You are on page 1of 176

GO-BANGAYAN v. BANGAYAN G.R. No.

201061 July 3, 2013 Subject: Preliminary Provis


ions of the Civil Code Topic: Effect and Applicability of Laws
FACTS: In 2004, Respondent Benjamin Bangayan filed a petition for declaration of
a non-existent marriage and/or declaration of nullity of marriage before the RT
C of Manila. Benjamin alleged that in 1973, he married Azucena in Caloocan City
and they had three children; however, in 1979, Benjamin developed a romantic rel
ationship with Sally who was a customer in the auto parts business owned by Benj
amins family. He further alleged that in 1981, Azucena left for the USA; and in 1
982, he and Sally lived together as husband and wife and had 2 children, Bernice
and Bentley . Sallys father was against the relationship, in order to appease he
r father, Sally brought Benjamin to an office in Santolan, Pasig City where they
signed a purported marriage contract. Benjamin claimed that Sally knew of his m
arital status and assured him that the marriage contract would not be registered
. Benjamin and Sallys cohabitation produced two children. During their cohabitati
on, they also acquired several real properties, to wit: 1. TCT Nos. 61720 and 19
0860 registered in the name of Benjamin, married to Sally; 2. TCT No. 61722 regi
stered in the names of Benjamin and Sally as spouses; 3. Condominium units CCT N
os. 8782 and 8783 registered in the name of Sally, married to Benjamin; and 4. T
CT Nos. N-193656 and 253681 registered in the name of Sally as a single individu
al. The relationship of Benjamin and Sally ended in 1994 when Sally left for Can
ada, bringing Bernice and Bentley with her. She then filed criminal actions for
bigamy and falsification of public documents against Benjamin, using their simul
ated marriage contract as evidence. Benjamin, in turn, filed a petition for decl
aration of a non-existent marriage / declaration of nullity of marriage on the g
round that his marriage to Sally was bigamous and that it lacked the formal requ
isites to a valid marriage. Benjamin also asked the trial court for the partitio
n of the properties he acquired with Sally in accordance with Article 148 of the
Family Code, for his appointment as administrator of the properties during the
pendency of the case, and for the declaration of Bernice and Bentley as illegiti
mate children. A total of 44 registered properties became the subject of the par
tition before the trial court, including 37 properties listed by Sally in her an
swer. The trial court ruled that the marriage between Benjamin and Sally was not
bigamous, but was void nonetheless because of the lack of a marriage license. H
ence, bigamy was not committed in this case. The trial court did not rule on the
issue of the legitimacy status of Bernice and Bentley because they were not par
ties to the case. The trial court denied Sallys claim for spousal support because
she was not married to Benjamin. The trial court likewise denied support for Be
rnice and Bentley who were both of legal age and did not ask for support. On the
issue of partition, the trial court ruled that Sally could not claim the 37 pro
perties she named in her answer as part of her conjugal properties with Benjamin
. The trial court ruled that Sally was not legally married to Benjamin. Further,
the 37 properties that Sally was claiming were owned by Benjamins parents who ga
ve the properties to their children, including Benjamin, as advanced inheritance
. The 37 titles were in the names of Benjamin and his brothers and the phrase "m
arried to Sally Go" was merely descriptive of Benjamins civil status in the title
. As regards the two lots under TCT Nos. 61720 and 190860, the trial court found
that they were bought by Benjamin using his own money and that Sally failed to
prove any actual contribution of money, property or industry in their purchase.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 1 of 171

While the RTC found that Sally was a registered co-owner of the lots covered by
TCT Nos. 61722, N193656, and 253681 as well as the two condominium units under C
CT Nos. 8782 and 8783, it also ruled that TCT No. 61722 and the two condominium
units were purchased from the earnings of Benjamin alone. The RTC further ruled
that these properties and the rest of the properties were part of the conjugal p
artnership of Benjamin and Azucena, without prejudice to Benjamins right to dispu
te his conjugal state with Azucena in a separate proceeding. The trial court fur
ther ruled that Sally acted in bad faith because she knew that Benjamin was marr
ied to Azucena. Applying Article 148 of the Family Code, the trial court forfeit
ed all of Sallys share in favor of Bernice and Bentley while Benjamins share rever
ted to his conjugal ownership with Azucena. It is worthy to note that throughout
the proceedings, Sally hardly produced her own evidence, instead insisting that
Benjamin, who was not around, should be put on the stand. On appeal, the CA mos
tly upheld the ruling of the RTC, with the exception of a few properties, and th
at Sallyys insistence on presenting Benjamin and failure to submit her own eviden
ce amounted to a waiver of the right to present evidence.
ISSUES: Did Sally validly waive her right to present evidence?
HELD: Yes. While Sally alleges that the Court of Appeals erred in affirming the t
rial courts ruling that she waived her right to present her evidence... [and] tha
t in not allowing her to present evidence that she and Benjamin were married, th
e trial court abandoned its duty to protect marriage as an inviolable institutio
n... XXX We agree with the trial court that by her continued refusal to present
her evidence, she was deemed to have waived her right to present them. As pointe
d out by the Court of Appeals, Sallys continued failure to present her evidence d
espite the opportunities given by the trial court showed her lack of interest to
proceed with the case. XXX Sally could not accuse the trial court of failing to
protect marriage as an inviolable institution because the trial court also has
the duty to ensure that trial proceeds despite the deliberate delay and refusal
to proceed by one of the parties.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 2 of 171

FUJIKI v. MARINAY G.R. No. 196049 June 26, 2013 Subject: Preliminary Provisions
of the Civil Code Topic: Effect and Applicability of Laws
FACTS: Fujiki is a Japanese national who married respondent Marinay in the Phili
ppines in 2004. As Fujikis parents opposed the marriage, Fujiki could not bring h
is wife to Japan where he resides. They eventually lost contact with each other.
Later, Marinay met anotherJapanese, Maekara. Without the first marriage being d
issolved, Marinay and Maekara were married in 2008 in Quezon City, Philippines.
Maekara brought Marinay to Japan, however, Marinay allegedly suffered physical a
buse from Maekara, so she left Maekara and started to contact Fujiki. Fujiki and
Marinay met in Japan and they were able to reestablish their relationship. In 2
010, Fujiki helped Marinay obtain a judgment from a family court in Japan which
declared the marriage between Marinay and Maekara void on the ground of bigamy.
In 2011, Fujiki filed a petition in the RTC entitled: "Judicial Recognition of F
oreign Judgment (or Decree of Absolute Nullity of Marriage)." Fujiki asked the P
hilippine court to: 1. Recognize the judgment of the Japanese Family Court ; 2.
Declare void ab initio the bigamous marriage between Marinay; and 3. Direct the
Local Civil Registrar of Quezon City to annotate the Japanese Family Court judgm
ent on the Certificate of Marriage between Marinay and Maekara and to endorse su
ch annotation to the Office of the Administrator and Civil Registrar General in
the National Statistics Office (NSO). The RTC dismissed the petition, citing the
following provisions of the Rule on Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void Mar
riages and Annulment of Voidable Marriages (A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC): Sec. 2. Petit
ion for declaration of absolute nullity of void marriages. (a) Who may file. A p
etition for declaration of absolute nullity of void marriage may be filed solely
by the husband or the wife... Sec. 4. Venue. The petition shall be filed in the
Family Court of the province or city where the petitioner or the respondent has
been residing for at least six months prior to the date of filing, or in the ca
se of a non-resident respondent, where he may be found in the Philippines, at th
e election of the petitioner. The RTC ruled, without further explanation, that t
he petition was in "gross violation" of the above provisions. The trial court he
ld that this is a "jurisdictional ground" to dismiss the petition. It also ruled
that the verification and certification against forum shopping of the petition
was not authenticated as required by A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC, also warranting the "
immediate dismissal" of the petition. The Solicitor General, on the other hand,
argued that Fujiki, as the spouse of the first marriage, is an injured party who
can sue to declare the bigamous marriage between Marinay and Maekara void. The
Solicitor General claims that A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC does not apply in cases of bi
gamy.
ISSUE: May a foreign judgment be considered part of national law of a foreigner he
re in the Philippines pursuant to Article 15 of the New Civil Code?
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 3 of 171

HELD: Yes, it can be considered part of national law because a ...foreign judgmen
t relating to the status of a marriage affects the civil status, condition and l
egal capacity of its parties. However, the effect of a foreign judgment is not a
utomatic. To extend the effect of a foreign judgment in the Philippines, Philipp
ine courts must determine if the foreign judgment is consistent with domestic pu
blic policy and other mandatory laws. Article 15 of the Civil Code provides that
"[l]aws relating to family rights and duties, or to the status, condition and l
egal capacity of persons are binding upon citizens of the Philippines, even thou
gh living abroad." This is the rule of lex nationalii in private international l
aw. Thus, the Philippine State may require, for effectivity in the Philippines,
recognition by Philippine courts of a foreign judgment affecting its citizen, ov
er whom it exercises personal jurisdiction relating to the status, condition and
legal capacity of such citizen. XXX Section 48(b), Rule 39 of the Rules of Cour
t provides that a foreign judgment or final order against a person creates a "pr
esumptive evidence of a right as between the parties and their successors in int
erest by a subsequent title." Moreover, Section 48 of the Rules of Court states
that "the judgment or final order may be repelled by evidence of a want of juris
diction, want of notice to the party, collusion, fraud, or clear mistake of law
or fact." Thus, Philippine courts exercise limited review on foreign judgments.
Courts are not allowed to delve into the merits of a foreign judgment. Once a fo
reign judgment is admitted and proven in a Philippine court, it can only be repe
lled on grounds external to its merits, i.e. , "want of jurisdiction, want of no
tice to the party, collusion, fraud, or clear mistake of law or fact." The rule
on limited review embodies the policy of efficiency and the protection of party
expectations, as well as respecting the jurisdiction of other states. XXX In the
recognition of foreign judgments, Philippine courts are incompetent to substitut
e their judgment on how a case was decided under foreign law. They cannot decide
on the "family rights and duties, or on the status, condition and legal capacit
y" of the foreign citizen who is a party to the foreign judgment. Thus, Philippi
ne courts are limited to the question of whether to extend the effect of a forei
gn judgment in the Philippines. In a foreign judgment relating to the status of
a marriage involving a citizen of a foreign country, Philippine courts only deci
de whether to extend its effect to the Filipino party, under the rule of lex nat
ionalii expressed in Article 15 of the Civil Code. For this purpose, Philippine
courts will only determine (1) whether the foreign judgment is inconsistent with
an overriding public policy in the Philippines; and (2) whether any alleging pa
rty is able to prove an extrinsic ground to repel the foreign judgment, i.e. wan
t of jurisdiction, want of notice to the party, collusion, fraud, or clear mista
ke of law or fact. If there is neither inconsistency with public policy nor adeq
uate proof to repel the judgment, Philippine courts should, by default, recogniz
e the foreign judgment as part of the comity of nations. Section 48(b), Rule 39
of the Rules of Court states that the foreign judgment is already "presumptive e
vidence of a right between the parties." Upon recognition of the foreign judgmen
t, this right becomes conclusive.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 4 of 171

VIRTUCIO v. ALEGARBES G.R. No. 187451 29 August 2012 Subject: Preliminary Provis
ions of the Civil Code Topic: Effect and Applicability of Laws
FACTS: Respondent Jose Alegarbes filed Homestead Application for a 24-hectare tr
act of unsurveyed land situated in Lantawan, Basilan in 1949. His application wa
s approved on January 23, 1952. In 1955, however, the land was subdivided into 3
as a consequence of public land subdivision rules. One of the lots was allocate
d to Ulpiano Custodio and another to petitioner Jesus Virtucio. Both of them fil
ed for homestead applications. Alegarbes opposed the homestead applications file
d by Custodio and Virtucio, claiming that his approved application covered the w
hole area, including both lots allocated to Custodio and Virtucio. The Director
of Lands rendered a decision denying Alegarbes protest and amending the his app
lication to exclude the lots allocated to Custodio and Virtucio. Alegarbes then
appealed to the Secretary of Agriculture, who dismissed his appeal. He then soug
ht relief from the Office of the President, which, however, affirmed the dismiss
al order of the Secretary. An order of execution was issued by the Lands Managem
ent Bureau, ordering Alegarbes and to vacate the subject lot, but he refused. Th
us, Virtucio then filed a complaint for recovery of possession and ownership bef
ore the RTC. In his Answer, Alegarbes claimed that the decision of the Bureau of
Lands was void ab initio considering that the Acting Director of Lands acted wi
thout jurisdiction and in violation of the provisions of the Public Land Act. Al
egarbes argued that the said decision conferred no rights and imposed no duties
and left the parties in the same position as they were before its issuance. He f
urther alleged that the patent issued in favor of Virtucio was procured through
fraud and deceit, thus, void ab initio. Alegarbes further argued, by way of spec
ial and/or affirmative defenses, that the approval of his homestead application
on January 23, 1952 by the Bureau of Lands had already attained finality and cou
ld not be reversed, modified or set aside. His possession of the entire lot had
been open, continuous, peaceful and uninterrupted in the concept of an owner for
more than 30 years and had acquired such lots by acquisitive prescription. The
RTC rendered its decision on February 19, 2001, favoring Virtucio. Alegarbes app
ealed to the CA. Meanwhile, Custodio won his case over for the other parcel of l
and. On February 25, 2009, the CA promulgated its decision declaring Alegarbes a
s the owner of Lot No. 140, Pls-19, thereby reversing and setting aside the deci
sion of the RTC. Aggrieved, Virtucio filed this petition, insisting that the Cou
rt of Appeals gravely erred in disregarding the decision in CA-G.R. CV-26286 for
Recovery of Possession and Ownership, Custodio vs. Alegarbes which contains sam
e factual circumstances as in this case.
ISSUE: Does the CA ruling in Custodio v. Alegarbes constitute stare decisis or a
precedent that must be applied and upheld by the court?
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 5 of 171

HELD: No. Virtucio insists that the CA gravely erred in disregarding its decision
in Custodio v. Alegarbes, CAG.R. CV 26286, for Recovery of Possession and Owner
ship, which involved the same factual circumstances and ruled against Alegarbes.
It must be noted that the subject property in the said case was Lot 139 allocat
ed to Custodio and that Virtucio was not a party to that case. The latter cannot
enjoy whatever benefits said favorable judgment may have had just because it in
volved similar factual circumstances. The Court also found from the records that
the period of acquisitive prescription in that case was effectively interrupted
by Custodio s filing of a complaint, which is wanting in this case. Moreover, i
t is settled that a decision of the CA does not establish judicial precedent.40
"The principle of stare decisis enjoins adherence by lower courts to doctrinal r
ules established by this Court in its final decisions. It is based on the princi
ple that once a question of law has been examined and decided, it should be deem
ed settled and closed to further argument." The Court agrees with the position o
f Alegarbes that by Virtucio s insistence that it was erroneous for the CA to di
sregard its earlier decision in CA-G.R. CV 26286, he, in effect, calls upon this
Court to adhere to that decision by invoking the stare decisis principle, which
is not legally possible because only final decisions of this Court are consider
ed precedents.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 6 of 171

UNIVERSITY OF THE PHILIPPINES v. HON. DIZON G.R. No. 171182 August 23, 2012 Subj
ect: Preliminary Provisions of the Civil Code Topic: Effect and Applicability of
Laws
FACTS: On August 30, 1990, UP, through its then President Jose Abueva, entered i
nto a construction agreement with respondent Stern Builders, represented by its
President and GM Servillano dela Cruz, for the construction of the extension bui
lding and the renovation of the College of Arts and Sciences Building in UPs Los
Baos campus. Stern Builders presented UP with 3 billings corresponding to the wor
k accomplished, but the UP paid only 2 of the billings. The 3rd billing worth P2
73,729.47 was initially not paid due to its disallowance by the COA. However, de
spite the lifting of the disallowance, the UP failed to pay the billing, prompti
ng Stern Builders to sue the UP to collect the unpaid billing and to recover var
ious damages. After trial, on November 28, 2001, the RTC rendered its decision i
n favor of Stern Builders. Following the RTCs denial of its motion for reconsider
ation on May 7, 2002, UP filed a notice of appeal on June 3, 2002, which Stern B
uilders opposed, claiming that it was filed late, and moved for the execution of
the decision. UP countered that the notice of appeal was filed within the regle
mentary period because the UPs Office of Legal Affairs in Diliman, Quezon City re
ceived the order of denial only on May 31, 2002. However, the RTC denied due cou
rse to the notice of appeal for having been filed out of time and granted the pr
ivate respondents motion for execution. UP was served on January 3, 2005 with the
order of December 21, 2004 directing DBP to release the garnished funds to Ster
n Builders. On January 6, 2005, Stern Builders and dela Cruz moved to cite DBP i
n direct contempt of court for its non-compliance with the order of release. On
September 16, 2005, the CA promulgated its assailed decision dismissing the UPs p
etition for certiorari, ruling that the UP had been given ample opportunity to c
ontest the motion to direct the DBP to deposit the check in the name of Stern Bu
ilders and dela Cruz; and that the garnished funds could be the proper subject o
f garnishment because they had been already earmarked for the project. UP now pl
eads that the Supreme Court gives due course to its petition for review in the n
ame of equity in order to reverse or modify the adverse judgment against it desp
ite its finality. At stake in the UPs plea for equity was the return of the amoun
t of P16,370,191.74 illegally garnished from its trust funds.
ISSUE: Can remedial laws be given retroactive effect to affect cases already pen
ding in court at the time of the laws promulgation?
HELD: Yes, procedural rules can be given retroactive effect. In so declaring the
judgment of the RTC as final against the UP, the CA and the RTC applied the rule
contained in the second paragraph of Section 3, Rule 41 of the Rules of Court t
o the effect that the filing of a motion for reconsideration interrupted the run
ning of the period for filing the appeal; and that the period resumed upon notic
e of the denial of the motion for reconsideration. For that reason, the CA and t
he RTC might not be taken to task for strictly adhering to the rule then prevail
ing. However, equity calls for the retroactive application in the UPs favor of th
e fresh-period rule that the Court first announced in mid-September of 2005 thro
ugh its ruling in Neypes v. Court of Appeals, viz: To standardize the appeal per
iods provided in the Rules and to afford litigants fair opportunity to appeal th
eir cases, the Court deems it practical to allow a fresh period of 15 days withi
n which to file the notice
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 7 of 171

of appeal in the Regional Trial Court, counted from receipt of the order dismiss
ing a motion for a new trial or motion for reconsideration. The retroactive appl
ication of the fresh-period rule, a procedural law that aims "to regiment or mak
e the appeal period uniform, to be counted from receipt of the order denying the
motion for new trial, motion for reconsideration (whether full or partial) or a
ny final order or resolution,"99 is impervious to any serious challenge. This is
because there are no vested rights in rules of procedure. A law or regulation i
s procedural when it prescribes rules and forms of procedure in order that court
s may be able to administer justice. It does not come within the legal conceptio
n of a retroactive law, or is not subject of the general rule prohibiting the re
troactive operation of statues, but is given retroactive effect in actions pendi
ng and undetermined at the time of its passage without violating any right of a
person who may feel that he is adversely affected. We have further said that a p
rocedural rule that is amended for the benefit of litigants in furtherance of th
e administration of justice shall be retroactively applied to likewise favor act
ions then pending, as equity delights in equality. We may even relax stringent p
rocedural rules in order to serve substantial justice and in the exercise of thi
s Courts equity jurisdiction. Equity jurisdiction aims to do complete justice in
cases where a court of law is unable to adapt its judgments to the special circu
mstances of a case because of the inflexibility of its statutory or legal jurisd
iction.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 8 of 171

ACCENTURE, INC. v. CIR G.R. No. 190102 July 11, 2012 Subject: Preliminary Provis
ions of the Civil Code Topic: Effect and Applicability of Laws
FACTS: Accenture, Inc, filed for a tax credit or refund worth P35,178,844.21 wit
h the Department of Finance, claiming that it had overpaid on its taxes when it
was- mistakenly, it claims- required to pay tax it was not liable for because it
s transactions were zero-rated. When this application was not acted upon, it wen
t to the Court of Tax Appeals. The petition was opposed by the Commissioner of I
nternal Revenue, who claimed that Accenture could only be given a zero-rating cl
assification under the Tax Code if it could prove that the foreign clients to wh
ich the Accenture rendered services did business outside the Philippines. The CT
A ruled that that Accentures services would qualify for zero-rating under the 199
7 Tax Code only if the recipient of the services was doing business outside of t
he Philippines, citing the Burmeister case as basis. Accenture filed a motion fo
r reconsideration, arguing that the reliance of the CTA on Burmeister was errone
ous because that decision was promulgated in January 22, 2007, or after Accentur
e had filed this petition. It claimed that such ruling cannot be given retroacti
ve effect.
ISSUE: Can the Burmeister ruling be applied in this case without violating the r
ule on retroactivity of laws?
HELD: Yes. Clearly, the Supreme Courts pronouncements in the Burmeister case requi
ring that the recipient of the services must be doing business outside the Phili
ppines as mandated by law govern the instant case. XXX This Court upholds the po
sition of the CTA en banc that, because Section 108(B) of the 1997 Tax Code is a
verbatim copy of Section 102(b) of the 1977 Tax Code, any interpretation of the
latter holds true for the former. Moreover, even though Accentures Petition was
filed before Burmeister was promulgated, the pronouncements made in that case ma
y be applied to the present one without violating the rule against retroactive a
pplication. When this Court decides a case, it does not pass a new law, but mere
ly interprets a preexisting one. When this Court interpreted Section 102(b) of t
he 1977 Tax Code in Burmeister, this interpretation became part of the law from
the moment it became effective. It is elementary that the interpretation of a la
w by this Court constitutes part of that law from the date it was originally pas
sed, since this Court s construction merely establishes the contemporaneous legi
slative intent that the interpreted law carried into effect. Accenture questions
the CTAs application of Burmeister, because the provision interpreted therein wa
s Section 102(b) of the 1977 Tax Code. In support of its position that Section 1
08 of the 1997 Tax Code does not require that the services be rendered to an ent
ity doing business outside the Philippines, Accenture invokes this Courts pronoun
cements in Amex. However, a reading of that case will readily reveal that the pr
ovision applied was Section 102(b) of the 1977 Tax Code, and not Section 108 of
the 1997 Tax Code. As previously mentioned, an interpretation of Section 102(b)
of the 1977 Tax Code is an interpretation of Section 108 of the 1997 Tax Code, t
he latter being a mere reproduction of the former.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 9 of 171

AUJERO v. PHILIPPINE COMMUNICATIONS SATELLITE CORP. G.R. No. 193484 January 18,
2012 Subject: Preliminary Provisions of the Civil Code Topic: Effect and Applica
bility of Laws
FACTS: Aujero started working for Philcomsat as an accountant in the Finance Dep
artment. After 34 years of service, Aujero applied for early retirement. His app
lication for retirement was approved, entitling him to receive retirement benefi
ts at a rate equivalent to one and a half of his monthly salary for every year o
f service. At that time, Aujero was Philcomsat s Senior Vice-President with a mo
nthly salary of P274,805. Aujero executed a Deed of Release and Quitclaim in Phi
lcomsats favor, following his receipt from the latter of a check in the amount of
P9,439,327.91. Almost 3 years thereafter, Aujero filed a complaint for unpaid r
etirement benefits, claiming that the actual amount of his retirement pay is P14
,015,055 and that the P9,439,327.91 he received from Philcomsat as supposed sett
lement for all his claims is unconscionable. He thus asks that his quitclaim be
declared as null and void. According to Aujero, he was simply forced into receiv
ing the lesser amount because he needed money at that time, and was all set to r
eturn to his hometown. He says he only signed the quitclaim despite the consider
able deficiency as no amount would be released to him if he did not execute a re
lease and waiver in Philcomsat s favor. Philcomsat alleges that the Aujero willf
ully and knowingly executed the subject quitclaim in consideration of his receip
t of his retirement pay. Philcomsat further alleges that the reduced amount P9,4
39,327.91 was arrived at following its negotiations with Aujero and the latter p
articipated in the computation thereof, taking into account his accountabilities
to Philcomsat and the latters financial debacles.
ISSUE: Was the quitclaim executed by Aujero in Philcomsats favor is valid, forecl
osing his right to institute any further claim against Philcomsat?
HELD: Yes. Absent any evidence that any of the vices of consent is present and co
nsidering the petitioners position and education, the quitclaim executed by the p
etitioner constitutes a valid and binding agreement. In Goodrich Manufacturing C
orporation, v. Ativo, this Court reiterated the standards that must be observed
in determining whether a waiver and quitclaim has been validly executed: Not all
waivers and quitclaims are invalid as against public policy. If the agreement w
as voluntarily entered into and represents a reasonable settlement, it is bindin
g on the parties and may not later be disowned simply because of a change of min
d. It is only where there is clear proof that the waiver was wangled from an uns
uspecting or gullible person, or the terms of settlement are unconscionable on i
ts face, that the law will step in to annul the questionable transaction. But wh
ere it is shown that the person making the waiver did so voluntarily, with full
understanding of what he was doing, and the consideration for the quitclaim is c
redible and reasonable, the transaction must be recognized as a valid and bindin
g undertaking. XXX
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 10 of 171

While the law looks with disfavor upon releases and quitclaims by employees who
are inveigled or pressured into signing them by unscrupulous employers seeking t
o evade their legal responsibilities, a legitimate waiver representing a volunta
ry settlement of a laborer s claims should be respected by the courts as the law
between the parties. Considering the petitioner s claim of fraud and bad faith
against Philcomsat to be unsubstantiated, this Court finds the quitclaim in disp
ute to be legitimate waiver. While the petitioner bewailed as having been coerce
d or pressured into signing the release and waiver, his failure to present evide
nce renders his allegation self-serving and inutile to invalidate the same. That
no portion of his retirement pay will be released to him or his urgent need for
funds does not constitute the pressure or coercion contemplated by law. That th
e petitioner was all set to return to his hometown and was in dire need of money
would likewise not qualify as undue pressure sufficient to invalidate the quitc
laim. "Dire necessity" may be an acceptable ground to annul quitclaims if the co
nsideration is unconscionably low and the employee was tricked into accepting it
, but is not an acceptable ground for annulling the release when it is not shown
that the employee has been forced to execute it. While it is our duty to preven
t the exploitation of employees, it also behooves us to protect the sanctity of
contracts that do not contravene our laws. The petitioner is not an ordinary lab
orer. He is mature, intelligent and educated with a college degree, who cannot b
e easily duped or tricked into performing an act against his will. As no proof w
as presented that the said quitclaim was entered into through fraud, deception,
misrepresentation, the same is valid and binding. The petitioner is estopped fro
m questioning the said quitclaim and cannot renege after accepting the benefits
thereunder. This Court will never satisfy itself with surmises, conjectures or s
peculations for the purpose of giving imprimatur to the petitioner s attempt to
abdicate from his obligations under a valid and binding release and waiver. The
petitioner s educational background and employment stature render it improbable
that he was pressured, intimidated or inveigled into signing the subject quitcla
im. This Court cannot permit the petitioner to relieve himself from the conseque
nces of his act, when his knowledge and understanding thereof is expected. Also,
the period of time that the petitioner allowed to lapse before filing a complai
nt to recover the supposed deficiency in his retirement pay clouds his motives,
leading to the reasonable conclusion that his claim of being aggrieved is a mere
afterthought, if not a mere pretention.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 11 of 171

CALIFORNIA CLOTHING v. QUIONES G.R. No.175822 October 23, 2013 Subject: Prelimina
ry Provisions of the Civil Code Topic: Human Relations
FACTS: In 2001, respondent Quiones, went inside the Guess USA Boutique at the sec
ond floor of Robinsons Department Store (Robinsons) in Cebu City. She fitted four
items: two jeans, a blouse and a shorts, then decided to purchase the black jean
s worth P2,098.00. She allegedly paid for the jeans, as evidenced by a receipt i
ssued by the store. However, after leaving the boutique, a Guess employee ran af
ter her and informed her that she failed to pay for the jeans. She, however, ins
isted that she paid and showed the employee the receipt. She then suggested that
they talk about it at the Cebu Pacific Office located at the basement of the ma
ll, where she worked. When she arrived at the Cebu Pacific Office, the Guess emp
loyees allegedly subjected her to humiliation in front of the clients of Cebu Pa
cific and repeatedly demanded payment for the jeans. They allegedly even searche
d her wallet to check how much money she had. That same day, after Quiones went h
ome, the Guess employees allegedly gave a letter to the Director of Cebu Pacific
Air narrating the incident, but the latter refused to receive it as it did not
concern the office and the same took place while respondent was off duty. Anothe
r letter was allegedly prepared and was supposed to be sent to the Cebu Pacific
Office in Robinsons, but the latter again refused to receive it. Respondent also
claimed that the Human Resource Department of Robinsons was furnished said letter
and the latter in fact conducted an investigation for purposes of canceling res
pondents Robinsons credit card. Respondent further claimed that she was not given
a copy of said damaging letter. Because of all of these, the respondent claims t
o have suffered physical anxiety, sleepless nights, mental anguish, fright, seri
ous apprehension, besmirched reputation, moral shock and social humiliation. She
thus filed this civil case for damaged before the RTC against petitioners Calif
ornia Clothing, Inc. and others. She demanded the payment of moral, nominal, and
exemplary damages, plus attorneys fees and costs. The petitioners admitted the i
ssuance of the receipt of payment, however, they claimed that there was a miscom
munication between the boutiques cashier and invoicer that resulted in the store
not receiving the payment for its account. Realizing the mistake, the petitione
rs chased after the respondent invited her to go back to the boutique to clarifi
fy whether or not payment was indeed made. Instead of going back to the shop, th
e respondent suggested that they meet at the Cebu Pacific Office. The petitioner
s pointed out that it appeared in their conversation at the Cebu Pacific office
that respondent could not recall to whom she gave the payment. They claim that t
hey were gentle and polite in talking to respondent and it was the latter who wa
s arrogant in answering their questions. As counterclaim, petitioners and the ot
her defendants sought the payment of moral and exemplary damages, plus attorneys
fees and litigation expenses. In 2003, the RTC rendered a Decision dismissing bo
th the complaint and counterclaim of the parties, concluding that the petitioner
s believed in good faith that respondent failed to make payment. Considering tha
t no motive to fabricate a lie could be attributed to the Guess employees, the c
ourt held that when they demanded payment from respondent, they merely exercised
a right under the honest belief that no payment was made. The RTC also held tha
t the actions of the petitioners was not damaging for the respondent when the co
nfrontation took place in front of Cebu Pacific clients, because it was responde
nt herself who chose that location. On appeal, the CA reversed the RTC decision
and ordered California Clothing to pay for damages. The CA found a preponderance
of evidence showing that the petitioners acted in bad faith in sending the dema
nd letter to respondents employer. The CA opined that the letter addressed to Ceb
u Pacifics director was sent to respondents employer not merely to ask for assista
nce for the collection of the
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 12 of 171

disputed payment but to subject her to ridicule, humiliation and similar injury
such that she would be pressured to pay, and that there was malice when petition
ers dragged into the situation respondents employer who was not privy to the tran
saction. The CA finally stated that the making of false accusations by the petit
ioners was an abuse of right entitling respondent to collect moral damages and a
ttorneys fees. Petitioner California Clothing was also made liable for its failur
e to exercise extraordinary diligence in the hiring and selection of its employe
es.
ISSUE: Did the employees of California Clothing abuse their right when trying to
verify whether or not payment was actually made by Quiones?
HELD: Yes. Respondents complaint against petitioners stemmed from the principle of
abuse of rights provided for in the Civil Code on the chapter of human relation
s. XXX [T]he exercise of such right is not without limitations. Any abuse in the
exercise of such right and in the performance of duty causing damage or injury
to another is actionable under the Civil Code. The Courts pronouncement in Carpio
v. Valmonte31 is noteworthy: In the sphere of our law on human relations, the v
ictim of a wrongful act or omission, whether done willfully or negligently, is n
ot left without any remedy or recourse to obtain relief for the damage or injury
he sustained. Incorporated into our civil law are not only principles of equity
but also universal moral precepts which are designed to indicate certain norms
that spring from the fountain of good conscience and which are meant to serve as
guides for human conduct. First of these fundamental precepts is the principle
commonly known as abuse of rights under Article 19 of the Civil Code. It provides
that Every person must, in the exercise of his rights and in the performance of h
is duties, act with justice, give everyone his due and observe honesty and good
faith.x x x The elements of abuse of rights are as follows: (1) there is a legal
right or duty; (2) which is exercised in bad faith; (3) for the sole intent of p
rejudicing or injuring another.33 In this case, petitioners claimed that there w
as a miscommunication between the cashier and the invoicer leading to the errone
ous issuance of the receipt to respondent. When they realized the mistake, they
made a cash count and discovered that the amount which is equivalent to the pric
e of the black jeans was missing. They, thus, concluded that it was respondent w
ho failed to make such payment. It was, therefore, within their right to verify
from respondent whether she indeed paid or not and collect from her if she did n
ot. However, the question now is whether such right was exercised in good faith
or they went overboard giving respondent a cause of action against them. Under t
he abuse of rights principle found in Article 19 of the Civil Code, a person mus
t, in the exercise of legal right or duty, act in good faith. He would be liable
if he instead acted in bad faith, with intent to prejudice another. Good faith
refers to the state of mind which is manifested by the acts of the individual co
ncerned. It consists of the intention to abstain from taking an unconscionable a
nd unscrupulous advantage of another. Malice or bad faith, on the other hand, im
plies a conscious and intentional design to do a wrongful act for a dishonest pu
rpose or moral obliquity. XXX It is evident from the circumstances of the case t
hat petitioners went overboard and tried to force respondent to pay the amount t
hey were demanding. In the guise of asking for assistance, petitioners even sent
a demand letter to respondents employer not only informing it of the incident bu
t obviously imputing bad acts on the part of respondent. Petitioners claimed tha
t after receiving the receipt of payment and the item purchased, respondent was n
oted to hurriedly left (sic) the store. They also
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 13 of 171

accused respondent that she was not completely being honest when she was asked a
bout the circumstances of payment. XXX Petitioners accused respondent that not o
nly did she fail to pay for the jeans she purchased but that she deliberately to
ok the same without paying for it and later hurriedly left the shop to evade pay
ment. These accusations were made despite the issuance of the receipt of payment
and the release of the item purchased. There was, likewise, no showing that res
pondent had the intention to evade payment. Contrary to petitioners claim, respon
dent was not in a rush in leaving the shop or the mall. This is evidenced by the
fact that the Guess employees did not have a hard time looking for her when the
y realized the supposed non-payment. It can be inferred from the foregoing that
in sending the demand letter to respondents employer, petitioners intended not on
ly to ask for assistance in collecting the disputed amount but to tarnish respon
dents reputation in the eyes of her employer. To malign respondent without substa
ntial evidence and despite the latters possession of enough evidence in her favor
, is clearly impermissible. A person should not use his right unjustly or contra
ry to honesty and good faith, otherwise, he opens himself to liability. The exer
cise of a right must be in accordance with the purpose for which it was establis
hed and must not be excessive or unduly harsh. XXX Complementing the principle o
f abuse of rights are xxx Articles 20 and 21 of the Civil Code which read: Artic
le 20. Every person who, contrary to law, willfully or negligently causes damage
to another, shall indemnify the latter for the same. Article 21. Any person who
willfully causes loss or injury to another in a manner that is contrary to mora
ls or good customs, or public policy shall compensate the latter for the damage.
In view of the foregoing, respondent is entitled to an award of moral damages a
nd attorney s fees. Moral damages may be awarded whenever the defendant s wrongf
ul act or omission is the proximate cause of the plaintiffs physical suffering,
mental anguish, fright, serious anxiety, besmirched reputation, wounded feelings
, moral shock, social humiliation and similar injury in the cases specified or a
nalogous to those provided in Article 2219 of the Civil Code. Moral damages are
not a bonanza. They are given to ease the defendant s grief and suffering. They
should, thus, reasonably approximate the extent of hurt caused and the gravity o
f the wrong done. They are awarded not to enrich the complainant but to enable t
he latter to obtain means, diversions, or amusements that will serve to alleviat
e the moral suffering he has undergone. We find that the amount of 150,000.00 as
moral damages awarded by the CA is reasonable under the circumstances. Consider
ing that respondent was compelled to litigate to protect her interest, attorney
s fees in the amount of of P20,000.00 is likewise just and proper.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 14 of 171

Sps. MAMARIL v. BOY SCOUTS OF THE PHILIPPINES G.R. No. 179382 January 14, 2013 S
ubject: Preliminary Provisions of the Civil Code Topic: Human Relations
FACTS: The spouses Mamaril would park their 6 passenger jeepneys every night at
the BSP compound for a fee of P300 per month for each unit. As per usual, at 8 p
.m., all these vehicles were parked inside the BSP compound. One morning, howeve
r, one of the vehicles was missing and was never recovered. According to the sec
urity guards of AIB Security Agency, Inc.- with whom BSP had contracted for its
security and protection- a male person who looked familiar to them took the subj
ect vehicle out of the compound. The spouses Mamaril filed a complaint for damag
es against BSP, AIB, and the guards.
ISSUE: Did BSPs negligence allow for the loss of the vehicle, such that a valid c
laim for damages can be made against them?
HELD: No. Article 20 of the Civil Code provides that every person, who, contrary
to law, willfully or negligently causes damage to another, shall indemnify the l
atter for the same. Similarly, Article 2176 of the Civil Code states: Art. 2176.
Whoever by act or omission causes damage to another, there being fault or negli
gence, is obliged to pay for the damage done. Such fault or negligence, if there
is no preexisting contractual relation between the parties, is called a quasi-d
elict and is governed by the provisions of this Chapter. In this case, it is und
isputed that the proximate cause of the loss of Sps. Mamaril s vehicle was the n
egligent act of security guards Pea and Gaddi in allowing an unidentified person
to drive out the subject vehicle. Proximate cause has been defined as that cause
, which, in natural and continuous sequence, unbroken by any efficient interveni
ng cause, produces the injury or loss, and without which the result would not ha
ve occurred. XXX On the other hand, the records are bereft of any finding of neg
ligence on the part of BSP. Hence, no reversible error was committed by the CA i
n absolving it from any liability for the loss of the subject vehicle based on f
ault or negligence. Neither will the vicarious liability of an employer under Ar
ticle 218017 of the Civil Code apply in this case. It is uncontested that Pea and
Gaddi were assigned as security guards by AIB to BSP pursuant to the Guard Serv
ice Contract. Clearly, therefore, no employer-employee relationship existed betw
een BSP and the security guards assigned in its premises. Consequently, the latt
er s negligence cannot be imputed against BSP but should be attributed to AIB, t
he true employer of Pea and Gaddi.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 15 of 171

Sps. SERFINO v. FAR EAST BANK (now BPI) G.R. No. 171845 October 10, 2012 Subject
: Preliminary Provisions of the Civil Code Topic: Human Relations
FACTS: In 1995, the spouses Serfino filed a case for collection for a sum of mon
ey against the spouses Cortez. A compromise settlement was agreed upon by both p
arties, which stipulated that Mrs. Cortez would pay the debt out of her retireme
nt benefits from the GSIS one week after the money becomes available. The spouse
s Cortez failed to pay the settlement of P 155,000.00 agreed upon. The spouses S
erfino, upon learning that the money had been deposited to the account of Cortez
daughter-in-law Grace at Far East Bank, wrote the bank informing them that part
of the money belongs to them by virtue of a settlement, and demanding that the a
ccounts be frozen until ownership of the money is resolved. However, Grace withd
rew most of the money from the account, leaving only P 54,534.00 with the bank.
This remaining account was ordered by the court to be given to the spouses Serfi
no as partial payment of the debt of the spouses Cortez. Unsatisfied, the spouse
s Serfino filed a case against the spouses Cortez, Grace, and the bank. The lowe
r court rules that the spouses Cortez and Grace fraudulently diverted the funds,
but absolved Far East Bank of any liability for allowing Grace to withdraw the
money in question after the plaintiffs asked them not to. On appeal, the spouses
Serfino allege that it was an error for the lower court to hold that only a cou
rt order can compel a bank to freeze an account. They claim that the bank has be
en duly notified thrice of the adverse claim, and therefore it was their duty to
freeze the account pending the resolution of the adverse claim.
ISSUE: Was there a positive duty on the part of Far East Bank to freeze the acco
unt of its client Grace to protect the interests of the third party spouses Serf
ino who have made an adverse claim on the funds under the account?
HELD: No, no duty exists on the part of the bank to protect interest of third per
son claiming [a] deposit in the name of another. XXX Under Article 2219 of the C
ivil Code, moral damages are recoverable for acts referred to in Article 21 of t
he Civil Code. Article 21 of the Civil Code, in conjunction with Article 19 of t
he Civil Code, is part of the cause of action known in this jurisdiction as "abu
se of rights." The elements of abuse of rights are: (a) there is a legal right o
r duty; (b) exercised in bad faith; and (c) for the sole intent of prejudicing o
r injuring another. XXX The spouses Serfino invoke American common law that impo
ses a duty upon a bank receiving a notice of adverse claim to the fund in a depo
sitors account to freeze the account for a reasonable length of time, sufficient
to allow the adverse claimant to institute legal proceedings to enforce his righ
t to the fund. In other words, the bank has a duty not to release the deposits u
nreasonably early after a third party makes known his adverse claim to the bank
deposit. Acknowledging that no such duty is imposed by law in this jurisdiction,
the spouses Serfino ask the Court to adopt this foreign rule.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 16 of 171

To adopt the foreign rule, however, goes beyond the power of this Court to promu
lgate rules governing pleading, practice and procedure in all courts. The rule r
eflects a matter of policy that is better addressed by the other branches of gov
ernment, particularly, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, which is the agency that
supervises the operations and activities of banks, and which has the power to i
ssue rules of conduct or the establishment of standards of operation for uniform
application to all institutions or functions covered. To adopt this rule will hav
e significant implications on the banking industry and practices, as the America
n experience has shown. Recognizing that the rule imposing duty on banks to free
ze the deposit upon notice of adverse claim adopts a policy adverse to the bank
and its functions, and opens it to liability to both the depositor and the adver
se claimant, many American states have since adopted adverse claim statutes that
shifted or, at least, equalized the burden. Essentially, these statutes do not
impose a duty on banks to freeze the deposit upon a mere notice of adverse claim
; they first require either a court order or an indemnity bond. XXX In the absen
ce of a law or a rule binding on the Court, it has no option but to uphold the e
xisting policy that recognizes the fiduciary nature of banking. It likewise reje
cts the adoption of a judicially-imposed rule giving third parties with unverifi
ed claims against the deposit of another a better right over the deposit. As cur
rent laws provide, the banks contractual relations are with its depositor, not wi
th the third party; a bank is under obligation to treat the accounts of its depos
itors with meticulous care and always to have in mind the fiduciary nature of it
s relationship with them. In the absence of any positive duty of the bank to an a
dverse claimant, there could be no breach that entitles the latter to moral dama
ges.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 17 of 171

ABAD v. BIASON G.R. No. 191933 December 5, 2012 Subject: Persons Topic: Civil Pe
rsonality
FACTS: In March 2007, petitioner Abad filed a petition for guardianship over the
person and properties of Maura B. Abad with RTC of Dagupan City. Abad stated in
his petition that he maintains residence at No. 14 B St. Paul Street, Horseshoe
Village, Quezon City and that he is Mauras nephew. He averred that Maura, who is
single, more than 90 years old and a resident of Rizal Street, Poblacion, Manga
ldan, Pangasinan, is in dire need of a guardian who will look after her and her
business affairs. Due to her advanced age, Maura is already sickly and can no lo
nger manage to take care of herself and her properties unassisted. Biason oppose
d the petition, and alleged that he is also a nephew of Maura and that he was no
t notified of the pendency of the petition for the appointment of the Mauras guar
dian. He vehemently opposed the appointment of Abad as Mauras guardian as he cann
ot possibly perform his duties as such since he resides in Quezon City while Mau
ra maintains her abode in Mangaldan, Pangasinan. Biason prayed that he be appoin
ted as Mauras guardian since he was previously granted by the latter with a power
of attorney to manage her properties. Eventually, Biason was appointed guardian
. However, during the pendency of the proceedings, to determine the propriety of
his appointment as guardian, Biason died.
ISSUE: Is the guardianship terminated upon Biason s death?
HELD: Yes. In his petition, Abad prayed for the nullification of the CA Decision
dated August 28, 2009 and Resolution dated April 19, 2010, which dismissed his a
ppeal from the Decision dated September 26, 2007 of the RTC and denied his motio
n for reconsideration, respectively. Basically, he was challenging Biasons qualif
ications and the procedure by which the RTC appointed him as guardian for Maura.
However, with Biasons demise, it has become impractical and futile to proceed wi
th resolving the merits of the petition. It is a well-established rule that the
relationship of guardian and ward is necessarily terminated by the death of eith
er the guardian or the ward. The supervening event of death rendered it pointles
s to delve into the propriety of Biasons appointment since the juridical tie betw
een him and Maura has already been dissolved. The petition, regardless of its di
sposition, will not afford Abad, or anyone else for that matter, any substantial
relief.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 18 of 171

