
9.Rule 131, Sec. 5(m), which provides the disputable presumption that official duty
has been regularly performed; Article 410 of the Civil Code, which provides:
"The books making up the civil register and all documents relating thereto shall
be considered public documents and shall be prima facie evidence of the facts
therein contained."
10.Rollo, pp. 52-53.
11.142 SCRA 82.
12.Tolentino, Civil Code of the Philippines, Vol. 1, p. 559.
13.Article 972, Civil Code.
14.Teotico v. Del Val, 13 SCRA 406.

||| (Sayson v. Court of Appeals, G.R. Nos. 89224-25, January 23, 1992)
SECOND DIVISION
[G.R. No. 122249. January 29, 2004.]
REYNALDO, TELESFORO, REMEDIOS, ALFREDO and BELEN,
all surnamed AGUIRRE, VICENTA, HORACIO and
FLORENCIO, all surnamed MAGTIBAY and LEONILA,
CECILIA, ANTONIO, and VENANCIO, all surnamed MEDRANO,
and ZOSIMA
QUIAMBAO, petitioners, vs. COURT OF APPEALS and ELIAS,
JOSE, ARSENIA and ROGELIO, all surnamed BALITAAN, and
MARIA ROSALES, respondents.
D E C I S I O N
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J p:
Before us is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the
Rules of Court seeking the reversal of the Decision 1 dated July 26, 1995
rendered by the Court ofAppeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 42350 which set aside the
Decision 2 dated April 28, 1992 of the Regional Trial Court of Batangas City
(Branch 2) in Civil Case No. 202, 3 and declared private respondents
Heirs of Tiburcio Balitaan, as owners of the parcel of unregistered land with an
approximate area of 1,695 square meters, located at Aplaya, Bauan,
Batangas. aSCHIT
The facts of the case are as follows:
In his lifetime, Leocadio Medrano was the owner and possessor of a
parcel of residential land, situated in Aplaya, Bauan, Batangas, containing an
area of 2,611 square meters. 4 The parcel of land was conjugal property, having
been acquired by Leocadio during his first marriage with one Emiliana Narito.
Their union begot four children, namely: (a) Gertrudes Medrano, now deceased,
represented in this case by her children, herein petitioners Telesforo, Reynaldo,
Remedios, Alfredo, and Belen, all surnamed Aguirre; (b) Isabel Medrano,
likewise deceased, represented by her children, herein petitioners Vicenta,
Horacio, and Florencio, all surnamed Magtibay; (c) Placido Medrano, also
deceased, represented by his only child, herein petitioner Zosima Quiambao; and
(d) Sixto Medrano.
After the death of his first wife, Leocadio contracted a second marriage with
Miguela Cario. Their union bore four children, herein co-petitioners, namely:
Venancio, Leonila, Antonio and Cecilia, all surnamed Medrano.
Upon the death of Leocadio on March 19, 1945, the surviving heirs agreed that
Sixto should manage and administer the subject property.
Sixto died on May 17, 1974. It was only after his death that petitioners heard
rumors that Sixto had, in fact, sold significant portions of the estate of Leocadio.
It appears that on September 7, 1953, Sixto, without the knowledge and
consent of the petitioners, executed an Affidavit of Transfer of Real Property
stating therein that he was the only heir of Leocadio. 5 Sixto declared that
Leocadio died on September 16, 1949, instead of the actual date of his death on
March 19, 1945. With the use of said affidavit and a survey plan, 6 Tax
Declaration No. 40105 in the name of Leocadio was cancelled and Tax
Declaration No. 44984 was issued in the name of Sixto. 7 On August 29, 1957,
Sixto sold to Maria Bacong a 160-square meter portion of the subject land. 8 On
September 28, 1959, Sixto sold to Tiburcio Balitaan a 1,695 square meter
portion of the same land. 9 Sometime in November 1967, Maria Bacong sold her
property to Rosendo Bacong. 10
Petitioners demanded the reconveyance of the portions sold by Sixto but Tiburcio
Balitaan, Maria Bacong and Rosendo Bacong refused to do so Hence,
petitioners filed against them before the Regional Trial Court of Batangas
(Branch 2), a complaint for Declaration of Nullity of Documents, Partition,
Malicious Prosecution and Damages, docketed as Civil Case No. 202. 11
In their Answer, Maria Bacong and Rosendo Bacong contend that petitioners
have no cause of action because they acquired their property thru a valid
deed of sale dated August 29, 1957, executed by Sixto and, alternatively,
petitioners' cause of action, if any, was barred by prescription and laches. 12
In his Answer, Tiburcio Balitaan contends that petitioners have no
cause of action since petitioners were well-aware of the sale of the property to
him by Sixto; and that he was an innocent purchaser for value, in possession and
enjoyment of the land in the concept of absolute owner, peacefully and publicly.
He further echoed the contention of Maria and Rosendo Bacong that any
cause of action petitioners may have was barred by prescription and laches. 13
Maria Bacong died during the pendency of the suit in the trial court and she was
substituted by her surviving heirs, namely, Lorenza, Elena, Felipa, Manuel,
Marilou, Ricardo, Medel, Monchito and Milag, all surnamed Medrano. 1 4 Tiburcio
Balitaan also died and was substituted by his heirs, herein private respondents,
namely: his wife, Maria Rosales and their four children: Elias, Jose, Arsenia and
Rogelio, all surnamed Balitaan. 15
On July 28, 1989, petitioners and Rosendo Bacong, for himself and as attorney-
in-fact of the heirs of Maria Bacong, entered into a compromise agreement to
settle the case between them. 16 The compromise agreement, as approved by
the trial court, provided that Rosendo Bacong and the heirs of Maria Bacong
agreed to pay P30,000.00 to petitioners in recognition of petitioners'
ownership of a 269-square meter portion 17 and in consideration of which,
petitioners recognized the full ownership, rights, interest and participation of the
former over said land. 18 The area of the subject land is thus reduced to 2,342
square meters (2,611 square meters minus 269 square meters).
After trial on the merits, the trial court rendered judgment dated April 28, 1992,
ruling that private respondents did not dispute, by any evidence, the falsity of the
Affidavit of Transfer, as well as the fact that Sixto had co-owners to the property.
It found that private respondents' affirmative defense of laches and/or
prescription are unavailing against a property held in co-ownership as long as the
state of co-ownership is recognized. Consequently, the trial court upheld the sale
made by Sixto in favor of private respondents only to the extent that Sixto is
entitled to by virtue of his being a co-owner. 19
In determining the area that Sixto could have validly sold to private respondents,
the trial court, in its decision, provided for the manner of partition among the
parties, based on the memorandum submitted by petitioners, thus:
For the four (4) children of the first marriage, namely:
(1) Gertrudes, who is already dead represented by her children
Telesforo, Reynaldo, Remedios, Alfredo and Belen, all
surnamed Aguirre 399.42 square meters;
(2) Isabel Medrano, who is already dead, represented by the
plaintiffs, her children Vicenta, Horacio and Florencio, all
surnamed Magtibay 399.42 square meters;
(3) Placido Medrano (dead), represented by his only child Zosima
Medrano 399.42 square meters; and
(4) Sixto Medrano 399.42 square meters only which he had the
right to dispose of in favor of Tiburcio Balitaan and Maria
Rosales.
The above consist of undivided interest, shares and participations from
the inheritance or succession to the conjugal estate of Leocadio
Medrano and Emiliana Narito.
For the children of the second marriage their shares in the inheritance
from the property of Leocadio Medrano are as follows:
(1) To Venancio Medrano 138.32 square meters
(2) To Leonila Medrano 138.32 square meters
(3) To Antonio Medrano 138.32 square meters
(4) To Cecilia Medrano 138.32 square meters
with all the above consisting of undivided shares, interest and
participation in the estate.
For the defendants Maria Rosales, surviving spouse of the deceased
Tiburcio Balitaan and their Children, an area of 399.42 square meters,
the only area and extent which Sixto Medrano could have legally
dispensed of in their favor. 20
Thus, the dispositive portion of the trial court's decision reads as follows:
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the Court renders judgment in
favor of the plaintiffs and against the defendants, to wit:
(a) Ordering the partition of the property in question among the plaintiffs
and the defendants; and
(b) Ordering the parties, plaintiffs and defendants, to make a partition
among themselves by proper instruments of conveyance and to submit
before this Court a project of partition should the parties be able to agree
for the confirmation of the Court within two (2) months upon
receipt of this decision, otherwise this Court will be constrained to
appoint commissioners to make the partition in accordance with law.
All other claims not having been duly proved are ordered dismissed.
SO ORDERED. 21
Aggrieved, private respondents appealed to the Court of Appeals. 22
On July 26, 1995, the appellate court rendered judgment recognizing the
validity of the sale only with respect to the undivided share of Sixto Medrano as
co-owner; but nonetheless, declaring respondents as absolute owners of 1,695
square meters of the subject property, reasoning that:
. . . Defendants-appellees have been in possession, in the
concept of owner, of the entire parcel of land sold to Tiburcio Balitaan by
Sixto Medrano for more than ten years, seventeen years to be exact
(1958-1975). Relying on the affidavit of transfer (Exhibit "B") the tax
declaration (Exhibit "C") and the survey plan (Exhibit "D") shown to him
by Sixto Medrano which indicate the latter as owner of the property in
dispute, Tiburcio Balitaan believed transfer to him was effected. (TSN,
April 17, 1991, pp. 1417) and thus, entered the property as owner (Ibid.
at p. 13) Tiburcio Balitaan, believing himself as the lawful transferee, in
addition, caused Tax Declaration No. 51038 to be issued in his name
(Exhibits "6", "6-A", "6-B", and "6-C"). Thus, although the sale of the co-
owned property is only valid as to the undivided share of Sixto Medrano,
defendants, by virtue of their open, adverse and uninterrupted
possession from 1958 (Exhibit "G") to 1975, obtained title to the entire
property and not just Sixto's undivided share. This is pursuant to Article
1134 (1957a) of the New Civil Code which provides that:

Ownership and other real rights over immovable property are
acquired by ordinary prescription through possession of ten years.
xxx xxx xxx
Plaintiffs did not at all inquire as to the status of their property all this
time and thus have been remiss of their duties as owners of the
property. Plaintiffs waited until Sixto's death to learn more about their
property. Even though the co-ownership is to be preserved in
accordance with the wishes of the deceased, the plaintiffs should have
taken it upon themselves to look into the status of the property once in a
while, to assure themselves that it is managed well and that they are
receiving what is due them as co-owners of the parcel of land or to at
least manifest their continued interest in the property as normal owners
would do. But the plaintiffs did not show any interest in the way Sixto
Medrano was managing the property which in effect gave the latter carte
blanche powers over the same. Such passivity is aggravated by the fact
that one of the plaintiffs resides a mere 600 meters away from the
disputed property (TSN, April 17, 1991, p. 13). By not showing any
interest, the plaintiffs have, in fact, slept on their rights and thus, cannot
now exercise a stale right. 23
Petitioners sought reconsideration 24 but the appellate court denied it in a
Resolution dated October 5, 1995. 25
In their present recourse, petitioners take exception from the appellate court's
findings that respondents have been in possession, in the
concept of owner of the entire parcel of land sold to Tiburcio Balitaan by Sixto
Medrano for seventeen years (19581975), relying on the Affidavit of Transfer
and Tax Declaration No. 51038 in the name of Sixto; and that Tiburcio acquired
ownership of the whole property from Sixto through ordinary prescription for ten
years.
Petitioners submit that Tiburcio Balitaan was not a purchaser in good faith and
for value since there are enough circumstances which should have put him on
guard and prompted him to be more circumspect and inquire further about the
true status of Sixto Medrano's ownership; that during his lifetime, Tiburcio was a
neighbor ofpetitioners and was well-aware that Sixto had other siblings but
Tiburcio chose to rely on the Affidavit of Transfer executed by Sixto Medrano
declaring that he was the only heir of Leocadio; that the Court of Appeals should
not have faulted them for failing to inquire about the status of the disputed
property until after the death ofSixto Medrano; that they are not guilty of laches.
It is settled that in the exercise of the Supreme Court's power of review, the
findings of facts of the Court of Appeals are conclusive and binding on the
Supreme Court.26 The exceptions to this rule are: (1) when the findings are
grounded entirely on speculation, surmises or conjectures; (2) when the
inference made is manifestly mistaken, absurd or impossible; (3) when there is
grave abuse of discretion; (4) when the judgment is based on a
misapprehension of facts; (5) when the findings of fact are conflicting; (6) when in
making its findings the Court of Appeals went beyond the issues of the case, or
its findings are contrary to the admissions of both the appellant and the appellee;
(7) when the findings are contrary to the trial court; (8) when the findings are
conclusions without citation of specific evidence on which they are based; (9)
when the facts set forth in the petition as well as in the petitioner's main and reply
briefs are not disputed by the respondent; (10) when the findings offact are
premised on the supposed absence of evidence and contradicted by the
evidence on record; and (11) when the Court of Appeals manifestly overlooked
certain relevant facts not disputed by the parties, which, if properly considered,
would justify a different conclusion. 27 Exceptions (4), (7), (10) and (11) are
present in the instant case.
We find the petition meritorious. 28 We agree with the petitioners that
the Court of Appeals committed a reversible error in upholding the
claim of petitioners that they acquired ownership of the subject property through
prescription.
Acquisitive prescription of real rights may be ordinary or extraordinary. Ordinary
acquisitive prescription requires possession of things in good faith and with just
title for the time fixed by law; 29 without good faith and just title, acquisitive
prescription can only be extraordinary in character. Regarding real or immovable
property, ordinary acquisitive prescription requires a period of possession of ten
years, 30 while extraordinary acquisitive prescription requires an uninterrupted
adverse possession of thirty years. 31
Ordinary acquisitive prescription demands that possession be "in good faith",
which consists in the reasonable belief that the person from whom the thing is
received has been the owner thereof and could thereby transmit that
ownership. 32 There is "just title" when the adverse claimant comes into
possession of the property through any of the modes recognized by law for the
acquisition of ownership or other real rights, but that the grantor is neither the
owner nor in a position to transmit the right.33
Article 1130 of the Civil Code states that the "title for prescription must be true
and valid." In Doliendo vs. Biarnesa, 34 we elucidated on this provision, thus: AEIDTc
We think that this contention is based on a misconception of the scope
and effect of the provisions of this article of the Code in its application to
"ordinary prescription." It is evident that by a "titulo verdadero y valido" in
this connection we are not to understand a "titulo que por si solo tiene
fuerza de transferir el dominio sin necesidad de la prescricion" (a title
which of itself is sufficient to transfer the ownership without the
necessity of the lapse of the prescription period); and we accept the
opinion of a learned Spanish law writer who holds that the "titulo
verdadero y valido" as used in this article of the code prescribes a "titulo
Colorado" and not merely "putativo;" a "titulo Colorado" being one 'which
a person has when he buys a thing, in good faith, from one whom he
believes to be the owner,' and a "titulo putativo" "being one which is
supposed to have preceded the acquisition of a thing, although in fact it
did not, as might happen when one is in possession of a thing in the
belief that it had been bequeathed to him." (Viso Derecho Civil, Parte
Segunda, p. 541) 35
The requirements for ordinary acquisitive prescription as hereinabove described
have not been met in this case.
It must be remembered that the burden of proving the status of a purchaser in
good faith lies upon him who asserts that status. It is not sufficient to invoke the
ordinary presumption of good faith, that is, that everyone is presumed to have
acted in good faith, since the good faith that is here essential is integral with the
very status that must be established. 36
After a careful examination of the records, we find that private respondents failed
to discharge the burden of proof that Tiburcio Balitaan was a purchaser in good
faith. It is undisputed that Tiburcio practically lived his entire lifetime in the area
where the property in dispute is located and had been a neighbor of petitioners.
He knew that Sixto Medrano had other siblings because his son, Dr. Elias
Balitaan, is the godson by baptism of spouses Jose Aguirre and Gertrudes
Medrano, the latter being a deceased sister of Sixto. Thus, Tiburcio was not a
complete stranger to the Medrano clan. Yet, he deliberately chose to close his
eyes to said facts and despite his personal knowledge to the contrary, he
purchased the disputed property from Sixto on the basis of the
misrepresentation of the latter in his Affidavit of Transfer that he is the sole
surviving heir of Leocadio. A purchaser cannot close his eyes to facts which
should put a reasonable man upon his guard, and then claim that he acted in
good faith under the belief that there was no defect in the title of the vendor. 37
Since the disputed property is an unregistered land, Tiburcio as buyer thereof did
so at his peril. Private respondents' claim that Tiburcio bought the land in good
faith, that is, without notice that some other person has a right to or interest in the
property, would not protect them if it turns out, as it actually did in this case, that
the seller, Sixto Medrano, did not own the entire property at the time of the sale,
but only an undivided portion of the land as a co-owner. Private respondents
failed to show that the petitioners were notified of the subject sale or that
respondents gave their consent to the sale. Not being in "good faith", the ten-
year period required for ordinary acquisitive prescription does not apply.
Even the thirty-year period under extraordinary acquisitive prescription has not
been met in this case. Private respondents claim to have been in possession, in
the concept of owner, of the entire parcel of land sold to Tiburcio Balitaan by
Sixto Medrano for only seventeen years (19581975).
In addition, as we have enunciated in Salvador vs. Court of Appeals, 38 to wit:
This Court has held that the possession of a co-owner is like that of a
trustee and shall not be regarded as adverse to the other co-owners but
in fact as beneficial to allof them. Acts which may be considered adverse
to strangers may not be considered adverse insofar as co-owners are
concerned. A mere silent possession by a co-owner, his receipt of rents,
fruits or profits from the property, the erection of buildings and fences
and the planting of trees thereon, and the payment of land taxes, cannot
serve as proof of exclusive ownership, if it is not borne out by clear and
convincing evidence that he exercised acts of possession which
unequivocably constituted an ouster or deprivation of the rights of the
other co-owners.

