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G.R. No.


January 31, 1964

ROMULO LOPEZ, ET AL., plaintiffs-appellants, vs. LUI GONZAGA, ET AL., defendants, LUI GONZAGA an! A UN"ION GONZAGA, defendants-appellants. Lakandola G. Lopez and Romulo Lopez for plaintiffs-appellants. Amalia K. del Rosario for defendants-appellants. RE#E , J.$.L., J.: Joint and direct appeal by both parties-plaintiffs an parties-defendants from the decision of the Court of First Instance of Negros Occidental (in its Civil Case No. !"" to this #upreme Court, because the properties involved a valued at more than $%!!,!!!.!!. &he appealed decision dismissed the petition of plaintiffs (appellants' for partition and cancellation of titles of registered lands and ordered them to pay defendants (appellees' $(,!!!.!! by )ay of attorney*s fees, but refused to a)ard moral damages in favor of the defendants. &he original petition )as filed )ith the court a quo on + October (, -, alleging, among other things, that on #oledad .on/aga 0da. de Ferrer died intestate on (( 1pril (," )ithout any issue and leaving real and personal properties )orth $2!!,!!!.!!3 that she )as survived by the plaintiffs, )ho are her nearest of 4in, being her brother sisters, nephe)s, and nieces3 that during the lifetime the deceased, she e5pressed the )ish that as long as her brother, 6uis .on/aga, the principal defendant, )as engaged in his coconut oil e5perimentation he could use products and rentals of her properties in furtherance his e5periments3 that the said scientific venture by said defendant )as discontinued )hen he became totally blind in October, (, in vie) of )hich the plaintiffs no) as4 a partition of the estate and the cancellation of titles of lands allegedly fraudulently transferred by, and in the name of, the defendant. &he defendant filed a motion to dismiss on the grounds of res judicata and noninclusion of indispensable parties. &he plainttiffs amended their petition to include the omitted parties. 1fter hearing on the motion to dismiss, the court denied the said motion. &hereupon, the defendant filed their ans)er, pleading a denial as to intestacy of deceased, and alleging, among others, that a )ill of #oledad .on/aga 0da. de Ferrer instituted 6uis .on/aga as the sole heir estate, and that the )ill )as duly allo)ed and probated. 1fter trial, the court a quo rendered 7udgment, a both parties appealed, as aforesaid. &he genuineness of the follo)ing documents, and the 7urisdiction of the court )ith respect to them, are not disputed8

)hich )ill )as probated on @ay (C.on/aga y Jesena through the undersigned attorney.<6IC OF &=: $=I6I$$IN:# CO."+. (#gd. %(+".9& OF FI9#& IN#&1NC: OF OCCI>:N&16 N:.. No."+. (. (. 2(2 and 2%2 C1>. in the Court of First Instance of Iloilo (:5p.9:$.N1 Cler4 of Court. )as approved by the =onorable Court of Iloilo in its order dated February -. #. a copy of the said .O." . C1>. %(+". lost or destroyed during the ?orld ?ar II.90:A OF @1N1$61 5---------------------5 $:&I&ION 6uis . de Ferrer. &hat #oledad . Iloilo'. 2(2 and 2%2. (.6.' CI$9I1NO C1<16.9& OF FI9#& IN#&1NC: OF I6OI6O ((th Judicial >istrict >ecember ((. . -. (:5p.on/aga y Jesena in her )ill. Iloilo' a copy of )hich is hereto attached. de Ferrer is the registered o)ner of 6ots Nos. %(+" entitled :state of >oBa #oledad . %(2 6O&# NO#. in )hich the petitioner 6uis . No. to the =onorable Court respectfully follo)s8 &hat #oledad . de Ferrer died on 1pril ((. respectively.NI&:> #&1&:# OF 1@:9IC1 CO@@ON?:16&= OF &=: $=I6I$$IN:# CO. (.9O# (-th Judicial >istrict . Cadastral #urvey of @anapla.on/aga 0da. )hich parcel of land are described in &ransfer Certificate of &itle Nos. there is no :5pediente No." . ((2+! and (". and she left all her properties in favor of 6uis . as all pre)ar records )ere burned.on/aga 0da. (. &O ?=O@ I& @1A CONC:9N8 &his is to certify that according to the records of this office..9. 9:CO9> NO.on/aga 0da. &hat the pro7ect of partition dated February ".on/aga y Jesena is the only heir.