CREWLINK, INC. v. TERINGTERING G.R. No. 166803 October 11, 2012 Subject: Persons
Topic: Civil Personality
FACTS: In her complaint for death benefits, Teringtering alleged that her husban
d Jacinto entered into an overseas employment contract with Crewlink, Inc. for a
nd in behalf of its foreign principal Gulf Marine Services. She alleged hat befo
re her husband was employed, he was subjected to a medical examination and was p
ronounced as "fit to work." Thus, her husband joined his vessel of assignment an
d performed his duties as oiler on the vessel bound for the United Arab Emirates
. In 2001, a death certificate was issued by the Ministry of Health of the UAE w
herein it was stated that Jacinto died on April 9, 2001 due to asphyxia of drown
ing. Later on, an embalming and sealing certificate was issued after which the r
emains of Jacinto was brought back to the Philippines. After learning of the dea
th of Jacinto, Teringtering claimed from Crewlink the payment of death compensat
ion, burial expenses, and additional death compensation for their minor child bu
t was refused without any valid cause. Teringtering claimed that in order for he
r husband s death to be compensable it is enough that he died during the term of
his contract and while still on board. Teringtering asserted that Jacinto was s
uffering from a psychotic disorder, which resulted to his jumping into the sea a
nd his eventual death. Teringtering further asserted that her husbands death was
not deliberate and not of his own will, but was a result of a mental disorder, t
hus, compensable. Crewlink answered that sometime on April 9, 2001, around 8:20
p.m., the late Jacinto suddenly jumped into the sea, but the second engineer was
able to recover him. Thus, a person was assigned to watch him. However,at aroun
d 10:30 p.m., Jacinto jumped off the boat again. Around 11:00 p.m., the watchman
reported that Jacinto was recovered but despite efforts to revive him, he was a
lready dead.
ISSUE: With the legal presumption of sanity, can Jacinto s death be ruled as a r
esult of a mental disorder, thus compensable, on the mere allegation of her wife
of insanity?
HELD: No. Indeed, in order to avail of death benefits, the death of the employee
should occur during the effectivity of the employment contract. The death of a s
eaman during the term of employment makes the employer liable to his heirs for d
eath compensation benefits. This rule, however, is not absolute. The employer ma
y be exempt from liability if it can successfully prove that the seaman s death
was caused by an injury directly attributable to his deliberate or willful act.
In the instant case, petitioner was able to substantially prove that Jacinto s d
eath was attributable to his deliberate act of killing himself by jumping into t
he sea. Meanwhile, respondent, other than her bare allegation that her husband w
as suffering from a mental disorder, no evidence, witness, or any medical report
was given to support her claim of Jacinto s insanity. The record does not even
show when the alleged insanity of Jacinto did start. Homesickness and/or family
problems may result to depression, but the same does not necessarily equate to m
ental disorder. The issue of insanity is a question of fact; for insanity is a c
ondition of the mind not susceptible of the usual means of proof. As no man woul
d know what goes on in the mind of
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 19 of 171

another, the state or condition of a persons mind can only be measured and judged
by his behavior. Establishing the insanity of an accused requires opinion testi
mony which may be given by a witness who is intimately acquainted with the perso
n claimed to be insane, or who has rational basis to conclude that a person was
insane based on the witness own perception of the person, or who is qualified as
an expert, such as a psychiatrist. No such evidence was presented to support res
pondent s claim.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 20 of 171

PEOPLE v. BAYRANTE G.R. No. 188978 June 13, 2012 Subject: Persons Topic: Civil P
ersonality
Facts: On April 3, 2000, AAA filed before the MTC of Pili, Camarines, 2 separate
complaints against AccusedAppellant Marcial Bayrante for the crime of Rape. Fin
ding probable cause that Bayrante may have committed the crimes charged, the MTC
ordered the filing of the appropriate informations, to which the Office of the
Provincial Prosecutor concurred. Bayrante, in his defense, claimed that it was A
AA who pursued him. He claims that AAA threatened to commit suicide if they do n
ot become sweethearts. He says he even consulted a friend for he was scared that
AAA might actually carry out her threat to commit suicide. Also, he averred tha
t on one occasion, AAA went inside his bedroom and suggested that they should le
ave the place since her parents will not approve of their relationship. Bayrante
further testified that he and AAA checked in at El Alma Hotel when they found o
ut that her parents were looking for them. They checked out of the following mor
ning on and went to the house of his cousin to pick up their personal belongings
, however, AAAs parents were there when they arrived. Dr. Escuadra, a Medical Spe
cialist with expertise in psychiatric evaluation and management of patients at t
he Bicol Medical Center, and who was also in charge of the women and children pr
otection unit of the said hospital, is the one who conducted psychiatric and psy
chological tests on AAA. Dr. Escuadra testified that AAA suffers from post-traum
atic stress disorder, and also diagnosed AAA with mild mental retardation becaus
e of her IQ of only 55, which meant that her mental age is equivalent to that of
9-10 year old child, despite already being 20 years of age. On appeal, Bayrante
maintains that AAA was his lover and that she voluntarily eloped with him as evi
denced by the affidavit she signed before Brgy. Capt. Regis. Furthermore, Bayran
te argues that the prosecution failed to establish the mental state of AAA which
is crucial to the charge that he raped a woman who is of the legal age but othe
rwise deprived of reason. He asserts that the prosecution was not able to prove
that AAA suffers from mental retardation.
ISSUE: Does AAA, a 20-year old suffering from mental retardation, have the legal
capacity to give a valid consent to sexual congress, thus absolving Bayrante fr
om guilt in the crime of rape?
HELD: No. It is settled in jurisprudence that, under the foregoing provision of l
aw, carnal knowledge of a woman with a mental deficiency is considered rape beca
use such a person is not capable of giving consent to a sexual act. In a recent
case, we had declared that in cases of rape involving a victim suffering from me
ntal retardation, proof of force or intimidation is not necessary, it being suff
icient for the State to establish (1) the sexual congress between the accused an
d the victim, and (2) the mental retardation of the victim. Previously in People
v. Dalandas, we described in detail the nature of mental retardation as well as
its different degrees as defined in the modern and the old intelligence quotien
t (IQ) scales: Mental retardation is a chronic condition present from birth or e
arly childhood and characterized by impaired intellectual functioning measured b
y standardized tests. It manifests itself in impaired adaptation to the daily de
mands of the individuals own social environment. Commonly, a mental
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 21 of 171

retardate exhibits a slow rate of maturation, physical and/or psychological, as


well as impaired learning capacity. Although mental retardation is often used inte
rchangeably with mental deficiency, the latter term is usually reserved for those
without recognizable brain pathology. The degrees of mental retardation accordin
g to their level of intellectual function are illustrated, thus: Mental Retardat
ion LEVEL DESCRIPTION TERM INTELLIGENCE QUOTIENT (IQ RANGE) Below 20 20-35 36-52
53-68
I II III IV
Profound Severe Moderate Mild
A normal mind is one which in strength and capacity ranks reasonably well with t
he average of the great body of men and women who make up organized human societ
y in general, and are by common consent recognized as sane and competent to perf
orm the ordinary duties and assume the ordinary responsibilities of life. The tr
aditional but now obsolescent terms applied to those degrees of mental retardati
on were (a) idiot, having an IQ of 0-19, and a maximum intellectual factor in ad
ult life equivalent to that of the average two-year old child; (b) imbecile by a
n IQ of 20 to 49 and a maximum intellectual function in adult life equivalent to
that of the average seven-year old child; (c) moron or feebleminded, having an
IQ of 50 to 69 and a maximum intellectual function in adult life equivalent to t
hat of the average twelveyear old child. Psychiatrists and psychologists apply t
he term borderline intelligence to those with IQ between 70 to 89. In People v. Pa
lma, we ruled that a person is guilty of rape when he had sexual intercourse wit
h a female who was suffering from a borderline mental deficiency. In the case at b
ar, the undisputed expert testimony of Dr. Imelda Escuadra, a Medical Specialist
II and officer-in-charge of the Women and Children Protection Unit at the Bicol
Medical Center who personally conducted the psychiatric tests on AAA, clearly e
stablished that the victim is afflicted with mild mental retardation. She furthe
r testified that AAA was also suffering from post traumatic stress disorder (PTS
D) and that AAA possesses an IQ of 55 with a mental age equivalent to that of a
normal 9 to 10-year-old person.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 22 of 171

OROPESA v. OROPESA G.R. No. 184528 April 25, 2012 Subject: Persons Topic: Civil
Personality
FACTS: Nilo alleged that his father Cirilo has been afflicted with several malad
ies and has been sickly for over 10 years already having suffered a stroke twice
in 2003. He claims that even before his stroke, Cirilos judgment and memory were
already impaired causing him to fail to manage his property properly. Because o
f his and medical condition, he cannot, without outside aid, manage his affairs
wisely, and has become an easy prey for deceit and exploitation by people around
him, particularly by Ms. Ma. Luisa Agamata, his girlfriend. Thus, Nilo filed a
petition for him and a certain Ms. Louie Ginez to be appointed as guardians over
the property of his father Cirilo. Cirilo opposed the petition for guardianship
.
ISSUE: Is Cirilo of unsound mind and incapable of attending to his personal affa
irs and administering his properties?
HELD: No. We have held in the past that a finding that a person is incompetent sho
uld be anchored on clear, positive and definite evidence. We consider that eviden
tiary standard unchanged and, thus, must be applied in the case at bar. XXX Resp
ondent denied the allegations made by petitioner and cited petitioners lack of ma
terial evidence to support his claims. According to respondent, petitioner did n
ot present any relevant documentary or testimonial evidence that would attest to
the veracity of his assertion that respondent is incompetent largely due to his
alleged deteriorating medical and mental condition. In fact, respondent points
out that the only medical document presented by petitioner proves that he is ind
eed competent to run his personal affairs and administer his properties. Portion
s of the said document, entitled Report of Neuropsychological Screening, were quot
ed by respondent in his Memorandum to illustrate that said report in fact favore
d respondents claim of competence, to wit: General Oropesa spoke fluently in Engl
ish and Filipino, he enjoyed and participated meaningfully in conversations and
could be quite elaborate in his responses on many of the test items. He spoke in
a clear voice and his articulation was generally comprehensible. General Oropes
a performed in the average range on most of the domains that were tested. He was
able to correctly perform mental calculations and keep track of number sequence
s on a task of attention. He did BEST in visuo-constructional tasks where he had
to copy geometrical designs using tiles. Likewise, he was able to render and re
ad the correct time on the Clock Drawing Test. Reasoning abilities were generall
y intact as he was able to suggest effective solutions to problem situations. XX
X In an analogous guardianship case wherein the soundness of mind of the propose
d ward was at issue, we had the occasion to rule that where the sanity of a perso
n is at issue, expert opinion is not necessary [and that] the observations of th
e trial judge coupled with evidence establishing the persons state of mental sani
ty will suffice.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 23 of 171

XXX The Court noted the absence of any testimony of a medical expert which state
s that Gen. Cirilo O. Oropesa does not have the mental, emotional, and physical
capacity to manage his own affairs. On the contrary, Oppositors evidence includes
a Neuropsychological Screening Report which states that Gen. Oropesa, (1) perfo
rms on the average range in most of the domains that were tested; (2) is capable
of mental calculations; and (3) can provide solutions to problem situations. Th
e Report concludes that Gen. Oropesa possesses intact cognitive functioning, exc
ept for mildly impaired abilities in memory, reasoning and orientation. It is th
e observation of the Court that oppositor is still sharp, alert and able. (Citat
ion omitted; emphasis supplied.)
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 24 of 171

JALOSJOS v. COMELEC G.R. No. 191970 April 24, 2012 Subject: Persons Topic: Citiz
enship and Domicile
FACTS: Rommel Jalosjos was born in Quezon City on October 26, 1973. He migrated
to Australia in 1981 when he was eight years old and there acquired Australian c
itizenship. On November 22, 2008, at age 35, he decided to return to the Philipp
ines and lived with his brother, Romeo, Jr., in Zamboanga Sibugay. Upon his retu
rn, he took an oath of allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines, resulting
in his being issued a Certificate of Reacquisition of Philippine Citizenship by
the Bureau of Immigration. In September 2009, he renounced his Australian citize
nship, executing a sworn renunciation. From the time of his return, Jalosjos acq
uired real properties in Zamboanga Sibugay. He then applied for registration as
a voter in the Municipality of Ipil but respondent Dan Erasmo, Sr., the Barangay
Captain of his village, opposed the same. However, the Election Registration Bo
ard approved it and included Jalosjos name in the COMELECs voters list. Respondent
Erasmo thus filed a petition for the exclusion of Jalosjos name from the officia
l voters list. The MCTC rendered a decision, denying the petition, which was aff
irmed by the RTC on appeal. The RTC decision became final and executory. On Nove
mber 28, 2009, Jalosjos filed his Certificate of Candidacy for Governor of Zambo
anga Sibugay Province for the May 10, 2010 elections. Erasmo promptly filed a pe
tition to deny due course or to cancel Jalosjos COC on the ground that the latter
made material misrepresentation in the same since he failed to comply with (1)
the requirements of R.A. 9225 and (2) the one-year residency requirement of the
Local Government Code. The COMELEC ruled that, while Jalosjos had regained Phili
ppine citizenship by complying with the requirements of R.A. 9225, he failed to
prove the compliance with the residency requirement for a gubernatorial candidat
e. He failed to present ample proof of a bona fide intention to establish his do
micile in Zamboanga Sibugay. The COMELEC En Banc affirmed the decision, ruling t
hat Jalosjos had been a mere guest or transient visitor in his brothers house and
, for this reason, he cannot claim Zamboanga Sibugay as his domicile. In the int
erim, Jalosjos won the election and was proclaimed winner of the 2010 gubernator
ial race in the Province of Zamboanga Sibugay.
ISSUE: Can Jalosjos validly claim that Zamboanga Sibugay is his domicile?
HELD: Yes. The Local Government Code requires a candidate seeking the position of
provincial governor to be a resident of the province for at least one year befo
re the election. For purposes of the election laws, the requirement of residence
is synonymous with domicile, meaning that a person must not only intend to resi
de in a particular place but must also have personal presence in such place coup
led with conduct indicative of such intention. There is no hard and fast rule to
determine a candidates compliance with residency requirement since the question
of residence is a question of intention. Still, jurisprudence has laid down the
following guidelines: (a) every person has a domicile or residence somewhere; (b
) where once established, that domicile remains until he acquires a new one; and
(c) a person can have but one domicile at a time.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 25 of 171

It is inevitable under these guidelines and the precedents applying them that Ja
losjos has met the residency requirement for provincial governor of Zamboanga Si
bugay. One. The COMELEC appears hasty in concluding that Jalosjos failed to prov
e that he successfully changed his domicile to Zamboanga Sibugay. The COMELEC po
ints out that, since he was unable to discharge the burden of proving Zamboanga
Sibugay to be his rightful domicile, it must be assumed that his domicile is eit
her Quezon City orAustralia. But it is clear from the facts that Quezon City was
Jalosjos domicile of origin, the place of his birth. It may be taken for granted
that he effectively changed his domicile from Quezon City to Australia when he
migrated there at the age of eight, acquired Australian citizenship, and lived i
n that country for 26 years. Australia became his domicile by operation of law a
nd by choice. On the other hand, when he came to the Philippines in November 200
8 to live with his brother in Zamboanga Sibugay, it is evident that Jalosjos did
so with intent to change his domicile for good. He left Australia, gave up his
Australian citizenship, and renounced his allegiance to that country. In additio
n, he reacquired his old citizenship by taking an oath of allegiance to the Repu
blic of the Philippines, resulting in his being issued a Certificate of Reacquis
ition of Philippine Citizenship by the Bureau of Immigration. By his acts, Jalos
jos forfeited his legal right to live in Australia, clearly proving that he gave
up his domicile there. And he has since lived nowhere else except in Ipil, Zamb
oanga Sibugay. To hold that Jalosjos has not establish a new domicile in Zamboan
ga Sibugay despite the loss of his domicile of origin (Quezon City) and his domi
cile of choice and by operation of law (Australia) would violate the settled max
im that a man must have a domicile or residence somewhere. Two. The COMELEC conc
luded that Jalosjos has not come to settle his domicile in Ipil since he has mer
ely been staying at his brothers house. But this circumstance alone cannot suppor
t such conclusion. Indeed, the Court has repeatedly held that a candidate is not
required to have a house in a community to establish his residence or domicile
in a particular place. It is sufficient that he should live there even if it be
in a rented house or in the house of a friend or relative. To insist that the ca
ndidate own the house where he lives would make property a qualification for pub
lic office. What matters is that Jalosjos has proved two things: actual physical
presence in Ipil and an intention of making it his domicile. XXX Three. While t
he Court ordinarily respects the factual findings of administrative bodies like
the COMELEC, this does not prevent it from exercising its review powers to corre
ct palpable misappreciation of evidence or wrong or irrelevant considerations. T
he evidence Jalosjos presented is sufficient to establish Ipil, Zamboanga Sibuga
y, as his domicile. The COMELEC gravely abused its discretion in holding otherwi
se.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 26 of 171

SABILI v. COMELEC G.R. No. 193261 April 24, 2012 Subject: Persons Topic: Citizen
ship and Domicile
FACTS: Sabili filed his certificate of candidacy for mayor of Lipa City for the
2010 elections. He stated in the application that he had been a resident of the
city for 2 years and 8 months. Prior to the 2010 elections, he had been twice el
ected as Provincial Board Member in Batangas, representing the 4th District. Dur
ing the 2007 elections, he ran for Congressman of the 4th District of Batangas,
but lost. The 4th District of Batangas includes Lipa City. However, when Sabili
filed his COC during the 2007 elections, he and his family were then staying at
his ancestral home in San Juan, Batangas. Librea filed an action to cancel the c
ertificate of candidacy of Sabili before the COMELEC, alleging that Sabili faile
d to comply with the one-year residency requirement under the Local Government C
ode. Librea alleges that Sabili falsely declared under oath in his COC that he h
ad already been a resident of Lipa City for two years and eight months prior to
the May 10, 2010 local elections. The COMELEC disqualified him, hence this recou
rse.
ISSUE: Was Sabili able to establish that Lipa City is his domicile for at least
one year prior to the May 2010 elections?
HELD: Yes. In the present case, the parties are in agreement that the domicile of
origin of Sabili was Brgy. Sico, San Juan, Batangas. He claims that he abandone
d his domicile of origin and established his domicile of choice in Brgy. Pinagto
ng-ulan, Lipa City, thereby making him qualified to run for Lipa City mayor. On
the other hand, respondent COMELEC held that no such change in domicile or resid
ence took place and, hence, the entry in his Certificate of Candidacy showing th
at he was a resident of Brgy. Pinagtong-ulan, Lipa City constituted a misreprese
ntation that disqualified him from running for Lipa City mayor. To establish a n
ew domicile of choice, personal presence in the place must be coupled with condu
ct indicative of the intention to make it one s fixed and permanent place of abo
de. As in all administrative cases, the quantum of proof necessary in election c
ases is substantial evidence, or such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind wil
l accept as adequate to support a conclusion. XXX Considering all of the foregoi
ng discussion, it is clear that while separately, each evidence presented by pet
itioner might fail to convincingly show the fact of his residence at Pinagtong-u
lan since 2007, collectively, these pieces of evidence tend to sufficiently esta
blish the said fact. Petitioners actual physical presence in Lipa City is establi
shed not only by the presence of a place (Pinagtong-ulan house and lot) he can a
ctually live in, but also the affidavits of various persons in Pinagtong-ulan, a
nd the Certification of its barangay captain. Petitioners substantial and real in
terest in establishing his domicile of choice in Lipa City is also sufficiently
shown not only by the acquisition of additional property in the area and the tra
nsfer of his voter registration, but also his participation in the communitys soc
io-civic and religious life, as well as his declaration in his ITR that he is a
resident thereof.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 27 of 171

We therefore rule that petitioner has been able to adduce substantial evidence t
o demonstrate compliance with the one-year residency requirement for local elect
ive officials under the law. XXX when the evidence of the alleged lack of residenc
e qualification of a candidate for an elective position is weak or inconclusive
and it clearly appears that the purpose of the law would not be thwarted by upho
lding the victor s right to the office, the will of the electorate should be res
pected. For the purpose of election laws is to give effect to, rather than frust
rate, the will of the voters. In sum, we grant the Petition not only because peti
tioner sufficiently established his compliance with the one-year residency requi
rement for local elective officials under the law. We also recognize that (a)bove
and beyond all, the determination of the true will of the electorate should be
paramount. It is their voice, not ours or of anyone else, that must prevail. Thi
s, in essence, is the democracy we continue to hold sacred.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 28 of 171

REPUBLIC v. SAGUN G.R. No. 187567 February 15, 2012 Subject: Persons Topic: Citi
zenship and Domicile
FACTS: Respondent Nora Fe Sagun is the legitimate child of Albert S. Chan, a Chi
nese national, and Marta Borromeo, a Filipino citizen. She was born on August 8,
1959 in Baguio City and did not elect Philippine citizenship upon reaching the
age of majority. In 1992, at the age of 33 and after getting married to Alex Sag
un, she executed an Oath of Allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines. Said
document was notarized, but was not recorded and registered with the Local Civil
Registrar of Baguio City. Sometime in September 2005, respondent applied for a
Philippine passport. Her application was denied due to the citizenship of her fa
ther and there being no annotation on her birth certificate that she has elected
Philippine citizenship. Consequently, she sought a judicial declaration of her
election of Philippine citizenship and prayed that the Local Civil Registrar of
Baguio City be ordered to annotate the same on her birth certificate. In her pet
ition, respondent averred that she was raised as a Filipino, speaks Ilocano and
Tagalog fluently and attended local schools in Baguio City. Respondent claimed t
hat despite her part-Chinese ancestry, she always thought of herself as a Filipi
no. She is a registered voter in Baguio City and had voted in local and national
elections as shown in the Voter Certification issued by the COMELEC. She assert
ed that by virtue of her positive acts, she has effectively elected Philippine c
itizenship and such fact should be annotated on her record of birth so as to ent
itle her to the issuance of a Philippine passport. The trial court granted the p
etition and declared the respondent a Filipino citizen. Contending that the lowe
r court erred in so ruling, the OSG directly filed the instant recourse via a pe
tition for review on certiorari before the SC.
ISSUE: Is Nora a Filipino citizen under the 1935 Constitution?
HELD: No, Nora is not a Filipino citizen under the 1935 Constitution. Clearly, it
was erroneous for the trial court to make a specific declaration of respondents
Filipino citizenship as such pronouncement was not within the courts competence.
As to the propriety of respondents petition seeking a judicial declaration of ele
ction of Philippine citizenship, it is imperative that we determine whether resp
ondent is required under the law to make an election and if so, whether she has
complied with the procedural requirements in the election of Philippine citizens
hip. When respondent was born on August 8, 1959, the governing charter was the 1
935 Constitution, which declares as citizens of the Philippines those whose moth
ers are citizens of the Philippines and elect Philippine citizenship upon reachi
ng the age of majority. XXX Under Article IV, Section 1(4) of the 1935 Constitut
ion, the citizenship of a legitimate child born of a Filipino mother and an alie
n father followed the citizenship of the father, unless, upon reaching the age
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 29 of 171

of majority, the child elected Philippine citizenship. The right to elect Philip
pine citizenship was recognized in the 1973 Constitution when it provided that [t
]hose who elect Philippine citizenship pursuant to the provisions of the Constit
ution of nineteen hundred and thirty-five are citizens of the Philippines. Likewi
se, this recognition by the1973 Constitution was carried over to the 1987 Consti
tution which states that [t]hose born before January 17, 1973 of Filipino mothers
, who elect Philippine citizenship upon reaching the age of majority are Philippi
ne citizens. It should be noted, however, that the 1973 and 1987 Constitutional
provisions on the election of Philippine citizenship should not be understood as
having a curative effect on any irregularity in the acquisition of citizenship
for those covered by the 1935 Constitution. If the citizenship of a person was s
ubject to challenge under the old charter, it remains subject to challenge under
the new charter even if the judicial challenge had not been commenced before th
e effectivity of the new Constitution. Being a legitimate child, respondents citi
zenship followed that of her father who is Chinese, unless upon reaching the age
of majority, she elects Philippine citizenship. It is a settled rule that only
legitimate children follow the citizenship of the father and that illegitimate c
hildren are under the parental authority of the mother and follow her nationalit
y. An illegitimate child of Filipina need not perform any act to confer upon him
all the rights and privileges attached to citizens of the Philippines; he autom
atically becomes a citizen himself. But in the case of respondent, for her to be
considered a Filipino citizen, she must have validly elected Philippine citizen
ship upon reaching the age of majority. XXX Based on the foregoing, the statutor
y formalities of electing Philippine citizenship are: (1) a statement of electio
n under oath; (2) an oath of allegiance to the Constitution and Government of th
e Philippines; and (3) registration of the statement of election and of the oath
with the nearest civil registry. Furthermore, no election of Philippine citizen
ship shall be accepted for registration under C.A. No. 625 unless the party exer
cising the right of election has complied with the requirements of the Alien Reg
istration Act of 1950. In other words, he should first be required to register a
s an alien.[24] Pertinently, the person electing Philippine citizenship is requi
red to file a petition with the Commission of Immigration and Deportation (now B
ureau of Immigration) for the cancellation of his alien certificate of registrat
ion based on his aforesaid election of Philippine citizenship and said Office wi
ll initially decide, based on the evidence presented the validity or invalidity
of said election.[25] Afterwards, the same is elevated to the Ministry (now Depa
rtment) of Justice for final determination and review XXX respondent failed to c
omply with the legal requirements for a valid election. Specifically, respondent
had not executed a sworn statement of her election of Philippine citizenship. T
he only documentary evidence submitted by respondent in support of her claim of
alleged election was her oath of allegiance, executed 12 years after she reached
the age of majority, which was unregistered. As aptly pointed out by the petiti
oner, even assuming arguendo that respondents oath of allegiance suffices, its ex
ecution was not within a reasonable time after respondent attained the age of ma
jority and was not registered XXX Based on the foregoing circumstances, responden
t clearly failed to comply with the procedural requirements for a valid and effe
ctive election of Philippine citizenship. Respondent cannot assert that the exer
cise of suffrage and the participation in election exercises constitutes a posit
ive act of election of Philippine citizenship since the law specifically lays do
wn the requirements for acquisition of citizenship by election. The mere exercis
e of suffrage, continuous and uninterrupted stay in the Philippines, and other s
imilar acts showing exercise of Philippine citizenship cannot take the place of
election of Philippine citizenship. Hence, respondent cannot now be allowed to s
eek the intervention of the court to confer upon her Philippine citizenship when
clearly she has failed to validly elect Philippine citizenship.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 30 of 171

REPUBLIC v. ALBIOS G.R. No. 198780 October 16, 2013 Subject: Family Relations To
pic: Marriage
FACTS: American citizen Fringer and Albios were married before MTC Judge Calo to
enable Albios to acquire American citizenship. Albios agreed to pay him US$2,00
0 as consideration. After the ceremony, Fringer returned to the United States an
d never again communicated with Albios. In turn, Albios did not pay him because
he never processed her petition for citizenship. Albios filed a petition for dec
laration of nullity of her marriage with Fringer because they never really had a
ny intention of entering into a marriage or complying with any of their essentia
l marital obligations. She described their marriage as one made in jest.
ISSUES: 1. Is the marriage of Fringer and Albios void ab initio on the ground of
lack of consent 2. Is their marriage voidable on the ground of fraud under the
Family Code?
HELD: 1. No. Under said Article 2, for consent to be valid, it must be (1) freely
given and (2) made in the presence of a solemnizing officer. A freely given conse
nt requires that the contracting parties willingly and deliberately enter into t
he marriage. Consent must be real in the sense that it is not vitiated nor rende
red defective by any of the vices of consent under Articles 45 and 46 of the Fam
ily Code, such as fraud, force, intimidation, and undue influence. Consent must
also be conscious or intelligent, in that the parties must be capable of intelli
gently understanding the nature of, and both the beneficial or unfavorable conse
quences of their act. Their understanding should not be affected by insanity, in
toxication, drugs, or hypnotism. Based on the above, consent was not lacking bet
ween Albios and Fringer. In fact, there was real consent because it was not viti
ated nor rendered defective by any vice of consent. Their consent was also consc
ious and intelligent as they understood the nature and the beneficial and inconv
enient consequences of their marriage, as nothing impaired their ability to do s
o. That their consent was freely given is best evidenced by their conscious purp
ose of acquiring American citizenship through marriage. Such plainly demonstrate
s that they willingly and deliberately contracted the marriage. There was a clea
r intention to enter into a real and valid marriage so as to fully comply with t
he requirements of an application for citizenship. There was a full and complete
understanding of the legal tie that would be created between them, since it was
that precise legal tie which was necessary to accomplish their goal. 2. No, thei
r marriage cannot be considered voidable on the ground of fraud under Article 45
(3) of the Family Code. Only the circumstances listed under Article 46 of the sa
me Code may constitute fraud, namely, (1) non-disclosure of a previous convictio
n involving moral turpitude; (2) concealment by the wife of a pregnancy by anoth
er man; (3) concealment of a sexually transmitted disease; and (4) concealment o
f drug addiction, alcoholism, or homosexuality. No other misrepresentation or de
ceit shall constitute fraud as a ground for an action to annul a marriage. Enter
ing into a: marriage for the sole purpose of evading immigration laws does not q
ualify under any of the listed circumstances. Furthermore, under Article 47 (3),
the ground of fraud may only be brought by the injured or innocent party. In th
e present case, there is no injured party because Albios and Fringer both conspi
red to enter into the sham marriage.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 31 of 171

IWASAWA v. GANGAN G.R. No. 204169 September 11, 2013 Subject: Family Relations T
opic: Marriage
FACTS: Petitioner Yasuo Iwasawa, a Japanese national, met private respondent Fel
isa Gangan sometime in 2002 in one of his visits to the Philippines. Felisa intr
oduced herself as single and never married. Later that year, petitioner came bac
k to the Philippines and married private respondent on November 28, 2002 in Pasa
y City. After the wedding, the couple resided in Japan. In July 2009, Yasuo noti
ced his wife becoming depressed. Suspecting that something might have happened i
n the Philippines, he confronted his wife about it. To his shock, Felisa confess
ed to him that she received news that her previous husband passed away. Yasuo so
ught to confirm the truth of his wifes confession and discovered that indeed, she
was married to one Raymond Arambulo in 1994. This prompted Yasuo to file a peti
tion for the declaration of his marriage to Felisa as null and void on the groun
d that their marriage is a bigamous one, based on Article 35(4) in relation to A
rticle 41 of the Family Code. However, in 2012 the RTC ruled that there was insu
fficient evidence to prove private respondents prior existing valid marriage to a
nother man. It held that while Yasuo offered the certificate of marriage of priv
ate respondent to Arambulo, it was only Yasuo who testified about said marriage.
The RTC ruled that his testimony is unreliable because he has no personal knowl
edge of private respondents prior marriage nor of Arambulos death which makes him
a complete stranger to the marriage certificate between private respondent and A
rambulo and the latters death certificate. It further ruled that his testimony ab
out the NSO certification is likewise unreliable since he is a stranger to the p
reparation of said document.
ISSUES: 1. Are the documents presented by Yazuo sufficient to establish Felisas p
rior marriage? 2. Is Felisas marriage to Yazuo bigamous despite the eventual deat
h of her first husband?
HELD: 1. Yes. There is no question that the documentary evidence submitted by pet
itioner are all public documents. As provided in the Civil Code: ART. 410. The b
ooks making up the civil register and all documents relating thereto shall be co
nsidered public documents and shall be prima facie evidence of the facts therein
contained. As public documents, they are admissible in evidence even without fu
rther proof of their due execution and genuineness. Thus, the RTC erred when it
disregarded said documents on the sole ground that the petitioner did not presen
t the records custodian of the NSO who issued them to testify on their authentic
ity and due execution since proof of authenticity and due execution was not anym
ore necessary. Moreover, not only are said documents admissible, they deserve to
be given evidentiary weight because they constitute prima facie evidence of the
facts stated therein. And in the instant case, the facts stated therein remain
unrebutted since neither the private respondent nor the public prosecutor presen
ted evidence to the contrary. 2. Yes. This Court has consistently held that a judi
cial declaration of nullity is required before a valid subsequent marriage can b
e contracted; or else, what transpires is a bigamous
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 32 of 171

marriage, which is void from the beginning as provided in Article 35(4) of the F
amily Code of the Philippines. And this is what transpired in the instant case.
As correctly pointed out by the OSG, the documentary exhibits taken together con
cretely establish the nullity of the marriage of petitioner to private responden
t on the ground that their marriage is bigamous. The exhibits directly prove the
following facts: (1) that private respondent married Arambulo on June 20, 1994
in the City of Manila; (2) that private respondent contracted a second marriage
this time with petitioner on November 28, 2002 in Pasay City; (3) that there was
no judicial declaration of nullity of the marriage of private respondent with A
rambulo at the time she married petitioner; (3) that Arambulo died on July 14, 2
009 and that it was only on said date that private respondents marriage with Aram
bulo was deemed to have been dissolved; and (4) that the second marriage of priv
ate respondent to petitioner is bigamous, hence null and void, since the first m
arriage was still valid and subsisting when the second marriage was contracted.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 33 of 171

GARCIA-QUIAZON v. BELEN G.R. No. 189121 July 31, 2013 Subject: Family Relations
Topic: Marriage
FACTS: After Eliseos death, his common-law spouse and daughter, Lourdes and Elise
, respectively, applied to the court for letters of administration of his intest
ate estate. Elise claims that he is the acknowledged natural child of Eliseo, an
d that her parents Eliseo and Lourdes were both capacitated to marry each other
at the time she was conceived and born. Amelia, to whom Eliseo was married, oppo
sed the petition. As a response to the opposition, Elise claimed that Amelia has
no standing in the current case because her marriage to Eliseo was bigamous, ha
ving been contracted at a time when Amelia was in a prior subsisting marriage wi
th one Filipito. Elise was issued the letters of administration upon the filing
of a bond, having also attained the age of majority in the interim. On appeal, t
he CA upheld the findings of the trial court that Amelia was not validly married
to Eliseo, and that Eliseo and Lourdes lived together as husband and wife from
1975 up to his death in 1992, with Elise being the product of their cohabitation
as a family.
ISSUES: 1. Is Amelias marriage to Eliseo void ab initio? Can a void marriage be q
uestioned collaterally and even after the death of a party? 2. Was Amelias previo
us marriage to Filipito sufficiently established, despite lack of corroborating
evidence?
HELD: 1. Yes, unmeritorious is petitioners contention that the Court of Appeals err
ed in declaring Amelias marriage to Eliseo as void ab initio. In a void marriage,
it was though no marriage has taken place, thus, it cannot be the source of rig
hts. Any interested party may attack the marriage directly or collaterally. A vo
id marriage can be questioned even beyond the lifetime of the parties to the mar
riage. It must be pointed out that at the time of the celebration of the marriag
e of Eliseo and Amelia, the law in effect was the Civil Code, and not the Family
Code, making the ruling in Nial v. Bayadog applicable four-square to the case at
hand. In Nial, the Court, in no uncertain terms, allowed therein petitioners to
file a petition for the declaration of nullity of their fathers marriage to there
in respondent after the death of their father, by contradistinguishing void from
voidable marriages, to wit: Consequently, void marriages can be questioned even
after the death of either party but voidable marriages can be assailed only dur
ing the lifetime of the parties and not after death of either, in which case the
parties and their offspring will be left as if the marriage had been perfectly
valid. That is why the action or defense for nullity is imprescriptible, unlike
voidable marriages where the action prescribes. Only the parties to a voidable m
arriage can assail it but any proper interested party may attack a void marriage
. It was emphasized in Nial that in a void marriage, no marriage has taken place
and it cannot be the source of rights, such that any interested party may attack
the marriage directly or
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 34 of 171

collaterally without prescription, which may be filed even beyond the lifetime o
f the parties to the marriage. 2. Yes, the existence of a previous marriage between
Amelia and Filipito was sufficiently established by no less than the Certificat
e of Marriage issued by the Diocese of Tarlac and signed by the officiating prie
st of the Parish of San Nicolas de Tolentino in Capas, Tarlac. The said marriage
certificate is a competent evidence of marriage and the certification from the
National Archive that no information relative to the said marriage exists does n
ot diminish the probative value of the entries therein. We take judicial notice
of the fact that the first marriage was celebrated more than 50 years ago, thus,
the possibility that a record of marriage can no longer be found in the Nationa
l Archive, given the interval of time, is not completely remote. Consequently, i
n the absence of any showing that such marriage had been dissolved at the time A
melia and Eliseos marriage was solemnized, the inescapable conclusion is that the
latter marriage is bigamous and, therefore, void ab initio.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 35 of 171

CHAN v. CHAN G.R. No. 179786 July 24, 2013 Subject: Family Relations Topic: Marr
iage
FACTS: Petitioner Josielene Chan filed before the Makati RTC a petition for the
declaration of nullity of her marriage to respondent Johnny Chan, the dissolutio
n of their conjugal partnership of gains, and the award of custody of their chil
dren to her, alleging that Johnny failed to care for and support his family and
that a psychiatrist diagnosed him as mentally deficient due to alcohol and drug
use. She claims that it was also her who convinced him to undergo detoxification
and rehabilitation at the hospital. Johnny resisted the action, claiming that i
t was Josielene who failed in her wifely duties. To save their marriage, he clai
ms that he agreed to marriage counseling but when he and Josielene got there, tw
o men forcibly held him by both arms while another gave him an injection. Their
relationship took a turn for the worse when, after the hospital incident, Josiel
ene was detained by the police for an unrelated crime. These instances were so d
amaging, Johnny claims, that their marriage could no longer be repaired. During
the pre-trial conference, Josielene marked as evidence the Philhealth claim form
that Johnny attached to his answer as proof that he was forcibly confined at th
e rehabilitation unit of a hospital. Noticing that the form carried a physicians
handwritten note that Johnny suffered from "methamphetamine and alcohol abuse",
Josielene filed with the RTC a request for the issuance of a subpoena duces tecu
m addressed to Medical City, covering Johnnys medical records when he was there c
onfined. The request was accompanied by a motion to "be allowed to submit in evi
dence" the records sought by subpoena duces tecum. Johnny opposed the motion, ar
guing that the medical records were covered by physician-patient privilege. The
RTC sustained the opposition and denied Josielenes motion. It also denied her mot
ion for reconsideration, prompting her to file a special civil action of certior
ari before the CA, imputing grave abuse of discretion to the RTC. The CA denied
Josielenes petition. It ruled that, if courts were to allow the production of med
ical records, then patients would be left with no assurance that whatever releva
nt disclosures they may have made to their physicians would be kept confidential
. The prohibition covers not only testimonies, but also affidavits, certificates
, and pertinent hospital records. The CA added that, although Johnny can waive t
he privilege, he did not do so in this case. He attached the Philhealth form to
his answer for the limited purpose of showing his alleged forcible confinement.
ISSUE: Is the issuance of a subpoena duces tecum for the production and submissi
on in court of the respondent husband s hospital record proper for a case of dec
laration of nullity of marriage where one of the issues is the husbands mental fi
tness?
HELD: No, the issuance of the subpoena is improper, unless Johnny consents to th
e use of the records as evidence. Section 24(c), Rule 130 of the Rules of Evidenc
e which reads: SEC. 24. Disqualification by reason of privileged communication. T
he following persons cannot testify as to matters learned in confidence in the f
ollowing cases:
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 36 of 171

(c) A person authorized to practice medicine, surgery or obstetrics cannot in a


civil case, without the consent of the patient, be examined as to any advice or
treatment given by him or any information which he may have acquired in attendin
g such patient in a professional capacity, which information was necessary to en
able him to act in that capacity, and which would blacken the reputation of the
patient. The physician-patient privileged communication rule essentially means t
hat a physician who gets information while professionally attending a patient ca
nnot in a civil case be examined without the patients consent as to any facts whi
ch would blacken the latters reputation. This rule is intended to encourage the p
atient to open up to the physician, relate to him the history of his ailment, an
d give him access to his body, enabling the physician to make a correct diagnosi
s of that ailment and provide the appropriate cure. Any fear that a physician co
uld be compelled in the future to come to court and narrate all that had transpi
red between him and the patient might prompt the latter to clam up, thus putting
his own health at great risk. XXX Since the offer of evidence is made at the tr
ial, Josielenes request for subpoena duces tecum is premature. She will have to w
ait for trial to begin before making a request for the issuance of a subpoena du
ces tecum covering Johnnys hospital records. It is when those records are produce
d for examination at the trial, that Johnny may opt to object, not just to their
admission in evidence, but more so to their disclosure. XXX It is of course pos
sible to treat Josielenes motion for the issuance of a subpoena duces tecum cover
ing the hospital records as a motion for production of documents, a discovery pr
ocedure available to a litigant prior to trial. XXX But the above right to compe
l the production of documents has a limitation: the documents to be disclosed ar
e not privileged. Josielene of course claims that the hospital records subject of
this case are not privileged since it is the "testimonial" evidence of the physi
cian that may be regarded as privileged. Section 24(c) of Rule 130 states that t
he physician "cannot in a civil case, without the consent of the patient, be exa
mined" regarding their professional conversation. The privilege, says Josielene,
does not cover the hospital records, but only the examination of the physician
at the trial. To allow, however, the disclosure during discovery procedure of th
e hospital recordsthe results of tests that the physician ordered, the diagnosis
of the patients illness, and the advice or treatment he gave himwould be to allow
access to evidence that is inadmissible without the patients consent. Physician m
emorializes all these information in the patients records. Disclosing them would
be the equivalent of compelling the physician to testify on privileged matters h
e gained while dealing with the patient, without the latters prior consent.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 37 of 171

PEOPLE v. ODTUHAN G.R. No. 191566 July 17, 2013 Subject: Family Relations Topic:
Marriage
FACTS: Respondent Edgardo married Jasmin Modina in 1980. In 1993, Edgardo contra
cted a 2nd marriage with Eleanor Alagon. In August 1994, he filed a petition for
annulment of his marriage with his first wife Jasmin. In 1999, the Pasig City R
TC granted respondents petition and declared his marriage with Jasmin void ab ini
tio for lack of a valid marriage license. In 2003, Eleanor died. But in June 200
3, before Eleanor dies, private complainant Evelyn Alagon learned of Edgardos pre
vious marriage with Jasmin. Evelyn thus filed a complaint-affidavit charging Edg
ardo with bigamy. James moved for the quashal of the information on two grounds,
claiming that the facts, even if admintted, do not charge the offense of bigamy
, and that, in any event, the criminal action or liability has been extinguished
. The RTC, however, held that the facts alleged in the information that there wa
s a valid marriage between respondent and Jasmin and without such marriage havin
g been dissolved, respondent contracted a second marriage with Eleanor constitut
e the crime of bigamy. The trial court further held that neither can the informa
tion be quashed on the ground that criminal liability has been extinguished, bec
ause the declaration of nullity of the first marriage is not one of the modes of
extinguishing criminal liability.
ISSUES: 1. Do the facts alleged constitute the crime of bigamy? 2. Has Edgardos c
riminal liability been extinguished either by the annulment of his first marriag
e or the dead of his second wife?
HELD: 1. Yes. An examination of the information filed against respondent, however
, shows the sufficiency of the allegations therein to constitute the crime of bi
gamy as it contained all the elements of the crime as provided for in Article 34
932 of the Revised Penal Code, to wit: (1) That the offender has been legally ma
rried; (2) That the first marriage has not been legally dissolved or, in case hi
s or her spouse is absent, the absent spouse could not yet be presumed dead acco
rding to the Civil Code; (3) That he contracts a second or subsequent marriage;
and (4) That the second or subsequent marriage has all the essential requisites
for validity. Here, the information contained the following allegations: (1) tha
t respondent is legally married to Jasmin; (2) that without such marriage having
been legally dissolved; (3) that respondent willfully, unlawfully, and feloniou
sly contracted a second marriage with Eleanor; and (4) that the second marriage
has all the essential requisites for validity. Respondents evidence showing the c
ourts declaration that his marriage to Jasmin is null and void from the beginning
because of the absence of a marriage license is only an evidence that seeks to
establish a fact contrary to that alleged in the information that a first valid
marriage was subsisting at the time he contracted the second marriage. This shou
ld not be considered at all, because matters of defense cannot be raised in a mo
tion to quash. It is notproper, therefore, to resolve the charges at the very ou
tset without the benefit of a full blown trial.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 38 of 171

2. No. The Family Code has settled once and for all the conflicting jurisprudence
on the matter. A declaration of the absolute nullity of a marriage is now expli
citly required either as a cause of action or a ground for defense. It has been
held in a number of cases that a judicial declaration of nullity is required bef
ore a valid subsequent marriage can be contracted; or else, what transpires is a
bigamous marriage, reprehensible and immoral. What makes a person criminally li
able for bigamy is when he contracts a second or subsequent marriage during the
subsistence of a valid marriage. Parties to the marriage should not be permitted
to judge for themselves its nullity, for the same must be submitted to the judg
ment of competent courts and only when the nullity of the marriage is so declare
d can it be held as void, and so long as there is no such declaration, the presu
mption is that the marriage exists. Therefore, he who contracts a second marriag
e before the judicial declaration of nullity of the first marriage assumes the r
isk of being prosecuted for bigamy. If we allow respondents line of defense and t
he CAs ratiocination, a person who commits bigamy can simply evade prosecution by
immediately filing a petition for the declaration of nullity of his earlier mar
riage and hope that a favorable decision is rendered therein before anyone insti
tutes a complaint against him.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 39 of 171