Thus, in order that a co-owner's possession may be deemed adverse to
the cestui que trust or the other co-owners, the following elements must
concur: (1) that he has performed unequivocal acts of repudiation
amounting to an ouster of the cestui que trust or the other co-owners; (2)
that such positive acts of repudiation have been made known to the
cestui que trust or the other co-owners; and (3) that the evidence
thereon must be clear and convincing. 39 (Emphasis supplied)
Tested against these guidelines, respondents failed to present competent
evidence that the acts of Sixto adversely and clearly repudiated the existing co-
ownership among the heirs of Leocadio Medrano.
Private respondents' reliance on the tax declaration in the name of Sixto
Medrano is unworthy of credit since we have held on several occasions that tax
declarations by themselves do not conclusively prove title to land. 40 Further,
private respondents failed to show that the Affidavit executed by Sixto to the
effect that he is the sole owner of the subject property was known or made
known to the other co-heirs of Leocadio Medrano.
Neither can we subscribe to the appellate court's view that petitioners are
guilty of laches. Laches is the negligence or omission to assert a right within a
reasonable time, warranting a presumption that the party entitled to assert it has
abandoned it or declined to assert it. 41 It does not involve mere lapse or
passage of time, but is principally an impediment to the assertion or
enforcement of a right, which has become under the circumstances inequitable
or unfair to permit. 42 The rule that each co-owner may demand at any time the
partition of the common property implies that an action to demand partition is
imprescriptible or cannot be barred by laches. 43
We have consistently held that if a co-owner sells the whole property as his, the
sale will affect only his own share but not those of the other co-owners who did
not consent to the sale. 44 Article 493 of the Civil Code provides:
Art. 493. Each co-owner shall have the full ownership of his part and the
fruits and benefits pertaining thereto, and he may therefore alienate,
assign or mortgage it, and even substitute another person in its
enjoyment, except when personal rights are involved. But the
effect of the alienation or the mortgage, with respect to the co-owners,
shall be limited to the portion which may be allotted to him in the division
upon the termination of the co-ownership.
It clearly provides that the sale or other disposition affects only the seller's
share pro indiviso, and the transferee gets only what corresponds to his grantor's
share in the partition of the property owned in common. Since a co-owner is
entitled to sell his undivided share, a sale of the entire property by one co-owner
without the consent of the other co-owners is not null and void; only the
rights of the co-owner/seller are transferred, thereby making the buyer a co-
owner of the property. 45Accordingly, we held in Bailon-
Casilao vs. Court of Appeals:
From the foregoing, it may be deduced that since a co-owner is entitled
to sell his undivided share, a sale of the entire property by one-co-owner
without the consent ofthe other co-owners is not null and void. However,
only the rights of the co-owner-seller are transferred, thereby making the
buyer a co-owner of the property.
The proper action in cases like this is not for the nullification of the sale
or for the recovery of possession of the thing owned in common from the
third person who substituted the co-owner or co-owners who alienated
their shares, but the DIVISION of the common property as if it continued
to remain in the possession of the co-owners who possessed and
administered it [Mainit v. Bandoy, supra].
Thus, it is now settled that the appropriate recourse of co-owners in
cases where their consent were not secured in a sale of the entire
property as well as in a sale merely of the undivided
shares of some of the co-owners is an action for PARTITION under Rule
69 of the Revised Rules of Court. Neither recovery of possession nor
restitution can be granted since the defendant buyers are legitimate
proprietors and possessors in joint ownership of the common property
claimed [Ramirez v. Bautista, supra]. 46
It is clear therefore that the deed of sale executed by Sixto Medrano in
favor of Tiburcio Balitaan is a valid conveyance only insofar as the share of Sixto
Medrano in the co-ownership is concerned. Thus, the respondent court erred in
declaring the ownership of the entire 1,695-square meter property sold by Sixto,
in favor of the private respondents.
The next question is what is the area of the pro indiviso share pertaining to Sixto
Medrano that was sold to private respondents? The trial court endeavored to
determine the same by ascertaining the inheritance of each of the
heirs of Leocadio. However, the manner of partition as set out by the trial court in
the text of its decision needs to be amended so as to conform to the laws on
intestate succession under the Old Civil Code absent any allegation or showing
that Leocadio left any last will and testament.
It is not disputed that the 2,342-square meter property was a conjugal
property of Leocadio and Emiliana. Upon the death of Emiliana, which occurred
many years before the death of Leocadio in 1945, both deaths occurring before
the enactment of the New Civil Code in 1950, all the four children of the first
marriage and the four children of the second marriage shall share equally. The
subject property should have been divided into eight equal parts, pursuant
to Articles 921 and 931 of the old Civil Code, 47 or 292.75 square meters
each. The respective heirs of the now deceased children of Leocadio inherit by
way of representation the respective shares oftheir respective parents, pursuant
to Articles 933 and 934 of the Old Civil Code. 48
At the time of death of Leocadio in 1945, Miguela was entitled only to the
usufruct of the land pursuant to Article 834 of the Old Civil Code, 49 which
provides that "[i]f only one legitimate child or descendant survives, the widower or
widow shall have the usufruct of the third available for betterment, such child or
descendant to have the naked ownership until, on the death of the surviving
spouse, the whole title is merged in him". DaACIH
Thus, to recapitulate, each of the heirs of Leocadio should inherit 292.75 square
meters, pro-indiviso (2,342 square meters 8 = 292.75 square meters) after
deducting from the original 2,611 square meters of the subject property the 269
square meters ceded to the heirs of Maria Bacong in a compromise agreement
among the petitioners and the heirs of Maria Bacong. The deceased
children of Leocadio are represented by their respective heirs by
right of representation under Articles 933 and 934 of the Old Civil Code.
Accordingly, the undivided shares of Leocadio's eight children or their heirs by
right of representation, upon the death of Leocadio in 1945 are as follows:
(1) Venancio Medrano - 292.75 square meters
(2) Leonila Medrano - 292.75 square meters
(3) Antonio Medrano - 292.75 square meters
(4) Cecilia Medrano - 292.75 square meters
(5) Heirs of Gertrudes M. Aguirre,
Telesforo, Reynaldo, Remedios,
Alfredo and Belen, all surnamed
Aguirre - 292.75 square meters
(6) Heirs of Isabel M. Magtibay,
Vicenta, Horacio and Florencio,
all surnamed Magtibay - 292.75 square meters
(7) Heirs of Placido Medrano,
plaintiff Zosima Medrano
Quimbao - 292.75 square meters
(8) Sixto Medrano - 292.75 square meters
During the pendency of the case in the trial court but after the
death of Sixto, petitioners sold 460 square meters to one Mateo Castillo.
Consequently, the 460 square meters should be charged against the
shares of petitioners only and should not affect the 292.75 square meters
undivided share of Sixto Medrano which he had sold in 1959. 50 Accordingly,
460 square meters divided by 7 equals 65.71 square meters. Deducting said
area from 292.75 square meters, the final undivided share of each of the
seven heirs of Leocadio should be 227.04 square meters (292.75 65.71 =
227.04) and that pertaining to Sixto in 292.75 square meters.
Thus, the manner of partition set forth by the trial court in its decision should be
amended, as follows:
(1) Gertrudes M. Aguirre, deceased, - 227.04 square meters
represented by her children,
herein petitioners Telesforo,
Reynaldo, Remedios, Alfredo
and Belen, all surnamed Aguirre
(2) Isabel M. Magtibay, deceased,
represented by her children,
herein petitioners Vicenta,
Horacio and Florencio, all
surnamed Magtibay - 227.04 square meters
(3) Placido Medrano, deceased,
represented by his only child,
Placido Medrano - 227.04 square meters
(4) Private respondents Maria
Rosales and heirs of Tiburcio
Balitaan, namely: Elias, Jose,
Arsenia and Rogelio all
surnamed Balitaan (in lieu of
Sixto Medrano) - 292.75 square meters
(5) Venancio Medrano - 227.04 square meters
(6) Leonila Medrano - 227.04 square meters
(7) Antonio Medrano - 227.04 square meters
(8) Cecilia Medrano - 227.04 square meters
(9) Rosendo Bacong - 269 square meters
(10) Mateo Castillo - 460 square meters
WHEREFORE, we GRANT the petition. The assailed
decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 42350, dated July 26,
1995, is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The decision of the Regional
Trial Court is REINSTATED with the following MODIFICATIONS:
The sale in favor of private respondents is declared VALID but only insofar as the
292.75 square meters undivided share of Sixto Medrano in the subject property
is concerned.
Let the parcel of land, located at Aplaya, Bauan, Batangas, consisting of 2,611
square meters, be partitioned and distributed as determined by the Court in the
text ofherein decision. Accordingly, let the records of the case be remanded to
the Regional Trial Court of Batangas City (Branch 2) in Civil Case No. 202 for
further appropriate proceedings under Rule 69 of the Rules of Court.

No pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED.
Puno, Quisumbing, Callejo, Sr. and Tinga, JJ., concur.
Footnotes
1.Penned by Justice Jorge S. Imperial (now deceased) and concurred in by Justice
Pacita Caizares-Nye (now deceased) and Justice Romeo J. Callejo, Sr. (now
Associate Justice ofthe Supreme Court), Rollo, pp. 32-46.
2.Penned by Judge Ireneo V. Mendoza.
3.Entitled, "Reynaldo, Telesforo, Remedios, Alfredo and Belen all surnamed Aguirre,
Vicenta, Horacio and Florencio all surnamed Magtibay, Leonila, Cecilia,
Antonio and Venancio all surnamed Medrano and Zosima Quiambao vs.
Tiburcio Balitaan, Maria Bacong and Rosendo Bacong"
4.1,791 square meters of which was declared in Tax Declaration No. 40105 while 820
square meters remained undeclared for taxation purposes until 1953 in Tax
Declaration No. 44984 issued in the name of Sixto Medrano; Original Records,
pp. 8, 10.
5.Id., p. 9.
6.Id., p. 11.
7.Id., p. 10.
8.Id., p. 16.
9.Id., pp. 14-15.
10.Id., p. 18.
11.Entitled "Reynaldo, Telesforo, Remedios, Alfredo and Belen all surnamed Aguirre,
Vicenta, Horacio and Florencio all surnamed Magtibay, Leonila, Cecilia,
Antonio and Venancio all surnamed Medrano and Zosima Quiambao vs.
Tiburcio Balitaan, Maria Bacong and Rosendo Bacong", Id., p. 1.
12.Id., p. 28-29.
13.Id., p. 32.
14.Id., p. 102.
15.Id., p. 254.
16.Id., p. 338.
17.Id., p. 520.
18.Id., p. 339.
19.Rollo, pp. 66-74.
20.Id., pp. 72-73.
21.Id., pp. 73-74.
22.Id., pp. 75-120. Private respondents initially filed a Notice of Appeal with the
trial court which the latter denied on the ground that "the decision promulgated
on April 28, 1992 is not yet final and executory considering that there are still
many things to be done". On petition for mandamus with
the Court of Appeals (CA-G.R. SP No. 30446), the Courtof Appeals granted the
petition and directed the trial court to give due course to private respondents'
appeal. (Court of Appeals' Rollo, pp. 89)
23.Rollo, pp. 40-42.
24.Id., pp. 47-65.
25.Id., p. 30.
26.Pestario vs. Sumayang, 346 SCRA 870, 878 (2000); Baas,
Jr. vs. Court of Appeals, 325 SCRA 259, 271 (2000); Borromeo vs. Sun, 317
SCRA 176, 182 (1999); Lagrosa vs. Courtof Appeals, 312 SCRA 298, 310
(1999); Security Bank and Trust Company vs. Triumph Lumber and
Construction Corporation, 301 SCRA 537, 548 (1999).
27.Langkaan Realty Development, Inc. vs. United Coconut Planters Bank, 347 SCRA
542, 549 (2000). Nokom vs. National Labor Relations Commission, 336 SCRA
97, 110 (2000);Commissioner of Internal Revenue vs. Embroidery and
Garments Industries (Phil.), Inc., 305 SCRA 70, 74 (1999); Sta.
Maria vs. Court of Appeals, 285 SCRA 351, 357 (1998).
28.Original Records of Civil Case No. 42350 were received by the Court only on
September 4, 2003.
29.Article 1117, Civil Code.
30.Article 1134, Civil Code.
31.Article 1137, Civil Code.
32.Article 1127, Civil Code.
33.Article 1129, Civil Code.
34.7 Phil. 232 (1906).
35.Id., p. 234.
36.Embrado vs. Court of Appeals, 233 SCRA 335, 344 (1994).
37.Development Bank of the Philippines vs. Court of Appeals, 331 SCRA 267, 290
(2000); Lucena vs. Court of Appeals, 313 SCRA 47, 57 (1999).
38.243 SCRA 239 (1995).
39.Id., p. 251.
40.Hemedes vs. Court of Appeals, 316 SCRA 347, 370 (1999); Heirs of Leopoldo
Vencilao, Sr. vs. Court of Appeals, 288 SCRA 574, 581
(1998); Titong vs. Court of Appeals (4th Division), 287 SCRA 102, 115
(1998).
41.Ignacio vs. Basilio, 366 SCRA 15, 23 (2001); Lim Tay vs. Court of Appeals, 293
SCRA 634, 659 (1998)
42.Philippine Bank of Communications vs. Court of Appeals, 289 SCRA 178, 186
(1998).
43.Deiparine vs. Court of Appeals, 299 SCRA 668, 679
(1998); Sandoval vs. Court of Appeals, 243 SCRA 239, 250 (1995).
44.Tomas Claudio Memorial College, Inc. vs. Court of Appeals, 316 SCRA 502, 509
(1999); Bailon-Casilao vs. Court of Appeals, 160 SCRA 738, 746 (1988).
45.Fernandez vs. Fernandez, 363 SCRA 811, 829 (2001).
46.Supra, Note 44 at p. 745.
47.Art. 921. In every inheritance the relative nearest in degree excludes the one more
remote, except in cases in which the right of representation exists.
Relatives in the same degree shall inherit in equal portions, subject to the
provisions of Article 949 with respect to relationship by the whole blood.
Art. 931. Legitimate children and their descendants succeed the parents and other
ascendants, without distinction of sex or age, even though they spring from
different marriages.
48.Art. 933. The grandchildren and other descendants shall inherit by right or
representation, and if any one of them should have died, leaving several heirs,
the portion pertaining to him shall be divided among the latter in equal portions.
Art. 934. Should children and descendants of other deceased children survive, the
former shall inherit in their own right, and the latter by right of representation.
49.NOW ART. 996 of the New Civil Code. [a widow or widower and legitimate children
or descendants are left, the surviving spouse has in the succession the same
share as thatof each of the children].
50.Rollo, pp. 523, 524.

