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G.R. No.

L-32328 September 30, 1977


TESTATE ESTATE OF THE LATE ADRIANO MALOTO: ALDINA MALOTO CASIANO, CONSTANCIO MALOTO,
PURIFICACION MIRAFLOR, ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH OF MOLO, and ASILO DE MOLO, petitioners-appellants
vs.
FELINO MALOTO and FELINO MALOTO, oppositors-appellees.
FERNANDEZ, J.:
This is a petition to review the order dated April 13, 1970 of the Court of First Instance of Iloilo, Branch III, in Special
Proceeding No. 2176 dismissing the petition for the probate of a will. 1
One Adriana Maloto died on October 20, 1963 in Iloilo City, her place of residence.
Aldina Maloto Casiano, Constancio Maloto, Panfilo Maloto, and Felino Maloto, niece and nephews, respectively, of Adriana
Maloto, in the belief that decedent died intestate, commenced on November 4, 1963 in the Court of First Instance of iloilo
an intestate proceeding docketed as Special Proceeding No. 1736. In the course of said intestate proceeding, Aldina Maloto
Casiano, Constancio Maloto, Panfilo Maloto and Felino Maloto executed an extrajudicial Partition of the estate of Adriana
Maloto on February 1, 1964 whereby they adjudicated said estate unto themselves in the proportion of one-fourth (1/4)
share for each. 2 The Court of First Instance of iloilo, then prescribed by Judge Emigdio V. Nietes, ed he diamond partition
on March approve extrajudicial on March 21, 1964. 3
On April 1, 1967, a document dated January 3, 1940 purporting to be the last with and testament of Adriana Maloto was
delivered to the Clerk of Art of the Art of First Instant of Iloilo. 4 It appears that Aldina Maloto Casiano Consent Maloto,
Panfilo Maloto, and Felino Maloto are named as heirs but Maloto Casiano and Constancio Maloto allegedly have shares in
said with which are bigger, different and more valuable than what they obtained in the extrajudicial partition. The said will
also allegedly made dispositions to certain devisees and/or legatees, among whom being the Asilo de Molo, the Roman
Catholic Church of Molo, and Purificacion Miraflor.
On May 24, 1967, Aldina Maloto Casiano and Constancio Maloto filed in Special Proceeding No. 1736 a motion (1) for
reconsideration; (2) annulment of the proceedings; and (3) for the allowance of the last will and testament of Adriana
Maloto. 5 The Asilo de Molo, the Roman Catholic Church of Molo, and Purificacion Miraflor also filed in Special Proceeding
No. 1736 petitions for the allowance of the will of Adriana Maloto. 6
Panfilo Maloto and Felino Maloto opposed the motion of Aldina Maloto Casiano and Constancio Maloto.
The Court of First Instance of iloilo, through Judge Emigdio V. Nietes, issued an order dated November 16, 1968 denying
the motion to reopen the proceedings on the ground that the said motion had been filed out of time. A motion for
reconsideration of said order was denied. Petitioners appealed from the order of denial. On motion of Panfilo Maloto and
Felino Maloto, the lower court dismissed the appeal on the ground that it was filed late. A motion for reconsideration of the
order of dismissal was denied. A supplemental order dated April 1, 1969 stating as additional ground that the appeal is
improper was issued.
The petitioners filed a petition for certiorari and mandamus with the Supreme Court docketed as G.R. No. L-30479. This
Court dismissed the petition in a resolution dated May 14, 1969 which reads:
L-010479 (Constancio Maloto, et al, vs. Hon. Emigdio V. Nietes, etc., et al.) THE COURT RESOLVED to
dismiss the petition for certiorari and mandamus, without passing on the issue of whether or not the
petitioners appeal from the order of November 16, 1968 of respondent Judge was made on time, it
appearing that the more appropriate remedy of petitioners in the premises stated in the petition is for
petitioners to initiate a separate proceeding for the probate of the alleged will in question. 7
Acting on the petitioners' motion for reconsideration and citation, fl Art issued a resolution dated July 15, 1969 which
reads:
Acting on the motion for reconsideration and/or clarification filed by petitioner in G. R. No. L-30479,
Constancio Maloto, et al., vs. Hon. Emigdio V. Nietes, etc. et al., dated June 11, 1969, the Court resolved
to DENY the motion for reconsideration, with the clarification that the matter of whether or not the
pertinent findings of facts of respondent Judge in his herein subject order of November 16, 1968 constitute
res adjudicata may be raised in the proceedings for probate of the alleged will in question indicated in the
resolution of this Court of May 14, 1969, wherein such matter will be more appropriately determined. 8
Thereupon, the herein petitioners commenced Special Proceeding No. 2176 in the Court of First Instance of Iloilo for the
probate of the alleged last will and testament of Adriana Maloto. 9
Panfilo Maloto and Felino Maloto filed an opposition with a motion to dismiss on the following grounds:
I. THAT THE ALLEGED WILL SOUGHT TO BE PROBATED HAD BEEN DESTROYED AND REVOKED BY THE
TESTATRIX.
II. THAT THE INSTANT PETITION FOR PROBATE IS NOW BARRED BY PRIOR JUDGMENT OR ORDER (OR
RES JUDICATA).
III. THAT THE ESTATE OF THE LATE ADRIANA MALOTO HAD ALREADY PASSED OUT OF EXISTENCE AND
TITLE THERETO HAD ALREADY ARRESTED IN THE DISTRIBUTEES OF THEIR ASSIGNS.

IV. THAT PETITIONERS ALDINA MALOTO CASIANO AND CONSTANCIO MALOTO ARE NOW ESTOPPED FROM
SEEKING THE REMEDY TENDER THIS PROCEEDING, THEY HAVING CEASED TO BE INTERESTED PARTIES.
10

In an order dated April 13, 1970, the probate court dismissed the petition for the probate of the with on the basis of the
finding of said court in Special Proceeding No. 1736 that the alleged win sought to be Probated had been destroyed and
revoked by the testatrix. The probate court sustained the oppositors' contention that the petition for probate is now barred
by the order of November 16, 1968 in the intestate estate proceeding, Special Proceeding No. 1736. 11
The herein petitioners allege that the probate court committed the following errors:
I
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE .kl).NIITTEI)I,Y GENUINE LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT
OF THE LATE ADRIANA MALOTO (THE SUBJECT OF PETITION FOR PROBATE SPECIAL PROCEEDING NO.
2176, CFI ILOILO) HAD PREVIOUSLY BEEN REVOKED BY HER (ADRIANA MALOTO).
II
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN HOLDING THAT SAID PETITION (FOR PROBATE OF THE AFORESAID LAST
WILL AND TESTAMENT OF THE LATE ADRIANA MALOTO) IS NOW BARRED BY PRIOR JUDGMENT. I. E.,
THAT THE MATTER CONCERNED IS NOW RES ADJUDICATA
III
THE LOWER COURT, THEREFORE, ERRED IN DISMISSING THE AFORESAID PETITION FOR PROBATE OF
THE LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT OF THE LATE ADRIANA MALOTO AND IN NOT, INSTEAD, GIVING IT (THE
PETITION ABOVE-CITED DUE COURSE.12
The instant petition for review is meritorious.
The probate court had no jurisdiction to entertain the petition for the probate of the alleged with of Adriana Maloto in
Special Proceeding No. 1736. Indeed, the motion to reopen the was denied because the same was filed out of time.
Moreover, it is not proper to make a finding in an intestate estate proceeding that the discovered will has been revoked. As
a matter of fact, the probate court in Special Proceeding No. 1736 stated in the order of November 16, 1968 that "Movants
should have filed a separate action for the probate of the Will." 13 And this court stated in its resolution of May 14, 1969
that "The more appropriate remedy of the petitioners in the premises stated in the petition is for petitioners to initiate a
separate proceeding for the probate of the alleged with in question."
In view of the foregoing, the order of November 16, 1968 in Special Proceeding No. 1736 is not a bar to the present
petition for the probate of the alleged will of Adriana Maloto.
WHEREFORE, the order dated April 13, 1970 dismissing the petition for the probate of the alleged will of Adriana Maloto is
hereby set aside and the lower court is directed to proceed with the hearing of the petition in Special Proceeding No. 2176
on the merits, with costs against the respondents. SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 128525 December 17, 1999
MA. DIVINA ORTAEZ-ENDERES, for herself and as the Judicially Appointed Special Administratrix of the
Philinterlife Shares of Stocks of DR. JUVENCIO P. ORTAEZ, JOSE N. ORTAEZ, ROMEO JOVEN N. ORTAEZ,
ENRICO N. ORTAEZ, CESAR N. ORTAEZ and LIGAYA S. NOVICIO, petitioners,
vs.
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION, JOSE C. LEE, CARLOS LEE,
ANGEL ONG, CARMENCITA Y. TAN, BENJAMIN C. LEE, MA. PAZ C. LEE and ALMA AGGABAO, respondents.
YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.:
This is a petition for review on certiorari with prayer for temporary restraining order and writ of preliminary injunction of
the decision of the Court of Appeals dated May 31, 1996 which affirmed the rulings of the Securities and Exchange
Commission (SEC for brevity) En Banc and the SEC Hearing Officer. The assailed decision of the Court of Appeals as well as
that of the SEC En Banc and SEC Hearing Officer denied the prayer of petitioner for the issuance of a writ of preliminary
injunction to restrain private respondents from exercising their rights as stockholders on record of Philippines International
Life Insurance Co., Inc. (Philinterlife, for brevity).
This case stems from a complaint filed on November 7, 1994 by petitioners before the Securities and Exchange
Commission, docketed as SEC Case No. 11-94-4909, 1 for the annulment of transfer of shares of stocks to private
respondents, annulment of sale of corporate properties authorized by private respondents who compose the management
of the corporation, annulment of subscriptions on increased capital stocks, accounting and inspection of corporate books
and records, and damages. Petitioners also prayed for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction and temporary
restraining order against private respondents to enjoin them from exercising their rights as stockholders of Philinterlife on
the ground that their shares of stock were acquired through illegal and fraudulent schemes.
Petitioners alleged that Philinterlife is a registered corporation founded in 1954 by the late Dr. Juvencio Ortaez; that at the
time of his death in 1980, Dr. Ortaez owned at least fifty-one percent (51%) of the capital stock of the company; that
special proceedings were pending with the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 85, for the settlement of the

intestate estate of the deceased Dr. Ortaez, where Rafael S. Ortaez and Jose S. Ortaez were jointly appointed as special
administrators. Petitioners further stated that after the death of Dr. Ortaez and without the prior authorization of the
intestate court, one-half (1/2) of the shares of stock of Dr. Ortaez were transferred in the names of private respondents
through the manipulations, devices and machinations of the latter; that the shares of stocks of private respondents lawfully
belonged to the estate of Dr. Ortaez and hence, they are not entitled to enjoy and exercise their rights and privileges as
stockholders of the company. Petitioners also contended that respondent Jose C. Lee misrepresented himself as president
of Philinterlife and sold the parcel of land owned by the corporation located in Manila to Citiriser Development Corporation
without the indispensable requisites prescribed by the Corporation Code; that private respondents obtained additional
subscriptions without consideration by way of unlawful corporate machinations; and that private respondents had been
conveying and disbursing corporate properties and funds as well as preventing petitioners from inspecting the corporate
books and records.
In their answer, 2 private respondents stated that the subject matter of the complaint is not within the jurisdiction of the
SEC but with the Regional Trial Court; that petitioner Ligaya Novicio and children represented themselves to be the
common law wife and illegitimate children of the late Dr. Ortaez; that on March 4, 1982, the surviving spouse Juliana
Ortaez, on her behalf and for her minor son Antonio, executed a Memorandum of Agreement with her other sons Rafael
and Jose, both surnamed Ortaez, dividing the estate of the deceased composed of his one-half (1/2) share in the conjugal
properties; that in the said Memorandum of Agreement, Jose S. Ortaez acquired as his share of the estate the 1,329
shares of stock in Philinterlife; that on March 4, 1982, Juliana and Rafael assigned their respective shares of stock in
Philinterlife to Jose; that contrary to the contentions of petitioners, private respondents Jose Lee, Carlos Lee, Benjamin Lee
and Alma Aggabao became stockholders of Philinterlife on March 23, 1983 when Jose S. Ortaez, the principal stockholders
at that time, executed a deed of sale of his shares of stock to the private respondents; and that the right of petitioners to
question the Memorandum of Agreement and the acquisition of shares of stock of private respondents is barred by
prescription. Private respondents also alleged that they did not violate the provisions of the Corporation Code in the sale
and disposition to Citiriser Development Corporation of the parcel of land and improvements owned by Philinterlife in Soler
Street, Sta. Cruz, Manila; that this is evidenced by the Board Resolution dated June 15, 1987 which approved the authority
of the corporation's president, Jose C. Lee, to sign in behalf of the company all documents pertaining to the sale; that
private respondents did not commit any violation of law when Philinterlife increased its capital stock from Five Million to Ten
Million Pesos in 1984 as this increase was based on a resolution passed by the stockholders owning more than two-thirds of
the outstanding capital stock during the stockholders' meeting held on March 21, 1984 and thru said resolution, the
unsubscribed capital stock of the corporation in the amount of P1.250 Million was offered for subscription; that said
increase was likewise approved by the majority of the board of directors of the corporation; that records of all the business
operations of Philinterlife have always been open and available for examination and inspection not only by petitioners but
by all other stockholders as well.
On December 7, 1994, SEC Hearing Officer Alberto Atas issued a temporary restraining order. 3 Hearings were thereafter
held to determine the propriety of issuing the writ of preliminary injunction, wherein both parties presented their respective
documentary and testimonial evidence.
On February 10, 1995, SEC Hearing Officer Atas issued an Order 4 denying petitioners' application for the issuance of a writ
of preliminary injunction on the ground that petitioners failed to make a valid cause to entitle them to the relief applied for,
and the pretended rights of the petitioners are still contentious, unsettled and of doubtful character.
Not satisfied with the Order, petitioners elevated the same to the Securities and Exchange Commission En Banc.
On March 24, 1995, the SEC En Banc issued a resolution

dismissing the petition and stating in part:

After a careful perusal of the arguments raised in the petition and answer as well as the evidence
submitted during the hearing, we find that the Hearing Officer did not commit grave abuse of discretion in
denying petitioner's application for a writ of preliminary injunction.
One of the pieces of evidence submitted is the stock and transfer book of Philinterlife which showed that
private respondents are owners of Philinterlife shares. Hence, as stockholders of Philinterlife, they are
entitled to exercise all the rights and privileges pertaining thereto.
With respect to the alleged extrajudicial partition of the shares of stocks owned by the late Dr. Juvencio
Ortaez, we rule that the matter properly belongs to the jurisdiction of the regular court where the
intestate proceedings are currently pending.
. . .. The complainant's right or title moreover must be clear and unquestioned for equity, as a rule, will
not take cognizance of suits to establish title and will not lend its preventive aid by injunction where the
complainant's title or right is doubtful or disputed. The possibility of irreparable damage, without proof of
violation of an actual existing right, is no ground for an injunction, being mere damnum absque injuria. 6
Aggrieved by the resolution of the SEC En Banc, petitioners filed a special civil action for certiorari with the Court of
Appeals, docketed as CA-GR SP No. 36923, seeking to annul the aforesaid resolution and the issuance of a temporary
restraining order and/or writ of preliminary injunction against private respondents. Petitioners alleged that the SEC gravely
abused its discretion in issuing the resolution because (1) the stock and transfer book of the company was not adduced
throughout the proceedings and, (2) there is no valid and lawful basis for private respondents' claim that they are the
stockholders of Philinterlife.
On May 31, 1996, the Court of Appeals rendered a decision 7 dismissing the petition on the ground that the denial by the
SEC of petitioners' application for a writ of preliminary injunction was proper and valid. Petitioners' Motion for
Reconsideration was denied in a Resolution dated March 11, 1997. 8

Hence, this petition was filed stating that the Court of Appeals erred in (1) not holding that the ownership of the shares of
stocks of Philinterlife is still an issue to be resolved by the SEC, hence, private respondents have not yet been declared as
stockholders thereof, and (2) not finding that the private respondents' claim as stockholders of Philinterlife has no legal
and/or factual support.
The sole issue to be resolved in the case at bar is whether the Court of Appeals erred in upholding the SEC when it ruled
that petitioners had not established clear existing legal rights to entitle them to a writ of injunction to enjoin private
respondents from exercising their rights as stockholders on record of Philinterlife.
With regard to the assigned errors which are interrelated, petitioners contend that private respondents cannot rely on the
deeds of assignment of shares of stock in their favor because the same are void, no evidence being adduced to show that
the transfer taxes were paid. Petitioners further allege that private respondents cannot exercise the rights and privileges of
stockholders of Philinterlife because there was no valid disposition or transfer to the latter of the shares of stock belonging
to the estate of the late Dr. Juvencio Ortaez. Petitioners also claim to possess legal personality to bring this suit on the
ground that they are stockholders of the corporation and that co-petitioner Ma. Divina Ortaez-Enderes is the Special
Administratrix of the estate of the late Dr. Juvencio Ortaez with regard to Philinterlife shares.
We cannot sustain petitioners' stand.
Injunction may issue pendente lite only in cases of extreme urgency, where the right to the possession, during the
pendency of the main case, of the property involved is very clear; where considerations of relative inconvenience bear
strongly in favor of the complainant seeking the possession of the property pendente lite; where there was willful and
unlawful invasion on plaintiff's right, over his protest and remonstrance, the injury being a continuing one. 9
Before an injunction can be issued, it is essential that the following requisites be present: (1) there must be a right in esse
or the existence of a right to be protected; and (2) the act against which injunction is to be directed is a violation of such
right. 10
We agree with the findings of the SEC as affirmed by the Court of Appeals that petitioners failed not only to establish a
threatened violation of a right but they also failed to discharge the burden of clearly showing the right to be protected. 11
On the mere contention that the shareholdings of private respondents belong to the estate of the late Dr. Ortaez which is
still the subject of settlement before the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, petitioners had not established their clear legal
rights to obtain injunctive relief against private respondents. Injunction, whether preliminary or final, is not designed to
protect contingent or future rights. 12
Ma. Divina Ortaez-Enderes, who represents herself to be the Special Administratrix of the Estate of Dr. Ortaez, is one of
the petitioners in this case. Records show that neither the estate of Dr. Ortaez nor the Special Administratrix Ma. Divina
Enderes was a party in the main case docketed as SEC Case No. 11-94-49099 before the Securities and Exchange
Commission. In an Omnibus Order dated March 6, 1996, 13 the SEC denied the Motion to Intervene filed by the estate of Dr.
Ortaez represented by the Special Administratrix on the ground that the estate is not a stockholder of Philinterlife. When
the case was elevated to the SEC En Banc and later to respondent Court of Appeals, the estate of Dr. Ortaez was not
included as petitioners. Not being a party in the proceedings below, the Special Administratrix does not have any legal
personality to seek a review by this court of the decisions of the SEC and the Court of Appeals. 14
In support of their position, petitioners cited in their reply the issuance of an Order by the intestate court declaring that the
shares of stock of Philinterlife belong to the estate. It is admitted that the special proceedings are still pending before the
court and the estate had not been partitioned and distributed. Notwithstanding the proceedings being conducted by the
intestate court, the petitioners' rights or interests over the estate or over the assailed shareholdings in the name of private
respondents are still future and unsettled rights which cannot be protected by the writ of injunction. The rule is well settled
that the jurisdiction of the regional trial court as a probate or intestate court relates only to matters having to do with the
settlement of the estate and probate of will of deceased persons but does not extend to the determination of questions of
ownership that arise during the proceedings. 15 The intestate court may pass upon the title to a certain property for the
purpose of determining whether the same should or should not be included in the inventory but such determination is not
conclusive and is subject to final decision in a separate action regarding ownership which may be constituted by the parties.
16
The court in charge of the intestate proceedings cannot adjudicate or determine title to properties claimed to be a part of
the estate and which are equally claimed to belong to outside parties. 17 Therefore, the possibility of irreparable damage
without proof of violation of an actually existing right of petitioners over the shareholdings presently in the possession of
private respondents is no ground for an injunction being a mere damnum absque injuria. 18
Moreover, the grant or denial of an injunction rests in the sound discretion of the lower court. The following findings of the
Court of Appeals affirming those of the SEC are binding and conclusive on this Court:
Applying the above jurisprudence in the instant case, this Court rules that the respondent SEC En Banc did
not abuse its discretion in denying petitioners' application for a writ of preliminary injunction. Petitioners
failed to show a clear and positive right to the questioned shares of the late Dr. Juvencio Ortaez in
Philinterlife from which respondents allegedly acquired their possible respective shareholdings. Petitioners'
alleged right over the shares of stock in question as well as other properties spring from their yet to be
established position as heirs of the late Dr. Juvencio Ortaez. Said issue of heirship has to be established in
the probate court particularly in the settlement of estate of the late Dr. Juvencio Ortaez. As it is now,
petitioner have mere expectance on the properties of the late Dr. Juvencio Ortaez. The judicial protection
of a writ of preliminary injunction does not cover contingent or future right. An actual, clear, and positive
right should exist before the mantle of the powerful writ of injunction can protect its movant who prays for
the preservation of the status quo pending the hearing of the main case on the merits. Petitioners, having
only contingent and future right as alleged heirs of the late Dr. Juvencio Ortaez, are not entitled to a writ
of preliminary injunction. If respondents are dissipating the said shares of stocks and properties of

Philinterlife which allegedly form part of the estate of the late Dr. Juvencio Ortaez, this issue could be
properly brought to the attention of the probate court, the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, branch 85,
in the estate proceedings in Sp. Proc No. Q-30884. 19
Contrary to the contentions of petitioners, the SEC found that private respondents are bona fide owners of shares of stock
in Philinterlife constituting the majority thereof or 94% of the outstanding capital stock of the company. Records show that
they have been stockholders of Philinterlife since 1983 up to the present. It was only in 1994 that petitioners sought the
annulment of the shareholdings of private respondents before the SEC. The grant of the writ of injunction against private
respondents by restraining them from exercising their rights as stockholders would in effect dispose of the main case
without a trial. The SEC acted correctly in denying the issuance of the writ until the merits of the case can be heard.
Further, it is a basic procedural postulate that a preliminary injunction is not proper where its purpose is to take the
property out of control or possession of one party and transfer the same to the hands of another who did not have such
control at the inception of the case 20 and whose title has not been clearly established by law. 21
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The decision of the Court of Appeals dated May 31, 1996 is AFFIRMED. SO ORDERED.
A.M. No. 190 October 18, 1977
RE: CLAIMS FOR BENEFITS OF THE HEIRS OF THE LATE MARIO V. CHANLIONGCO, FIDELA B. CHANLIONGCO,
MARIO B. CHANLIONGCO II, MA. ANGELINA C. BUENAVENTURA and MARIO C. CHANLIONGCO, JR.,
MAKASIAR, J.
This matter refers to the claims for retirement benefits filed by the heirs of the late ATTY. MARIO V. CHANLIONGCO an
attorney in this Court, under the provisions of R.A. No. 1616, as amended by R.A. No. 4986, which was approved by this
Court in its resolution of August 19, 1976, effective on July 12, 1976 it a g from the records that at the time of his death on
July 12, 1976, Atty. Chanliongco was more than 63 years of age, with more than 38 years of service in the government. He
did not have any pending criminal administrative or not case against him, neither did he have any money or property
accountability. The highest salary he received was P18,700.00 per annum.
The above named flied the appellants for benefits with the accruing and with the Government Service System.
Aside from his widow, Dra. Fidel B. Chanliongco and an only Intimate Mario it appears that there are other deceased to
namely, Mrs. Angelina C. , Jr., both born out of wedlock to Angelina R Crespo, and duly recognized by the deceased. Except
Mario, Jr., who is only 17 years of age, all the claimants are of legal age.
According to law, the benefits accruing to the deceased consist of: (1) retirement benefits; (2) money value of terminal
leave; (3) life insurance and (4) refund of retirement premium.
From the records now before US, it appears that the GSIS had already the release the life insurance proceeds; and the
refund of rent to the claimants.
What, therefore, to be settled are the retirement benefits and the money value of leave, both of which are to be paid by
this court as the deceased's last employer.
The record also shows that the late Atty. Chanliongco died ab intestato and that he filed or over to state in his application
for membership with the GSIS the beneficiary or benefits of his retirement benefits, should he die before retirement.
Hence, the retirement benefits shall accrue to his estate and will be distributed among his Legal heirs in with the benefits
on intestate s , as in the caw of a fife if no benefit is named in the policy (Vda. de vs. GSIS, L-28093, Jan. 30, 1971, 37
SCRA 315, 325).
Insofar therefore as the retirement benefits are WE adopt in toto, for being in accordance with law, the GSIS determination
of the amount of the retirement the kill heirs and their e shares as indicated in its letter to US, dated March 15, 1977, to
wit: +.wph!1
(a) Amount of retirement grautity:
1

. Total
creditable
service

37.57169 years

2. Highest
rate of
salary

Pl,558.33333/mo.