CAPILI v. PEOPLE and TISMO G.R. No. 183805 July 3, 2013 Subject: Family Relation
s Topic: Marriage
FACTS: On June 28, 2004, petitioner James Capili was charged with the crime of b
igamy before the Pasig RTC. The information states that James contracted a secon
d marriage with private respondent Shirley Tismo in 1999 while still being marri
ed to Karla Y. Medina-Capili. James filed a Motion to Suspend Proceedings allegi
ng that there is a pending civil case for declaration of nullity of the second m
arriage before the RTC of Antipolo City filed by Karla Y. Medina-Capili. He theo
rizes that in the event that the 2nd marriage is declared null and void, it woul
d exculpate him from the charge of bigamy, thus posing a prejudicial question. I
n the interim, the RTC of Antipolo City rendered a decision declaring the voidne
ss or incipient invalidity of the second marriage between James and Shirley on t
he ground that a subsequent marriage contracted by the husband during the lifeti
me of the legal wife is void from the beginning. Thus, James asked that the biga
my charges against him be dismissed.
ISSUE: Is the subsequent declaration of nullity of the second marriage an automa
tic ground for dismissal of the criminal case for bigamy already instituted?
HELD: No. Article 349 of the Revised Penal Code defines and penalizes the crime o
f bigamy as follows: Art. 349. Bigamy. The penalty of prision mayor shall be imp
osed upon any person who shall contract a second or subsequent marriage before t
he former marriage has been legally dissolved, or before the absent spouse has b
een declared presumptively dead by means of a judgment rendered in the proper pr
oceedings. The elements of the crime of bigamy, therefore, are: (1) the offender
has been legally married; (2) the marriage has not been legally dissolved or, i
n case his or her spouse is absent, the absent spouse could not yet be presumed
dead according to the Civil Code; (3) that he contracts a second or subsequent m
arriage; and (4) that the second or subsequent marriage has all the essential re
quisites for validity. In the present case, it appears that all the elements of
the crime of bigamy were present when the Information was filed on June 28, 2004
. It is undisputed that a second marriage between petitioner and private respond
ent was contracted on December 8, 1999 during the subsistence of a valid first m
arriage between petitioner and Karla Y. Medina-Capili contracted on September 3,
1999. Notably, the RTC of Antipolo City itself declared the bigamous nature of
the second marriage between petitioner and private respondent. Thus, the subsequ
ent judicial declaration of the second marriage for being bigamous in nature doe
s not bar the prosecution of petitioner for the crime of bigamy. Jurisprudence i
s replete with cases holding that the accused may still be charged with the crim
e of bigamy, even if there is a subsequent declaration of the nullity of the sec
ond marriage, so long as the first marriage was still subsisting when the second
marriage was celebrated. In Jarillo v. People,10 the Court affirmed the accuseds
conviction for bigamy ruling that the crime of bigamy is consummated on the cel
ebration of the subsequent marriage without the previous one having been judicia
lly declared null and void.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 40 of 171

XXX Thus, under the law, a marriage, even one which is void or voidable, shall b
e deemed valid until declared otherwise in a judicial proceeding. In this case,
even if petitioner eventually obtained a declaration that his first marriage was
void ab initio, the point is, both the first and the second marriage were subsi
sting before the first marriage was annulled. In like manner, the Court recently
upheld the ruling in the aforementioned case and ruled that what makes a person
criminally liable for bigamy is when he contracts a second or subsequent marria
ge during the subsistence of a valid first marriage. It further held that the pa
rties to the marriage should not be permitted to judge for themselves its nullit
y, for the same must be submitted to the judgment of competent courts and only w
hen the nullity of the marriage is so declared can it be held as void, and so lo
ng as there is no such declaration the presumption is that the marriage exists.
Therefore, he who contracts a second marriage before the judicial declaration of
the first marriage assumes the risk of being prosecuted for bigamy.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 41 of 171

GO-BANGAYAN v. BANGAYAN G.R. No. 201061 July 3, 2013 Subject: Family Relations T
opic: Marriage
FACTS: In 2004, Respondent Benjamin Bangayan filed a petition for declaration of
a non-existent marriage and/or declaration of nullity of marriage before the RT
C of Manila. Benjamin alleged that in 1973, he married Azucena in Caloocan City
and they had three children; however, in 1979, Benjamin developed a romantic rel
ationship with Sally who was a customer in the auto parts business owned by Benj
amins family. He further alleged that in 1981, Azucena left for the USA; and in 1
982, he and Sally lived together as husband and wife and had 2 children, Bernice
and Bentley . Sallys father was against the relationship, in order to appease he
r father, Sally brought Benjamin to an office in Santolan, Pasig City where they
signed a purported marriage contract. Benjamin claimed that Sally knew of his m
arital status and assured him that the marriage contract would not be registered
. Benjamin and Sallys cohabitation produced two children. During their cohabitati
on, they also acquired several real properties, to wit: 5. TCT Nos. 61720 and 19
0860 registered in the name of Benjamin, married to Sally; 6. TCT No. 61722 regi
stered in the names of Benjamin and Sally as spouses; 7. Condominium units CCT N
os. 8782 and 8783 registered in the name of Sally, married to Benjamin; and 8. T
CT Nos. N-193656 and 253681 registered in the name of Sally as a single individu
al. The relationship of Benjamin and Sally ended in 1994 when Sally left for Can
ada, bringing Bernice and Bentley with her. She then filed criminal actions for
bigamy and falsification of public documents against Benjamin, using their simul
ated marriage contract as evidence. Benjamin, in turn, filed a petition for decl
aration of a non-existent marriage / declaration of nullity of marriage on the g
round that his marriage to Sally was bigamous and that it lacked the formal requ
isites to a valid marriage. Benjamin also asked the trial court for the partitio
n of the properties he acquired with Sally in accordance with Article 148 of the
Family Code, for his appointment as administrator of the properties during the
pendency of the case, and for the declaration of Bernice and Bentley as illegiti
mate children. A total of 44 registered properties became the subject of the par
tition before the trial court, including 37 properties listed by Sally in her an
swer. The trial court ruled that the marriage between Benjamin and Sally was not
bigamous, but was void nonetheless because of the lack of a marriage license. H
ence, bigamy was not committed in this case. The trial court did not rule on the
issue of the legitimacy status of Bernice and Bentley because they were not par
ties to the case. The trial court denied Sallys claim for spousal support because
she was not married to Benjamin. The trial court likewise denied support for Be
rnice and Bentley who were both of legal age and did not ask for support. On the
issue of partition, the trial court ruled that Sally could not claim the 37 pro
perties she named in her answer as part of her conjugal properties with Benjamin
. The trial court ruled that Sally was not legally married to Benjamin. Further,
the 37 properties that Sally was claiming were owned by Benjamins parents who ga
ve the properties to their children, including Benjamin, as advanced inheritance
. The 37 titles were in the names of Benjamin and his brothers and the phrase "m
arried to Sally Go" was merely descriptive of Benjamins civil status in the title
. As regards the two lots under TCT Nos. 61720 and 190860, the trial court found
that they were bought by Benjamin using his own money and that Sally failed to
prove any actual contribution of money, property or industry in their purchase.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 42 of 171

While the RTC found that Sally was a registered co-owner of the lots covered by
TCT Nos. 61722, N193656, and 253681 as well as the two condominium units under C
CT Nos. 8782 and 8783, it also ruled that TCT No. 61722 and the two condominium
units were purchased from the earnings of Benjamin alone. The RTC further ruled
that these properties and the rest of the properties were part of the conjugal p
artnership of Benjamin and Azucena, without prejudice to Benjamins right to dispu
te his conjugal state with Azucena in a separate proceeding. The trial court fur
ther ruled that Sally acted in bad faith because she knew that Benjamin was marr
ied to Azucena. Applying Article 148 of the Family Code, the trial court forfeit
ed all of Sallys share in favor of Bernice and Bentley while Benjamins share rever
ted to his conjugal ownership with Azucena On appeal, the CA mostly upheld the r
uling of the RTC, with the exception of a few properties, and that Sallyys insist
ence on presenting Benjamin and failure to submit her own evidence amounted to a
waiver of the right to present evidence.
ISSUES: 1. Is there a valid marriage between Benjamin and Sally? 2. Is Benjamins
marriage to Sally bigamous?
HELD: 1. No. Teresita Oliveros (Oliveros), Registration Officer II of the Local C
ivil Registrar of Pasig City, testified that there was no valid marriage license
issued to Benjamin and Sally. Oliveros confirmed that only Marriage Licence Nos
. 6648100 to 6648150 were issued for the month of February 1982. Marriage Licens
e No. N-07568 did not match the series issued for the month. Oliveros further te
stified that the local civil registrar of Pasig City did not issue Marriage Lice
nse No. N-07568 to Benjamin and Sally. The certification from the local civil re
gistrar is adequate to prove the non-issuance of a marriage license and absent a
ny suspicious circumstance, the certification enjoys probative value, being issu
ed by the officer charged under the law to keep a record of all data relative to
the issuance of a marriage license. Clearly, if indeed Benjamin and Sally enter
ed into a marriage contract, the marriage was void from the beginning for lack o
f a marriage license. It was also established before the trial court that the pu
rported marriage between Benjamin and Sally was not recorded with the local civi
l registrar and the National Statistics Office. XXX As pointed out by the trial
court, the marriage between Benjamin and Sally "was made only in jest" and "a si
mulated marriage, at the instance of Sally, intended to cover her up from expect
ed social humiliation coming from relatives, friends and the society especially
from her parents seen as Chinese conservatives." In short, it was a fictitious m
arriage. XXX We see no inconsistency in finding the marriage between Benjamin an
d Sally null and void ab initio and, at the same time, non-existent. Under Artic
le 35 of the Family Code, a marriage solemnized without a license, except those
covered by Article 34 where no license is necessary, "shall be void from the beg
inning." In this case, the marriage between Benjamin and Sally was solemnized wi
thout a license. XXX The marriage between Benjamin and Sally was also non-existe
nt. Applying the general rules on void or inexistent contracts under Article 140
9 of the Civil Code, contracts which are absolutely
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 43 of 171

simulated or fictitious are "inexistent and void from the beginning." Thus, the
Court of Appeals did not err in sustaining the trial courts ruling that the marri
age between Benjamin and Sally was null and void ab initio and non-existent. 2.
No, the marriage is not bigamous. It is required that the first or former marriag
e shall not be null and void. The marriage of the petitioner to Azucena shall be
assumed as the one that is valid, there being no evidence to the contrary and t
here is no trace of invalidity or irregularity on the face of their marriage con
tract. However, if the second marriage was void not because of the existence of
the first marriage but for other causes such as lack of license, the crime of bi
gamy was not committed. In People v. De Lara [CA, 51 O.G., 4079], it was held th
at what was committed was contracting marriage against the provisions of laws no
t under Article 349 but Article 350 of the Revised Penal Code. XXX For bigamy to
exist, the second or subsequent marriage must have all the essential requisites
for validity except for the existence of a prior marriage. In this case, there
was really no subsequent marriage. Benjamin and Sally just signed a purported ma
rriage contract without a marriage license. The supposed marriage was not record
ed with the local civil registrar and the National Statistics Office. In short,
the marriage between Benjamin and Sally did not exist. They lived together and r
epresented themselves as husband and wife without the benefit of marriage.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 44 of 171

FUJIKI v. MARINAY G.R. No. 196049 June 26, 2013 Subject: Family Relations Topic:
Marriage
FACTS: Fujiki is a Japanese national who married respondent Marinay in the Phili
ppines in 2004. As Fujikis parents opposed the marriage, Fujiki could not bring h
is wife to Japan where he resides. They eventually lost contact with each other.
Later, Marinay met anotherJapanese, Maekara. Without the first marriage being d
issolved, Marinay and Maekara were married in 2008 in Quezon City, Philippines.
Maekara brought Marinay to Japan, however, Marinay allegedly suffered physical a
buse from Maekara, so she left Maekara and started to contact Fujiki. Fujiki and
Marinay met in Japan and they were able to reestablish their relationship. In 2
010, Fujiki helped Marinay obtain a judgment from a family court in Japan which
declared the marriage between Marinay and Maekara void on the ground of bigamy.
In 2011, Fujiki filed a petition in the RTC entitled: "Judicial Recognition of F
oreign Judgment (or Decree of Absolute Nullity of Marriage)." Fujiki asked the P
hilippine court to: 1. Recognize the judgment of the Japanese Family Court; 2. D
eclare void ab initio the bigamous marriage between Marinay; and 3. direct the L
ocal Civil Registrar of Quezon City to annotate the Japanese Family Court judgme
nt on the Certificate of Marriage between Marinay and Maekara and to endorse suc
h annotation to the Office of the Administrator and Civil Registrar General in t
he National Statistics Office (NSO). The RTC dismissed the petition, citing the
following provisions of the Rule on Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void Marr
iages and Annulment of Voidable Marriages (A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC): Sec. 2. Petiti
on for declaration of absolute nullity of void marriages. (a) Who may file. A pe
tition for declaration of absolute nullity of void marriage may be filed solely
by the husband or the wife... Sec. 4. Venue. The petition shall be filed in the
Family Court of the province or city where the petitioner or the respondent has
been residing for at least six months prior to the date of filing, or in the cas
e of a non-resident respondent, where he may be found in the Philippines, at the
election of the petitioner. The Solicitor General, on the other hand, argued th
at Fujiki, as the spouse of the first marriage, is an injured party who can sue
to declare the bigamous marriage between Marinay and Maekara void. The Solicitor
General claims that A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC does not apply in cases of bigamy.
ISSUES: 1. Is the Rule on Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void Marriages and
Annulment of Voidable Marriages (A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC) applicable for the recogn
ition of a foreign judgment in this case? 2. May the husband or wife of a prior
marriage file a petition to recognize a foreign judgment nullifying the subseque
nt marriage between his or her spouse and a foreign citizen on the ground of big
amy?
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 45 of 171

3. Can the RTC recognize the foreign judgment in a proceeding for cancellation o
r correction of entries in the Civil Registry under Rule 108 of the Rules of Cou
rt?
HELD: 1. No. The Rule on Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void Marriages and An
nulment of Voidable Marriages (A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC) does not apply in a petitio
n to recognize a foreign judgment relating to the status of a marriage where one
of the parties is a citizen of a foreign country. Moreover, in Juliano-Llave v.
Republic, this Court held that the rule in A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC that only the h
usband or wife can file a declaration of nullity or annulment of marriage does no
t apply if the reason behind the petition is bigamy. For Philippine courts to rec
ognize a foreign judgment relating to the status of a marriage where one of the
parties is a citizen of a foreign country, the petitioner only needs to prove th
e foreign judgment as a fact under the Rules of Court. To be more specific, a co
py of the foreign judgment may be admitted in evidence and proven as a fact unde
r Rule 132, Sections 24 and 25, in relation to Rule 39, Section 48(b) of the Rul
es of Court. Petitioner may prove the Japanese Family Court judgment through (1)
an official publication or (2) a certification or copy attested by the officer
who has custody of the judgment. If the office which has custody is in a foreign
country such as Japan, the certification may be made by the proper diplomatic o
r consular officer of the Philippine foreign service in Japan and authenticated
by the seal of office. To hold that A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC applies to a petition f
or recognition of foreign judgment would mean that the trial court and the parti
es should follow its provisions, including the form and contents of the petition
, the service of summons, the investigation of the public prosecutor, the settin
g of pre-trial, the trial and the judgment of the trial court. This is absurd be
cause it will litigate the case anew. It will defeat the purpose of recognizing
foreign judgments, which is "to limit repetitive litigation on claims and issues
. The interpretation of the RTC is tantamount to relitigating the case on the me
rits. XXX A petition to recognize a foreign judgment declaring a marriage void d
oes not require relitigating under a Philippine court of the case as if it were
a new petition for declaration of nullity of marriage. Philippine courts cannot
presume to know the foreign laws under which the foreign judgment was rendered.
They cannot substitute their judgment on the status, condition and legal capacit
y of the foreign citizen who is under the jurisdiction of another state. Thus, P
hilippine courts can only recognize the foreign judgment as a fact according to
the rules of evidence. XXX While the Philippines does not have a divorce law, Ph
ilippine courts may, however, recognize a foreign divorce decree under the secon
d paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code, to capacitate a Filipino citizen t
o remarry when his or her foreign spouse obtained a divorce decree abroad. There
is therefore no reason to disallow Fujiki to simply prove as a fact the Japanes
e Family Court judgment nullifying the marriage between Marinay and Maekara on t
he ground of bigamy. While the Philippines has no divorce law, the Japanese Fami
ly Court judgment is fully consistent with Philippine public policy, as bigamous
marriages are declared void from the beginning under Article 35(4) of the Famil
y Code. 2. Yes. Rule 108 creates a remedy to rectify facts of a persons life whic
h are recorded by the State pursuant to the Civil Register Law or Act No. 3753.
These are facts of public consequence such as birth, death or marriage, which th
e State has an interest in recording.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 46 of 171

XXX Rule 108, Section 1 of the Rules of Court states: Sec. 1. Who may file petit
ion. Any person interested in any act, event, order or decree concerning thecivi
l status of persons which has been recorded in the civil register, may file a ve
rified petition for the cancellation or correction of any entry relating thereto
, with the Regional Trial Court of the province where the corresponding civil re
gistry is located. (Emphasis supplied) Fujiki has the personality to file a peti
tion to recognize the Japanese Family Court judgment nullifying the marriage bet
ween Marinay and Maekara on the ground of bigamy because the judgment concerns h
is civil status as married to Marinay. For the same reason he has the personalit
y to file a petition under Rule 108 to cancel the entry of marriage between Mari
nay and Maekara in the civil registry on the basis of the decree of the Japanese
Family Court. There is no doubt that the prior spouse has a personal and materi
al interest in maintaining the integrity of the marriage he contracted and the p
roperty relations arising from it. There is also no doubt that he is interested
in the cancellation of an entry of a bigamous marriage in the civil registry, wh
ich compromises the public record of his marriage. XXX In any case, Section 2(a)
of A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC preserves this substantive right by limiting the person
ality to sue to the husband or the wife of the union recognized by law. XXX Arti
cle 35(4) of the Family Code, which declares bigamous marriages void from the be
ginning, is the civil aspect of Article 349 of the Revised Penal Code, which pen
alizes bigamy. Bigamy is a public crime. Thus, anyone can initiate prosecution f
or bigamy because any citizen has an interest in the prosecution and prevention
of crimes. If anyone can file a criminal action which leads to the declaration o
f nullity of a bigamous marriage, there is more reason to confer personality to
sue on the husband or the wife of a subsisting marriage. XXX For this purpose, h
e can petition a court to recognize a foreign judgment nullifying the bigamous m
arriage and judicially declare as a fact that such judgment is effective in the
Philippines. Once established, there should be no more impediment to cancel the
entry of the bigamous marriage in the civil registry. 3. Yes. A recognition of a f
oreign judgment is not an action to nullify a marriage. It is an action for Phil
ippine courts to recognize the effectivity of a foreign judgment, which presuppo
ses a case which was already tried and decided under foreign law. XXX Article 26
of the Family Code confers jurisdiction on Philippine courts to extend the effe
ct of a foreign divorce decree to a Filipino spouse without undergoing trial to
determine the validity of the dissolution of the marriage. The second paragraph
of Article 26 of the Family Code provides that "[w]here a marriage between a Fil
ipino citizen and a foreigner is validly celebrated and a divorce is thereafter
validly obtained abroad by the alien spouse capacitating him or her to remarry,
the Filipino spouse shall have capacity to remarry under Philippine law." In Rep
ublic v. Orbecido, this Court recognized the legislative intent of the second pa
ragraph of Article 26 which is "to avoid the absurd situation where the Filipino
spouse remains married to the alien spouse who, after obtaining a divorce, is n
o longer married to the Filipino spouse" under the laws of his or her country. T
he second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code only authorizes Philippine
courts to adopt the effects of a foreign divorce decree precisely because the
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 47 of 171

Philippines does not allow divorce. Philippine courts cannot try the case on the
merits because it is tantamount to trying a case for divorce. The second paragr
aph of Article 26 is only a corrective measure to address the anomaly that resul
ts from a marriage between a Filipino, whose laws do not allow divorce, and a fo
reign citizen, whose laws allow divorce. The anomaly consists in the Filipino sp
ouse being tied to the marriage while the foreign spouse is free to marry under
the laws of his or her country. The correction is made by extending in the Phili
ppines the effect of the foreign divorce decree, which is already effective in t
he country where it was rendered. The second paragraph of Article 26 of the Fami
ly Code is based on this Courts decision in Van Dorn v. Romillo which declared th
at the Filipino spouse should not be discriminated against in her own country if
the ends of justice are to be served. XXX Moreover, notwithstanding Article 26 of
the Family Code, Philippine courts already have jurisdiction to extend the effe
ct of a foreign judgment in the Philippines to the extent that the foreign judgm
ent does not contravene domestic public policy. A critical difference between th
e case of a foreign divorce decree and a foreign judgment nullifying a bigamous
marriage is that bigamy, as a ground for the nullity of marriage, is fully consi
stent with Philippine public policy as expressed in Article 35(4) of the Family
Code and Article 349 of the Revised Penal Code. The Filipino spouse has the opti
on to undergo full trial by filing a petition for declaration of nullity of marr
iage under A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC, but this is not the only remedy available to hi
m or her. Philippine courts have jurisdiction to recognize a foreign judgment nu
llifying a bigamous marriage, without prejudice to a criminal prosecution for bi
gamy. XXX Upon recognition of the foreign judgment, this right becomes conclusiv
e and the judgment serves as the basis for the correction or cancellation of ent
ry in the civil registry. The recognition of the foreign judgment nullifying a b
igamous marriage is a subsequent event that establishes a new status, right and
fact that needs to be reflected in the civil registry. Otherwise, there will be
an inconsistency between the recognition of the effectivity of the foreign judgm
ent and the public records in the Philippines. However, the recognition of a for
eign judgment nullifying a bigamous marriage is without prejudice to prosecution
for bigamy under Article 349 of the Revised Penal Code.93 The recognition of a
foreign judgment nullifying a bigamous marriage is not a ground for extinction o
f criminal liability under Articles 89 and 94 of the Revised Penal Code. Moreove
r, under Article 91 of the Revised Penal Code, "[t]he term of prescription [of t
he crime of bigamy] shall not run when the offender is absent from the Philippin
e archipelago."
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 48 of 171

ABBAS v. ABBAS G.R. No. 183896 January 30, 2013 Subject: Family Relations Topic:
Marriage
FACTS: Petitioner Syed Abbas filed for the declaration of nullity of his marriag
e to Gloria Goo-Abbas, alleging the absence of a marriage licensee as a ground f
or the nullity of his marriage to Gloria. Syed, a Pakistani citizen, and Gloria,
a Filipino citizen, met in Taiwan in 1991. Syed arrived in the Philippines in D
ecember of 1992. On January 9, 1993, he was visiting Glorias mother at their hous
e in Malate, Manila when 2 men arrived. These men allegedly told Syed that he ne
eded to undergo some ceremony as one of the requirements for his stay in the Phi
lippines, but was not told of the nature of said ceremony. During the ceremony h
e and Gloria signed a document. Syed claims that he did not know that the ceremo
ny was a marriage until Gloria told him later. Syed also testified that he never
went to Carmona, Cavite to apply for a marriage license, and that he had never
resided in that area. Respondent Gloria claims that Syed is her husband, and pre
sented the marriage contract bearing their signatures as proof. She claimes that
her marriage to Syed took place on January 9, 1993 at their residence. She pres
ented their purported marriage contract, which states that marriage license No.
9969967, issued at Carmona, Cavite on January 8, 1993, was presented to the sole
mnizing officer. Gloria also testified that she filed a bigamy case against Syed
, who allegedly was previously married on August 9, 1992 in Taiwan, but that she
did not know if said marriage had been celebrated under Muslim rites, because t
he one who celebrated their marriage was Chinese. Petitioner Syed claims because
Gloria had instituted bigamy cases against him, he went to the Registrar of Car
mona, Cavite to get certification on whether or not there was a marriage license
on advice of his counsel. He presented Norberto Bagsic, an employee of the Civi
l Registrar of Carmona, Cavite, who appeared under a letter of authority from th
e Registrar of Carmona, Cavite, and brought documents pertaining to the alleged
marriage license No. 9969967, which was issued to a different couple, not to Sye
d and Gloria. The Registrar also sent a certification stating for the record tha
t No Marriage License appear[s] to have been issued to Mr. Syed Azhar Abbas and M
s. Gloria F. Goo on January 8, 1993. The RTC sided with Syed and declared his mar
riage to Gloria of no effect for lack of a marriage license. The CA granted Glor
ias her appeal. It held that the certification of the Municipal Civil Registrar f
ailed to categorically state that a diligent search for the marriage license of
Gloria and Syed was conducted, and thus held that said certification could not b
e accorded probative value.The CA also did not want for Syed to escape a bigamy
charge by attacking thevalidity of his second marriage to Gloria.
ISSUE: Is the allegedly bigamous marriage of Gloria and Syed valid?
HELD: No, the marriage of Gloria and Syed is void ab initio. Art. 3. The formal
requisites of marriage are: (1) Authority of the solemnizing officer; (2) A vali
d marriage license except in the cases provided for in Chapter 2 of this Title;
and
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 49 of 171

(3) A marriage ceremony which takes place with the appearance of the contracting
parties before the solemnizing officer and their personal declaration that they
take each other as husband and wife in the presence of not less than two witnes
ses of legal age. Art. 4. The absence of any of the essential or formal requisit
es shall render the marriage void ab initio, except as stated in Article 35(2).
XXX Art. 35. The following marriages shall be void from the beginning: (3) Those
solemnized without a license, except those covered by the preceding Chapter. Th
e resolution of this case, thus, hinges on whether or not a valid marriage licen
se had been issued for the couple. The RTC held that no valid marriage license h
ad been issued. The CA held that there was a valid marriage license. We find the
RTC to be correct in this instance. Respondent Gloria failed to present the act
ual marriage license, or a copy thereof, and relied on the marriage contract as
well as the testimonies of her witnesses to prove the existence of said license.
To prove that no such license was issued, Syed turned to the office of the Muni
cipal Civil Registrar of Carmona, Cavite which had allegedly issued said license
. It was there that he requested certification that no such license was issued.
In the case of Republic v. Court of Appeals such certification was allowed, as p
ermitted by Sec. 29, Rule 132 of the Rules of Court, which reads: SEC. 28. Proof
of lack of record. A written statement signed by an officer having the custody
of an official record or by his deputy that after diligent search, no record or
entry of a specified tenor is found to exist in the records of his office, accom
panied by a certificate as above provided, is admissible as evidence that the re
cords of his office contain no such record or entry. In the case of Republic, in
allowing the certification of the Civil Registrar of Pasig to prove the nonissu
ance of a marriage license, the Court held: The above Rule authorized the custodi
an of the documents to certify that despite diligent search, a particular docume
nt does not exist in his office or that a particular entry of a specified tenor
was not to be found in a register. As custodians of public documents, civil regi
strars are public officers charged with the duty, inter alia, of maintaining a r
egister book where they are required to enter all applications for marriage lice
nses, including the names of the applicants, the date the marriage license was i
ssued and such other relevant data. The Court held in that case that the certific
ation issued by the civil registrar enjoyed probative value, as his duty was to
maintain records of data relative to the issuance of a marriage license. The Mun
icipal Civil Registrar of Carmona, Cavite, where the marriage license of Gloria
and Syed was allegedly issued, issued a certification to the effect that no such
marriage license for Gloria and Syed was issued, and that the serial number of
the marriage license pertained to another couple... XXX Under Sec. 3(m), Rule 13
1 of the Rules of Court, it is a disputable presumption that an official duty ha
s been regularly performed, absent contradiction or other evidence to the contra
ry. We held, "The presumption of regularity of official acts may be rebutted by
affirmative evidence of irregularity or failure to perform a duty." No such affi
rmative evidence was shown that the Municipal Civil Registrar was lax in perform
ing her duty of checking the records of their office, thus the presumption must
stand. In fact, proof does exist of a diligent search having been conducted, as
Marriage License No. 996967 was indeed located and submitted to the court. The f
act that the names in said license do not correspond to
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 50 of 171

those of Gloria and Syed does not overturn the presumption that the registrar co
nducted a diligent search of the records of her office. It is telling that Glori
a failed to present their marriage license or a copy thereof to the court. She f
ailed to explain why the marriage license was secured in Carmona, Cavite, a loca
tion where, admittedly, neither party resided. She took no pains to apply for th
e license, so she is not the best witness to testify to the validity and existen
ce of said license. Neither could the other witnesses she presented prove the ex
istence of the marriage license, as none of them applied for the license in Carm
ona, Cavite. Her mother, Felicitas Goo, could not even testify as to the content
s of the license, having admitted to not reading all of its contents. Atty. Sanc
hez, one of the sponsors, whom Gloria and Felicitas Goo approached for assistanc
e in securing the license, admitted not knowing where the license came from. The
task of applying for the license was delegated to a certain Qualin, who could h
ave testified as to how the license was secured and thus impeached the certifica
tion of the Municipal Civil Registrar as well as the testimony of her representa
tive. As Gloria failed to present this Qualin, the certification of the Municipa
l Civil Registrar still enjoys probative value. It is also noted that the solemn
izing officer testified that the marriage contract and a copy of the marriage li
cense were submitted to the Local Civil Registrar of Manila. Thus, a copy of the
marriage license could have simply been secured from that office and submitted
to the court. However, Gloria inexplicably failed to do so, further weakening he
r claim that there was a valid marriage license issued for her and Syed. In the
case of Cario v. Cario, following the case of Republic, it was held that the certi
fication of the Local Civil Registrar that their office had no record of a marri
age license was adequate to prove the nonissuance of said license. The case of C
ario further held that the presumed validity of the marriage of the parties had b
een overcome, and that it became the burden of the party alleging a valid marria
ge to prove that the marriage was valid, and that the required marriage license
had been secured. Gloria has failed to discharge that burden, and the only concl
usion that can be reached is that no valid marriage license was issued. It canno
t be said that there was a simple irregularity in the marriage license that woul
d not affect the validity of the marriage, as no license was presented by the re
spondent. No marriage license was proven to have been issued to Gloria and Syed,
based on the certification of the Municipal Civil Registrar of Carmona, Cavite
and Glorias failure to produce a copy of the alleged marriage license. XXX As to
the motive of Syed in seeking to annul his marriage to Gloria, it may well be th
at his motives are less than pure, that he seeks to evade a bigamy suit. Be that
as it may, the same does not make up for the failure of the respondent to prove
that they had a valid marriage license, given the weight of evidence presented
by petitioner. The lack of a valid marriage license cannot be attributed to him,
as it was Gloria who took steps to procure the same. The law must be applied. A
s the marriage license, a formal requisite, is clearly absent, the marriage of G
loria and Syed is void ab initio.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 51 of 171

BECKETT v. JUDGE SARMIENTO A.M. No. RTJ-12-2326 January 30, 2013 Subject: Family
Relations Topic: Marriage
FACTS: This case stems from a complaint filed by Geoffrey Beckett against Judge
Sarmiento, RTC of Cebu City Branch 24, charging Judge Sarmiento with gross ignor
ance of the law, manifest partiality and dereliction and neglect of duty alleged
ly committed during the special proceeding Geoffrey Beckett v. Eltesa Densing Be
ckett while the case was pending the judges sala. Complainant Beckett is an Austr
alian national who was previously married to Eltesa, a Filipina. During their ma
rriage they begot a son, Geoffrey, Jr. Beckett alleged that their union was trou
bled from the beginning. They eventually separated and even sued each other. In
2006, Eltesa filed a case against Beckett for violation of RA 7610 (Violence Aga
inst Women and their Children Act), followed by an action declaration of nullity
of their marriage. Both cases ended in the sala of respondent Judge Sarmiento.
Beckett also commenced criminal charges against Eltesa, one of which was for adu
ltery. The couples initial legal battle ended when Judge Sarmiento, on September
25, 2006, rendered judgment based on a compromise agreement in which Eltesa and
Beckett agreed and undertook, among others, to cause the dismissal of all pendin
g civil and criminal cases each may have filed against the other. They categoric
ally agreed too that Beckett shall have full and permanent custody over Geoffrey
, Jr., then five 5 years old, subject to the visitorial rights of Eltesa. Becket
t left for Australia, taking Geoffrey, Jr. with him. Beckett alleged that he car
ed and provided well for Geoffrey, Jr. Beckett also promised that they would com
e and see Eltesa in Cebu every Christmas. The yearly Christmas visits continued,
notwithstanding the fact that Beckett obtained a divorce decree in Australia ag
ainst Eltesa. During Christmas 2010 visit, Beckett allowed Geoffrey, Jr. stay wi
th Eltesa even after the holidays, provided she return the child on January 9, 2
011. When Geoffrey, Jr. was not returned to Becketts custody, he filed a petition
against Eltesa for violation of RA 7610. This petition was again raffled to the
sala of Judge Sarmiento. And because Geoffrey remained in the meantime in the c
ustody of Eltesa, Beckett also applied for the issuance of a writ of habeas corp
us. Judge Sarmiento issued an order dated March 1, 2011, directing Eltesa to ret
urn Geoffrey, Jr. to Beckett. However, the turnover of Geoffrey, Jr. to Beckett
did not materialize. At this point, Geoffrey, Jr. was already 9 years old. Becke
tt sought the immediate implementation of the said March 1, 2011 Order. But inst
ead of enforcing said order, Judge Sarmiento, in open court, issued another orde
r giving Eltesa provisional custody over Geoffrey, Jr. and at the same time dire
cting the DSWD to conduct a social case study on the child. Beckett moved for th
e reconsideration of the judges provisional custody order, on the main contention
that Judge Sarmiento can no longer grant provisional custody to Eltesa in light
of the compromise agreement. Beckett also alleged that respondent judge convers
ed with Eltesa in Cebuano, a dialect which neither Beckett nor his counsel under
stood. Beckett also asked for a few minutes to confer with his counsel but when
they returned to the courtroom, the proceedings had already been adjourned. The
OCA regards the Becketts complaint meritorious as far as the charges for gross ig
norance of the law is concerned given that respondent judge issued an order gran
ting provisional custody in favor of Eltesa despite the existence of the judicia
l compromise. The OCA, thus, recommended that respondent judge be adjudged liabl
e for gross ignorance of the law and fined with stern warning.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 52 of 171

ISSUES: 1. Was Judge Sarmiento correct in awarding custody to Eltesa despite the
fact that he himself earlier ruled that Beckett should be awarded custody? 2. D
id Judge Sarmiento abandon the principle of res judicata when he went against ju
dicial compromise he himself allowed regarding the custody of Geoffrey, Jr.?
HELD: 1. Yes. In all questions relating to the care, custody, education and prope
rty of the children, the latter s welfare is paramount. This means that the best
interest of the minor can override procedural rules and even the rights of pare
nts to the custody of their children. Since, in this case, the very life and exi
stence of the minor is at stake and the child is in an age when she can exercise
an intelligent choice, the courts can do no less than respect, enforce and give
meaning and substance to that choice and uphold her right to live in an atmosph
ere conducive to her physical, moral and intellectual development. XXX The more
appropriate description of the legal situation engendered by the March 15, 2011
Order issued amidst the persistent plea of the child not to be returned to his f
ather, is that respondent judge exhibited fidelity to jurisprudential command to
accord primacy to the welfare and interest of a minor child. As it were, the ma
tter of custody, to borrow from Espiritu v. Court of Appeals, is not permanent an
d unalterable and can always be re-examined and adjusted. 2. Yes. Respondent judg
e, in granting provisional custody over Geoffrey, Jr. in favor of his mother, El
tesa, did not disregard the res judicata rule. XXX As aptly observed in a separa
te opinion in Dacasin v. Dacasin, a custody agreement can never be regarded as pe
rmanent and unbending, the simple reason being that the situation of the parents
and even of the child can change, such that sticking to the agreed arrangement w
ould no longer be to the latters best interest. In a very real sense, then, a jud
gment involving the custody of a minor child cannot be accorded the force and ef
fect of res judicata. XXX In disputes concerning post-separation custody over a m
inor, the well-settled rule is that no child under seven (7) years of age shall
be separated from the mother, unless the court finds compelling reasons to order
otherwise. And if already over 7 years of age, the childs choice as to which of
his parents he prefers to be under custody shall be respected, unless the parent
chosen proves to be unfit. Finally, in Perez v. Court of Appeals, We held that
in custody cases, the foremost consideration is always the welfare and best inte
rest of the child, as reflected in no less than the U.N. Convention on the Right
s of the Child which provides that in all actions concerning children, whether un
dertaken by public or private social welfare institutions, courts of law, admini
strative authorities or legislative bodies, the best interests of the child shal
l be a primary consideration.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 53 of 171

REPUBLIC v. ENCELAN G.R. No. 170022 January 09, 2013 Subject: Family Relations T
opic: Marriage
FACTS: Cesar married Lolita in 1979, and the union bore two children, Maricar an
d Manny. To support his family, Cesar went to work in Saudi Arabia in 1984. In 1
986, while still in Saudi Arabia, Cesar learned that Lolita had been having an a
ffair with one Alvin Perez, and in 1991, Lolita allegedly left the conjugal home
with her children and lived with Alvin. Since then, Cesar and Lolita had been s
eparated. In 1995, Cesar filed with the RTC a petition against Lolita for the de
claration of the nullity of his marriage based on Lolita s psychological incapac
ity. Lolita denied the affair and insisted that she is not psychologically incap
acitated. Lolita claims that she left their home because of differences with her
mother-in-law. Cesar presented the psychological evaluation report on Lolita pr
epared by Dr. Fareda Fatima Flores of the National Center for Mental Health. Dr.
Flores found that Lolita was "not suffering from any form of major psychiatric
illness but had been "unable to provide the expectations expected of her for a go
od and lasting marital relationship, her "transferring from one job to the other
depicts some interpersonal problems with co-workers as well as her impatience in
attaining her ambitions and "her refusal to go with her husband abroad signifies
her reluctance to work out a good marital and family relationship. The RTC decla
red Cesar s marriage to Lolita void, finding sufficient basis to declare Lolita
psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential marital obligations.
The petitioner, through the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), appealed to t
he CA, which court set aside the RTC s verdict, finding that Lolita s abandonmen
t of the conjugal dwelling and infidelity were not serious cases of personality
disorder/psychological illness. Lolita merely refused to comply with her marital
obligations which she was capable of doing. The CA observed that infidelity is
only a ground for legal separation, not for the declaration of the nullity of a
marriage.
ISSUE: Is Lolita psychologically incapacitated to comply with her essential mari
tal obligations to Cesar?
HELD: No. Article 36 of the Family Code governs psychological incapacity as a gro
und for declaration of nullity of marriage. It provides that [a] marriage contrac
ted by any party who, at the time of the celebration, was psychologically incapa
citated to comply with the essential marital obligations of marriage, shall like
wise be void even if such incapacity becomes manifest only after its solemnizati
on. In interpreting this provision, we have repeatedly stressed that psychologica
l incapacity contemplates "downright incapacity or inability to take cognizance
of and to assume the basic marital obligations, not merely the refusal, neglect
or difficulty, much less ill will, on the part of the errant spouse. The plaintif
f bears the burden of proving the juridical antecedence (i.e., the existence at
the time of the celebration of marriage), gravity and incurability of the condit
ion of the errant spouse. XXX In this case, Cesar s testimony failed to prove Lo
lita s alleged psychological incapacity. Cesar testified on the dates when he le
arned of Lolita s alleged affair and her subsequent abandonment of their home, a
s well as his continued financial support to her and their children even after h
e learned of the affair, but
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 54 of 171

he merely mentioned in passing Lolita s alleged affair with Alvin and her abando
nment of the conjugal dwelling. In any event, sexual infidelity and abandonment
of the conjugal dwelling, even if true, do not necessarily constitute psychologi
cal incapacity; these are simply grounds for legal separation. To constitute psy
chological incapacity, it must be shown that the unfaithfulness and abandonment
are manifestations of a disordered personality that completely prevented the err
ing spouse from discharging the essential marital obligations. No evidence on re
cord exists to support Cesar s allegation that Lolita s infidelity and abandonme
nt were manifestations of any psychological illness. Cesar mistakenly relied on
Dr. Flores psychological evaluation report on Lolita to prove her alleged psych
ological incapacity. The psychological evaluation, in fact, established that Lol
ita did not suffer from any major psychiatric illness. Dr. Flores observation o
n Lolita s interpersonal problems with co-workers to our mind, does not suffice
as a consideration for the conclusion that she was at the time of her marriage p
sychologically incapacitated to enter into a marital union with Cesar. Aside fro
m the time element involved, a wife s psychological fitness as a spouse cannot s
imply be equated with her professional/work relationship; workplace obligations
and responsibilities are poles apart from their marital counterparts. While both
spring from human relationship, their relatedness and relevance to one another
should be fully established for them to be compared or to serve as measures of c
omparison with one another. To be sure, the evaluation report Dr. Flores prepare
d and submitted cannot serve this purpose. Dr. Flores further belief that Lolit
a s refusal to go with Cesar abroad signified a reluctance to work out a good ma
rital relationship is a mere generalization unsupported by facts and is, in fact
, a rash conclusion that this Court cannot support.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 55 of 171

OFFICE OF THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR v. JUDGE AQUINO A.M. No. RTJ-10-2244 November
28, 2012 Subject: Family Relations Topic: Marriage
FACTS: An OCA Memorandum reported that Judge Aquino heard and decided 41 cases f
or annulment or declaration of nullity of marriage from June 2003 to January 200
9, without the mandatory requirements of no-collusion report and pre-trial as pr
ovided by law. Judge Aquino likewise failed to require the public prosecutor to
conduct an investigation to determine if there was collusion between the parties
despite the failure of a respondent to file an answer. Also, instead of directi
ng the public prosecutor to conduct an investigation to determine if there was c
ollusion between the parties, Judge Aquino would immediately cause the setting t
he case for hearing. The no-collusion reports were submitted by the public prose
cutor only after the hearings and the formal offers of exhibits by a petitioner.
Where the investigation report of the public prosecutor stated the non-appearan
ce of a respondent, Judge Aquino, nonetheless, proceeded to hear and decide the
case in favor of the respondent.
ISSUE: Did Judge Aquino violate the rules by proceeding with cases for annulment
/declaration of nullity of marriages without the proper intervention and investi
gation of the fiscal/prosecutor?
HELD: Yes, Judge Aquino indeed admitted that she had violated the rules when she
proceeded to hear some cases despite non-compliance with the requirements. In an
nulment of marriage cases, the investigation report of the prosecutor is a condi
tion sine qua non for the setting of pre-trial.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 56 of 171

MENDOZA v. REPUBLIC and MENDOZA G.R. No. 157649 November 12, 2012 Subject: Famil
y Relations Topic: Marriage
FACTS: Petitioner Arabelle and Dominic met in 1989 upon his return to the countr
y from his employment in Papua New Guinea. After a month of courtship, they beca
me intimate and their intimacy ultimately led to her pregnancy with their daught
er whom they named Allysa Bianca. They got married on her eighth month of pregna
ncy in civil rites solemnized in Pasay City on June 24, 1991, after which they m
oved to her place, although remaining dependent on their parents for support. Wh
en Arabelle delivered Alyssa Bianca, Dominic had to borrow money to settle the h
ospital bills. He remained jobless and dependent upon his father for support unt
il he finished his college course in October 1993. Arabelle took on various jobs
to meet the familys needs and she shouldered all of the familys expenses. In 1994
, Dominic he started working as a car salesman for Toyota Motors in Bel-Air, Mak
ati. He spent his first sales commission on a celebratory bash with his friends.
Arabelle still shouldered all the household expenses and their childs schooling
because his irregular income could not be depended upon. In September of the sam
e year, she discovered his illicit relationship with Zaida, his co-employee. Eve
ntually, communication between them became rare until they started to sleep in s
eparate rooms, thereby affecting their sexual relationship. In November 1995, Do
minic gave her a car as a birthday present. Later on, he asked her to issue two
blank checks that he claimed would be for the cars insurance coverage. She soon f
ound out, however, that the checks were not paid for the cars insurance coverage
but for his personal needs. Worse, she also found out that he did not pay for th
e car itself, forcing her to rely on her father-in-law to pay part of the cost o
f the car, leaving her to bear the balance of P120,000.00. To make matters worse
, Dominic was fired from his employment after he ran away with P164,000.00 belon
ging to his employer. He was criminally charged with violation of Batas Pambansa
Blg. 22 and estafa, for which he was arrested and incarcerated. After Arabelle
bailed him out of jail, she discovered that he had also swindled many clients, s
ome of whom were threatening their family. In 1997, Dominic left the conjugal ab
ode because petitioner asked him for "time and space to think things over." A mo
nth later, she refused his attempt at reconciliation, causing him to threaten to
commit suicide. At that, she and her family immediately left the house to live
in another place concealed from him. On August 5, 1998, petitioner filed in the
RTC her petition for the declaration of the nullity of her marriage with Dominic
based on his psychological incapacity under Article 36 of the Family Code. The
OSG opposed the petition. The RTC declared the marriage between petitioner and D
ominic an absolute nullity, holding that the result of the clinical evaluation s
howed that Arabelle appears to be mature, strong and responsible individual, who
gave all of herself unconditionally to Dominic, who cannot reciprocate. Dominic
was found to have a personality that can be characterized as inadequate, immatu
re and irresponsible. His criminal acts in the present time are mere extensions
of his misconduct established in childhood. The CA, however, reversed, holding t
hat the testimonies of Arabelles witnesses were insufficient to establish Dominics
psychological affliction to be of such a grave or serious nature that it was me
dically or clinically rooted.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 57 of 171