)herein 6ots Nos. $. 2(2 and 2%2 are described."+. @arch ((.I<6: NO&19A $. (. and in lieu thereof to issue &ransfer Certificate of &itles for 6ots 2(2 and 2%2. after having been duly s)orn. +! <oo4 No. in favor of 6uis . (#gd. Iloilo. $."+. depose and say8 &hat I am the attorney for the petitioner in the above case.. 2. $.' F91NCI#CO #. (. Office of the 9egister of >eeds of Occidental Negros. Negros #ir8 $lease ta4e notice that on #aturday.order is hereto attached. ( #eries of (. for <acolod. in vie) of the foregoing. "(. and that all the allegations contained in the foregoing petition are true to the best of my information tion and belief. 1äwph 1. Iloilo Iloilo I. Filipino and a resident of @anila. Occ."+. =e e5hibited to me his cedula No. (.<6IC . (. =O9&I661# 1ttorney for the petitioner % . or soon thereafter as the undersigned may be heard.' I66:.eneral 6una. Cadastral #urvey of @anapla. No.' F91NCI#CO =O9&I661# #ubscribed and #)orn to before me this ((th day of @arch. Occidental Negros.!"t ?=:9:FO9:. (#gd.. he )ill submit the .I."C >oc. =ortillas.I. (#gd.on/aga y Jesena. @arch %(.. the petitioner respectfully prays the =onorable Court to order the cancellation of &ransfer Certificate of &itle Nos."+. ((2+! and (". issued at Jaro. at -8!! a.m. :-(% !(%!. Iloilo. on January (+. Francisco #. of legal age.ntil >ec. single of legal age. $age No. I."+ &he 9egister of >eeds <acolod City. (. Neg. Iloilo. Occ.

.OND1.%(!. =O9&I661# .# OF &=: >:C:1#:> #O6:>1> . =O9&I661# I hereby certify that I have sent a copy of the foregoing petition to the 9egister of >eeds of Occidental Negros evidenced by the registry receipt hereto attached. (#gd.!! . Iloilo Iloilo 016. &rans.%"!. $etitioner.!! !!.: $% .' F91NCI#CO #. Neg. Neg. Neg."(!.1 A J:#:N1.OND1.foregoing petition to this =onorable Court for approval. 5-------------------------5 CI0I6 C1#: NO. #oledad .>IC1&ION &he undersigned administrator to the =onorable Court respectfully states8 &hat the undersigned administrator.' F91NCI#CO #. %(+" $:&I&ION FO9 1>J. Occ.NI&:> #&1&:# OF 1@:9IC1 CO@@ON?:16&= OF &=: $=I6I$$IN:# CO. ("&rans.!! (!. ("! ( &rans. Cert. >: F:99:9. 6uis .!! C. Cert.N&# CO66:C&I<6: 1N> C1#= . ("! 2 $9O0INC: Occ.I# .9& OF FI9#& IN#&1NC: OF I6OI6O (Cth Judicial >istrict &:#&1&: $9OC::>IN.on/aga y Jesena is the only heir mentioned in the probated )ill of the late #ra. &O?N @anapla @anapla @anapla Jaro Jaro &I&6: NO. ((2+! &rans. de Ferrer. -2"" &rans. Cert. 6. (#gd. Cert.1 0>1. Cert. 0da.!! 1CCO. Occ.