3. Gratuity
in terms of
months

50.14338 months

4. Amount
of gratuity
(highest
salary) x
(No. of

P78,140,10

grautity
months)
(b) Legal heirs:
1

. Fidela B.
Chanliongco.

widow

2. Mario B.
Chanliongco II.

legitimate
son

3. Ma. Angelina C.
Buenaventura

illegitimate
child

4. Mario
Chanliongco Jr.

illegitimate
child

(c) Distribution
(1) 8/16 share to
Mario II

P39,070.050

(2) 4/16 share to


the widow, Fidela
B. Chanliongco

19,535.025

(3) 2/16 share, or


P9,767.5125 each
to the two
illegitimate
children Ma.
Angelina C.
Buenaventura and
Mario
Chanliongco, Jr.

19 535 25

TOTAL

P78.140.100

Coming now to the money value of the terminal leave, unpaid salary and 10% adjustment pursuant to Budget Circular No.
240, dated July 22, 1974, this Court's Finance Officer, in a memorandum dated March 23, 1977, indicated the breakdown of
these items as follows:
Unpaid salary for July 8-12,
1976 @
P1,416.66/mo.

P228.49

10% salary adj. for July 112, 1976

54.84

Money value of terminal


leave for the
period from July 13, 1976
to September
14,1977 @ P1,558.33

21,962.54

Sub-Total

P22,9245.87

Less:
Withholding Tax

P1,400.00

Supreme Court
Savings & Loan
Association

7,340.42
NET
PROCEEDS

8.740.42
P13,505.45

It further appears that at the time of his death the late Atty. Chanliongco had an outstanding account with the Supreme
Court Savings & Loans Association in the sum of P7,340.42. Deduction this amount plus another sum of P1,400.00,
representing withhold tax due from him, or a total of P8,740.42, from above sub-total sum of P22,245.87. WE have at the
net sum P13,505.45, available for distribute to the claimants as follows:
. Fidela B.
Chanliongco
1

a. As her
conjugal
share

P 6,752.72

b. As a
legal heir

P 1,688.18

2. Mario
Chanliongco II

P 3,376.36

3. Ma. Angelina
C.
Buenaventura

844.10

4. Mario Jr.

844.09
TOTAL

P13,505.45

It will be seen from the f distribution that the money value of the unused vacation and sick leave, unpaid will and 10%
adjustment due to the has been treated as conjugal property. Accordingly, one-half (l/2) goes to the widow as her share in
the conjugal hip and the other half P6,752.725 is to be distributed to the deceased's kill him, using the same one WE used
in distributing the retirement benefits. This is so because "Vacation with pay is not a gratuity but is compensation for
services rendered." (Ramey vs. State, 296 NW 323, 296 Mich. 449).
WHEREFORE, THE CLAIMS ARE HEREBY APPROVED. THE FINANCE AND/OR DISBURSING OFFICER OF THIS COURT IS
ORDERED To pay IMMEDIATELY TO EACH AND EVERY CLAIMANT HE VARIOUS SUMS HEREUNDER INDICATED OPPOSITE
THEIR NAMES, AS FOLLOWS:
. FIDELA B. CHANLIONGCO

A. HER 4/16 SHARE OF RETIREMENT


GRATUITY

P19,535.025

B. HER SHARE FROM MONEY VALUE OF


TEAL LEAVE, UNPAID SALARY AND 10%
ADJUSTMENT:
(1) AS HER CONJUGAL SHARE

6,752.72

(2) AS A LEGAL HEIR

P1,688.18

TOTAL AMOUNT DUE HER

P27,975.93

2. MARIO CHANLIONGCO II
A. HIS 8/16 SHARE OF RETIREMENT
GRATUITY

P39,070.05

B. HIS SHARE FROM MONEY VALUE OF


TERMINAL LEAVE, UNPAID SALARY AND
10% ADJUSTMENT

3,376.36

TOTAL AMOUNT DUE HIM

P42,446.41

3. MA. ANGELINA C. BUENAVENTURA:


A. HER 2/16 SHARE OF RETIREMENT
GRATUITY

P9,767.51

B. HER SHARE FROM MONEY VALUE OF


TERMINAL LEAVE, UNPAID SALARY AND
10% ADJUSTMENT

844.10

TOTAL AMOUNT DUE HER

P10,611.61

4. MARIO CHANLIONGCO JR. TO BE


PAID THROUGH HIS MOTHER AND

NATURAL GUARDIAN, ANGELINA


CRESPO):
A. HIS 2/16 SHARE OF RETIREMENT
GRATUITY

P9,767.51

B. HIS SHARE FROM MONEY VALUE OF


TERMINAL LEAVE, UNPAID SALARY AND
10% ADJUSTMENT

844.10

TOTAL AMOUNT DUE HIM

P10,611.61

SO ORDERED.
Separate Opinions
AQUINO, J., concurring:
I concur. The provisions on legitime are found under the rubric of testamentary succession. That does not mean that the
legitime is taken into account only in testamentary succession. The legitime must also be taken into consideration in legal
succession.
There may be instances, like the instant case, where in legal succession the estate is distributed according to the rules on
legitime without applying the rules on intestate ion. The reason is that sometimes the estate is not even sufficient to satisfy
the legitimes. The legitimes of the primary compulsory heirs, like a child or descendant, should first be satisfied.
In this case the decedent's legal heirs are his legitimate child, his widow and two intimate children. His estate is partitioned
among those heirs by giving them their respective time.
The legitimate child gets one-half of the estate as his legitime which is regarded as his share as a legal heir Art 888, Civil
Code).
The widow's legitime is one-fourth of the estate. That represents also her share as a legal heir (Art. 892, 1st sentence, Civil
Code).
The remaining one-fourth of the estate, which is the free portion, goes to the illegitimate children in equal shares, as their
legitime, Pursuant to the provision that 'the legitimate of the illegitimate children shall be taken from the portion of the
estate at the free disposal of the testator, provoked that in no case shall the total legitime of such illegitimate children
exceed that free portion, and that the legitime of the surviving spouse must first be fully satisfied par., art. 895, Civil Code).
The rule in Santillon vs. Miranda, L-19281, June 30, 1965, 14 SCRA 563, that when the surviving spouse concurs with only
one legitimate child, the spouse is entitled to one-half of the estate and the gets the other half, t to article 996 of the Civil
Code, does not apply to the case because here intimate children concur with the surviving spouse and the intimate child.
In this case, to divide the estate between the surviving spouse and the ligitemate child that deprive the illegitimate children
of their legitime.
So, the decendent's estate is distributed in the proportion of 1/2 for the legitimate child, 1/4 for the widow and 1/8 each for
the two illegitimate children.
Also not of possible application to this case is the rule that the legal of an acknowledge natural child is 1/2 of the legitime of
the legitimate child of that the of the spurious child is 2/5 of that of the of the intimate child or 4/5 of that of that of the
acknowledged natural child.
The rule be applied because the estate is not sufficient to cover legitimes of all compulsory heirs. That is one of the flaws of
the law of succession.
A situation as in the instant case may arise where the illegitimate children get less than their legitime.
With respect to the decendant's unpaid salary and the money value of his leave, the same are conjugal properties because
of the rule that property "obtained by the or work, or as salary of the spouses, or either of them", is conjugal in character
(Art. 153[2], Civil Code).
G.R. No. 140975, Promulgated December 8, 2000
OFELIA HERNANDO BAGUNU, Petitioner.
vs.
PASTORA PIEDAD, Respondent.
VITUG, J.:
On 28 August 1995, herein petitioner Ofelia Hernando Bagunu moved to intervene in Special Proceedings No. 3652, entitled
"In the matter of the Intestate Proceedings of the Estate of Augusto H. Piedad," pending before the Regional Trial Court

("RTC"), Branch 117, of Pasay City. Asserting entitlement to a share of the estate of the late Augusto H. Piedad, petitioner
assailed the finality of the order of the trial court awarding the entire estate to respondent Pastora Piedad contending that
the proceedings were tainted with procedural infirmities, including an incomplete publications of the notice of hearing, lack
of personal notice to the heirs and creditors, and irregularity in the disbursements of allowances and withdrawals by the
administrator of the estate. The trial court denied the motion, prompting petitioners to raise her case to the Court of
Appeals. Respondent sought the dismissal of the appeal on the thesis that the issues brought up on appeal only involving
nothing else but questions of law to be raised before the Supreme Court by petition for review on certiorari in accordance
with Rule 45 thereof and consistently with Circular 2-90 of the Court.
In a well-written resolution, the Court of Appeals belabored the distinctions between questions of law and questions of fact,
thus:
"There is a question of law in a given case when the doubt or difference arises as to what the law is on a
certain state of facts, and there is a question of fact when the doubt or difference arises as to the truth or
the falsehood of alleged facts. There is question of fact when the query necessarily invites calibration of
the whole evidence considering mainly the credibility of witnesses, existence and relevance of specific
surrounding circumstances and their relation to each other and to the whole and the probabilities of the
situation."1
Justice Eugenio S. Labitoria, speaking for the appellate court, ratiocinated that whether or not the RTC erred in denying the
intervention considering (1) that the intervenor-appellant had a prima facie interest over the case (2) that the jurisdiction
over the person of the proper parties was not acquired in view of the deficient publication or notice of hearing, and (3) that
the proceedings had yet to be closed and terminated, were issues which did not qualify as "questions of fact" as to place
the appeal within the jurisdiction of the appellate court; thus;
"The issues are evidently pure questions of law because their resolution are based on facts not in dispute. Admitted are the
facts that intervenor-appellant is a collateral relative within the fifth degree of Augusto H. Piedad; the she is the daughter
of the first cousin of Augusto H. Piedad; that as such, intervenor-appellant seek to inherit was published for three
consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation; that there was no order of closure of proceedings that has been
issued by the intestate court; and that the intestate court has already issued an order for the transfer of the remaining
estate of Augusto H. Piedad to petitioner-appellee.
"These facts are undisputed.
"In this case, there is no doubt nor difference that arise as to the truth or falsehood on alleged facts. The question as to
whether intevenor-appellants as a collateral relative within the fifth civil degree, has legal interest in the intestate
proceeding which would justify her intervention; the question as to whether the publication of notice of hearing made in
this case is defective which would amount to lack of jurisdiction over the persons of the parties and the question as to
whether the proceedings has already been terminated when the intestate court issued the order of transfer of the estate of
Augusto H. Piedad to petitioner-appellee, in spite the absence of an order of closure of the intestate court, all call for the
application and interpretation of the proper law is applicable on a certain undisputed state of facts.
"The resolution of the issues raised does not require the review of the evidence, nor the credibility of witnesses presented,
nor the existence and relevance of specific surrounding circumstances. Resolution on the issues may be had even without
going to examination of facts on record."2
Still unsatisfied, petitioner contested the resolution of the appellate court in the instant petition for review on certiorari.
The Court finds no reversible error in the ruling of the appellate court. But let us set aside the alleged procedural
decrepitude and take on the basic substantive issue. Specifically, can petitioner, a collateral relative of the fifth civil degree,
inherit alongside respondent, a collateral relative of the third civil degree? Elsewise stated does the rule of proximity in
intestate succession find application among collateral relatives?
Augusto H. Piedad without any direct descendants or ascendants. Respondent is the maternal aunt of the decedent, a thirddegree relative of the decedent, while petitioner is the daughter of a first cousin of the deceased, or a fifth-degree relative
of the decedent.
The various provisions of the Civil Code on succession embody an almost complete set of law to govern, either by will or by
operation of law, the transmission of property, rights and obligations of a person upon his death. Each article is construed in
congruity with, rather than in isolation of, the system set out by the Code.
The rule on proximity is a concept that favors the relatives nearest in degree to the decedent and excludes the more distant
ones except when and to the extent that the right of representation can apply. Thus, Article 962 of the Civil Code provides:
"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.
"Relatives in the same degree shall inherit in equal shares, subject to the provisions of article 1006 with respect to relatives
of the full and half blood, and of article 987, paragraph 2, concerning division between the paternal and maternal lines."
By right of representation, a more distant blood relative of a decedent is, by operation of law, "raised to the same place and
degree" of relationship as that of a closer blood relative of the same decedent. The representative thereby steps into the

shoes of the person he represents and succeeds, not from the latter, but from the person to whose estate the person
represented would have succeeded.
"ART. 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 latter would have if he were living or if he could
have inherited."
"ART. 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."
"ART. 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 latter would have if he were living or if he could
have inherited."
"ART. 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."
In the direct line, right of representation is proper only in the descending, never in the ascending, line. In the collateral line,
the right of representation may only take place in favor of the children of brothers or sisters of the decedent when such
children survive with their uncles or aunts.
"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.
"ART. 974. Whenever there is succession by representation, the division of the estate shall be made per stripes, in such
manner that the representative or representatives shall not inherit more than what the person they represent would inherit,
if he were living or could inherit."
"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."
The right of representation does not apply to "others collateral relatives within the fifth civil degree" (to which group both
petitioner and respondent belong) who are sixth in the order of preference following, firstly, the legitimate children and
descendants, secondly, the legitimate parents and ascendants, thirdly, the illegitimate children and descendants, fourthly,
the surviving spouse, and fifthly, the brothers and sisters/nephews and nieces, fourth decedent. Among collateral relatives,
except only in the case of nephews and nieces of the decedent concurring with their uncles or aunts, the rule of proximity,
expressed in Article 962, aforequoted, of the Code, is an absolute rule. In determining the degree of relationship of the
collateral relatives to the decedent, Article 966 of the Civil Code gives direction.
"Article 966. xxx
"In the collateral line, ascent is made to the common ancestor and then descent is made ancestor and then descent is
made to the person with whom the computation is to be made. Thus, a person is two degrees removed from his brother,
three from his uncle, who is the brother of his father, four from his first cousin and so forth."
Accordingly----

Respondent, being a relative within the third civil degree, of the late Augusto H. Piedad excludes petitioner, a relative of the
fifth degree, from succeeding an intestato to the estate of the decedent.
The provisions of Article 1009 and Article 1010 of the Civil Code
"Article 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 them by reason of relationship by the whole
blood."
"Article 1010. The right to inherit ab intestato shall not extend beyond the fifth degree of relationship in the collateral line."
Invoked by petitioner do not at all support her cause. The law means only that among the other collateral relatives (the
sixth in the line of succession), no preference or distinction shall be observed "by reason of relationship by the whole
blood." In fine, a maternal aunt can inherit equally with a first cousin of the half blood but an uncle or an aunt, being a
third-degree relative, excludes the cousins of the decedent, being in the fourth degree of relationship; the latter, in turn,
would have priority in succession to a fifth-degree relative.1wphi1.nt
WHEREFORE, the instant Petition is DENIED. No costs. SO ORDERED.

10

G.R. No. L-26699 March 16, 1976


BENITA SALAO, assisted by her husband, GREGORIO MARCELO; ALMARIO ALCURIZA, ARTURO ALCURIZA,
OSCAR ALCURIZA and ANITA ALCURIZA, the latter two being minors are represented by guardian ad litem,
ARTURO ALCURIZA, plaintiffs-appellants,
vs.
JUAN S. SALAO, later substituted by PABLO P. SALAO, Administrator of the Intestate of JUAN S. SALAO; now
MERCEDES P. VDA. DE SALAO, ROBERTO P. SALAO, MARIA SALAO VDA. DE SANTOS, LUCIANA P. SALAO,
ISABEL SALAO DE SANTOS, and PABLO P. SALAO, as successors-in-interest of the late JUAN S. SALAO,
together with PABLO P. SALAO, Administrator, defendants-appellants.
AQUINO, J.:
This litigation regarding a forty-seven-hectare fishpond located at Sitio Calunuran, Hermosa, Bataan involves the law of
trusts and prescription. The facts are as follows:
The spouses Manuel Salao and Valentina Ignacio of Barrio Dampalit, Malabon, Rizal begot four children named Patricio,
Alejandra, Juan (Banli) and Ambrosia. Manuel Salao died in 1885. His eldest son, Patricio, died in 1886 survived by his only
child. Valentin Salao.
There is no documentary evidence as to what, properties formed part of Manuel Salao's estate, if any. His widow died on
May 28, 1914. After her death, her estate was administered by her daughter Ambrosia.
It was partitioned extrajudicially in a deed dated December 29, 1918 but notarized on May 22, 1919 (Exh. 21). The deed
was signed by her four legal heirs, namely, her three children, Alejandra, Juan and Ambrosia, and her grandson, Valentin
Salao, in representation of his deceased father, Patricio.
The lands left by Valentina Ignacio, all located at Barrio Dampalit were as follows:
Nature of Land
Area in
square
meters
(1) One-half interest in a fishpond which she had inherited from her parents, Feliciano Ignacio and Damiana Mendoza, and
the other half of which was owned by her co-owner, Josefa Sta. Ana . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21,700
(2) Fishpond inherited from her parents . . . . . . . . . . . . 7,418
(3) Fishpond inherited from her parents . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6,989
(4) Fishpond with a bodega for salt . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50,469
(5) Fishpond with an area of one hectare, 12 ares and 5 centares purchased from Bernabe and Honorata Ignacio by
Valentina Ignacio on November 9, 1895 with a bodega for
salt . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11,205
(6) Fishpond . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8,000
(7) One-half interest in a fishpond with a total area of 10,424 square meters, the other half was owned by A. Aguinaldo . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5,217
(8) Riceland . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50,454
(9) Riceland purchased by Valentina Ignacio from Eduardo Salao on January 27, 1890 with a house and two camarins
thereon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8,065
(10) Riceland in the name of Ambrosia Salao, with an area of 11,678 square meters, of which 2,173 square meters were
sold to Justa Yongco . . . . . . . . . .9,505
TOTAL . . . . . . . . . . . . .. 179,022 square
meters
To each of the legal heirs of Valentina Ignacio was adjudicated a distributive share valued at P8,135.25. In satisfaction of
his distributive share, Valentin Salao (who was then already forty-eight years old) was given the biggest fishpond with an
area of 50,469 square meters, a smaller fishpond with an area of 6,989 square meters and the riceland with a net area of
9,905 square meters. Those parcels of land had an aggregate appraised value of P13,501 which exceeded Valentin's
distributive share. So in the deed of partition he was directed to pay to his co-heirs the sum of P5,365.75. That
arrangement, which was obviously intended to avoid the fragmentation of the lands, was beneficial to Valentin.