||| (Aguirre v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 122249, January 29, 2004)
SECOND DIVISION
[G.R. No. L-22469. October 23, 1978.]
TOMAS CORPUS, plaintiff-appellant, vs. ADMINISTRATOR and/or
EXECUTOR of the Estate of Teodoro R. Yangco,
RAFAEL CORPUS, AMALIA CORPUS, JOSE A. V. CORPUS,
RAMON L. CORPUS, ENRIQUE J. CORPUS, S. W. STAGG,
SOLEDAD ASPRER and CIPRIANO NAVARRO, defendants-
appellees.
SYNOPSIS
Teodoro R. Yangco was the acknowledged natural son of Luis Rafael Yangco
and Ramona Arguelles, the widow of Tomas Corpus. Before her union with Luis
Rafael Yangco, Ramona had begotten five children with Tomas Corpus, one of
whom was Jose Corpus. Jose Corpus had a daughter, Juana Corpus. Petitioner
Tomas Corpus is the son of Juana Corpus. As the sole heir of Juana Corpus,
petitioner Tomas Corpus filed an action in the Court of First Instance to recover
his mother's supposed share in the Yangco's intestate estate, claiming that the
project of partition made pursuant to the order of the probate court as invalid and
hence, the estate should be disposed of under the rules of intestacy. The trial
court dismissed the action on the ground of res judicata stating that the intrinsic
validity of Teodoro R. Yangco's will had already been passed upon in a special
proceedings approving the project of partition.
Plaintiff appealed to the Court of Appeals. The appeal was certified to the
Supreme Court as it involved more than P50,00 pursuant to the Judiciary Law
before it was amended.
The Supreme Court affirmed the trial court's judgment on another ground,
namely that since Teodoro R. Yangco was an acknowledged natural child, and
since JuanitaCorpus was the legitimate child of Jose Corpus, himself a legitimate
child, we hold that appellant Tomas Corpus has no cause of action for the
recovery of the supported hereditary share of his mother, because there is no
reciprocal succession between legitimate and illegitimate relatives.
SYLLABUS
1. CIVIL LAW; WILL; DULY PROBATED WILL FORM PART OF JUDICIAL OR
PUBLIC RECORDS; CASE AT BAR. Appellant's contentions that the
probative value of the will of Luis R. Yangco, dated June 14, 1907 which states
that Teodoro R. Yangco was his acknowledged natural son, cannot prevail over
the presumption of legitimacy found in Section 69, Rule 123 of the old Rules of
Court and the statement of Teodoro Yangco's biographer that Luis Yangco had
two marriages, the first with Ramona Arguelles (Teodoro's mother) and the
second with Victoria Obin have no merit. The authenticity of that will which had
been admitted and duly probated is incontestable. That will is now part of a public
or official judicial record.
2. ID.; FILIATION; PRESUMPTION OF LEGITIMACY; CHILD BORN OUT OF A
UNION OF A MAN AND A WOMAN IS PRESUMED LEGITIMATE. It is
disputably presumed "that a man and a woman deporting themselves as
husband and wife have entered into a lawful contract of marriage"; (Semper
praesumitur pro matrimonio) "that a child born in lawful wedlock, there being no
divorce, absolute or from bed and board, is legitimate", and "that things have
happened according to the ordinary course of nature and the ordinary habits of
life".
3. ID.; ID.; SUCCESSION; NO SUCCESSIONAL RECIPROCITY BETWEEN
LEGITIMATE AND ILLEGITIMATE RELATIVES. Article 943 of the old Civil
Code "prohibits all successory reciprocity mortis causa between legitimate and
illegitimate relatives. The rule is now found in article 992 of the new Civil Code
which provides that "an illegitimate child has no right to inherit ab intestato from
the legitimate children and relatives of his father or mother; nor shall such
children and relatives inherit in the same manner from the illegitimate child".
4. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; ARTICLE 943, OLD CIVIL CODE (ART. 922 NEW CIVIL
CODE); BASIS OF. The rule found in Article 943 of the old Civil Code
prohibiting successional reciprocity between legitimates and illegitimates is
based on the theory that the illegitimate child is disgracefully looked upon by the
legitimate family, while the legitimate family is, in turn, hated by the illegitimate
child. The law does not recognize the blood tie and seeks to avoid further
grounds of resentment.
5. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; RULE ON SUCCESSION OF ACKNOWLEDGED OR
LEGITIMATE CHILDREN. Under Article 944 and 945 of the Spanish Civil
Code, if an acknowledged natural or legitimated child should die without issue,
either legitimate or acknowledged, the father or mother who acknowledged such
child shall succeed to his entire estate and if both acknowledged it and are alive,
they shall inherit from it share and share like. In default of natural ascendants,
decedents' natural and legitimated children shall be succeeded by their natural
brothers and sisters in accordance with the rules established for legitimate
brothers and sisters.
D E C I S I O N
AQUINO, J p:
Teodoro R. Yangco died in Manila on April 20, 1939 at the age of seventy-seven
years. His will dated August 29, 1934 was probated in the Court of First Instance
of Manila in Special Proceeding No. 54863. The decree of probate was affirmed
in this Court's 1941 decision in Corpus vs. Yangco, 73 Phil. 527. The complete
text of the will is quoted in that decision.
Yangco had no forced heirs. At the time of his death, his nearest relatives were
(1) his half brother, Luis R. Yangco, (2) his half sister, Paz Yangco, the wife of
Miguel Ossorio, (3) Amalia Corpus, Jose A. V. Corpus, and Ramon L. Corpus,
the children of his half brother, Pablo Corpus, and (4) Juana (Juanita) Corpus,
the daughter of his half brother Jose Corpus. Juanita died in October, 1944 at
Palauig, Zambales.
Teodoro R. Yangco was the son of Luis Rafael Yangco and Ramona Arguelles,
the widow of Tomas Corpus. Before her union with Luis Rafael Yangco, Ramona
had begotten five children with Tomas Corpus, two of whom were the
aforenamed Pablo Corpus and Jose Corpus.
Pursuant to the order of the probate court, a project of partition dated November
26, 1945 was submitted by the administrator and the legatees named in the will.
That project of partition was opposed by the estate of Luis R. Yangco whose
counsel contended that an intestacy should be declared because the will does
not contain an institution of heir. It was also opposed by Atty. Roman A. Cruz,
who represented Juanita Corpus, Pedro Martinez and Juliana de Castro.
Juanita Corpus was already dead when Atty. Cruz appeared as her counsel. cdphil
Atty. Cruz alleged in his opposition that the proposed partition was not in
conformity with the will because the testator intended that the estate should be
"conserved" and not physically partitioned. Atty. Cruz prayed "que declare que el
finado no dispuso en su testamento de sus bienes y negocios y que ha lugar
a sucession intestadocon respecio a los mismos, y que seale un dia en esta
causa para la recepcion de pruebas previa a la declaracion de quienes son los
herederos legales o abintestato del difunto".
The probate court in its order of December 26, 1946 approved the project of
partition. It held that in certain clauses of the will the testator intended to
conserve his properties not in the sense of disposing of them after his death but
for the purpose of preventing that "tales bienes fuesen malgastados o desfilpar
rados por los legatarios" and that if the testator intended a perpetual prohibition
against alienation, that condition would be regarded "como no puesta o no
existente". It concluded that "no hay motivos legales o morales para que la
sucession de Don Teodoro R. Yangco sea declarada intestada." (See
Barretto vs. Tuason, 50 Phil. 888, which cites article 785 of the Spanish Civil
Code as prohibiting perpetual entails, and Rodriguez vs. Court of Appeals, L-
28734, March 28, 1969, 27 SCRA 546.)
From that order, Pedro Martinez, Juliana de Castro, Juanita Corpus (deceased)
and the estate of Luis R. Yangco appealed to this Court (L-1476). Those appeals
were dismissed in this Court's resolutions of October 10 and 31, 1947 after the
legatees and the appellants entered into compromise agreements. In the
compromise dated October 7, 1947 the legatees agreed to pay P35,000 to Pedro
Martinez, the heirs of Pio V. Corpus, the heirs of Isabel Corpus and the heir of
Juanita Corpus. Herein appellant Tomas Corpus signed that compromise
settlement as the sole heir of Juanita Corpus. The estate of Luis R. Yangco
entered into a similar compromise agreement. As the resolutions dismissing the
appeals became final and executory on October 14 and November 4, 1947,
entries of judgment were made on those dates.
Pursuant to the compromise agreement, Tomas Corpus signed a receipt dated
October 24, 1947 wherein he acknowledge that he received from the Yangco
estate the sum of two thousand pesos (P2,000) "as settlement in full of my share
of the compromise agreement as per understanding with Judge Roman Cruz, our
attorney in this case" (Exh. D or 17).
On September 20, 1949, the legatees executed an agreement for the settlement
and physical partition of the Yangco estate. The probate court approved that
agreement and noted that the 1945 project of partition was pro tanto modified.
That did not set at rest the controversy over the Yangco estate.
On October 5, 1951, Tomas Corpus, as the sole heir of Juanita Corpus, filed an
action in the Court of First Instance of Manila to recover her supposed share in
Yangco' intestate estate, He alleged ill his complaint that the dispositions in
Yangco's will imposing perpetual prohibitions upon alienation rendered it void
under article 785 of the old Civil Code and that the 1949 partition is invalid and,
therefore, the decedent's estate should be distributed according to the rules on
intestacy. LLphil
The trial court in its decision of July 2, 1956 dismissed the action on the grounds
of res judicata and laches. It held that the intrinsic validity of Yangco's will was
passed upon in its order dated December 26, 1946 in Special Proceeding No.
54863 approving the project of partition for the testator's estate.
Tomas Corpus appealed to the Court of Appeals which in its resolution dated
January 23, 1964 in CA-G.R. No. 18720-R certified the appeal to this Court
because it involves real property valued at more than fifty thousand pesos (Sec.
17[5], Judiciary Law before it was amended by Republic Act No. 2613).

Appellant Corpus contends in this appeal that the trial court erred in holding (1)
that Teodoro R. Yangco was a natural child, (2) that his will had been duly
legalized, and (3) that plaintiff's action is barred by res judicata and laches.
In the disposition of this appeal, it is not necessary to resolve whether Yangco's
will had been duly legalized and whether the action of Tomas Corpus is barred
by res judicata and laches. The appeal may be resolved by determining whether
Juanita Corpus, the mother of appellant Tomas Corpus, was a legal heir of
Yangco. Has TomasCorpus a cause of action to recover his mother's supposed
intestate share in Yangco's estate?
To answer that question, it is necessary to ascertain Yangco's filiation. The trial
court found that Yangco "a su muerte tambien le sbrevivieron Luis y Paz
appellidados Yangco, hermanos naturales reconocidos por su padre natural Luis
R. Yangco". The basis of the trial court's conclusion that Teodoro R. Yangco was
an acknowledged natural child and not a legitimate child was the statement in the
will of his father, Luis Rafael Yangco, dated June 14, 1907, that Teodoro and his
three other children were his acknowledged natural children. His exact words
are:
"Primera. Declaro que tengo cuatro hijos naturales reconocidos,
llamados Teodoro, Paz, Luisa y Luis, los cuales son mis unicos herederos
forzosos." (Exh. 1 in Testate Estate of Teodoro Yangco).
That will was attested by Rafael del Pan, Francisco Ortigas, Manuel Camus and
Florencio Gonzales Diez.
Appellant Corpus assails the probative value of the will of Luis R. Yangco,
identified as Exhibit 1 herein, which he says is a mere copy of Exhibit 20, as
found in the record on appeal in Special Proceeding No. 54863. He contends that
it should not prevail over the presumption of legitimacy found in section 69, Rule
123 of the old Rules of Court and over the statement of Samuel W. Stagg in his
biography of Teodoro R. Yangco, that Luis Rafael Yangco made a second
marital venture with Victoria Obin, implying that he had a first marital venture with
Ramona Arguelles, the mother of Teodoro.
These contentions have no merit. The authenticity of the will of Luis Rafael
Yangco, as reproduced in Exhibit 1 herein and as copied from Exhibit 20 in the
proceeding for the probate of Teodoro R. Yangco's will, in incontestable. The
said will is part of a public or official judicial record.
On the other hand, the children of Ramona Arguelles and Tomas Corpus are
presumed to be legitimate. A marriage is presumed to have taken place between
Ramona and Tomas. Semper praesumitur pro matrimonio. It is disputably
presumed "That a man and a woman deporting themselves as husband and wife
have entered into a lawful contract of marriage"; "that a child born in lawful
wedlock, there being no divorce, absolute or from bed and board, is legitimate",
and "that things have happened according to the ordinary course of nature and
the ordinary habits of life" (Sec. 5[z], [bb] and [cc], Rule 131, Rules of Court). llcd
Since Teodoro R. Yangco was an acknowledged natural child or was illegitimate
and since Juanita Corpus was the legitimate child of Jose Corpus, himself a
legitimate child, we hold that appellant Tomas Corpus has no cause of action for
the recovery of the supposed hereditary share of his mother, Juanita Corpus, as
a legal heir, in Yangco's estate. Juanita Corpus was not a legal heir of Yangco
because there is no reciprocal succession between legitimate and illegitimate
relatives. The trial court did not err in dismissing the complaint of Tomas Corpus.
Article 943 of the old Civil code provides that "el hijo natural y el legitimado no
tienen derecho a suceder abintestato a los hijos y parientes legitimos del padre o
madre que lo haya reconocido, ni ellos al hijo natural ni al legitimado". Article 943
"prohibits all successory reciprocity mortis causa between legitimate and
illegitimate relatives" (6 Sanchez Roman, Civil Code, pp. 996-997 cited in
Director of Lands vs. Aguas, 63 Phil. 279, 287. See 16 Scaevola, Codigo Civil,
4th Ed., 465-6) . . .
Appellant Corpus concedes that if Teodoro R. Yangco was a natural child, he
(Tomas Corpus) would have no legal personality to intervene in the distribution of
Yangco's estate (p. 8, appellant's brief).
The rule in article 943 is now found in article 992 of the Civil Code which provides
that "an illegitimate child has no right to inherit ab intestato from the legitimate
children and relatives of his father or mother; nor shall such children or relatives
inherit in the same manner from the illegitimate child".
That rule is based on the theory that the illegitimate child is disgracefully looked
upon by the legitimate family while the legitimate family is, in turn, hated by the
illegitimate child. The law does not recognize the blood tie and seeks to avoid
further grounds of resentment (7 Manresa, Codigo Civil, 7th Ed., pp. 185-6).
Under articles 944 and 945 of the spanish Civil Code, "if an acknowledged
natural or legitimated child should die without issue, either legitimate or
acknowledged, the father or mother who acknowledged such child shall succeed
to its entire estate; and if both acknowledged it and are alive, they shall inherit
from it share and share alike. In default of natural ascendants, natural and
legitimated children shall be succeeded by their natural brothers and sisters in
accordance with the rules established for legitimate brothers and sisters." Hence,
Teodoro R. Yangco's half brothers on the Corpus side, who were legitimate, had
no right to succeed to his estate under the rules of intestacy.
Following the rule in article 992, formerly article 943, it was held that the
legitimate relatives of the mother cannot succeed her illegitimate child (Cacho vs.
Udan, L-19996, April 30, 1965, 13 SCRA 693. See De Guzman vs. Sevilla, 47
Phil. 991).
Where the testatrix, Rosario Fabie, was the legitimate daughter of Jose Fabie,
the two acknowledged natural children of her uncle, Ramon Fabie, her father's
brother, were held not to be her legal heirs (Grey vs. Fabie, 88 Phil. 128).
By reason of that same rule, the natural child cannot represent his natural father
in the succession to the estate of the legitimate grandparent (Llorente vs.
Rodriguez, 10 Phil. 585; Centeno vs. Centeno, 52 Phil. 322; Allarde vs. Abaya,
57 Phil. 909). The natural daughter cannot succeed to the estate of her deceased
uncle, a legitimate brother of her natural mother (Anuran vs. Aquino and Ortiz, 38
Phil. 29). LLpr
WHEREFORE the lower court's judgment is affirmed. No costs.
SO ORDERED.
Barredo, (Actg. Chairman), Antonio, Concepcion Jr. and Santos, JJ., concur.