...!! ""!. demanding payment of the sum of $-""............!(-.. February "...... Iloilo.2!.. &he undersigned administrator is )illing to file a cash bond for the sum ob7ect of the complaint in case this e5pediente )ill be closed before the trial of the Civil Case No.. $(....... and Cash .... (!"%(...-!!.. Iloilo....................:>1N.!! (..... (!"%(.!! %... de 6ope/..... $..I.. >eputy Cler4 of Court (Cth Judicial >istrict Iloilo..... =O9&I661# 1ttorney for the 1dministrator % .. =O9&I661# 1 &9."+........ (#gd.. &he Cler4 of Court Iloilo... Euintin @e7orada and others ...(.. (#gd...... :#&1>O# ..... Court... of First Instance of Iloilo........................ @aria 6edesma and others ........... Iloilo. et al...............' &:6:#FO9O ......... Juan #ornito ..............I.... 2 &hat there is a pending civil complaint against the administrator by Consolacion ..eneral 6una...........: CO$A8 (#gd.............. Iloilo #ir8 $lease include the foregoing petition for ad7udication in the calendar for #aturday.......(!!............."+.................' F91NCI#CO #.... $.... Civil Case No......D... February -.....' F91NCI#CO #..........NI>O# >: 1@:9IC1 CO@@ON?:16&= >: FI6I$IN1# J....9oman #opena ....... (.!! +!!..1>O >: $9I@:91 IN#&1NCI1 >: I6OI6O ...

: CO$A8 (#gd. Iloilo."+. 6ui/ ..D. febrero -.&O $revia prestacion por 6uis . Iloilo. y archivado el mismo por terminado.(C. asi como el proyecto de particion de fecha " del actual."+. 1si se ordena. contra 6uis . %(2 6otes Nos.9.A#ON 61@$1 Jue/ 1 &9.1 :5pediente No.on/aga y Jesena.!!!. 2(2 y2%2 C1&1#&9O >: @1N1$61 1. de fecha (( . (.!! Fue tendra por ob7ecto responder al resultado de la causa civil No. <.on/aga y Jesena de una fian/a por valor de $(. @. (.on/agaG. titulada GConsolacion . et al. Cad 9ec.NI>O# >: 1@:9IC1 @1NCO@. de 6ope/.! >I#&9I&O J. $.9O# OCCI>:N&16 (-..1>O >: $9I@:91 IN#&1NCI1 >: N:. demandantes.' &:6:#FO9O . %+ :6 .OND1.:>1N. 5--------------------5 . No.>ICI16 &:#&1@:N&19I1 .o >istrito Judicial :5pediente Cadastral No. %(+" 1. :#&1>O# .6.O<I:9NO >: 61# I#61# FI6I$IN1# #olicitante.. I.O. Eueda cancelada la fian/a prestada por el administrador en este e5pediente. se aprueba la cuenta final de fecha enero %..NI>1> >: FI6I$IN1# J.&O 0ista la peticion del solicitante #r. (!"%( de este Ju/gado. >eputy Cler4 of Court (Cth Judicial >istrict Iloilo.

' <91. filipino. mayor de edad3 soltero y vecino de la ciudad de @anila. (. hallando la misma bien fundada3 $or el presents.6."+. I.NI>1> >: FI6I$IN1# J. haciendose constar en al certificado Fue se ha de e5pedir todos los gravamente Fue e5isten en al certificado de transferencia cancelado. mayor de edad. el Ju/gado. del Catastro de @anapla. ordena la cancelacion del certificado de transferencia de titulo No. "(" del catastro de @anapla. ordena la cancelacion de los certificados de transferencia de titulo Nos. el Ju/gado. %( de mar/o. se tuviere alguno."+.de mar/o de (. No...9O# OCCI>:N&16 (-.&O 0ista y considerada la motion del solicitante 6uis . 5----------------5 :5p. sobre los lotes Nos. filipino. soltero y vecino de la ciuda de @anila. 9ec. "(" @1N1$61 1.. -2%% sobre el 6ote No. ((2+! y (". y la e5pedicion de otro a favor de 6uis .on/aga y Jesena. C% . hallando de misma bien fundada3 $or el presente. Negros Occidental. Occ. Negros Occidental.o >istrito Judicial :6 .D. #olicitante. respectivamente... (!-%% 6ote No. 6. I.F. de 9eg.on/aga y Jesena. haciendos constar en los certificados Fue se han de e5pedir todos los gravamenes Fue e5isten el los certificados de transferencia Nos.OND1. y la e5pedicion de otros a favor de 6uis . de Fecha (( de mar/o de (. . <acolod.O.6IO <1J1#1 Jue/ :#&1>O# .NI>O# >: 1@:9IC1 @1NCO@. Negros.O<I:9NO >: 61# I#61# FI6I$IN1#.1>O >: $9I@:91 IN#&1NCI1 >: N:.on/aga y Jesena. (F>O. 1si se ordena.F.9."+. No. @ocionante. 1si se ordena. 2(2 y 2%2.I# .1 A J:#:N1. ((2+! y (".