ISSUES: 1. Has Arabelle proven Dominics psychological incapacity? 2. Do the new g


uidelines on psychological incapacity cases- which no longer require expert test
imony- justify the non-admission into evidence of such expert testimony?
HELD: 1. No. To entitle petitioner spouse to a declaration of the nullity of his
or her marriage, the totality of the evidence must sufficiently prove that respo
ndent spouse s psychological incapacity was grave, incurable and existing prior
to the time of the marriage. XXX We consider the CAs refusal to accord credence a
nd weight to the psychiatric report to be well taken and warranted. The CA corre
ctly indicated that the ill-feelings that she harbored towards Dominic, which sh
e admitted during her consultation with Dr. Samson, furnished the basis to doubt
the findings of her expert witness; that such findings were one-sided, because
Dominic was not himself subjected to an actual psychiatric evaluation by petitio
ners expert; and that he also did not participate in the proceedings; and that th
e findings and conclusions on his psychological profile by her expert were solel
y based on the self-serving testimonial descriptions and characterizations of hi
m rendered by petitioner and her witnesses. XXX Thus, any doubt should be resolv
ed in favor of the validity of the marriage. Emotional immaturity and irresponsi
bility, invoked by her, cannot be equated with psychological incapacity.
2. No. Even if expert testimony is no longer a requirement for Article 36 cases,
the courts must still use them if available, in line with its mandate to rule b
ased on the totality of evidence. By the very nature of cases involving the appli
cation of Article 36, it is logical and understandable to give weight to the exp
ert opinions furnished by psychologists regarding the psychological temperament
of parties in order to determine the root cause, juridical antecedence, gravity
and incurability of the psychological incapacity. However, such opinions, while
highly advisable, are not conditions sine qua non in granting petitions for decl
aration of nullity of marriage. At best, courts must treat such opinions as deci
sive but not indispensable evidence in determining the merits of a given case. I
n fact, if the totality of evidence presented is enough to sustain a finding of
psychological incapacity, then actual medical or psychological examination of th
e person concerned need not be resorted to. The trial court, as in any other giv
en case presented before it, must always base its decision not solely on the exp
ert opinions furnished by the parties but also on the totality of evidence adduc
ed in the course of the proceedings. Petitioners view that the Court in Marcos st
ated that the personal medical or psychological examination of respondent spouse
therein was not a requirement for the declaration of his psychological incapaci
ty is not entirely accurate. To be clear, the statement in Marcos ran as follows
: The guidelines incorporate the three basic requirements earlier mandated by th
e Court in Santos v. Court of Appeals: "psychological incapacity must be charact
erized by (a) gravity (b) juridical antecedence, and (c) incurability." The fore
going guidelines do not require that a physician examine the person to be declar
ed psychologically incapacitated. In fact, the root cause may be "medically or c
linically identified." What is important is the presence of evidence that can ad
equately establish the partys psychological condition. For indeed, if the totalit
y of evidence presented is enough to sustain a finding of psychological incapaci
ty, then actual medical examination of the person concerned need not be resorted
to.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 58 of 171

In light of the foregoing, even if the expert opinions of psychologists are not
conditions sine qua non in the granting of petitions for declaration of nullity
of marriage, the actual medical examination of Dominic was to be dispensed with
only if the totality of evidence presented was enough to support a finding of hi
s psychological incapacity. This did not mean that the presentation of any form
of medical or psychological evidence to show the psychological incapacity would
have automatically ensured the granting of the petition for declaration of nulli
ty of marriage. What was essential, we should emphasize herein, was the "presenc
e of evidence that can adequately establish the partys psychological condition,"
as the Court said in Marcos. But where... the parties had the full opportunity t
o present the professional and expert opinions of psychiatrists tracing the root
cause, gravity and incurability of the alleged psychological incapacity, then t
he opinions should be presented and be weighed by the trial courts in order to d
etermine and decide whether or not to declare the nullity of the marriages. It b
ears repeating that the trial courts, as in all the other cases they try, must a
lways base their judgments not solely on the expert opinions presented by the pa
rties but on the totality of evidence adduced in the course of their proceedings
. We find the totality of the evidence adduced by petitioner insufficient to pro
ve that Dominic was psychologically unfit to discharge the duties expected of hi
m as a husband, and that he suffered from such psychological incapacity as of th
e date of the marriage... psychological incapacity should refer to no less than
a mental, not physical, incapacity that causes a party to be truly incognitive o
f the basic marital covenants...
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 59 of 171

REPUBLIC v. CA and DE QUINTOS G.R. No. 159594 November 12, 2012 Subject: Family
Relations Topic: Marriage
FACTS: Eduardo and Catalina were married on March 16, 1977 in a civil wedding of
ficiated by the Mayor of Lingayen, Pangasinan. The couple did not have any child
ren. In 1998, Eduardo filed a petition for the declaration of nullity of their m
arriage, citing Catalinas psychological incapacity to comply with her essential m
arital obligations. Catalina did not interpose any objection to the petition, bu
t prayed to be given her share in the conjugal house and lo. Prosecutor determin
ed that there was no collusion between Eduardo and Catalina. Eduardo testified t
hat Catalina always left their house without his consent; that she engaged in pe
tty arguments with him; that she constantly refused to give in to his sexual nee
ds; that she spent most of her time gossiping with neighbors instead of doing th
e household chores and caring for their adopted daughter; that she squandered by
gambling all his remittances as an overseas worker in Qatar since 1993; and tha
t she abandoned the conjugal home in 1997 to live with Bobbie Castro, her paramo
ur. Eduardo presented the results of the neuro-psychiatric evaluation conducted
by Dr. Annabelle L. Reyes, a psychiatrist. Based on the tests she administered o
n Catalina, Dr. Reyes opined that Catalina exhibited traits of Borderline Person
ality Disorder that was no longer treatable. Dr. Reyes found that Catalinas disor
der was mainly characterized by her immaturity that rendered her psychologically
incapacitated to meet her marital obligations. The RTC granted the petition und
er Article 36 of the Family Code on August 9, 2000. On July 30, 2003, the CA aff
irmed the declaration by the Regional Trial Court, hence this appeal by the Stat
e. The State claims that the psychological incapacity has not been sufficiently
established.
ISSUE: Was sufficient evidence established warranting the declaration of the nul
lity of Catalinas marriage to Eduardo based on her psychological incapacity under
Article 36 of the Family Code?
HELD: No. We find the State s appeal to be meritorious. Hence, we uphold once aga
in the validity of a marriage on the ground that the alleged psychological incap
acity was not sufficiently established. Psychological incapacity under Article 3
6 of the Family Code contemplates an incapacity or inability to take cognizance
of and to assume basic marital obligations, and is not merely the difficulty, re
fusal, or neglect in the performance of marital obligations or ill will. It cons
ists of: (a) a true inability to commit oneself to the essentials of marriage; (
b) the inability must refer to the essential obligations of marriage, that is, t
he conjugal act, the community of life and love, the rendering of mutual help, a
nd the procreation and education of offspring; and (c) the inability must be tan
tamount to a psychological abnormality. Proving that a spouse failed to meet his
or her responsibility and duty as a married person is not enough; it is essenti
al that he or she must be shown to be incapable of doing so due to some psycholo
gical illness. In Santos v. Court of Appeals, we decreed that psychological inca
pacity should refer to a mental incapacity that causes a party to be truly incog
nitive of the basic marital covenants such as those
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 60 of 171

enumerated in Article 68 of the Family Code and must be characterized by gravity


, juridical antecedence and incurability. XXX ...both lower courts noticeably re
lied heavily on the results of the neuro-psychological evaluation by Dr. Reyes d
espite the paucity of factual foundation to support the claim of Catalinas psycho
logical incapacity. XXX Yet, the report was ostensibly vague about the root caus
e, gravity and incurability of Catalinas supposed psychological incapacity. XXX U
nder the circumstances, the report and court testimony by Dr. Reyes did not pres
ent the gravity and incurability of Catalinas psychological incapacity. There was
, to start with, no evidence showing the root cause of her alleged borderline pe
rsonality disorder and that such disorder had existed prior to her marriage. We
have repeatedly pronounced that the root cause of the psychological incapacity m
ust be identified as a psychological illness, with its incapacitating nature ful
ly explained and established by the totality of the evidence presented during tr
ial. XXX However, her immaturity alone did not constitute psychological incapaci
ty. To rule that such immaturity amounted to psychological incapacity, it must b
e shown that the immature acts were manifestations of a disordered personality t
hat made the spouse completely unable to discharge the essential obligations of
the marital state, which inability was merely due to her youth or immaturity. XX
X The only fact established here, which Catalina even admitted in her Answer, wa
s her abandonment of the conjugal home to live with another man. Yet, abandonmen
t was not one of the grounds for the nullity of marriage under the Family Code.
It did not also constitute psychological incapacity, it being instead a ground f
or legal separation under Article 55(10) of the Family Code. On the other hand,
her sexual infidelity was not a valid ground for the nullity of marriage under A
rticle 36 of the Family Code, considering that there should be a showing that su
ch marital infidelity was a manifestation of a disordered personality that made
her completely unable to discharge the essential obligations of marriage. Needle
ss to state, Eduardo did not adduce such evidence, rendering even his claim of h
er infidelity bereft of factual and legal basis. XXX In fine, given the insuffic
iency of the evidence proving the psychological incapacity of Catalina, we canno
t but resolve in favor of the existence and continuation of the marriage and aga
inst its dissolution and nullity.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 61 of 171

MONTAES v. CIPRIANO G.R. No. 181089 October 22, 2012 Subject: Family Relations To
pic: Marriage
FACTS: On April 8, 1976, respondent Lourdes married Socrates Flores in Aklan.3 O
n January 24, 1983, during the subsistence her marriage to Socrates, Lourdes mar
ried Silverio Cipriano, in Laguna. In 2001, Lourdes filed with the RTC of Muntin
lupa a petition for the annulment of her marriage to Socrates on the ground of t
he Socrates alleged psychological incapacity as defined under Article 36 of the F
amily Code, and on July 18, 2003, the RTC declared that the marriage of responde
nt to Socrates is null and void. Said decision became final and executory on Oct
ober 13, 2003. On May 14, 2004, petitioner Merlinda Montaez, Silverios daughter, f
iled with a complaint for bigamy against respondent Lourdes. Attached to the com
plaint was an affidavit, thumb-marked by Silverio, which also alleges that Lourd
es did not reveal to Silverio that she was still married to Socrates. In due cou
rse, the information for bigamy was filed by the prosecutor. On July 24, 2007 an
d before her arraignment, respondent, through counsel, filed a Motion to Quash I
nformation alleging that her marriage with Socrates had already been declared vo
id ab initio in 2003, thus, there was no more marriage to speak of prior to her
marriage to Silverio on January 24, 1983; that the basic element of the crime of
bigamy, i.e., two valid marriages, is therefore wanting. She also claimed that
since the second marriage was held in 1983, the crime of bigamy had already pres
cribed. The prosecution filed its comment arguing that the crime of bigamy had a
lready been consummated when respondent filed her petition for declaration of nu
llity. However, the RTC ruled against the prosecution, holding that at the time
the accused had contracted a second marriage on January 24, 1983- before the Fam
ily Code- the existing law did not require a judicial declaration of absolute nu
llity as a condition precedent to contracting a subsequent marriage and that jur
isprudence before the Family Code on the matter was unsettled.
ISSUES: 1. Is the judicial nullity of the first marriage a defense for the crime
of bigamy? 2. If both marriages in a case for bigamy were entered into prior to
the Family Code, is the judicial declaration of nullity/annulment of the first
marriage unnecessary before entering into a second marriage to avoid a case for
bigamy?
HELD: 1. No. Article 349 of the Revised Penal Code defines and penalizes bigamy a
s follow: Art. 349. Bigamy. The penalty of prision mayor shall be imposed upon a
ny person who shall contract a second or subsequent marriage before the former m
arriage has been legally dissolved, or before the absent spouse has been declare
d presumptively dead by means of a judgment rendered in the proper proceedings.
The elements of the crime of bigamy are: (a) the offender has been legally marri
ed; (b) the marriage has not been legally dissolved or, in case his or her spous
e is absent, the absent spouse could not yet be presumed dead according to the C
ivil Code; (c) that he contracts a second or subsequent marriage; and (d) the se
cond or subsequent marriage has all the essential requisites for validity. The f
elony is consummated on the celebration of the second marriage or subsequent mar
riage. It is essential in the prosecution for bigamy that the alleged second
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 62 of 171

marriage, having all the essential requirements, would be valid were it not for
the subsistence of the first marriage. In this case, it appears that when respon
dent contracted a second marriage with Silverio in 1983, her first marriage with
Socrates celebrated in 1976 was still subsisting as the same had not yet been a
nnulled or declared void by a competent authority. Thus, all the elements of big
amy were alleged in the Information. XXX Here, at the time respondent contracted
the second marriage, the first marriage was still subsisting as it had not yet
been legally dissolved. As ruled in the above-mentioned jurisprudence, the subse
quent judicial declaration of nullity of the first marriage would not change the
fact that she contracted the second marriage during the subsistence of the firs
t marriage. Thus, respondent was properly charged of the crime of bigamy, since
the essential elements of the offense charged were sufficiently alleged. 2. No. A
s far back as 1995, in Atienza v. Brillantes, Jr., the Court already made the de
claration that Article 40, which is a rule of procedure, should be applied retro
actively because Article 256 of the Family Code itself provides that said Code sh
all have retroactive effect insofar as it does not prejudice or impair vested or
acquired rights. The Court went on to explain, thus: The fact that procedural sta
tutes may somehow affect the litigants rights may not preclude their retroactiv
e application to pending actions. The retroactive application of procedural laws
is not violative of any right of a person who may feel that he is adversely aff
ected. The reason is that as a general rule, no vested right may attach to, nor
arise from, procedural laws. XXX Otherwise, all that an adventurous bigamist has
to do is disregard Article 40 of the Family Code, contract a subsequent marriage
and escape a bigamy charge by simply claiming that the first marriage is void a
nd that the subsequent marriage is equally void for lack of a prior judicial dec
laration of nullity of the first.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 63 of 171

VILLATUYA v. TABALINGCOS A.M. No. 6622 July 10, 2012 Subject: Family Relations T
opic: Marriage
FACTS: In a Legal Ethics case, complainant Miguel Villatuya accused Atty. Bede T
abalingcos of committing two counts of bigamy. Miguel alleged that Atty. Tabalin
gcos married two other women while his first marriage was subsisting. Villatuya
submitted a certification issued by the NSO certifying that Tabalingcos had cont
racted marriage thrice. The three marriage contracts in question- when examinedmatched the entries indicated in the NSO Certification submitted by Villatuya.
Atty. Tabalingcos even misrepresented himself as single under the entry for civil
status in the 2nd and 3rd marriage contracts.
ISSUE: Are the NSO-certified copies of the 3 marriage contracts sufficient to pr
ove that Atty. Tabalingcos commit bigamy, at least for the administrative procee
dings of disbarment?
HELD: Yes, the marriage contracts are sufficient proof. The documents were certif
ied by the NSO, which is the official repository of civil registry records perta
ining to the birth, marriage and death of a person. Having been issued by a gove
rnment agency, the NSO certification is accorded much evidentiary weight and car
ries with it a presumption of regularity. In this case, respondent has not prese
nted any competent evidence to rebut those documents. XXX Respondents regard for
marriage contracts as ordinary agreements indicates either his wanton disregard
of the sanctity of marriage or his gross ignorance of the law on what course of
action to take to annul a marriage under the old Civil Code provisions.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 64 of 171

REPUBLIC v. GRANADA G. R. No. 187512 June 13, 2012 Subject: Family Relations Top
ic: Marriage
FACTS: In May 1991, respondent Yolanda met Cyrus Granada at Sumida Electric Phil
ippines, an electronics company in Paranaque where both were then working. Event
ually, the 2 got married at the Manila City Hall on 3 March 1993. Their marriage
resulted in the birth of their son, Cyborg Granada. Sometime in May 1994, when
Sumida Electric Philippines closed down, Cyrus went to Taiwan to seek employment
. Yolanda claimed that from that time, she had not received any communication fr
om her husband, notwithstanding efforts to locate him. Her brother testified tha
t he had asked the relatives of Cyrus regarding the latters whereabouts, to no av
ail. After 9 years of waiting, Yolanda filed a Petition to have Cyrus declared p
resumptively dead, and on February 7, 2005, the RTC rendered a Decision declarin
g Cyrus as presumptively dead. On March 10, 2005, petitioner Republic, through t
he Solicitor General OSG, filed a Motion for Reconsideration of this Decision. P
etitioner argued that Yolanda had failed to exert earnest efforts to locate Cyru
s and thus failed to prove her well-founded belief that he was already dead. The
RTC denied the motion. Petitioner filed a Notice of Appeal to elevate the case
to the CA, presumably under Rule 41, Section 2(a) of the Rules of Court. Yolanda
filed a Motion to Dismiss on the ground that the CA had no jurisdiction over th
e appeal. She argued that her Petition for Declaration of Presumptive Death, bas
ed on Article 41 of the Family Code, was a summary judicial proceeding, in which
the judgment is immediately final and executory and, thus, not appealable.
ISSUE: Is the Republic correct in claiming that Yolanda has not exercised the re
quired diligence to foster a well-founded belief that Cyrus is dead?
HELD: Possibly; nevertheless, the final and executor decision can no longer be r
evisited. Petitioner also assails the RTCs grant of the Petition for Declaration o
f Presumptive Death of the absent spouse of respondent on the ground that she ha
d not adduced the evidence required to establish a well-founded belief that her
absent spouse was already dead, as expressly required by Article 41 of the Famil
y Code. Petitioner cites Republic v. Nolasco, United States v. Biasbas and Repub
lic v. Court of Appeals and Alegro as authorities on the subject. In Nolasco, pe
titioner Republic sought the reversal of the CAs affirmation of the RTCs grant of
respondents Petition for Declaration of Presumptive Death of his absent spouse, a
British subject who left their home in the Philippines soon after giving birth
to their son while respondent was on board a vessel working as a seafarer. Petit
ioner Republic sought the reversal of the ruling on the ground that respondent w
as not able to establish his well-founded belief that the absentee is already dea
d, as required by Article 41 of the Family Code. In ruling thereon, this Court re
cognized that this provision imposes more stringent requirements than does Artic
le 83 of the Civil Code. The Civil Code provision merely requires either that th
ere be no news that the absentee is still alive; or that the absentee is general
ly considered to be dead and is believed to be so by the spouse present, or is p
resumed dead under Articles 390 and 391 of the Civil Code. In comparison, the Fa
mily Code provision prescribes a
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 65 of 171

well-founded belief that the absentee is already dead before a petition for declar
ation of presumptive death can be granted. As noted by the Court in that case, t
he four requisites for the declaration of presumptive death under the Family Cod
e are as follows: 1. That the absent spouse has been missing for four consecutiv
e years, or two consecutive years if the disappearance occurred where there is d
anger of death under the circumstances laid down in Article 391, Civil Code; 2.
That the present spouse wishes to remarry; 3. That the present spouse has a well
-founded belief that the absentee is dead; and 4. That the present spouse files
a summary proceeding for the declaration of presumptive death of the absentee. I
n evaluating whether the present spouse has been able to prove the existence of
a well-founded belief that the absent spouse is already dead, the Court in Nolasco
cited United States v. Biasbas, which it found to be instructive as to the dili
gence required in searching for a missing spouse. In Biasbas, the Court held tha
t defendant Biasbas failed to exercise due diligence in ascertaining the whereab
outs of his first wife, considering his admission that that he only had a suspic
ion that she was dead, and that the only basis of that suspicion was the fact of
her absence. Similarly, in Republic v. Court of Appeals and Alegro, petitioner
Republic sought the reversal of the CA ruling affirming the RTCs grant of the Pet
ition for Declaration of Presumptive Death of the absent spouse on the ground th
at the respondent therein had not been able to prove a well-founded belief that hi
s spouse was already dead. The Court reversed the CA, granted the Petition, and
provided the following criteria for determining the existence of a well-founded b
elief under Article 41 of the Family Code: For the purpose of contracting the sub
sequent marriage under the preceding paragraph, the spouse present must institut
e a summary proceeding as provided in this Code for the declaration of presumpti
ve death of the absentee, without prejudice to the effect of reappearance of the
absent spouse. XXX The belief of the present spouse must be the result of prope
r and honest to goodness inquiries and efforts to ascertain the whereabouts of t
he absent spouse and whether the absent spouse is still alive or is already dead
. Whether or not the spouse present acted on a well-founded belief of death of t
he absent spouse depends upon the inquiries to be drawn from a great many circum
stances occurring before and after the disappearance of the absent spouse and th
e nature and extent of the inquiries made by present spouse. Applying the forego
ing standards to the present case, petitioner points out that respondent Yolanda
did not initiate a diligent search to locate her absent husband. XXX The Republ
ics arguments are well-taken. Nevertheless, we are constrained to deny the Petiti
on. The RTC ruling on the issue of whether respondent was able to prove her wellfounded belief that her absent spouse was already dead prior to her filing of the
Petition to declare him presumptively dead is already final and can no longer b
e modified or reversed. Indeed, [n]othing is more settled in law than that when a
judgment becomes final and executory, it becomes immutable and unalterable. The
same may no longer be modified in any respect, even if the modification is mean
t to correct what is perceived to be an erroneous conclusion of fact or law.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 66 of 171

VDA. DE CATALAN v. CATALAN-LEE G. R. No. 183622 February 8, 2012 Subject: Family


Relations Topic: Marriage
FACTS: Orlando B. Catalan was a naturalized American citizen. After allegedly ob
taining a divorce in the United States from his first wife, Felicitas Amor, he c
ontracted a second marriage with petitioner Merope. On 18 November 2004, Orlando
died intestate in the Philippines. On 28 February 2005, Merope filed with the R
egional Trial Court (RTC) of Dagupan City a Petition for the issuance of letters
of administration for her appointment as administratrix of the intestate estate
of Orlando. However, respondent Louella A. Catalan-Lee, one of the children of
Orlando from his first marriage, filed a similar petition. The two cases were su
bsequently consolidated. Merope prayed for the dismissal of Louellas action the g
round of litis pendentia, considering that a petition covering the same estate w
as already pending. Louella, on the other hand, alleged that petitioner was not
considered an interested person qualified to file a petition for the issuance of
letters of administration of the estate of Orlando. In support of her contentio
n, Louella alleged that a criminal case for bigamy was filed against Merope the
RTC of Alaminos, Pangasinan. Apparently, Orlandos first wife Felicitas filed a co
mplaint for bigamy, alleging that Merope contracted a second marriage to Orlando
despite having been married to one Eusebio Bristol in 1959. By 1998, the RTC ha
d acquitted Merope of bigamy. The trial court ruled that since Orlando was a div
orced American citizen whose divorce was not recognized under Philippine law, th
e marriage between him and Merope was invalid from the beginning. Furthermore, i
t took note of the action for declaration of nullity then pending with the RTC i
n Dagupan City filed by Felicitas against the Orlando and Merope. The RTC consid
ered the pending action to be a prejudicial question in determining the guilt of
Merope for the crime of bigamy. Finally, the RTC also found that Merope had nev
er been married to Eusebio Bristol in the first place. On 26 June 2006, the RTC
dismissed the Petition for the issuance of letters of administration filed by Me
rope and granted that Louella. Contrary to the original findings in 1998, the RT
C held that the marriage between petitioner and Eusebio Bristol was valid and su
bsisting when she married Orlando. The RTC reasoned further that Meropes acquitta
l in the previous bigamy case was fatal to her cause. Thus, the trial court held
that petitioner was not an interested party who may file a petition for the iss
uance of letters of administration. The CA affirmed, ruling that Bigamy... negate
s the validity of her subsequent marriage with Orlando B. Catalan [which] has no
t been disproved... no basis for us to make a contrary finding not being an inter
ested party the dismissal of her petition for letters of administration by the tr
ial court is in place. Merope moved for reconsideration, alleging that the reason
ing of the CA was illogical in stating, on the one hand, that she was acquitted
of bigamy, while, on the other hand, still holding that her marriage with Orland
o was invalid. She insists that with her acquittal of the crime of bigamy, the m
arriage enjoys the presumption of validity.
ISSUE: Is Meropes marriage to Orlando valid?
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 67 of 171

HELD: It depends on whether Merope can prove the fact of divorce allegedly obtai
ned by US citizen Orlando in the United States. ... we had already ruled that und
er the principles of comity, our jurisdiction recognizes a valid divorce obtaine
d by a spouse of foreign nationality. This doctrine was established as early as
1985 in Van Dorn v. Romillo, Jr. wherein we said: It is true that owing to the n
ationality principle embodied in Article 15 of the Civil Code, only Philippine n
ationals are covered by the policy against absolute divorces[,] the same being c
onsidered contrary to our concept of public policy and morality. However, aliens
may obtain divorces abroad, which may be recognized in the Philippines, provide
d they are valid according to their national law. In this case, the divorce in N
evada released private respondent from the marriage from the standards of Americ
an law, under which divorce dissolves the marriage. XXX In Van Dorn v. Romillo,
Jr. we held that owing to the nationality principle embodied in Article 15 of th
e Civil Code, only Philippine nationals are covered by the policy against absolu
te divorces, the same being considered contrary to our concept of public policy
and morality. In the same case, the Court ruled that aliens may obtain divorces
abroad, provided they are valid according to their national law. Citing this lan
dmark case, the Court held in Quita v. Court of Appeals, that once proven that r
espondent was no longer a Filipino citizen when he obtained the divorce from pet
itioner, the ruling in Van Dorn would become applicable and petitioner could very
well lose her right to inherit from him. In Pilapil v. Ibay-Somera, we recognize
d the divorce obtained by the respondent in his country, the Federal Republic of
Germany. There, we stated that divorce and its legal effects may be recognized
in the Philippines insofar as respondent is concerned in view of the nationality
principle in our civil law on the status of persons. XXX Nonetheless, the fact
of divorce must still first be proven as we have enunciated in Garcia v. Recio,
to wit: Respondent is getting ahead of himself. Before a foreign judgment is giv
en presumptive evidentiary value, the document must first be presented and admit
ted in evidence. A divorce obtained abroad is proven by the divorce decree itsel
f. Indeed the best evidence of a judgment is the judgment itself. The decree pur
ports to be a written act or record of an act of an official body or tribunal of
a foreign country. Under Sections 24 and 25 of Rule 132, on the other hand, a w
riting or document may be proven as a public or official record of a foreign cou
ntry by either (1) an official publication or (2) a copy thereof attested by the
officer having legal custody of the document. If the record is not kept in the
Philippines, such copy must be (a) accompanied by a certificate issued by the pr
oper diplomatic or consular officer in the Philippine foreign service stationed
in the foreign country in which the record is kept and (b) authenticated by the
seal of his office. XXX The burden of proof lies with the party who alleges the e
xistence of a fact or thing necessary in the prosecution or defense of an action
. XXX It is well-settled in our jurisdiction that our courts cannot take judicial
notice of foreign laws. Like any other facts, they must be alleged and proved.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 68 of 171

XXX It appears that the trial court no longer required petitioner to prove the v
alidity of Orlandos divorce under the laws of the United States and the marriage
between petitioner and the deceased. Thus, there is a need to remand the proceed
ings to the trial court for further reception of evidence to establish the fact
of divorce. Should petitioner prove the validity of the divorce and the subseque
nt marriage, she has the preferential right to be issued the letters of administ
ration over the estate. Otherwise, letters of administration may be issued to re
spondent, who is undisputedly the daughter or next of kin of the deceased, in ac
cordance with Sec. 6 of Rule 78 of the Revised Rules of Court. XXX Therefore, th
is case should be remanded to the trial court for further reception of evidence
on the divorce decree obtained by Merry Lee and the marriage of respondent and F
elicisimo. (Emphasis supplied) Thus, it is imperative for the trial court to fir
st determine the validity of the divorce to ascertain the rightful party to be i
ssued the letters of administration over the estate of Orlando B. Catalan.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 69 of 171

CAMPOS v. CAMPOS A.M. No. MTJ-10-1761 February 8, 2012 Subject: Family Relations
Topic: Legal Separation
FACTS: Aida and Judge Campos were married and had two children, Alistair and Cha
rmaine. Judge Campos filed a petition for declaration of nullity of marriage, al
leging that he and Aida were both psychologically incapacitated to comply with t
he essential marital obligations. Judge Campos alleged that he is a homosexual w
ho could not be intimate with his wife unless he imagined that she was another m
an, and that because of his homosexuality, his wife had affairs with other men.
Aida denied the allegations in respondents petition for declaration of nullity of
their marriage and alleged that Judge Campos wanted their marriage annulled so
that he could marry another woman with whom he was having a relationship. Aida o
pposed the petition for declaration of nullity of marriage and filed instead a p
etition for legal separation. Judge Campos maintains that he is homosexual, and
avers that he had admitted the same to his children who understood that the fili
ng of the petition for declaration of nullity of marriage was based on his homos
exuality and Aidas infidelity.
ISSUE: Has it been established by evidence that Judge Campos is indeed a homosex
ual, giving ground for legal separation?
HELD: No. Sexual tendencies are questions of fact and must be proven by evidence
, not mere assertions. With respect to respondents alleged homosexuality, such iss
ue is for the determination of the trial court wherein the petition for declarat
ion of nullity is pending. Thus, we also agree with the investigating judge and
the OCA in absolving respondent from the charge of dishonesty. The fact that res
pondent got married and had children is not proof against his claim of homosexua
lity. As pointed out by the investigating judge, it is possible that respondent
was only suppressing or hiding his true sexuality.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 70 of 171

VENTURA v. Sps. ABUDA G.R. No. 202932 October 23, 2013 Subject: Family Relations
Topic: Property Relations
FACTS: Socorro and Esteban were married on June 9, 1980. Both of them had childr
en from prior marriages: Esteban had a daughter named Evangeline Abuda, and Soco
rro had a son, who was the father of petitioner Edilberto. Socorro had a prior s
ubsisting marriage to one Crispin Roxas when she married Esteban. Socorro marrie
d Crispin on 18 April 1952. This marriage was not annulled, and Crispin was aliv
e at the time of Socorros marriage to Esteban. Estebans prior marriage, on the oth
er hand, was dissolved by virtue of his wifes death in 1960. According to Edilber
to, sometime in 1968, Esteban purchased a portion of a lot in Tondo, Manila (Vit
as property). The remaining portion was thereafter purchased by Evangeline on he
r Estebans behalf sometime in 1970. The Vitas property was covered by a TCT, date
d December 11, 1980, issued to Esteban Abletes, of legal age, Filipino, married t
o Socorro Torres. Edilberto also claimed that starting 1978, Evangeline and Esteb
an operated small business establishments also located in Tondo, Manila (Delpan
property). According to Edilberto, when Esteban was diagnosed with colon cancer
sometime in 1993, he decided to sell the Delpan and Vitas properties to Evangeli
ne and her husband. Evangeline continued paying the amortizations on the Delpan
property. The amortizations, P 200,000 paid in advance, were considered part of
the purchase price of the Delpan properties. Evangeline likewise gave her Esteba
n P 50,000 for the purchase of the Vitas properties and shouldered her fathers me
dical expenses. Esteban passed away on September 11, 1997, while Socorro passed
away on July 23, 1999. Edilberto filed a Petition for Annulment of Deeds of Sale
before the RTC, alleging that the sale of the properties was fraudulent because
Estebans signature on the deeds of sale was forged. Evangeline and his husband,
on the other hand, argued that because of Socorros prior marriage to Crispin, her
subsequent marriage to Esteban was null and void, thus neither Socorro nor her
heirs can claim any right or interest over the properties purchased by Esteban a
nd respondents. The RTC-Manila dismissed the petition for lack of merit, ruling
that the marriage between Socorro and Esteban was void from the beginning. Accor
ding to the RTC, the Vitas and Delpan properties are not conjugal, and are gover
ned by Articles 144 and 485 of the Civil Code. The RTC concluded that Socorro di
d not contribute any funds for the acquisition of the properties. Hence, she can
not be considered a co- owner, and her heirs cannot claim any rights over the Vi
tas and Delpan properties. Aggrieved, Edilberto filed an appeal before the CA, w
hich court sustained the decision of the RTC. The CA ruled, however, that the RT
C-Manila should have applied Article 148 of the Family Code, and not Articles 14
4 and 485 of the Civil Code. Article 148 of the Family Code states that in union
s between a man and a woman who are incapacitated to marry each other, only the p
roperties acquired by both of the parties through their actual joint contributio
n of money, property, or industry shall be owned by them in common in proportion
to their respective contributions. In the absence of proof to the contrary, the
ir contributions and corresponding shares are presumed to be equal. The same rul
e and presumption shall apply to joint deposits of money and evidences of credit
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 71 of 171

ISSUE: Are the Vitas and Delpan properties co-owned by Esteban and Socorro?
HELD: No, the properties belong exclusively to Esteban. Edilberto admitted that i
n unions between a man and a woman who are incapacitated to marry each other, th
e ownership over the properties acquired during the subsistence of that relation
ship shall be based on the actual contribution of the parties. He even quoted ou
r ruling in Borromeo v. Descallar in his petition: It is necessary for each of t
he partners to prove his or her actual contribution to the acquisition of proper
ty in order to be able to lay claim to any portion of it. Presumptions of co-own
ership and equal contribution do not apply. This is a reiteration of Article 148
of the Family Code, which the CA applied in the assailed decision: Art 148. In
cases of cohabitation [wherein the parties are incapacitated to marry each other
], only the properties acquired by both of the parties through their actual join
t contribution of money, property, or industry shall be owned by them in common
in proportion to their respective contributions. In the absence of proof to the
contrary, their contributions and corresponding shares are presumed to be equal.
The same rule and presumption shall apply to joint deposits of money and eviden
ces of credit. If one of the parties is validly married to another, his or her s
hare in the co-ownership shall accrue to the absolute community or conjugal part
nership existing in such valid marriage. If the party who acted in bad faith is
not validly married to another, his or her share shall be forfeited in the manne
r provided in the last paragraph of the preceding Article. The foregoing rules o
n forfeiture shall likewise apply even if both parties are in bad faith. XXX Edi
lberto argues that the certificate of title covering the Vitas property shows th
at the parcel of land is co-owned by Esteban and Socorro because: (1) the Transf
er Certificate of Title was issued on 11 December 1980, or several months after
the parties were married; and (2) title to the land was issued to Esteban Abletes
, of legal age, married to Socorro Torres. We disagree. The title itself shows th
at the Vitas property is owned by Esteban alone. The phrase married to Socorro To
rres is merely descriptive of his civil status, and does not show that Socorro co
owned the property. The evidence on record also shows that Esteban acquired owne
rship over the Vitas property prior to his marriage to Socorro, even if the cert
ificate of title was issued after the celebration of the marriage. XXX We cannot
sustain Edilberto s claim. Both the RTC-Manila and the CA found that the Delpan
property was acquired prior to the marriage of Esteban and Socorro. Furthermore
, even if payment of the purchase price of the Delpan property was made by Evang
eline, such payment was made on behalf of her father. Article 1238 of the Civil
Code provides: Art. 1238. Payment made by a third person who does not intend to
be reimbursed by the debtor is deemed to be a donation, which requires the debto
r s consent. But the payment is in any case valid as to the creditor who has acc
epted it. Thus, it is clear that Evangeline paid on behalf of her father, and th
e parties intended that the Delpan property would be owned by and registered und
er the name of Esteban.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 72 of 171

TAN v. ANDRADE G.R. No. 171904 and 172017 August 7, 2013 Subject: Family Relatio
ns Topic: Property Relations
FACTS: Rosario Vda. De Andrade was the registered owner of four parcels of land
known as Lots 17, 18, 19, and 20 situated in Cebu which she mortgaged to one Sim
on Diu, who foreclosed on the same. When the redemption period was about to expi
re, Rosario sought the assistance of Bobby Tan who agreed to redeem the subject
properties. Thereafter, Rosario sold the same to Bobby and her son, Proceso for
P100,000 as evidenced by a Deed of Absolute Sale dated April 29, 1983. On July 2
6, 1983, Proceso executed a Deed of Assignment, ceding to Bobby his interests ov
er the properties in consideration of P50,000. The Deed of Assignment was signed
by Henry, one of Rosarios sons, as instrumental witness. Bobby extended an Optio
n to Buy the subject properties to Proceso, giving the latter until 7:00 in the
evening of July 31, 1984 to purchase the properties for the sum of P310,000. Whe
n Proceso failed to purchase them, Bobby consolidated his ownership over the pro
perties, and the TCTs were issued in his name. On October 7, 1997, Rosarios child
ren, including Proceso and Henry, filed a complaint for reconveyance and annulme
nt of deeds and damages against Bobby before the RTC. They alleged that the init
ial transaction between Rosario and Bobby was actually an equitable mortgage whi
ch was entered into to secure Rosarios indebtedness with Bobby. They also claimed
that since the subject properties were inherited by them from their father, the
subject properties were conjugal in nature, and thus, Rosario had no right to d
ispose of their respective shares. They argued that they remained as co-owners o
f the subject properties together with Bobby, despite the issuance of the TCTs i
n his name. In his defense, Bobby contended that the subject properties were sol
ely owned by Rosario per the TCTs issued in her name and that he had validly acq
uired the same upon Proceso, Jr.s failure to exercise his option to buy back the
subject properties.
ISSUE: Are the properties conjugal in nature?
HELD: No. Pertinent to the resolution of this second issue is Article 160 of the
Civil Code which states that "[a]ll property of the marriage is presumed to belo
ng to the conjugal partnership, unless it be proved that it pertains exclusively
to the husband or to the wife." For this presumption to apply, the party invoki
ng the same must, however, preliminarily prove that the property was indeed acqu
ired during the marriage. As held in Go v. Yamane: As a condition sine qua non f
or the operation of [Article 160] in favor of the conjugal partnership, the part
y who invokes the presumption must first prove that the property was acquired du
ring the marriage. In other words, the presumption in favor of conjugality does
not operate if there is no showing of when the property alleged to be conjugal w
as acquired. Moreover, the presumption may be rebutted only with strong, clear,
categorical and convincing evidence. There must be strict proof of the exclusive
ownership of one of the spouses, and the burden of proof rests upon the party a
sserting it. Corollarily, as decreed in Valdez v. CA, the presumption under Arti
cle 160 cannot be made to apply where there is no showing as to when the propert
y alleged to be conjugal was acquired:
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 73 of 171

The issuance of the title in the name solely of one spouse is not determinative
of the conjugal nature of the property, since there is no showing that it was ac
quired during the marriage of the Spouses Carlos Valdez, Sr. and Josefina L. Val
dez. The presumption under Article 160 of the New Civil Code, that property acqu
ired during marriage is conjugal, does not apply where there is no showing as to
when the property alleged to be conjugal was acquired. The presumption cannot p
revail when the title is in the name of only one spouse and the rights of innoce
nt third parties are involved. Moreover, when the property is registered in the
name of only one spouse and there is no showing as to when the property was acqu
ired by same spouse, this is an indication that the property belongs exclusively
to the said spouse. XXX In this case, records reveal that the conjugal partners
hip of Rosario and her husband was terminated upon the latters death on August 7,
1978 while the transfer certificates of title over the subject properties were
issued on September 28, 1979 and solely in the name of "Rosario Vda. de Andrade,
of legal age, widow, Filipino." Other than their bare allegation, no evidence w
as adduced by the Andrades to establish that the subject properties were procure
d during the coverture of their parents or that the same were bought with conjug
al funds. Moreover, Rosarios declaration that she is the absolute owner of the di
sputed parcels of land in the subject deed of sale was not disputed by her son P
roceso, Jr., who was a party to the same. Hence, by virtue of these incidents, t
he Court upholds the RTCs finding that the subject properties were exclusive or s
ole properties of Rosario.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 74 of 171

GO-BANGAYAN v. BANGAYAN G.R. No. 201061 July 3, 2013 Subject: Family Relations T
opic: Property Relations
FACTS: In 2004, Respondent Benjamin Bangayan filed a petition for declaration of
a non-existent marriage and/or declaration of nullity of marriage before the RT
C of Manila. Benjamin alleged that in 1973, he married Azucena in Caloocan City
and they had three children; however, in 1979, Benjamin developed a romantic rel
ationship with Sally who was a customer in the auto parts business owned by Benj
amins family. He further alleged that in 1981, Azucena left for the USA; and in 1
982, he and Sally lived together as husband and wife and had 2 children, Bernice
and Bentley . Sallys father was against the relationship, in order to appease he
r father, Sally brought Benjamin to an office in Santolan, Pasig City where they
signed a purported marriage contract. Benjamin claimed that Sally knew of his m
arital status and assured him that the marriage contract would not be registered
. Benjamin and Sallys cohabitation produced two children. During their cohabitati
on, they also acquired several real properties, to wit: 1. TCT Nos. 61720 and 19
0860 registered in the name of Benjamin, married to Sally; 2. TCT No. 61722 regi
stered in the names of Benjamin and Sally as spouses; 3. Condominium units CCT N
os. 8782 and 8783 registered in the name of Sally, married to Benjamin; and 4. T
CT Nos. N-193656 and 253681 registered in the name of Sally as a single individu
al. The relationship of Benjamin and Sally ended in 1994 when Sally left for Can
ada, bringing Bernice and Bentley with her. She then filed criminal actions for
bigamy and falsification of public documents against Benjamin, using their simul
ated marriage contract as evidence. Benjamin, in turn, filed a petition for decl
aration of a non-existent marriage / declaration of nullity of marriage on the g
round that his marriage to Sally was bigamous and that it lacked the formal requ
isites to a valid marriage. Benjamin also asked the trial court for the partitio
n of the properties he acquired with Sally in accordance with Article 148 of the
Family Code, for his appointment as administrator of the properties during the
pendency of the case, and for the declaration of Bernice and Bentley as illegiti
mate children. A total of 44 registered properties became the subject of the par
tition before the trial court, including 37 properties listed by Sally in her an
swer. The trial court ruled that the marriage between Benjamin and Sally was not
bigamous, but was void nonetheless because of the lack of a marriage license. H
ence, bigamy was not committed in this case. The trial court did not rule on the
issue of the legitimacy status of Bernice and Bentley because they were not par
ties to the case. The trial court denied Sallys claim for spousal support because
she was not married to Benjamin. The trial court likewise denied support for Be
rnice and Bentley who were both of legal age and did not ask for support. On the
issue of partition, the trial court ruled that Sally could not claim the 37 pro
perties she named in her answer as part of her conjugal properties with Benjamin
. The trial court ruled that Sally was not legally married to Benjamin. Further,
the 37 properties that Sally was claiming were owned by Benjamins parents who ga
ve the properties to their children, including Benjamin, as advanced inheritance
. The 37 titles were in the names of Benjamin and his brothers and the phrase "m
arried to Sally Go" was merely descriptive of Benjamins civil status in the title
. As regards the two lots under TCT Nos. 61720 and 190860, the trial court found
that they were bought by Benjamin using his own money and that Sally failed to
prove any actual contribution of money, property or industry in their purchase.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 75 of 171

While the RTC found that Sally was a registered co-owner of the lots covered by
TCT Nos. 61722, N193656, and 253681 as well as the two condominium units under C
CT Nos. 8782 and 8783, it also ruled that TCT No. 61722 and the two condominium
units were purchased from the earnings of Benjamin alone. The RTC further ruled
that these properties and the rest of the properties were part of the conjugal p
artnership of Benjamin and Azucena, without prejudice to Benjamins right to dispu
te his conjugal state with Azucena in a separate proceeding. The trial court fur
ther ruled that Sally acted in bad faith because she knew that Benjamin was marr
ied to Azucena. Applying Article 148 of the Family Code, the trial court forfeit
ed all of Sallys share in favor of Bernice and Bentley while Benjamins share rever
ted to his conjugal ownership with Azucena
ISSUE: Is Art. 148 the applicable property regime between Sally and Benjamin?
HELD: Yes. The Court of Appeals correctly ruled that the property relations of Be
njamin and Sally is governed by Article 148 of the Family Code which states: Art
. 148. In cases of cohabitation not falling under the preceding Article, only th
e properties acquired by both of the parties through their actual joint contribu
tion of money, property, or industry shall be owned by them in common in proport
ion to their respective contributions. In the absence of proof to the contrary,
their contributions and corresponding shares are presumed to be equal. The same
rule and presumption shall apply to joint deposits of money and evidences of cre
dit. If one of the parties is validly married to another, his or her share in th
e co-ownership shall accrue to the absolute community of conjugal partnership ex
isting in such valid marriage. If the party who acted in bad faith is not validl
y married to another, his or her share shall be forfeited in the manner provided
in the last paragraph of the preceding Article. The foregoing rules on forfeitu
re shall likewise apply even if both parties are in bad faith. Benjamin and Sall
y cohabitated without the benefit of marriage. Thus, only the properties acquire
d by them through their actual joint contribution of money, property, or industr
y shall be owned by them in common in proportion to their respective contributio
ns. Thus, both the trial court and the Court of Appeals correctly excluded the 3
7 properties being claimed by Sally which were given by Benjamins father to his c
hildren as advance inheritance. Sallys Answer to the petition before the trial co
urt even admitted that Benjamins late father himself conveyed a number of properti
es to his children and their respective spouses which included Sally. XXX We have
ruled that the words "married to" preceding the name of a spouse are merely des
criptive of the civil status of the registered owner.29 Such words do not prove
co-ownership. Without proof of actual contribution from either or both spouses,
there can be no co-ownership under Article 148 of the Family Code.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 76 of 171