||| (Corpus v. Corpus, G.R. No. L-22469, October 23, 1978)
SECOND DIVISION
[G.R. No. L-51263. February 28, 1983.]
CRESENCIANO LEONARDO, petitioner, vs. COURT OF
APPEALS, MARIA CAILLES, JAMES BRACEWELL and RURAL
BANK OF PARAAQUE, INC.,respondents.
Porfirio C. David for petitioner.
Marquez & Marquez for private respondent.
SYLLABUS
1. REMEDIAL LAW; EVIDENCE; FACTUAL FINDINGS OF THE COURT OF
APPEALS; GENERALLY NOT DISTURBED ON REVIEW; EXCEPTIONS. It is
a well-established rule laid down by this Court in numerous cases that findings of
facts by the Court of Appeals are, generally, final and conclusive upon this Court.
The exceptions are. (1) when the conclusion is a finding grounded entirely on
speculation; (2) when the inference made is manifestly mistaken, absurd or
impossible; (3) when there is a grave abuse of discretion; (4) when the judgment
is based on a misapprehension of facts; and (5) when the Court of Appeals, in
making its findings, went beyond the issues of the case and the same are
contrary to the submission of both appellant and appellee. None of the abuse
exceptions, however, exists in the case at bar, hence, there is no reason to
disturb the findings of facts of the Court of Appeals.
2. CIVIL LAW; INTESTATE SUCCESSION; ILLEGITIMATE CHILDREN NOT
ENTITLED TO INHERIT AB INTESTATO FROM THE LEGITIMATE CHILDREN
AND RELATIVES OF HIS FATHER OR MOTHER; CASE AT BAR. Even if it
is true that petitioner is the child of Sotero Leonardo, still he cannot, by right of
representation, claim a share of the estate left by the deceased Francisca Reyes
considering that, as found by the Court of Appeals, he was born outside wedlock
as shown by the fact that when he was born on September 13, 1938, his alleged
putative father and mother were not yet married, and what is more, his alleged
father's first marriage was still subsisting. At most , petitioner would be an
illegitimate child who has no right to inherit ab intestato from the legitimate
children and relatives of his father like the Deceased Francisco Reyes. (Article
992, Civil Code of the Philippines.)
D E C I S I O N
DE CASTRO, J p:
Petition for review on certiorari of the decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R.
No. 43476-R, promulgated on February 21, 1979, reversing the judgment of
the Courtof First Instance of Rizal in favor of petitioner: LLjur
"(a) Declaring plaintiff Cresenciano Leonardo as the great grandson and
heir of deceased FRANCISCA REYES, entitled to one-half share in the
estate of said deceased, jointly with defendant Maria Cailles;
"(b) Declaring the properties, subject of this complaint, to be the
properties of the deceased FRANCISCA REYES and not of defendants
Maria Cailles and James Bracewell;
"(c) Declaring null and void any sale of these properties by defendant
Maria Cailles in so far as the share of Cresenciano Leonardo are
affected;
"(d) Ordering the partition within 30 days from the finality of this decision,
of the properties subject of this litigation, between defendant Maria
Cailles and plaintiff Cresenciano Leonardo, share and share alike;
"(e) Ordering defendants Maria Cailles and James Bracewell, within 30
days from the finality of this decision, to render an accounting of the
fruits of the properties, and 30 days thereafter to pay to plaintiff
Cresenciano Leonardo his one-half share thereof with interest of 6% per
annum;
"(f) Ordering defendants Maria Cailles and James Bracewell to pay
jointly and severally plaintiff Cresenciano Leonardo the amount of
P2,000.00 as attorney's fees;
"(g) Ordering defendants to pay the costs; and
"(h) Dismissing defendants' counterclaim." 1
From the record, it appears that Francisca Reyes who died intestate on July 12,
1942 was survived by two (2) daughters, Maria and Silvestra Cailles, and a
grandson, Sotero Leonardo, the son of her daughter, Pascuala Cailles who
predeceased her. Sotero Leonardo died in 1944, while Silvestra Cailles died in
1949 without any issue.
On October 29, 1964, petitioner Cresenciano Leonardo, claiming to be the son of
the late Sotero Leonardo, filed a complaint for ownership of properties, sum of
money and accounting in the Court of First Instance of Rizal seeking judgment
(1) to be declared one of the lawful heirs of the deceased Francisca Reyes,
entitled to one-half share in the estate of said deceased jointly with defendant,
private respondent herein, Maria Cailles, (2) to have the properties left by said
Francisca Reyes, described in the complaint, partitioned between him and
defendant Maria Cailles, and (3) to have an accounting of all the income derived
from said properties from the time defendants took possession thereof until said
accounting shall have been made, delivering to him his share therein with legal
interest.
Answering the complaint, private respondent Maria Cailles asserted exclusive
ownership over the subject properties and alleged that petitioner is an illegitimate
child who cannot succeed by right of representation. For his part, the other
defendant, private respondent James Bracewell, claimed that said properties are
now his by virtue of a valid and legal deed of sale which Maria Cailles had
subsequently executed in his favor. These properties were allegedly mortgaged
to respondent Rural Bank of Paraaque, Inc. sometime in September 1963. cdrep
After hearing on the merits, the trial court rendered judgment in favor of the
petitioner, the dispositive portion of which was earlier quoted, finding the
evidence of the private respondent insufficient to prove ownership of the
properties in suit. From said judgment, private respondents appealed to
the Court of Appeals which, as already stated, reversed the decision of the
trial court" thereby dismissing petitioner's complaint. Reconsideration having
been denied by the appellate court, this petition for review was filed on the
following assignment of errors:
I
"RESPONDENT COURT ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE
PROPERTIES IN QUESTION ARE THE EXCLUSIVE PROPERTIES OF
PRIVATE RESPONDENTS.
II
"RESPONDENT COURT ERRED IN HOLDING THAT PETITIONER
HAS NOT ESTABLISHED HIS FILIATION.
III
"RESPONDENT COURT ERRED IN HOLDING THAT PETITIONER, AS
THE GREAT GRANDSON OF FRANCISCA REYES, HAS NO LEGAL
RIGHT TO INHERIT BY REPRESENTATION."
To begin with, the Court of Appeals found the subject properties to be the
exclusive properties of the private respondents.
"There being two properties in this case both will be discussed
separately, as each has its own distinct factual setting. The first was
bought in 1908 by Maria Cailles under a deed of sale (Exh. '60'), which
describes it as follows:
'. . . radicada en la calle Desposorio de este dicho
Municipio dentro de los limites y linderos siquientes: Por la
derecha a la entrada el solar de Teodorico Reyes por la izquierda
el solar de Maria Calesa (Cailles) arriba citada por la espalda la
via ferrea del Railroad Co., y la frente la dicha calle Desposorio'
"After declaring it in her name, Maria Cailles paid the realty taxes
starting from 1918 up to 1948. Thereafter as she and her son Narciso
Bracewell, left for Nueva Ecija, Francisca Reyes managed the property
and paid the realty tax of the land. However, for unexplained reasons,
she paid and declared the same in her own name. Because of this,
plaintiff decided to run after this property, erroneously thinking that as
the great grandson of Francisca Reyes, he had some proprietary right
over the same.
"The second parcel on the other hand, was purchased by Maria Cailles
in 1917 under a deed of sale (Exh. '3') which describes the property as
follows:
'. . . una parcela de terreno destinado al beneficio de la sal,
que linda por Norte con la linea Ferrea y Salinar de Narciso
Mayuga, por Este con los de Narciso Mayuga y Domingo Lozada,
por Sur con los de Domingo Lozada y Fruto Silverio y por Oeste
con el de Fruto Silverio y Linea Ferrea, de una extension
superficial de 1229.00 metros cuadrados.'
"After declaring it in her name, Maria Cailles likewise paid the realty tax
in 1917 and continued paying the same up to 1948. Thereafter when she
and her son, Narciso Bracewell, established their residence in Nueva
Ecija, Francisca Reyes administered the property and like in the first
case, declared in 1949 the property in her own name. Thinking that the
property is the property of Francisca Reyes, plaintiff filed the instant
complaint, claiming a portion thereof as the same allegedly represents
the share of his father.
"As earlier stated, the court a quo decided the case in favor of the
plaintiff principally because defendants' evidence do not sufficiently
show that the 2 properties which they bought in 1908 and 1917, are the
same as the properties sought by the plaintiff.
"Carefully going over the evidence, We believe that the trial judge
misinterpreted the evidence as to the identification of the lands in
question.
"To begin with, the deed of sale (Exh. '60') of 1908 clearly states that the
land sold to Maria Cailles is 'en la calle Desposorio' in Las Pias, Rizal
which was bounded by adjoining lands owned by persons living at the
time, including the railroad track of the Manila Railroad Co. ('la via ferrea
del Railroad Co.').
"With the exception of the area which was not disclosed in the deed, the
description fits the land now being sought by the plaintiff, as this property
is also located in Desposorio St. and is bounded by the M.R.R. Co.
"With these natural boundaries, there is indeed an assurance that the
property described in the deed and in the tax declaration is one and the
same property.
"The change of owners of the adjoining lands is immaterial since several
decades have already passed between the deed and the declaration and
'during that period, many changes of abode would likely have occurred.'
"Besides, it is a fact that defendants have only one property in
Desposorio St. and they have paid the realty taxes of this property from
May 29, 1914 up to May 28, 1948. Hence, there is no reason to doubt
that this property is the same, if not identical to the property in
Desposorio St. which is now being sought after by the plaintiff.

"With respect to the other parcel which Maria Cailles bought from
Tranquilino Mateo in 1917, it is true that there is no similar boundaries to
be relied upon. It is however undeniable that after declaring it in her
name, Maria Cailles began paying the realty taxes thereon on July 24,
1917 until 1948." (Reference to Exhibits omitted.)2
Petitioner takes issue with the appellate court on the above findings of fact,
forgetting that since the present petition is one for review on certiorari, only
questions of law may be raised. It is a well-established rule laid down by
this Court in numerous cases that findings of facts by the Court of Appeals are,
generally, final and conclusive upon this Court. The exceptions are: (1) when the
conclusion is a finding grounded entirely on speculation; (2) when the inference
made is manifestly mistaken, absurd or impossible; (3) when there is a grave
abuse of discretion; (4) when the judgment is based on a misapprehension of
facts; and (5) when the Court of Appeals, in making its findings, went beyond the
issues of the case and the same are contrary to the submission of both appellant
and appellee. 3 None of the above exceptions, however, exists in the case at bar,
hence, there is no reason to disturb the findings of facts of the Court of Appeals.
Anent the second assignment of error, the Court of Appeals made the following
findings:
"Going to the issue of filiation, plaintiff claims that he is the son of
Sotero Leonardo, the son of one of the daughters (Pascuala) of
Francisca Reyes. He further alleges that since Pascuala predeceased
Francisca Reyes, and that his father, Sotero, who subsequently died in
1944, survived Francisca Reyes, plaintiff can consequently succeed to
the estate of Francisca Reyes by right of representation.
"In support of his claim, plaintiff submitted in evidence his alleged birth
certificate showing that his father is Sotero Leonardo, married to Socorro
Timbol, his alleged mother.
"Since his supposed right will either rise or fall on the proper evaluation
of this vital evidence, We have minutely scrutinized the same, looking for
that vital link connecting him to the family tree of the deceased Francisca
Reyes. However, this piece of evidence does not in any way lend
credence to his tale.
"This is because the name of the child described in the birth certificate is
not that of the plaintiff but a certain 'Alfredo Leonardo' who was born on
September 13, 1938 to Sotero Leonardo and Socorro Timbol. Other than
his bare allegation, plaintiff did not submit any durable evidence showing
that the 'Alfredo Leonardo' mentioned in the birth certificate is no other
than he himself. Thus, even without taking time and space to go into
further details, We may safely conclude that plaintiff failed to prove his
filiation which is a fundamental requisite in this action where he is
claiming to be an heir in the inheritance in question." 4
That is likewise a factual finding which may not be disturbed in this petition for
review in the absence of a clear showing that said finding is not supported by
substantial evidence, or that there was a grave abuse of discretion on the part of
the court making the finding of fact. prLL
Referring to the third assignment of error, even if it is true that petitioner is the
child of Sotero Leonardo, still he cannot, by right of representation, claim a share
of the estate left by the deceased Francisca Reyes considering that, as found
again by the Court of Appeals, he was born outside wedlock as shown by the fact
that when he was born on September 13, 1938, his alleged putative father and
mother were not yet married, and what is more, his alleged father's first marriage
was still subsisting. At most, petitioner would be an illegitimate child who has no
right to inherit ab intestato from the legitimate children and relatives of his father,
like the deceased Francisca Reyes. (Article 992, Civil Code of the Philippines.)
WHEREFORE, the decision of the Court of Appeals sought to be reviewed in this
petition is hereby affirmed, with costs against the petitioner. cdphil
SO ORDERED.
Makasiar (Chairman), Concepcion, Jr., Guerrero and Escolin JJ., concur.
Aquino, J., on leave.
Abad Santos, J., I concur with the observation that I would have dismissed the
petition by minute resolution for lack of merit.
Footnotes
1.pp. 134-135, Record on Appeal.
2.pp. 22-24, Rollo.
3.Vargas v. Court of Appeals, 91 SCRA 195; Vda. de Dela Cruz v. Court of Appeals,
88 SCRA 695.
4.p. 24, Rollo.

||| (Leonardo v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. L-51263, February 28, 1983)
EN BANC
[G.R. No. L-66574. February 21, 1990.]
ANSELMA DIAZ, guardian of VICTOR, RODRIGO, ANSELMINA and
MIGUEL, all surnamed SANTERO, and FELIXBERTA PACURSA,
guardian of FEDERICO SANTERO, et
al., petitioners, vs. INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT and
FELISA PAMUTI JARDIN, respondents.
Ambrosio Padilla, Mempin & Reyes Law Offices for petitioners.
Pedro S. Sarino for respondent Felisa Pamuti Jardin.
SYLLABUS
1. CIVIL LAW; SUCCESSION; INTESTATE SUCCESSION; RIGHT OF
REPRESENTATION; NOT AVAILABLE TO ILLEGITIMATE DESCENDANTS
OF LEGITIMATE CHILDREN IN INHERITANCE OF A LEGITIMATE
GRANDPARENT; ARTICLE 982 OF NEW CIVIL CODE, GENERAL RULE
WHILE ARTICLE 992 OF SAME CODE, EXCEPTION. Articles 902, 989, and
990 clearly speak of successional rights of illegitimate children, which rights are
transmitted to their descendants upon their death. The descendants (of these
illegitimate children) who may inherit by virtue of the right of representation may
be legitimate or illegitimate. In whatever manner, one should not overlook the fact
that the persons to be represented are themselves illegitimate. The three named
provisions are very clear on this matter. The right of representation is not
available to illegitimate descendants of legitimate children in the inheritance of a
legitimate grandparent. It may be argued, as done by petitioners, that the
illegitimate descendant of a legitimate child is entitled to represent by virtue of the
provisions of Article 982, which provides that "the grandchildren and other
descendants shall inherit by right of representation." Such a conclusion is
erroneous. It would allow intestate succession by an illegitimate child to the
legitimate parent of his father or mother, a situation which would set at naught
the provisions of Article 992. Article 982 is inapplicable to instant case because
Article 992 prohibits absolutely a succession ab intestato between the illegitimate
child and the legitimate children and relatives of the father or mother. It may not
be amiss to state that Article 982 is the general rule and Article 992 the
exception.
2. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; ARTICLES 982 AND 902 OF NEW CIVIL CODE, SUBJECT
TO THE LIMITATION THAT AN ILLEGITIMATE CHILD HAS NO RIGHT TO
INHERENT AB INTESTATO FROM LEGITIMATE CHILDREN AND RELATIVES
OF HIS FATHER OR MOTHER. The rules laid down in Article 982 that
'grandchildren and other descendants shall inherit by right of representation' and
in Article 902 that the rights of illegitimate children . . . are transmitted upon their
death to their descendants, whether legitimate or illegitimate are subject to the
limitation prescribed by Article 992 to the end that 'an illegitimate child has no
right to inherit ab intestato from the legitimate children and relatives of his father
or mother.' (Amicus Curiae's Opinion by former Justice Minister Ricardo C. Puno,
p. 12)
3. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; SUCCESSION AB INTESTATO BETWEEN ILLEGITIMATE
CHILD AND LEGITIMATE CHILDREN AND RELATIVES OF FATHER OR
MOTHER OF SAID ILLEGITIMATE CHILD, ABSOLUTELY PROHIBITED;
RATIONALE. "Article 992 of the New Civil Code provides a barrier or iron
curtain in that it prohibits absolutely a succession ab intestato between the
illegitimate child and the legitimate children and relatives of the father or mother
of said illegitimate child. They may have a natural tie of blood, but this is not
recognized by law for the purpose of Article 992. Between the legitimate family
and the illegitimate family there is presumed to be an intervening antagonism and
incompatibility. The illegitimate child is disgracefully looked down upon by the
legitimate family; and the family is in turn, hated by the illegitimate child; the latter
considers the privileged condition of the former, and the resources of which it is
thereby deprived; the former, in turn, sees in the illegitimate child nothing but the
product of sin, palpable evidence of a blemish broken in life; the law does no
more than recognize this truth, by avoiding further ground of resentment." (7
Manresa 110 cited in Grey v. Fabie 40 OG (First S) No. 3, p. 196).
4. ID.; ID.; ID.; LEGITIMACY OR ILLEGITIMACY OF PERSON TO BE
REPRESENTED, DETERMINING FACTOR. While the New Civil Code may
have granted successional rights to illegitimate children, those articles, however,
in conjunction with Article 992, prohibit the right of representation from being
exercised where the person to be represented is a legitimate child. Needless to
say, the determining factor is the legitimacy or illegitimacy of the person to be
represented. If the person to be represented is an illegitimate child, then his
descendants, whether legitimate or illegitimate, may represent him; however, if
the person to be represented is legitimate, his illegitimate descendants cannot
represent him because the law provides that only his legitimate descendants may
exercise the right of representation by reason of the barrier imposed in Article
992.
5. ID.; ID.; ID.; WORD "RELATIVE" IN ARTICLE 992 OF NEW CIVIL CODE,
BROAD ENOUGH TO COMPREHEND ALL KINDRED OF PERSON SPOKEN
OF; CASE AT BAR. It is therefore clear from Article 992 of the New Civil Code
that the phrase "legitimate children and relatives of his father or mother" includes
Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero as the word "relative" is broad enough to
comprehend all the kindred of the person spoken of (Comment, p. 139 Rollo
citing p. 2862 Bouvier's Law Dictionary vol. II, Third Revision, Eight Edition) The
record reveals that from the commencement of this 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 minor natural or illegitimate children of Pablo
Santero. Since petitioners herein are barred by the provisions of Article 992, the
respondent Intermediate Appellate Court did not commit any error in holding
Felisa Pamuti Jardin to be the sole legitimate heir to the intestate estate of the
late Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero.
R E S O L U T I O N
PARAS, J p:
The decision of the Second Division of this Court in the case of Anselma Diaz, et
al. vs. Intermediate Appellate Court, et al., G.R. No. 6574, promulgated June 17,
1987 declaring Felisa Pamuti-Jardin to be the sole legitimate heir to the intestate
estate of the late Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero, and its Resolution of February
24, 1988 denying the Motion for Reconsideration dated July 2, 1987, are being
challenged in this Second Motion for Reconsideration dated July 5, 1988. After
the parties had filed their respective pleadings, the Court, in a resolution dated
October 27, 1988, resolved to grant the request of the petitioners for oral
argument before the court en banc,and the case was set for hearing on
November 17, 1988 to resolve the question: Does the term "relatives" in Article
992 of the New Civil Code which reads:
"An illegitimate child has no right to inherit ab intestato from the
legitimate children or relatives of his father or mother; nor shall such
children or relatives inherit in the same manner from the illegitimate
child."
include the legitimate parents of the father or mother of the illegitimate
children? Invited to discuss as amici curiae during the hearing were the
following: Justice Jose B.L. Reyes, former Justice Minister Ricardo C. Puno,
Dr. Arturo Tolentino, former Justice Eduardo Caguioa, and Professor Ruben
Balane.
The facts of the case, as synthesized in the assailed decision, are as follows:
"It is undisputed: 1) that Felisa Pamuti Jardin is a niece of Simona
Pamuti Vda. de Santero who together with Felisa's mother Juliana were
the only legitimate children of the spouses Felipe Pamuti and Petronila
Asuncion; 2) that Juliana married Simon Jardin and out of their union
were born Felisa Pamuti and another child who died during infancy; 3)
that Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero is the widow of Pascual Santero
and the mother of Pablo Santero; 4) that Pablo Santero was the only
legitimate son of his parents Pascual Santero and Simona Pamuti Vda.
de Santero; 5) that Pascual Santero died in 1970; Pablo Santero in 1973
and Simona Santero in 1976; 6) that Pablo Santero, at the time of his
death was survived by his mother Simona Santero and his six minor
natural children to wit: four minor children with Anselma Diaz and two
minor children with Felixberta Pacursa."
(pp. 1-2, Decision; pp. 190-191, Rollo)
Briefly stated, the real issue in the instant case is this who are the legal heirs
of Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero her niece Felisa Pamuti-Jardin or her
grandchildren (the natural children of Pablo Santero)?
The present controversy is confined solely to the intestate estate of Simona
Pamuti Vda. de Santero. In connection therewith, We are tasked with
determining anew whether petitioners as illegitimate children of Pablo Santero
could inherit from Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero, by right of representation of
their father Pablo Santero who is a legitimate child of Simona Pamuti Vda. de.
Santero. LLphil
Petitioners claim that the amendment of Articles 941 and 943 of the old Civil
Code (Civil Code of Spain) by Articles 990 and 992 of the new Civil Code (Civil
Code of the Philippines) constitute a substantial and not merely a formal change,
which grants illegitimate children certain successional rights. We do not dispute
the fact that the New Civil Code has given illegitimate children successional
rights, which rights were never before enjoyed by them under the Old Civil Code.
They were during that time merely entitled to support. In fact, they are now
considered as compulsory primary heirs under Article 887 of the new Civil Code
(No. 5 in the order of intestate succession). Again, We do not deny that fact.
These are only some of the many rights granted by the new Code to illegitimate
children. But that is all. A careful evaluation of the New Civil Code provisions,
especially Articles 902, 982, 989, and 990, claimed by petitioners to have
conferred illegitimate children the right to represent their parents in the
inheritance of their legitimate grandparents, would in point of fact reveal that such
right to this time does not exist.