6. .6IO <:J1#1 Jue/ <<Hspm. ((%."+ (#gd. Occidental Negros.NI>O# >: 1@:9IC1 @1NCO@. +. 6O&:# NO#.-C #I&. -C of &ransfer Certificate of &itle as Certificate of %(( (. Occ. %( de @ar/o. Iloilo. Iloilo. 9eceived the foregoing document at ."+.NICI$IO >: J19O 5----------------5 1.-< y ((%.9. 1si se ordena. <. (.I.and registered under 1ct 2. 0ol.O. @ar/o % .<acolod.@. (#gd. (. (. <acolod.' <91. @ay C.&O 0ista la peticion de 6uis . mayor de edad.8!! 1. filipino y vecino de @anila. on @ay C.+-2 Inscribed on pages (!( of <oo4 0ol.."+ @.NI>1> >: FI6I$IN1# J.A#ON 61@$ Jue/ . 9:CO9> NO. :ntry No.1>O >: $9I@:91 IN#&1NCI1 >: I6OI6O (C.o >istrito Judicial .on/aga y Jesena cancelacion de los Certificados de &ransferencia de titulo numeros (!! ( y ("! 2 por las ra/ones e5puestas en la misma..D.1>O :N :6 @."+.on/aga y Jesen soltero. Negros. 2.+ as follo)s8 >ay <oo4. .' @19I1NO CO9:O01 9egister of >eeds :#&1>O# . por la presente ordena el 9egistrado de &itulos de la $rovincial del Iloilo cancela los Certificados de &ransferencia de &itulos numeros (!! ( y ("! 2 y e5piden otros en su lugar a nombre de 6uis . (. y encontrando el Ju/gado la misma bien fundada. $.

on/aga. made 6uis .!! (:5h. encumbering. the Court First Instance of Iloilo (:5hibit %%' and Occidental Negros (:5hibit "' ordered the respective $rovincial 9egisters of >eeds to cancel the Certificates of &itle standing then in the name of the deceased #oledad . as her sole testamentary heir. 1tty.'. as admittedly )as done. testified that the aforeFuoted records of the probate court of Iloilo )ere discovered by her among the records of the cadastral court in Negros Occidental. %'3 and that. sub7ect to a claim of Consolacion . thereafter."+ by the Court of First Instance of Iloilo in its #pecial $roceedings No. in default forced heirs3 that said )ill )as duly probated in (. Francisco #.on/aga. for the reason that attorney =ortillas )as himself married to @onserrat . Coupled )ith his undoubted possession as o)ner and )ith his o)n dominical acts e5ercised over the former properties of >oBa #oledad . not only once.on/aga y Jesena the sole heir to her properties. -. a sister of #oledad. through his counsel. the e5hibits aforementioned constitute practically conclusive proof of the truth of appellee*s defenses. It ta5es credulity beyond all reason to imply (as appellants do' that attorney =ortillas.on/aga for t)entyt)o years ((. de 6ope/ for $(. %(+"3 that the net residue of the estate )as ad7udicated by the court of said appellee. =ortillas. violating family ties and affection.!!!. appellee held the properties and dealt )ith them as sole o)ner. >ue to the destruction of the court and property record of Iloilo as a result of the last )ar. )ho )ould have been one of the latter*s heirs intestate had it not been for the testament in favor of the appellee.on/aga died leaving a )ill instituting her nephe) the appellee 6uis .on/aga y Jesena. but t)ice before the Courts of First Instance of Iloilo and Negros (:5hibits ( and . as attested by the Cler4 of Court.on/aga and lieu thereof to issue ne) certificates in the name of apellee 6uis . In the course of the years prior to the institution of this case in (." or (. ."+-(. ?e can not fail to be impressed by the statement of attorney Francisco =ortillas. in her probated )ill. the defendant*s counsel.. despite the destruction of the original )ill and decree of probate. conspired )ith appellee to deprive his o)n )ife and children (no) some of the present appellants' of the la)ful share by intestacy in the properties left by >oBa #oledad if it )ere untrue that the latter had duly and properly beFueathed all her estate to appellee 6uis . upon s)orn petition of appellee. and selling some them. 1melia del 9osario. &he authenticity of the s)orn petitions of the late attorney =ortillas (:5hibits a and (' are not impugned. and they )ere actually acted upon and granted by the t)o courts of first instance to )hich he addressed his petitions. that the deceased >oBa #oledad. no )ill or probate order )as produce and neither )ere attested copies registered )ith the Office of the 9egister of >eeds of Negros Occidental leave little room for doubt that >oBa #oledad . as found by the court belo). leasing. -'.1s a )itness. &hese manifestations are nigh conclusive. averring under )ith in clear and unmista4able terms.on/aga y Jesena.