PANA v. HEIRS OF JUANITE G.R. No. 164201 December 10, 2012 Subject: Family Relat
ions Topic: Property Relations
FACTS: The prosecution accused petitioner Efren Pana and his wife Melecia with m
urder before the RTC of Surigao. On July 9, 1997 the RTC rendered a decision acq
uitting Efren, but found Melecia guilty and sentenced her to death, later modifi
ed to reclusion perpetua by the SC. The SC further ordered the guilty to pay eac
h of the heirs of the victims, jointly and severally, P50,000 each as civil inde
mnity, P50,000 each as moral damages, P15,000 each as temperate damages, and P50
,000 exemplary damages per victim. The decision became final and executory on Oc
tober 1, 2001, and upon motion for execution by the heirs of the deceased, othe
RTC ordered the issuance of the writ, resulting in the levy of real properties r
egistered in the names of Efren and Melecia. A notice of levy and a notice of sa
le on execution were also issued. On April 3, 2002, petitioner Efren and his wif
e Melecia filed a motion to quash the writ of execution, claiming that the levie
d properties were conjugal assets, not paraphernal assets of Melecia. The RTC de
nied both the motion and the subsequent motion for reconsideration. Efren claims
that his marriage with Melecia falls under the regime of conjugal partnership o
f gains, given that they were married prior to the enactment of the Family. Alth
ough the heirs of the deceased victims do not dispute that it was the Civil Code
, not the Family Code, which governed the marriage, they insist that it was the
system of absolute community of property that applied to Efren and Melecia, beca
use nothing prevents the application of Art. 94, last paragraph, of the Family C
ode because their property regime is precisely governed by the law on absolute c
ommunity. The RTC and the CA both agreed, and in support of such decision, used
Art. 256 of the Family Code which states: "This code shall have retroactive effe
ct in so far as it does not prejudice or impair vested or acquired rights in acc
ordance with the Civil Code or other laws." They went on to rule that, with both
spouses still alive, no vested rights have been acquired by each over the prope
rties of the community. Hence, the liabilities imposed on the accused-spouse may
properly be charged against the community.
ISSUE: May the conjugal properties of spouses Efren and Melecia be levied and ex
ecuted upon for the satisfaction of Melecias civil liability in the murder case?
HELD: No. Both the RTC and the CA are in error on this point. While it is true th
at the personal stakes of each spouse in their conjugal assets are inchoate or u
nclear prior to the liquidation of the conjugal partnership of gains and, theref
ore, none of them can be said to have acquired vested rights in specific assets,
it is evident that Article 256 of the Family Code does not intend to reach back
and automatically convert into absolute community of property relation all conj
ugal partnerships of gains that existed before 1988 excepting only those with pr
enuptial agreements.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 77 of 171

The Family Code itself provides in Article 76 that marriage settlements cannot b
e modified except prior to marriage. XXX Post-marriage modification of such sett
lements can take place only where: (a) the absolute community or conjugal partne
rship was dissolved and liquidated upon a decree of legal separation; (b) the sp
ouses who were legally separated reconciled and agreed to revive their former pr
operty regime; (c) judicial separation of property had been had on the ground th
at a spouse abandons the other without just cause or fails to comply with his ob
ligations to the family; (d) there was judicial separation of property under Art
icle 135; (e) the spouses jointly filed a petition for the voluntary dissolution
of their absolute community or conjugal partnership of gains. None of these cir
cumstances exists in the case of Efren and Melecia. What is more, under the conj
ugal partnership of gains established by Article 142 of the Civil Code, the husb
and and the wife place only the fruits of their separate property and incomes fr
om their work or industry in the common fund. XXX What is clear is that Efren an
d Melecia were married when the Civil Code was still the operative law on marria
ges. The presumption, absent any evidence to the contrary, is that they were mar
ried under the regime of the conjugal partnership of gains. XXX Consequently, th
e Court must refer to the Family Code provisions in deciding whether or not the
conjugal properties of Efren and Melecia may be held to answer for the civil lia
bilities imposed on Melecia in the murder case. Its Article 122 provides: Art. 12
2. The payment of personal debts contracted by the husband or the wife before or
during the marriage shall not be charged to the conjugal properties partnership
except insofar as they redounded to the benefit of the family. Neither shall th
e fines and pecuniary indemnities imposed upon them be charged to the partnershi
p. However, the payment of personal debts contracted by either spouse before the
marriage, that of fines and indemnities imposed upon them, as well as the suppo
rt of illegitimate children of either spouse, may be enforced against the partne
rship assets after the responsibilities enumerated in the preceding Article have
been covered, if the spouse who is bound should have no exclusive property or i
f it should be insufficient; but at the time of the liquidation of the partnersh
ip, such spouse shall be charged for what has been paid for the purpose above-me
ntioned. Since Efren does not dispute the RTCs finding that Melecia has no exclusi
ve property of her own, the above applies. The civil indemnity that the decision
in the murder case imposed on her may be enforced against their conjugal assets
after the responsibilities enumerated in Article 121 of the Family Code have be
en covered. XXX Contrary to Efrens contention, Article 121 above allows payment o
f the criminal indemnities imposed on his wife, Melecia, out of the partnership
assets even before these are liquidated. Indeed, it states that such indemnities
may be enforced against the partnership assets after the responsibilities enume
rated in the preceding article have been covered. No prior liquidation of those a
ssets is required. This is not altogether unfair since Article 122 states that at
the time of liquidation of the partnership, such [offending] spouse shall be ch
arged for what has been paid for the purposes above-mentioned.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 78 of 171

BEUMER v. AMORES G.R. No. 195670 December 3, 2012 Subject: Family Relations Topi
c: Property Relations
FACTS: Petitioner Beumer, a Dutch National, and respondent Amores, a Filipina, m
arried in March 29, 1980. After several years, the RTC of Negros Oriental, Branc
h 32, declared the nullity of their marriage because of the Beumers psychological
incapacity. Consequently, Beumer filed a Petition for Dissolution of Conjugal P
artnership dated December 14, 2000 praying for the distribution of properties cl
aimed to have been acquired during the subsistence of their marriage. In defense
, Amores averred that, with the exception of their 2 residential houses, she and
petitioner did not acquire any conjugal properties during their marriage, the t
ruth being that she used her own personal money to purchase the other properties
and inherited the rest. During trial, petitioner testified that while four of t
he lots were registered in the name of Amores, these properties were acquired wi
th the money he received from the Dutch government as his disability benefit sin
ce respondent did not have sufficient income to pay for their acquisition. The R
TC of Negros Oriental, rendered its Decision, dissolving the parties conjugal par
tnership, awarding all the parcels of land to respondent as her paraphernal prop
erties, the tools and equipment in favor of petitioner as his exclusive properti
es, and the 2 residential houses standing as co-owned by the parties. It ruled t
hat, regardless of the source of funds for the acquisition of the parcels of lan
d, Beumer could not have acquired any right whatsoever over these properties as
petitioner still attempted to acquire them notwithstanding his knowledge of the
constitutional prohibition against foreign ownership of private lands. Petitione
rs plea for reimbursement for the amount he had paid to purchase the foregoing pr
operties on the basis of equity was likewise denied for not having come to court
with clean hands. Petitioner elevated the matter to the CA, contesting only the
RTCs award of the 4 lots in favor of respondent. He insisted that the money used
to purchase the foregoing properties came from his own capital funds and that t
hey were registered in the name of his former wife only because of the constitut
ional prohibition against foreign ownership. Thus, he prayed for reimbursement o
f 1/2 of the value of what he had paid in the purchase of the said properties, w
aiving the other half in favor of his estranged ex-wife. However, the CA upheld
the RTC decision.
ISSUE: Can a foreigner assert a share in conjugal properties consisting of lands
despite the Constitutional prohibition on foreign ownership of private Philippi
ne land?
HELD: No. The issue to be resolved is not of first impression. In In Re: Petition
For Separation of PropertyElena Buenaventura Muller v. Helmut Muller the Court
had already denied a claim for reimbursement of the value of purchased parcels o
f Philippine land instituted by a foreigner Helmut Muller, against his former Fi
lipina spouse, Elena Buenaventura Muller. It held that Helmut Muller cannot seek
reimbursement on the ground of equity where it is clear that he willingly and k
nowingly bought the property despite the prohibition against foreign ownership o
f Philippine land enshrined under Section 7, Article XII of the 1987 Philippine
Constitution which reads:
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 79 of 171

Section 7. Save in cases of hereditary succession, no private lands shall be tra


nsferred or conveyed except to individuals, corporations, or associations qualif
ied to acquire or hold lands of the public domain. Undeniably, petitioner openly
admitted that he "is well aware of the above-cited constitutional prohibition"
and even asseverated that, because of such prohibition, he and respondent regist
ered the subject properties in the latters name. Clearly, petitioners actuations s
howed his palpable intent to skirt the constitutional prohibition. On the basis
of such admission, the Court finds no reason why it should not apply the Muller
ruling and accordingly, deny petitioners claim for reimbursement.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 80 of 171

QUIAO v. QUIAO G.R. No 176556 July 4, 2012 Subject: Family Relations Topic: Prop
erty Relations
FACTS: On October 26, 2000, herein respondent Rita C. Quiao filed a complaint fo
r legal separation against herein petitioner Brigido B. Quiao. The RTC rendered
a decision declaring the legal separation of plaintiff Rita C. Quiao and defenda
nt-respondent Brigido B. Quiao pursuant to Article 55. Except for Letecia C. Qui
ao who is of legal age, the RTC ordered that the three minor children, namely, K
itchie, Lotis and Petchie, shall remain under the custody of the Rita who is the
innocent spouse. The RTC also ruled that, except for the personal and real prop
erties already foreclosed by the RCBC, all the remaining properties, shall be di
vided equally between herein Rita and Rigido subject to the respective legitimes
of the children and the payment of the unpaid conjugal liabilities. Rigidos shar
e, however, of the net profits earned by the conjugal partnership was forfeited
in favor of the common children. Rigido filed a motion for clarification to, ask
ing the court to define the forfeiture, the term net profits, and the governing la
ws.
ISSUES: 1. Is the conjugal partnership of gains the governing property relations
law? 2. Does the Family Code govern the dissolution of the property regime even
if the New Civil Code was the law in force at the time of the marriage? 3. Will
the application of the Family Code provisions on dissolution impair vested righ
ts under the New Civil Code? 4. How are net profits computed or ascertained?
HELD: 1. Yes,...the parties property relation is governed by the system of relat
ive community or conjugal partnership of gains. The petitioner claims that the c
ourt a quo is wrong when it applied Article 129 of the Family Code, instead of A
rticle 102. He confusingly argues that Article 102 applies because there is no o
ther provision under the Family Code which defines net profits earned subject of
forfeiture as a result of legal separation. XXX the record, we can deduce that
the petitioner and the respondent tied the marital knot on January 6, 1977. Sinc
e at the time of the exchange of marital vows, the operative law was the Civil C
ode of the Philippines (R.A. No. 386) and since they did not agree on a marriage
settlement, the property relations between the petitioner and the respondent is
the system of relative community or conjugal partnership of gains.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 81 of 171

2. Yes, since at the time of the dissolution of the petitioner and the respondent
s marriage the operative law is already the Family Code, the same applies in th
e instant case and the applicable law in so far as the liquidation of the conjug
al partnership assets and liabilities is concerned is Article 129 of the Family
Code in relation to Article 63(2) of the Family Code. The latter provision is ap
plicable because according to Article 256 of the Family Code This Code shall have
retroactive effect insofar as it does not prejudice or impair vested or acquire
d rights in accordance with the Civil Code or other law. 3. No, as there is no ve
sted right in the common properties prior to dissolution of the property regime.
A vested right is one whose existence, effectivity and extent do not depend upon
events foreign to the will of the holder, or to the exercise of which no obstac
le exists, and which is immediate and perfect in itself and not dependent upon a
contingency. The term vested right expresses the concept of present fixed interes
t which, in right reason and natural justice, should be protected against arbitr
ary State action, or an innately just and imperative right which enlightened fre
e society, sensitive to inherent and irrefragable individual rights, cannot deny
. To be vested, a right must have become a titlelegal or equitableto the present o
r future enjoyment of property. XXX The concept of vested right is a consequence o
f the constitutional guaranty of due process that expresses a present fixed inte
rest which in right reason and natural justice is protected against arbitrary st
ate action; it includes not only legal or equitable title to the enforcement of
a demand but also exemptions from new obligations created after the right has be
come vested. Rights are considered vested when the right to enjoyment is a prese
nt interest, absolute, unconditional, and perfect or fixed and irrefutable. From
the foregoing, it is clear that while one may not be deprived of his vested righ
t, he may lose the same if there is due process and such deprivation is founded i
n law and jurisprudence. XXX In case there are no children, the innocent spouse
shall be entitled to all the net profits. From the foregoing, the petitioner s c
laim of a vested right has no basis considering that even under Article 176 of t
he Civil Code, his share of the conjugal partnership profits may be forfeited if
he is the guilty party in a legal separation case. XXX Prior to the liquidation
of the conjugal partnership, the interest of each spouse in the conjugal assets
is inchoate, a mere expectancy, which constitutes neither a legal nor an equita
ble estate, and does not ripen into title until it appears that there are assets
in the community as a result of the liquidation and settlement. 4. Article 129 o
f the Family Code clearly applies to the present case since the parties propert
y relation is governed by the system of relative community or conjugal partnersh
ip of gains and since the trial court s Decision has attained finality and immut
ability. The net profits of the conjugal partnership of gains are all the fruits
of the separate properties of the spouses and the products of their labor and i
ndustry. The petitioner inquires from us the meaning of net profits earned by the
conjugal partnership for purposes of effecting the forfeiture authorized under A
rticle 63 of the Family Code. He insists that since there is no other provision
under the Family Code, which defines net profits
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 82 of 171

earned subject of forfeiture as a result of legal separation, then Article 102 o


f the Family Code applies. XXX First and foremost, we must distinguish between t
he applicable law as to the property relations between the parties and the appli
cable law as to the definition of net profits. As earlier discussed, Article 129 o
f the Family Code applies as to the property relations of the parties. In other
words, the computation and the succession of events will follow the provisions u
nder Article 129 of the said Code. Moreover, as to the definition of net profits,
we cannot but refer to Article 102(4) of the Family Code, since it expressly pro
vides that for purposes of computing the net profits subject to forfeiture under
Article 43, No. (2) and Article 63, No. (2), Article 102(4) applies. In this pr
ovision, net profits shall be the increase in value between the market value of t
he community property at the time of the celebration of the marriage and the mar
ket value at the time of its dissolution. Thus, without any iota of doubt, Articl
e 102(4) applies to both the dissolution of the absolute community regime under
Article 102 of the Family Code, and to the dissolution of the conjugal partnersh
ip regime under Article 129 of the Family Code. Where lies the difference? As ea
rlier shown, the difference lies in the processes used under the dissolution of
the absolute community regime under Article 102 of the Family Code, and in the p
rocesses used under the dissolution of the conjugal partnership regime under Art
icle 129 of the Family Code. Considering that the couple s marriage has been dis
solved under the Family Code, Article 129 of the same Code applies in the liquid
ation of the couple s properties in the event that the conjugal partnership of g
ains is dissolved...
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 83 of 171

Sps. ABRENICA v. LAW FIRM OF ABRENICA, TUNGOL and TIBAYAN G.R. No. 180572 June 1
8, 2012 Subject: Family Relations Topic: Property Relations
FACTS: Petitioner Atty. Erlando A. Abrenica was a partner of individual responde
nts, Attys. Tungol and Tibayan, in the Law Firm of Abrenica, Tungol and Tibayan
(the firm). In 1998, the respondents filed with the SEC 2 cases against petitioner
. The first case was for Accounting and Return and Transfer of Partnership, wher
e they alleged that petitioner refused to return partnership funds representing
profits from the sale of a parcel of land in Batangas. The second case was also
for Accounting and Return and Transfer of Partnership Funds, where respondents s
ought to recover from petitioner retainer fees that he received from two clients
of the firm and the balance of the cash advance that he obtained from the firm
in 1997. The cases were later transferred to the RTC pursuant to s new statute w
hich transferred jurisdiction over intra-corporate controversies from the SEC to
the courts. In a Consolidated Decision dated November 23, 2004, the RTC ordered
Atty. Abrenica render full accounting of the transactions and remit the sums of
P4,524,000 and P320,000 to the firm, plus interests. Respondents filed for a Wr
it of Execution pursuant to A.M. 01-2-04-SC, which provides that decisions in in
tra-corporate disputes are immediately executory and not subject to appeal unles
s stayed by an appellate court. As such, properties allegedly belonging to the s
ouses are being executed upon, including 2 cars purchased before 1997 and a hous
e and lot. Petitioners Erlando and Joena Abrenica subsequently filed with the CA
a Petition for Annulment of Judgment. The Court noted that petitioners were marr
ied on May 28, 1998. The cases filed with the SEC May 6, 1998 and 15 October 199
8 were filed against petitioner Erlando only. It was with the filing of CA-G.R.
SP No. 98679 on 24 April 2007 that Joena joined Erlando as a co-petitioner. It ap
pears from the records that petitioner Erlando was first married to a certain Ma
. Aline Lovejoy Padua on 13 October 1983. They had three children: Patrik Erland
o (born on 14 April 1985), Maria Monica Erline (born on 9 September 1986), and P
atrik Randel (born on 12 April 1990).
ISSUE: Are the properties part of the absolute community of Erlando and Joena, s
uch that they cannot be executed upon for the debts of Erlando?
HELD: No. Petitioner Joena also asserted that the two (2) motor vehicles purchase
d in 1992 and 1997, as well as the house and lot covered by TCT No. 216818 forme
d part of the absolute community regime. However, Art. 92, par. (3) of the Famil
y Code excludes from the community property the property acquired before the mar
riage of a spouse who has legitimate descendants by a former marriage; and the f
ruits and the income, if any, of that property. Neither these two vehicles nor t
he house and lot belong to the second marriage.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 84 of 171

DELA PEA v. AVILA and FAR EAST BANK G.R. No. 187490 February 8, 2012 Subject: Fam
ily Relations Topic: Property Relations
FACTS: The suit concerns a parcel of residential land with improvements situated
in Marikina City and previously registered in the name of petitioner Antonia R.
Dela Pea married to Antegono A. Dela Pea. On May 7, 1996, Antonia obtained from A.C
. Aguila & Sons, Co. a loan in the sum of P250,000 which, pursuant to a promisso
ry note, was payable on or before July 7, 1996. On the very same day, Antonia al
so executed in favor of Aguila a notarized Deed of Real Estate Mortgage over the
property, for the purpose of securing the payment of said loan obligation. On N
ovember 4, 1997, Antonia executed a notarized Deed of Absolute Sale over the pro
perty in favor of respondent Gemma Avila (Gemma), for the stated consideration o
f P600,000. After consolidating her title, on November 26, 1997, Gemma also cons
tituted a real estate mortgage over the property in favor of respondent Far East
Bank to secure her loan facility of P1,200,000 with the said bank. On March 3,
1998, Antonia filed with the Register of Deeds of Marikina an Affidavit of Adver
se Claim to the effect that she was the true and lawful owner of the property wh
ich had been titled in the name of Gemma and that the Deed of Absolute Sale Gemm
a utilized in procuring her title was simulated. As a consequence, Antonias Affid
avit of Adverse Claim was inscribed on Gemmas title. Gemma failed to pay her obli
gations with the bank, thus the bank caused the extrajudicial foreclosure of the
real estate mortgage over the property. As the highest bidder at the public auc
tion conducted in the premises, Far East Bank consolidated its ownership over th
e realty and caused the same to be titled in its name. On May 18, 1998, Antonia,
filed against Gemma the complaint for annulment of deed of sale, claiming that
the subject realty was conjugal property, and that transactions over the lot wer
e not consented to by Antegono who had, by then, already died. The RTC held that
the subject property was conjugal in nature and that the 4 November 1997 Deed o
f Absolute Sale Antonia executed in favor of Gemma was void as a disposition wit
hout the liquidation required under Article 130 of the Family Code. The CA rever
sed the RTC decision, stating that property was paraphernal in nature for failur
e of the Dela Peas to prove that the same was acquired during Antonias marriage to
Antegono.
ISSUE: Is the property in question the conjugal property of Antegono and Antonia
?
HELD: No; the property belongs exclusively to Antonia. Pursuant to Article 160 of
the Civil Code of the Philippines, all property of the marriage is presumed to
belong to the conjugal partnership, unless it be proved that it pertains exclusi
vely to the husband or to the wife. Although it is not necessary to prove that t
he property was acquired with funds of the partnership, proof of acquisition dur
ing the marriage is an essential condition for the operation of the presumption
in favor of the conjugal partnership. In the case of Francisco vs. Court of Appe
als, this Court categorically ruled as follows:
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 85 of 171

Article 160 of the New Civil Code provides that "all property of the marriage is
presumed to belong to the conjugal partnership, unless it be proved that it per
tains exclusively to the husband or to the wife." However, the party who invokes
this presumption must first prove that the property in controversy was acquired
during the marriage. Proof of acquisition during the coverture is a condition s
ine qua non for the operation of the presumption in favor of the conjugal partne
rship. XXX As the parties invoking the presumption of conjugality under Article
160 of the Civil Code, the Dela Peas did not even come close to proving that the
subject property was acquired during the marriage between Antonia and Antegono.
Beyond Antonias bare and uncorroborated assertion that the property was purchased
when she was already married,[34] the record is bereft of any evidence from whi
ch the actual date of acquisition of the realty can be ascertained. When queried
about the matter during his cross-examination, even Alvin admitted that his sol
e basis for saying that the property was owned by his parents was Antonias unilat
eral pronouncement to the effect.[35] Considering that the presumption of conjug
ality does not operate if there is no showing of when the property alleged to be
conjugal was acquired, we find that the CA cannot be faulted for ruling that th
e realty in litigation was Antonias exclusive property. Not having established th
e time of acquisition of the property, the Dela Peas insist that the registration
thereof in the name of Antonia R. Dela Pea, of legal age, Filipino, married to An
tegono A. Dela Pea should have already sufficiently established its conjugal natur
e. Confronted with the same issue in the case Ruiz vs. Court of Appeals, this Co
urt ruled, however, that the phrase married to is merely descriptive of the civil
status of the wife and cannot be interpreted to mean that the husband is also a
registered owner. Because it is likewise possible that the property was acquired
by the wife while she was still single and registered only after her marriage,
neither would registration thereof in said manner constitute proof that the same
was acquired during the marriage and, for said reason, to be presumed conjugal
in nature. Since there is no showing as to when the property in question was acqu
ired, the fact that the title is in the name of the wife alone is determinative
of its nature as paraphernal, i.e., belonging exclusively to said spouse. Viewed
in light of the paraphernal nature of the property, the CA correctly ruled that
the RTC reversibly erred in nullifying Antonias 4 November 1997 sale thereof in f
avor of Gemma, for lack of the liquidation required under Article 130 of the Fam
ily Code.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 86 of 171

FORTALEZA v. LAPITAN G.R. No. 178288 August 15, 2012 Subject: Family Relations T
opic: Family-Family Home
FACTS: The spouses Fortaleza obtained a loan from creditors Lapitan in the amoun
t of P1.2 million subject to 34% interest per annum. As security, spouses Fortal
eza executed a mortgage over their residential house and lot. When spouses Forta
leza failed to pay the indebtedness including the interests and penalties, the c
reditors applied for extrajudicial foreclosure of the mortgage, and the public a
uction sale was set. At the sale, the creditors son Dr. Raul Lapitan and his wife
emerged as the highest bidders. They were issued a Certificate of Sale register
ed with the Registry of Deeds. The one-year redemption period expired without th
e spouses Fortaleza redeeming the mortgage. Thus, spouses Lapitan executed an af
fidavit of consolidation of ownership and caused the registration of the subject
property in their names. Despite this, the spouses Fortaleza refused spouses La
pitans formal demand to vacate and surrender possession of the subject property.
The RTC ordered the issuance of a writ of possession explaining that it is a min
isterial duty of the court to uphold the ownership of the Lapitans since the red
emption period had expired and a title had already been issued in their name. Sp
ouses Fortaleza claimed that subject property is their family home and is exempt
from foreclosure sale.
ISSUE: Is the subject property a family home exempt from forced sale, allowing t
he spouses Fortaleza to exercise the right of redemption even after the expirati
on of the one-year period?
HELD: No. Spouses Fortalezas argument that the subject property is exempt from for
ced sale because it is a family home deserves scant consideration. As a rule, th
e family home is exempt from execution, forced sale or attachment. However, Arti
cle 155(3) of the Family Code explicitly allows the forced sale of a family home
"for debts secured by mortgages on the premises before or after such constituti
on." In this case, there is no doubt that spouses Fortaleza voluntarily executed
on January 28, 1998 a deed of Real Estate Mortgage over the subject property wh
ich was even notarized by their original counsel of record. And assuming that th
e property is exempt from forced sale, spouses Fortaleza did not set up and prov
e to the Sheriff such exemption from forced sale before it was sold at the publi
c auction. XXX such claim for exemption should be set up and proved to the Sherif
f before the sale of the property at public auction. Failure to do so would esto
p the party from later claiming the exemption. As this Court ruled in Gomez v. G
ealone: Although the Rules of Court does not prescribe the period within which t
o claim the exemption, the rule is, nevertheless, well-settled that the right of
exemption is a personal privilege granted to the judgment debtor and as such, i
t must be claimed not by the sheriff, but by the debtor himself at the time of t
he levy or within a reasonable period thereafter. (Emphasis supplied.) Certainly
, reasonable time for purposes of the law on exemption does not mean a time afte
r the expiration of the one-year period for a judgment debtor to redeem the prop
erty.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 87 of 171

DE MESA v. ACERO G.R. No. 185064 January 16, 2012 Subject: Family Relations Topi
c: Family-Family Home
FACTS: The spouses De Mesa jointly purchased the subject property on 1984 while
they were still merely cohabiting before their marriage. A house was later const
ructed on the subject property, which the spouses thereafter occupied as their f
amily home after they got married sometime in 1987. Sometime in September 1988,
Araceli (one of the spouses De mesa) obtained a loan from Claudio in the amount
of P100,000, which was secured by a mortgage over the subject property. As payme
nt, Araceli issued a check drawn against China Banking Corporation payable to Cl
audio, which was dishonored. The spouses De Mesa failed to heed Claudios subseque
nt demand for payment. Subsequently, an information for violation of B.P. 22 was
filed against the spouses De Mesa. The RTC rendered a decision acquitting the s
pouses De Mesa but ordering them to pay Claudio the amount of P100,000 with lega
l interest from date of demand until fully paid. A writ of execution was issued
and Sheriff Sheriff Samonte levied upon the subject property. On March 9, 1994,
the subject property was sold on public auction; Claudio was the highest bidder
and the corresponding certificate of sale was issued to him. Sometime in Februar
y 1995, Claudio leased the subject property to the spouses De Mesa and a certain
Juanito for a monthly rent of P5,500. However, the spouses De Mesa and Juanito
defaulted in the payment of the rent and as of October 3, 1998, their total acco
untabilities to Claudio amounted to P170,500. On March 24, 1995, a Final Deed of
Sale over the subject property was issued to Claudio and on April 4, 1995, the
Register of Deeds issued a TCT in his favor. Unable to collect the aforementione
d rentals due, Claudio filed a complaint for ejectment against the spouses De Me
sa and Juanito. On July 22, 1999, the MTC rendered a decision, ordering the spou
ses De Mesa and Juanito to vacate the subject property. On October 29, 1999, the
spouses De Mesa filed a complaint to nullify the TCT issued in favor of Claudio
. On the complaint, the spouses De Mesa asserted that the subject property is a
family home, which is exempt from execution under the Family Code and, thus, cou
ld not have been validly levied upon for purposes of satisfying the March 15, 19
93 writ of execution. ISSUE: Was the sale on execution of the Spouses De Mesa s
family home valid?
HELD: Yes. The family homes exemption from execution must be set up and proved to
the Sheriff before the sale of the property at public auction. Despite the fact
that the subject property is a family home and, thus, should have been exempt fr
om execution We agree with the CA that the petitioners should have asserted the s
ubject property being a family home and its being exempted from execution at the
time it was levied or within a reasonable time thereafter. As the CA aptly poin
ted out: In the light of the facts above summarized, it is evident that appellan
ts did not assert their claim of exemption within a reasonable time. Certainly,
reasonable time, for purposes of the law on exemption, does not mean a time afte
r the expiration of the one-year period provided for in Section 30 of Rule 39 of
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 88 of 171

the Rules of Court for judgment debtors to redeem the property sold on execution
, otherwise it would render nugatory final bills of sale on execution and defeat
the very purpose of execution to put an end to litigation. XXX While it is true
that the family home is constituted on a house and lot from the time it is occu
pied as a family residence and is exempt from execution or forced sale under Art
icle 153 of the Family Code, such claim for exemption should be set up and prove
d to the Sheriff before the sale of the property at public auction. Failure to d
o so would estop the party from later claiming the exemption. As this Court rule
d in Gomez v. Gealone: Although the Rules of Court does not prescribe the period
within which to claim the exemption, the rule is, nevertheless, well-settled th
at the right of exemption is a personal privilege granted to the judgment debtor
and as such, it must be claimed not by the sheriff, but by the debtor himself a
t the time of the levy or within a reasonable period thereafter; XXX In the ligh
t of the facts above summarized, it is self-evident that appellants did not asse
rt their claim of exemption within a reasonable time. Certainly, reasonable time
, for purposes of the law on exemption, does not mean a time after the expiratio
n of the one-year period provided for in Section 30 of Rule 39 of the Rules of C
ourt for judgment debtors to redeem the property sold on execution, otherwise it
would render nugatory final bills of sale on execution and defeat the very purp
ose of executionto put an end to litigation. We said before, and We repeat it now
, that litigation must end and terminate sometime and somewhere, and it is essen
tial to an effective administration of justice that, once a judgment has become
final, the winning party be not, through a mere subterfuge, deprived of the frui
ts of the verdict. We now rule that claims for exemption from execution of prope
rties under Section 12 of Rule 39 of the Rules of Court must be presented before
its sale on execution by the sheriff.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 89 of 171

PERLA v. BARING G.R. No. 172471 November 12, 2012 Subject: Family Relations Topi
c: Filiation
FACTS: Respondent Mirasol Baring and her then minor son, Randy, filed before the
RTC a complaint for support against Antonio. Mirasol claims that she and Antoni
o lived together as common-law spouses for two years. As a result of said cohabi
tation, Randy was born on November 11, 1983. However, when Antonio landed a job
as seaman, he abandoned them and failed to give any support to his son. Responde
nts thus prayed that Antonio be ordered to support Randy. Antonio, who is now ma
rried and has a family of his own, denied having fathered Randy. Although he adm
itted to having known Mirasol, he averred that she never became his common-law w
ife nor was she treated as such. And since Mirasol had been intimidating and pes
tering him as early as 1992 with various suits by insisting that Randy is his so
n, Antonio sought moral and exemplary damages by way of counterclaim from respon
dents. Mirasol testified that from 1981 to 1983, she lived in Taguig where Anton
io was a neighbor. In the first week of January 1981, Antonio courted her and ev
entually became her first boyfriend. Upon clarificatory question by the court wh
ether she and Antonio eventually lived together as husband and wife, Mirasol ans
wered that they were just sweethearts. When Mirasol became pregnant in 1983, Ant
onio assured her that he would support her. Eventually, however, Antonio started
to evade her. On November 11, 1983, Mirasol gave birth to Randy. She presented
Randys birth and baptismal certificates indicating her and Antonio as parents of
the child. Mirasol testified that she and Antonio supplied the information in th
e said certificates. Next to take the witness stand was Randy who at that time w
as just 15 years old. Randy claimed that he knew Antonio to be the husband of he
r mother and as his father. He recounted having met him for the first time in 19
94 in the house of his Aunt Lelita, Antonios sister, where he was vacationing. Du
ring their encounter, Randy called Antonio "Papa" and kissed his hand while the
latter hugged him. When Randy asked him for support, Antonio promised that he wo
uld support him. Randy further testified that during his one-week stay in his Au
nt Lelitas place, the latter treated him as member of the family. For her part, A
urora Ducay testified that she knew both Mirasol and Antonio as they were neighb
ors in Taguig. Presently, Antonio is still her neighbor in the said place. Accor
ding to her, she knew of Mirasols and Antonios relationship because aside from see
ing Antonio frequenting the house of Mirasol, she asked Antonio about it. She fu
rther narrated that the two have a son named Randy and that Antonios mother even
tried to get the child from Mirasol. Testifying as an adverse witness for the re
spondents, Antonio admitted he had sexual intercourse with Mirasol only once whi
ch happened in the month of September or October of 1981.
ISSUE: Is Antonio obliged by law to support Randy as his illegitimate child?
HELD:
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 90 of 171

No. "An order for x x x support x x x must be issued only if paternity or filiat
ion is established by clear and convincing evidence." XXX Respondents Complaint f
or support is based on Randys alleged illegitimate filiation to Antonio. Hence, f
or Randy to be entitled for support, his filiation must be established with suff
icient certainty. A review of the Decision of the RTC would show that it is bere
ft of any discussion regarding Randys filiation. Although the appellate court, fo
r its part, cited the applicable provision on illegitimate filiation, it merely
declared the certified true copies of Randys birth certificate and baptismal cert
ificate both identifying Antonio as the father as good proofs of his filiation w
ith Randy and nothing more. This is despite the fact that the said documents do
not bear Antonios signature. "Time and again, this Court has ruled that a high st
andard of proof is required to establish paternity and filiation. An order for x
x x support may create an unwholesome situation or may be an irritant to the fa
mily or the lives of the parties so that it must be issued only if paternity or
filiation is established by clear and convincing evidence." Respondents failed t
o establish Randys illegitimate filiation to Antonio. The rules for establishing
filiation are found in Articles 172 and 175 of the Family Code which provide as
follows: Article 172. The filiation of legitimate children is established by any
of the following: (1) The record of birth appearing in the civil register or a
final judgment; or (2) An admission of legitimate filiation in a public document
or a private handwritten instrument and signed by the parent concerned. In the
absence of the foregoing evidence, the legitimate filiation shall be proved by:
(1) The open and continuous possession of the status of a legitimate child; or (
2) Any other means allowed by the Rules of Court and special laws. xxxx Article
175. Illegitimate children may establish their illegitimate filiation in the sam
e way and on the same evidence as legitimate children. xxxx Respondents presente
d the Certificate of Live Birth of Randy identifying Antonio as the father. Howe
ver, said certificate has no probative value to establish Randys filiation to Ant
onio since the latter had not signed the same. It is settled that "a certificate
of live birth purportedly identifying the putative father is not competent evid
ence of paternity when there is no showing that the putative father had a hand i
n the preparation of said certificate." XXX Neither does the testimony of Randy
establish his illegitimate filiation. That during their first encounter in 1994
Randy called Antonio "Papa" and kissed his hand while Antonio hugged him and pro
mised to support him; or that his Aunt Lelita treated him as a relative and was
good to him during his one-week stay in her place, cannot be considered as indic
ations of Randys open and continuous possession of the status of an illegitimate
child under the second paragraph of Article 172(1). "[T]o prove open and continu
ous possession of the status of an illegitimate child, there must be evidence of
the manifestation of the permanent intention of the supposed father to consider
the child as his, by continuous and clear manifestations of parental affection
and care, which cannot be attributed to pure charity.1wphi1 Such acts must be of
such a nature that they reveal not only the conviction of paternity, but also th
e apparent desire to have and treat the child as such in all relations in societ
y and in life, not accidentally, but continuously." Here, the single instance th
at Antonio allegedly hugged Randy and promised to support him cannot be consider
ed as proof of continuous possession of the status of a child. To emphasize, "[t
]he fathers conduct towards his son must be spontaneous and uninterrupted for thi
s ground to exist." Here, except for that singular occasion in which they met, t
here are no other acts of Antonio treating Randy as his son. Neither can Antonios
paternity be deduced from how his sister Lelita treated Randy. To this Court, L
elitas actuations could have been done due to charity or some other reasons. Anen
t Randys baptismal certificate, we cannot agree with the CA that the same is a go
od proof of Antonios paternity of Randy. Just like in a birth certificate, the la
ck of participation of the supposed father in the preparation of a baptismal cer
tificate renders this document incompetent to prove
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 91 of 171

paternity. And "while a baptismal certificate may be considered a public documen


t, it can only serve as evidence of the administration of the sacrament on the d
ate specified but not the veracity of the entries with respect to the childs pate
rnity. Thus, x x x baptismal certificates are per se inadmissible in evidence as
proof of filiation and they cannot be admitted indirectly as circumstantial evi
dence to prove the same." XXX This crucial period therefore is during the early
part of the first quarter of 1983. However, nothing from Mirasols testimony indic
ates that she had sexual intercourse with Antonio during that time. She merely t
estified that she last met with Antonio in 1983 but could not remember the parti
cular month. Plainly, this hardly means anything not only because it was not est
ablished that the said meeting took place during that crucial period but also be
cause Mirasol never mentioned that they had sexual contact during their meeting.
Antonios admission of sexual intercourse with Mirasol does not likewise by any m
eans strengthen respondents theory that he fathered Randy. When Antonio testified
as an adverse witness for the respondents, he stated that he had sexual interco
urse with Mirasol in February and August of 1981. Later testifying as witness fo
r his own behalf, he mentioned that he had a one night affair with Mirasol which
happened in the month of September or October of 1981. Assuming that he indeed
had sexual contact with Mirasol on the dates mentioned, still, none of these sex
ual congresses could have led to the conception of Randy who was born two years
later in 1983. All told, it is clear that respondents failed to establish Randys
illegitimate filiation to Antonio. Hence, the order for Antonio to support Randy
has no basis.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 92 of 171

MAKATI SHANGRI-LA HOTEL v. HARPER G.R. No. 189998 August 29, 2012 Subject: Famil
y Relations Topic: Filiation
FACTS: In the first week of November 1999, Christian Harper came to Manila on a
business trip as the Business Development Manager for Asia of ALSTOM Power Norwa
y AS, an engineering firm with worldwide operations. He checked in at the Shangr
i-La Hotel and was billeted at Room 1428. He was due to check out on November 6,
1999. In the early morning of that date, however, he was murdered inside his ho
tel room by still unidentified malefactors. He was then 30 years old. In the mea
nwhile, Harpers family in Norway must have called Raymond Alarcon, the Duty Manag
er of the Shangri-La Hotel, to check on Harpers room. Alarcon and a security pers
onnel went to Room 1428 at 11:27 a.m., and were shocked to discover Harpers lifel
ess body on the bed. On August 30, 2002, Harpers family commenced this suit in th
e RTC to recover various damages from the hotel. On October 25, 2005, the RTC re
ndered judgment after trial, finding the defendant hotel to be remiss in its dut
ies and thus liable for the death of Christian Harper, this Court orders the def
endant to pay Harpers family P43,901,055 as damages, P739,075 representing the ex
penses of transporting the remains of Harper to Norway, and P250,000 attorneys fe
es. The hotel appealed to the CA, claiming, among other things, that it has not
been proven that the Ellen and Jonathan are Herpers heirs. The CA affiermed the R
TC, hence this appeal.
ISSUE: Have Ellen and Jonathan sufieciently proven their filiation to the deceas
ed Harper to be entitled to the award of damages for his untimely death?
HELD: Yes. The documents involved in this case are all kept in Norway. These docu
ments have been authenticated by the Royal Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
; they bear the official seal of the Ministry and signature of one, Tanja Sorlie
. The documents are accompanied by an Authentication by the Consul, Embassy of t
he Republic of the Philippines in Stockholm, Sweden to the effect that, Tanja So
rlie is duly authorized to legalize official documents for the Ministry. Exhibit
s "Q" and "R" are extracts of the register of births of both Jonathan Christophe
r Harper and the late Christian Fredrik Harper, respectively, wherein the former
explicitly declares that Jonathan Christopher is the son of Christian Fredrik a
nd Ellen Johanne Harper. Said documents bear the signature of the keeper, Y. Ays
e B. Nordal with the official seal of the Office of the Registrar of Oslo, and t
he authentication of Tanja Sorlie of the Royal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Oslo
, which were further authenticated by Philippine Consul Marian Jocelyn R. Tirol.
In addition, the latter states that said documents are the birth certificates o
f Jonathan Christopher Harper and Christian Fredrik Harper issued by the Registr
ar Office of Oslo, Norway on March 23, 2004. Exhibits "Q-1", on the other hand,
is the Marriage Certificate of Christian Fredrik Harper and Ellen Johanne Harper
issued by the vicar of the Parish of Ullern while Exhibit "R-1" is the Probate
Court Certificate from the Oslo Probate Court, naming Ellen Johanne Harper and J
onathan Christopher Harper as the heirs of the deceased Christian Fredrik Harper
. The documents are certified true translations into English of the transcript o
f the said marriage certificate and the probate court certificate. They were
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 93 of 171

likewise signed by the authorized government translator of Oslo with the seal of
his office; attested by Tanja Sorlie and further certified by our own Consul. I
n view of the foregoing, WE conclude that plaintiffs-appellees had substantially
complied with the requirements set forth under the rules. WE would also like to
stress that plaintiffs-appellees herein are residing overseas and are litigatin
g locally through their representative. While they are not excused from complyin
g with our rules, WE must take into account the attendant reality that these ove
rseas litigants communicate with their representative and counsel via long dista
nce communication. Add to this is the fact that compliance with the requirements
on attestation and authentication or certification is no easy process and compl
etion thereof may vary depending on different factors such as the location of th
e requesting party from the consulate and the office of the record custodian, th
e volume of transactions in said offices and even the mode of sending these docu
ments to the Philippines. With these circumstances under consideration, to OUR m
inds, there is every reason for an equitable and relaxed application of the rule
s on the issuance of the required attestation from the custodian of the document
s to plaintiffs-appellees situation. Besides, these questioned documents were dul
y signed by the officers having custody of the same. XXX The Oslo Probate Court
certificate recited that both Ellen Johanne Harper and Christopher S. Harper wer
e Harpers heirs, to wit: The above names surviving spouse has accepted responsibi
lity for the commitments of the deceased in accordance with the provisions of Se
ction 78 of the Probate Court Act (Norway), and the above substitute guardian ha
s agreed to the private division of the estate. The following heir and substitut
e guardian will undertake the private division of the estate: Ellen Johanne Harp
er Christopher S. Harper This probate court certificate relates to the entire es
tate. XXX A birth certificate, being a public document, offers prima facie evide
nce of filiation and a high degree of proof is needed to overthrow the presumpti
on of truth contained in such public document. This is pursuant to the rule that
entries in official records made in the performance of his duty by a public off
icer are prima facie evidence of the facts therein stated. The evidentiary natur
e of such document must, therefore, be sustained in the absence of strong, compl
ete and conclusive proof of its falsity or nullity. XXX Under Art. 172 of the Fa
mily Code, the filiation of legitimate children shall be proved by any other mea
ns allowed by the Rules of Court and special laws, in the absence of a record of
birth or a parents admission of such legitimate filiation in a public or private
document duly signed by the parent. Such other proof of ones filiation may be a
baptismal certificate, a judicial admission, a family Bible in which his name ha
s been entered, common reputation respecting his pedigree, admission by silence,
the testimonies of witnesses and other kinds of proof admissible under Rule 130
of the Rules of Court. By analogy, this method of proving filiation may also be
utilized in the instant case. Public documents are the written official acts, o
r records of the official act of the sovereign authority, official bodies and tr
ibunals, and public officers, whether of the Philippines, or a foreign country.
The baptismal certificates presented in evidence by private respondents are publ
ic documents. Parish priests continue to be the legal custodians of the parish r
ecords and are authorized to issue true copies, in the form of certificates, of
the entries contained therein.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 94 of 171