Let Us take a closer look at the above-cited provisions.
"Art. 902. The rights of illegitimate children set forth in the preceding
articles are transmitted upon their death to their descendants, whether
legitimate or illegitimate.
Art. 982. The grandchildren and other descendants shall inherit by right
of representation, and if any one of them should have died, leaving
several heirs, the portion pertaining to him shall be divided among the
latter in equal portions. (933).
Art. 989. If, together with illegitimate children, there should survive
descendants of another illegitimate child who is dead, the former shall
succeed in their own right and the latter by right
of representation. (940a).
Art. 990. The hereditary lights granted by the two preceding articles
to illegitimate children shall be transmitted upon their death to their
descendants, who shall inherit by right of representation from their
deceased grandparent. (941a)" Emphasis for emphasis).
Articles 902, 989, and 990 clearly speak of successional rights
of illegitimate children, which rights are transmitted to their descendants upon
their death. The descendants (of these illegitimate children) who may inherit by
virtue of the right of representation may be legitimate or illegitimate. In whatever
manner, one should not overlook the fact that the persons to be represented are
themselves illegitimate. The three named provisions are very clear on this matter.
The right of representation is not available to illegitimate descendants
of legitimate children in the inheritance of a legitimate grandparent. It may be
argued, as done by petitioners, that the illegitimate descendant of a legitimate
child is entitled to represent by virtue of the provisions of Article 982, which
provides that "the grandchildren and other descendants shall inherit by right of
representation." Such a conclusion is erroneous. It would allow intestate
succession by an illegitimate child to the legitimate parent of his father or mother,
a situation which would set at naught the provisions of Article 992. Article 982 is
inapplicable to instant case because Article 992 prohibits absolutely a
succession ab intestato between the illegitimate child and the legitimate children
and relatives of the father or mother. It may not be amiss to state that Article 982
is the general rule and Article 992 the exception.
"The rules laid down in Article 982 that 'grandchildren and other descendants
shall inherit by right of representation' and in Article 902 that the rights of
illegitimate children . . . are transmitted upon their death to their descendants,
whether legitimate or illegitimate are subject to the limitation prescribed by Article
992 to the end that 'an illegitimate child has no right to inherit ab intestato from
the legitimate children and relatives of his father or mother."' (Amicus Curiae's
Opinion by former Justice Minister Ricardo C. Puno, p. 12)
"Article 992 of the New Civil Code provides a barrier or iron curtain in that it
prohibits absolutely a succession ab intestato between the illegitimate child and
the legitimate children and relatives of the father or mother of said illegitimate
child. They may have a natural tie of blood, but this is not recognized by law for
the purpose of Article 992. Between the legitimate family and the illegitimate
family there is presumed to be an intervening antagonism and incompatibility.
The illegitimate child is disgracefully looked down upon by the legitimate family;
and the family is in turn, hated by the illegitimate child; the latter considers the
privileged condition of the former, and the resources of which it is thereby
deprived; the former, in turn, sees in the illegitimate child nothing but the product
of sin, palpable evidence of a blemish broken in life; the law does no more than
recognize this truth, by avoiding further ground of resentment." (7 Manresa 110
cited in Grey v. Fabie 40 OG (First S) No. 3, p. 196).
According to petitioners, the commentaries of Manresa as above-quoted are
based on Articles 939 to 944 of the old Civil Code and are therefore inapplicable
to the New Civil Code and to the case at bar. Petitioners further argue that the
consistent doctrine adopted by this Court in the cases of Llorente vs. Rodriguez,
et al., 10 Phil., 585;Centeno vs. Centeno, 52 Phil. 322, and Oyao vs. Oyao, 94
Phil. 204, cited by former Justice Minister Justice Puno, Justice Caguioa, and
Prof. Balane, which identically held that an illegitimate child has no right to
succeed ab intestato the legitimate father or mother of his natural parent (also a
legitimate child himself), is already abrogated by the amendments made by the
New Civil Code and thus cannot be made to apply to the instant case.
Once more, We decline to agree with petitioner. We are fully aware of certain
substantial changes in our law of succession, but there is no change whatsoever
with respect to the provision of Article 992 of the Civil Code. Otherwise, by the
said substantial change, Article 992, which was a reproduction of Article 943 of
the Civil Code of Spain, should have been suppressed or at least modified to
clarify the matters which are now the subject of the present controversy. While
the New Civil Code may have granted successional rights to illegitimate children,
those articles, however, in conjunction with Article 992, prohibit the right of
representation from being exercised where the person to be represented is a
legitimate child. Needless to say, the determining factor is the legitimacy or
illegitimacy of the person to be represented. If the person to be represented is an
illegitimate child, then his descendants, whether legitimate or illegitimate, may
represent him; however, if the person to be represented is legitimate, his
illegitimate descendants cannot represent him because the law provides that only
his legitimate descendants may exercise the right of representation by reason of
the barrier imposed in Article 992. In this wise, the commentaries of Manresa on
the matter in issue, even though based on the old Civil Code, are still very much
applicable to the New Civil Code because the amendment, although substantial,
did not consist of giving illegitimate children the right to represent their natural
parents (legitimate) in the intestate succession of their grandparents (legitimate).
It is with the same line of reasoning that the three aforecited cases may be said
to be still applicable to the instant case.
Equally important are the reflections of the Illustrious Hon. Justice Jose B.L.
Reyes which also find support from other civilists. We quote:
"In the Spanish Civil Code of 1889 the right of representation was
admitted only within the legitimate family; so much so that Article 943 of
that Code prescribed that an illegitimate child can not inherit ab
intestato from the legitimate children and relatives of his father and
mother. The Civil Code of the Philippines apparently adhered to this
principle since it reproduced Article 943 of the Spanish Code in its own
Art. 992, but with fine inconsistency, in subsequent articles (990, 995
and 998) our Code allows the hereditary portion of the illegitimate child
to pass to his own descendants, whether legitimate or illegitimate. So
that while Art. 992 prevents the illegitimate issue of a legitimate child
from representing him in the intestate succession of the grandparent, the
illegitimates of an illegitimate child can now do so. This difference being
indefensible and unwarranted, in the future revision of the Civil Code we
shall have to make a choice and decide either that the illegitimate issue
enjoys in all cases the right of representation, in which case Art. 992
must be suppressed; or contrariwise maintain said article and modify
Articles 992 and 998. The first solution would be more in accord with an
enlightened attitude vis-a-vis illegitimate children. (Reflections on the
Reform of Hereditary Succession, JOURNAL of the Integrated Bar of the
Philippines, First Quarter, 1976, Volume 4, Number 1, pp. 40-41). (p. 7,
Decision; p. 196, Rollo)
It is therefore clear from Article 992 of the New Civil Code that the phrase
"legitimate children and relatives of his father or mother" includes Simona Pamuti
Vda. de Santero as the word "relative" is broad enough to comprehend all the
kindred of the person spoken of (Comment, p. 139 Rollo citing p. 2862 Bouvier's
Law Dictionary vol. II, Third Revision, Eight Edition) The record reveals that from
the commencement of this 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 minor natural or illegitimate children of Pablo Santero. Since petitioners
herein are barred by the provisions of Article 992, the
respondent Intermediate Appellate Court did not commit any error in holding
Felisa Pamuti Jardin to be the sole legitimate heir to the intestate estate of the
late Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero.
It is Our shared view that the word "relatives" should be construed in its general
acceptation. Amicus curiae Prof. Ruben Balane has this to say:
"The term relatives, although used many times in the Code, is not
defined by it. In accordance therefore with the canons of statutory
interpretation, it should be understood to have a general and inclusive
scope, inasmuch as the term is a general one. Generalia verba sunt
generaliter intelligenda. That the law does not make a distinction
prevents us from making one: Ubi lex non distinguit, nec nos distinguera
debemus. Escriche, in his Diccionario de Legislacion y
Jurisprudencia definesparientes as "los que estan relacionados por los
vinculos de la sangre, ya sea por proceder unos de otros, como los
descendientes y ascendientes, ya sea por proceder de una misma raiz o
tronco, como los colaterales." (cited in Scaevola, op. cit., p. 457).(p. 377,
Rollo)
According to Prof. Balane, to interpret the term relatives in Article 992 in a more
restrictive sense than it is used and intended is not warranted by any rule of
interpretation. Besides, he further states that when the law intends to use the
term in a more restrictive sense, it qualifies the term with the word collateral, as
inArticles 1003 and 1009 of the New Civil Code. prcd

Thus, the word "relatives" is a general term and when used in a statute it
embraces not only collateral relatives but also all the kindred of the person
spoken of, unless the context indicates that it was used in a more restrictive or
limited sense which, as already discussed earlier, is not so in the case at bar.
To recapitulate, We quote this:
"The lines of this distinction between legitimates and illegitimates, which
goes back very far in legal history, have been softened but not erased by
present law. Our legislation has not gone so far as to place legitimate
and illegitimate children on exactly the same footing. Even the Family
Code of 1987 (EO 209) has not abolished the gradation between
legitimate and illegitimate children (although it has done away with the
subclassification of illegitimates into natural and 'spurious'). It would thus
be correct to say that illegitimate children have only those rights which
are expressly or clearly granted to them by law (vide Tolentino, Civil
Code of the Philippines, 1973 ed., vol. III, p. 291). (Amicus Curiae's
Opinion by Prof. Ruben Balane, p. 12).
In the light of the foregoing, We conclude that until Article 992 is suppressed or at
least amended to clarify the term "relatives", there is no other alternative but to
apply the law literally. Thus, We hereby reiterate the decision of June 17, 1987
and declare Felisa Pamuti-Jardin to be the sole heir to the intestate estate of
Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero, to the exclusion of petitioners.
WHEREFORE, the second Motion for Reconsideration is DENIED, and the
assailed decision is hereby AFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED.
Fernan, C.J., Narvasa, Melencio-Herrera, Cruz, Feliciano, Gancayco, Corts,
Grio-Aquino, Medialdea and Regalado, JJ., concur.
Padilla, Bidin and Sarmiento, JJ., took no part.
Separate Opinion
GUTIERREZ, JR., J., dissenting:
The ponente, Mr. Justice Edgardo L. Paras, is a noted teacher of Civil Law
subjects and a well-known author of many Commentaries on the Civil Code. The
amicus curiae former Justice Jose B.L. Reyes, former Justice Ricardo C.
Puno, former Senator Arturo Tolentino, former Justice Eduardo Caguioa, and
Professor Ruben Balane together with the ponente read like a veritable Who's
Who in Civil Law in the Philippines.
It is, therefore, with trepidation that I venture to cast a discordant vote on the
issue before the Court. But it is perhaps because I am not as deeply steeped in
the civil law tradition and in the usually tidy and methodical neatness
characterizing its ancient precepts that I discern a change effected by our own
version of the Civil Code. The orthodox rules which earlier inflexibly separated
the legitimate from the illegitimate families have been relaxed a little. The
oppobrium cast on illegitimate children and the disadvantages they suffer in law
are no longer as overwhelming as before. The wall is no longer as rigid as it used
to be. The efforts of the Code Commission and the Congress to make our civil
law conform "with the customs, traditions, and idiosyncrasies of the Filipino
people and with modern trends in legislation and the progressive principles of
law" have resulted in deviations from the strict and narrow path followed by
Manresa and other early glossators. I, therefore, do not feel bound to follow the
ancient interpretations in the presence of absurd and unjust results brought about
by amendments in the new Civil Code.
We have here a case of grandchildren who cannot inherit from their direct
ascendant, their own grandmother, simply because their father (who was a
legitimate son) failed to marry their mother. There are no other direct heirs.
Hence, the properties of their grandmother goes to a collateral relative - her
niece. If the niece is no longer alive, an even more distant group of grandnieces
and grandnephews will inherit as against the grandmother's own direct flesh and
blood.
As pointed out by the petitioners, the decision of the Intermediate Appellate Court
disregards the order of intestate succession in Arts. 978 to 1014 of the Civil Code
and the right of representation in Art. 970 of descendants, whether legitimate or
illegitimate as provided by Arts. 902, 993, and 995.
I agree that a clear and precise amendment is needed if collateral relatives such
as illegitimate children and legitimate uncles, aunts, or cousins or illegitimate
siblings and their legitimate half-brothers or half-sisters are to inherit from one
another. But I must stress that the barrier is between the legitimate and
illegitimate families. I see no reason why we should include a grandmother or
grandfather among those where a firm wall of separation should be maintained.
She cannot be a separate "family" from her own grandchildren.
The ancient wall was breached by our Code Commission and Congress in Art.
902 of the Code which provides: cdphil
"The rights of illegitimate children set forth in the preceding articles are
transmitted upon their death to their descendants, whether legitimate or
illegitimate. (843a)"
The illegitimate children of an illegitimate child have the right to represent him in
the circumstances given in preceding articles. Before the Code was amended,
that right was reserved to the illegitimate child's legitimate offspring.
I find it absurd why the petitioners could have represented their father Pablo if
their grandparents Simona and Pascual had not been legally married. Senator
Tolentino, while supporting the majority view of this Court states:
xxx xxx xxx
"In the present article, the Code Commission took a step forward by
giving an illegitimate child the right of representation, which he did not
have under the old Code. But in retaining without change provisions of
the old Code in Article 992, it created an absurdity and committed an
injustice, because while the illegitimate descendant of an illegitimate
child can represent, the illegitimate descendant of a legitimate child
cannot. The principle that the illegitimate child should succeed by
operation of law only to persons with the same status of illegitimacy has
thus been preserved. And this is unfair to the illegitimate descendants of
legitimate children. Dura lex, sed lex." (Tolentino, Commentaries and
Jurisprudence on the Civil Code of the Philippines, Vol. III, 1987 ed., p.
330.)
The adoption of a harsh and absurd interpretation, pending an amendment of the
law, does not impress me as correct. Precisely, the word "relatives" in Art. 992
calls for reinterpretation because the Code has been amended. The meaning of
"relatives" must follow the changes in various provisions upon which the word's
effectivity is dependent. LexLib
My dissent from the majority opinion is also premised on a firm belief that law is
based on considerations of justice. The law should be interpreted to accord with
what appears right and just. Unless the opposite is proved, I will always presume
that a grandmother loves her grandchildren legitimate or illegitimate more
than the second cousins of said grandchildren or the parents of said cousins. The
grandmother may be angry at the indiscretions of her son but why should the law
include the innocent grandchildren as objects of that anger. "Relatives" can only
refer to collateral relatives, to members of a separate group of kins but not to
one's own grandparents.
I, therefore, vote to grant the motion for reconsideration.

