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Noel vs CA Protected

Noel vs CA Protected

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06/18/2013

 
1.Edilberto Noel (Pinito Mercado) as Administrator of the IntestateEstate of Gregorio Nanaman and Hilaria Tabuclin, vs. Court of Appeals and Jose Deleste.240 SCRA 78Grn59950 Jan.11, 1995
FACTS: (Quiason, J.)PETITIONS for review on certiorari of a decision of the Court of Appeals.Gregorio Nanaman and Hilaria Tabuclin (Nanaman spouses) were a childless,legally-married couple. Gregorio, however, had a child named Virgilio Nanaman(IC) by another woman. Since he was two years old, Virgilio was reared byGregorio and Hilaria. He was sent to school by the couple until he reached thirdyear of the law course.During their marriage, Gregorio and Hilaria acquired certain property including a34.7-hectare land in Tambo, Iligan City on which they planted sugarcane, corn andbananas. They also lived there with Virgilio and 15 tenants. On October 2, 1945,Gregorio died. Hilaria then administered the property with the help of Virgilio. Through their tenants, Hilaria and Virgilio enjoyed the produce of the land to theexclusion of Juan Nanaman, the brother of Gregorio, and Esperanza and CaridadNanaman, Gregorio's daughters by still another woman. In 1953, Virgilio (IC)declared the property in his name for taxation purposes. On November 1, 1952,Hilaria and Virgilio, mortgaged the 34.7-hectare land in favor of privaterespondent, in consideration of the amount of P4,800.00.On February 16, 1954, Hilaria and Virgilio executed a deed of sale over the sametract of land also in favor of private respondent in consideration of the sum of P16,000.00. Witnesses to the sale were the wife of Virgilio, Rosita S. Nanaman,Rufo C. Salas, the driver of private respondent, and Remedios Pilotan. The taxdeclaration in the name of Virgilio was cancelled and a new tax declaration wasissued in the name of private respondent, Jose Deleste. Having discovered thatthe property was in arrears in the payment of taxes from 1952, privaterespondent paid the taxes for 1952, 1953 and 1954. From then on, privaterespondent has paid the taxes on the property.On May 15, 1954, Hilaria died. On October 27, 1954, Esperanza and CaridadNanaman filed intestate estate proceedings concerning the estate of their father,Gregorio. Included in the list of property of the estate was the 34.7-hectare land.Inasmuch as only Esperanza, Caridad and Virgilio Nanaman were named as heirsof Gregorio in the petition, Juan Nanaman, Gregorio's brother, opposed it. OnNovember 26, 1954, the petition was amended to include the estate of Hilariawith Alejo Tabuclin, Hilaria's brother, and Julio Tabuclin, (nephew)a son of Hilaria'sdeceased brother, Jose, as additional petitioners. Having been appointed specialadministrator of the estate of the Nanaman couple, Juan Nanaman included the34.7-hectare land in the list of the assets of the estate. Juan also reported that Virgilio took the amount of P350.00 from the produce of the estate without prior permission and that five tenants delivered sugar andpalay to private respondent. Hence Juan prayed that the court cite privaterespondent and the tenants in contempt of court. Accordingly, in its Order of  January 30, 1956, the probate court required private respondent and said tenantsto appear before it and "show cause why they should not be cited for contemptfor illegally interfering in the land" under special administration.On June 16, 1956, when Edilberto Noel took over as regular administrator of theestate, he was not able to take possession of the land in question because it wasin the possession of private respondent and some heirs of Hilaria. Later, Privaterespondent and the heirs of the Nanaman spouses executed an amicablesettlement of the Nanaman estate. In the document, private respondent agreed"to relinquish his rights to one-half (1/2) of the entire parcel of land in Tambo,Iligan City, indicated in item 1 under the Estate, sold to him by Hilaria Tabuclin, infavor of all the heirs of the abovementioned intestate [estate] for the reason thatnot all of the heirs of Gregorio Nanaman have signed and agreed.” The courtapproved the amicable settlement but when it was questioned by some heirs, thecourt set aside its approval and declared it null and void.Noel, as regular administrator, and as ordered by the court filed an action againstprivate respondent for the reversion of title over the 34.7-hectare land to theNanaman estate and to order private respondent to pay the rentals and attorney'sfees to the estate.
RTC
:
action for annulment of the deed of sale had prescribed in 1958 inasmuch as the sale wasregistered in 1954 and that Gregorio's heirs had slept on their rights by allowing Hilaria toexercise rights of ownership over Gregorio's share of the conjugal property after his death in1945. On the issue that Hilaria had no authority to dispose of one-half of the property pertainingto her husband, the trial court ruled: (1) that Hilaria in effect acted as administratrix over theestate of Gregorio; (2) that she sold the 34.7- hectare land in order to pay the debts of theconjugal partnership; and (3) that out of the purchase price of P16,000.00, P4,000.00 was inpayment to private respondent (who was a doctor of medicine) for medical services renderedand medicine administered during Gregorio's ailment and P800.00 was used to pay taxes inarrears. Noel appealed.
CA:
the transaction between Hilaria and Virgilio on one hand and private respondent on theother, was indeed a sale. It found that no fraud, mistake or misrepresentation attended in the
 