1ppellants contend that if it )ere true that the )ill constituted 6uis . (. p.on/aga. the probate decree conclusively established the due e5ecution. . for the )itnesses to the testament. as )ell as that left )ith attorney =ortillas. ?hen you filed this petition through your la)yer for the probate of the )ill. the )itness )as as4ed. Instead of contradicting the testamentary institution of heir. &here is no merit to this contention. &he order of ad7udication is the 7udicial recognition that in appointing 6uis as her only heir the testatri5 did not contravene the la). )e agree )ith the court belo) that the difference in . account..on/aga as sole heir. &here is no proof that copies of the )ill ever e5isted other than the one burned )hile in appellee*s possession (>ep. ho)ever. am I correct that you also presented a copy of the )illJ3 to )hich Fuestion the )itness ans)ered. it is averred that appellee )as duty-bound to produce the copy that. according to appellee*s deposition. he had no need to as4 the court for an order of ad7udication. (. )hile the petition of January %. =e )as not trying to sho) that the )ill complied )ith the statutory reFuirements. )as in the custody of :ncarnacion . and that the heir )as in no )ay disFualified to inherit3 7ust as a final order admitting a )ill to probate concludes all and sundry from thereafter contending that statutory formal reFuirements have not been observed in e5ecuting the testament. #imilarly. Neither do )e see that appellee )as bound to call. &he original )as the one submitted. that the order of February -. It may )ell be noted.. in passing. it certainly can not be inferred that 1ttorney =ortillas 4ept a copy of the original submitted to the court. or predicate."+ (:5hibit ( or <' spea4s of approval of a Gpro7ect of partitionG. %"'. From this ans)er. &he argument is misleading. assail the trial court is admission of the said court records on the ground that defendant-appellee failed to lay proper basis."+ referred to therein spo4e of an order of ad7udication to a single heir. the order of ad7udication confirms it in this case. $age %2 of the appellee*s deposition is to the effect that I @y sister :ncarnacion had the custody of the )ill because she )as the one )ho )as at the beside of my sister (referring to the testatri5 >oBa #oledad'3 but by Gthe )illG )as obviously meant the one signed by the testatri5 and the )itnesses. #ince the order made evident reference to the petition of January %. but that the )ill had been admitted to probate and of course. or.ranting that the original )ill )as destroyed )ith the court records in the last )ar.$laintiffs-appellants. not a copy. for their admission.