11

In that deed of partition (Exh. 21) it was noted that "desde la muerte de Valentina Ignacio y Mendoza, ha venido
administrando sus bienes la referida Ambrosia Salao" "cuya administracion lo ha sido a satisfaccion de todos los herederos
y por designacion los mismos". It was expressly stipulated that Ambrosia Salao was not obligated to render any accounting
of her administration "en consideracion al resultado satisfactorio de sus gestiones, mejoradas los bienes y pagodas por ella
las contribusiones (pages 2 and 11, Exh. 21).
By virtue of the partition the heirs became "dueos absolutos de sus respectivas propiedadas, y podran inmediatamente
tomar posesion de sus bienes, en la forma como se han distribuido y llevado a cabo las adjudicaciones" (page 20, Exh. 21).
The documentary evidence proves that
and Ambrosia Salao, secured a Torrens
seven-hectare fishpond located at Sitio
Hermosa cadastre because that part of

in 1911 or prior to the death of Valentina Ignacio her two children, Juan Y. Salao, Sr.
title, OCT No. 185 of the Registry of Deeds of Pampanga, in their names for a fortyCalunuran, Lubao, Pampanga (Exh. 14). It is also known as Lot No. 540 of the
Lubao later became a part of Bataan.

The Calunuran fishpond is the bone of contention in this case.


Plaintiffs' theory is that Juan Y. Salao, Sr. and his sister Ambrosia had engaged in the fishpond business. Where they
obtained the capital is not shown in any documentary evidence. Plaintiffs' version is that Valentin Salao and Alejandra Salao
were included in that joint venture, that the funds used were the earnings of the properties supposedly inherited from
Manuel Salao, and that those earnings were used in the acquisition of the Calunuran fishpond. There is no documentary
evidence to support that theory.
On the other hand, the defendants contend that the Calunuran fishpond consisted of lands purchased by Juan Y. Salao, Sr.
and Ambrosia Salao in 1905, 1906, 1907 and 1908 as, shown in their Exhibits 8, 9, 10 and 13. But this point is disputed by
the plaintiffs.
However, there can be no controversy as to the fact that after Juan Y. Salao, Sr. and Ambrosia Salao secured a Torrens title
for the Calunuran fishpond in 1911 they exercised dominical rights over it to the exclusion of their nephew, Valentin Salao.
Thus, on December 1, 1911 Ambrosia Salao sold under pacto de retro for P800 the Calunuran fishpond to Vicente Villongco.
The period of redemption was one year. In the deed of sale (Exh19) Ambrosia confirmed that she and her brother Juan
were the dueos proindivisos of the said pesqueria. On December 7, 1911 Villongco, the vendee a retro, conveyed the
same fishpond to Ambrosia by way of lease for an anual canon of P128 (Exh. 19-a).
After the fishpond was redeemed from Villongco or on June 8, 1914 Ambrosia and Juan sold it under pacto de retro to Eligio
Naval for the sum of P3,360. The period of redemption was also one year (Exh. 20). The fishpond was later redeemed and
Naval reconveyed it to the vendors a retro in a document dated October 5, 1916 (Exh. 20-a).
The 1930 survey shown in the computation sheets of the Bureau of Lands reveals that the Calunuran fishpond has an area
of 479,205 square meters and that it was claimed by Juan Salao and Ambrosia Salao, while the Pinanganacan fishpond
(subsequently acquired by Juan and Ambrosia) has an area of 975,952 square meters (Exh. 22).
Likewise, there is no controversy as to the fact that on May 27, 1911 Ambrosia Salao bought for four thousand pesos from
the heirs of Engracio Santiago a parcel of swampland planted to bacawan and nipa with an area of 96 hectares, 57 ares and
73 centares located at Sitio Lewa, Barrio Pinanganacan, Lubao, Pampanga (Exh. 17-d).
The record of Civil Case No. 136, General Land Registration Office Record No. 12144, Court of First Instance of Pampanga
shows that Ambrosia Salao and Juan Salao filed an application for the registration of that land in their names on January
15, 1916. They alleged in their petition that "han adquirido dicho terreno por partes iguales y por la compra a los herederos
del finado, Don Engracio Santiago" (Exh. 17-a).
At the hearing on October 26, 1916 before Judge Percy M. Moir, Ambrosia testified for the applicants. On that same day
Judge Moir rendered a decision, stating, inter alia, that the heirs of Engracio Santiago had sold the land to Ambrosia Salao
and Juan Salao. Judge Moir "ordena la adjudicacion y registro del terreno solicitado a nombre de Juan Salao, mayor de
edad y de estado casado y de su esposa Diega Santiago y Ambrosia Salao, de estado soltera y mayor de edad, en
participaciones iguales" (Exh. 17-e).
On November 28, 1916 Judge Moir ordered the issuance of a decree for the said land. The decree was issued on February
21, 1917. On March 12, 1917 Original Certificate of Title No. 472 of the Registry of Deeds of Pampanga was issued in the
names of Juan Salao and Ambrosia Salao.
That Pinanganacan or Lewa fishpond later became Cadastral Lot No. 544 of the Hermosa cadastre (Exh. 23). It adjoins the
Calunuran fishpond (See sketch, Exh. 1).
Juan Y. Salao, Sr. died on November 3, 1931 at the age of eighty years (Exh. C). His nephew, Valentin Salao, died on
February 9, 1933 at the age of sixty years according to the death certificate (Exh. A. However, if according to Exhibit 21, he
was forty-eight years old in 1918, he would be sixty-three years old in 1933).
The intestate estate of Valentin Salao was partitioned extrajudicially on December 28, 1934 between his two daughters,
Benita Salao-Marcelo and Victorina Salao-Alcuriza (Exh. 32). His estate consisted of the two fishponds which he had
inherited in 1918 from his grandmother, Valentina Ignacio.

12

If it were true that he had a one-third interest in the Calunuran and Lewa fishponds with a total area of 145 hectares
registered in 1911 and 1917 in the names of his aunt and uncle, Ambrosia Salao and Juan Y. Salao, Sr., respectively, it is
strange that no mention of such interest was made in the extrajudicial partition of his estate in 1934.
It is relevant to mention that on April 8, 1940 Ambrosia Salao donated to her grandniece, plaintiff Benita Salao, three lots
located at Barrio Dampalit with a total area of 5,832 square meters (Exit. L). As donee Benita Salao signed the deed of
donation.
On that occasion she could have asked Ambrosia Salao to deliver to her and to the children of her sister, Victorina, the
Calunuran fishpond if it were true that it was held in trust by Ambrosia as the share of Benita's father in the alleged joint
venture.
But she did not make any such demand. It was only after Ambrosia Salao's death that she thought of filing an action for
the reconveyance of the Calunuran fishpond which was allegedly held in trust and which had become the sole property of
Juan Salao y Santiago (Juani).
On September 30, 1944 or during the Japanese occupation and about a year before Ambrosia Salao's death on September
14, 1945 due to senility (she was allegedly eighty-five years old when she died), she donated her one-half proindiviso share
in the two fishponds in question to her nephew, Juan S. Salao, Jr. (Juani) At that time she was living with Juani's family. He
was already the owner of the the other half of the said fishponds, having inherited it from his father, Juan Y. Salao, Sr.
(Banli) The deed of denotion included other pieces of real property owned by Ambrosia. She reserved for herself the
usufruct over the said properties during her lifetime (Exh. 2 or M).
The said deed of donation was registered only on April 5, 1950 (page 39, Defendants' Record on Appeal).
The lawyer of Benita Salao and the Children of Victorina Salao in a letter dated January 26, 1951 informed Juan S. Salao,
Jr. that his clients had a one-third share in the two fishponds and that when Juani took possession thereof in 1945, he
refused to give Benita and Victorina's children their one-third share of the net fruits which allegedly amounted to P200,000
(Exh. K).
Juan S. Salao, Jr. in his answer dated February 6, 1951 categorically stated that Valentin Salao did not have any interest in
the two fishponds and that the sole owners thereof his father Banli and his aunt Ambrosia, as shown in the Torrens titles
issued in 1911 and 1917, and that he Juani was the donee of Ambrosia's one-half share (Exh. K-1).
Benita Salao and her nephews and niece filed their original complaint against Juan S. Salao, Jr. on January 9, 1952 in the
Court of First Instance of Bataan (Exh. 36). They amended their complaint on January 28, 1955. They asked for the
annulment of the donation to Juan S. Salao, Jr. and for the reconveyance to them of the Calunuran fishpond as Valentin
Salao's supposed one-third share in the 145 hectares of fishpond registered in the names of Juan Y. Salao, Sr. and
Ambrosia Salao.
Juan S. Salao, Jr. in his answer pleaded as a defense the indefeasibility of the Torrens title secured by his father and aunt.
He also invoked the Statute of Frauds, prescription and laches. As counter-claims, he asked for moral damages amounting
to P200,000, attorney's fees and litigation expenses of not less than P22,000 and reimbursement of the premiums which he
has been paying on his bond for the lifting of the receivership Juan S. Salao, Jr. died in 1958 at the age of seventy-one. He
was substituted by his widow, Mercedes Pascual and his six children and by the administrator of his estate.
In the intestate proceedings for the settlement of his estate the two fishponds in question were adjudicated to his seven
legal heirs in equal shares with the condition that the properties would remain under administration during the pendency of
this case (page 181, Defendants' Record on Appeal).
After trial the trial court in its decision consisting of one hundred ten printed pages dismissed the amended complaint and
the counter-claim. In sixty-seven printed pages it made a laborious recital of the testimonies of plaintiffs' fourteen
witnesses, Gregorio Marcelo, Norberto Crisostomo, Leonardo Mangali Fidel de la Cruz, Dionisio Manalili, Ambrosio Manalili,
Policarpio Sapno, Elias Manies Basilio Atienza, Benita Salao, Emilio Cagui Damaso de la Pea, Arturo Alcuriza and Francisco
Buensuceso, and the testimonies of defendants' six witnesses, Marcos Galicia, Juan Galicia, Tiburcio Lingad, Doctor
Wenceslao Pascual, Ciriaco Ramirez and Pablo P. Salao. (Plaintiffs presented Regino Nicodemus as a fifteenth witness, a
rebuttal witness).
The trial court found that there was no community of property among Juan Y. Salao, Sr., Ambrosia Salao and Valentin Salao
when the Calunuran and Pinanganacan (Lewa) lands were acquired; that a co-ownership over the real properties of
Valentina Ignacio existed among her heirr after her death in 1914; that the co-ownership was administered by Ambrosia
Salao and that it subsisted up to 1918 when her estate was partitioned among her three children and her grandson,
Valentin Salao.
The trial court surmised that the co-ownership which existed from 1914 to 1918 misled the plaintiffs and their witnesses
and caused them to believe erroneously that there was a co-ownership in 1905 or thereabouts. The trial court speculated
that if valentin had a hand in the conversion into fishponds of the Calunuran and Lewa lands, he must have done so on a
salary or profit- sharing basis. It conjectured that Valentin's children and grandchildren were given by Ambrosia Salao a
portion of the earnings of the fishponds as a reward for his services or because of Ambrosia's affection for her grandnieces.
The trial court rationalized that Valentin's omission during his lifetime to assail the Torrens titles of Juan and Ambrosia
signified that "he was not a co-owner" of the fishponds. It did not give credence to the testimonies of plaintiffs' witnesses
because their memories could not be trusted and because no strong documentary evidence supported the declarations.
Moreover, the parties involved in the alleged trust were already dead.

13

It also held that the donation was validly executed and that even if it were void Juan S. Salao, Jr., the donee, would
nevertheless be the sole legal heir of the donor, Ambrosia Salao, and would inherit the properties donated to him.
Both parties appealed. The plaintiffs appealed because their action for reconveyance was dismissed. The defendants
appealed because their counterclaim for damages was dismissed.
The appeals, which deal with factual and legal issues, were made to the Court of Appeals. However, as the amounts
involved exceed two hundred thousand pesos, the Court of Appeals elevated the case to this Court in its resolution of
Octoter 3, 1966 (CA-G.R. No. 30014-R).
Plaintiffs' appeal. An appellant's brief should contain "a subject index index of the matter in the brief with a digest of the
argument and page references" to the contents of the brief (Sec. 16 [a], Rule 46, 1964 Rules of Court; Sec. 17, Rule 48,
1940 Rules of Court).
The plaintiffs in their appellants' brief consisting of 302 pages did not comply with that requirement. Their statements of
the case and the facts do not contain "page references to the record" as required in section 16[c] and [d] of Rule 46,
formerly section 17, Rule 48 of the 1940 Rules of Court.
Lawyers for appellants, when they prepare their briefs, would do well to read and re-read section 16 of Rule 46. If they
comply strictly with the formal requirements prescribed in section 16, they might make a competent and luminous
presentation of their clients' case and lighten the burden of the Court.
What Justice Fisher said in 1918 is still true now: "The pressure of work upon this Court is so great that we cannot, in
justice to other litigants, undertake to make an examination of the voluminous transcript of the testimony (1,553 pages in
this case, twenty-one witnesses having testified), unless the attorneys who desire us to make such examination have
themselves taken the trouble to read the record and brief it in accordance with our rules" (Palara vs. Baguisi 38 Phil. 177,
181). As noted in an old case, this Court decides hundreds of cases every year and in addition resolves in minute orders an
exceptionally considerable number of petitions, motions and interlocutory matters (Alzua and Arnalot vs. Johnson, 21 Phil.
308, 395; See In re Almacen, L-27654, February 18, 1970, 31 SCRA 562, 573).
Plaintiffs' first assignment of error raised a procedural issue. In paragraphs 1 to 14 of their first cause of action they made
certain averments to establish their theory that Valentin Salao had a one-third interest in the two fishponds which were
registrered in the names of Juan Y. Salao, Sr. (Banli) and Ambrosia Salao.
Juan S. Salao, Jr. (Juani) in his answer "specifically" denied each and all the allegations" in paragraphs I to 10 and 12 of the
first cause of action with the qualification that Original certificates of Title Nos. 185 and 472 were issued "more than 37
years ago" in the names of Juan (Banli) and Ambrosia under the circumstances set forth in Juan S. Salao, Jr.'s "positive
defenses" and "not under the circumstances stated in the in the amended complaint".
The plaintiffs contend that the answer of Juan S. Salao, Jr. was in effect tin admission of the allegations in their first cause
of action that there was a co-ownership among Ambrosia, Juan, AIejandra and Valentin, all surnamed Salao, regarding the
Dampalit property as early as 1904 or 1905; that the common funds were invested the acquisition of the two fishponds;
that the 47-hectare Calunuran fishpond was verbally adjudicated to Valentin Salao in the l919 partition and that there was
a verbal stipulation to to register "said lands in the name only of Juan Y. Salao".
That contention is unfounded. Under section 6, Rule 9 of the 1940 of Rules of Court the answer should "contain either a
specific dinial a statement of matters in accordance of the cause or causes of action asserted in the complaint". Section 7 of
the same rule requires the defendant to "deal specificaly with each material allegation of fact the truth of wihich he does
not admit and, whenever practicable shall set forth the substance of the matters which he will rely upon to support his
denial". "Material averments in the complaint, other than those as to the amount damage, shall be deemed admitted when
specifically denied" (Sec. 8). "The defendant may set forth set forth by answer as many affirmative defenses as he may
have. All grounds of defenses as would raise issues of fact not arising upon the preceding pleading must be specifically
pleaded" (Sec. 9).
What defendant Juan S. Salao, Jr. did in his answer was to set forth in his "positive defenses" the matters in avoidance of
plaintiffs' first cause of action which which supported his denials of paragraphs 4 to 10 and 12 of the first cause of action.
Obviously, he did so because he found it impracticable to state pierceneal his own version as to the acquisition of the two
fishponds or to make a tedious and repetitious recital of the ultimate facts contradicting allegations of the first cause of
action.
We hold that in doing so he substantially complied with Rule 9 of the 1940 Rules of Court. It may be noted that under the
present Rules of Court a "negative defense is the specific denial of t the material fact or facts alleged in the complaint
essential to plaintiff's cause of causes of action". On the other hand, "an affirmative defense is an allegation of new matter
which, while admitting the material allegations of the complaint, expressly or impliedly, would nevertheless prevent or bar
recovery by the plaintiff." Affirmative defenses include all matters set up "by of confession and avoidance". (Sec. 5, Rule 6,
Rules of Court).
The case of El Hogar Filipino vs. Santos Investments, 74 Phil. 79 and similar cases are distinguishable from the instant
case. In the El Hogar case the defendant filed a laconic answer containing the statement that it denied "generally ans
specifically each and every allegation contained in each and every paragraph of the complaint". It did not set forth in its
answer any matters by way of confession and avoidance. It did not interpose any matters by way of confession and
avoidance. It did not interpose any affirmative defenses.

14

Under those circumstances, it was held that defendant's specific denial was really a general denial which was tantamount to
an admission of the allegations of the complaint and which justified judgment on the pleadings. That is not the situation in
this case.
The other nine assignments of error of the plaintiffs may be reduced to the decisive issue of whether the Calunuran
fishpond was held in trust for Valentin Salao by Juan Y. Salao, Sr. and Ambrosia Salao. That issue is tied up with the
question of whether plaintiffs' action for reconveyance had already prescribed.
The plaintiffs contend that their action is "to enforce a trust which defendant" Juan S. Salao, Jr. allegedly violated. The
existence of a trust was not definitely alleged in plaintiffs' complaint. They mentioned trust for the first time on page 2 of
their appelants' brief.
To determine if the plaintiffs have a cause of action for the enforcement of a trust, it is necessary to maek some exegesis
on the nature of trusts (fideicomosis). Trusts in Anglo-American jurisprudence were derived from the fideicommissa of the
Roman law (Government of the Philippine Islands vs. Abadilla, 46 Phil. 642, 646).
"In its technical legal sense, a trust is defined as the right, enforceable solely in equity, to the beneficial enjoyment of
property, the legal title to which is vested in another, but the word 'trust' is frequently employed to indicate duties,
relations, and responsibilities which are not strictly technical trusts" (89 C.J.S. 712).
A person who establishes a trust is called the trustor; one in whom confidence is reposed as regards property for the
benefit of another person is known as the trustee; and the person for whose benefit the trust has been created is referred
to as the beneficiary" (Art. 1440, Civil Code). There is a fiduciary relation between the trustee and the cestui que trust as
regards certain property, real, personal, money or choses in action (Pacheco vs. Arro, 85 Phil. 505).
"Trusts are either express or implied. Express trusts are created by the intention of the trustor or of the parties. Implied
trusts come into being by operation of law" (Art. 1441, Civil Code). "No express trusts concerning an immovable or any
interest therein may be proven by parol evidence. An implied trust may be proven by oral evidence" (Ibid, Arts. 1443 and
1457).
"No particular words are required for the creation of an express trust, it being sufficient that a trust is clearly intended"
(Ibid, Art. 1444; Tuason de Perez vs. Caluag, 96 Phil. 981; Julio vs. Dalandan, L-19012, October 30, 1967, 21 SCRA 543,
546). "Express trusts are those which are created by the direct and positive acts of the parties, by some writing or deed, or
will, or by words either expressly or impliedly evincing an intention to create a trust" (89 C.J.S. 72).
"Implied trusts are those which, without being expressed, are deducible from the nature of the transaction as matters of
intent, or which are superinduced on the transaction by operation of law as matter of equity, independently of the
particular intention of the parties" (89 C.J.S. 724). They are ordinarily subdivided into resulting and constructive trusts (89
C.J.S. 722).
"A resulting trust. is broadly defined as a trust which is raised or created by the act or construction of law, but in its more
restricted sense it is a trust raised by implication of law and presumed to have been contemplated by the parties, the
intention as to which is to be found in the nature of their transaction, but not expressed in the deed or instrument of
conveyance (89 C.J.S. 725). Examples of resulting trusts are found in articles 1448 to 1455 of the Civil Code. (See Padilla
vs. Court of Appeals, L-31569, September 28, 1973, 53 SCRA 168, 179; Martinez vs. Grao 42 Phil. 35).
On the other hand, a constructive trust is -a trust "raised by construction of law, or arising by operation of law". In a more
restricted sense and as contra-distinguished from a resulting trust, a constructive trust is "a trust not created by any
words, either expressly or impliedly evincing a direct intension to create a trust, but by the construction of equity in order
to satisfy the demands of justice." It does not arise "by agreement or intention, but by operation of law." (89 C.J.S. 726727).
Thus, "if property is acquired through mistake or fraud, the person obtaining it is, by force of law, considered a trustee of
an implied trust for the benefit of the person from whom the property comes" (Art. 1456, Civil Code).
Or "if a person obtains legal title to property by fraud or concealment, courts of equity will impress upon the title a socalled constructive trust in favor of the defrauded party". Such a constructive trust is not a trust in the technical sense.
(Gayondato vs. Treasurer of the P. I., 49 Phil. 244).
Not a scintilla of documentary evidence was presented by the plaintiffs to prove that there was an express trust over the
Calunuran fishpond in favor of Valentin Salao. Purely parol evidence was offered by them to prove the alleged trust. Their
claim that in the oral partition in 1919 of the two fishponds the Calunuran fishpond was assigned to Valentin Salao is legally
untenable.
It is legally indefensible because the terms of article 1443 of the Civil Code (already in force when the action herein was
instituted) are peremptory and unmistakable: parol evidence cannot be used to prove an express trust concerning realty.
Is plaintiffs' massive oral evidence sufficient to prove an implied trust, resulting or constructive, regarding the two
fishponds?
Plaintiffs' pleadings and evidence cannot be relied upon to prove an implied trust. The trial court's firm conclusion that
there was no community of property during the lifetime of Valentina; Ignacio or before 1914 is substantiated by