execution of the deed of sale and that no proof was shown that the contract was merely amortgage. The appellate court, however, agreed with Noel that Hilaria could not validly sell the 37.7-hectare land because it was conjugal property, and Hilaria could sell only her one-half sharethereof.On the issue of prescription, the appellate court ruled that since no fraud, mistake ormisrepresentation attended the execution of the deed of sale, the prescriptive period of tenyears had not yet elapsed when the action to recover the property was filed in 1963. Moreover,the appellate court held that in the absence of proof of adverse possession by Hilaria, sheshould be considered as holding the property pursuant to her usufructuary rights over the sameunder the provisions of the Spanish Civil Code of 1889, the law in force at the time of the deathof Gregorio.Finding that Noel's claim for rentals of P5,000.00
per annum
from 1957 was uncontroverted, theappellate court ruled that one-half thereof belonged to the estate of Gregorio.
CA AMENDED DECISION:
affirmed its previous decision regarding the due execution of the Deed of Sale adding that since no fraud attended its execution, there was no basis for theaction to annul the sale, and therefore there was no starting point in reckoning the prescriptiveperiod of four years. It reconsidered the Decision of Feb. 18, 1980 insofar as it declared Delesteand the estate of Gregorio as co-owners of the said land. The appellate court tacked "the physical possession of Hilaria and Virgilio to the possession of the defendant for another nine (9) years up to the time the complaint was filed." It consideredthe "change of conditions or relations" which had transpired in the case such as privaterespondent's registration of his muniment of title over the property; the cancellation of Virgilio'stax declaration and the issuance of another tax declaration in the name of private respondent;private respondent's payment of taxes from 1952 "up to the present;" the execution of a newtenancy agreement between private respondent and the tenants; and private respondent'spurchase of plows, a carabao and insecticides for use in the ricefield.Stating that it was "proscribed from taking away property from the alert and the industrious anddumping it into the hands and possession of one has previously slept on his rights," theappellate court affirmed the decision of the lower court in all its parts, including the award of damages and the costs of suit.
ISSUE
:
W/N Hilaria and Virgilio could dispose of the entire property sold to private respondentand assuming that they did not have full ownership thereof, whether the right of action torecover the share of the collateral heirs of Gregorio had prescribed or been lost through laches.
HELD:
NO. Gregorio died in 1945 long before the effectivity of the Civil Code of the Philippines on August 30, 1950. Under Article 2263 of the said Code, "rights tothe inheritance of a person who died, with or without a will, before the effectivityof this Code, shall be governed by the Civil Code of 1889, by other previous laws,and by the rules of Court." Thus, succession to the estate of Gregorio was governed primarily by theprovisions of the Spanish Civil Code of 1889. Under Article 953 thereof, a spouselike Hilaria, who is survived by brothers or sisters or children of brothers or sistersof the decedent, as is obtaining in this case, was entitled to receive in usufructthe part of the inheritance pertaining to said heirs. Hilaria, however, had fullownership, not merely usufruct, over the undivided half of the estate (SpanishCivil Code of 1889, Art. 493). It is only this undivided half-interest that she couldvalidly alienate.On the other hand, Virgilio was not an heir of Gregorio under the Spanish CivilCode of 1889. Although he was treated as a child by the Nanaman spouses,illegitimate children who were not natural were disqualified to inherit under thesaid Code (Cid v. Burnaman, 24 SCRA 434 [1968]). Article 998 of the Civil Code of the Philippines, which gave an illegitimate child certain hereditary rights, couldnot benefit Virgilio because the right of ownership of the collateral heirs of Gregorio had become vested upon his death (Civil Code of the Philippines, Art.2253; Uson v. Del Rosario, 92 Phil. 530 [1953]). Therefore, Virgilio had no right atall to transfer ownership over which he did not own.In a contract of sale, it is essential that the seller is the owner of the property heis selling. The principal obligation of a seller is "to transfer the ownership of" theproperty sold (Civil Code of the Philippines, Art. 1458). This law stems from theprinciple that nobody can dispose of that which does not belong to him (Azcona v.Reyes, 59 Phil. 446 [1934]; Coronel v. Ona, 33 Phil. 456 [1916).
NEMO DAT QUADNON HABET 
.While it cannot be said that fraud attended the sale to private respondent, clearlythere was a mistake on the part of Hilaria and Virgilio in selling an undividedinterest in the property which belonged to the collateral heirs of Gregorio. The sale, having been made in 1954, was governed by the Civil Code of thePhilippines. Under Article 1456 of said Code, an implied trust was created on theone-half undivided interest over the 34.7-hectare land in favor of the real ownersUnder the law in force in 1945, the surviving spouse was given the managementof the conjugal property until the affairs of the conjugal partnership wereterminated. The surviving spouse became the owner of one-half interest of theconjugal estate in his own right. He also became a trustee with respect to theother half for the benefit of whoever may be legally entitled to inherit the saidportion. "He could therefore no more acquire a title by prescription against thosefor whom he was administering the conjugal estate than could a guardian hisward or a judicial administrator against the heirs of an estate. . . . The survivinghusband as the administrator and liquidator of the conjugal estate occupies theposition of a trustee of the highest order and is not permitted by the law to holdthat estate or any portion thereof adversely to those for whose benefit the law
 