GOTARDO v. BULING G.R. No. 165166 August 15, 2012 Subject: Family Relations Topi
c: Filiation
FACTS: On September 6, 1995, respondent Divina Buling filed a complaint with the
RTC of Maasin, Southern Leyte, for compulsory recognition and support pendente
lite, claiming that petitioner Charles is the father of her child Gliffze. Charl
es denied the imputed paternity of Gliffze. Evidence for the Divina showed that
she met the petitioner on December 1, 1992 at the Philippine Commercial and Indu
strial Bank, Maasin, Southern Leyte branch where she had been hired as a casual
employee, while the Charles worked as accounting supervisor. Sometime in Septemb
er 1993, the couple engaged in sexual relations in Charles rented room in the boa
rding house managed by Rodulfo, Divinas. On August 8, 1994, the respondent found
out that she was pregnant. When told of the pregnancy, the Charles seemed happy
and made plans to marry the respondent; the couple even applied for a marriage l
icense. However, Charles backed out of the wedding plans. Divina gave birth to t
heir son Gliffze on March 9, 1995. Charles failed to provide support to Gliffze,
so Divina wrote him a letter demanding recognition and support for their child.
When the Charles did not answer the demand, the respondent filed her complaint
for compulsory recognition and support pendente lite. Charled took the witness s
tand and testified for himself. He denied the imputed paternity, claiming that h
e first had sexual contact with the respondent in the first week of August 1994,
but when he was informed of the pregnancy on September 1994, she was already 3
months pregnant. In its June 25, 2002 decision, the RTC dismissed the complaint
for insufficiency of evidence proving Gliffzes filiation. However, in its March 5
, 2004 decision, the CA departed from the RTC s appreciation of the respondents t
estimony, and ordered the petitioner to recognize his minor son Gliffze. It also
reinstated the RTC order granting a child support.
ISSUE: Was the CA in error when it set aside the RTCs findings and ordered the pe
titioner to recognize and provide legal support to his minor son Gliffze?
HELD: No. We have recognized that "[f]iliation proceedings are usually filed not
just to adjudicate paternity but also to secure a legal right associated with pa
ternity, such as citizenship, support (as in this case) or inheritance. [In pate
rnity cases, the burden of proof] is on the person who alleges that the putative
father is the biological father of the child." One can prove filiation, either
legitimate or illegitimate, through the record of birth appearing in the civil r
egister or a final judgment, an admission of filiation in a public document or a
private handwritten instrument and signed by the parent concerned, or the open
and continuous possession of the status of a legitimate or illegitimate child, o
r any other means allowed by the Rules of Court and special laws. We have held t
hat such other proof of one s filiation may be a "baptismal certificate, a judic
ial admission, a family bible in which [his] name has been entered, common reput
ation respecting [his] pedigree,
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 95 of 171

admission by silence, the [testimonies] of witnesses, and other kinds of proof [


admissible] under Rule 130 of the Rules of Court." In Herrera v. Alba, we stress
ed that there are four significant procedural aspects of a traditional paternity
action that parties have to face: a prima facie case, affirmative defenses, pre
sumption of legitimacy, and physical resemblance between the putative father and
the child. We explained that a prima facie case exists if a woman declares supp
orted by corroborative proof that she had sexual relations with the putative fat
her; at this point, the burden of evidence shifts to the putative father. We exp
lained further that the two affirmative defenses available to the putative fathe
r are: (1) incapability of sexual relations with the mother due to either physic
al absence or impotency, or (2) that the mother had sexual relations with other
men at the time of conception. In this case, the respondent established a prima
facie case that the petitioner is the putative father of Gliffze through testimo
ny that she had been sexually involved only with one man, the petitioner, at the
time of her conception. Rodulfo corroborated her testimony that the petitioner
and the respondent had intimate relationship. On the other hand, the petitioner
did not deny that he had sexual encounters with the respondent, only that it occ
urred on a much later date than the respondent asserted, such that it was physic
ally impossible for the respondent to have been three (3) months pregnant alread
y in September 1994 when he was informed of the pregnancy. However, the petition
er failed to substantiate his allegations of infidelity and insinuations of prom
iscuity. His allegations, therefore, cannot be given credence for lack of eviden
tiary support. The petitioners denial cannot overcome the respondents clear and ca
tegorical assertions. XXX Since filiation is beyond question, support follows as
a matter of obligation; a parent is obliged to support his child, whether legit
imate or illegitimate.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 96 of 171

RONDINA v. PEOPLE G.R. No. 179059 June 13, 2012 Subject: Family Relations Topic:
Filiation
FACTS: On July 15, 1998, AAA, upon arriving home from school at around 4:00 p.m.
, immediately proceeded to use the toilet, a communal toilet located outside AAAs h
ouse. She forgot to lock the door. AAA was surprised when Victor, a neighbor, su
ddenly entered the toilet with only a towel covering himself from the waist down
. Victor immediately poked a knife on AAAs neck, covered her mouth and threatened
her, and then raped her. AAA did not immediately tell anyone of her misfortune
and just kept on crying. However, it came to the point where she could no longer
keep silent so that a few months after the incident, AAA finally told her mothe
r BBB that Victor raped her. When BBB had AAA examined by physicians, it was dis
covered that aside from having healed hymenal lacerations, AAA was more or less
six months pregnant Victor was convicted of raping AAA, and was also ordered to
support the child CCC, who was deemed an offspring of the rape. The Court, howev
er, also ordered Victor to acknowledge the child.
ISSUE: Is the RTC correct in ordering Victor to acknowledge AAA s offspring CCC
as his child?
HELD: No. The RTC ordered Victor to acknowledge AAAs offspring CCC and give her suppor
t. Article 345 of the Revised Penal Code provides for three different kinds of c
ivil liability that may be imposed on the offender: a) indemnification, b) ackno
wledgement of the offspring, unless the law should prevent him from so doing, an
d c) in every case to support the offspring. With the passage of the Family Code
, the classification of acknowledged natural children and natural children by le
gal fiction was eliminated and they now fall under the specie of illegitimate ch
ildren. Since parental authority is vested by Article 176 of the Family Code upo
n the mother and considering that an offender sentenced to reclusion perpetua au
tomatically loses the power to exercise parental authority over his children, no
further positive act is required of the parent as the law itself provides for th
e childs status. Hence, [Victor] should only be ordered to indemnify and support t
he victims child.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 97 of 171

LIM-LUA v. LUA G.R. Nos. 175279-80 June 5, 2013 Subject: Family Relations Topic:
Support
FACTS: On September 3, 2003, petitioner Susan Lim-Lua filed an action for the de
claration of nullity of her marriage with respondent Danilo Y. Lua. She also pra
yed for for support pendente lite for herself and her two children, and sought t
he amount of P500,000.00 as monthly support, citing respondents ability to provid
e as much given his earnings from several companies and businesses here and abro
ad. After due hearing, the RTC, on March 31, 2004, granted the prayer for suppor
t pendente lite in the amount of P250,000.00 monthly beginning April 2004, exclu
ding the P135,000.00 for medical attendance expenses needed by Susan for the ope
ration of both her eye[s] which is demandable upon the conduct of such operation
. The court commended Danilo on other amounts already extended by him to the 2 c
hildren, and encouraged him to should continue the same considering his vast fin
ancial resources. According to Art. 203 of the Family Code, support is demandabl
e from the time plaintiff needed the said support but is payable only from the d
ate of judicial demand. Since the instant complaint was filed on September 3, 20
03, the amount of P250,000.00 should be paid by defendant to plaintiff retroacti
vely to such date until the hearing of the support pendente lite. P250,000.00 x
7 corresponding to the 7 months that lapsed from such date amounts to P1,750,000
.00 in arrears. The amounts are without prejudice to any increase or decrease th
ereof that this Court may grant plaintiff as the circumstances may warrant depen
ding on the proof submitted by the parties during the proceedings for the main a
ction for support. Danilo filed for reconsideration, asserting petitioner Susan
is not entitled to spousal support considering that she does not maintain for he
rself a separate dwelling from their children and respondent has continued to su
pport the family for their sustenance and well-being in accordance with familys s
ocial and financial standing. He also claims that the amounts he is required to
pay are unconscionably excessive. However, because of a failure of the notice re
quirements for motions, the reconsideration was not granted. The CA, however, re
ndered ruled that the trial court gravely abused its discretion in granting P250
,000.00 monthly support to petitioner without evidence to prove his actual incom
e. The appellate court reduced the amount to P115,000 monthly, and neither of th
e spouses appealed this ruling. In compliance with this ruling, Danilo paid his
arrears in support at the cost of P115,000 persos monthly since September, 2003,
however, he deducted from the total value in arrears the cost of 2 cars, includ
ing maintenance costs, which he gave as gifts to his children. He also deducted
from the total the credit card costs incurred by his children for their purchase
s of groceries, dry goods and books, which Danilo theorized also benefited their
mother Susan. Opposing the deductions, Susan argues that it was patently errone
ous for the CA to have allowed the deduction of the value of the two cars and th
eir maintenance costs from the support in arrears, as these items are not indisp
ensable to the sustenance of the family or in keeping them alive. She points out
that the CA already considered the said items as chargeable to respondent Danil
o, different and separate from the monthly support pendente lite of P115,000.00
which was the court fixed on the basis of the documentary evidence of Danilos inc
ome from various businesses and her own testimony that she needed P113,000.00 fo
r the maintenance of the household, excluding the P135,000.00 she needed for her
own medical needs.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 98 of 171

Danilo contends that disallowing the subject deductions would result in unjust e
nrichment, thus making him pay for the same obligation twice. Since petitioner a
nd the children resided in one residence, the groceries and dry goods purchased
by the children using respondents credit card, totalling P594,151.58 for the peri
od September 2003 to June 2005 were not consumed by the children alone but share
d with their mother. He also claims that the Volkswagen Beetle and BMW 316i whic
h he bought for his children should also be considered advances for support, in
keeping with the financial capacity of the family. Danilo stressed that his chil
dren never commuted nor ate in carinderias, being children of upper-class society.
Hence, the cars and their maintenance are indispensable to the childrens day-tod
ay living, the value of which should properly be deducted from the arrearages in
support pendente lite ordered by the trial and appellate courts. Totalling all
of these expenses, Danilo claims he is entitled to deduct P2,482,348.16 from the
support arrears amounting to P2,645,000.00.
ISSUES: 1. Is Danilo required to pay for all the expenses of his family if able
to do so? 2. Is Danilo required to support his spouse financially- apart from th
e family- during the pendency of their declaration of nullity of marriage procee
dings, including the costs of her personal medical expenses? 3. Can Danilo decid
e on the manner of disposition of support payments, or decide which items he pro
vides are to be considered creditable against the support payments? 4. Was the C
A correct in allowing Danilo to deduct from the amount of support in arrears to
the costs incurred by him in giving his children cars and allowing them to charg
e expenses on his credit card?
HELD: 1. Yes, Danilo must provide support for his family. Article 194. Support co
mprises everything indispensable for sustenance, dwelling, clothing, medical att
endance, education and transportation, in keeping with the financial capacity of
the family. The education of the person entitled to be supported referred to in
the preceding paragraph shall include his schooling or training for some profes
sion, trade or vocation, even beyond the age of majority. Transportation shall i
nclude expenses in going to and from school, or to and from place of work. XXX A
s a matter of law, the amount of support which those related by marriage and fam
ily relationship is generally obliged to give each other shall be in proportion
to the resources or means of the giver and to the needs of the recipient. Such s
upport comprises everything indispensable for sustenance, dwelling, clothing, me
dical attendance, education and transportation, in keeping with the financial ca
pacity of the family. Upon receipt of a verified petition for declaration of abs
olute nullity of void marriage or for annulment of voidable marriage, or for leg
al separation, and at any time during the proceeding, the court, motu proprio or
upon verified application of any of the parties, guardian or designated custodi
an, may temporarily grant support pendente lite prior to the rendition of judgme
nt or final order. Because of its provisional nature, a court does not need to d
elve fully into the merits of the case before it can settle an application for t
his relief. All that a court is tasked to do is determine the kind and amount of
evidence which may suffice to enable it to justly resolve the application. It i
s enough that the facts be established by affidavits or other documentary eviden
ce appearing in the record.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 99 of 171

2. Yes, Danilo is required to support his spouse separately from his support of
his family or his children. Judicial determination of support pendente lite in ca
ses of legal separation and petitions for declaration of nullity or annulment of
marriage are guided by the following provisions of the Rule on Provisional Orde
rs: Sec. 2. Spousal Support.In determining support for the spouses, the court may
be guided by the following rules: (a) In the absence of adequate provisions in
a written agreement between the spouses, the spouses may be supported from the p
roperties of the absolute community or the conjugal partnership. (b) The court m
ay award support to either spouse in such amount and for such period of time as
the court may deem just and reasonable based on their standard of living during
the marriage. (c) The court may likewise consider the following factors: (1) whe
ther the spouse seeking support is the custodian of a child whose circumstances
make it appropriate for that spouse not to seek outside employment; (2) the time
necessary to acquire sufficient education and training to enable the spouse see
king support to find appropriate employment, and that spouses future earning capa
city; (3) the duration of the marriage; (4) the comparative financial resources
of the spouses, including their comparative earning abilities in the labor marke
t; (5) the needs and obligations of each spouse; (6) the contribution of each sp
ouse to the marriage, including services rendered in home-making, child care, ed
ucation, and career building of the other spouse; (7) the age and health of the
spouses; (8) the physical and emotional conditions of the spouses; (9) the abili
ty of the supporting spouse to give support, taking into account that spouses ear
ning capacity, earned and unearned income, assets, and standard of living; and (
10) any other factor the court may deem just and equitable. (d) The Family Court
may direct the deduction of the provisional support from the salary of the spou
se. Sec. 3. Child Support.The common children of the spouses shall be supported f
rom the properties of the absolute community or the conjugal partnership. Subjec
t to the sound discretion of the court, either parent or both may be ordered to
give an amount necessary for the support, maintenance, and education of the chil
d. It shall be in proportion to the resources or means of the giver and to the n
ecessities of the recipient. In determining the amount of provisional support, t
he court may likewise consider the following factors: (1) the financial resource
s of the custodial and non-custodial parent and those of the child; (2) the phys
ical and emotional health of the child and his or her special needs and aptitude
s; (3) the standard of living the child has been accustomed to; (4) the non-mone
tary contributions that the parents will make toward the care and well-being of
the child. The Family Court may direct the deduction of the provisional support
from the salary of the parent. Since the amount of monthly support pendente lite
as fixed by the CA was not appealed by either party, there is no controversy as
to its sufficiency and reasonableness. The dispute concerns the deductions made
by respondent in settling the support in arrears. XXX This monthly support pend
ente lite to private respondent in the amount of P115,000.00 excludes the amount
of One Hundred Thirty-Five (P135,000.00) Thousand Pesos for medical attendance
expenses needed by private respondent for the operation of both her eye[s] which
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 100 of 171

is demandable upon the conduct of such operation. Likewise, this monthly support
of P115,000.00 is without prejudice to any increase or decrease thereof that th
e trial court may grant private respondent as the circumstances may warrant i.e.
depending on the proof submitted by the parties during the proceedings for the
main action for support. 3. No, Danilo cannot dictate on how the support should b
e spent, or which items he will pay for. In Bradford v. Futrell, appellant sought
review of the decision of the Circuit Court which found him in arrears with his
child support payments and entered a decree in favor of appellee wife. He compl
ained that in determining the arrearage figure, he should have been allowed full
credit for all money and items of personal property given by him to the childre
n themselves, even though he referred to them as gifts. The Court of Appeals of
Maryland ruled that in the suit to determine amount of arrears due the divorced
wife under decree for support of minor children, the husband (appellant) was not
entitled to credit for checks which he had clearly designated as gifts, nor was
he entitled to credit for an automobile given to the oldest son or a television
set given to the children. Thus, if the children remain in the custody of the m
other, the father is not entitled to credit for money paid directly to the child
ren if such was paid without any relation to the decree. In the absence of some
finding of consent by the mother, most courts refuse to allow a husband to dicta
te how he will meet the requirements for support payments when the mode of payme
nt is fixed by a decree of court. Thus he will not be credited for payments made
when he unnecessarily interposed himself as a volunteer and made payments direc
t to the children of his own accord. The payments to the children themselves do n
ot appear to have been made as payments upon alimony, but were rather the result
of his fatherly interest in the welfare of those children. We do not believe he
should be permitted to charge them to plaintiff. By so doing he would be determ
ining for Mrs. Openshaw the manner in which she should expend her allowances. It
is a very easy thing for children to say their mother will not give them money,
especially as they may realize that such a plea is effective in attaining their
ends. If she is not treating them right the courts are open to the father for r
edress. In Martin, Jr. v. Martin, the Supreme Court of Washington held that a fath
er, who is required by a divorce decree to make child support payments directly
to the mother, cannot claim credit for payments voluntarily made directly to the
children. However, special considerations of an equitable nature may justify a
court in crediting such payments on his indebtedness to the mother, when such ca
n be done without injustice to her. The general rule is to the effect that when
a father is required by a divorce decree to pay to the mother money for the supp
ort of their dependent children and the unpaid and accrued installments become j
udgments in her favor, he cannot, as a matter of law, claim credit on account of
payments voluntarily made directly to the children. Koon v. Koon, supra; Briggs
v. Briggs, supra. However, special considerations of an equitable nature may ju
stify a court in crediting such payments on his indebtedness to the mother, when
that can be done without injustice to her. Briggs v. Briggs, supra. The courts
are justifiably reluctant to lay down any general rules as to when such credits
may be allowed. (Emphasis supplied.) 4. No, ...the CA should not have allowed all
the expenses incurred by respondent to be credited against the accrued support
pendente lite. As earlier mentioned, the monthly support pendente lite granted b
y the trial court was intended primarily for food, household expenses such as sa
laries of drivers and house helpers, and also petitioners scoliosis therapy sessi
ons. Hence, the value of two expensive cars bought by respondent for his childre
n plus their maintenance cost, travel expenses of petitioner and Angelli, purcha
ses through credit card of items other than groceries and dry goods (clothing) s
hould have been disallowed, as these bear no relation to the judgment awarding s
upportpendente lite. While it is true that the dispositive portion of the execut
ory decision in CA-G.R. SP No. 84740 ordered herein respondent to pay the suppor
t in arrears less than the amount supposedly given by petitioner to the private r
espondent as her and their two (2) children monthly
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 101 of 171

support, the deductions should be limited to those basic needs and expenses consi
dered by the trial and appellate courts. The assailed ruling of the CA allowing
huge deductions from the accrued monthly support of petitioner and her children,
while correct insofar as it commends the generosity of the respondent to his ch
ildren, is clearly inconsistent with the executory decision in CA-G.R. SP No. 84
740. More important, it completely ignores the unfair consequences to petitioner
whose sustenance and well-being, was given due regard by the trial and appellat
e courts. This is evident from the March 31, 2004 Order granting support pendent
e lite to petitioner and her children, when the trial court observed: While ther
e is evidence to the effect that defendant is giving some forms of financial ass
istance to his two (2) children via their credit cards and paying for their scho
ol expenses, the same is, however, devoid of any form of spousal support to the
plaintiff, for, at this point in time, while the action for nullity of marriage
is still to be heard, it is incumbent upon the defendant, considering the physic
al and financial condition of the plaintiff and the overwhelming capacity of def
endant, to extend support unto the latter. On appeal, while the Decision in CA-G
.R. SP No. 84740 reduced the amount of monthly support fixed by the trial court,
it nevertheless held that considering respondents financial resources, it is but
fair and just that he give a monthly support for the sustenance and basic neces
sities of petitioner and his children. This would imply that any amount responde
nt seeks to be credited as monthly support should only cover those incurred for
sustenance and household expenses. In the case at bar, records clearly show and
in fact has been admitted by petitioner that aside from paying the expenses of t
heir two (2) childrens schooling, he gave his two (2) children two (2) cars and c
redit cards of which the expenses for various items namely: clothes, grocery ite
ms and repairs of their cars were chargeable to him which totaled an amount of m
ore than One Hundred Thousand (P100,000.00) for each of them and considering tha
t as testified by the private respondent that she needs the total amount of P113
,000.00 for the maintenance of the household and other miscellaneous expenses an
d considering further that petitioner can afford to buy cars for his two (2) chi
ldren, and to pay the expenses incurred by them which are chargeable to him thro
ugh the credit cards he provided them in the amount of P100,000.00 each, it is b
ut fair and just that the monthly support pendente lite for his wife, herein pri
vate respondent, be fixed as of the present in the amount of P115,000.00 which w
ould be sufficient enough to take care of the household and other needs.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 102 of 171

CALDERON v. ROXAS G.R. No. 185595 January 9, 2013 Subject: Family Relations Topi
c: Support
FACTS: Calderon and Roxas, while married, had 4 children. Later, the wife Calder
on filed a complaint for the declaration of nullity of their marriage on the gro
und of psychological incapacity under Article 36 of the Family Code. The trial c
ourt issued an order granting Calderons application for support pendente lite. Hu
sband Roxas filed a motion to reduce support, which was granted, along with a de
nial of Calderons motion for spousal support, increase of the childrens monthly su
pport pendente lite and support-in-arrears. Eventually, the trial court rendered
its decision on the marriage issue by declaring the marriage between Calderon a
nd Roxas null and void. Calderon a Notice of Appeal from the Orders denying her
motions for support. In her appeal brief, Calderon pointed out that her appeal i
s "from the RTC Order dated March 7, 2005, issued prior to the rendition of the
decision in the main case", as well as the May 4, 2005 Order denying her motion
for partial reconsideration. The CA dismissed the appeal, and noted that Caldero
n failed to avail of the proper remedy to question an interlocutory order.
ISSUE: Is the issue of support pendente lite only incidental to the main action
for declaration of nullity of marriage, such that all orders regarding support p
endent lite are interlocutory in nature?
HELD: Yes, because support pendentle lite is only a provisional remedy. The assai
led orders relative to the incident of support pendente lite and support in arre
ars, as the term suggests, were issued pending the rendition of the decision on
the main action for declaration of nullity of marriage, and are therefore interl
ocutory. They did not finally dispose of the case nor did they consist of a fina
l adjudication of the merits of petitioners claims as to the ground of psychologi
cal incapacity and other incidents as child custody, support and conjugal assets
. The Rules of Court provide for the provisional remedy of support pendente lite
which may be availed of at the commencement of the proper action or proceeding,
or at any time prior to the judgment or final order. XXX Provisional remedies a
re writs and processes available during the pendency of the action which may be
resorted to by a litigant to preserve and protect certain rights and interests t
herein pending rendition, and for purposes of the ultimate effects, of a final j
udgment in the case. They are provisional because they constitute temporary meas
ures availed of during the pendency of the action, and they are ancillary becaus
e they are mere incidents in and are dependent upon the result of the main actio
n. The subject orders on the matter of support pendente lite are but an incident
to the main action for declaration of nullity of marriage. Moreover, private re
spondents obligation to give monthly support in the amount fixed by the RTC in th
e assailed orders may be enforced by the court itself, as what transpired in the
early stage of the
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 103 of 171

proceedings when the court cited the private respondent in contempt of court and
ordered him arrested for his refusal/failure to comply with the order granting
support pendente lite. A few years later, private respondent filed a motion to r
educe support while petitioner filed her own motion to increase the same, and in
addition sought spousal support and support in arrears. This fact underscores t
he provisional character of the order granting support pendente lite.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 104 of 171

RONDINA v. PEOPLE G.R. No. 179059 June 13, 2012 Subject: Family Relations Topic:
Support
FACTS: On July 15, 1998, AAA, upon arriving home from school at around 4:00 p.m.
, immediately proceeded to use the toilet, a communal toilet located outside AAAs h
ouse. She forgot to lock the door. AAA was surprised when Victor, a neighbor, su
ddenly entered the toilet with only a towel covering himself from the waist down
. Victor immediately poked a knife on AAAs neck, covered her mouth and threatened
her, and then raped her. AAA did not immediately tell anyone of her misfortune
and just kept on crying. However, it came to the point where she could no longer
keep silent so that a few months after the incident, AAA finally told her mothe
r BBB that Victor raped her. When BBB had AAA examined by physicians, it was dis
covered that aside from having healed hymenal lacerations, AAA was more or less
six months pregnant Victor was convicted of raping AAA, and was also ordered to
support the child CCC, who was deemed an offspring of the rape. The Court, howev
er, also ordered Victor to acknowledge the child.
ISSUE: Is the RTC correct in ordering Victor to support the child?
HELD: Yes. Article 345 of the Revised Penal Code provides for three different kin
ds of civil liability that may be imposed on the offender: a) indemnification, b
) acknowledgement of the offspring, unless the law should prevent him from so do
ing, and c) in every case to support the offspring. With the passage of the Fami
ly Code, the classification of acknowledged natural children and natural childre
n by legal fiction was eliminated and they now fall under the specie of illegiti
mate children. Since parental authority is vested by Article 176 of the Family C
ode upon the mother and considering that an offender sentenced to reclusion perp
etua automatically loses the power to exercise parental authority over his child
ren, no further positive act is required of the parent as the law itself provides
for the childs status. Hence, [Victor] should only be ordered to indemnify and su
pport the victims child. The amount [and terms] of support shall be determined by
the trial court after due notice and hearing in accordance with Article 201 of
the Family Code. XXX Petitioner Victor Rondina is further ordered to give suppor
t to AAAs offspring, CCC, in such amount and under such terms to be determined by the
Regional Trial Court ofOrmoc City in a proper proceeding with support arrears t
o be reckoned from the finality of this Decision.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 105 of 171

BECKETT v. JUDGE SARMIENTO A.M. No. RTJ-12-2326 January 30, 2013 Subject: Family
Relations Topic: Parental Authority
FACTS: This case stems from a complaint filed by Geoffrey Beckett against Judge
Sarmiento, RTC of Cebu City Branch 24, charging Judge Sarmiento with gross ignor
ance of the law, manifest partiality and dereliction and neglect of duty alleged
ly committed during the special proceeding Geoffrey Beckett v. Eltesa Densing Be
ckett while the case was pending the judges sala. Complainant Beckett is an Austr
alian national who was previously married to Eltesa, a Filipina. During their ma
rriage they begot a son, Geoffrey, Jr. Beckett alleged that their union was trou
bled from the beginning. They eventually separated and even sued each other. In
2006, Eltesa filed a case against Beckett for violation of RA 7610 (Violence Aga
inst Women and their Children Act), followed by an action declaration of nullity
of their marriage. Both cases ended in the sala of respondent Judge Sarmiento.
Beckett also commenced criminal charges against Eltesa, one of which was for adu
ltery. The couples initial legal battle ended when Judge Sarmiento, on September
25, 2006, rendered judgment based on a compromise agreement in which Eltesa and
Beckett agreed and undertook, among others, to cause the dismissal of all pendin
g civil and criminal cases each may have filed against the other. They categoric
ally agreed too that Beckett shall have full and permanent custody over Geoffrey
, Jr., then five 5 years old, subject to the visitorial rights of Eltesa. Becket
t left for Australia, taking Geoffrey, Jr. with him. Beckett alleged that he car
ed and provided well for Geoffrey, Jr. Beckett also promised that they would com
e and see Eltesa in Cebu every Christmas. The yearly Christmas visits continued,
notwithstanding the fact that Beckett obtained a divorce decree in Australia ag
ainst Eltesa. During Christmas 2010 visit, Beckett allowed Geoffrey, Jr. stay wi
th Eltesa even after the holidays, provided she return the child on January 9, 2
011. When Geoffrey, Jr. was not returned to Becketts custody, he filed a petition
against Eltesa for violation of RA 7610. This petition was again raffled to the
sala of Judge Sarmiento. And because Geoffrey remained in the meantime in the c
ustody of Eltesa, Beckett also applied for the issuance of a writ of habeas corp
us. Judge Sarmiento issued an order dated March 1, 2011, directing Eltesa to ret
urn Geoffrey, Jr. to Beckett. However, the turnover of Geoffrey, Jr. to Beckett
did not materialize. At this point, Geoffrey, Jr. was already 9 years old. Becke
tt sought the immediate implementation of the said March 1, 2011 Order. But inst
ead of enforcing said order, Judge Sarmiento, in open court, issued another orde
r giving Eltesa provisional custody over Geoffrey, Jr. and at the same time dire
cting the DSWD to conduct a social case study on the child. Beckett moved for th
e reconsideration of the judges provisional custody order, on the main contention
that Judge Sarmiento can no longer grant provisional custody to Eltesa in light
of the compromise agreement. Beckett also alleged that respondent judge convers
ed with Eltesa in Cebuano, a dialect which neither Beckett nor his counsel under
stood. Beckett also asked for a few minutes to confer with his counsel but when
they returned to the courtroom, the proceedings had already been adjourned.
ISSUE: Should Geoffrey, Jr. be allowed to stay with his mother Eltesa if he choo
ses to do so while the cases between his parents are pending?
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 106 of 171

HELD: Yes, the preference of a child over 7 years of age as to whom he desired to
live with shall be respected. Moreover, custody, even if previously granted by a
competent court in favor of a parent, is not, to reiterate, permanent. In Espir
itu,we ruled that: The matter of custody is not permanent and unalterable. If th
e parent who was given custody suffers a future character change and becomes unf
it, the matter of custody can always be re-examined and adjusted x x x. To be su
re, the welfare, the best interests, the benefit, and the good of the child must
be determined as of the time that either parent is chosen to be the custodian.
XXX In disputes concerning post-separation custody over a minor, the well-settle
d rule is that no child under seven (7) years of age shall be separated from the
mother, unless the court finds compelling reasons to order otherwise. And if al
ready over 7 years of age, the childs choice as to which of his parents he prefer
s to be under custody shall be respected, unless the parent chosen proves to be
unfit. Finally, in Perez v. Court of Appeals, We held that in custody cases, the
foremost consideration is always the welfare and best interest of the child, as
reflected in no less than the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child which
provides that "in all actions concerning children, whether undertaken by public
or private social welfare institutions, courts of law, administrative authoritie
s or legislative bodies, the best interests of the child shall be a primary cons
ideration." XXX Geoffrey, Jr., at the time when he persistently refused to be tu
rned over to his father, was already over 7 years of age. As such, he was very m
uch capable of deciding, based on his past experiences, with whom he wanted to s
tay. Noteworthy too are the results of the interviews which were reflected in th
e three reports previously mentioned, excerpts from which are hereunder quoted,
to wit: Being in the custody of his mother is something (sic) he feel (sic) secu
re and protected and this is manifested in the childs craving for his mothers pres
ence all the time and the desire to be always with her that even (sic) he sleeps
he wants his mother to embrace and hug him and cries when he wakes up and he ca
nnot see his mother.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 107 of 171

Sps. ABRENICA v. LAW FIRM OF ABRENICA, TUNGOL and TIBAYAN G.R. No. 180572 June 1
8, 2012 Subject: Family Relations Topic: Parental Authority
FACTS: Petitioner Atty. Erlando A. Abrenica was a partner of individual responde
nts, Attys. Tungol and Tibayan, in the Law Firm of Abrenica, Tungol and Tibayan
(the firm). In 1998, the respondents filed with the SEC 2 cases against petitioner
. The first case was for Accounting and Return and Transfer of Partnership, wher
e they alleged that petitioner refused to return partnership funds representing
profits from the sale of a parcel of land in Batangas. The second case was also
for Accounting and Return and Transfer of Partnership Funds, where respondents s
ought to recover from petitioner retainer fees that he received from two clients
of the firm and the balance of the cash advance that he obtained from the firm
in 1997. The cases were later transferred to the RTC pursuant to s new statute w
hich transferred jurisdiction over intra-corporate controversies from the SEC to
the courts. In a Consolidated Decision dated November 23, 2004, the RTC ordered
Atty. Abrenica render full accounting of the transactions and remit the sums of
P4,524,000 and P320,000 to the firm, plus interests. Thus, the properties of th
e petitioners were levied upon. Petitioners Erlando and Joena Abrenica subsequen
tly filed with the CA a Petition for Annulment of Judgment. The Court noted that
petitioners were married on May 28, 1998. The cases filed with the SEC May 6, 19
98 and 15 October 1998 were filed against petitioner Erlando only. It was with t
he filing of CA-G.R. SP No. 98679 on 24 April 2007 that Joena joined Erlando as
a co-petitioner. It appears from the records that petitioner Erlando was first ma
rried to a certain Ma. Aline Lovejoy Padua on 13 October 1983. They had three ch
ildren: Patrik Erlando (born on 14 April 1985), Maria Monica Erline (born on 9 S
eptember 1986), and Patrik Randel (born on 12 April 1990).
ISSUE: Can Joena validly represent the interests of her step-children?
HELD: No. After the dissolution of the first marriage of Erlando, he and Joena go
t married on 28 May 1998. In her Affidavit, Joena alleged that she represented h
er stepchildren; that the levied personal properties in particular, a piano with
a chair, computer equipment and a computer table were owned by the latter. We n
ote that two of these stepchildren were already of legal age when Joena filed he
r Affidavit. As to Patrik Randel, parental authority over him belongs to his par
ents. Absent any special power of attorney authorizing Joena to represent Erland
os children, her claim cannot be sustained.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 108 of 171

REPUBLIC v. NARCEDA G.R. NO. 182760 April 10, 2013 Subject: Family Relations Top
ic: Summary Proceedings
FACTS: Respondent Robert Narceda married Marina on 22 July 1987. The marriage co
ntract shows that at the time of their wedding, Marina was only 17 years and 4 m
onths old. Robert alleges that Marina went to Singapore sometime in 1994 and nev
er returned since. There was never any communication between them. He tried to l
ook for her, but he could not find her. One of their town mates La Union came ho
me from Singapore some years laters and told him that the last time she saw her,
Marina was already living with a Singaporean husband. Robert desires to remarry
, thus he filed the RTC in 2002 a Petition for a judicial declaration of the pre
sumptive death and/or absence of Marina, which the RTC granted in 2005, without
prejudice to her re-appearance, if ever. The OSG appealed the foregoing Decision
to the CA. The OSG claims that respondent failed to conduct a search for his mi
ssing wife with enough diligence to give rise to a "well-founded" belief that sh
e was dead. The CA dismissed the appeal ruling that the hearing of a petition fo
r the declaration of presumptive death is a summary proceeding under the Family
Code and is thus governed by Article 247 which provides that the judgment of the
trial court in summary court proceedings shall be immediately final and executo
ry. However, the CA upheld the ruling of the RTC, claiming that, as an appellate
court, they have no jurisdiction to review the judgment. The CA ruled that the
declaration of presumptive death of Marina Narceda by the La Union RTC was immed
iately final and executory, "because by express provision of law, the judgment o
f the RTC is not appealable, referring to Art. 247 of the Family Code which provi
des that The judgment of the court shall be immediately final and executor. The Re
public of the Philippines is appealing the decision of the CA and its subsequent
Resolution.
ISSUE: Is the declaration of Marinas presumptive death by the RTC immediately fin
al and executor, such that the CA has no jurisdiction to review it on appeal?
HELD: Yes. We agree with the CA. Article 41 of the Family Code provides: Art. 41.
A marriage contracted by any person during the subsistence of a previous marria
ge shall be null and void, unless before the celebration of the subsequent marri
age, the prior spouse had been absent for four consecutive years and the spouse
present has a well-founded belief that the absent spouse was already dead. In ca
se of disappearance where there is danger of death under the circumstances set f
orth in the provisions of Article 391 of the Civil Code, an absence of only two
years shall be sufficient. For the purpose of contracting the subsequent marriag
e under the preceding paragraph, the spouse present must institute a summary pro
ceeding as provided in this Code for the declaration of presumptive death of the
absentee, without prejudice to the effect of reappearance of the absent spouse.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 109 of 171

XXX By express provision of law, the judgment of the court in a summary proceedi
ng shall be immediately final and executory. As a matter of course, it follows t
hat no appeal can be had of the trial court s judgment in a summary proceeding f
or the declaration of presumptive death of an absent spouse under Article 41 of
the Family Code. It goes without saying, however, that an aggrieved party may fi
le a petition for certiorari to question abuse of discretion amounting to lack o
f jurisdiction. Such petition should be filed in the Court of Appeals in accorda
nce with the Doctrine of Hierarchy of Courts. XXX From the decision of the Court
of Appeals, the losing party may then file a petition for review on certiorari
under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court with the Supreme Court. This is because the
errors which the court may commit in the exercise of jurisdiction are merely err
ors of judgment which are the proper subject of an appeal. When the OSG filed it
s notice of appeal under Rule 42, it availed itself of the wrong remedy. As a re
sult, the running of the period for filing of a Petition for Certiorari continue
d to run and was not tolled. Upon lapse of that period, the Decision of the RTC
could no longer be questioned. Consequently, petitioner s contention that respon
dent has failed to establish a well-founded belief that his absentee spouse is d
ead may no longer be entertained by this Court.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 110 of 171

REPUBLIC v. GRANADA G. R. No. 187512 June 13, 2012 Subject: Family Relations Top
ic: Summary Proceedings
FACTS: In May 1991, respondent Yolanda met Cyrus Granada at Sumida Electric Phil
ippines, an electronics company in Paranaque where both were then working. Event
ually, the 2 got married at the Manila City Hall on 3 March 1993. Their marriage
resulted in the birth of their son, Cyborg Granada. Sometime in May 1994, when
Sumida Electric Philippines closed down, Cyrus went to Taiwan to seek employment
. Yolanda claimed that from that time, she had not received any communication fr
om her husband, notwithstanding efforts to locate him. Her brother testified tha
t he had asked the relatives of Cyrus regarding the latters whereabouts, to no av
ail. After 9 years of waiting, Yolanda filed a Petition to have Cyrus declared p
resumptively dead, and on February 7, 2005, the RTC rendered a Decision declarin
g Cyrus as presumptively dead. On March 10, 2005, petitioner Republic, through t
he Solicitor General OSG, filed a Motion for Reconsideration of this Decision. P
etitioner argued that Yolanda had failed to exert earnest efforts to locate Cyru
s and thus failed to prove her well-founded belief that he was already dead. The
RTC denied the motion. Petitioner filed a Notice of Appeal to elevate the case
to the CA, presumably under Rule 41, Section 2(a) of the Rules of Court. Yolanda
filed a Motion to Dismiss on the ground that the CA had no jurisdiction over th
e appeal. She argued that her Petition for Declaration of Presumptive Death, bas
ed on Article 41 of the Family Code, was a summary judicial proceeding, in which
the judgment is immediately final and executory and, thus, not appealable.
ISSUES: 1. Is the declaration of presumptive death required in Article 41 of the
Family Code a summary proceeding under the same Code? 2. Is the declaration of
presumptive death required in Article 41 of the Family Code a special proceeding
under the Rules of Court? 3. Can the Republic appeal the declaration of presump
tive death of Cyrus by the RTC?
HELD: 1. Yes. Art. 41. A marriage contracted by any person during the subsistence
of a previous marriage shall be null and void, unless before the celebration of
the subsequent marriage, the prior spouse had been absent for four consecutive
years and the spouse present has a wellfounded belief that the absent spouse was
already dead. In case of disappearance where there is danger of death under the
circumstances set forth in the provisions of Article 391 of the Civil Code, an
absence of only two years shall be sufficient. For the purpose of contracting th
e subsequent marriage under the preceding paragraph the spouse present must inst
itute a summary proceeding as provided in this Code for the declaration of presu
mptive death of the absentee, without prejudice to the effect of reappearance of
the absent spouse.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 111 of 171

Clearly, a petition for declaration of presumptive death of an absent spouse for


the purpose of contracting a subsequent marriage under Article 41 of the Family
Code is a summary proceeding as provided for under the Family Code. Further, Titl
e XI of the Family Code is entitled Summary Judicial Proceedings in the Family La
w. Subsumed thereunder are Articles 238 and 247, which provide: Art. 238. Until m
odified by the Supreme Court, the procedural rules in this Title shall apply in
all cases provided for in this Code requiring summary court proceedings. Such ca
ses shall be decided in an expeditious manner without regard to technical rules.
Art. 247. The judgment of the court shall be immediately final and executory. F
urther, Article 253 of the Family Code reads: ART. 253. The foregoing rules in C
hapters 2 and 3 hereof shall likewise govern summary proceedings filed under Art
icles 41, 51, 69, 73, 96, 124 and 217, insofar as they are applicable. Taken tog
ether, Articles 41, 238, 247 and 253 of the Family Code provide that since a pet
ition for declaration of presumptive death is a summary proceeding, the judgment
of the court therein shall be immediately final and executory. XXX In Summary J
udicial Proceedings under the Family Code, there is no reglementary period withi
n which to perfect an appeal, precisely because judgments rendered thereunder, b
y express provision of Section 247, Family Code, supra, are immediately final and
executory. XXX It was erroneous for the OSG to file a notice of appeal, and for
the RTC to give due course thereto. The Court of Appeals acquired no jurisdictio
n over the case, and should have dismissed the appeal outright on that ground. 2
. No, it is not a special proceeding under the Rules of Court but a summary proc
eeding under the Family Code. In reversing the CA, this Court clarified that whil
e an action for declaration of death or absence under Rule 72, Section 1(m), exp
ressly falls under the category of special proceedings, a petition for declarati
on of presumptive death under Article 41 of the Family Code is a summary proceed
ing, as provided for by Article 238 of the same Code. Since its purpose was to e
nable her to contract a subsequent valid marriage, petitioners action was a summa
ry proceeding based on Article 41 of the Family Code, rather than a special proc
eeding under Rule 72 of the Rules of Court. Considering that this action was not
a special proceeding, petitioner was not required to file a record on appeal wh
en it appealed the RTC Decision to the CA. XXX This case presents an opportunity
for us to settle the rule on appeal of judgments rendered in summary proceeding
s under the Family Code and accordingly, refine our previous decisions thereon.
Article 238 of the Family Code, under Title XI: SUMMARY JUDICIAL PROCEEDINGS IN
THE FAMILY LAW, establishes the rules that govern summary court proceedings in t
he Family Code: ART. 238. Until modified by the Supreme Court, the procedural ru
les in this Title shall apply in all cases provided for in this Code requiring s
ummary court proceedings. Such cases shall be decided in an expeditious manner w
ithout regard to technical rules.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 112 of 171

In turn, Article 253 of the Family Code specifies the cases covered by the rules
in chapters two and three of the same title. It states: ART. 253. The foregoing
rules in Chapters 2 and 3 hereof shall likewise govern summary proceedings file
d under Articles 41, 51, 69, 73, 96, 124 and 217, insofar as they are applicable
. 3. No. In plain text, Article 247 in Chapter 2 of the same title reads: ART 247.
The judgment of the court shall be immediately final and executory.
By express provision of law, the judgment of the court in a summary proceeding s
hall be immediately final and executory. As a matter of course, it follows that
no appeal can be had of the trial court s judgment in a summary proceeding for t
he declaration of presumptive death of an absent spouse under Article 41 of the
Family Code. XXX From the decision of the Court of Appeals, the losing party may
then file a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Cou
rt with the Supreme Court. This is because the errors which the court may commit
in the exercise of jurisdiction are merely errors of judgment which are the pro
per subject of an appeal. In sum, under Article 41 of the Family Code, the losin
g party in a summary proceeding for the declaration of presumptive death may fil
e a petition for certiorari with the CA on the ground that, in rendering judgmen
t thereon, the trial court committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack
of jurisdiction. From the decision of the CA, the aggrieved party may elevate t
he matter to this Court via a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of
the Rules of Court.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 113 of 171

REPUBLIC v. UY G.R. No. 198010 August 12, 2013 Subject: Final Provisions - Perso
ns and Family Relations Topic: Use of Surnames
FACTS: On March 8, 2004, respondent Norma Lugsanay Uy filed a Petition for Corre
ction of Entry of her birth certificate, impleading in her action the registrar
of Gingoog City. She alleged that she was born on February 8, 1952 and is the il
legitimate daughter of Sy Ton and Sotera Lugsanay. Her birth certificate shows t
hat her full name is "Anita Sy" when she is allegedly known to her family and fr
iends as "Norma S. Lugsanay." Norma further claimed that her school records, PRC
Medicine Certificate, and passport all bear the name "Norma S. Lugsanay." She c
laims that since her parents were never married, she used the name Lugsanay; she w
as an illegitimate childe so she had to follow the surname of her mother. Norma
also contended that she is a Filipino citizen and not Chinese, and all her sibli
ngs bear the surname Lugsanay and are all Filipinos. Norma allegedly filed earli
er a petition for correction of entries with the registrar of Gingoog City to ef
fect the corrections on her name and citizenship which was supposedly granted. H
owever, the National Statistics Office (NSO) records did not bear such changes.
The RTC granted the petition and directed the registrar of Gingoog City to effec
t the correction or change of the entries in Normas birth certificate so that the
name would be Norma Sy Lugsanay and the citizenship Filipino, concluding that the p
etition would neither prejudice the government nor any third party. It also held
that the names "Norma Sy Lugsanay" and "Anita Sy" refer to one and the same per
son, especially since the Local Civil Registrar of Gingoog City has effected the
correction. Considering that respondent has continuously used and has been know
n since childhood as "Norma Sy Lugsanay" and as a Filipino citizen, the RTC gran
ted the petition to avoid confusion. On February 18, 2011, the CA affirmed in to
to the RTC Order. Hence, the present petition on the sole ground that the petiti
on is dismissible for failure to implead indispensable parties.
ISSUE: Was the granting of the petition for change of entries in Normas birth cer
tificate proper?
HELD: No. Cancellation or correction of entries in the civil registry is governed
by Rule 108 of the Rules of Court, to wit: SEC. 1. Who may file petition. Any p
erson interested in any act, event, order or decree concerning the civil status
of persons which has been recorded in the civil register, may file a verified pe
tition for the cancellation or correction of any entry relating thereto, with th
e Regional Trial Court of the province where the corresponding civil registry is
located. SEC. 2. Entries subject to cancellation or correction. Upon good and v
alid grounds, the following entries in the civil register may be cancelled or co
rrected: (a) births; (b) marriages; (c) deaths; (d) legal separations; (e) judgm
ents of annulments of marriage; (f) judgments declaring marriages void from the
beginning; (g) legitimations; (h) adoptions; (i) acknowledgments of natural chil
dren; (j) naturalization; (k) election, loss or recovery of citizenship; (l) civ
il interdiction; (m) judicial determination of filiation; (n) voluntary emancipa
tion of a minor; and (o) changes of name.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 114 of 171