appellants do not claim under the )ill or the partition3 their theory is that >oBa #oledad . no delivery of properties can be made to the heirs until and unless the inheritance ta5es are paid KInternal 9evenue Code. or any part thereof. 1ny)ay. does not negate the validity of the 7udgment or decree of probate nor the rights of the devisee under the )ill.on/aga. &he failure of the defendant. In the first place. It is usual for an 1dministrator to pay these ta5es. since by la). are not GdealingsG )ith the property as administrator under section . never made any move to reFuire 6uis to reconvey the property.on/aga died intestate. and )as substantial compliance )ith the reFuired recording of the )ill itself. no delivery of properties can be made importance. No proof e5ists that the proceedings )ere reopened. to file )ith the 9egister of >eeds a certified copy of his letters of administration and the )ill. because his dealings )ith the lands. %!2'. as provided in #ection .! of 1ct 2. having been appointed 1dministrator.terminology )as an inadvertent mista4e. 1s to the fact that 6uis . (. #econdly. during his tenure as an administrator are not here in Fuestion."+ had approved the final account. the same purpose )as achieved I that of notice to all strangers of the cause and nature of the transfers3 and it does not appear that anyone )as pre7udiced by the defect in registration complained of. >e Du/uarregui. No one faced by the recorded documents could ignore the reference therein to the probated testament3 and the rule is that 4no)ledge of )hat might have been revealed by proper inFuiry is imputable to the inFuirer (cf."+ )ould constitute an open and clear repudiation of any trust. ad7udicate the property to the only heir. and succeeded in having them so transferred. &he e5planation that >oBa #oledad .! of 1ct 2. the transfer of the certificates title to 6uis .on/aga had . and ordered the case Garchi#ado el mismo por terminadoG.! of the 9egistration 1ct. (. 1lthough the step ta4en is not e5actly )hat #ection +%2 of 1ct (.+.!.on/aga*s o)n name in (. if any. no administration could continue to e5ist after the order of February -. #ection . the recording of the 7udicial orders sufficed as notice to interested parties. must be deemed a trustee up to the present is infantile. (c'L. :mas vs. &he defendant sought and obtained the change in title in his o)n behalf and capacity. 6uis . since by la). cancelled the bond of the administrator. )ho 4ne) of the death of >oBa #oledad in (.! directs. since appellants. 1t any rate.C. " $hil. &hat the defendant sought 7udicial orders to effect the transfers to his name of the certificates of title after the )ill )as probated.on/aga )as an administrator. &he contention that defendant-appellee." . section .on/aga paid the inheritance ta5es. and to record the attested copies of the )ill and of the allo)ance thereof by the court under #ection +%2 of 1ct (.+ refers to the dealings )ith registered lands by an e5ecutor or administrator3 and )hile 6uis . and the lapse of more than t)enty years* open and adverse possession as o)ner )ould certainly suffice to vest title by prescription in the appellee. this is beside the point.

!!!. but the defendants urge that the amount should be $2(. of the Civil Code. the appealed decision is hereby affirmed. and is presumed. cannot be allo)ed because the complaint.%! . or by counsel. )hich )e are not inclined to disturb. photostatic copies of e5hibits. &he issue is one primarily addressed to the discretion of the court belo). prior to the 7udgment is mute but eloFuent proof that their allegation that >elfin )as not their attorney but a last minute attempt to escape the adverse effect the appealed decision.OIN. and moral damages.!! for attorney*s fees.!!.of 1rticle %%(. )ith costs against the plaintiffs-appellants.akalintal& ((. Coming to the defendants* appeal8 It is grounded the disallo)ance of attorney*s fees. stenographic notes. since all the plaintiffs )ere represented by counsel 0icente >elfin. &he other e5penses.!!. and ta4ing of deposition in the sum of $(.!!!.(. . . board and lodging.& )adilla& $autista An%elo& La*rador& 'oncepcion& $arrera& )aredes& +izon& Re%ala and .e5press the )ish that all the income should go to 6uis )hile conducted e5perimental studies on coconut products )holly unconvincing as an e5cuse for the laches3 his right to the income could not have bloc4ed a partition of capital assets among appellants. &hat some of the plaintiffs )ere denied their day in court is incredible. and did appear for them from the inception of the case after the lo)er court*s decision )as rendered. &he authority of said counsel )as never Fuestioned until the verse decision )as rendered by the court belo)3 and complainant*s failure to appear by themselves.#I#. li4e)ise. "! @arch (.!!!. the same should not be disturbed. &he other e5penses refer to transportation. &he lo)er court granted only $(. although unmeritorious. are not allo)able because the suit is not a malicious prosecution under No. if they had been at entitled to them. &he a)ard of attorney*s fees against the adverse party is essentially discretionary )ith the trial court (Francisco vs. in the absence of an abuse of discretion.& concur.!!!. based on an agreement of $(. FO9 &=: FO9:. to have been authori/ed to appear in their behalf. @oral damages as4ed is $(!!. and. is not clearly unfounded3 moral damages. )ho claimed. unless recoverable as 7udicial costs. a maneuver that deserves no consideration. securing documents.!! $lus (!M of the value of the properties if the case is decided in their favor. 9:1#ON#. .!!.+"'. 6-(-%-C. $en%zon& '. e5pense.

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