15

defendants' documentary evidence. The existence of the alleged co-ownership over the lands supposedly inherited from
Manuel Salao in 1885 is the basis of plaintiffs' contention that the Calunuran fishpond was held in trust for Valentin Salao.
But that co-ownership was not proven by any competent evidence. It is quite improbable because the alleged estate of
Manuel Salao was likewise not satisfactorily proven. The plaintiffs alleged in their original complaint that there was a coownership over two hectares of land left by Manuel Salao. In their amended complaint, they alleged that the co-ownership
was over seven hectares of fishponds located in Barrio Dampalit, Malabon, Rizal. In their brief they alleged that the
fishponds, ricelands and saltbeds owned in common in Barrio Dampalit had an area of twenty-eight hectares, of which
sixteen hectares pertained to Valentina Ignacio and eleven hectares represented Manuel Salao's estate.
They theorized that the eleven hectares "were, and necessarily, the nucleus, nay the very root, of the property now in
litigation (page 6, plaintiffs-appellants' brief). But the eleven hectares were not proven by any trustworthy evidence. Benita
Salao's testimony that in 1918 or 1919 Juan, Ambrosia, Alejandra and Valentin partitioned twenty-eight hectares of lands
located in Barrio Dampalit is not credible. As noted by the defendants, Manuel Salao was not even mentioned in plaintiffs'
complaints.
The 1919 partition of Valentina Ignacio's estate covered about seventeen hectares of fishponds and ricelands (Exh. 21). If
at the time that partition was made there were eleven hectares of land in Barrio Dampalit belonging to Manuel Salao, who
died in 1885, those eleven hectares would have been partitioned in writing as in the case of the seventeen hectares
belonging to Valentina Ignacio's estate.
It is incredible that the forty-seven-hectare Calunuran fishpond would be adjudicated to Valentin Salao mere by by word of
mouth. Incredible because for the partition of the seventeen hectares of land left by Valentina Ignacio an elaborate
"Escritura de Particion" consisting of twenty-two pages had to be executed by the four Salao heirs. Surely, for the partition
of one hundred forty-five hectares of fishponds among three of the same Salao heirs an oral adjudication would not have
sufficed.
The improbability of the alleged oral partition becomes more evident when it is borne in mind that the two fishponds were
registered land and "the act of registration" is "the operative act" that conveys and affects the land (Sec. 50, Act No. 496).
That means that any transaction affecting the registered land should be evidenced by a registerable deed. The fact that
Valentin Salao and his successors-in-interest, the plaintiffs, never bothered for a period of nearly forty years to procure any
documentary evidence to establish his supposed interest ox participation in the two fishponds is very suggestive of the
absence of such interest.
The matter may be viewed from another angle. As already stated, the deed of partition for Valentina Ignacio's estate wag
notarized in 1919 (Exh. 21). The plaintiffs assert that the two fishponds were verbally partitioned also in 1919 and that the
Calunuran fishpond was assigned to Valentin Salao as his share.
Now in the partition of Valentina Ignacio's estate, Valentin was obligated to pay P3,355.25 to Ambrosia Salao. If, according
to the plaintiffs, Ambrosia administered the two fishponds and was the custodian of its earnings, then it could have been
easily stipulated in the deed partitioning Valentina Ignacio's estate that the amount due from Valentin would just be
deducted by Ambrosia from his share of the earnings of the two fishponds. There was no such stipulation. Not a shred of
documentary evidence shows Valentin's participation in the two fishponds.
The plaintiffs utterly failed to measure up to the yardstick that a trust must be proven by clear, satisfactory and convincing
evidence. It cannot rest on vague and uncertain evidence or on loose, equivocal or indefinite declarations (De Leon vs.
Molo-Peckson, 116 Phil. 1267, 1273).
Trust and trustee; establishment of trust by parol evidence; certainty of proof. Where a trust is to be
established by oral proof, the testimony supporting it must be sufficiently strong to prove the right of the
alleged beneficiary with as much certainty as if a document proving the trust were shown. A trust cannot
be established, contrary to the recitals of a Torrens title, upon vague and inconclusive proof. (Syllabus,
Suarez vs. Tirambulo, 59 Phil. 303).
Trusts; evidence needed to establish trust on parol testimony. In order to establish a trust in real
property by parol evidence, the proof should be as fully convincing as if the act giving rise to the trust
obligation were proven by an authentic document. Such a trust cannot be established upon testimony
consisting in large part of insecure surmises based on ancient hearsay. (Syllabus, Santa Juana vs. Del
Rosario 50 Phil. 110).
The foregoing rulings are good under article 1457 of the Civil Code which, as already noted, allows an implied trust to be
proven by oral evidence. Trustworthy oral evidence is required to prove an implied trust because, oral evidence can be
easily fabricated.
On the other hand, a Torrens title is generally a conclusive of the ownership of the land referred to therein (Sec. 47, Act
496). A strong presumption exists. that Torrens titles were regularly issued and that they are valid. In order to maintain an
action for reconveyance, proof as to the fiduciary relation of the parties must be clear and convincing (Yumul vs. Rivera and
Dizon, 64 Phil. 13, 17-18).
The real purpose of the Torrens system is, to quiet title to land. "Once a title is registered, the owner may rest secure,
without the necessity of waiting in the portals of the court, or sitting in the mirador de su casa, to avoid the possibility of
losing his land" (Legarda and Prieto vs. Saleeby, 31 Phil. 590, 593).

16

There was no resulting trust in this case because there never was any intention on the part of Juan Y. Salao, Sr., Ambrosia
Salao and Valentin Salao to create any trust. There was no constructive trust because the registration of the two fishponds
in the names of Juan and Ambrosia was not vitiated by fraud or mistake. This is not a case where to satisfy the demands of
justice it is necessary to consider the Calunuran fishpond " being held in trust by the heirs of Juan Y. Salao, Sr. for the heirs
of Valentin Salao.
And even assuming that there was an implied trust, plaintiffs' action is clearly barred by prescription or laches (Ramos vs.
Ramos, L-19872, December 3, 1974, 61 SCRA 284; Quiniano vs. Court of Appeals, L-23024, May 31, 1971, 39 SCRA 221;
Varsity Hills, Inc. vs. Navarro, 9, February 29, 1972, 43 SCRA 503; Alzona vs. Capunitan and Reyes, 114 Phil. 377).
Under Act No. 190, whose statute of limitation would apply if there were an implied trust in this case, the longest period of
extinctive prescription was only ten year (Sec. 40; Diaz vs. Gorricho and Aguado, 103 Phil. 261, 266).
The Calunuran fishpond was registered in 1911. The written extrajudicial demand for its reconveyance was made by the
plaintiffs in 1951. Their action was filed in 1952 or after the lapse of more than forty years from the date of registration.
The plaintiffs and their predecessor-in-interest, Valentin Salao, slept on their rights if they had any rights at all. Vigilanti
prospiciunt jura or the law protects him who is watchful of his rights (92 C.J.S. 1011, citing Esguerra vs. Tecson, 21 Phil.
518, 521).
"Undue delay in the enforcement of a right is strongly persuasive of a lack of merit in the claim, since it is human nature for
a person to assert his rights most strongly when they are threatened or invaded". "Laches or unreasonable delay on the
part of a plaintiff in seeking to enforce a right is not only persuasive of a want of merit but may, according to the
circumstances, be destructive of the right itself." (Buenaventura vs. David, 37 Phil. 435, 440-441).
Having reached the conclusion that the plaintiffs are not entitled to the reconveyance of the Calunuran fishpond, it is no
longer n to Pass upon the validity of the donation made by Ambrosia Salao to Juan S. Salao, Jr. of her one-half share in the
two fishponds The plaintiffs have no right and personality to assil that donation.
Even if the donation were declared void, the plaintiffs would not have any successional rights to Ambrosia's share. The sole
legal heir of Ambrosia was her nephew, Juan, Jr., her nearest relative within the third degree. Valentin Salao, if living in
1945 when Ambrosia died, would have been also her legal heir, together with his first cousin, Juan, Jr. (Juani). Benita
Salao, the daughter of Valentin, could not represent him in the succession to the estate of Ambrosia since in the collateral
line, representation takes place only in favor of the children of brothers or sisters whether they be of the full or half blood is
(Art 972, Civil Code). The nephew excludes a grandniece like Benita Salao or great-gandnephews like the plaintiffs Alcuriza
(Pavia vs. Iturralde 5 Phil. 176).
The trial court did not err in dismissing plaintiffs' complaint.
Defendants' appeal. The defendants dispute the lower court's finding that the plaintiffs filed their action in good faith.
The defendants contend that they are entitled to damages because the plaintiffs acted maliciously or in bad faith in suing
them. They ask for P25,000 attorneys fees and litigation expenses and, in addition, moral damages.
We hold that defemdamts' appeal is not meritorious. The record shows that the plaintiffs presented fifteen witnesses during
the protracted trial of this case which lasted from 1954 to 1959. They fought tenaciously. They obviously incurred
considerable expenses in prosecuting their case. Although their causes of action turned out to be unfounded, yet the
pertinacity and vigor with which they pressed their claim indicate their sincerity and good faith.
There is the further consideration that the parties were descendants of common ancestors, the spouses Manuel Salao and
Valentina Ignacio, and that plaintiffs' action was based on their honest supposition that the funds used in the acquisition of
the lands in litigation were earnings of the properties allegedly inherited from Manuel Salao.
Considering those circumstances, it cannot be concluded with certitude that plaintiffs' action was manifestly frivolous or was
primarily intended to harass the defendants. An award for damages to the defendants does not appear to be just and
proper.
The worries and anxiety of a defendant in a litigation that was not maliciously instituted are not the moral damages
contemplated in the law (Solis & Yarisantos vs. Salvador, L-17022, August 14, 1965, 14 SCRA 887; Ramos vs. Ramos,
supra). The instant case is not among the cases mentioned in articles 2219 and 2220 of the Civil Code wherein moral
damages may be recovered. Nor can it be regarded as analogous to any of the cases mentioned in those articles.
The adverse result of an action does not per se make the act wrongful and subject the actor to the
payment of moral damages. The law could not have meant to impose a penalty on the right to litigate;
such right is so precious that moral damages may not be charged on those who may exercise it
erroneously. (Barreto vs. Arevalo, 99 Phil. 771. 779).
The defendants invoke article 2208 (4) (11) of the Civil Code which provides that attorney's fees may be recovered "in case
of a clearly unfounded civil action or proceeding against the plaintiff" (defendant is a plaintiff in his counterclaim) or "in any
other case where the court deems it just and equitable" that attorney's fees should he awarded.
But once it is conceded that the plaintiffs acted in good faith in filing their action there would be no basis for adjudging
them liable to the defendants for attorney's fees and litigation expenses (See Rizal Surety & Insurance Co., Inc. vs. Court of
Appeals, L-23729, May 16, 1967, 20 SCRA 61).

17

It is not sound public policy to set a premium on the right to litigate. An adverse decision does not ipso facto justify the
award of attorney's fees to the winning party (Herrera vs. Luy Kim Guan, 110 Phil. 1020, 1028; Heirs of Justiva vs. Gustilo,
61 O. G. 6959).
The trial court's judgment is affirmed. No pronouncement as to costs. SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. L-17759
December 17, 1962
ISABEL V. SAGUINSIN, petitioner-appellant,
vs.
DIONISIO LINDAYAG, ET AL., oppositors-appellees.
DIZON, J.:
On November 10, 1959 Maria V. Lindayag died intestate in Olongapo, Zambales. On May 27, 1960 her sister, Isabel V.
Saguinsin filed with the Court of First Instance of said province a verified petition for the issuance in her favor of letters of
administration over the estate of said deceased, alleging, among other things, that the latter left real and personal
properties situated in the Provinces of Zambales and Bulacan worth approximately P100,000.00; that the names, ages and
residences of her surviving heirs were: (1) Dionisio Lindayag, 60 years of age, surviving husband, residing at Olongapo,
Zambales, (2) Isabel V. Saguinsin 54 years of age, sister of the deceased, residing at Hagonoy, Bulacan (3) Aurea V.
Sacdalan, 46 years of age, sister of the deceased, and (4) Ines V. Calayag, 70 years of age, sister of the deceased, both
residing at Paombong, Bulacan; and that, as far as petitioner knew, the decedent left no debts at the time of her death.
On June 21, 1960 Dionisio V. Lindayag, the surviving spouse, in his behalf and in representation of the minors Jesus,
Concepcion, and Catherine, all surnamed Lindayag, filed a motion to dismiss the petition on the ground lack of interest in
the estate, she being neither heir nor a creditor thereof. The motion alleged that the late Maria V. Lindayag was survived by
her husband the movant and their legally adopted minor children named Jesus, Concepcion, and Catherine, all
surnamed Lindayag the decedent having left no legitimate natural or illegitimate child. A certified true copy of the decision
of the Justice of the Peace of Olongapo, Zambales, dated July 6, 1953 decreeing the adoption of said minors the decedent
and her husband was attached to the motion.
In opposing the motion to dismiss petitioner argued that only the facts alleged in the petition should be considered in
determining its sufficiency.lawphil.net
On July 28, 1960, after due hearing on the motion aforesaid, the Court issued the following order of dismissal:
It appearing that the herein petitioner is only a sister of the deceased Maria V. Lindayag; that the deceased is
survived by her husband and her three (3) adopted children named: Jesus, Concepcion and Catherine, all
surnamed Lindayag were adopted by the deceased on July 6, 1953; that the herein petitioner is obviously not an
heir and has no interest in estate; and that the surviving heirs oppose the instant petition on the ground that they
want to settle the estate extra-judicially among them to avoid unnecessary expenses in prosecuting this case, the
Court finds the oppositors' opposition to be well taken.
WHEREFORE, let this case be dismissed. No pronouncement as to costs.
Petitioner's motion for the reconsideration of the above order having been denied, she took the present appeal.
The question to be resolved in this appeal is whether petitioner is "an interested person" in the estate of deceased Maria V.
Lindayag.
According to Section 2, Rule 80 of the Rules of Court, a petition for letters of administration must be filed an "interested
person". An interested party has defined in this connection as one who would be benefited 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-3378, August 22, 1951; Espinosa vs. Barrios, 70 Phil. 311)
Petitioner's interest in the estate of the deceased Maria V. Lindayag was disputed, through a motion to dismiss her petition,
by the surviving spouse on the ground that said deceased was survived by him and by three legally adopted children
thus excluding petitioner as an heir. In the course of the hearing held in connection with said motion, evidence was
introduced in support thereof which, according to the lower court, established that said deceased was survived not only by
her husband but by three legally adopted children named Jesus, Concepcion, and Catherine, all surnamed Lindayag.
Upon these facts which petitioner does not dispute it is manifest that she is not an heir of her deceased sister and,
therefore, has no material and direct interest in her estate.
Petitioner's view that when a motion to dismiss a complaint or a petition is filed, only the facts alleged in the complaint or
petition may be taken into account is not entirely correct. To the contrary, the rule is that at said hearing said motion may
be proved or disproved in accordance with the rules of evidence, and it has been held that for that purpose, the hearing
should be conducted as an ordinary hearing; and that the parties should be allowed to present evidence, except when the
motion is based on the failure of the complaint or of the petition to state a cause of action (Asejo vs. Leonoso, 44 O. G. No.
10, 3832). In the present case, the motion to dismiss the petition was grounded on petitioner's lack of legal capacity to
institute the proceedings which, as already stated heretofore, was fully substantiated by the evidence presented during the
hearing.

18

IN VIEW OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the order appealed from is affirmed, with costs.
G.R. No. L-24750 May 16, 1980
DOROTEO BANAWA, JULIANA MENDOZA, CASIANO AMPONIN and GLICERIA ABRENICA, petitioners,
vs.
PRIMITIVA MIRANO, GREGORIA MIRANO, JUANA MIRANO and MARCIANO MIRANO, respondents.
FERNANDEZ, J.:
This is a petition for review by certiorari of the decision of the Court of Appeals promulgated on April 12, 1965 1 in CA G.R.
No. 23597-R, entitled "Primitive Mirano, et al., Plaintiffs-Appellees, versus, Doroteo Banawa, et al., DefendantsAppellants", the dispositive part of which is: t.hqw
In view of the foregoing, the appealed judgment is hereby affirmed, with costs against defendantsappellants.
The judgment of the lower court which was affirmed reads as follows: t.hqw
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered:
(a) Declaring the plaintiffs to be the owners of the two parcels of land described in paragraph 3 of the
complaint;
(b) Ordering the defendants to deliver the possession of the said parcels of land to the plaintiffs;
(c) Declaring the deed of sale executed by Roman Biscocho, Paula Biscocho and Maria Carmen Mendoza in
favor of Doroteo Banawa and Juliana Mendoza, dated April 4, 1940, as evidenced by Exhibit 'E' and its
registration in the registry of deeds of Batangas, to be null and void;
(d) Declaring null and void the deed of donation, dated August 7, 1956, evidenced by Exhibit 'D' executed
by the spouses Doroteo Banawa and Juliana Mendoza in favor of the spouses Casiano Amponin and
Gliceria Abrenica as well as Tax Declarations No. 26818 in the names of the spouses Doroteo Banawa and
Juliana Mendoza, and No. 26845 in the names of the spouses Casiano Amponin and Gliceria Abrenica, and
the registration of the said deed of donation in the registry of deeds of Batangas; and
(e) Ordering the defendants to pay to the plaintiffs actual damages in the amount of P 4,500 and
attorney's fees in the amount of P500.00, and the costs of this action.
SO ORDERED.

The spouses Doroteo Banawa and Juliana Mendoza both died during the pendency of this case in the Court of Appeals. They
have been substituted by the petitioners Casiano Amponin and his wife Gliceria Abrenica, legally adopted daughter of one
of the deceased petitioners and donee of the Carsuche property. 3
The petitioners filed on May 20, 1965, a motion for reconsideration of the decision of the Court of Appeals. Said motion was
denied on June 28, 1965. 4
As found by the Court of Appeals, the facts are: t.hqw
It appears that sometime in 1911, Maria Mirano a niece of appellant Juliana Mendoza, and who was then
about nine years old, was taken in by the appellants-spouses, Doroteo Banawa and Juliana Mendoza, in
the latter's house in Mahabang Lodlod, Taal, Batangas. Appellants spouses being childless, treated and
reared her up like their own child. They hired a private tutor to teach her the rudiments of reading, writing
and arithmetic. They supported her, gave her money, clothes and even jewelry. Maria reciprocated their
care and affection by helping with the household chores.
A few years later, the spouses opened up a store for general merchandise in barrio Lutucan, Sariaya,
Quezon, from which they derived considerable income and which enabled them to acquire several parcels
of land.
On July 31, 1949, after a lingering illness, Maria Mirano died in Taal, Batangas while still living with the
spouses. At the time of her death she left as her only nearest relatives the herein plaintiffs, namely
Primitiva Mirano, who is a surviving sister, and Gregoria, Juana and Marciano, all surnamed Mirano, who
are the children of a deceased brother, Martin Mirano.
The parties do not dispute the Identity of the two parcels of land in controversy, which are described in
paragraph 3 of the complaint as follows: t.hqw
1. A parcel of sugar land situated in the Barrio of Iba, Taal, Batangas, with an area of
44,200 square meters, more or less. Bounded on the North, by Ravine; on the East, by
the property of Leodovico Garcia; on the South by the property of Gregorio Amponin; and
on the West, by the property of Gregorio Maria Aniversario (now Doroteo Banawa). Under
Tax Declaration No. 25994 in the name of Maria Mirano and assessed at P2,210.00.

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2. A parcel of sugar land situated in the barrio of Carsuche, Taal, Batangas, with an area
of 54,093 square meters, more or less. Bounded on the North, by the property of Agapito
Aro and Alley; on the East, by an Alley; on the South, by the properties of Filomeno
Diomampo, Gregorio de la Rosa and Andres Moratilla; and on the West, by the property of
Agapito Aro. Under Tax Declaration No. 19786 in the name of Maria Mirano and assessed
at P2,760.00.
For purposes of clearness and convenience, and since the respective assertions and evidences adduced by
the parties regarding the two parcels of land are in sharp divergence, we shall refer to the first parcel as
the Iba Property and to the second parcel as the Carsuche property and, moreover, we shall treat and
discuss the two separately.
Parcel 1, or the Iba Property.
The parties agree that the Iba Property was originally owned by Placido Punzalan from whom it was
acquired on May 5, 1921. Plaintiffs' evidence upon this point tends to show that the acquisition of the said
parcel of land was pursuant to a deed of sale contained in a public instrument acknowledged before Notary
Public Ramon A. Cabrera on the date aforesaid, a photostatic copy of which was introduced in evidence as
Exhibit 'A', the same having been secured from an original copy on file with the Division of Archives,
Bureau of Libraries. The deed of sale in question states that the Iba property consisted formerly of two
parcels of land and that they were sold for the amount of P2,000.00 in favor of Maria Mirano. Defendant
Doroteo Banawa impliedly admitted the execution of this notarial document when he declared that in the
execution of the document concerning the purchase of the Iba property from Punzalan the notary public
charged him P20.00 and another P5.00 for stamps in the name of Maria Mirano since 1923 (Exhs. 'A-1' to
'A-7').
By contrast, defendants' claim of ownership over the Iba property is predicated upon their assertion that
the money used in buying said land pertained to the spouses Doroteo Banawa and Juliana Mendoza.
Defendants contend that since 1919 Placido Punzalan borrowed money from defendant spouses on three
different occasions for the sums of P1,200.00, P1,800.00 and P1,080.00, respectively, each of which was
evidenced by Exhs. '1', '2', and '3', respectively. Upon the failure of Placido Punzalan to discharge said
obligations in 1921, he agreed to sell the land aforementioned to the spouses for P 3,700.00, but as the
total value of the three loans was P4,080.00, Punzalan had to reimburse to said spouses the difference of
P380.00. The document of sale stated the price to be only P2,000.00 in view of the fact that Doroteo
Banawa had only P25.00 with him when the deed was prepared by the notary public, and the latter was
charging P10.00 for every one thousand pesos mentioned as the consideration of the contract, Defendants
likewise maintain that the sale was made to appear in favor of Maria Mirano because said spouses being
already old, they want to leave something to Maria Mirano for her to lean upon when they would have
been gone. They, however, made Maria understand that although the property was placed under her name,
they would continue to be the owners thereof, to administer and enjoy the fruits of the same as long as
they live, and that she would become the owner of the land only after their death. Maria supposedly
expressed her conformity to and appreciation for the said arrangement. Maria Mirano was 19 years old
when the deed of sale was executed.
Parcel 2, or the Carsuche Property.
There is no dispute between the parties that the Carsuche property was acquired by way of purchase from
its original owners, to wit: Roman Biscocho, his sister Paula Biscocho, and sister-in-law Carmen Mendoza.
The sale took place sometime in December, 1935. There is, however, a sharp conflict of evidence between
the parties concerning the form of the document evidencing the same and in whose favor the sale was
made at that time. The plaintiffs claim that the sale was evidenced by a public instrument executed before
and ratified by Notary Public Vicente Ilagan of Taal, Batangas, and that the vendee mentioned in the said
document was Maria Mirano. The defendants, on the other hand, assert that the sale was evidenced by a
private writing prepared in the handwriting of Roman Biscocho and that it was in favor of the spouses
Doroteo Banawa and Juliana Mendoza. Neither the public instrument allegedly ratified by Atty. Ilagan nor
the private writing supposedly prepared by Roman Biscocho was presented before the lower court.
After laying the proper predicate for the presentation of secondary evidence, the plaintiffs presented Atty.
Vicente Ilagan and Roman Biscocho to testify upon the execution of the aforesaid public instrument in
December, 1935. These two declared that sometime in December, 1935, the spouses Doroteo Banawa and
Juliana Mendoza, Maria Mirano, Roman Biscocho, Paula Biscocho and Carmen Mendoza, accompanied by
Atty. Regino Aro, went to the office of Atty. Ilagan in Taal, Batangas; that Atty. Aro, who was a classmate
of Atty. Ilagan in the law school, asked the latter's permission to use his typewriter on which he prepared a
document in English and which he asked Atty. Ilagan to ratify; that Atty. Ilagan translated into Tagalog the
contents of the said document to the parties and. the witnesses, after which they all signed the same; that
the document involved the sale of the Carsuche property in favor of Maria Mirano: that after paying him
P20.00 for his services which Atty. Ilagan would not accept at first, Doroteo Banawa asked Atty. Ilagan in
Tagalog whether the document that he ratified was 'strong enough' (Matibay) to safeguard the rights of
Maria Mirano, to which Atty. Ilagan answered in the affirmative.
Doroteo Banawa, on the other hand, stated that on being offered the Carsuche property by the owners
thereof, they agreed on the purchase price of P3,700.00 of which a down payment of P1,200.00 was made
and, later, an additional sum of P100.00 was given to Roman Biscocho, both payments being evidenced by
a receipt dated December 15, 1936 (Exh. '9'). A few days later, Roman Biscocho prepared in his own
handwriting a private document selling the Carsuche property in favor of the spouses Doroteo Banawa and
Juliana Mendoza for the sum of P4,000.00, the vendors having asked for a P300.00 increase in price.