imposes upon him duty of administration and liquidation" (Pamittan v. Lasam, 60Phil. 908 [1934]). The possession of Virgilio, his registration of the land in his name for taxpurposes, his hiring of tenants to till the land, and his enjoyment of the produce of the tenants, appear more as acts done to help Hilaria in managing the conjugalproperty. There is no evidence to prove indubitably that Virgilio asserted a claimof ownership over the property in his own right and adverse to all includingHilaria.
 Amended judgment reversed and set aside, original judgment reinstated in toto.
2. Heirs of Ignacio Conti and Rosario Cuario, vs. Court of Appeals, et al.300 SCRA 345GRN 118464 Dec. 21, 1998FACTS:
(Bellosillo, J.)PETITION for review on certiorari of a decision of the Court of Appeals.Lourdes Sampayo and Ignacio Conti, married to Rosario Cuado, were the co-owners of the property in litigation consisting of a 539-square meter lot at thecorner of Zamora and Abellanosa Streets, Lucena City, with a house erectedthereon. On 17 March 1986 Lourdes Sampayo died intestate without issue.Subsequently, on 1 April 1987 private respondents Josefina S. Reyes, BernarditaS. Palilio, Herminia S. Palilio, Remedios A. Sampayo, Iluminada A. Sampayo, EnricoA. SAMPAYO, Carlos A. Sampayo, Gelleroso C. Sampayo, Myrna C. Sampayo,Rosalina C. Sampayo, Manuel C. Sampayo, Delia. A. Sampayo, Corazon C.Sampayo, Nilo C. Sampayo, Lolita A. Sampayo and Norma A. Sampayo, allrepresented by their Attorney-in-Fact Lydia S. Reyes, with Lolita A. Sampayoacting also in her own behalf and as Attorney-in-Fact of Norma A. Sampayo, allclaiming to be collateral relatives of the deceased Lourdes Sampayo, filed anaction for partition and damages. The spouses Ignacio Conti and Rosario Cuario refused the partition on the groundthat private respondents failed to produce any document to produce that theywere the rightful heirs of Lourdes Sampayo. On 30 August 1987 Ignacio Conti diedand was substituted as party-defendant by his children Asuncion, Francisco,Milagros, Joselito, Luisito, Diego and Teresita, all surnamed Conti. To rebut whatever rights the alleged heirs of Lourdes had over the subject lot,petitioners presented Rosario Cuario Conti, Rosal Ladines Malundas and RodolfoEspineli. Rosario testified that the subject property was co-owned in equal sharesby her husband Ignacio Conti and Lourdes Sampayo and that her family (Rosario)had been staying in the subject property since 1937. In fact, she said that her latehusband Ignacio Conti paid for the real estate taxes and spent for the necessaryrepairs and improvements thereon because by agreement Lourdes would leaveher share of the property to them.However, as correctly found by the trial court, no will, either testamentary orholographic, was presented by petitioners to substantiate this claim. Rosario alsodisclosed that when Lourdes died her remains were taken by her-relatives fromtheir house. When cross examined on who those relatives were, she replied thatthe only one she remembered was Josefina since there were many relatives whocame. When asked who Josefina's parents were, she said she could not recall.Likewise, when asked who the parents of Lourdes were, Rosario denied havingever known them.
RTC:
declared private respodents as the rightful heirs of Lourdes Sampayo. It further orderedprivate respondents and petitioners to submit a project of partition of the residential house andlot for confirmation by the court
CA:
affirmed the decision of RTC. Private respondents] were able to prove and establish bypreponderance of evidence that they are the collateral heirs of deceased Lourdes Sampayo andtherefore the lower court did not err in ordering private respondents and petitioners to submit aproject of partition of the residential house and lot owned in common by the deceased LourdesSampayo and defendant spouses Conti for confirmation by the court
citing
 