||| (Diaz v. Intermediate Appellate Court, G.R. No. L-66574, February 21, 1990)
THIRD DIVISION
[G.R. No. 117246. August 21, 1995.]
BENIGNO MANUEL, LIBERATO MANUEL, LORENZO MANUEL,
PLACIDA MANUEL, MADRONA MANUEL,
ESPERANZA MANUEL, AGAPITA MANUEL,
BASILISA MANUEL, EMILIA MANUEL and
NUMERIANA MANUEL, petitioners, vs. HON. NICODEMO
T. FERRER, Presiding Judge, Regional Trial Court, Branch 37,
Lingayen, Pangasinan, MODESTA BALTAZAR and
ESTANISLAOA MANUEL, respondents.
Eufrocino L. Bermudez for petitioners.
Marcelo C. Espinoza for Modesta Baltazar.
Nolan R. Evangelista for Estanislaoa Manuel.
SYLLABUS
1. CIVIL LAW; WILLS AND SUCCESSION; ART. 992, CIVIL CODE OF THE
PHILIPPINES; "BARRIER" BETWEEN MEMBERS OF THE LEGITIMATE AND
ILLEGITIMATE FAMILY; CONSTRUED. Article 992 of the Civil Code, a basic
postulate, enunciates what is so commonly referred to in the rules on succession
as the "principle of absolute separation between the legitimate family and the
illegitimate family." The doctrine rejects succession ab intestato in the collateral
line between legitimate relatives, on the one hand, and illegitimate relatives, on
other hand, although it does not totally disavow such succession in the direct
line. Since the rule is predicated on the presumed will of the decedent, it has no
application, however, on testamentary dispositions. This "barrier" between the
members of the legitimate and illegitimate family in intestacy is explained by a
noted civilist. (Desiderio Jurado, Comments and Jurisprudence on Succession,
8th ed., 1991, pp. 423-424.) His thesis: "What is meant by the law when it speaks
of brothers and sisters, nephews and nieces, as legal or intestate heirs of an
illegitimate child? It must be noted that under Art. 992 of the Code, there is a
barrier dividing members of the illegitimate family from members of the legitimate
family. It is clear that by virtue of this barrier, the legitimate brothers and sisters
as well as the children, whether legitimate or illegitimate, of such brothers and
sisters, cannot inherit from the illegitimate child. Consequently, when the law
speaks of 'brothers and sisters, nephews and nieces' as legal heirs of an
illegitimate child, it refers to illegitimate brothers and sisters as well as to the
children, whether legitimate or illegitimate, of such brothers and sisters." The
Court, too, has had occasions to explain this "iron curtain," firstly, in the early
case of Grey v. Fabie(40 O.G. [First S] No. 3, p. 196 citing 7 Manresa 110) and,
then, in the relatively recent cases of Diaz v. Intermediate Appellate Court (150
SCRA 645) and De la Puerta v. Court of Appeals. (181 SCRA 861) In Diaz, we
have said: "Article 992 of the New Civil Code . . . prohibits absolutely a
succession ab intestato between the illegitimate child and the legitimate children
and relatives of the father or mother of said legitimate child. They may have a
natural tie of blood, but this is not recognized by law for the purposes of Article
992. Between the legitimate family and the illegitimate family there is presumed
to be an intervening antagonism and incompatibility. The illegitimate child is
disgracefully looked down upon by the legitimate family; the legitimate family is,
in turn, hated by the illegitimate child; the latter considers the privileged condition
of the former, and the resources of which it is thereby deprived; the former, in
turn, sees in the illegitimate child nothing but the product of sin, palpable
evidence of a blemish broken in life; the law does no more than recognize this
truth, by avoiding further grounds of resentment." The rule in Article 992 has
consistently been applied by the Court in several other cases. Thus, it has ruled
that where the illegitimate child had half-brothers who were legitimate, the latter
had no right to the former's inheritance; (Corpus v. Corpus, 85 SCRA 567) that
the legitimate collateral relatives of the mother cannot succeed from her
illegitimate child; (Cacho v. Udan, 13 SCRA 693) that a natural child cannot
represent his natural father in the succession to the estate of the legitimate
grandparent; (Llorente v. Rodriguez, 10 Phil. 585; Allarde v. Abaya, 57 Phil. 909)
that the natural daughter cannot succeed to the estate of her deceased uncle
who is a legitimate brother of her natural father; (Anuran v. Aquino and Ortiz, 38
Phil. 29) and that an illegitimate child has no right to inherit ab intestato from the
legitimate children and relatives of his father. (Leonardo v. Court of Appeals, 120
SCRA 890) Indeed, the law on succession is animated by a uniform general
intent, and thus no part should be rendered inoperative (Javellana v. Tayo, 6
SCRA 1042) by, but must always be construed in relation to, any other part as to
produce a harmonious whole. (Sotto v. Sotto, 43 Phil 688; Araneta v.
Concepcion, 99 Phil 709)
2. ID.; ID.; ORDER OF PREFERENCE AND CONCURRENCE IN INTESTACY;
GRAPHIC PRESENTATION. We might, in easy graphic presentation, collate
the order of preference and concurrence in intestacy expressed in Article 978
through Article 1014, inclusive, of the Civil Code; viz:
Order of Preference Order of Concurrence
(a) Legitimate Children (a) Legitimate Children
and Descendants and Descendants,
Illegitimate Children
and Descendants,
and Surviving Spouse
(b) Legitimate Parents (b) Legitimate Parents
and Ascendants and Ascendants, Illegitimate
Children and Descendants,
and Surviving Spouse
(c) Illegitimate Children (c) Illegitimate Children
and Descendants (in the and Descendants and
absence of ICDs and LPAs, Surviving Spouse
the illegitimate Parents)
(d) Surviving Spouse (d) Surviving Spouse
and Illegitimate Parents
(e) Brothers and Sisters/ (e) Brothers and Sisters/
Nephews and Nieces Nephews and Nieces
and Surviving Spouse
(f) Other Collateral Relatives (f) Alone
(within the fifth civil degree)
(g) State (g) Alone
3. ID.; ID.; WHEN A WARD IS NEITHER A COMPULSORY HEIR NOR A LEGAL
HEIR. A ward (ampon), without the benefit of formal (judicial) adoption, is
neither a compulsory nor a legal heir. (Lim vs. Intermediate Appellate Court, G.R.
No. 69679, 18 October 1988)
4. ID.; DAMAGES; WHEN NOT JUSTIFIED; CASE AT BAR. An adverse
result of a suit in law does not mean that its advocacy is necessarily so wrongful
as to justify an assessment of damages against the actor. (Rubio v. Court of
Appeals, 141 SCRA 488, Tiu v. Court of Appeals, 228 SCRA 51)
D E C I S I O N
VITUG, J p:
The property involved in this petition for review on certiorari is the inheritance left
by an illegitimate child who died intestate without any surviving descendant or
ascendant.
Petitioners, the legitimate children of spouses Antonio Manuel and Beatriz
Guiling, initiated this suit. During his marriage with Beatriz, Antonio had an extra-
marital affair with one Ursula Bautista. From this relationship, Juan Manuel was
born. Several years passed before Antonio Manuel, his wife Beatriz, and his
mistress Ursula finally crossed the bar on, respectively, 06 August 1960, 05
February 1981 and 04 November 1976.
Juan Manuel, the illegitimate son of Antonio, married Esperanza Gamba. In
consideration of the marriage, a donation propter nuptias over a parcel of land,
with an area of 2,700 square meters, covered by Original Certificate of Title
("OCT") No. P-20594 was executed in favor of Juan Manuel by
Laurenciana Manuel. Two other parcels of land, covered by OCT P-19902 and
Transfer Certificate of Title ("TCT") No. 41134, were later bought by Juan and
registered in his name. The couple were not blessed with a child of their own.
Their desire to have one impelled the spouses to take private respondent
Modesta Manuel-Baltazar into their fold and so raised her as their own
"daughter."
On 03 June 1980, Juan Manuel executed in favor of
Estanislaoa Manuel a Deed of Sale Con Pacto de Retro (with a 10-year
period of redemption) over a one-half (1/2) portion of his land covered by TCT
No. 41134. Juan Manuel died intestate on 21 February 1990. Two years later,
or on 04 February 1992, Esperanza Gamba also passed away.
On 05 March 1992, a month after the death of Esperanza, Modesta
executed an Affidavit of Self-Adjudication claiming for herself the three parcels
of land covered by OCT P-20594, OCT P-19902 and TCT No. 41134 (all still
in the name of Juan Manuel). Following the registration of the document of
adjudication with the Office of the Register of Deeds, the three titles (OCT P-
20594, OCT P-19902 and TCT No. 41134) in the name of Juan Manuel were
canceled and new titles, TCT No. 184223, TCT No. 184224 and TCT No.
184225, were issued in the name of Modesta Manuel-Baltazar. On 19
October 1992, Modesta executed in favor of her co-respondent
Estanislaoa Manuel a Deed of Renunciation and Quitclaim over the
unredeemed one-half (1/2) portion of the land (now covered by TCT No.
184225) that was sold to the latter by Juan Manuel under the 1980 Deed of
Sale Con Pacto de Retro. These acts of Modesta apparently did not sit well
with petitioners. In a complaint filed before the Regional Trial Court of
Lingayen, Pangasinan, the petitioners sought the declaration of nullity of the
aforesaid instruments.
The case, there being no material dispute on the facts, was submitted
to the court a quo for summary judgment.
The trial court, in its now assailed 15th August 1994
decision, dismissed the complaint holding that petitioners, not being heirs ab
intestato of their illegitimate brother Juan Manuel, were not the real parties-in-
interest to institute the suit. Petitioners were also ordered to jointly and
severally (solidarily) pay (a) respondent Modesta Manuel-Baltazar the sum of
P5,000.00 for moral damages, P5,000.00 for exemplary damages, P5,000.00
for attorney's fees and P500.00 for litigation expenses and (b)
Estanislaoa Manuel the sum of P5,000.00 for moral damages, P5,000.00 for
exemplary damages and P500.00 for attorney's fees.
Petitioners' motion for reconsideration was denied by the trial court.
The petition before us raises the following contentions: That

"1. THE LOWER COURT (HAS) FAILED TO CONSIDER THE LAST
PARAGRAPH OF ARTICLE 994 OF THE NEW CIVIL CODE, AS THE
CONTROLLING LAW APPLICABLE BY VIRTUE OF THE ADMITTED
FACTS, AND NOT ARTICLE 992 OF THE SAME CODE.
"2. THE LOWER COURT, IN NOT ANNULLING ALL THE ACTS OF,
AND VOIDING ALL DOCUMENTS EXECUTED BY, RESPONDENT
MODESTA BALTAZAR, WHO ARROGATED UNTO HERSELF THE
RIGHTS OF AN HEIR TO THE ESTATE OF DECEDENT
JUAN MANUEL, (HAS) VIRTUALLY GRANTED SAID RESPONDENT
THE STATUS OF AN HEIR MANIFESTLY CONTRARY TO LAW,
MORALS AND PUBLIC POLICY.
"3. TO ENFORCE ONE'S RIGHT WHEN THEY ARE VIOLATED IS
NEVER A LEGAL WRONG." 1
Petitioners argue that they are the legal heirs over one-half of Juan's intestate
estate (while the other half would pertain to Juan's surviving spouse) under the
provision of the last paragraph of Article 994 of the Civil Code, providing thusly:
"ARTICLE 994. In default of the father or mother, an illegitimate
child shall be succeeded by his or her surviving spouse, who shall be
entitled to the entire estate.
"If the widow or widower should survive with brothers and sisters,
nephews and nieces, she or he shall inherit one-half of the estate,
and the latter the other half." (Emphasis supplied.)
Respondents, in turn, submit that Article 994 should be read in conjunction
with Article 992 of the Civil Code, which reads:
"ARTICLE 992. An illegitimate child has no right to inherit ab
intestato from the legitimate children and relatives of his father or
mother; nor shall such children or relative inherit in the same manner
from the illegitimate child." (Emphasis supplied.)
Article 992, a basic postulate, enunciates what is so commonly referred
to in the rules on succession as the "principle of absolute separation between
the legitimate family and the illegitimate family." The doctrine rejects
succession ab intestato in the collateral line between legitimate relatives, on
the one hand, and illegitimate relatives, on other hand, although it does not
totally disavow such succession in the direct line. Since the rule is predicated
on the presumed will of the decedent, it has no application, however, on
testamentary dispositions.
This "barrier" between the members of the legitimate and illegitimate
family in intestacy is explained by a noted civilist. 2 His thesis:
"What is meant by the law when it speaks of brothers and sisters,
nephews and nieces, as legal or intestate heirs of an illegitimate child? It
must be noted that under Art. 992 of the Code, there is a barrier dividing
members of the illegitimate family from members of the legitimate family.
It is clear that by virtue of this barrier, the legitimate brothers and sisters
as well as the children, whether legitimate or illegitimate, of such
brothers and sisters, cannot inherit from the illegitimate
child.Consequently, when the law speaks of 'brothers and sisters,
nephews and nieces' as legal heirs of an illegitimate child, it refers to
illegitimate brothers and sisters as well as to the children, whether
legitimate or illegitimate, of such brothers and sisters." (Emphasis
supplied)
The Court, too, has had occasions to explain this "iron curtain," firstly, in
the early case of Grey v. Fabie 3 and, then, in the relatively recent cases
of Diaz v.Intermediate Appellate Court 4 and De la Puerta v. Court of
Appeals. 5 In Diaz, we have said:
"Article 992 of the New Civil Code . . . prohibits absolutely a
succession ab intestato between the illegitimate child and the legitimate
children and relatives of the father or mother of said legitimate child.
They may have a natural tie of blood, but this is not recognized by law
for the purposes of Article 992. Between the legitimate family and the
illegitimate family there is presumed to be an intervening antagonism
and incompatibility. The illegitimate child is disgracefully looked down
upon by the legitimate family; the legitimate family is, in turn, hated by
the illegitimate child; the latter considers the privileged condition of the
former, and the resources of which it is thereby deprived; the former, in
turn, sees in the illegitimate child nothing but the product of sin, palpable
evidence of a blemish broken in life; the law does no more than
recognize this truth, by avoiding further grounds of resentment."
The rule in Article 992 has consistently been applied by the Court in
several other cases. Thus, it has ruled that where the illegitimate child had
half-brothers who were legitimate, the latter had no right to the former's
inheritance; 6 that the legitimate collateral relatives of the mother cannot
succeed from her illegitimate child; 7 that a natural child cannot represent his
natural father in the succession to the estate of the legitimate
grandparent; 8 that the natural daughter cannot succeed to the estate of her
deceased uncle who is a legitimate brother of her natural father; 9 and that an
illegitimate child has no right to inherit ab intestato from the legitimate children
and relatives of his father. 10 Indeed, the law on succession is animated by a
uniform general intent, and thus no part should be rendered inoperative 11 by,
but must always be construed in relation to, any other part as to produce a
harmonious whole. 12
In passing, we might, in easy graphic presentation, collate the order of
preference and concurrence in intestacy expressed in Article 978 through Article
1014, inclusive, of the Civil Code; viz:
Order of Preference Order of Concurrence
(a) Legitimate Children (a) Legitimate Children and
and Descendants Descendants, Illegitimate
Children and Descendants,
and Surviving Spouse
(b) Legitimate Parents (b) Legitimate Parents and
and Ascendants Ascendants, Illegitimate
Children and Descendants,
and Surviving Spouse
(c) Illegitimate Children and (c) Illegitimate Children
Descendants (in the and Descendants and
absence of ICDs and Surviving Spouse
LPAs, the Illegitimate Parents)
(d) Surviving Spouse (d) Surviving Spouse and
Illegitimate Parents
(e) Brothers and (e) Brothers and
Sisters/Nephews and Sisters/Nephews and
Nieces Nieces and Surviving
Spouse
(f) Other Collateral Relatives (f) Alone
(within the fifth civil degree)
(g) State (g) Alone
In her answer to the complaint, Modesta candidly admitted that she
herself is not an intestate heir of Juan Manuel. She is right. A ward (ampon),
without the benefit of formal (judicial) adoption, is neither a compulsory nor a
legal heir. 13
We must hold, nevertheless, that the complaint of petitioners seeking
the nullity of the Affidavit of Self-Adjudication executed by Modesta, the three
(3) TCT's issued to her favor, as well as the Deed of Renunciation and
Quitclaim in favor of Estanislaoa Manuel, was properly dismissed by the trial
court. Petitioners, not being the real "parties-in-interest" 14 in the case, had
neither the standing nor the cause of action to initiate the complaint.
The Court, however, sees no sufficient reason to sustain the award of
amounts for moral and exemplary damages, attorney's fees and litigation
expenses. An adverse result of a suit in law does not mean that its advocacy
is necessarily so wrongful as to justify an assessment of damages against the
actor. 15
WHEREFORE, the appealed decision of the Regional Trial Court of
Pangasinan (Branch 37) is AFFIRMED, except insofar as it has awarded
moral and exemplary damages, as well as attorney's fees and litigation
expenses, in favor of private respondents, which portion is hereby DELETED.
No special pronouncement on costs.
SO ORDERED.