SEC. 3. Parties. When cancellation or correction of an entry in the civil regist


er is sought, the civil registrar and all persons who have or claim any interest
which would be affected thereby shall be made parties to the proceeding. SEC. 4
. Notice and Publication. Upon the filing of the petition, the court shall, by a
n order, fix the time and place for the hearing of the same, and cause reasonabl
e notice thereof to be given to the persons named in the petition. The court sha
ll also cause the order to be published once a week for three (3) consecutive we
eks in a newspaper of general circulation in the province. SEC. 5. Opposition. T
he civil registrar and any person having or claiming any interest under the entr
y whose cancellation or correction is sought may, within fifteen (15) days from
notice of the petition, or from the last date of publication of such notice, fil
e his opposition thereto. SEC. 6. Expediting proceedings. The court in which the
proceeding is brought may make orders expediting the proceedings, and may also
grant preliminary injunction for the preservation of the rights of the parties p
ending such proceedings. SEC. 7. Order. After hearing, the court may either dism
iss the petition or issue an order granting the cancellation or correction praye
d for. In either case, a certified copy of the judgment shall be served upon the
civil registrar concerned who shall annotate the same in his record. XXX It has
been settled in a number of cases starting with Republic v. Valencia that even
substantial errors in a civil registry may be corrected and the true facts estab
lished provided the parties aggrieved by the error avail themselves of the appro
priate adversary proceeding. The pronouncement of the Court in that case is illu
minating: It is undoubtedly true that if the subject matter of a petition is not
for the correction of clerical errors of a harmless and innocuous nature, but o
ne involving nationality or citizenship, which is indisputably substantial as we
ll as controverted, affirmative relief cannot be granted in a proceeding summary
in nature. However, it is also true that a right in law may be enforced and a w
rong may be remedied as long as the appropriate remedy is used. This Court adher
es to the principle that even substantial errors in a civil registry may be corr
ected and the true facts established provided the parties aggrieved by the error
avail themselves of the appropriate adversary proceeding. XXX The fact that the
notice of hearing was published in a newspaper of general circulation and notic
e thereof was served upon the State will not change the nature of the proceeding
s taken. XXX It is clear from the foregoing discussion that when a petition for
cancellation or correction of an entry in the civil register involves substantia
l and controversial alterations, including those on citizenship, legitimacy of p
aternity or filiation, or legitimacy of marriage, a strict compliance with the r
equirements of Rule 108 ofthe Rules of Court is mandated. If the entries in the
civil register could be corrected or changed through mere summary proceedings an
d not through appropriate action wherein all parties who may be affected by the
entries are notified or represented, the door to fraud or other mischief would b
e set open, the consequence of which might be detrimental and far reaching.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 115 of 171

REPUBLIC v. MARCOS G. R. No. 171701 February 8, 2012 Subject: Wills and Successi
on Topic: General Provisions
FACTS: After the EDSA People Power Revolution in 1986, the first executive act o
f then President Corazon C. Aquino was to create the Presidential Commission on
Good Government (PCGG). Pursuant to Executive Order No. 1, the PCGG was given th
e following mandate to prosecute for and recover the ill-gotten wealth the exile
d former President Ferdinand Marcos. Thus, numerous civil and criminal cases wer
e subsequently filed. One of the civil cases filed before the Sandiganbayan to r
ecover the Marcoses alleged ill-gotten wealth was Civil Case No. 0002, now subjec
t of this Petition. On July 16, 1987, the PCGG, acting on behalf of the Republic
and assisted by the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), filed a Complaint fo
r Reversion, Reconveyance, Restitution, Accounting and Damages against Ferdinand
E. Marcos, who was later substituted by his estate upon his death; Imelda R. Ma
rcos; and herein respondents Imee Marcos-Manotoc, Irene Marcos-Araneta, Bongbong
Marcos, Tomas Manotoc, and Gregorio Araneta III. On October 1, 1987, the PCGG f
iled an amended Complaint to add Constante Rubio as defendant. Again on 9 Februa
ry 1988, it amended the Complaint, this time to include as defendants Nemesio G.
Co and herein respondents Yeung Chun Kam, Yeung Chun Ho, and Yeung Chun Fan. In
1989, Former President Marcos died. On April 23, 1990, the PCGG amended its Com
plaint for the 3rd time, adding to its growing list of defendants Imelda Cojuang
co, the estate of Ramon Cojuangco, and Prime Holdings, Inc. The State prays that
the Marcos respondents be made to (1) pay for the value of the alleged ill-gott
en wealth with interest from the date of acquisition; (2) render a complete acco
unting and inventory of all funds and other pieces of property legally or benefi
cially held and/or controlled by them, as well as their legal and beneficial int
erest therein; (3) pay actual damages estimated at P200 billion and additional a
ctual damages to reimburse expenses for the recovery of the alleged ill-gotten w
ealth estimated atP250 million or in such amount as may be proven during trial;
(4) pay moral damages amounting to P50 billion; (5) pay temperate and nominal da
mages, as well as attorneys fees and litigation expenses in an amount to be prove
n during the trial; (6) pay exemplary damages in the amount of P1 billion; and (
7) pay treble judicial costs.
ISSUE: Are the Marcos siblings compulsory heirs who must be impleaded in the act
ion?
HELD: Yes, the Marcos siblings are compulsory heirs and must be impleaded. Since
the pending case before the Sandiganbayan survives the death of Ferdinand E. Mar
cos, it is imperative therefore that the estate be duly represented. The purpose
behind this rule is the protection of the right to due process of every party t
o a litigation who may be affected by the intervening death. The deceased litiga
nt is himself protected, as he continues to be properly represented in the suit
through the duly appointed legal representative of his estate. On that note, we
take judicial notice of the probate proceedings regarding the will of Ferdinand
E. Marcos. In Republic of the Philippines v.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 116 of 171

Marcos II. we upheld the grant by the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of letters test
amentary in solidum to Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. and Imelda Romualdez-Marcos as e
xecutors of the last will and testament of the late Ferdinand E. Marcos. Unless
the executors of the Marcos estate or the heirs are ready to waive in favor of t
he state their right to defend or protect the estate or those properties found t
o be ill-gotten in their possession, control or ownership, then they may not be
dropped as defendants in the civil case pending before the Sandiganbayan. Rule 3
, Sec. 7 of the Rules of Court defines indispensable parties as those parties-in
-interest without whom there can be no final determination of an action. They ar
e those parties who possess such an interest in the controversy that a final dec
ree would necessarily affect their rights, so that the courts cannot proceed wit
hout their presence. Parties are indispensable if their interest in the subject
matter of the suit and in the relief sought is inextricably intertwined with tha
t of the other parties. In order to reach a final determination of the matters c
oncerning the estate of Ferdinand E. Marcos that is, the accounting and the reco
very of ill-gotten wealth the present case must be maintained against Imelda Mar
cos and herein respondent Ferdinand "Bongbong" R. Marcos, Jr., as executors of t
he Marcos estate pursuant to Sec. 1 of Rule 87 of the Rules of Court. According
to this provision, actions may be commenced to recover from the estate, real or
personal property, or an interest therein, or to enforce a lien thereon; and act
ions to recover damages for an injury to person or property, real or personal, m
ay be commenced against the executors. We also hold that the action must likewis
e be maintained against Imee Marcos-Manotoc and Irene Marcos-Araneta on the basi
s of the non-exhaustive list attached as Annex "A" to the Third Amended Complain
t, which states that the listed properties therein were owned by Ferdinand and I
melda Marcos and their immediate family It is only during the trial of Civil Cas
e No. 0002 before the Sandiganbayan that there could be a determination of wheth
er these properties are indeed ill-gotten or were legitimately acquired by respo
ndents and their predecessors. Thus, while it was not proven that respondents co
nspired in accumulating ill-gotten wealth, they may be in possession, ownership
or control of such ill-gotten properties or the proceeds thereof as heirs of the
Marcos couple. Thus, their lack of participation in any illegal act does not re
move the character of the property as ill-gotten and, therefore, as rightfully b
elonging to the State. Secondly, under the rules of succession, the heirs instan
taneously became co-owners of the Marcos properties upon the death of the Presid
ent. The property rights and obligations to the extent of the value of the inher
itance of a person are transmitted to another through the decedents death. XXX In
sum, the Marcos siblings are maintained as respondents, because (1) the action
pending before the Sandiganbayan is one that survives death, and, therefore, the
rights to the estate must be duly protected; (2) they allegedly control, posses
s or own ill-gotten wealth, though their direct involvement in accumulating or a
cquiring such wealth may not have been proven.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 117 of 171

MENDOZA v. DELOS SANTOS G.R. No. 176422 March 20, 2013 Subject: Wills and Succes
sion Topic: Testamentary Succession
FACTS: Exequiel,a child of Placido and Dominga, possessed several properties, ad
judicated to him by virtue of an alleged oral partition between him and his sibl
ings of their parents estates. After Exequiel died, the properties passed on to h
is surviving spouse Leonor and only child, daughter Gregoria. When Leonor died,
the properties passed on to Gregoria. Gregoria herself died in 1992, intestate a
nd with no children. The petitioners and grandchildren- the children of Exequiels
brothers Antonio, Apolonio, and Valentinallege that Leonors sister Julia, adjudi
cated unto herself the properties left behind by Gregoria. The grandchildren cla
im that the properties should have been reserved by Julia in their behalf and mu
st now revert back to them, applying the Art. 891 reserva troncal provision of t
he Civil Code. Julia, however, answers that the properties are not reservable, a
nd there was no obligation on her part to reserve the same, because the properti
es were not originally owned by Placido and Domingo, hence not originating from
the familial line of the grandchildren. According to her, Exequiel and his broth
er Antonio bought the properties from a third person, though it appears that onl
y Exequiel possessed the properties. The RTC ordered the Julias heirs to reconvey
the properties to the grandchildren, holding that the properties were reservabl
e. The decision was reversed by the CA. Now the grandchildren are assailing the
decision of the CA, which ordered the dismissal of the case of the grandchildren
.
ISSUE: Does reserve troncal apply in this case such that Julia is under the obli
gation to reserve the properties which she got from Gregoria?
HELD: No. Reserva troncal is a special rule designed primarily to assure the retu
rn of a reservable property to the third degree relatives belonging to the line
from which the property originally came, and avoid its being dissipated into and
by the relatives of the inheriting ascendant. XXX The principle of reserva tron
cal is provided in Article 891 of the Civil Code: Art. 891. The ascendant who in
herits from his descendant any property which the latter may have acquired by gr
atuitous title from another ascendant, or a brother or sister, is obliged to res
erve such property as he may have acquired by operation of law for the benefit o
f relatives who are within the third degree and belong to the line from which sa
id property came. (Emphasis ours) There are three (3) lines of transmission in r
eserva troncal. The first transmission is by gratuitous title, whether by inheri
tance or donation, from an ascendant/brother/sister to a descendant called the p
repositus. The second transmission is by operation of law from the prepositus to
the other ascendant or reservor, also called the reservista. The third and last
transmission is from the reservista to the reservees or reservatarios who must
be relatives within the third degree from which the property came. XXX
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 118 of 171

Based on the circumstances of the present case, Article 891 on reserva troncal i
s not applicable. XXX The persons involved in reserva troncal are: 1. The ascend
ant or brother or sister from whom the property was received by the descendant b
y lucrative or gratuitous title; 2. The descendant or prepositus (propositus) wh
o received the property; 3. The reservor (reservista), the other ascendant who o
btained the property from the prepositus by operation of law; and 4. The reserve
e (reservatario) who is within the third degree from the prepositus and who belo
ngs to the (linea o tronco) from which the property came and for whom the proper
ty should be reserved by the reservor. It should be pointed out that the ownersh
ip of the properties should be reckoned only from Exequiels as he is the ascendan
t from where the first transmission occurred, or from whom Gregoria inherited th
e properties in dispute. The law does not go farther than such ascendant/brother
/sister in determining the lineal character of the property. It was also immater
ial for the CA to determine whether Exequiel predeceased Placido and Dominga or
whether Gregoria predeceased Exequiel. What is pertinent is that Exequiel owned
the properties and he is the ascendant from whom the properties in dispute origi
nally came. Gregoria, on the other hand, is the descendant who received the prop
erties from Exequiel by gratuitous title. Moreover, Article 891 simply requires
that the property should have been acquired by the descendant or prepositus from
an ascendant by gratuitous or lucrative title. A transmission is gratuitous or
by gratuitous title when the recipient does not give anything in return. At risk
of being repetitious, what was clearly established in this case is that the pro
perties in dispute were owned by Exequiel (ascendant). After his death, Gregoria
(descendant/prepositus) acquired the properties as inheritance. XXX Article 891
provides that the person obliged to reserve the property should be an ascendant
(also known as the reservor/reservista) of the descendant/prepositus. Julia, ho
wever, is not Gregorias ascendant; rather, she is Gregorias collateral relative. A
rticle 964 of the Civil Code provides for the series of degrees among ascendants
and descendants, and those who are not ascendants and descendants but come from
a common ancestor, viz: Art. 964. A series of degrees forms a line, which may b
e either direct or collateral. A direct line is that constituted by the series o
f degrees among ascendants and descendants. A collateral line is that constitute
d by the series of degrees among persons who are not ascendants and descendants,
but who come from a common ancestor. (Emphasis and italics ours) Gregorias ascen
dants are her parents, Exequiel and Leonor, her grandparents, great-grandparents
and so on. On the other hand, Gregorias descendants, if she had one, would be he
r children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Not being Gregorias ascendants
, both petitioners and Julia, therefore, are her collateral relatives. In determ
ining the collateral line of relationship, ascent is made to the common ancestor
and then descent to the relative from whom the computation is made. In the case
of Julias collateral relationship with Gregoria, ascent is to be made from Grego
ria to her mother Leonor (one line/degree), then to the common ancestor, that is
, Julia and Leonors parents (second line/degree), and then descent to Julia, her
aunt (third line/degree). Thus, Julia is Gregorias collateral relative within the
third degree and not her ascendant. XXX Moreover, petitioners cannot be conside
red reservees/reservatarios as they are not relatives within the third degree of
Gregoria from whom the properties came. The person from whom the degree should
be
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 119 of 171

reckoned is the descendant/prepositusthe one at the end of the line from which th
e property came and upon whom the property last revolved by descent. It is Grego
ria in this case. Petitioners are Gregorias fourth degree relatives, being her fi
rst cousins. First cousins of the prepositus are fourth degree relatives and are
not reservees or reservatarios. They cannot even claim representation of their
predecessors Antonio and Valentin as Article 891 grants a personal right of rese
rvation only to the relatives up to the third degree from whom the reservable pr
operties came. The only recognized exemption is in the case of nephews and niece
s of the prepositus, who have the right to represent their ascendants (fathers a
nd mothers) who are the brothers/sisters of the prepositus and relatives within
the third degree. In Florentino v. Florentino, the Court stated: Following the o
rder prescribed by law in legitimate succession, when there are relatives of the
descendant within the third degree, the right of the nearest relative, called r
eservatario, over the property which the reservista (person holding it subject t
o reservation) should return to him, excludes that of the one more remote. The r
ight of representation cannot be alleged when the one claiming same as a reserva
tario of the reservable property is not among the relatives within the third deg
ree belong to the line from which such property came Nevertheless there is right
of representation on the part of reservatarios who are within the third degree m
entioned by law, as in the case of nephews of the deceased person from whom the
reservable property came. x x x. (Emphasis and underscoring ours) The conclusion
, therefore, is that while it may appear that the properties are reservable in c
haracter, petitioners cannot benefit from reserva troncal. First, because Julia,
who now holds the properties in dispute, is not the other ascendant within the
purview of Article 891 of the Civil Code and second, because petitioners are not
Gregorias relatives within the third degree. XXX What the RTC should have done,
assuming for arguments sake that reserva troncal is applicable, is have the reser
vable nature of the property registered on respondents titles. In fact, responden
t, as reservista, has the duty to reserve and to annotate the reservable charact
er of the property on the title. In reserva troncal, the reservista who inherits
from a prepositus, whether by the latters wish or by operation of law, acquires
the inheritance by virtue of a title perfectly transferring absolute ownership.
All the attributes of ownership belong to him exclusively. The reservor has the
legal title and dominion to the reservable property but subject to the resolutor
y condition that such title is extinguished if the reservor predeceased the rese
rvee. The reservor is a usufructuary of the reservable property. He may alienate
it subject to the reservation. The transferee gets the revocable and conditiona
l ownership of the reservor. The transferees rights are revoked upon the survival
of the reservees at the time of the death of the reservor but become indefeasib
le when the reservees predecease the reservor.(Citations omitted) It is when the
reservation takes place or is extinguished, that a reservatario becomes, by ope
ration of law, the owner of the reservable property. In any event, the foregoing
discussion does not detract from the fact that petitioners are not entitled to
a reservation of the properties in dispute.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 120 of 171

GARCIA-QUIAZON v. BELEN G.R. No. 189121 July 31, 2013 Subject: Wills and Success
ion Topic: Legal or Intestate Succession
FACTS: After Eliseos death, his common-law spouse and daughter, Lourdes and Elise
, respectively, applied to the court for letters of administration of his intest
ate estate. Elise claims that he is the acknowledged natural child of Eliseo, an
d that her parents Eliseo and Lourdes were both capacitated to marry each other
at the time she was conceived and born. Amelia, to whom Eliseo was married, oppo
sed the petition. As a response to the opposition, Elise claimed that Amelia has
no standing in the current case because her marriage to Eliseo was bigamous, ha
ving been contracted at a time when Amelia was in a prior subsisting marriage wi
th one Filipito. Elise was issued the letters of administration upon the filing
of a bond, having also attained the age of majority in the interim. On appeal, t
he CA upheld the findings of the trial court that Amelia was not validly married
to Eliseo, and that Eliseo and Lourdes lived together as husband and wife from
1975 up to his death in 1992, with Elise being the product of their cohabitation
as a family.
ISSUE: Is Elise a compulsory heir who may validly question the validity of his f
athers marriage top another woman?
HELD: Yes. Relevant to the foregoing, there is no doubt that Elise, whose success
ional rights would be prejudiced by her fathers marriage to Amelia, may impugn th
e existence of such marriage even after the death of her father. The said marria
ge may be questioned directly by filing an action attacking the validity thereof
, or collaterally by raising it as an issue in a proceeding for the settlement o
f the estate of the deceased spouse, such as in the case at bar. Ineluctably, El
ise, as a compulsory heir, has a cause of action for the declaration of the abso
lute nullity of the void marriage of Eliseo and Amelia, and the death of either
party to the said marriage does not extinguish such cause of action.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 121 of 171

HEIRS OF YPON v. RICAFORTE G.R. No. 198680 July 8, 2013 Subject: Wills and Succe
ssion Topic: Legal or Intestate Succession
FACTS: The heirs of Ypon filed a complaint for cancellation of title and reconve
yance against for several parcels of land in the possession of Gaudioso Ricafort
e, who had the parcels of land titled to his name through an affidavit of self-a
djudication, claiming that he (Gaudioso) is the sole compulsory heir of the dece
dent Magdaleno Ypon. To prove his status as an heir of Magdaleno, Gaudioso produ
ced the following: a. his certificate of Live Birth; b. two (2) letters from Pol
ytechnic School; c. a certified true copy of his passport; d. marriage contract
of Magdaleno and Epegenia Evanglelista; and e. a letter. As an affirmative defen
se, he claimed that the petitioners have no cause of action against him as the c
ase is not being prosecuted by the real parties in interest, given that there is
no showing that the petitioners have been judicially declared as Magdalenos heir
s. The RTC held that while the petitioners had established their relationship wi
th Magdaleno in a previous special proceeding for administration, this did not a
utomatically make the petitioners the compulsory heirs of Magdaleno.
ISSUE: Can heirship be adjudicated in a civil action for reconveyance?
HELD: No. As stated in the subject complaint, petitioners, who were among the pla
intiffs therein, alleged that they are the lawful heirs of Magdaleno and based o
n the same, prayed that the Affidavit of SelfAdjudication executed by Gaudioso b
e declared null and void and that the transfer certificates of title issued in t
he latters favor be cancelled. While the foregoing allegations, if admitted to be
true, would consequently warrant the reliefs sought for in the said complaint,
the rule that the determination of a decedents lawful heirs should be made in the
corresponding special proceeding precludes the RTC, in an ordinary action for c
ancellation of title and reconveyance, from granting the same. In the case of He
irs of Teofilo Gabatan v. CA,21 the Court, citing several other precedents, held
that the determination of who are the decedents lawful heirs must be made in the
proper special proceeding for such purpose, and not in an ordinary suit for rec
overy of ownership and/or possession XXX Jurisprudence dictates that the determin
ation of who are the legal heirs of the deceased must be made in the proper spec
ial proceedings in court, and not in an ordinary suit for recovery of ownership
and possession of property.1wphi1 This must take precedence over the action for r
ecovery of possession and ownership. The Court has consistently ruled that the t
rial court cannot make a declaration of heirship in the civil action for the rea
son that such a declaration can only be made in a special proceeding. XXX
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 122 of 171

Thus, concordant with applicable jurisprudence, since a determination of heirshi


p cannot be made in an ordinary action for recovery of ownership and/or possessi
on, the dismissal of Civil Case No. T-2246 was altogether proper. In this light,
it must be pointed out that the RTC erred in ruling on Gaudiosos heirship which
should, as herein discussed, be threshed out and determined in the proper specia
l proceeding. As such, the foregoing pronouncement should therefore be devoid of
any legal effect.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 123 of 171

VDA. DE FIGURACION v. FIGURACION-GERILLA G.R. No. 151334 February 13, 2013 Subje
ct: Wills and Succession Topic: Legal or Intestate Succession
FACTS: Leandro died intestate in 1958. He left behind 2 parcels of land in Urdan
eta, pangasinan, which he acquired during his lifetime. He is survived by his wi
fe Carolina and their children Elena, Hilaria, Felipa, Quintin, and Mary who are
the petitioners in this case. He is also survived by another child with his wif
e Carolina- Emilia- who is the respondent. Prior to decedents death, he executed
a quitclaim over the parcels of land in favor of his 6 children. However, the sh
ares were not delineated with particularity as Leandro and his wife Carolina wan
ted to reserve the use and fruits of the parcels of land for their daily expense
s. Also involved in this case is a third lot in Urdaneta, Pangasinan, in the nam
e of Eulalio. Eulalio married twice in his lifetime. From his first marriage, he
has a daughter, Agripina. When Eulalios first wife died, Eulalio married again,
and begot another daughter, petitioner Carolina, who is Leandros surviving spouse
. In 1961, Carolinas half sister Agripina executed a quitclaim over half of the t
hird lot in this case to her niece respondent Emilia, who is Carolinas daughter w
ith Leandro. However, unknown to Emilia, Carolina executed an affidavit of selfadjudication over the third lot in 1962, claiming to be the sole surviving heir
of her father, Eulalio. On the same day, she also executed a deed of absolute sa
le of the third lot to her other daughters Hilaria and Felipa, who are also her
co-petitioners in this case. Hilaria and Felipa immediately caused the transfer
of the title to their names. When Emilia returned to the Philippines in 1981 aft
er 10 years in the United States, she built a house on half of the third lot, re
lying on the quitclaim in her favor executed by her aunt, her mothers half sister
Agripina. Trouble arose in 1994 when Hilaria threatened to demolish her sister
Emilias house built on the third lot, claiming that Emilia was on her property il
legally, alleging that the lot belonged to her and Felipa alone, having bought t
he same from their mother Carolina as evidenced by a deed of absolute sale which
Carolina executed in 1962. In response, Emilia asked for a partition of the thi
rd lot, as well as partitions of the 2 parcels of land left behind by their fath
er Leandro. She also instituted an annulment of the affidavit of self adjudicati
on and the deed of absolute sale executed by her mother over the third lot in 19
62, and prayed for the reconveyance to her of the half of the third lot left to
her by her aunt Agripina. Opposing the action, the petitioners claim that an act
ion for partition is no longer possible because Felipa and Hilaria have already
acquired rights adverse to that claimed by respondent Emilia, and that the regis
tration of the third lot in their name amounted to a repudiation of the alleged
co-ownership, and therefore they are now the owners of the third lot by acquisit
ive prescription. The RTC simplified the issues as follows: 1. Whether the 2 par
cels of land acquired by Leandro during his lifetime are his exclusive propertie
s; and 2. Whether Emilia owns half of the third lot. The RTC ruled that a partit
ion of the 2 parcels of purportedly belonging to Leandro is premature since thei
r ownership is yet to be transmitted from Leandro to his heirs whose respective
shares thereto must still be determined in estate settlement proceedings. As for
the third lot, the RTC held that Carolina
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 124 of 171

validly transferred only her one-half share to Felipa and Hilaria and any convey
ance of the other half pertaining to Agripina was void. Finally, the RTC refused
to rule on the ownership claim by Emilia of half of the third lot because Eulal
ios estate has yet to be settled. The CA, on appeal, ruled that the RTC erred in
refusing to partition the third lot. The CA explained that there is no necessity
for placing the third lot under judicial administration since Carolina had long
sold her pro indiviso share to Felipa and Hilaria. According to the CA, when Ca
rolina sold the entire third lot in 1962, purportedly as her own, the sale affec
ted only her share and not that belonging to her coowner, Agripina. The proper a
ction in such case is not the nullification of the sale, or for the recovery of
possession of the property owned in common from the third person, but for a divi
sion or partition of the entire lot. Such partition should result in segregating
the portion belonging to the seller and its delivery to the buyer. Finally, the
CA agreed that partitioning the 2 parcels of land from Leandro was indeed prema
ture as the expenses for the last illness and burial of Leandro had yet to be ac
counted for.
ISSUE: Should the provisions of the Old Civil Code be followed in the intestate
disposition of Marcelas share of the conjugal property, given that the Old Civil
Code was the law in force at the time of Marcela and Eulalios marriage?
HELD: Yes. Under the Old Civil Code which was then in force at the time of Eulali
o and Marcelas marriage, Lot No. 707 was their conjugal property. When Marcela di
ed, one-half of the lot was automatically reserved to Eulalio, the surviving spo
use, as his share in the conjugal partnership. Marcelas rights to the other half,
in turn, were transmitted to her legitimate child, Agripina and surviving spous
e Eulalio. Under Article 834 of the Old Civil Code, Eulalio was entitled only to
the usufruct of the lot while the naked ownership belonged to Agripina. When he
remarried, Eulalios one half portion of the lot representing his share in the co
njugal partnership and his usufructuary right over the other half were brought i
nto his second marriage with Faustina. When Eulalio died on July 20, 1930,  porti
on of the lot was reserved for Faustina as her share in the conjugal partnership
. The remaining  were transmitted equally to the widow Faustina and Eulalios child
ren, Carolina and Agripina. However, Faustina is only entitled to the usufruct o
f the third available for betterment. The usufructuary of Eulalio over the porti
on inherited by Agripina earlier was merged with her naked ownership. Upon the d
eath of Faustina, the shares in Lot No. 707 which represents her share in the co
njugal partnership and her inheritance from Eulalio were in turn inherited by Ca
rolina including Faustinas usufructuary rights which were merged with Carolinas na
ked ownership. Consequently, Agripina is entitled to 5/8 portion of Lot No. 707
while the remaining 3/8 pertains to Carolina. Thus, when Carolina sold Lot No. 7
07 to Hilaria and Felipa, the sale affected only 3/8 portion of the subject lot.
Since the Deed of Quitclaim, bequeathed only the eastern portion of Lot No. 707
in favor of Emilia instead of Agripinas entire 5/8 share thereof, the remaining
1/8 portion shall be inherited by Agripinas nearest collateral relative, who, rec
ords show, is her sister Carolina.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 125 of 171

NERI v. HEIRS OF UY G.R. No. 194366 October 10, 2012 Subject: Wills and Successi
on Topic: Legal or Intestate Succession
FACTS: Anunciacion Neri had seven children, 2 from her first marriage with Gonza
lo Illut (Eutropia, Victoria) and 5 from her second marriage with Enrique Neri (
Napoleon, Alicia, Visminda, Douglas, Rosa). During Anunciacions marriage with Enr
ique, they acquired several homestead properties in Davao del Norte. On Septembe
r 21, 1977, Anunciacion died intestate. Her husband, Enrique, personally and as
natural guardian of his minor children Rosa and Douglas, together with his other
children Napoleon, Alicia, and Visminda, executed an extra-judicial settlement
of the estate with absolute deed of sale in 1979. They adjudicated among themsel
ves the said homestead properties, and then conveyed them to the spouses Uy for
a consideration of P80,000. In 1996, the children of Enrique filed a complaint f
or annulment of sale of the said homestead properties against spouses Uy assaili
ng the validity of the sale. The complaint was later amended to include Eutropia
and Victoria as additional plaintiffs for having been deprived of their legitim
es as children of Anunciacion from her first marriage. The RTC rendered a decisi
on ordering, among others, the annulment of the Extra-Judicial Settlement of the
Estate with Absolute Deed of Sale. It ruled that while the sale occurred beyond
the 5-year prohibitory period, the sale is still void because Eutropia and Vict
oria were deprived of their hereditary rights and that Enrique had no judicial a
uthority to sell the shares of his minor children, Rosa and Douglas. On appeal,
the CA reversed the ruling of the RTC. It held that, while Eutropia and Victoria
were not bound by the extra-judicial settlement, the CA found it unconscionable
to permit the annulment of the sale considering spouses Uys possession thereof f
or 17 years. It, however, did not preclude the excluded heirs from recovering th
eir legitimes from their co-heirs.
ISSUE: What are the intestate shares of the heirs in the estate of Anunciacion?
HELD: It bears to stress that all the petitioners herein are indisputably legitim
ate children of Anunciacion from her first and second marriages with Gonzalo and
Enrique, respectively, and consequently, are entitled to inherit from her in eq
ual shares, pursuant to Articles 979 and 980 of the Civil Code which read: ART.
979. Legitimate children and their descendants succeed the parents and other asc
endants, without distinction as to sex or age, and even if they should come from
different marriages ART. 980. The children of the deceased shall always inherit
from him in their own right, dividing the inheritance in equal shares. As such,
upon the death of Anunciacion on September 21, 1977, her children and Enrique a
cquired their respective inheritances, entitling them to their pro indiviso shar
es in her whole estate, as follows:
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 126 of 171

Enrique Eutropia Victoria


9/16 (1/2 of the conjugal assets + 1/16) 1/16 1/16
Napoleon 1/16 Alicia 1/16
Visminda 1/16 Rosa Douglas 1/16 1/16
Hence, in the execution of the Extra-Judicial Settlement of the Estate with Abso
lute Deed of Sale in favor of spouses Uy, all the heirs of Anunciacion should ha
ve participated. Considering that Eutropia and Victoria were admittedly excluded
and that then minors Rosa and Douglas were not properly represented therein, th
e settlement was not valid and binding upon them and consequently, a total nulli
ty. XXX It is clear that Section 1 of Rule 74 does not apply to the partition in
question which was null and void as far as the plaintiffs were concerned. The r
ule covers only valid partitions. The partition in the present case was invalid
because it excluded six of the nine heirs who were entitled to equal shares in t
he partitioned property. Under the rule "no extrajudicial settlement shall be bi
nding upon any person who has not participated therein or had no notice thereof.
" As the partition was a total nullity and did not affect the excluded heirs, it
was not correct for the trial court to hold that their right to challenge the p
artition had prescribed after two years from its execution However, while the set
tlement of the estate is null and void, the subsequent sale of the subject prope
rties made by Enrique and his children, Napoleon, Alicia and Visminda, in favor
of the respondents is valid but only with respect to their proportionate shares
therein. It cannot be denied that these heirs have acquired their respective sha
res in the properties of Anunciacion from the moment of her death and that, as o
wners thereof, they can very well sell their undivided share in the estate.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 127 of 171

SUNTAY III v. COJUANGCO-SUNTAY G.R. No. 183053 October 10, 2012 Subject: Wills a
nd Succession Topic: Legal or Intestate Succession
FACTS: The decedent Cristina Aguinaldo-Suntay died intestate on 4 June 1990. Cri
stina was survived by her spouse, Dr. Federico Suntay and five grandchildren: th
ree legitimate grandchildren, including herein respondent, Isabel; and two illeg
itimate grandchildren, including petitioner Emilio III, all by Federicos and Cris
tinas only child, Emilio A. Suntay, who predeceased his parents. The illegitimate
grandchildren, Emilio III and Nenita, were both reared from infancy by the spou
ses Federico and Cristina. Their legitimate grandchildren, Isabel and her siblin
gs, Margarita and Emilio II, lived with their mother Isabel Cojuangco, following
the separation of Isabels parents, Emilio I and Isabel Cojuangco. Isabels parents
, along with her paternal grandparents, were involved in domestic relations case
s, including a case for parricide filed by Isabel Cojuangco against Emilio I. Em
ilio I was eventually acquitted. In retaliation, Emilio I filed a complaint for
legal separation against his wife, charging her among others with infidelity. Th
e trial court declared as null and void and of no effect the marriage of Emilio
I and Isabel Cojuangco, finding that Emilio I had a mental condition. There is n
o controversy that the marriage between the parties was effected on July 9, 1958
, years after Emilio Is mental illness had set in. This fact would justify a decl
aration of nullity of the marriage under Article 85 of the Civil Code. Intent on
maintaining a relationship with their grandchildren, Federico and Isabel filed
a complaint for visitation rights to spend time with Margarita, Emilio II, and I
sabel in the same special lower court. The court gave them one hour a month of v
isitation rights which was subsequently reduced to thirty minutes, and ultimatel
y stopped, because of respondent Isabels testimony in court that her grandparents
visits caused her and her siblings stress and anxiety. On September 27, 1993, mo
re than three years after Cristinas death, Federico adopted his illegitimate gran
dchildren, Emilio III and Nenita. On 26 October 1995, respondent Isabel, filed b
efore the RTC of Malolos, Bulacan, a petition for the issuance of letters of adm
inistration over Cristinas estate. Federico, opposed the petition, pointing out t
hat: (1) as the surviving spouse of the decedent, he should be appointed adminis
trator of the decedents estate; (2) as part owner of the mass of conjugal propert
ies left by the decedent, he must be accorded preference in the administration t
hereof; (3) Isabel and her siblings had been alienated from their grandparents f
or more than 30 years; (4) the enumeration of heirs in the petition was incomple
te as it did not mention the other children of his son, Emilio III and Nenita; (
5) even before the death of his wife, Federico had administered their conjugal p
roperties, and thus, is better situated to protect the integrity of the decedents
estate; (6) the probable value of the estate as stated in the petition was gros
sly overstated; and (7) Isabels allegation that some of the properties are in the
hands of usurpers is untrue. In Suntay v. Cojuangco-Suntay, we categorically de
clared that Isabel and her siblings, having been born of a voidable marriage as
opposed to a void, were legitimate children of Emilio I, who can all represent h
im in the estate of their legitimate grandmother, the decedent, Cristina. Still,
Federico nominated Emilio III to administer the decedents estate on his behalf i
n the event letters of administration issues to Federico. Consequently, Emilio I
II filed an opposition echoing the allegations in his grandfathers, alleging that
Federico, or in his stead, Emilio III, was better equipped than respondent to a
dminister and manage the estate of the decedent, Cristina.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 128 of 171

On 13 November 2000, Federico died. On 9 November 2001, the trial court rendered
a decision appointing Emilio III as administrator of decedent Cristinas intestat
e estate. Isabel appeals successfully to the CA, but lost in the SC, with Emilio
being named as administrator. In this reconsideration, she pleads for total aff
irmance of the Court of Appeals Decision in favor of her sole administratorship b
ased on her status as a legitimate grandchild of Cristina, whose estate she seek
s to administer.
ISSUE: 1. Does the iron curtain rule in Article 992 of the Civil Code disqualify
Emilio III as most interested party for issuance of letters of administration?
2. Should administration be removed from Emilio III? 3. Is Emilio III an heir of
Cristina?
HELD: 1. No. The paramount consideration in the appointment of an administrator o
ver the estate of a decedent is the prospective administrators interest in the es
tate. This is the same consideration which Section 6, Rule 78 takes into account
in establishing the order of preference in the appointment of administrator for
the estate. The rationale behind the rule is that those who will reap the benef
it of a wise, speedy and economical administration of the estate, or, in the alt
ernative, suffer the consequences of waste, improvidence or mismanagement, have
the highest interest and most influential motive to administer the estate correc
tly. In all, given that the rule speaks of an order of preference, the person to
be appointed administrator of a decedents estate must demonstrate not only an in
terest in the estate, but an interest therein greater than any other candidate.
2. Yes. In our Decision under consideration, we zeroed in on Emilio IIIs demonstra
ble interest in the estate and glossed over the order of preference set forth in
the Rules. We gave weight to Emilio IIIs demonstrable interest in Cristinas estat
e and without a closer scrutiny of the attendant facts and circumstances, direct
ed co-administration thereof. We are led to a review of such position by the for
egoing survey of cases. XXX Contrary to the assumption made in the Decision that
Emilio IIIs demonstrable interest in the estate makes him a suitable co-administ
rator thereof, the evidence reveals that Emilio III has turned out to be an unsu
itable administrator of the estate. Respondent Isabel points out that after Emil
io IIIs appointment as administrator of the subject estate in 2001, he has not lo
oked after the welfare of the subject estate and has actually acted to the damag
e and prejudice thereof as evidenced by the following: XXX Emilio III refutes Is
abels imputations that he was lackadaisical in assuming and performing the functi
ons of administrator of Cristinas estate[.] XXX The general denial made by Emilio
III does not erase his unsuitability as administrator rooted in his failure to
"make and return a true and complete inventory" which became proven fact when he
actually filed partial inventories before the probate court and by his inaction
on two occasions of Federicos exclusion of Cristinas other compulsory heirs, here
in Isabel and her siblings, from the list of heirs. XXX
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 129 of 171

Bearing in mind that the issuance of letters of administration is simply a preli


minary order to facilitate the settlement of a decedents estate, we here point ou
t that Emilio III is not without remedies to protect his interests in the estate
of the decedent. 3. It is premature to decide on such matters as heirship. Once a
gain, as we have done in the Decision, we exercise judicial restraint: we uphold
that the question of who are the heirs of the decedent Cristina is not yet upon
us. Article 992 of the Civil Code or the curtain bar rule is inapplicable in re
solving the issue of who is better qualified to administer the estate of the dec
edent. Thus, our disquisition in the assailed Decision: Nonetheless, it must be p
ointed out that judicial restraint impels us to refrain from making a final decl
aration of heirship and distributing the presumptive shares of the parties in th
e estates of Cristina and Federico, considering that the question on who will ad
minister the properties of the long deceased couple has yet to be settled. Our ho
lding in Capistrano v. Nadurata on the same issue remains good law: The declarati
on of heirs made by the lower court is premature, although the evidence sufficie
ntly shows who are entitled to succeed the deceased. The estate had hardly been
judicially opened, and the proceeding has not as yet reached the stage of distri
bution of the estate which must come after the inheritance is liquidated. Sectio
n 1, Rule 90 of the Rules of Court does not depart from the foregoing admonition
: Sec. 1. When order for distribution of residue is made. - x x x. If there is a
controversy before the court as to who are the lawful heirs of the deceased per
son or as to the distributive shares to which each person is entitled under the
law, the controversy shall be heard and decided as in ordinary cases. XXX Letter
s of Administration over the estate of decedent Cristina Aguinaldo-Suntay shall
solely issue to respondent Isabel Cojuangco-Suntay upon payment of a bond to be
set by the Regional Trial Court, Branch 78, Malolos, Bulacan...
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 130 of 171

INING v. VEGA G.R. No. 174727 August 12, 2013 Subject: Wills and Succession Topi
c: Provisions Common to Testate and Intestate Successions
FACTS: Leon and his wife died without issue. His heirs are the grand children of
his two sisters Romana and Gregoria. One of Romanas grand children- Leonardo- in
stituted an action for partition of Leons property, namely, a parcel of land in K
alibo, Aklan. However, Gregorias grandchild Teodora opposed the partition, claimi
ng that her husband- Lucimo- had validly purchased the land from Enriquez, who b
ought the same from the decedent Leon. Thus, Lucimo claims that he is not a co-o
wner, but a solo owner of the property. He also claims that, even if he were a c
o-owner, that the other heirs led by Leonardo can no longer ask for partition of
the land since he- Lucimo- has been in sole possession of the property for 30 y
ears; that his exclusive possession of the property and appropriation of its frui
ts even his continuous payment of the taxes thereon shows that the other heirs le
d by Leonardo have given up their rights to the property. Thus, Lucimo reiterate
d that he is the only owner of the property and not a co-owner. The RTC found th
at the deeds of sale used as evidence by Lucimo were spurious, thus the land was
never validly sold at the time of the decedents death making the land a part of
Leons estate. However, the RTC also ruled that Leonardos cause of action had presc
ribed for failing to institute the action within 30 years from the time of Leons
death in 1962. On appeal, the CA did not agree with the trial courts pronouncement
that Leonardos action for partition was barred by prescription. The CA declared
that prescription began to run not from Leons death in 1962, but from Lucimo Sr.s
execution of the Affidavit of Ownership of Land in 1979, which amounted to a rep
udiation of his co-ownership of the property with Leonardo.
ISSUE: Is Lucimo an heir of Leon, such that he can validly repudiate the co-owne
rship by reason of prescription for Leonardos failure to institute partition proc
eedings within 30 years from Leons death?
HELD: No, Lucimo did not inherit from Leon, being merely married to the decedent
Leons grand niece. One who is merely related by affinity to the decedent does not
inherit from the latter and cannot become a co-owner of the decedents property.
Consequently, he cannot effect a repudiation of the coownership of the estate th
at was formed among the decedents heirs. XXX For prescription to set in, the repu
diation must be done by a co-owner. Time and again, it has been held that "a coowner cannot acquire by prescription the share of the other co-owners, absent an
y clear repudiation of the co-ownership. In order that the title may prescribe i
n favor of a co-owner, the following requisites must concur: (1) the co-owner ha
s performed unequivocal
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 131 of 171

acts of repudiation amounting to an ouster of the other co-owners; (2) such posi
tive acts of repudiation have been made known to the other co-owners; and (3) th
e evidence thereof is clear and convincing." XXX From the foregoing pronouncemen
ts, it is clear that the trial court erred in reckoning the prescriptive period
within which Leonardo may seek partition from the death of Leon in 1962. Article
1141 and Article 494 (fifth paragraph) provide that prescription shall begin to
run in favor of a co-owner and against the other co-owners only from the time h
e positively renounces the co-ownership and makes known his repudiation to the o
ther co-owners. Lucimo Sr. challenged Leonardos co-ownership of the property only
sometime in 1979 and 1980, when the former executed the Affidavit of Ownership
of Land, obtained a new tax declaration exclusively in his name, and informed th
e latter before the Lupon Tagapamayapa of his 1943 purchase of the property. XXX
What escaped the trial and appellate courts notice, however, is that while it ma
y be argued that Lucimo Sr. performed acts that may be characterized as a repudi
ation of the co-ownership, the fact is, he is not a co-owner of the property. In
deed, he is not an heir of Gregoria; he is merely Antipolos son-in-law, being mar
ried to Antipolos daughter Teodora. Under the Family Code, family relations, whic
h is the primary basis for succession, exclude relations by affinity. Art. 150.
Family relations include those: (1) Between husband and wife; (2) Between parent
s and children; (3) Among other ascendants and descendants; and (4) Among brothe
rs and sisters, whether of the full or half blood. In point of law, therefore, L
ucimo Sr. is not a co-owner of the property; Teodora is. Consequently, he cannot
validly effect a repudiation of the co-ownership, which he was never part of. F
or this reason, prescription did not run adversely against Leonardo, and his rig
ht to seek a partition of the property has not been lost. XXX In fine, since non
e of the co-owners made a valid repudiation of the existing co-ownership, Leonar
do could seek partition of the property at any time.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 132 of 171