Hernandez v. Padua
and
Marabilles v. Quito,
a prior and separate judicial declaration of heirship was not necessary and that private respondents became the co-owners of the portion of the property owned and registered in the name of Lourdes Sampayo upon her death and,consequently, entitled to the immediate possession thereof and all other incidents/rights of ownership as provided for by law, including the right to demand partition under Art. 777 of theCivil Code, and
Ilustre v. Alaras Frondosa
holding that the property belongs to the heirs at themoment of death of the decedent, as completely as if he had executed and delivered to them adeed for the same before his death.
ISSUE:
W/N a prior settlement of the estate of the deceased be first made before the heirs cancommence an action for partition.
HELD:
NO.
A prior settlement of the estate is not essential before the heirs cancommence any action originally pertaining to the deceased as we explained in
Quison v. Salud-
Claro Quison died in 1902. It was proven at the trial that the presentplaintiffs are next of kin and heirs, but it is said by the appellants that they are not entitled tomaintain this action because there is no evidence that any proceedings have been taken incourt for the settlement of the estate of Claro Quison; and that without such settlement, theheirs cannot maintain this action. There is nothing in this point. As well by the Civil Code as bythe Code of Civil Procedure, the title to the property owned by a person who dies intestatepasses at once to his heirs. Such transmission is, under the present law, subject to the claims of administration and the property may be taken from the heirs for the purpose of paying debtsand expenses, but this does not prevent an immediate passage of the title, upon the death of the intestate, from himself to his heirs. Without some showing that a judicial administrator had

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