20

Doroteo Banawa, thereafter brought said private document to the municipal treasurer of Taal, Batangas, to
whom he expressed the desire to have the land declared in the name of Maria Mirano so that the latter
might attend to the payment of taxes over the land whenever he was away. This wish of Doroteo Banawa
was done by his thumb-marking an affidavit, thus accounting for the fact that said land appears in the
name of Maria Mirano in the tax declarations covering the same from 1934 to 1956. 5
The petitioners assign the following errors: t.hqw
I
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN LAW IN RULING THAT THE PLACING OF IBA
PROPERTY IN THE NAME OF THE LATE MARIA MIRANO WAS IN THE NATURE OF A DONATION INTERVIVOS.
II
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN LAW IN RULING THAT PETITIONERS'
INTERPRETATION OF ARTICLE 632 OF THE OLD CIVIL CODE IS TOO LITERAL AND IGNORES THE
RATIONALE OF THE LEGAL PROVISION.
III
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN LAW IN RULING THAT THE 'EXCEPTIVE' CLAUSE'
OF ARTICLE 1448 OF THE CIVIL CODE IS APPLICABLE IN THE PRESENT CASE.
IV
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN LAW IN RULING THAT SECTION 5, RULE 100 OF
THE OLD RULES OF COURT DOES NOT APPLY IN THE INSTANT CASE BECAUSE MARIA MIRANO WAS NOT
LEGALLY ADOPTED.
V
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN LAW IN RULING WITH RESPECT TO THE
CARSUCHE PROPERTY (LOT NO. 2) THAT THE DEED OF SALE EXECUTED IN 1940 IN FAVOR OF THE
PETITIONERS DOROTEO BANAWA AND HIS WIFE JULIANA MENDOZA AND WHICH WAS DULY REGISTERED
DID NOT IMPAIR THE PRETENDED SALE TO MARIA MIRANO. 6
The first, second, third and fourth errors assigned refer to the Iba property, parcel 1, while the fifth error assigned refers to
the Carsuche property, Lot 2. 7
As may be discerned from the assignment of errors, the basic issue is the ownership of the two parcels of land in question.
The plaintiffs appellees, respondents herein, assert title to the lands as heirs of Maria Mirano. Defendants-appellants,
petitioners herein, claim ownership over them by virtue of purchase from the original owners.
Considering that in the case at bar the findings of fact of the Court of Appeals are not contrary to those of the trial court, a
minute scrutiny by this Court of said findings is not necessary. In Tolentino vs. de Jesus, et al., 8 this Court held: t.
hqw
The findings of facts of the respondent Court of Appeals are conclusive on the parties and on this Court
(Tamayo vs. Callejo, L- 25563, July 28, 1972, 46 SCRA 27; Nery, et al. vs. Lorenzo, et al., L-23096 & L23376, April 27, 1972, 44 SCRA 43 1; Villacrucis vs. CA, L-29831, March 29, 1972, 44 SCRA 176; Dela
Cruz, et al. vs. CA, L-24000, Nov. 29, 1971, 42 SCRA 68; Naga Dev. Corp. vs. CA, L-28175, Sept. 30,
1971, 41 SCRA 105, 115; Lacson & Basilio vs. Pineda, et al., L-28523, July 16, 1971, 40 SCRA 35;
Qui;ano, et al. vs. CA, et al., L-23024, May 31, 1971, 39 SCRA 227; Reyes, et al. vs. CA, et al., L-28466,
March 27, 1971, 38 SCRA 138, 142; Gotamco Hermanas vs. Shotwell, et al., L-22519, March 27, 1971, 38
SCRA 112-117; Limjoco vs. CA, L-20656, Feb. 27, 1971, 37 SCRA 663-669; De Garcia, et al. vs. CA, L20264, Jan. 30, 1971, 37 SCRA 130, 136-137; Simeon vs. Pe;a, L-29049, Dec. 29, 1970, 36 SCRA 611),
unless (1) the conclusion is a finding grounded entirely on speculation, surmise and conjectures; (2) the
inference made is manifestly mistaken; (3) there is grave abuse of discretion; (4) the judgment is based
on misapprehension of facts; (5) the Court of Appeals went beyond the issues of the case and its findings
are contrary to the admission of both appellant and appellees [Roque vs. Buan, L-22459, Oct. 31, 1967, 21
SCRA 648]; (6) the findings of facts of the Court of Appeals are contrary to those of the trial court; (7)
said findings of facts are conclusions without citation of specific evidence on which they are based; (8) the
facts set forth in the petition as well as in the petitioner's main and reply briefs are not disputed by the
respondents [Garcia vs. CA, L-26490, June 30, 1970, 33 SCRA 622] ; and (9) when the finding of fact of
the Court of Appeals is premised on the absence of evidence and is contradicted by evidence on record
[Salazar vs. Gutierrez, L-21727, May 29, 1970, 33 SCRA 243].
The instant case does not fall under any of the exceptions.
However, all the issues raised by the petitioners shall be passed upon individually.

21

The first error assigned reads:


The Honorable Court of Appeals gravely erred in law in ruling that the placing of the Iba Properly in the
name of the late Maria Mirano was in the nature of a donation inter-vivos.
The respondents 9 correctly pointed out that neither the Court of Appeals nor the Court of First Instance of Batangas
categorically stated that the placing of the properties in the name of Maria Mirano was in the nature of a donation intervivos. In rejecting the petitioners' contention that a donation mortis causa was executed, the Court of Appeals said that,
under the facts and circumstances narrated by the petitioners, the placing of the Iba property in the name of Maria Miranoif it was to be called a donation at all - was not in the nature of a donation mortis causa, but rather it would be in the
nature of a donation inter-vivos, giving its reasons and citing the applicable law and decisions of this Court on the matter.
The Court of First Instance made the same hypothetical conclusion. 10
The finding of the Court of First Instance of Batangas which was sustained by the Court of Appeals is that what was
donated by the spouses Doroteo Banawa and Juliana Mendoza to Maria Mirano was the money used in the purchase of the
lands in question. This conclusion of the Court of First Instance of Batangas was supported by the testimony of Macario B.
Aro, a nephew of the deceased Doroteo Banawa, that the money used by Maria Mirano in the purchase of the Iba and
Carsuche properties was given to her by, Doroteo Banawa. 11
If the money used by Maria Mirano in purchasing the properties was given to her by the spouses Doroteo Banawa and
Juliana Mendoza, or by either of them, then the money had belonged to her. Maria Mirano purchased and paid for the said
properties with her money. As a matter or fact, the deed of sale, Exhibit "A", 12 recites as follows: t.hqw
Que en consideracion a la suma de Dos Mil Pesos moneda filipina (P2,000.00) que me ha pagado Maria
Mirano ... .
It is also contended by the petitioners that the deeds of sale executed by the owners of the land in favor of Maria Mirano
were simulated contracts intended to shortcut two different transactions: (1) a sale in favor of the spouses Doroteo Banawa
and Juliana Mendoza; and (2) a donation of lands by the spouses in favor of Maria Mirano. 13
There are two kinds of simulated contracts, namely: the absolutely simulated contract and the relatively simulated one. In
both instances, however, their nullity is based on the want of true consent of the parties. There is no intent to be bound or
the true intent is hidden or concealed. Such contracts are even generally regarded as fraudulent with intent of injuring third
persons. The purpose, therefore, of a simulated contract which may be annulled is to conceal the parties' true intent, or to
deceive or defraud third persons.
From the record, there is no showing of deception or fraud, nor of concealment of intent of the parties as to the sale of the
Iba property by the vendors in favor of Maria Mirano. The transactions which transpired were purely: (1) donations of
money or things representing or equivalent to money by the spouses in favor of Maria Mirano which could be made and
accepted verbally; and (2) purchase of lands by Maria Mirano with the use of that money or credits (pre-existing
indebtedness in favor of the spouses) as consideration thereof.
The petitioners' contention that "the contract of sale had been intended to be a contract of sale between the vendors and
the spouses Doroteo Banawa and Juliana Mendoza" has no merit. The petitioners were present when the sales were made
to Maria Mirano. They were the ones who caused the titles to the properties to be placed in the name of Maria Mirano
because they wished "that after our death Maria Mirano could have something for her maintenance. 14 Moreover, the
testimony of Vicente Ilagan, the notary public before whom the deed of sale was executed, to the effect that he was asked
by Doroteo Banawa in Tagalog "Kung matibay ang documenting ito para kay Maria" 15 and to which query he answered,
"Yes, Sir", 16 supports this conclusion. The conduct of the spouses at the time of the execution of the contracts are
inconsistent with those which the petitioners, the late spouses and their successors-in interest, now assert. Their intention
to make Maria Mirano the owner of the said parcels of land was clearly shown by their conduct at the time of the execution
of the deeds of sale which influenced the vendors to believe that Maria Mirano was indeed the vendee in their agreement.
The petitioners had full knowledge of the facts surrounding the execution of the document of sale. They are equitably
estopped 17 to deny that the transfer of the lands in question in favor of Maria Mirano was the actual and true intent of the
parties as embodied in the documents of sale of the Iba and Carsuche properties. The documents are what they purport to
be contracts of sale from the vendors to the vendee, Maria Mirano.
The petitioners submit that since there was transfer of title to the land in litigation to Maria Mirano when the purchase price
was in fact actually paid by the petitioners-spouses, an implied trust was created. The present law on implied trust is Article
1448 of the New Civil Code which provides: t.hqw
Art. 1448. There is an implied trust when property is sold, and the legal estate is granted to one party but
the price is paid by another for the purpose of having beneficial interest of the property. The former is the
trustee, while the latter is the beneficiary. However if the person to whom the title is conveyed is a child,
legitimate or illegitimate, of the one paying the price of the sale, no trust is implied by law, it being
disputably presumed that there is a gift in favor of the child.
The transactions in question took place before the Civil Code of the Philippines became effective on August 30, 1950. Hence
Article 1448 of said Code is not applicable. 18
Moreover, there is no showing that Maria Mirano bought the lands in question in trust for the petitioners.
The petitioners also claim that they have become owners of the properties by acquisitive prescription under Article 1957 of
the Old Civil Code which provides: t.hqw

22

Ownership and other real rights in immovable property shall prescribe by possession in good faith and
under a just title for ten years as between persons present and for twenty years as between absentees.
The above-cited provision speaks of two essential requirements: (1) possession for ten (10) years as between persons
present and twenty (20) years, for absentees; and (2) a just title.
As regards the Iba property (Lot No. 1), petitioners have not presented any title, just or otherwise, to support their claim.
And Article 1954 of the Old Civil Code provides, further, that a "just title must be proven; it never can be presumed."
Not having a just title, as required by Article 1957 of the Old Civil Code, the petitioners cannot invoke prescription with
respect to the Iba property.
The petitioners also assert ownership by acquisitive prescription over the Iba property under Section 41 of the Code of Civil
Procedure. The pertinent portion of Section 41 of the Code of Civil Procedure reads t.hqw
Ten years actual adverse possession by any person claiming to be the owner for that time of any land or
interest in land, uninterruptedly continued for ten years by occupancy, descent, grants, or otherwise in
whatever way such occupancy may have commenced or continued, shall vest in every actual occupant or
possessor of such land a full and complete title, saving to the persons under disabilities the rights secured
by the next section. In order to constitute such title by prescription or adverse possession, the possession
by the claimant or by the person under or through whom he claims must have been actual open, public,
continuous, under a claim of title exclusive of any other right and adverse to all other claimants ...
It is a fact that while Maria Mirano was alive she possessed the property in question as the owner thereof Hence, it is error
for the petitioners to claim ownership over the Iba property by acquisitive prescription under Article 41 of the Code of Civil
Procedure for their possession of the said property became adverse and exclusive only in July 1949 after Maria Mirano's
death. From 1949 to the date of the filing in 1957 of the present action by the respondents only eight years had elapsed.
The second error assigned is: t.hqw
The Honorable Court of Appeals gravely erred in law in ruling that petitioners' interpretation of Article 632
of the Old Civil Code is too literal and ignores the rationale of the legal provision.
Article 632 of the Old Civil Code provides: "Donations of personal property may be made verbally or in writing. Verbal
donation requires the simultaneous delivery of the gift. In the absence of this requisite the donation shall produce no effect,
unless made in writing and accepted in the same form."
It is contended by the petitioners that oral donation of personal property requires simultaneous delivery of the gift. As
regards the Iba property, the consideration given by Maria Mirano for the purchase of the said property from Placido
Punzalan was the pre- existing debts of the latter to the spouses Doroteo Banawa and Juliana Mendoza.
The contention of the petitioners that there was no simultaneous delivery of the credits to Maria Mirano is not meritorious.
Delivery may be actual or constructive.
Actual delivery consists in the giving of actual possession to the vendee or his agent, as for example, in manually
transferring the possession of a thing from the vendor to the vendee.
Constructive delivery is a general term comprehending all those acts which, although not conferring physical possession of
the thing, have been held by construction of law equivalent to acts of real delivery, as for example, the giving of the key to
the house, as constructive delivery of the house from the vendor to the vendee.
In the instant case, the oral donation of the gift consisting of pre-existing obligations of the vendor, Placido Punzalan, was
simultaneous or concurrent with the constructive delivery thereof to Maria Mirano when the spouses consented to the
execution of the deed of sale of the Iba property in favor of Maria Mirano. The execution of the said deed of sale constituted
payment by the vendor, Placido Punzalan, of his outstanding obligations due to the spouses, Doroteo Banawa and Juliana
Mendoza. Consequently, there was constructive transfer of possession of the incorporeal rights of the spouses over the
property in question to Maria Mirano.
It is no longer necessary to discuss the third error assigned because of the holding that Article 1448 of the New Civil Code
has no retroactive application to the instant case.
Anent the fourth error assigned, the petitioners urge that the donor spouses are entitled to the land in question by virtue of
Section 5, Rule 100 of the Old Rules of Court, the pertinent portion of which reads: t.hqw
... In case of the death of the child, his parents and relatives by nature, and not by adoption, shall be his
legal heirs, except as to property received or inherited by the adopted child from either of his parents by
adoption, which shall become the property of the latter or their legitimate relatives who shall participate in
the order established by the Civil Code for intestate estates.
The submission of the petitioners is that extrajudicial adoption is within the contemplation and spirit of this rule of
reversion adoptive. However, the rule involved specifically provides for the case of the judicially adopted child. It is an

23

elementary rule of construction that when the language of the law is clear and unequivocal, the law must be taken to mean
exactly what it says.
The fifth error assigned is: t.hqw
The Honorable Court of Appeals gravely erred in law in ruling with respect to the Carsuche property (Lot
No. 2) that the deed of sale executed in 1940 in favor of the petitioner Doroteo Banawa and his wife
Juliana Mendoza did not impair the pretended sale to Maria Mirano.
The Court of Appeals found that there was a sale of the Carsuche property in 1935 in favor of Maria Mirano and that such
sale was embodied in a public instrument. However, in 1940 the same land was sold to the petitioners. The sale was duly
registered. The petitioners immediately entered into the possession of the land as owners.
The claim of the petitioners that they have acquired by acquisitive prescription the Carsuche property (Lot No. 2) is
meritorious.
Section 40 of the Code of Civil Procedure provides: "Period of prescription as to real estate An action for recovery of title
to, or possession of, real property, or an interest therein, can only be brought within ten years after the cause of action
accrues."
That the aforesaid Section 40 governs the instant case is clear from Article 1116 of the New Civil Code which provides that
"prescriptions already running before the effectivity of the New Civil Code, shall be governed by the laws previously in
force." The prescriptive period commenced to run since 1940, the date the sale in favor of the Banawas was registered with
the Register of Deeds of Batangas. Hence the Code of Civil Procedure governs.
The instant case, not having been filed within ten (10) years from the time the cause of action accrued in 1940, prescribed
under Section 40 of the Code of Civil Procedure in 1950 because the same was filed only in 1957, seventeen (17) years
later.
The possession of the Banawas over the Carsuche property ripened into full ownership in 1950, ten (10) years after 1940,
when the possession of the petitioner-spouses which was actual, open, public and continuous, under a claims of title
exclusive of any other right and adverse to all other claim commenced. (Sec. 41, Code of Civil Procedure). The sale in favor
of the Banawas was registered in 1940 with the Register of Deeds of Batangas. The actual and adverse possession of the
petitioner-spouses was continued by their present successors.
The alleged bad faith of the petitioners in that they knew that the land was previously sold to Maria Mirano is of no
consequence because Section 41 of the Code of Civil Procedure provides that there is prescription "in whatever way such
occupancy may have commenced." As held in one case "... guilty knowledge is of no moment for under the law title by
prescription may be acquired in whatever way possession may have been commenced or continued and so long as the
possessor had possessed the land openly, publicly, continuously and under a claim of title for a period of over ten years."

19

The trial court found that the two parcels of land in question with a combined area of a little less than ten (10) hectares had
an average annual net yield of P 500.00. A total amount of P 4,500.00 as actual damages was awarded in as much as Maria
Mirano had been dead for nine (9) years when the decision of the trial court was rendered. An adjustment should be made
in view of the finding of this Court that the Carsuche property, Lot 2, belongs to the petitioners.
The Iba property, Lot 1, is about 45% of the combined area of the two lands in question. Forty-five percent (45 %) of the
annual net income of P500.00 is equivalent to P225.00. Maria Mirano has been dead for about thirty-one (31) years now.
During all this period, the petitioners have been in possession of the Iba property and receiving the products thereof. They
should pay as actual damages the total amount of P6,975.00 representing the net income for the period of thirty-one (31)
years on the basis of P225.00 a year.
The respondents are also entitled to attorney's fees in the amount of P1,000.00.
WHEREFORE, the decision of the Court of Appeals is hereby affirmed as to the Iba property (Lot No. 1) but reversed as to
the Carsuche property (Lot No. 2) which was acquired by the spouses Doroteo Banawa and Juliana Mendoza who could
validly donate the said property to Casiano Amponin and Gliceria Abrenica The petitioners are ordered to pay the private
respondents the total amount of Six Thousand Nine Hundred Seventy-Five Pesos (P6,975.00) as actual damages and the
amount of One Thousand Pesos (P1,000.00) as attorney's fees, without pronouncement as to costs. SO ORDERED.
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.
PARAS, J.:
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

24

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.
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 rights 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 supplied).
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

25

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. Fable 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 Now 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 succcession,
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 f 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 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 Quartet 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. 11, 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.
Esrinche, in his Diccionario de Legislacion y Jurisprudencia defines parientes 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)

26

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 in Articles 1003 and 1009 of the New Civil
Code.
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 sub-classification 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.
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.
DE CASTRO, J.:
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 Court of First Instance of Rizal in favor of petitioner:
(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 Bracewen
(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 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.

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.

27

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 Paranaque, Inc. sometime in September 1963.
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 of the following assignment of errors:
I
RESPONDENT COURT ERRED IN HOLDING THAT 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, Francisco 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
cane Desposorio in Las Pinas 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.

28

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.
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. SO ORDERED.
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.
AQUINO, J.:
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.