Feliciano, Acting C.J., Romero, and Melo, JJ., concur.
Footnotes
1.Rollo, pp. 7-8.
2.Desiderio Jurado, Comments and Jurisprudence on Succession, 8th ed., 1991, pp.
423-424.
3.40 O.G. (First S) No. 3, p. 196 citing 7 Manresa 110.
4.150 SCRA 645.
5.181 SCRA 861.
6.Corpus v. Corpus , 85 SCRA 567.
7.Cacho v. Udan, 13 SCRA 693.
8.Llorente v. Rodriguez, 10 Phil. 585; Allarde v. Abaya, 57 Phil. 909.
9.Anuran v. Aquino and Ortiz, 38 Phil. 29.
10.Leonardo v. Court of Appeals, 120 SCRA 890.
11.Javellana v. Tayo, 6 SCRA 1042.
12.Sotto v. Sotto, 43 Phil. 688; Araneta v. Concepcion, 99 Phil. 709.
13.Lim vs. Intermediate Appellate Court, G.R. No. 69679, 18 October 1988.
14.A real-party-in-interest plaintiff is one who has a legal right while a real-party-in-
interest defendant is one who has a correlative obligations whose acts or
omission violates the legal right of the former (Gan Hock v. Court of Appeals,
197 SCRA 223 [1991]). Necessarily, a party-in-interest in a civil case is the
party who stands to be benefited or injured by the judgment of the suit or the
party entitled to avail of the suit. (Salonga v. Warner, Barnes & Co., Ltd., 88
Phil. 125; Lanzar v. Guerrero, 29 SCRA 107)
15.Rubio v. Court of Appeals, 141 SCRA 488; Tiu v. Court of Appeals, 228 SCRA 51.
||| (Manuel v. Ferrer, G.R. No. 117246, August 21, 1995)
EN BANC
[G.R. No. L-19281. June 30, 1965.]
IN THE MATTER OF THE INTESTATE ESTATE OF PEDRO
SATILLON, CLARO SANTILLON, petitioner-appellant, vs.
PERFECTA MIRANDA, BENITO U.MIRANDA and ROSARIO
CORRALES, oppositors-appellees.
Clodualdo P. Surio and Claro Santillon (in his own behalf) for petitioner-appellant.
Patricio M. Patajo for oppositors-appellees.
SYLLABUS
1. APPEALS IN SPECIAL PROCEEDINGS; ORDER OF COURT
DETERMINING DISTRIBUTIVE SHARE OF HEIRS APPEALABLE. An order
of the Court of First Instance which determines the distributive shares of the heirs
of a deceased person is appealable.
2. SUCCESSION; SURVIVING SPOUSE CONCURRING WITH A LEGITIMATE
CHILD ENTITLED TO ONE-HALF OF THE INTESTATE ESTATE. When
intestacy occurs, a surviving spouse concurring with only one legitimate child of
the deceased is entitled to one-half of the estate of the deceased spouse under
Article 996 of the Civil Code.
D E C I S I O N
BENGZON, J p:
This is an appeal from the order of the Court of First Instance of
Pangasinan, specifying the respective shares of the principal parties herein in
the intestate estate of Pedro Santillon.
On November 21, 1953, Santillon died without testament in Tayug, Pangasinan,
his residence, leaving one son Claro, and his wife, Perfecta Miranda. During his
marriage, Pedro acquired several parcels of land located in that province.
About four years after his death, Claro Santillon filed a petition for letters of
administration. Opposition to said petition was entered by the widow
Perfecta Miranda and the spouses Benito U. Miranda and Rosario Corrales on
the following grounds: (a) that the properties enumerated in the petition were all
conjugal, except three parcels which Perfecta 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 most of the properties enumerated in the
petition to said spouses Benito and Rosario; (c) that administration of the estate
was not necessary, there being a case for partition pending; and (d) that if
administration was necessary at all, the oppositor Perfecta Miranda and not the
petitioner was better qualified for the post. It appears that subsequently,
oppositor Perfecta Miranda was appointed administratrix of the estate.
On March 22, 1961, the court appointed commissioners to draft within sixty days,
a project of partition and distribution of all the properties of the deceased
PedroSantillon.
On April 25, 1961, Claro filed a "Motion to Declare Share of Heirs" and to resolve
the conflicting claims of the parties with respect to their respective rights in the
estate. Invoking Art. 892 of the New Civil Code, he insisted that after deducting
1/2 from the conjugal properties as the conjugal share of Perfecta, the remaining
1/2 must be divided as follows: 1/4 for her and 3/4 for him. Oppositor Perfecta, on
the other hand, 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, Claro claimed 3/4 of Pedro's inheritance, while Perfecta claimed 1/2.
After due notice and hearing, the court, on June 28, 1961, issued an order, the
dispositive portion of which reads:
"IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING CONSIDERATIONS it is hereby ruled
and ordered that in the intestate succession of the deceased
Pedro Santillon, the surviving spouse Perfecta Miranda shall inherit
ONE-HALF (1/2) share and the remaining ONE-HALF (1/2) share for the
only son, Atty. Claro Santillon. This is after deducting the share of the
widow as co-owner of the conjugal properties. . . ."
From this order, petitioner Claro Santillon has appealed to this Court. Two
questions of law are involved. The first, raised in Perfecta's Motion to Dismiss
Appeal, is whether the order of the lower court is appealable. And the second,
raised in appellant's lone assignment of error, is: How shall the estate of a person
who dies intestate be divided when the only survivors are the spouse and one
legitimate child?
The First Issue: It is clear that the order of the lower court is final and therefore
appealable to this Court.
Under Rule 109, sec. 1, a person may appeal in special proceedings from an
order of the Court of First Instance where such order determines . . ."the
distributive share of the estate to which such person is entitled."
The Second Issue: Petitioner rests his claim to 3/4 of his father's estate on Art.
892, of the New Civil Code which provides that:
"If only the legitimate child or descendant of the deceased survives, the
widow or widower shall be entitled to one-fourth of the hereditary estate.
. . .'
As she gets one-fourth, therefore, I get 3/4, says Claro. Perfecta, on the other
hand, cites Art. 996 which provides:
"If a widow or widower and legitimate children or descendants are left,
the surviving spouse has in the succession the same share as that of
each of the children."
Replying to Perfecta's claim, Claro says the article is unjust and inequitable to the
extent that it grants the widow the same share as that of the children in intestate
succession, whereas in testate, she is given 1/4 and the only child 1/2.
Oppositor Perfecta Miranda, on the other hand, contends that Art. 996 should
control, regardless of its alleged inequity, being as it is, a provision on intestate
succession involving a surviving spouse and a legitimate child, inasmuch as in
statutory construction, the plural word "children" includes the singular, "child".
Art. 892 of the New Civil Code falls under the chapter on Testamentary
Succession; whereas Art. 996 comes under the chapter on Legal or Intestate
Succession. Such being the case, it is obvious that Claro cannot rely on Art. 892
to support his claim to 3/4 of his father's estate. Art. 892 merely fixes the
legitime of the surviving spouse and Art. 888 thereof, the legitime of children
in testate succession. While it may indicate the intent 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 that such child and spouse are entitled
to when intestacy occurs. Because if the latter happens, the pertinent provision
on intestate succession shall apply; i. e. Art. 996.
Some commentators of our New Civil Code seem to support Claro's contention;
at least, his objection to fifty-fifty sharing. But others confirm the half and half idea
of the Pangasinan court.
This is, remember, intestate proceedings. In the New Civil Code's chapter in legal
or intestate succession, the only article applicable is Art. 996. Our colleague Mr.
Justice J. B. L. Reyes, professor of Civil Law, is quoted as having expressed the
opinion that under this article, when the widow survives with only one legitimate
child, they share the estate in equal parts. 1 Senator Tolentino in his
commentaries writes as follows:
"One child Surviving. If there is only one legitimate child surviving with
the spouse, since they share equally, one-half of the estate goes to the
child and the other half goes to the surviving spouse. Although the law
refers to "children or descendants," the rule in statutory construction that
the plural can be understood to include the singular is applicable in his
case." (Tolentino, Civil Code of the Philippines, Vol. III, p. 436.)
The theory of those holding otherwise, seems to be premised on these
propositions: (a) Art. 996 speaks of "children," therefore it does not apply when
there is only one "child"; consequently Art. 892 (and Art. 888) should be applied,
thru a process of judicial construction and analogy; (b) Art. 996 is unjust or unfair
because whereas intestate succession, the widow is assigned one-fourth only
(Art. 892), she would get 1/2 in intestate.
A. Children: It is a maxim of statutory construction that words in plural include
the singular. 2 So Art. 996 could or should be read (and so applied): "if the widow
or widower and a legitimate child are left, the surviving spouse has the same
share as that of the child." Indeed, if we refuse to apply the article to this case on
the ground that "child" is not included in "children", the consequences would be
tremendous, because "children" will not include "child" in the following articles:
Art. 887. The following are compulsory heirs: (1) legitimate children
and descendants . . .
ART. 888. The legitime of legitimate children and descendants
consists of one-half of the hereditary estate . . .
ART. 896. Illegitimate children who may survive . . . are entitled to
one-fourth of the hereditary estate . . . (See also Art. 901.)
In fact, those who say, "children" in Art. 996 does not include "child" seem to be
inconsistent when they argue from the premise that "in testate succession the
only legitimate child gets one-half and the widow, one-fourth." The inconsistency
is clear, because the only legitimate child gets one-half under Art. 888, which
speaks of "children", not "child". So if "children" in Art. 888 includes "child", the
same meaning should be given to Art. 996.
B. Unfairness of Art. 996. Such position, more clearly stated is this: In testate
succession, where there is only one child of the marriage, the child gets one-half,
and the widow or widower one-fourth. But in intestate, if Art. 996 is applied now,
the child gets one-half, and the widow or widower one-half. Unfair or inequitable,
they insist.
On this point, it is not correct to assume that in testate succession the widow or
widower "gets only one-fourth." She or he may get one-half if the testator so
wishes. So, the law virtually leaves it to each of the spouses to decide (by
testament) whether his or her only child shall get more than his or her survivor.
Our conclusion (equal shares) seems a logical inference from the circumstance
that whereas Article 834 of the Spanish Civil Code, from which Art. 996 was
taken, contained two paragraphs governing two contingencies, the first, where
the widow or widower survives with legitimate children (general rule), and the
second, where the widow or widower survives with only one child (exception),
Art. 996 omitted to provide for the second situation, thereby indicating the
legislator's desire to promulgate just one general rule applicable to both
situations.

The resultant division may be unfair as some writers explain, and this we are
not called upon to discuss but it is the clear mandate of the statute, which we
are bound to enforce.
The appealed decision is affirmed. No costs in this instance.
Concepcion, Reyes, J.B.L., Paredes, Dizon, Regala, Makalintal, Bengzon,
J.P. and Zaldivar, JJ., concur.
Bautista Angelo, J., took no part.
Barrera, J., is on leave.
Footnotes
1.V. Francisco, Civil Code Annotated, Vol. III, p. 931.
2.82 C. J. S. pp. 675, 676.