29

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.
Atty. Cruz alleged in his opposition that the proposed partion 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 intestado con respecio a los raismos y
que same 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 radios por los legatarios" and that if the testator
intended a Perpetual prohibition against alienation, that conch tion would be regarded "como no puesta o no existents". it
concluded that "no hay motives 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 aped to
this Court (L-1476). Those appeals were dismissed in tills 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 a ment A the resolution dismissing the appeal 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 controvery over the Yangco's 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 in his complaint that the dispositions in his
Yangcos will sing 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.
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. 17151
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 de whether Juanita Corpus,
the mother of apt Tomas Corpus was a legal heir of Yangco. Has Tomas Corpus 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, Hamados Teodoro, Paz, Luisa y Luis, los
cuales son mis unicos herederos forzosos (Exh. 1 in Testate Estate of Teodoro Yangco).

30

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 I herein and as
copied from Exhibit 20 in the proceeding for the probate of Teodoro R. Yangco's wilt 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
presumption "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).
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 to haya reconocido, ni ellos al hijo natural ni al legitimado". Article 943
"prohibits all successory reciprocity mortis causa between legitimate and illegitimate relatives" 16 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., 455-6). ...
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 avod 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 Table was the legitimate daughter of Jose Table the two acknowledged natural children of her
uncle, Ramon Table her father's brother, were held not to be her legal heirs (Grey vs. Table 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).
WHEREFORE the lower court's judgment is affirmed. No costs. SO ORDERED.
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.
VITUG, J.:

31

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 P19902 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:
Art. 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 onehalf 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:
Art. 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

32

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
(a) Legitimate Children and
Descendants

Order of Concurrence
(a) Legitimate Children and
Descendants, Illegitimate
Children and Descendants,
and Surviving Spouse

(b) Legitimate Parents and


Ascendants

(b) Legitimate Parents and


Ascendants Illegitimate
Children and Descendants,
and Surviving Spouse

(c) Illegitimate Children and

(c) Illegitimate Children and

Descendants (in the absence

Descendants and Surviving

of ICDs and LPAs, the

Spouse

Illegitimate Parents)
(d) Surviving Spouse

(d) Surviving Spouse and

(e) Brothers and Sisters/

(e) Brothers and Sisters/

Illegitimate Parents
Nephews and
Nieces
(f) Other Collateral Relatives

Nephews and Nieces


and Surviving Spouse
(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 SelfAdjudication executed by Modesta, the three (3) TCT's issued to her favor, as well as the Deed of Renunciation and

33

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.
G.R. No. L-43905 May 30, 1983
SERAFIA G. TOLENTINO, petitioner,
vs.
HON. EDGARDO L. PARAS, MARIA CLEMENTE and THE LOCAL CIVIL REGISTRAR OF PAOMBONG, BULACAN,
respondents.
MELENCIO-HERRERA, J.:
The reversal of respondent Court's Order, dismissing petitioner's suit for her "declaration ... as the lawful surviving spouse
of deceased Amado Tolentino and the correction of the death certificate of the same", is sought in this Petition for Review
on Certiorari.
The records disclose that Amado Tolentino had contracted a second marriage with private respondent herein, Maria
Clemente, at Paombong, Bulacan, on November 1, 1948 (Annex "C", Petition), while his marriage with petitioner, Serafia G.
Tolentino, celebrated on July 31, 1943, was still subsisting (Annex "A", Petition).
Petitioner charged Amado with Bigamy in Criminal Case No. 2768 of the Court of First Instance of Bulacan, Branch II, which
Court, upon Amado's plea of guilty, sentenced him to suffer the corresponding penalty. After Amado had served the prison
sentence imposed on him, he continued to live with private respondent until his death on July 25, 1974. His death
certificate carried the entry "Name of Surviving Spouse Maria Clemente."
In Special Proceedings No. 1587-M for Correction of Entry, petitioner sought to correct the name of the surviving spouse in
the death certificate from "Maria Clemente" to "Serafia G. Tolentino", her name. The lower Court dismissed the petition "for
lack of the proper requisites under the law" and indicated the need for a more detailed proceeding,
Conformably thereto, petitioner filed the case below against private respondent and the Local Civil Registrar of Paombong,
Bulacan, for her declaration as the lawful surviving spouse, and the correction of the death certificate of Amado. In an
Order, dated October 21, 1976, respondent Court, upon private respondent's instance, dismissed the case, stating:
The Motion to Dismiss filed by the defendants in this case, thru counsel Atty. Hernan E. Arceo, for the
reasons therein mentioned, is hereby GRANTED. Further: (1) the correction of the entry in the Office of the
Local Civil Registrar is not the proper remedy because the issue involved is marital relationship; (2) the
Court has not acquired proper jurisdiction because as prescribed under Art. 108, read together with Art.
412 of the Civil Code publication is needed in a case like this, and up to now, there has been no such
publication; and (3) in a sense, the subject matter of this case has been aptly discussed in Special
Proceeding No. 1587-M, which this Court has already dismissed, for lack of the proper requisites under the
law.
In view of the above dismissal, all other motions in this case are hereby considered MOOT and ACADEMIC.
SO ORDERED.

Thus, petitioner's present recourse mainly challenging the grounds relied upon by respondent Court in ordering dismissal.
We rule for petitioner.
First, for the remedy. Although petitioner's ultimate objective is the correction of entry contemplated in Article 412 of the
Civil Code and Rule 108 of the Rules of Court, she initially seeks a judicial declaration that she is the lawful surviving
spouse of the deceased, Amado, in order to lay the basis for the correction of the entry in the death certificate of said
deceased. The suit below is a proper remedy. It is of an adversary character as contrasted to a mere summary proceeding.
A claim of right is asserted against one who has an interest in contesting it. Private respondent, as the individual most
affected; is a party defendant, and has appeared to contest the petition and defend her interests. The Local Civil Registrar
is also a party defendant. The publication required by the Court below pursuant to Rule 108 of the Rules of Court is not
absolutely necessary for no other parties are involved. After all, publication is required to bar indifferently all who might be
minded to make an objection of any sort against the right sought to be established. 2 Besides, even assuming that this is a
proceeding under Rule 108, it was the Court that was caned upon to order the publication, 3 but it did not. in the ultimate
analysis, Courts are not concerned so much with the form of actions as with their substance. 4
Second, for the merits. Considering that Amado, upon his own plea, was convicted for Bigamy, that sentence furnishes the
necessary proof of the marital status of petitioner and the deceased. There is no better proof of marriage than the
admission by the accused of the existence of such marriage. 5 The second marriage that he contracted with private
respondent during the lifetime of his first spouse is null and void from the beginning and of no force and effect. 6 No judicial
decree is necessary to establish the invalidity of a void marriage. 7 It can be safely concluded, then, without need of further

34

proof nor remand to the Court below, that private respondent is not the surviving spouse of the deceased Amado, but
petitioner. Rectification of the erroneous entry in the records of the Local Civil Registrar may, therefore, be validly made.
Having arrived at the foregoing conclusion, the other issues raised need no longer be discussed.
In fine, since there is no question regarding the invalidity of Amado's second marriage with private respondent and that the
entry made in the corresponding local register is thereby rendered false, it may be corrected. 8 While document such as
death and birth certificates, are public and entries therein are presumed to be correct, such presumption is merely
disputable and will have to yield to more positive evidence establishing their inaccuracy. 9
WHEREFORE, the Order, dated October 21, 1975, of respondent Court is hereby set aside and petitioner, Serafia G.
Tolentino, hereby declared the surviving spouse of the deceased Amado Tolentino. Let the corresponding correction be
made in the latter's death certificate in the records of the Local Civil Registrar of Paombong, Bulacan.
No costs. SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. L-37903 March 30, 1977
GERTRUDES L. DEL ROSARIO, petitioner,
vs.
DOROTEA O. CONANAN and MARILOU DEL ROSARIO, respondents.
MAKASIAR, J.:
Review of the order of the Court of First Instance of Rizal dated June 21, 1973, dismissing petitioner's petition for
settlement and partition of estate.
On November 13, 1972, petitioner filed with the court below the above-said petition, subject of which is the estate left by
her late son, Felix L. del Rosario, who died in a plane crash on September 12, 1969 at Antipolo, Rizal (Partial Joint
Stipulation of Facts, p. 2, petition, p. 6, rec.).
On March 17, 1973, respondents filed their opposition.
On April 26, 1973, the court a quo, pursuant to a verbal agreement forged between the parties, issued an order requiring
them to come up with a joint stipulation of facts (p. 9, rec.).
On May 19, 1973, the parties submitted the following stipulation of facts:
OPPOSITOR admits that petitioner is the legitimate mother of the late FELIX L. DEL ROSARIO.
PETITIONER admits that oppositor DOROTEA OTERA DEL ROSARIO is the. legitimate surviving wife of the
deceased FELIX L. DEL ROSARIO.
PETITIONER admits that MARILOU DEL ROSARIO, is the legally adopted child of the late FELIX L. DEL
ROSARIO and DOROTEA DEL ROSARIO CONANAN
THAT THE PARTIES admit that the late FELIX L. DEL ROSARIO died last September 12, 1969 at Antipolo,
Rizal in a plane crash and within the jurisdiction of the Honorable Court.
That the only surviving nearest relatives of deceased FELIX L. DEL ROSARIO are the petitioner and
oppositors DOROTEO O. CONANAN and MARILOU DEL ROSARIO.
Parties admit to pay their respective counsel in the amount to be determined by the court.
WHEREFORE, it is respectfully prayed of this Honorable Court that on the basis of the facts stipulated, the
Court declare the heirs of the deceased (pp. 9-10, rec.).
On June 21, 1973, the lower court issued the challenged order, pertinent portions of which read:
A perusal of the petition shows that the instant case was filed under the provisions of Section 2, Rule 74 of
the Revised Rules of Court, which reads as follows:
Whenever the gross value of the estate; of a deceased person, whether he died testate or
intestate, does not exceed ten thousand pesos, and that fact is made to appear to the
Court of First Instance having jurisdiction of the estate by the petition of an interested
person and upon hearing, which shall be held not less than one (1) month nor more than
three (3) months from the date of the last publication of a notice which shall be published
once a week for three (3) consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation in the
province, and after such other notice to interested persons as the court may direct, the
court may proceed summarily, without the appointment of an executor or administrator,
and without delay, to grant, if proper, allowance of the will, if any there is, to determine
who are the persons legally entitled to participate in the estate, and to apportion and
divide it among them after the payment of such debts of the estate as the court shall then
find to be due; and such persons, in their own right, if they are of lawful age and legal

35

capacity, or by their guardians or trustees legally appointed and qualified, if otherwise,


shall thereupon be entitled to receive and enter into the possession of the portions of the
estate so awarded to them respectively. The court shall make such order as may be just
respecting the costs of the proceedings, and all orders and judgment made or rendered in
the course thereof shall be recorded in the office of the clerk, and the order of partition or
award, if it involves real estate, shall be recorded in the proper registrar's office.
While it may be true that a petition for summary settlement is allowed under the aforequoted provision of
the rules, the same rule specifically limits the action to estates the gross value of which does not exceed
P10,000.00, The instant petition, however, clearly alleges that the value of the real properties alone left by
the deceased Felix del Rosario amounts to P33,000.00 which is obviously over and above-the value of the
estate allowed under the rules. The action taken by the petitioner (cannot be) construed as one filed under
an intestate proceeding as the requirements provided by law for the same has not been complied with.
Based on the foregoing observation alone, the petition must perforce be dismissed.
But granting arguendo that this Court may consider the petition as an exercise (of) the powers of a
probate Court in determining and declaring the heirs of the deceased as prayed for in the, aforequoted
partial joint stipulation of facts, the law on intestate succession is clear that an adopted child concurring
with the surviving spouse of the adopter excludes the legitimate ascendants from succession, ...
The contention of the petitioner that Article 343 is applicable in the instant case finds no basis for 'the said
article is applicable in cases where there are no other concurring intestate heirs of the adopted child. ...
Based on the foregoing, therefore, the petitioner not being included as intestate heir of the deceased
cannot be considered as a co-owner of or have any right over the properties sought to be partitioned and
under the provisions of Section 1, Rule e 69 in re action to Section 2, Rule 3 of the Revised Rules of Court,
such action must be commenced or instituted by the party in interest.
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing findings, the Court hereby DISMISSES THE PETITION WITHOUT
PRONOUNCEMENT AS TO COSTS (pp, 10-12, rec.).
On July 10, 1973, petitioner filed a notice of appeal, record on appeal and appeal bond (see respondents comments, p. 18,
rec.).
I
WE rule that on purely jurisdictional consideration, the instant petition should be dismissed.
Indeed, in a litany of precedents dating as far back as the 1938 case of Utulo vs. Pasiono Vda. de Garcia (66 Phil. 802) and
reaffirmed in Asuncion and Castro vs, De la Cruz (No. L-7855, November 23, 1955, 97 Phil. 910) and Gutierrez vs. Cruz
(G.R. No. L-21027, July 20, 1968, 24 SCRA 69), WE uniformly held that for the court to acquire jurisdiction in a petition for
summary settlement of estate under the rules, the requirement that the amount of the estate involved should not exceed
P10,000,00 (P6,000.00 under the old rules) is jurisdictional.
In the instant case, both parties jointly affirmed that the value of the realty left by the deceased Felix del Rosario is in the
aggregate amount of P33,000.00 which, as the court a quo correctly found, is obviously "over and above the value allowed
under the rules."
II
However, by virtue of the transcendental implications of the holding of the court a quo in the sense that once wholly
sustained, said holding would preclude petitioner from re-filing the proper action a consequence which, on the ground of
equity and fair play, We cannot allow to befall on petitioner We deemed it essential, for the guidance of the parties
especially herein, petitioner, to point out the demerits of the appealed verdict.
1. Which of the following articles of the New Civil Code will apply, Article 343 on the one hand, or Articles 341, 978 and 979
on the other; and
2. Whether the material data rule enuciated by Rule 41, Section 6 the New Rules of Court should be followed, ex cathedra,
in the present case:
A
The lower court found the following the new provisions of the New Civil Code gername to the instant case:
Art. 341. The adoption shall:
(1) Give to the adopted person the same rights and duties as if he were a legitimate child of the adopted;
(2) Dissolve the authority vested in the parents by nature;
(3) Make the adopted person a legal heir of the adopted;

36

(4) Entitle the adopted person to use the adopter's surname."


Art. 978. Succession pertains, in the first place, to the decending direct line.
Art. 979. Legitimate children and their decendants suceed the parents and the other ascendants, without
distinction as to sex or age, and even if they should come from different marriages.
WE opine that the governing provision is the hereinafter quoted article 343 of the New Civil Code, in relation to Articles 893
and 1000 of said law, which directs that:
Art. 343. If the adopter is survived by legitimate parents or ascendants and by an adopted person. the
latter shall not have more successional rights than an acknowledged natural child.
Article 343 of the New Civil Code is qualification to Article 341 which gives an adopted child the same
rights and duties as though he were a legitimate child. The reason for this is that:
(I)t is unjuest to exclude the adopter's parents from the inheritance in facor of an adopted person (Report
of the Code Commission, p. 92).
It is most unfair to accord more successional rights to the adopted, who is only related artificially by fiction of law to the
deceased, than those who are naturally related to him by blood in the direct ascending line.
The applicability of Article 343 does not exclude the surviving parent of the deceased adopter, not only because a contrary
view would defeat the intent of the framers of the law, but also because in intestate succession, where legitimate parents
or ascendants concur with the surviving spouse of the deceased, the latter does not necessarily exclude the former from
the inheritance. This is affirmed by Article 893 of the New Civil Code which states:
If the testator leaves no legitimate descendants, but leaves legitimate ascendants, the surviving spouse
shall have a right to onefourth (only) of the hereditary estate.
This fourth shall be taken from the free portion.
Article 343 does not require that the concurring heirs should be the aodpted child and the legitimate parents or ascendants
only. The language of the law is clear, and a contrary view cannot be presumed.
It is, thus, OUR view that Article 343 should be made to apply, consonant with the cardinal rule in statutory construction
that all the provisions of the New Civil Code must be reconciled and given effect.
Under Article 343, an adopted child surviving with legitimate parents of the deceased adopter, has the same successional
rights as an acknowledged natural child, which is comprehended in the term "illegitimate children". Consequently , the
respective shares of the surviving spouse, ascendant and adopted child should be determined by Article 1000 of the New
Civil Code, which reads:
Art. 1000. If legitimate ascendants, the surviving spouse and illegitimate children are left, the ascendants
shall be entitled to onehalf of the inheritance, and the other half shall be divided between the surviving
spouse and the illegitimate children so that such widow or widower shall have one-fourth of the estate, the
illegitimate children the other fourth.
B
Anent the other issue, respondents, in their comment of June 29, 1973, emphasize that the petitioner's record on appeal
violates the material data rule in that
It does not state when the notice of appeal and appeal bond were filed with the lower court in disregard of
the requirment of Section 6, Rule 41 of the Rules of Court that the record on appeal must contain such
data as will show that the appeal was perfected on time.
Recent jurisprudence has construed liberally the material data rule, whenever circumstances and substantial justice
warrant.
The cases of Berkenkotter vs. Court of Appeal, No. L-336629, September 28, 1973 (53 SCRA 228) and Villanueva vs. Court
of Appeal (No. L-29719, Novemner 28, 1975, 68 SCRA 216, 220) are particularly in point.
In Villanueva, WE held:
The deviation from the rigid rule aopted in the case of Government of the Philippines vs. Antonio, etal.,
G.R. No. L-23736, October 19, 1965, is due to our realization that after all what is of vital importance in
the requirement fo Section 6, Rule 41 of the Rules of court is that the Record on Appeal shall show that the
appeal was really perfected within the reglementary period. If it could ascertained from the record of the
case that the appeal was perfected within the reglementary period, although such fact did not evidently
appear on the face of the record on appeal, the defect or deficiency is not fatal.

37

If the appellate court is convinced that the appeal was perfected on time, it should not throw out but
assume jurisdiction over it. After all, that procedural requirement is only intended to enable the appellate
court to determine if the appeal is still within its jurisdiction and nothing more (Villanueva vs. Court of
Appeals, 68 SCRA 220, emphasis supplied).
From the docket and process slip of this case, it is shown that the date of notice of the Court of First Instance decision is
July 3, 1973 and that the expiry date to file petition for certiorari with the Supreme Court is December 14, 1973. Petitioner
filed her notice of appeal, appeal bond and record on appeal on July 10, 1973 or still very much within the reglementary
period to perfect an appeal. And although this is not mentioned in the record on appeal. And although this is not mentioned
in the record on appeal, it is, nevertheless, a fact of record, the veracity of which this COURT does not doubt.
Perforce, there being substantial compliance with the requirement of the Rules of Court, WE resolve this issue in favor of
petitioner.
The liberal interpretation of the material data rule aimed at serving the ends of substantial justice has found amplification in
the recent cases of Pimental, et al. vs. Court of Appeals, et al., L-39423 and L-39684, June 27, 1975, 64 SCRA 475;
Republic of the Philippines vs. Court of Appeals, Tomas Carag, et al., L-40495, October 21, 1975, 67 SCRA 322, 328-332;
and Manuel R. Luna vs. Court of Appeals, Capati, et al., L-37123, October 30 1975, 67 SCRA 503, 506.
WHEREFORE, THE INSTANT PETITION IS HEREBY DISMISSED, WITHOUT PREJUDICE TO PETITIONER'S FILING THE
APPROPRIATE ACTION IS A COMPETENT COURT. NO COSTS. SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. L-7768
November 14, 1912
MANUEL SARITA, ET AL., plaintiffs-appellants,
vs.
ANDRES CANDIA, defendant-appellee.
ARELLANO, C.J.:
The spouses Apolinario Cedeo and Roberto Montesa acquired during their marriage a piece of land, apparently of an area
of 2 cavanes of corn upon which they had planted fruit trees. Apolinario Cedeo died in 1895 and Roberta Montesa in 1909.
It is alleged that during the lifetime of these spouses, from 1886 to April, 1909, on which latter date Roberta Montesa died,
Andres Candia was holding and cultivating the said land, but that as stated in the complainant, he did so merely under a
lease and paid the said spouses one hundred pesos semiannually; that, from May, 1909, he refused to pay the emphyteutic
rent for the cultivation of the land, appropriated the land and claimed ownership thereof; and that he also took possession
of four mares, twelve carabaos, and several pieces of furniture which were in the house erected on the said land a house
worth 50 pesos which he also seized and claimed as his property. Apolinario Cedeo had three brothers and one sister,
Macario, Domingo, Leon, and Cristeta, of whom only the last mentioned is living. Macario left of five children, among them
Tomas Cedeo; Domingo, the same number, among them a daughter named Sofia, who died leaving a son, Manuel Sarita;
and Leon, four, among them, Gregorio Cedeo. All of these except Gregorio Cedeo and his brothers sue for the ownership
of the land and the other personal property of Andres Candia which, together with the fruits thereof, they requested the
Court of First Instance of Cebu to sentence the latter to return to them and, further, that he indemnify them in the amount
of P800, and pay the costs.
Andres Candia, a nephew of Roberta Montesa as the son of her sister, testified that he had been brought up, from the time
he was very young, in the house of the spouses Cedeo and Montesa; that he worked on the house which those spouses
left at their death when it was under construction, and, from his boyhood, assisted in the cultivation of the land; that said
Apolonio Cedeo, otherwise known as Isidario Cedeo, was a cabeza de barangay of the pueblo of Sibonga, who, in order
to pay certain shortages of the cabeceria under his charge, on the 24th of June, 1881, sold the said land to Juan Basa
Villarosa, who held it in quiet and peaceable possession for twenty-four years and at his death such possession was
continued by his sons, Sinforoso and Vicente Villarosa, from whom witness, Andres Candia, acquired the property by
purchase; that at no time did he hold the same as a lessee nor pay for it any emphyteutic rent whatever; and that he never
had in his possession the animals mentioned in the complaint.
The court absolved the defendant from the complainant, on the grounds that, with regard to the animals and real property
sued for, there was no proof whatever that they were in possession of the spouses at the time of their death, and, with
respect to the land: (1) That the defendant was the possessor in good faith continuously and was presumed to hold under
just title so long as the contrary should not be proved; and (2) that neither the plaintiffs nor their alleged predecessors in
interest made demand for it during the period of twenty-six years, since the ownership thereof was conveyed by Isidario or
Apolinario Cedeo to Juan Basa Villarosa, on the 24th of June, 1881, it being that during this very long period of time they
did not obtain possession of the property.
The judgment having been appealed through a bill exceptions and the appeal having been heard, we determine: With
respect to the property, that the opinion of the trial court is unchangeable, as, in this regard, it has not been impugned as
erroneous on appeal, and is certainly in accord with the merits of the case; and, as concerns the land, (1) that this action is
one for the recovery of possession from the present possessor, and, in order to bring it, the plaintiffs make use of
hereditary right, by styling themselves the heirs of Apolinario Cedeo; (2) that the plaintiffs are, on the one side, Cristeta
Cedeo, on another, some nephews and nieces of the latter, his brother Macario's children; and on the other, some children
of Domingo Cedeo, among them Manuel Sarita, the principal plaintiff, in representation of his deceased mother, Sofia, also
a daughter of Domingo Cedeo; (3) that they assert their hereditary right in an intestate succession, and that the land in
question was the community property of the deceased spouses, Cedeo and Montesa, as established hypothetically,
especially by the plaintiffs' witnesses, Estanislao Solano and Irineo Tormis; (4) that, such being the case, they could
demand, as the legitimate heirs of Apolonio Cedeo, only one-half of the land, but not the other half which belonged to
Roberta Montesa, of whom they are not heirs ab intestato, from the fact that they are collateral relatives of this woman's
husband: so that claim to all the land is manifestly unfounded; (5) that, moreover, it is manifestly unfounded in so much as
Sofia's son, Manuel Sarita, in representation of his mother, could not act as a plaintiff, nor could she, Sofia do so by
representing her father, Domingo; on the hypothesis that the right of representation in the collateral line can only take

38

place in favor of the children of brothers or sisters (Civil Code, art. 925, par. 2), and the said Manuel Sarita is not a child of
a brother, as are the children of Macario and Domingo Cedeo; and, finally, that it was manifestly imprudent also to include
as plaintiffs Gregorio, Lorenzo, Abundio and Jose, the children of Leon Cedeo, a brother of the deceased Apolinario
Cedeo, when, as the first of them testified, they did not attempt to take part in this litigation:lawph!l.net
JUDGE. Is Mr. Sevilla your attorney?
WITNESS. No, sir.
Q. Have you employed him?A. No.
Q. Have you spoken to him about this case?A. No, sir.
Q. So then, you were never in Mr. Sevilla's office?A. I do not know where it is.
Q. Have you authorized this action against Andres Candia?A. No, sir.
Q. Have your brothers, Lorenzo, Juan, and the others, done so?A. They have not.
Q. So that in this suit neither you nor your brothers now have any claim against Andres Candia?A. No.
Elsewhere this same witness said:
My uncles and cousins spoke to me about the institution of this suit; I told them that it could not be, because the
land was purchased by Juan Villarosa at the time that our deceased uncle found himself obliged to cover certain
shortages against him in the cabeceria; it was then that he sold the land.
In view of the foregoing considerations, we decide, with respect to the exercise of the hereditary right derived from the
intestate succession of Apolinario Cedeo:
First. That Manuel Sarita, the principal plaintiff, in whose house, according to Exhibit D, there was drawn up at his request
the engagement of all the plaintiffs to confide the suit to the attorney who has conducted it, has absolutely no such right,
because he cannot represent his grandfather Domingo, since, as aforesaid, in the collateral line the right of representation
can only take place in favor of the children of brothers or sisters, but not in favor of the grandson of a brother, such as is
the said Manuel Sarita, the son of Sofia Cedeo who, in turn, was the daughter of Domingo Cedeo.
Second. That, on the hypothesis that such hereditary right derived from the intestate succession of Apolinario Cedeo, does
exist, it could only be exercised by Cristeta Cedeo, the children of Macario Cedeo, and those of Domingo Cedeo, but not
by Manuel Sarita, because in inheritances the nearer relative excludes the more remote, excepting the right of
representation in proper cases (Civil Code, art 921); from which it is inferred that, in pushing forward Cristeta Cedeo, the
children of Macario Cedeo and those of Domingo Cedeo, to exercise such a hereditary right, it should have been noticed
that the personality of these parties as the nearest relatives excluded that of Manuel Sarita, the son of Sofia Cedeo, of a
more remote degree.
Third. That, on the same hypothesis, in the eyes of the law no meaning whatever could be given to the document, Exhibit H
of the plaintiffs, wherein it is made to appear that the widow of Apolinario Cedeo, Roberta Montesa implored of the heirs
of her deceased husband that she be allowed to continue in her possession of the land and the house of the family;
inasmuch as, as coowner of such property, she was entitled to one-half of it and, besides, had a right of usufruct to onehalf of the other half of the same, pursuant to the provisions of articles 837 and 953 of the Civil Code, and until she was
satisfied for her part of usufruct, this half of the other half remained liable for the payment of such part of usufruct. (Civil
Code, art. 838.)
Fourth. The hypothesis disappears from the moment that it is proved that at the death of such alleged predecessor in
interest in the inheritance, the land in question was not owned by him, it having been transferred in 1881, according to a
conclusion established by the trial judge. Therefore, the action for the recovery of possession, derived from such alleged
inheritance, cannot exist.
This transfer of the and affected by Isidario or Apolinario Cedeo was originally the title alleged by the defendant a title
which must not be presumed in the present case, but proved. It is true that the possessor, in the capacity of owner has in
his favor the legal presumption that he holds under the lawful title and cannot be compelled to exhibit it (Civil Code, art.
446); but it is also true that when the defendant agrees with the plaintiffs that the thing demanded belonged to a
determinate person during his lifetime from whom these latter claim to derive their right, the existence is thereby admitted
of a right of ownership opposed to that of the present possessor, and hence logically the necessity for the latter to prove his
title and exhibit it, in order to destroy the contrary presumption in favor of that prior ownership.
The defendant, according to the finding of the trial judge, has proved that he has such a title, by the exhibition of three
documents: one, of the sale by Isidario or Apolinario Cedeo to Juan Basa Villarosa (Exhibit 2); another, of the sale with
pacto de retro by the latter's son, Sinforoso Villarosa, to the defendant (Exhibit 3); and the other, of a final sale by the
other son, Vicente Villarosa, to the same party, Andres Candia (Exhibit 4).

39

Against this finding of the lower court, the appellants allege: 1. That Isidario Cedeo, the vendor, has nothing to do with
Apolinario Cedeo, his predecessor in interest; and, 2. That the land in Talamban known as that of Juan Basa Villarosa is
about 15 or 20 brazas distant from the land in Talamban which is concerned in this litigation.
But the finding impugned is in no wise erroneous. Tomas Cedeo, one of the plaintiffs, testified that his uncle Apolinario
had the baptismal or Christian name of Isidario, was better known by the nickname of Adiot, and was the only cabeza de
barangay in Sibonga with the surname of Cedeo. Domingo Cedeo, who was erroneously made to appear as a plaintiff,
said that the original owner of the land in question was "his deceased uncle, Isidario Cedeo," and that Isidario was the
true name. The averment of the appellants that "the finding of the court is precisely contrary to the agreement made by
both parties" (brief, 8)is in all respects incorrect. "In the said agreement, they say, no other name than that of Apolinario
was recorded and admitted to be the name of the plaintiff's predecessor in interest. By that same agreement the defendant
could not be heard to prove another so different name as that of Isidario for the purpose of confusing it with that of
Apolinario . . . (brief, 8). The agreement only says: "By agreement between the attorneys for both parties, the complaint in
this case is understood to be amended in the sense that the name of Apolonio Cedeo, which occurs in the first line of the
first paragraph of the complaint, is substituted for the name of Apolinario Cedeo; it is being agreed that the amended
answer which the court has just admitted refers to the complaint so amended." The only point that appears to be agreed
upon is that where the plaintiffs say in their complaint Apolonio, the same shall be read Apolinario; but it was not agreed
that the party Apolinario might not be known by any other name than that Apolinario, nor that the defendant should not try
to prove another name as that of Isidario.
It is also in all respects inexact that the land in Talamban, the subject matter of the complaint, which formerly belonged to
Apolinario Cedeo, is different from the land in Talamban which the defendant claim was sold by Isidario Cedeo to Juan
Basa Villarosa. The complaint says: "Boundaries: On the north, by Calixto Nejarda; on the south, by the river called Grande
and Alejandro Mirafuentes; on the east, by the same river, Grande; on the west, by a large rock." Defendant's Exhibit 2
says: "Bounded on the north by Calixto Nejarda; on the east by Calixto Nejarda; on the south by Alejandro Mirafuentes;
and on the west by Miguel and a large rock." The plaintiffs' witnesses, Solano and Cuestas, and the plaintiffs themselves,
Sarita and Tomas Cedeo, designate the same boundaries as does the defendant, giving also as the eastern boundary,
besides the river, Calixto Nejarda . . . The interposition of "Miguel" as being on the west, written in other documents as on
the south, is perfectly explained by the defendant: It refers to Miguel Calixtio who broke up the ground between the large
rock and the land in dispute; and so it is that in subsequent documents it also appears as the western boundary.
For the proceeding reasons, the judgment appealed from is affirmed, with the costs of this instance against the appellants.
G.R. No. L-19382
August 31, 1965
IN RE SUMMARY SETTLEMENT OF THE ESTATE OF MELODIA FERRARIS.
FILOMENA ABELLANA DE BACAYO, petitioner-appellant,
vs.
GAUDENCIA FERRARIS DE BORROMEO, CATALINA FERARIS DE VILLEGAS,
JUANITO FERRARIS and CONCHITA FERRARIS, oppositors-appellees.
REYES, J.B.L., J.:
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 de Bacayo, 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:
Note: Picture
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

40

latter since nieces and nephews 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 of 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 stripes) 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 stripes.
ART. 1009. Should there be neither brothers nor sister 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 them 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 brother, 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 or 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, relatives beyond the fifth degree are no longer considered as relatives, for successional
purposes.

41

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. (Emphasis 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.
G.R. No. L-37365 November 29, 1977
GAUDENCIO BICOMONG, et al., plaintiffs-appellees,
vs.
GERONIMO ALMANZA, et al., defendant. FLORENTINO CARTENA, defendant-appellant.
GUERRERO, J.:
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 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.
Perpetua Bagsic died on July 1, 1945 (Exhibit A). Surviving her are her heirs, the plaintiffs Gaudencio
Bicomong, Felicidad Bicomong, Salome Bicomong, and Gervacio Bicomong.
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 1Manese) 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
Bernardino 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. m. Bounded on the N. by Jacinto Alvero, Anacleto Glorioso
and Bernardino Alma; on the E. by Bernardino Alma; 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

42

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) Francisco 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:
Art. 975. When children of one or more brothers or sisters of tile 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."

43

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 defendants, 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 AbellanaBacayo vs. Ferraris-Borromeo, L-19382, August 31, I965, 14 SCRA 986, this Court held that "nephews and nieces alone do
not inherit by right of representation (that is 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 n of half blood. The only difference in their
right of succession is provided in Art. 1008, NCC 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. Melanie
Baldovino, et al., No. L-11960, December 27, 1958, 104 Phil. 1065 (unreported) and in Alviar vs. Alviar, No. L-22402, June
30, 1969, 28 SCRA 610).
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, NCC 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.
G.R. No. L-21809
January 31, 1966
GIL P. POLICARPIO, ET AL., plaintiffs-appellees,
vs.
JOSE V. SALAMAT, ET AL., defendants.
VICENTE ASUNCION, ET AL., defendants-appellants.
BAUTISTA ANGELO, J.:
In a duly probated last will and testament of one Damasa Crisostomo, she gave the naked ownership of a fishpond owned
by her to her sister Teodorica de la Cruz while its usufruct to the children of her cousins Antonio Perez, Patricia Vicente and
Canuto Lorenzo. The fishpond is situated at a barrio of Hagonoy, Bulacan.
The children of Antonio Perez, Patricia Vicente and Canuto Lorenzo turned out to be fourteen, namely: Maria, Pio,
Fructuosa, Graciano, Vicente, Victoria, Teodora, and Juan, all surnamed Perez, Apolonio Lorenzo, Bonifacio Lorenzo, Vicente
Asuncion, Francisco Lorenzo, Leoncio Perez and Servillano Perez. On the other hand, Teodorica de la Cruz, the naked owner,
bequeathed in her will all her rights to the fishpond to Jose V. Salamat.
The fourteen usufructuaries leased the fishpond first to one Gil P. Policarpio who used to give them proportionately the
usufruct corresponding to them. During the term of the lease, however, three of the usufructuaries died, namely, Francisco
Lorenzo, Leoncio M. Perez and Servillano Perez, and so, upon their death, both the naked owner and the remaining
usufructuaries claimed the shares corresponding to the deceased usufructuaries in the amount of P10,714.26. Because of
these conflicting claims, the lessee withheld said amount.
Subsequently, on May 31, 1962, the surviving usufructuaries leased the fishpond to one Batas Riego de Dios who, after
executing the contract of lease, came to know of the existing conflicting claims, and not knowing to whom of the claimants
the shares of the deceased usufructuaries should be paid, said lessee was also constrained to withhold the corresponding
part of the usufruct of the property. So on November 15, 1962, the two lessees commenced the present action for
interpleader against both the naked owner and surviving usufructuaries to compel them to interplead and litigate their
conflicting claims.
Defendant Jose V. Salamat avers as special defense that he is the successor-in-interest of Teodorica de la Cruz and as such
he is entitled to the shares corresponding to the three deceased usufructuaries inasmuch as the usufruct in their favor was
automatically extinguished by death and became merged with the naked owner.
The surviving usufructuaries, on the other hand, adhere to the theory that since the usufructuaries were instituted
simultaneously by the late Damasa Crisostomo, the death of the three usufructuaries did not extinguish the usufruct,
hence, the surviving usufructuaries are entitled to receive the shares corresponding to the deceased usufructuaries, the
usufruct to continue until the death of the last usufructuary.

44

When the case was called for hearing, the parties agreed to submit the case for decision upon the submission of their
respective memoranda considering that the issue involved was purely legal in nature, and on March 29, 1963, the trial
court rendered decision the dispositive part of which reads as follows:
Wherefore, judgment is hereby rendered declaring defendant Jose V. Salamat entitled to the sum of P10,714.25
representing the shares of the three deceased usufructuaries in the lease rental due from plaintiff Gil Policarpio,
ordering the latter to deliver to said defendant the aforesaid amount; and likewise declaring said defendant Jose V.
Salamat entitled to share with the eleven usufructuaries in the proceeds of the lease contract executed by them
with plaintiff Batas Riego de Dios, ordering the latter to deliver to him such amount as would be equivalent to the
shares of the three deceased usufructuaries, with the parties bearing their own costs and expenses of litigation.
The surviving usufructuaries took the present appeal. 1wph1.t
The important issue to be determined is whether the eleven surviving usufructuaries of the fishpond in question are the
ones entitled to the fruits that would have corresponded to the three deceased usufructuaries or the naked owner Jose V.
Salamat.
Appellants argue that it is the surviving usufructuaries who are entitled to receive the shares of the deceased by virtue of
Article 611 of the Civil Code which provides "A usufruct constituted in favor of several persons living at the time of its
constitution shall not be extinguished until the death of the last survivor." On the other hand, appellee contends that the
most a usufruct can endure if constituted in favor of a natural person is the lifetime of the usufructuary, because a usufruct
is extinguished by the death of the usufructuary unless a contrary intention clearly appears (Article 603, Civil Code). Hence,
appellee argues, when the three usufructuaries died, their usufructuary rights were extinguished and whatever rights they
had to the fruits reverted to the naked owner.
If the theory of appellee in the sense that the death of the three usufructuaries has the effect of consolidating their rights
with that of the naked owner were correct, Article 611 of the Civil Code would be superfluous, because Article 603 already
provides that the death of the usufructuary extinguishes the usufruct unless the contrary appears. Furthermore, said theory
would cause a partial extinction of the usufruct, contrary to the provisions of Article 611 which expressly provides that the
usufruct shall not be extinguished until the death of the last survivor. The theory of appellee cannot, therefore, be
entertained.
The well-known Spanish commentators on the counterpart of Article 611 we have copied above which implicitly provides
that the share of a usufructuary who dies in the meantime inures to the benefit of the surviving usufructuaries, also uphold
the view we here express. Thus, the following is their comment on the matter:
Al comentar el articulo 469 (now Art. 564) hablamos, entre formas de constitucion del usufructo, del disfrute
simultaneo y sucesivo. Ninguna duda cabe, puesto que el derecho de acrecer es aplicable a los usufructuarios,
segun el Art. 987 (now Art. 1023), sobre la no extincion del usufructo simultaneo, hasta la muerte de la ultima
persona que sobreviva. . . .
. . . Al referirse . . . el articulo 521 (now Art. 611) al usufructo constituido en provecho de varias personas vivas al
tiempo de su constitucion, parece referirse al usufructo simultaneo. Sin embargo, es indudable que se refiere
tambien al sucesivo, puesto que en esta especie de usufructs el segundo usufructuario no entra en el disfrute,
salvo expresion en contrario, hasta la muerte del primero, y es claro que al morir el ultimo llamado, se extingue el
usufructo, que es precisamente lo que ordena el presente articulo. (Manresa, Comentarios al Codigo Civil Espaol,
1931, Tomo IV, par. 486).
. . . refiriendonos al caso de muerte natural, ha de tenerse presente que si son muchos los llamados el usufructo
simultaneamente, muerto uno, su porcian acrece a los demas, a no ser que el testador exprese lo contrario, o se
infiriera asi del titulo en que se constituye el usufructo, para lo cual puede verse la doctrina de la ley 33, tit. I, lib.
VII del Digesto, que habla del derecho de acrecer en el usufructo, y el tit. IV del mismo libro, en que se proponen
algunos casos de excepcion.El usufructo constituido en provecho de varias personas vivas al tiempo de su
constitucion, no extinguira hasta la muerte de la ultima que sobreviviere. Cod. Civ. art. 521. (Del Viso, Lecciones
Elementales de Derecho Civil, sexta edicion, Tomo I, p. 86.)
Si a varios usufructuarios se les lega la totalidad de una herencia; o una misma parte de ella, se da el derecho de
acrecer cuando una de ellos muere despues del testador, sobreviviendo otro y otros?Como dice la obra anotado,
el Digesto admitio, segun un texto de Paulo, la solucion afirmativa, y Pothier reprodujo dicha doctrina.
La jurisprudencia del Tribunal Supreme espaol ha admitido y sancionado tambien en la sentencia de 29 de marzo
de 1905, aunque no por aplicacion del derecho de acrecer, y si por aplicacion de la voluntad presunta del testador,
que babiendose legado el usufructo vitalicio del remanente du sus bienes, por partes iguales, a dos hermanas,
debe entenderse que ellas, o cualquiera de las dos que sobreviviere a la otra, habia de disfrutar dicho usufructo, no
constituyendo la separacion de partes sino una prevision del testador, para el arreglo del usufructo total durante la
vida de los dos usufructuarios. (Colin and Capitant, Curso Elemental del Derecho Civil, 1957, Tomo VIII, pp. 605606)
It, therefore, appears that the Spanish commentators on the subject are unanimous that there is accretion among
usufructuaries who are constituted at the same time when one of them dies before the end of the usufruct. The only
exception is if the usufruct is constituted in a last will and testament and the testator makes a contrary provision. Here
there is none. On the contrary, the testatrix constituted the usufruct in favor of the children of her three cousins with the
particular injunction that they are the only ones to enjoy the same as long as they live, from which it can be implied that,
should any of them die, the share of the latter shall accrue to the surviving ones. These provisions of the will are clear.
They do not admit of any other interpretation.