||| (In re: Satillon v. Miranda, G.R. No. L-19281, June 30, 1965)
FIRST DIVISION
[G.R. No. L-37365. November 29, 1977.]
GAUDENCIO BICOMONG, et al., plaintiffs-
appellees, vs. GERONIMO ALMANZA, et al., defendant.
FLORENTINO CARTENA, defendant-appellant.
Antonio E. Lacsam & Cesar A. Azucena, Jr. for appellant.
Ricardo A. Fabros, Jr. for appellees.
D E C I S I O N
GUERRERO, J p:
This is an appeal certified to this Court by the Court of Appeals 1 in accordance
with the provisions of Sec. 17, paragraph (4) of the Judiciary Act of 1948, as
amended, since the only issue raised is the correct application of the law and
jurisprudence on the matter which is purely a legal question.
The following findings of fact by the Court of First Instance of Laguna and San
Pablo City in Civil Case No. SP-265, and adopted by the Court of Appeals, show
that:
"Simeon Bagsic was in married to Sisenanda Barcenas on June 8, 1859
(Exh. "D") Of this marriage there were born three children namely:
Perpetua Bagsic (Exhibit G), Igmedia Bagsic (Exhibit F), and Ignacio
Bagsic (Exhibit H). Sisenanda Barcenas died ahead of her husband
Simeon Bagsic.
On June 3, 1885, Simeon Bagsic remarried Silvestra Glorioso (Exhibit
"E"). Of this second marriage were born two children, Felipa Bagsic
(Exhibit J) and Maura Bagsic (Exhibit I). Simeon Bagsic died sometime
in 1901. Silvestra Glorioso also died.
Ignacio Bagsic died on April 18, 1939 (Exhibit C) leaving the plaintiff
Francisca Bagsic as his only heir. Igmedia Bagsic also died on August
19, 1944 (Exhibit B) survived by the plaintiffs Dionisio Tolentino, Maria
Tolentino and Petra Tolentino. LexLib
Perpetua Bagsic died on July 1, 1945 (Exhibit A). Surviving her are her
heirs, the plaintiffs Gaudencio Bicomong, Felicidad Bicomong,
Salome Bicomong, and GervacioBicomong.
Of the children of the second marriage, Maura Bagsic died also on April
14, 1952 leaving no heir as her husband died ahead of her. Felipa
Bagsic, the other daughter of the second Geronimo Almanza and her
daughter Cristeta Almanza. But five (5) months before the present suit
was filed or on July 23, 1959, Cristeta Almanza died leaving behind her
husband, the defendant herein Engracio Manese (Exhibit 1-Manese) and
her father Geronimo Almanza."
(Rollo, pp. 2-3)
The subject matter of the complaint in Civil Case No. SP-265 concerns the one-
half undivided share of Maura Bagsic in the following described five (5) parcels of
land which she inherited from her deceased mother, Silvestra Glorioso, to wit:
"A. A parcel of land in Bo. San Ignacio, City of San Pablo, 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
Bernandino Alina; and on the W. by Feliciana Glorioso. Covered by Tax
No. 12713 for the year 1948 in the name of Silvestra Glorioso, now Tax
No. 31232, assessed at P170.00 in the name of defendant
Geronimo Almanza;
B. A parcel of land, also situated in Bo. San Ignacio, City of San Pablo,
planted with fruit bearing coconut trees, with an area of 9,455 sq. m.
Bounded on the N. by Paulino Gajuco; on the E. by Felisa Gavino and
German Garigan; on the S. by Esteban Calayag; and on the W. by
Laureano Ambion, Covered by Tax No. 12714 for the year 1948 in the
name of defendant Geronimo Almanza;
C. A parcel of land situated in same Bo. San Ignacio, City of San Pablo,
planted with 376 fruit bearing coconut trees and having an area of
11,739 sq. sq. m. Bounded on the N. by Jacinto Alvero, Anacleto
Glorioso and Bernandino Alina; on the E. by Bernandino Alina; on the S.
by Rosendo Banaad, Jacinto Alvero and Casayan River; and on the W.
by Anacleto Glorioso. Covered by Tax No. 12715 for the year 1948 in
the name of Silvestra Glorioso, now Tax No. 31234, assessed at
P2,720.00 in the name of defendant Geronimo Almanza;
D. A residential lot, situated at P. Alcantara Street, Int., City of San
Pablo, with an area of 153, sq. m. Bounded on the N. by heirs of Pedro
Calampiano; on the E. by Petronilo Cartago; on the S. by Ignacio Yerro;
and on the W. by Melecio Cabrera. Covered by Tax No. 17653 for the
year 1948 in the name of Silvestra Glorioso, now Tax No, 21452,
assessed at P610.00 in the name of Cristeta Almanza; and
E. A parcel of coconut land, situated at Bo. Buenavista, Candelaria,
Quezon, planted with 300 coconut trees fruit bearing. Area 24,990 sq.
m. Bounded on the N. (Ilaya) by heirs of Pedro de Gala; on the E. by
Julian Garcia; on the S. (Ibaba) by Julian Garcia, and on the W. by
Taguan River. Covered by Tax No. 21452, assessed at P910.00."
(Record on Appeal, pp. 4-6)
Three sets of plaintiffs filed the complaint on December 1, 1959, namely: (a) the
Bicomongs, children of Perpetua Bagsic; (b) the Tolentinos, children of Igmedia
Bagsic; and (c) Francisca Bagsic, daughter of Ignacio Bagsic, in the Court of
First Instance of Laguna and San Pablo City against the defendants
Geronimo Almanza and Engracio Menese for the recovery of their lawful shares
in the properties left by Maura Bagsic.
After the death of Maura Bagsic, the above described properties passed on to
Cristela Almanza who took charge of the administration of the same. Thereupon,
the plaintiffs approached her and requested for the partition of their aunt's
properties. However, they were prevailed upon by Cristeta Almanza not to divide
the properties yet as the expenses for the last illness and burial of Maura Bagsic
had not yet been paid. Having agreed to defer the partition of the same. the
plaintiffs brought out the subject again sometime in 1959 only. This time
Cristeta Almanza acceded to the request as the debts, accordingly, had already
been paid. Unfortunately, she died without the division of the properties having
been effected, thereby leaving the possession and administration of the same to
the defendants.
After trial, the court rendered judgment, the dispositive portion of which reads:
"WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the plaintiffs
who are hereby declared to be entitled to ten twenty-fourth (10/24) share
on the five parcels of land in dispute. The defendant Engracio Manese
and the heirs of the deceased Geronimo Almanza, who are represented
in the instant case by the administrator Florentino Cartena, are hereby
required to pay the plaintiffs from July 23, 1959 the sum of P625.00 per
annum until the ten-twenty fourth (10/24) share on the five parcels of
land are delivered to the plaintiffs, with legal interest from the time this
decision shall have become final.
With costs against the defendants.
SO ORDERED.
City of San Pablo, September 21, 1962.
(SGD) JOSE G. BAUTISTA
Judge"
Record on Appeal, p. 47
From the aforesaid decision of the trial court, Florentino Cartena, the substitute
defendant for Geronimo Almanza, appealed to the Court of Appeals. The other
defendant, Engracio Manese, did not appeal and execution was issued with
respect to the parcels of land in his possession, that is, those described under
Letters D and E in the complaint. Hence, the subject matter of the case on
appeal was limited to the one-half undivided portion of only three of the five
parcels of land described under letters A, B and C in the complaint which
defendant Cartena admitted to be only in his possession. 2
On appeal, defendant-appellant Cartena contends that the provisions of Arts.
995, 1006 and 1008 of the New Civil Code, applied by the trial court in allowing
plaintiffs-appellees to succeed to the properties left by Maura Bagsic were not
the applicable provisions. He asserts that in the course of the trial of the case in
the lower court, plaintiffs requested 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 14, 1952, Felipa succeeded to Maura's estate. In support
thereof, he cites Art. 1004 of the New Civil Code which provides that "should the
only survivors be brothers and sisters of the full blood, they shall inherit in equal
shares," and he concludes with the rule that the relatives nearest in degree
excludes the more distant ones. (Art. 962, New Civil Code)
On the other hand, plaintiffs-appellees claim that the date of death of Felipa
Bagsic was not raised as an issue in the trial court. It was even the subject of
stipulation of the parties as clearly shown in the transcript of the stenographic
notes that Felipa Bagsic died on May 9, 1945. 3
The Court of Appeals ruled that the facts of the case have been duly established
in the trial court and that the only issue left for determination is a purely legal
question involving the correct application of the law and jurisprudence on the
matter, hence the appellate court certified this case to Us.
We hold that the provisions of Art. 975, 1006 and 1008 of the New Civil Code are
applicable to the admitted facts of the case at bar. These Articles provide: cdll
"Art. 975. When children of one or more brothers or sisters of the
deceased survive, they shall inherit from the latter by representation, if
they survive with their uncles or aunts. But if they alone survive, they
shall inherit in equal portions."
"Art. 1006. Should brothers and sisters of the full blood survive together
with brothers and sisters of the half blood, the former shall be entitled to
a share double that of the latter."
"Art. 1008. Children of brothers and sisters of the half blood shall
succeed per capita or per stirpes, in accordance with the rules laid down
for brothers and sisters of the full blood."
In the absence of descendants, ascendants, illegitimate children, or a surviving
spouse, Article 1003 of the New Civil Code provides that collateral relatives shall
succeed to the entire estate of the deceased. It appearing that Maura Bagsic
died intestate without an issue, and her husband and all her ascendants had died
ahead of her, she is succeeded by the surviving collateral relatives, namely the
daughter of her sister of full blood and the ten (10) children of her brother and
two (2) sisters of half blood, in accordance with the provision of Art. 975 of the
New Civil Code.

By virtue of said provision, the aforementioned nephews and nieces are entitled
to inherit in their own right. In Abellana-Bacayo vs. Ferraris-Borromeo, L-19382,
August 31, 1965, 14 SCRA 986, this Court held that "nephews and nieces alone
do not inherit by right of representation (that is per stirpes) unless concurring with
brothers or sisters of the deceased."
Under the same provision, Art. 975, which makes no qualification as to whether
the nephews or nieces are on the maternal or paternal line and without
preference as to whether their relationship to the deceased is by whole or half
blood, the sole niece of whole blood of the deceased does not exclude the ten
nephews and nieces of half blood. The only difference in their right of succession
is provided in Art. 1008, N.C.C., in relation to Article 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 half blood. Such distinction between
whole and half blood relationships with the deceased has been recognized
in Dionisia Padura, et al. vs. Melania Baldovino, et al., No. L-11960, December
27, 1958, 104 Phil. 1065 (unreported) and in Alviarvs. Alviar, No. L-22402, June
30, 1969, 28 SCRA 610). prcd
The contention of the appellant that Maura Bagsic should be succeeded by
Felipa Bagsic, her sister of full blood, to the exclusion of the nephews and nieces
of half blood citing Art. 1004, N.C.C., is unmeritorious and erroneous for it is
based on an erroneous factual assumption, that is, that Felipa Bagsic died in
1955, which as indicated here before, is not true as she died on May 9, 1945,
thus she predeceased her sister Maura Bagsic.
We find the judgment of the trial court to be in consonance with law and
jurisprudence.
ACCORDINGLY, the judgment of the trial court is hereby affirmed.
No costs.
Teehankee (Chairman), Makasiar, Muoz Palma, Martin and Fernandez,
JJ., concur.
Footnotes
1.Second Division, Concepcion, jr., J., ponente, and Reyes, A., Fernandez, R., JJ.
concurring.
2.Brief for the Appellees, p. 16.
3.Brief for the Appellees, pp. 8-9.

||| (Bicomong v. Almanza, G.R. No. L-37365, November 29, 1977)
EN BANC
[G.R. No. L-19382. August 31, 1965.]
IN RE SUMMARY SETTLEMENT OF THE ESTATE OF
MELOIDA FARRARIS.
FILOMENA ABELLANA DE BACAYO, petitioner-appellant, vs.
GAUDENCIA FERRARIS DE BORROMEO, CATALINA
FERRARIS DE VILLEGAS, JUANITO FERRARIS and
CONCHITA FERRARIS, oppositors-appellees.
Mateo C. Bacalso and Cesar A. Kintanar for petitioner-appellant.
Gaudioso Sosmea and C. Tomakin for oppositors-appellees.
SYLLABUS
1.SUCCESSION; INTESTACY; COLLATERAL RELATIVES EXCLUDED BY
NEPHEWS AND NIECES. A decedent's uncles and aunts may not
succeed ab intestato so long as nephews and nieces of the decedent survive and
are willing and qualified to succeed.
2.ID.; ID.; WHEN COLLATERALS ENTITLED TO SUCCESSION. The
absence of brothers, sisters, nephews and nieces of the decedent is a
precondition to the other collaterals (uncles, cousins, etc.) being called to the
succession. (Art. 1009 Civil Code.)
3.ID.; ID.; DEGREE OF RELATIONSHIP OF COLLATERAL RELATIVES TO
THE DECEASED. An aunt of the deceased is as far distant as the nephews
from the decedent (three degrees) since in the collateral line to which both kinds
of relatives belong, degrees are counted by first ascending to the common
ancestor and then descending to the heir (Civil Code Art. 966).
4.ID.; ID.; WHEN NEPHEWS AND NIECES INHERIT BY RIGHT OF
REPRESENTATION. Nephews and nieces alone do not inherit by right of
representation (i.e., per stirpes) unless concurring with brothers or sisters of the
deceased.
D E C I S I O N
REYES, J.B.L., J p:
This is a pauper's appeal, directly brought to this Court on points of law, from a
resolution, dated September 20, 1961, excluding petitioner-appellant herein,
Filomena Abellana de Bacayo, as heir in the summary settlement of the estate of
Melodia Ferraris, Special Proceeding No. 2177-R of the Court of First Instance of
Cebu, Third Branch, as well as from the order, dated October 16, 1961, denying
a motion to reconsider said resolution.
The facts of this case are not disputed by the parties.
Melodia Ferraris was a resident of Cebu City until 1937 when she transferred to
Intramuros, Manila. She was known to have resided there continuously until
1944. Thereafter, up to the filing on December 22, 1960 of the petition for the
summary settlement of her estate, she has not been heard of and her
whereabouts are still unknown. More than ten (10) years having elapsed since
the last time she was known to be alive, she was declared presumptively dead
for purposes of opening her succession and distributing her estate among her
heirs.
Melodia Ferraris left properties in Cebu City, consisting of one third (1/3) share in
the estate of her aunt, Rosa Ferraris, valued at P6,000.00, more or less, and
which was adjudicated to her in Special Proceeding No. 13-V of the same court.
The deceased Melodia Ferraris left no surviving direct descendant, ascendant, or
spouse, but was survived only by collateral relatives, namely, Filomena Abellana
deBacayo, an aunt, and half- sister of decedent's father, Anacleto Ferraris; and
by Gaudencia, Catalina, Conchita, and Juanito, all surnamed Ferraris, her nieces
and nephew, who were the children of Melodia's only brother of full blood, Arturo
Ferraris, who pre-deceased her (the decedent). These two classes of heirs claim
to be the nearest intestate heirs and seek to participate in the estate of said
Melodia Ferraris.
The following diagram will help illustrate the degree of relationship of the
contending parties to said Melodia Ferraris:

The sole issue to be resolved in this case is: Who should inherit the intestate
estate of a deceased person when he or she is survived only by collateral
relatives, to wit: an aunt and the children of a brother who predeceased him or
her? Otherwise, will the aunt concur with the children of the decedent's brother in
the inheritance or will the former be excluded by the latter?
The trial court ruled that the oppositors-appellees, as children of the only
predeceased brother of the decedent, exclude the aunt (petitioner-appellant) of
the same decedent, reasoning out that the former are nearer in degree (two
degrees) than the latter since nieces and nephew succeed by right of
representation, while petitioner- appellant is three degrees distant from the
decedent, and that other collateral relatives are excluded by brothers or sisters,
or children of brothers or sisters of the decedent in accordance with article 1009
of the New Civil Code.
Against the above ruling, petitioner-appellant contends in the present appeal that
she is of the same or equal degree of relationship as the oppositors-appellees,
three degrees removed from the decedent; and that under article 975 of the New
Civil Code no right or representation could take place when the nieces and
nephew of the decedent do not concur with an uncle or aunt, as in the case at
bar, but rather the former succeed in their own right.
We agree with appellants that as an aunt of the deceased, she is as far distant
as the nephews from the decedent (three degrees) since in the collateral line to
which both kinds of relatives belong degrees are counted by first ascending to
the common ancestor and then descending to the heir (Civil Code, Art. 966).
Appellant is likewise right in her contention that nephews and nieces alone do not
inherit by right of representation (i.e., per stirpes) unless concurring with brothers
or sisters of the deceased, as provided expressly by Article 975:
"ART. 975.When children of one or more brothers or sisters of the
deceased survive, they shall inherit from the latter by representation, if
they survive with their uncles or aunts. But if they alone survive, they
shall inherit in equal portions."
Nevertheless, the trial court was correct when it held that, in case of intestacy,
nephews and nieces of the de cujus exclude all other collaterals (aunts and
uncles, first cousins, etc.) from the succession. This is readily apparent from
articles 1001, 1004, 1005, and 1009 of the Civil Code of the Philippines, that
provided as follows:
"ART. 1001.Should brothers and sisters or their children survive with the
widow or widower, the latter shall be entitled to one-half of the
inheritance and the brothers and sisters or their children to the other
half."
"ART. 1004.Should the only survivors be, brothers and sisters of the full
blood, they shall inherit in equal shares."
"ART. 1005.Should brothers and sisters survive together with nephews
and nieces who are the children of the decedent's brothers and sisters of
the full blood, the former shall inherit per capita, and the latter per
stirpes."
"ART. 1009.Should there be neither brothers nor sisters, nor children of
brothers or sisters, the other collateral relatives shall succeed to the
estate."
"The latter shall succeed without distinction of lines or preference among
by reason of relationship by the whole blood."
Under the last article (1009), the absence of brothers, sisters, nephews and
nieces of the decedent is a precondition to the other collaterals (uncles, cousins,
etc.) being called to the succession. This was also and more clearly the case
under the Spanish Civil Code of 1889, that immediately preceded the Civil Code
now in force (R. A. 386). Thus, Articles 952 and 954 of the Code of 1889
prescribed as follows:
"ART. 952.In the absence of brothers or sisters and of nephews or
nieces, children of the former, whether of the whole blood or not, the
surviving spouse, if not separated by a final decree of divorce shall
succeed to the entire estate of the deceased."
"ART. 954.Should there be neither brothers nor sisters, nor children of
brothers or sisters, nor a surviving spouse, the other collateral relatives
shall succeed to the estate of deceased.
The latter shall succeed without distinction of lines or preference among
them by reason of the whole blood."
It will be seen that under the preceding articles, brothers and sisters and
nephews and nieces inherited ab intestato ahead of the surviving spouse, while
other collaterals succeeded only after the widower or widow. The present Civil
Code of the Philippines merely placed the spouse on a par with the nephews and
nieces and brothers and sisters of the deceased, but without altering the
preferred position of the latter vis a vis the other collaterals.
Appellants quote paragraph 2 of Tolentino's commentaries to Article 1009 of the
present Civil Code as declaring that Article 1009 does not establish a rule of
preference. Which is true as to "other collaterals", since preference among them
is according to their proximity to the decedent, as established by Article 962,
paragraph 1.
"ART. 962.In every inheritance, the relative nearest in degree excludes
the more distant ones, saving the right of representation when it properly
takes place."
But Tolentino does not state that nephews and nieces concur with other
collaterals of equal degree. On the contrary, in the first paragraph of his
commentaries to Article 1009 (Vol. II, p. 439) (which counsel for appellants had
unethically omitted to quote), Tolentino expressly states:
"Other Collaterals. The last of the relatives of the decedent to succeed
in intestate succession are the collaterals other than brothers or sisters
or children of brothers or sisters. They are, however, limited to relatives
within the fifth degree. Beyond this, we can safely say, there is hardly
any affection to merit the succession of collaterals. Under the law,
therefore, persons beyond the fifth degree are no longer considered as
relatives, for successional purposes.
"Article 1009 does not state any order of preference. However, this
article should be understood in connection with the general rule that the
nearest relatives exclude the farther. Collaterals of the same degree
inherit in equal parts, there being no right of representation. They
succeed without distinction of lines or preference among them on
account of the whole blood relationship." (Italics supplied)
We, therefore, hold, and so rule, that under our laws of succession, a decedent's
uncles and aunts may not succeed ab intestato so long as nephews and nieces
of the decedent survive and are willing and qualified to succeed.

The decision appealed from, in so far as it conforms to this rule, is hereby
affirmed. No costs.
Bengzon, C.J., Concepcion, Dizon, Regala, Makalintal, Bengzon,
J.P. and Zaldivar, JJ., concur.
Bautista Angelo, J., took no part.

||| (De Bacayo v. De Borromeo, G.R. No. L-19382, August 31, 1965)