45

Wherefore, the decision appealed from is reversed. The eleven surviving usufructuaries are hereby declared to be entitled
to the shares of the three deceased usufructuaries and, hence, as a corollary, appellees Gil P. Policarpio and Batas Riego de
Dios are hereby ordered to pay to them the money withheld by them respectively representing the shares of the deceased
usufructuaries. No costs.
G.R. No. L-25966
November 1, 1926
In the matter of the estate of Tomas Rodriguez, deceased. MANUEL TORRES, special administrator, and LUZ
LOPEZ DE BUENO, heir, appellee,
vs.
MARGARITA LOPEZ, opponent-appellant.
STREET, J.:
This appeal involves a controversy over one-half of the estate of Tomas Rodriguez, decedent. The appellant, Margarita
Lopez, claims said half by the intestate succession as next of kin and nearest heir; while the appellee, Luz Lopez de Bueno,
claims the same by accredition and in the character of universal heir the will of the decedent. The trial court decided the
point of controversy in favor of Luz Lopez de Bueno, and Margariat Lopez appealed.
The facts necessary to an understanding of the case are these: On January 3, 1924, Tomas Rodriguez executed his last will
and testament, in the second clause of which he declared:
I institute as the only and universal heirs to all my property, my cousin Vicente F. Lopez and his daughter Luz
Lopez de Bueno.
Prior to the time of the execution of this will the testator, Tomas Rodriguez, had been judicially declared incapable of taking
care of himself and had been placed under the care of his cousin Vicente F. Lopez, as guardian. On January 7, 1924, or only
four days after the will above-mentioned was made, Vicente F. Lopez died; and the testator, Tomas Rodriguez, died on
February 25, 1924, thereafter. At the time the will was made Vicente F. Lopez had not presented his final accounts as
guardian, and no such accounts had been presented by him at the time of his death. Margariat Lopez was a cousin and
nearest relative of the decedent. The will referred to, and after having been contested, has been admitted to probate by
judicial determination (Torres and Lopez de Bueno vs. Lopez, 48 Phil., 772).
Our discussion of the legal problem presented should begin with article 753 of the Civil Code which in effect declares that,
with certain exceptions in favor of near relatives, no testamentary provision shall be valid when made by a ward in favor of
his guardian before the final accounts of the latter have been approved. This provision is of undoubted application to the
situation before us; and the provision made in the will of Tomas Rodriguez in favor of Vicente F. Lopez was not any general
incapacity on his part, but a special incapacity due to the accidental relation of guardian and ward existing between the
parties.
We now pass to article 982 of the Civil Code, defining the right of accretion. It is there declared, in effect, that accretion
take place in a testamentary succession, first when the two or more persons are called to the same inheritance or the same
portion thereof without special designation of shares; and secondly, when one of the persons so called dies before the
testator or renounces the inheritance or is disqualifying to receive it. In the case before us we have a will calling Vicente F.
Lopez and his daughter, Luz Lopez de Bueno, to the same inheritance without special designation of shares. In addition to
this, one of the persons named as heir has predeceased the testator, this person being also disqualified to receive the
estate even if he had been alive at the time of the testator's death. This article (982) is therefore also of exact application
to the case in hand; and its effect is to give to the survivor, Luz Lopez de Bueno, not only the undivided half which she
would have received in conjunction with her father if he had been alive and qualified to take, but also the half which
pertained to him. There was no error whatever, therefore, in the order of the trial court declaring Luz Lopez de Bueno
entitled to the whole estate.
The argument in favor of the appellant supposes that there has supervened a partial intestacy with respect to the half of
the estate which was intended for Vicente F. Lopez and that this half has descended to the appellant, Margarita Lopez, as
next of kin and sole heir at law of the decedent. In this connection attention is directed to article 764 of the Civil Code
wherein it is declared, among other things, that a will may be valid even though the person instituted as heir is disqualified
to inherit. Our attention is next invited to article 912 wherein it is declared, among other things, that legal succession takes
place if the heir dies before the testator and also when the heir instituted is disqualified to succeed. Upon these provisions
an argument is planted conducting to the conclusion that the will of Tomas Rodriguez was valid, notwithstanding the fact
that one of the individuals named as heirs in the will was disqualified to take, and that as a consequence Margarita Lopez s
entitled to inherit the share of said disqualified heir.
We are the opinion that this contention is untenable and that the appellee clearly has the better right. In playing the
provisions of the Code it is the duty of the court to harmonize its provisions as far as possible, giving due effect to all; and
in case of conflict between two provisions the more general is to be considered as being limited by the more specific. As
between articles 912 and 983, it is obvious that the former is the more general of the two, dealing, as it does, with the
general topic of intestate succession while the latter is more specific, defining the particular conditions under which
accretion takes place. In case of conflict, therefore, the provisions of the former article must be considered limited by the
latter. Indeed, in subsection 3 of article 912 the provision with respect to intestate succession is expressly subordinated to
article 983 by the expression "and (if) there is no right of accretion." It is true that the same express qualification is not
found in subsection 4 of article 912, yet it must be so understood, in view of the rule of interpretation above referred to, by
which the more specific is held to control the general. Besides, this interpretation supplies the only possible means of
harmonizing the two provisions. In addition to this, article 986 of the Civil Code affords independent proof that intestate
succession to a vacant portion can only occur when accretion is impossible.
The attorneys for the appellant direct attention to the fact that, under paragraph 4 of article 912, intestate succession
occurs when the heir instituted is disqualified to succeed (incapaz de suceder), while, under the last provision in paragraph

46

2 of article 982, accretion occurs when one of the persons called to inherit under the will is disqualified to receive the
inheritance (incapaz de recibirla). A distinction is then drawn between incapacity to succeed and incapacity to take, and it is
contended that the disability of Vicente F. Lopez was such as to bring the case under article 912 rather than 982. We are of
the opinion that the case cannot be made to turn upon so refined an interpretation of the language of the Code, and at any
rate the disability to which Vicente F. Lopez was subject was not a general disability to succeed but an accidental incapacity
to receive the legacy, a consideration which makes a case for accretion rather than for intestate succession.
The opinions of the commentators, so far as they have expressed themselves on the subject, tend to the conclusion that
the right of accretion with regard to portions of an inheritance left vacant by the death or disqualification of one of the heirs
or his renunciation of the inheritance is governed by article 912, without being limited, to the extent supposed in
appellant's brief, by provisions of the Code relative to intestate succession (Manresa, Comentarios al Codigo Civil Espaol,
4th ed., vol. VII, pp. 310, 311; id., 34; 13 Mucius Scaevola, pp. 372, 373, 285-287; 16 Mucius Scaevola, 186). Says
Escriche: "It is to be understood that one of the coheirs or colegatees fails if nonexistent at the time of the making of the
will, or he renounces the inheritance or legacy, if he dies before the testator, if the condition be not fulfilled, or if he
becomes otherwise incapacitated. . . . (Diccionario de Legislacion y Jurisprudencia, vol. I, p. 225.)lawphil.net
In conclusion it may be worth observing that there has always existed both in the civil and in the common law a certain
legal intendment, amounting to a mild presumption, against partial intestacy. In Roman law, as is well known, partial
testacy systems a presumption against it, a presumption which has its basis in the supposed intention of the testator.
The judgment appealed from will be affirmed, and it is so ordered, with costs against the appellant.
G.R. No. L-62952 October 9, 1985
SOFIA J. NEPOMUCENO, petitioner,
vs.
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, RUFINA GOMEZ, OSCAR JUGO ANG, CARMELITA JUGO, respondents.
GUTIERREZ, JR., J.:
This is a petition for certiorari to set aside that portion of the decision of the respondent Court of Appeals (now intermediate
Appellate Court) dated June 3, 1982, as amended by the resolution dated August 10, 1982, declaring as null and void the
devise in favor of the petitioner and the resolution dated December 28, 1982 denying petitioner's motion for
reconsideration.
Martin Jugo died on July 16, 1974 in Malabon, Rizal. He left a last Will and Testament duly signed by him at the end of the
Will on page three and on the left margin of pages 1, 2 and 4 thereof in the presence of Celestina Alejandro, Myrna C.
Cortez, and Leandro Leano, who in turn, affixed their signatures below the attestation clause and on the left margin of
pages 1, 2 and 4 of the Will in the presence of the testator and of each other and the Notary Public. The Will was
acknowledged before the Notary Public Romeo Escareal by the testator and his three attesting witnesses.
In the said Will, the testator named and appointed herein petitioner Sofia J. Nepomuceno as his sole and only executor of
his estate. It is clearly stated in the Will that the testator was legally married to a certain Rufina Gomez by whom he had
two legitimate children, Oscar and Carmelita, but since 1952, he had been estranged from his lawfully wedded wife and had
been living with petitioner as husband and wife. In fact, on December 5, 1952, the testator Martin Jugo and the petitioner
herein, Sofia J. Nepomuceno were married in Victoria, Tarlac before the Justice of the Peace. The testator devised to his
forced heirs, namely, his legal wife Rufina Gomez and his children Oscar and Carmelita his entire estate and the free portion
thereof to herein petitioner. The Will reads in part:
Art. III. That I have the following legal heirs, namely: my aforementioned legal wife, Rufina Gomez, and
our son, Oscar, and daughter Carmelita, both surnamed Jugo, whom I declare and admit to be legally and
properly entitled to inherit from me; that while I have been estranged from my above-named wife for so
many years, I cannot deny that I was legally married to her or that we have been separated up to the
present for reasons and justifications known fully well by them:
Art. IV. That since 1952, 1 have been living, as man and wife with one Sofia J. Nepomuceno, whom I
declare and avow to be entitled to my love and affection, for all the things which she has done for me, now
and in the past; that while Sofia J. Nepomuceno has with my full knowledge and consent, did comport and
represent myself as her own husband, in truth and in fact, as well as in the eyes of the law, I could not
bind her to me in the holy bonds of matrimony because of my aforementioned previous marriage;
On August 21, 1974, the petitioner filed a petition for the probate of the last Will and Testament of the deceased Martin
Jugo in the Court of First Instance of Rizal, Branch XXXIV, Caloocan City and asked for the issuance to her of letters
testamentary.
On May 13, 1975, the legal wife of the testator, Rufina Gomez and her children filed an opposition alleging inter alia that
the execution of the Will was procured by undue and improper influence on the part of the petitioner; that at the time of
the execution of the Will, the testator was already very sick and that petitioner having admitted her living in concubinage
with the testator, she is wanting in integrity and thus, letters testamentary should not be issued to her.
On January 6, 1976, the lower court denied the probate of the Will on the ground that as the testator admitted in his Will to
cohabiting with the petitioner from December 1952 until his death on July 16, 1974, the Will's admission to probate will be
an Idle exercise because on the face of the Will, the invalidity of its intrinsic provisions is evident.
The petitioner appealed to the respondent-appellate court.

47

On June 2, 1982, the respondent court set aside the decision of the Court of First Instance of Rizal denying the probate of
the will. The respondent court declared the Will to be valid except that the devise in favor of the petitioner is null and void
pursuant to Article 739 in relation with Article 1028 of the Civil Code of the Philippines. The dispositive portion of the
decision reads:
WHEREFORE, the decision a quo is hereby set aside, the will in question declared valid except the devise in
favor of the appellant which is declared null and void. The properties so devised are instead passed on in
intestacy to the appellant in equal shares, without pronouncement as to cost.
On June 15, 1982, oppositors Rufina Gomez and her children filed a "Motion for Correction of Clerical Error" praying that
the word "appellant" in the last sentence of the dispositive portion of the decision be changed to "appellees" so as to read:
"The properties so devised are instead passed on intestacy to the appellees in equal shares, without pronouncement as to
costs." The motion was granted by the respondent court on August 10, 1982.
On August 23, 1982, the petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration. This was denied by the respondent court in a
resolution dated December 28, 1982.
The main issue raised by the petitioner is whether or not the respondent court acted in excess of its jurisdiction when after
declaring the last Will and Testament of the deceased Martin Jugo validly drawn, it went on to pass upon the intrinsic
validity of the testamentary provision in favor of herein petitioner.
The petitioner submits that the validity of the testamentary provision in her favor cannot be passed upon and decided in
the probate proceedings but in some other proceedings because the only purpose of the probate of a Will is to establish
conclusively as against everyone that a Will was executed with the formalities required by law and that the testator has the
mental capacity to execute the same. The petitioner further contends that even if the provisions of paragraph 1 of Article
739 of the Civil Code of the Philippines were applicable, the declaration of its nullity could only be made by the proper court
in a separate action brought by the legal wife for the specific purpose of obtaining a declaration of the nullity of the
testamentary provision in the Will in favor of the person with whom the testator was allegedly guilty of adultery or
concubinage.
The respondents on the other hand contend that the fact that the last Will and Testament itself expressly admits indubitably
on its face the meretricious relationship between the testator and the petitioner and the fact that petitioner herself initiated
the presentation of evidence on her alleged ignorance of the true civil status of the testator, which led private respondents
to present contrary evidence, merits the application of the doctrine enunciated in Nuguid v. Felix Nuguid, et al. (17 SCRA
449) and Felix Balanay, Jr. v. Hon. Antonio Martinez, et al. (G.R. No. L- 39247, June 27, 1975). Respondents also submit
that the admission of the testator of the illicit relationship between him and the petitioner put in issue the legality of the
devise. We agree with the respondents.
The respondent court acted within its jurisdiction when after declaring the Will to be validly drawn, it went on to pass upon
the intrinsic validity of the Will and declared the devise in favor of the petitioner null and void.
The general rule is that in probate proceedings, the court's area of inquiry is limited to an examination and resolution of the
extrinsic validity of the Will. The rule is expressed thus:
xxx xxx xxx
... It is elementary that a probate decree finally and definitively settles all questions concerning capacity of
the testator and the proper execution and witnessing of his last Will and testament, irrespective of whether
its provisions are valid and enforceable or otherwise. (Fernandez v. Dimagiba, 21 SCRA 428)
The petition below being for the probate of a Will, the court's area of inquiry is limited to the extrinsic
validity thereof. The testators testamentary capacity and the compliance with the formal requisites or
solemnities prescribed by law are the only questions presented for the resolution of the court. Any inquiry
into the intrinsic validity or efficacy of the provisions of the will or the legality of any devise or legacy is
premature.
xxx xxx xxx
True or not, the alleged sale is no ground for the dismissal of the petition for probate. Probate is one thing;
the validity of the testamentary provisions is another. The first decides the execution of the document and
the testamentary capacity of the testator; the second relates to descent and distribution (Sumilang v.
Ramagosa, 21 SCRA 1369)
xxx xxx xxx
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. ... (Castaneda v. Alemany, 3 Phil. 426)

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The rule, however, is not inflexible and absolute. Given exceptional circumstances, the probate court is not powerless to do
what the situation constrains it to do and pass upon certain provisions of the Will.
In Nuguid v. Nuguid (17 SCRA 449) cited by the trial court, the testator instituted the petitioner as universal heir and
completely preterited her surviving forced heirs. A will of this nature, no matter how valid it may appear extrinsically, would
be null and void. Separate or latter proceedings to determine the intrinsic validity of the testamentary provisions would be
superfluous.
Even before establishing the formal validity of the will, the Court in Balanay .Jr. v. Martinez (64 SCRA 452) passed upon the
validity of its intrinsic provisions.
Invoking "practical considerations", we stated:
The basic issue is whether the probate court erred in passing upon the intrinsic validity of the will, before
ruling on its allowance or formal validity, and in declaring it void.
We are of the opinion that in view of certain unusual provisions of the will, which are of dubious legality,
and because of the motion to withdraw the petition for probate (which the lower court assumed to have
been filed with the petitioner's authorization) the trial court acted correctly in passing upon the will's
intrinsic validity even before its formal validity had been established. The probate of a will might become
an Idle ceremony if on its face it appears to be intrinsically void. Where practical considerations demand
that the intrinsic validity of the will be passed upon, even before it is probated, the court should meet the
issue (Nuguid v. Nuguid, 64 O.G. 1527, 17 SCRA 449. Compare with Sumilang vs. Ramagosa L-23135,
December 26, 1967, 21 SCRA 1369; Cacho v. Udan L-19996, April 30, 1965, 13 SCRA 693).
There appears to be no more dispute at this time over the extrinsic validity of the Will. Both parties are agreed that the Will
of Martin Jugo was executed with all the formalities required by law and that the testator had the mental capacity to
execute his Will. The petitioner states that she completely agrees with the respondent court when in resolving the question
of whether or not the probate court correctly denied the probate of Martin Jugo's last Will and Testament, it ruled:
This being so, the will is declared validly drawn. (Page 4, Decision, Annex A of Petition.)
On the other hand the respondents pray for the affirmance of the Court of Appeals' decision in toto.
The only issue, therefore, is the jurisdiction of the respondent court to declare the testamentary provision in favor of the
petitioner as null and void.
We sustain the respondent court's jurisdiction. As stated in Nuguid v. Nuguid, (supra):
We pause to reflect. If the case were to be remanded for probate of the will, nothing will be gained. On the
contrary, this litigation will be protracted. And for aught that appears in the record, in the record, in the
event of probate or if the court rejects the will, probability exists that the case will come up once again
before us on the same issue of the intrinsic validity or nullity of the will. Result, waste of time, effort,
expense, plus added anxiety. These are the practical considerations that induce us to a belief that we
might as well meet head-on the issue of the validity of the provisions of the will in question. (Section 2,
Rule 1, Rules of Court. Case, et al. v. Jugo, et al., 77 Phil. 517, 522). After all, there exists a justiciable
controversy crying for solution.
We see no useful purpose that would be served if we remand the nullified provision to the proper court in a separate action
for that purpose simply because, in the probate of a will, the court does not ordinarily look into the intrinsic validity of its
provisions.
Article 739 of the Civil Code provides:
The following donations shall be void:
(1) Those made between persons who were guilty of adultery or concubinage at the time of the donation;
(2) Those made between persons found guilty of the same criminal offense, in consideration thereof;
(3) Those made to a public officer or his wife, descendants and ascendants, by reason of his office.
In the case referred to in No. 1, the action for declaration of nullity may be brought by the spouse of the
donor or donee; and the guilt of the donor and donee may be proved by preponderance of evidence in the
same action.
Article 1028 of the Civil Code provides:
The prohibitions mentioned in Article 739, concerning donations inter vivos shall apply to testamentary
provisions.

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In Article III of the disputed Will, executed on August 15, 1968, or almost six years before the testator's death on July 16,
1974, Martin Jugo stated that respondent Rufina Gomez was his legal wife from whom he had been estranged "for so many
years." He also declared that respondents Carmelita Jugo and Oscar Jugo were his legitimate children. In Article IV, he
stated that he had been living as man and wife with the petitioner since 1952. Testator Jugo declared that the petitioner
was entitled to his love and affection. He stated that Nepomuceno represented Jugo as her own husband but "in truth and
in fact, as well as in the eyes of the law, I could not bind her to me in the holy bonds of matrimony because of my
aforementioned previous marriage.
There is no question from the records about the fact of a prior existing marriage when Martin Jugo executed his Will. There
is also no dispute that the petitioner and Mr. Jugo lived together in an ostensible marital relationship for 22 years until his
death.
It is also a fact that on December 2, 1952, Martin Jugo and Sofia J. Nepomuceno contracted a marriage before the Justice
of the Peace of Victoria, Tarlac. The man was then 51 years old while the woman was 48. Nepomuceno now contends that
she acted in good faith for 22 years in the belief that she was legally married to the testator.
The records do not sustain a finding of innocence or good faith. As argued by the private respondents:
First. The last will and testament itself expressly admits indubitably on its face the meretricious
relationship between the testator and petitioner, the devisee.
Second. Petitioner herself initiated the presentation of evidence on her alleged ignorance of the true civil
status of the testator, which led private respondents to present contrary evidence.
In short, the parties themselves dueled on the intrinsic validity of the legacy given in the will to petitioner
by the deceased testator at the start of the proceedings.
Whether or not petitioner knew that testator Martin Jugo, the man he had lived with as man and wife, as
already married, was an important and specific issue brought by the parties before the trial court, and
passed upon by the Court of Appeals.
Instead of limiting herself to proving the extrinsic validity of the will, it was petitioner who opted to present
evidence on her alleged good faith in marrying the testator. (Testimony of Petitioner, TSN of August 1,
1982, pp. 56-57 and pp. 62-64).
Private respondents, naturally, presented evidence that would refute the testimony of petitioner on the
point.
Sebastian Jugo, younger brother of the deceased testator, testified at length on the meretricious
relationship of his brother and petitioner. (TSN of August 18,1975).
Clearly, the good faith of petitioner was by option of the parties made a decisive issue right at the
inception of the case.
Confronted by the situation, the trial court had to make a ruling on the question.
When the court a quo held that the testator Martin Jugo and petitioner 'were deemed guilty of adultery or
concubinage', it was a finding that petitioner was not the innocent woman she pretended to be.
xxx xxx xxx
3. If a review of the evidence must be made nonetheless, then private respondents respectfully offer the
following analysis:
FIRST: The secrecy of the marriage of petitioner with the deceased testator in a town in Tarlac where
neither she nor the testator ever resided. If there was nothing to hide from, why the concealment' ? Of
course, it maybe argued that the marriage of the deceased with private respondent Rufina Gomez was
likewise done in secrecy. But it should be remembered that Rufina Gomez was already in the family way at
that time and it would seem that the parents of Martin Jugo were not in favor of the marriage so much so
that an action in court was brought concerning the marriage. (Testimony of Sebastian Jugo, TSN of August
18, 1975, pp. 29-30)
SECOND: Petitioner was a sweetheart of the deceased testator when they were still both single. That
would be in 1922 as Martin Jugo married respondent Rufina Gomez on November 29, 1923 (Exh. 3).
Petitioner married the testator only on December 5, 1952. There was a space of about 30 years in
between. During those 30 years, could it be believed that she did not even wonder why Martin Jugo did
not marry her nor contact her anymore after November, 1923 - facts that should impel her to ask her
groom before she married him in secrecy, especially so when she was already about 50 years old at the
time of marriage.

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THIRD: The fact that petitioner broke off from Martin Jugo in 1923 is by itself conclusive demonstration
that she new that the man she had openly lived for 22 years as man and wife was a married man with
already two children.
FOURTH: Having admitted that she knew the children of respondent Rufina Gomez, is it possible that she
would not have asked Martin Jugo whether or not they were his illegitimate or legitimate children and by
whom? That is un-Filipino.
FIFTH: Having often gone to Pasig to the residence of the parents of the deceased testator, is it possible
that she would not have known that the mother of private respondent Oscar Jugo and Carmelita Jugo was
respondent Rufina Gomez, considering that the houses of the parents of Martin Jugo (where he had lived
for many years) and that of respondent Rufina Gomez were just a few meters away?
Such pretentions of petitioner Sofia Nepomuceno are unbelievable. They are, to say the least, inherently
improbable, for they are against the experience in common life and the ordinary instincts and promptings
of human nature that a woman would not bother at all to ask the man she was going to marry whether or
not he was already married to another, knowing that her groom had children. It would be a story that
would strain human credulity to the limit if petitioner did not know that Martin Jugo was already a married
man in view of the irrefutable fact that it was precisely his marriage to respondent Rufina Gomez that led
petitioner to break off with the deceased during their younger years.
Moreover, the prohibition in Article 739 of the Civil Code is against the making of a donation between persons who are
living in adultery or concubinage. It is the donation which becomes void. The giver cannot give even assuming that the
recipient may receive. The very wordings of the Will invalidate the legacy because the testator admitted he was disposing
the properties to a person with whom he had been living in concubinage.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED for lack of merit. The decision of the Court of Appeals, now Intermediate Appellate
Court, is AFFIRMED. No costs. SO ORDERED.

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