CASILANG v. CASILANG-DIZON G.R. No. 180269 February 20, 2013 Subject: Wills and
Succession Topic: Provisions Common to Testate and Intestate Successions
FACTS: Deceased spouses Liborio Casilang and Francisca Zacarias had 8 children,
namely: Felicidad, Ireneo Casilang, Marcelina, Jacinta, Bonifacio, Leonora, Jose
, and Flora. Liborio died intestate in 1982 at the age of 83; his wife Francisca
died later in the same year. Their son, Bonifacio, died in 1986, leaving behind
his child Bernabe. Their son Ireneo died in 1992, survived by his 4 children, n
amely: Mario, Angelo, Rodolfo, and Rosario Casilang-Dizon, who are the responden
ts. Liborios estate left no debts. The estate consists of 3 parcels of land locat
ed in Calasiao, Pangasinan. On May 26, 1997, respondent Rosario filed with the M
TC of Calasiao, Pangasinan a complaint for unlawful detainer, to evict her uncle
- son of grandfather Liborio and brother of her father Ireneo- petitioner Jose f
rom one of the lots. Rosario claimed that one of the parcels, Lot No. 4618, was
owned by her father Ireneo, as evidenced by a tax declaration issued in her fath
ers name in 1994. On April 3, 1997, the respondents executed a Deed of Extrajudic
ial Partition with Quitclaim, adjudicating onto themselved Lot No. 4618. And in
the same deed, respondents Mario, Angelo and Rodolfo renounced their respective
shares in Lot No. 4618 in favor of Rosario. Jose raised the defense that he was
the "lawful, absolute, exclusive owner and in actual possession" of the Lot no.
4618, and that he acquired the same "through intestate succession from his late
father." For However, Jose failed to appear at the pre-trial conference, and was
declared in default; thus, the MTC rendered the adverse judgement against Jose,
holding that Rosario is the owner of Lot No. 4618, and ordering Jose to remove
his house, vacate Lot No. 4618, and pay Rosario P500.00 in monthly rentals from
the filing of the complaint until she was placed in possession, plus attorneys fe
es and costs. On June 2, 1998, the petitioners, the remaining children of Libori
o and Francisca, filed with the RTC of Dagupan City a complaint for Annulment of
Documents, Ownership and Peaceful Possession with Damages against the responden
ts. Among the documents sought to be annulled was the 1997 Deed of Extrajudicial
Partition executed by Ireneos children over Lot No. 4618, as well as all other d
ocuments in favor of the respondents covering the lands in question. The petitio
ners alleged in their complaint that all 8 children of Liborio entered into a ve
rbal partition of his estate, pursuant to which Jose was allotted Lot No. 4618 a
s his share. They also claimed that Ireneo never claimed ownership nor took poss
ession of Lot No. 4618, because he was assigned a different lot which he possess
ed exclusively his lifetime. They averred that Jose has always resided in Lot No
. 4618 since childhood, where he built his familys semi-concrete house just a few
steps away from his parents old bamboo hut because he was the one who took care
of his parents until their deaths. One of Joses children has also built a house o
n the lot. Jose also expressly renounced his shares in the other lots, because h
e had already received in advance his share in his fathers estate, Lot No. 4618.
The RTC found baseless the claim of Rosario that Lot No. 4618 was an inheritance
of her father Ireneo considering that a tax declaration is not conclusive proof
of ownership. Rosario appealed to the CA, who ruled in her favor. The matter wa
s elevated to the SC, where, among other things, the question of validity of ora
l partition was raised.
ISSUE: Is an oral partition of the inheritance of Liborio by his children valid?
HELD:
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 133 of 171

Yes, the oral partition is valid. The validity of an oral partition is well-settl
ed in our jurisdiction. In Vda. de Espina v. Abaya, this Court declared that an
oral partition is valid: Anent the issue of oral partition, We sustain the valid
ity of said partition. "An agreement of partition may be made orally or in writi
ng. An oral agreement for the partition of the property owned in common is valid
and enforceable upon the parties. The Statute of Frauds has no operation in thi
s kind of agreements, for partition is not a conveyance of property but simply a
segregation and designation of the part of the property which belong to the coowners." In Maestrado v. CA, the Supreme Court upheld the partition after it fou
nd that it conformed to the alleged oral partition of the heirs, and that the or
al partition was confirmed by the notarized quitclaims executed by the heirs sub
sequently. In Maglucot-Aw v. Maglucot, the Supreme Court elaborated on the valid
ity of parol partition: On general principle, independent and in spite of the st
atute of frauds, courts of equity have enforce [sic] oral partition when it has
been completely or partly performed. Regardless of whether a parol partition or
agreement to partition is valid and enforceable at law, equity will [in] proper
cases, where the parol partition has actually been consummated by the taking of
possession in severalty and the exercise of ownership by the parties of the resp
ective portions set off to each, recognize and enforce such parol partition and
the rights of the parties thereunder. Thus, it has been held or stated in a numb
er of cases involving an oral partition under which the parties went into posses
sion, exercised acts of ownership, or otherwise partly performed the partition a
greement, that equity will confirm such partition and in a proper case decree ti
tle in accordance with the possession in severalty. In numerous cases it has bee
n held or stated that parol partition may be sustained on the ground of estoppel
of the parties to assert the rights of a tenant in common as to parts of land d
ivided by parol partition as to which possession in severalty was taken and acts
of individual ownership were exercised. And a court of equity will recognize th
e agreement and decree it to be valid and effectual for the purpose of concludin
g the right of the parties as between each other to hold their respective parts
in severalty. A parol partition may also be sustained on the ground that the par
ties thereto have acquiesced in and ratified the partition by taking possession
in severalty, exercising acts of ownership with respect thereto, or otherwise re
cognizing the existence of the partition. A number of cases have specifically ap
plied the doctrine of part performance, or have stated that a part performance i
s necessary, to take a parol partition out of the operation of the statute of fr
auds. It has been held that where there was a partition in fact between tenants
in common, and a part performance, a court of equity would have regard to and en
force such partition agreed to by the parties. Joses possession of Lot No. 4618 u
nder a claim of ownership is well borne out by the records. It is also consisten
t with the claimed verbal partition with his siblings, and fully corroborated by
his sisters Felicidad, Jacinta, Leonora, and Flora, who further testified that
they each had taken possession of their own shares and built their houses thereo
n. A possessor of real estate property is presumed to have title thereto unless
the adverse claimant establishes a better right. Moreover, under Article 541 of
the Civil Code, one who possesses in the concept of owner has in his favor the l
egal presumption that he possesses with a just title, and he cannot be obliged t
o show or prove it. Similarly, Article 433 of the Civil Code provides that actua
l possession under a claim of ownership raises a disputable presumption of owner
ship. Thus, actual possession and exercise of dominion over definite portions of
the property in accordance with an alleged partition are considered strong proo
f of an oral partition which the Court will not hesitate to uphold.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 134 of 171

VDA. DE FIGURACION v. FIGURACION-GERILLA G.R. No. 151334 February 13, 2013 Subje
ct: Wills and Succession Topic: Provisions Common to Testate and Intestate Succe
ssions
FACTS: Leandro died intestate in 1958. He left behind 2 parcels of land in Urdan
eta, pangasinan, which he acquired during his lifetime. He is survived by his wi
fe Carolina and their children Elena, Hilaria, Felipa, Quintin, and Mary who are
the petitioners in this case. He is also survived by another child with his wif
e Carolina- Emilia- who is the respondent. Prior to decedents death, he executed
a quitclaim over the parcels of land in favor of his 6 children. However, the sh
ares were not delineated with particularity as Leandro and his wife Carolina wan
ted to reserve the use and fruits of the parcels of land for their daily expense
s. Also involved in this case is a third lot in Urdaneta, Pangasinan, in the nam
e of Eulalio. Eulalio married twice in his lifetime. From his first marriage, he
has a daughter, Agripina. When Eulalios first wife died, Eulalio married again,
and begot another daughter, petitioner Carolina, who is Leandros surviving spouse
. In 1961, Carolinas half sister Agripina executed a quitclaim over half of the t
hird lot in this case to her niece respondent Emilia, who is Carolinas daughter w
ith Leandro. However, unknown to Emilia, Carolina executed an affidavit of selfadjudication over the third lot in 1962, claiming to be the sole surviving heir
of her father, Eulalio. On the same day, she also executed a deed of absolute sa
le of the third lot to her other daughters Hilaria and Felipa, who are also her
co-petitioners in this case. Hilaria and Felipa immediately caused the transfer
of the title to their names. When Emilia returned to the Philippines in 1981 aft
er 10 years in the United States, she built a house on half of the third lot, re
lying on the quitclaim in her favor executed by her aunt, her mothers half sister
Agripina. Trouble arose in 1994 when Hilaria threatened to demolish her sister
Emilias house built on the third lot, claiming that Emilia was on her property il
legally, alleging that the lot belonged to her and Felipa alone, having bought t
he same from their mother Carolina as evidenced by a deed of absolute sale which
Carolina executed in 1962. In response, Emilia asked for a partition of the thi
rd lot, as well as partitions of the 2 parcels of land left behind by their fath
er Leandro. She also instituted an annulment of the affidavit of self adjudicati
on and the deed of absolute sale executed by her mother over the third lot in 19
62, and prayed for the reconveyance to her of the half of the third lot left to
her by her aunt Agripina. Opposing the action, the petitioners claim that an act
ion for partition is no longer possible because Felipa and Hilaria have already
acquired rights adverse to that claimed by respondent Emilia, and that the regis
tration of the third lot in their name amounted to a repudiation of the alleged
co-ownership, and therefore they are now the owners of the third lot by acquisit
ive prescription. The RTC simplified the issues as follows: 1. Whether the 2 par
cels of land acquired by Leandro during his lifetime are his exclusive propertie
s; and 2. Whether Emilia owns half of the third lot. The RTC ruled that a partit
ion of the 2 parcels of purportedly belonging to Leandro is premature since thei
r ownership is yet to be transmitted from Leandro to his heirs whose respective
shares thereto must still be determined in estate settlement proceedings. As for
the third lot, the RTC held that Carolina
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 135 of 171

validly transferred only her one-half share to Felipa and Hilaria and any convey
ance of the other half pertaining to Agripina was void. Finally, the RTC refused
to rule on the ownership claim by Emilia of half of the third lot because Eulal
ios estate has yet to be settled. The CA, on appeal, ruled that the RTC erred in
refusing to partition the third lot. The CA explained that there is no necessity
for placing the third lot under judicial administration since Carolina had long
sold her pro indiviso share to Felipa and Hilaria. According to the CA, when Ca
rolina sold the entire third lot in 1962, purportedly as her own, the sale affec
ted only her share and not that belonging to her coowner, Agripina. The proper a
ction in such case is not the nullification of the sale, or for the recovery of
possession of the property owned in common from the third person, but for a divi
sion or partition of the entire lot. Such partition should result in segregating
the portion belonging to the seller and its delivery to the buyer. Finally, the
CA agreed that partitioning the 2 parcels of land from Leandro was indeed prema
ture as the expenses for the last illness and burial of Leandro had yet to be ac
counted for.
ISSUES: 1. Are co-heirs called to succeed by intestate succession to the same po
rtion of the inheritance considered co-owners pro indiviso of such portion? 2. A
s a co-heir, can Carolina validly sell her aliquot interest of the estate to oth
ers? 3. Can heirs validly acquire by prescription the hereditary shares of their
co-heirs, without proving their co-heirs repudiation of the same? 4. May an heir
of the decedent request for a division of the portion of the hereditary estate
owned in common at any time?
HELD: 1. Yes. The status of Agripina and Carolina as the legitimate heirs of Eula
lio is an undisputed fact. As such heirs, they became co-owners of Lot No. 707 u
pon the death of Eulalio on July 20, 1930. Since Faustina was predeceased by Eul
alio, she likewise became a co-owner of the lot upon Eulalios death. Faustinas sha
re, however, passed on to her daughter Carolina when the former died on October
18, 1949. The Affidavit of Self-Adjudication executed by Carolina did not prejud
ice the share of Agripina because it is not legally possible for one to adjudica
te unto himself an entire property he was not the sole owner of. A co-owner cann
ot alienate the shares of her other co-owners nemo dat qui non habet. Hence, Lot
No. 707 was a co-owned property of Agripina and Carolina. As co-owners, each of
them had full ownership of her part and of the fruits and benefits pertaining th
ereto. Each of them also had the right to alienate the lot but only in so far as
the extent of her portion was affected. 2. Yes, but only in so far as her aliqu
ot portion is concerned. Thus, when Carolina sold the entire Lot No. 707 on Decem
ber 11, 1962 to Hilaria and Felipa without the consent of her co-owner Agripina,
the disposition affected only Carolinas pro indiviso share, and the vendees, Hil
aria and Felipa, acquired only what corresponds to Carolinas share. A co-owner is
entitled to sell his undivided share; hence, a sale of the entire property by o
ne co-owner without the consent of the other co-owners is not null and void and
only the rights of the co-owner/seller are transferred, thereby making the buyer
a co-owner of the property. Accordingly, the deed of sale executed by Carolina
in favor of Hilaria and Felipa was a valid conveyance but only insofar as the sh
are of Carolina in the co-ownership is concerned. As Carolinas successors-in-inte
rest to the property, Hilaria and Felipa could not acquire any superior right in
the property than what Carolina is entitled to or could transfer or alienate af
ter partition.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 136 of 171

In a contract of sale of co-owned property, what the vendee obtains by virtue of


such a sale are the same rights as the vendor had as co-owner, and the vendee m
erely steps into the shoes of the vendor as co-owner. 3. No. Co-heirs or co-owner
s cannot acquire by acquisitive prescription the share of the other coheirs or c
o-owners absent a clear repudiation of the co ownership. The act of repudiation,
as a mode of terminating co-ownership, is subject to certain conditions, to wit
: (1) a co-owner repudiates the co-ownership; (2) such an act of repudiation is
clearly made known to the other co-owners; (3) the evidence thereon is clear and
conclusive; and (4) he has been in possession through open, continuous, exclusi
ve, and notorious possession of the property for the period required by law. The
petitioners failed to comply with these conditions. The act of Hilaria and Feli
pa in effecting the registration of the entire Lot No. 707 in their names thru T
CT No. 42244 did not serve to effectively repudiate the co-ownership. The respon
dent built her house on the eastern portion of the lot in 1981 without any oppos
ition from the petitioners. Hilaria also paid realty taxes on the lot, in behalf
of the respondent, for the years 1983-1987. These events indubitably show that
Hilaria and Felipa failed to assert exclusive title in themselves adversely to E
milia. Their acts clearly manifest that they recognized the subsistence of their
co-ownership with respondent Emilia despite the issuance of TCT No. 42244 in 19
62. Their acts constitute an implied recognition of the co-ownership which in tu
rn negates the presence of a clear notice of repudiation to the respondent. To s
ustain a plea of prescription, it must always clearly appear that one who was or
iginally a joint owner has repudiated the claims of his co-owners, and that his
co-owners were apprised or should have been apprised of his claim of adverse and
exclusive ownership before the alleged prescriptive period began to run. 4. Yes,
provided the same is not forbidden by the testator in a will, and that acquisit
ive prescription- counted from the time the disavowal of co-ownership took place
- has not set in. The express disavowal of the co-ownership did not happen on Dec
ember 11, 1962 when TCT No. 42244 was issued but in 1994 when Hilaria attempted
to demolish Emilias house thus explicitly excluding her from the co-ownership. It
was the only time that Hilaria and Felipa made known their denial of the co-own
ership. On the same year, the respondent instituted the present complaint for pa
rtition; hence, the period required by law for acquisitive period to set in was
not met. XXX In sum, the CA committed no reversible error in holding that the re
spondent is entitled to have Lot No. 707 partitioned.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 137 of 171

NERI v. HEIRS OF UY G.R. No. 194366 October 10, 2012 Subject: Wills and Successi
on Topic: Provisions Common to Testate and Intestate Successions
FACTS: Anunciacion Neri had seven children, 2 from her first marriage with Gonza
lo Illut (Eutropia, Victoria) and 5 from her second marriage with Enrique Neri (
Napoleon, Alicia, Visminda, Douglas, Rosa). During Anunciacions marriage with Enr
ique, they acquired several homestead properties in Davao del Norte. On Septembe
r 21, 1977, Anunciacion died intestate. Her husband, Enrique, personally and as
natural guardian of his minor children Rosa and Douglas, together with his other
children Napoleon, Alicia, and Visminda, executed an extra-judicial settlement
of the estate with absolute deed of sale in 1979. They adjudicated among themsel
ves the said homestead properties, and then conveyed them to the spouses Uy for
a consideration of P80,000. In 1996, the children of Enrique filed a complaint f
or annulment of sale of the said homestead properties against spouses Uy assaili
ng the validity of the sale. The complaint was later amended to include Eutropia
and Victoria as additional plaintiffs for having been deprived of their legitim
es as children of Anunciacion from her first marriage. The RTC rendered a decisi
on ordering, among others, the annulment of the Extra-Judicial Settlement of the
Estate with Absolute Deed of Sale. It ruled that while the sale occurred beyond
the 5-year prohibitory period, the sale is still void because Eutropia and Vict
oria were deprived of their hereditary rights and that Enrique had no judicial a
uthority to sell the shares of his minor children, Rosa and Douglas. On appeal,
the CA reversed the ruling of the RTC. It held that, while Eutropia and Victoria
were not bound by the extra-judicial settlement, the CA found it unconscionable
to permit the annulment of the sale considering spouses Uys possession thereof f
or 17 years. It, however, did not preclude the excluded heirs from recovering th
eir legitimes from their co-heirs.
ISSUES: 1. Is the partition by extrajudicial settlement valid? 2. Is the disposi
tion of the estates properties to the spouses Uy valid? HELD: 1. No. [I]n the exec
ution of the Extra-Judicial Settlement of the Estate with Absolute Deed of Sale
in favor of spouses Uy, all the heirs of Anunciacion should have participated. C
onsidering that Eutropia and Victoria were admittedly excluded and that then min
ors Rosa and Douglas were not properly represented therein, the settlement was n
ot valid and binding upon them and consequently, a total nullity. XXX However, w
hile the settlement of the estate is null and void, the subsequent sale of the s
ubject properties made by Enrique and his children, Napoleon, Alicia and Vismind
a, in favor of the respondents is valid but only with respect to their proportio
nate shares therein. It cannot be denied that these heirs have acquired their re
spective shares in the properties of Anunciacion from the moment of her death an
d that, as owners thereof, they can very well sell their undivided share in the
estate. 2. Yes, but only with respect to some shares. With respect to Rosa and Do
uglas who were minors at the time of the execution of the settlement and sale, t
heir natural guardian and father,
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 138 of 171

Enrique, represented them in the transaction. However, on the basis of the laws
prevailing at that time, Enrique was merely clothed with powers of administratio
n and bereft of any authority to dispose of their 2/16 shares in the estate of t
heir mother, Anunciacion. XXX Records, however, show that Rosa had ratified the
extrajudicial settlement of the estate with absolute deed of sale Napoleon and Ro
sa also alleged: "That we are surprised that our names are included in this case
since we do not have any intention to file a case against Hadji Yusop Uy and Ju
lpha Ibrahim Uy and their family and we respect and acknowledge the validity of
the Extra-Judicial Settlement of the Estate with Absolute Deed of Sale dated Jul
y 7, 1979;" (Underscoring supplied) Clearly, the foregoing statements constitute
d ratification of the settlement of the estate and the subsequent sale, thus, pu
rging all the defects existing at the time of its execution and legitimizing the
conveyance of Rosas 1/16 share in the estate of Anunciacion to spouses Uy. The s
ame, however, is not true with respect to Douglas for lack of evidence showing r
atification Considering, thus, that the extrajudicial settlement with sale is inv
alid and therefore, not binding on Eutropia, Victoria and Douglas, only the shar
es of Enrique, Napoleon, Alicia, Visminda and Rosa in the homestead properties h
ave effectively been disposed in favor of spouses Uy. "A person can only sell wh
at he owns, or is authorized to sell and the buyer can as a consequence acquire
no more than what the seller can legally transfer." XXX Consequently, spouses Uy
or their substituted heirs became pro indiviso co-owners of the homestead prope
rties with Eutropia, Victoria and Douglas, who retained title to their respectiv
e 1/16 shares. They were deemed to be holding the 3/16 shares of Eutropia, Victo
ria and Douglas under an implied constructive trust for the latters benefit.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 139 of 171

REPUBLIC v. ESPINOSA G.R. No. 171514 July 18, 2012 Subject: Property Topic: Clas
sification of Property
FACTS: Espinosa filed an application for land registration, alleging that the pr
operty is alienable and disposable, having purchased the same from his mother, I
sabel, on July 4, 1970. She also alleged that her mothers other heirs had waived
their rights to the land, and that he and his predecessor-in-interest have been
in possession of the property in the concept of an owner for more than 30 years.
Espinosa presented 2 tax declarations for the years 1965 and 1974 in Isabels nam
e Tax Declaration Nos. 013516 and 06137 to prove that his mother had been in pos
session of the property since 1965. The Republic opposed Espinosa s application,
pointing out Espinosas failure to prove that his possession and that of his pred
ecessor-in-interest satisfied period required by law. As shown by Tax Declaratio
n No. 013516, Isabels possession commenced only in 1965 and not on June 12, 1945
or earlier as required by Section 48(b) of the Public Land Act. On the other han
d, Espinosa came into possession of the property only in 1970 following the sale
that transpired between him and his mother and the earliest tax declaration in
his name was for the year 1978. According to the Republic, that Espinosa and his
predecessor-in-interest were supposedly in possession for more than 30 years is
inconsequential absent proof that such possession began on June 12, 1945 or ear
lier.
ISSUE: Have Espinosa and his predecessor-in-interest have satisfied the period r
equirement to claim ownership? HELD: It is immaterial, since the property is not
patrimonial and cannot be acquired through acquisitive prescription. Being clear
that it is Section 14(2) of P.D. No. 1529 that should apply, it follows that th
e subject property being supposedly alienable and disposable will not suffice. A
s Section 14(2) categorically provides, only private properties may be acquired
thru prescription and under Articles 420 and 421 of the Civil Code, only those p
roperties, which are not for public use, public service or intended for the deve
lopment of national wealth, are considered private. In Heirs of Mario Malabanan
v. Republic, this Court held that there must be an official declaration to that
effect before the property may be rendered susceptible to prescription: Nonethele
ss, Article 422 of the Civil Code states that "property of public dominion, when
no longer intended for public use or for public service, shall form part of the
patrimonial property of the State." It is this provision that controls how publ
ic dominion property may be converted into patrimonial property susceptible to a
cquisition by prescription. After all, Article 420(2) makes clear that those pro
perty "which belong to the State, without being for public use, and are intended
for some public service or for the development of the national wealth" are publ
ic dominion property. For as long as the property belongs to the State, although
already classified as alienable or disposable, it remains property of the publi
c dominion if when it is "intended for some public service or for the developmen
t of the national wealth." Accordingly, there must be an express declaration by t
he State that the public dominion property is no longer intended for public serv
ice or the development of the national wealth or that the property has been conv
erted into patrimonial. Without such express declaration, the property, even if
classified as alienable or disposable, remains property of the public dominion,
pursuant to Article 420(2), and thus
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 140 of 171

incapable of acquisition by prescription. It is only when such alienable and dis


posable lands are expressly declared by the State to be no longer intended for p
ublic service or for the development of the national wealth that the period of a
cquisitive prescription can begin to run. Such declaration shall be in the form
of a law duly enacted by Congress or a Presidential Proclamation in cases where
the President is duly authorized by law. Thus, granting that Isabel and, later,
Espinosa possessed and occupied the property for an aggregate period of thirty (
30) years, this does not operate to divest the State of its ownership. The prope
rty, albeit allegedly alienable and disposable, is not patrimonial. As the prope
rty is not held by the State in its private capacity, acquisition of title there
to necessitates observance of the provisions of Section 48(b) of the PLA in rela
tion to Section 14(1) of P.D. No. 1529 or possession and occupation since June 1
2, 1945. For prescription to run against the State, there must be proof that the
re was an official declaration that the subject property is no longer earmarked
for public service or the development of national wealth. Moreover, such officia
l declaration should have been issued at least ten (10) or thirty (30) years, as
the case may be, prior to the filing of the application for registration. The p
eriod of possession and occupation prior to the conversion of the property to pr
ivate or patrimonial shall not be considered in determining completion of the pr
escriptive period. Indeed, while a piece of land is still reserved for public se
rvice or the development of national wealth, even if the same is alienable and d
isposable, possession and occupation no matter how lengthy will not ripen to own
ership or give rise to any title that would defeat that of the States if such did
not commence on June 12, 1945 or earlier.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 141 of 171

REPUBLIC v. PARANAQUE G.R. No. 191109 July 18, 2012 Subject: Property Topic: Cla
ssification of Property
FACTS: The Public Estates Authority is a government corporation created to provi
de a coordinated, economical and efficient reclamation of lands, and the adminis
tration and operation of lands belonging to, managed and/or operated by, the gov
ernment with the object of maximizing their utilization and hastening their deve
lopment consistent with public interest. It was designated as the agency primari
ly responsible for integrating, directing and coordinating all reclamation proje
cts for and on behalf of the national government. Philippine Reclamation Authori
ty, the successor of the PEA, reclaimed several portions of the foreshore and of
fshore areas of Manila Bay, including those located in Paraaque City. It was issu
ed OCTs and TCTs over the reclaimed lands. The Paraaque City Treasurer issued War
rants of Levy on PRAs reclaimed properties located in Paraaque City based on the a
ssessment for delinquent real property taxes made by the City Assessor for tax y
ears 2001 and 2002. PRA refused to pay real estate taxes.
ISSUE: Are reclaimed lands still part of the public domain, owned by the State a
nd, therefore, exempt from payment of real estate taxes?
HELD: Yes. There is, moreover, no point in national and local governments taxing
each other, unless a sound and compelling policy requires such transfer of publi
c funds from one government pocket to another. There is also no reason for local
governments to tax national government instrumentalities for rendering essentia
l public services to inhabitants of local governments. The only exception is whe
n the legislature clearly intended to tax government instrumentalities for the d
elivery of essential public services for sound and compelling policy considerati
ons. There must be express language in the law empowering local governments to t
ax national government instrumentalities. Any doubt whether such power exists is
resolved against local governments. XXX The Court agrees with PRA that the subj
ect reclaimed lands are still part of the public domain, owned by the State and,
therefore, exempt from payment of real estate taxes. Section 2, Article XII of
the 1987 Constitution reads in part, as follows: Section 2. All lands of the pub
lic domain, waters, minerals, coal, petroleum, and other mineral oils, all force
s of potential energy, fisheries, forests or timber, wildlife, flora and fauna,
and other natural resources are owned by the State. With the exception of agricu
ltural lands, all other natural resources shall not be alienated. The exploratio
n, development, and utilization of natural resources shall be under the full con
trol and supervision of the State. The State may directly undertake such activit
ies, or it may enter into co-production, joint venture, or production-sharing ag
reements with Filipino citizens, or corporations or associations at least 60 per
centum of whose capital is owned by such citizens. Such agreements may be for a
period not exceeding twenty-five years, renewable for not more than twentyfive
years, and under such terms and conditions as may provided by law. In cases of w
ater rights for
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 142 of 171

irrigation, water supply, fisheries, or industrial uses other than the developme
nt of waterpower, beneficial use may be the measure and limit of the grant. Simi
larly, Article 420 of the Civil Code enumerates properties belonging to the Stat
e: Art. 420. The following things are property of public dominion: (1) Those int
ended for public use, such as roads, canals, rivers, torrents, ports and bridges
constructed by the State, banks, shores, roadsteads, and others of similar char
acter; (2) Those which belong to the State, without being for public use, and ar
e intended for some public service or for the development of the national wealth
. [Emphases supplied] Here, the subject lands are reclaimed lands, specifically
portions of the foreshore and offshore areas of Manila Bay. As such, these lands
remain public lands and form part of the public domain. In the case of Chavez v
. Public Estates Authority and AMARI Coastal Development Corporation, the Court
held that foreshore and submerged areas irrefutably belonged to the public domai
n and were inalienable unless reclaimed, classified as alienable lands open to d
isposition and further declared no longer needed for public service. The fact th
at alienable lands of the public domain were transferred to the PEA (now PRA) an
d issued land patents or certificates of title in PEAs name did not automatically
make such lands private. This Court also held therein that reclaimed lands reta
ined their inherent potential as areas for public use or public service. As the
central implementing agency tasked to undertake reclamation projects nationwide,
with authority to sell reclaimed lands, PEA took the place of DENR as the gover
nment agency charged with leasing or selling reclaimed lands of the public domai
n. The reclaimed lands being leased or sold by PEA are not private lands, in the
same manner that DENR, when it disposes of other alienable lands, does not disp
ose of private lands but alienable lands of the public domain. Only when qualifi
ed private parties acquire these lands will the lands become private lands. In t
he hands of the government agency tasked and authorized to dispose of alienable
of disposable lands of the public domain, these lands are still public, not priv
ate lands. Furthermore, PEA s charter expressly states that PEA "shall hold land
s of the public domain" as well as "any and all kinds of lands." PEA can hold bo
th lands of the public domain and private lands. Thus, the mere fact that aliena
ble lands of the public domain like the Freedom Islands are transferred to PEA a
nd issued land patents or certificates of title in PEA s name does not automatic
ally make such lands private.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 143 of 171

REPUBLIC v. METRO INDEX REALTY G.R. No. 198585 July 2, 2012 Subject: Property To
pic: Classification of Property
FACTS: In 2006, Metro Index Realty filed with the RTC an application for judicia
l confirmation of title over 3 parcels of land. Metro Index presented 2 witnesse
s, Enrico and Herminia. Enrico testified that Metro Index bought the subject pro
perties from Herminia, Melinda, and Hernando, and that the subject properties ha
d been declared for tax purposes in Metro Indexs name since 2006. Enrico also sta
ted that the subject properties are alienable and disposable as evidenced by the
certification issued by the DENR, and, as shown by their respective affidavits,
the adjoining lot owners had no adverse claim and objections to the Metro Indexs
application. Enrico finally claimed that Metro Index and its predecessors-in-in
terest had been in possession of the subject properties for more than 50 years.
Herminia testified that she and her siblings inherited the subject properties fr
om their parents who had been in possession of the subject properties since 1956
as shown by the tax declarations in their name. Herminia also stated that from
the time they inherited the subject properties, they had actively cultivated the
m and religiously paid the taxes due, as well as made use of the properties by p
lanting trees and grains. The Republic- assuming that Metro Index s application
is based on Section 14(2) of P.D. No. 1529- argues that the subject properties c
annot be acquired by prescription as there is no showing that they had been clas
sified as patrimonial at least 30 years prior to the filing of the application.
According to the Republic, Metro Index failed to show proof of an official decla
ration that the subject properties are no longer intended for public service or
for the development of national wealth. Thus, the properties are not patrimonial
and cannot be acquired by acquisitive prescription.
ISSUE: Can the subject properties be acquired by prescription without establishi
ng showing that the properties have already been classified as patrimonial?
HELD: No. Nonetheless, considering the respondents evidence purportedly demonstrat
ing that its predecessors-in-interest started to possess and occupy the subject
properties sometime in 1956 and not on June 12, 1945 or earlier, the reasonable
conclusion is that its claim of having acquired an imperfect title over the subj
ect properties is premised on its supposed compliance with the requirements of S
ection 14(2), which states: SEC. 14. Who may apply. The following persons may fi
le in the proper Court of First Instance an application for registration of titl
e to land, whether personally or through their duly authorized representatives:
(2) Those who have acquired ownership of private lands by prescription under the
provisions of existing laws. That properties of the public dominion are not sus
ceptible to prescription and that only properties of the State that are no longe
r earmarked for public use, otherwise known as patrimonial, may be acquired by p
rescription are fundamental, even elementary, principles in this jurisdiction. I
n Heirs of Mario Malabanan v. Republic, this Court, in observance of the foregoi
ng, clarified the import of Section 14(2)
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 144 of 171

and made the following declarations: (a) the prescriptive period for purposes of
acquiring an imperfect title over a property of the State shall commence to run
from the date an official declaration is issued that such property is no longer
intended for public service or the development of national wealth; and (b) pres
cription will not run as against the State even if the property has been previou
sly classified as alienable and disposable as it is that official declaration th
at converts the property to patrimonial. XXX In complying with Section 14(2) of
the Property Registration Decree, consider that under the Civil Code, prescripti
on is recognized as a mode of acquiring ownership of patrimonial property. Howev
er, public domain lands become only patrimonial property not only with a declara
tion that these are alienable and disposable. There must also be an express gove
rnment manifestation that the property is already patrimonial or no longer retai
ned for public service or the development of national wealth, under Article 422
of the Civil Code. And only when the property has become patrimonial can the pre
scriptive period for the acquisition of property of the public dominion begin to
run. XXX Simply put, it is not the notorious, exclusive and uninterrupted posse
ssion and occupation of an alienable and disposable public land for the mandated
periods that converts it to patrimonial. The indispensability of an official de
claration that the property is now held by the State in its private capacity or
placed within the commerce of man for prescription to have any effect against th
e State cannot be overemphasized. This Court finds no evidence of such official
declaration and for this reason alone, the respondents application should have be
en dismissed outright.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 145 of 171

REPUBLIC v. EAST SILVERLANE REALTY G.R. No. 186961 February 20, 2012 Subject: Pr
operty Topic: Classification of Property
FACTS: East Silverlane filed with the RTC an application for land registration,
covering a parcel of land identified as Lot 9039 of Cagayan Cadastre, situated i
n Misamis Oriental, with an area of 9,794 square meters. East Silverlane purchas
ed the portion of the subject property consisting of 4,708 square meters (Area A
) from Francisca Oco pursuant to a Deed of Absolute Sale dated November 27, 1990
and the remaining portion consisting of 5,086 square meters (Area B) from Rosar
io U. Tan Lim, Nemesia Tan and Mariano U. Tan pursuant to a Deed of Partial Part
ition with Deed of Absolute Sale dated April 11, 1991. It was claimed that the r
espondents predecessors-in-interest had been in open, notorious, continuous and e
xclusive possession of the subject property since June 12, 1945. After hearing t
he same on the merits, the RTC issued on August 27, 2004 a Decision, granting th
e respondents petition for registration of the land. The CA affirmed, finding no
merit in the Republics appeal, holding that It is a settled rule that an applicati
on for land registration must conform to three requisites: (1) the land is alien
able public land; (2) the applicants open, continuous, exclusive and notorious po
ssession and occupation thereof must be since June 12, 1945, or earlier; and (3)
it is a bona fide claim of ownership, and the all the requirements are present.
ISSUE: Is East Silverlane Realty correct in alleging that the subject property w
as acquired through prescription from the State, when it appears that their appl
ication was filed after only four years from the time the property may be consid
ered patrimonial under Article 422 of the Civil Code?
HELD: No. All other properties of the State, which is not of the character mentio
ned in Article 420 is patrimonial property, hence, susceptible to acquisitive pr
escription. XXX In other words, for one to invoke the provisions of Section 14 (
2) and set up acquisitive prescription against the State, it is primordial that
the status of the property as patrimonial be first established. Furthermore, the
period of possession preceding the classification of the property as patrimonia
l cannot be considered in determining the completion of the prescriptive period.
XXX
While the subject land was supposedly declared alienable and disposable on Decem
ber 31, 1925 per the April 18, 1997 Certification and July 1, 1997 Report of the
Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO), the Department of A
grarian Reform (DAR) converted the same from agricultural to industrial only on
October 16, 1990. Also, it was only in 2000 that the Municipality of El Salvador
passed a Zoning Ordinance, including the subject property in the industrial zon
e. Therefore, it was only in 1990 that the subject property had been declared pa
trimonial and it is only then that the prescriptive period began to run. The res
pondent cannot benefit from the alleged possession of its predecessors-in-intere
st because prior to the withdrawal of the subject property from the public domai
n, it may not be acquired by prescription. XXX
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 146 of 171

This Court is not satisfied with the evidence presented by the respondent to pro
ve compliance with the possession required XXX The phrase adverse, continuous, ope
n, public, and in concept of owner, by which the respondent describes its possess
ion and that of its predecessors-in-interest is a conclusion of law. The burden
of proof is on the respondent to prove by clear, positive and convincing evidenc
e that the alleged possession of its predecessors-in-interest was of the nature
and duration required by law. It is therefore inconsequential if the petitioner
failed to present evidence that would controvert the allegations of the responde
nt. A person who seeks the registration of title to a piece of land on the basis
of possession by himself and his predecessors-in-interest must prove his claim
by clear and convincing evidence, i.e., he must prove his title and should not r
ely on the absence or weakness of the evidence of the oppositors. XXX Finally, t
hat the respondents application was filed after only four years from the time the
subject property may be considered patrimonial by reason of the DARs October 26,
1990 Order shows lack of possession whether for ordinary or extraordinary presc
riptive period. The principle enunciated in Heirs of Malabanan cited above was r
eiterated and applied in Republic of the Philippines v. Rizalvo: On this basis,
respondent would have been eligible for application for registration because his
claim of ownership and possession over the subject property even exceeds thirty
(30) years. However, it is jurisprudentially clear that the thirty (30)-year pe
riod of prescription for purposes of acquiring ownership and registration of pub
lic land under Section 14 (2) of P.D. No. 1529 only begins from the moment the S
tate expressly declares that the public dominion property is no longer intended
for public service or the development of the national wealth or that the propert
y has been converted into patrimonial.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 147 of 171

ERMITANO v. PAGLAS G.R. No. 174436 January 23, 2013 Subject: Property Topic: Own
ership
FACTS: On November 5, 1999, petitioner Juanita and respondent Lailanie executed
a contract of lease. In the instrument, Juanita leased to Lailanie a 336 square
meter residential lot and a house on the said lot. The contract period is 1 year
, which commenced on November 4, 1999, with a monthly rental rate of P13,500. Su
bsequent to the execution of the lease contract, Lailanie received information t
hat sometime in March 1999, Juanita mortgaged the subject property in favor of Y
ap and that the same was already foreclosed with Yap as the purchaser of the dis
puted lot in an extra-judicial foreclosure sale which was registered on February
22, 2000. Yap s brother later offered to sell the subject property to Lailanie.
On June 1, 2000, Lailanie bought the subject property from Yap for P950,000. A
deed of sale of was executed by the parties as evidence of the contract, but it
was made clear in the said deed that the property was still subject to Juanita s
right of redemption. The period of redemption expired on February 23, 2001 with
out Juanita having redeemed the subject property. Prior to Lailanie s purchase o
f the subject property, Juanita filed a suit for the declaration of nullity of t
he mortgage in favor of Yap as well as the sheriff s provisional certificate of
sale which was issued after the disputed house and lot were sold on foreclosure.
On May 25, 2000, Juanita sent a letter demanding Lailanie to pay the rentals wh
ich are due and to vacate the leased premises. A second demand letter was sent o
n March 25, 2001. Respondent ignored both letters. Juanita filed for ejectment.
ISSUE: Is Juanita entitled to possession of the property and the rentals being c
laimed by her?
HELD: Yes, but only from May, 2000 to February, 2001, or the period of 10 months
during which, as mere mortgagor, Juanita was still entitled to possession. Going
to the main issue in the instant petition, it is settled that in unlawful detai
ner, one unlawfully withholds possession thereof after the expiration or termina
tion of his right to hold possession under any contract, express or implied. In
such case, the possession was originally lawful but became unlawful by the expir
ation or termination of the right to possess; hence, the issue of rightful posse
ssion is decisive for, in such action, the defendant is in actual possession and
the plaintiffs cause of action is the termination of the defendants right to cont
inue in possession. XXX The conclusive presumption found in Section 2 (b), Rule
131 of the Rules of Court, known as estoppel against tenants, provides as follow
s: Sec. 2. Conclusive presumptions. The following are instances of conclusive pr
esumptions: (b) The tenant is not permitted to deny the title of his landlord at
the time of the commencement of the relation of landlord and tenant between the
m. (Emphasis supplied). XXX
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 148 of 171

In the present case, what respondent is claiming is her supposed title to the su
bject property which she acquired subsequent to the commencement of the landlord
-tenant relation between her and petitioner. XXX The foregoing notwithstanding,
even if respondent is not estopped from denying petitioner s claim for rent, her
basis for such denial, which is her subsequent acquisition of ownership of the
disputed property, is nonetheless, an insufficient excuse from refusing to pay t
he rentals due to petitioner. There is no dispute that at the time that responde
nt purchased Yap s rights over the subject property, petitioner s right of redem
ption as a mortgagor has not yet expired. It is settled that during the period o
f redemption, it cannot be said that the mortgagor is no longer the owner of the
foreclosed property, since the rule up to now is that the right of a purchaser
at a foreclosure sale is merely inchoate until after the period of redemption ha
s expired without the right being exercised. The title to land sold under mortga
ge foreclosure remains in the mortgagor or his grantee until the expiration of t
he redemption period and conveyance by the master s deed Stated differently, unde
r Act. No. 3135, the purchaser in a foreclosure sale has, during the redemption
period, only an inchoate right and not the absolute right to the property with a
ll the accompanying incidents. He only becomes an absolute owner of the property
if it is not redeemed during the redemption period. XXX It, thus, clearly follo
ws from the foregoing that, during the period of redemption, the mortgagor, bein
g still the owner of the foreclosed property, remains entitled to the physical p
ossession thereof subject to the purchaser s right to petition the court to give
him possession and to file a bond pursuant to the provisions of Section 7 of Ac
t No. 3135, as amended. The mere purchase and certificate of sale alone do not c
onfer any right to the possession or beneficial use of the premises. In the inst
ant case, there is neither evidence nor allegation that respondent, as purchaser
of the disputed property, filed a petition and bond in accordance with the prov
isions of Section 7 of Act No. 3135. In addition, respondent defaulted in the pa
yment of her rents. Thus, absent respondent s filing of such petition and bond p
rior to the expiration of the period of redemption, coupled with her failure to
pay her rent, she did not have the right to possess the subject property. On the
other hand, petitioner, as mortgagor and owner, was entitled not only to the po
ssession of the disputed house and lot but also to the rents, earnings and incom
e derived therefrom. XXX The situation became different, however, after the expi
ration of the redemption period on February 23, 2001. Since there is no allegati
on, much less evidence, that petitioner redeemed the subject property within one
year from the date of registration of the certificate of sale, respondent becam
e the owner thereof. Consolidation of title becomes a right upon the expiration
of the redemption period. Having become the owner of the disputed property, resp
ondent is then entitled to its possession. As a consequence, petitioner s ejectm
ent suit filed against respondent was rendered moot when the period of redemptio
n expired on February 23, 2001 without petitioner having redeemed the subject pr
operty, for upon expiration of such period petitioner lost his possessory right
over the same. Hence, the only remaining right that petitioner can enforce is hi
s right to the rentals during the time that he was still entitled to physical po
ssession of the subject property that is from May 2000 until February 23, 2001.
In this regard, this Court agrees with the findings of the MTCC that, based on t
he evidence and the pleadings filed by petitioner, respondent is liable for paym
ent of rentals beginning May 2000 until February 2001, or for a period of ten (1
0) months. However, it is not disputed that respondent already gave to petitione
r the sum ofP27,000.00, which is equivalent to two (2) months rental, as deposit
to cover for any unpaid rentals. It is only proper to deduct this amount from th
e rentals due to petitioner, thus leaving P108,000.00 unpaid rentals.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 149 of 171

VSD REALTY v. UNIWIDE G.R. No. 170677 October 24, 2012 Subject: Property Topic:
Ownership
FACTS: VSD filed a complaint for annulment of title and recovery of possession o
f property against Uniwide, alleging that it is the registered owner of the subj
ect property and that its title is the result of land registration proceedings i
n accordance with law. VSD claims that Baellos title is spurious, illegal, and sh
ould be annulled, and is seeking recovery of possession of the subject property.
The RTC ruled in favor of VSD. It stated that the evidence for VSD showed that
it is the rightful owner of the subject lot covered by TCT No. 285312 of the Reg
ister of Deeds of Caloocan City, while Baello is the registered owner of a parce
l of land covered by TCT No. (35788) 12754. Uniwide is a mere lessee of the land
, with Baello as lessor. Baello is the holder of a title over a lot entirely dif
ferent and not in anyway related to petitioners title and its technical descripti
on. However, the CA reversed the RTC and rendered a decision in favor of Baello
and Uniwide.
ISSUE: Is VSD entitled to recovery of possession of the subject property?
HELD: Yes; however, the SC ultimately remanded the case to the CA for further re
ception of evidence before deciding the issue of ownership with finality. The est
ablished legal principle in actions for annulment or reconveyance of title is th
at a party seeking it should establish not merely by a preponderance of evidence
but by clear and convincing evidence that the land sought to be reconveyed is h
is. Article 434 of the Civil Code provides that to successfully maintain an acti
on to recover the ownership of a real property, the person who claims a better r
ight to it must prove two (2) things: first, the identity of the land claimed, a
nd; second, his title thereto.20 In an action to recover, the property must be i
dentified, and the plaintiff must rely on the strength of his title and not on t
he weakness of the defendant s claim. In regard to the first requisite, in an ac
cion reinvindicatoria, the person who claims that he has a better right to the p
roperty must first fix the identity of the land he is claiming by describing the
location, area and boundaries thereof. In this case, petitioner proved the iden
tity of the land it is claiming through the technical description contained in i
ts title, TCT No. T-285312; the derivative title of Felisa D. Bonifacio, TCT No.
265777; the technical description included in the official records of the subje
ct lot in the Register of Deeds of Caloocan City; and the verification survey co
nducted by Geodetic Engineer Evelyn Celzo of the DENRNCR. XXX the technical desc
ription issued by the DENR for the segregation of the property of Felisa D. Boni
facio in LRC Case No. C-3288, and the testimonies of DENR representatives, show
that the title of petitioner covers the property therein referred to as Lot 23-A
-4-B-2-A-3-A, which is being occupied by Uniwide. XXX
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 150 of 171

In this case, petitioner proved his title over the property in dispute as well a
s the identity of the said property; hence, it is entitled to recover the posses
sion of the property from respondents. XXX Respondent Dolores Baello and all per
sons/entities claiming title under her, including respondent Uniwide Sales, Inc.
, are ordered to convey and to return the property or the lot covered by TCT No.
T285312 to petitioner VSD Realty and Development Corporation upon finality of t
his Decision XXX Accordingly, the Court hereby remands this case to the Court of
Appeals. The Court of Appeals is tasked to hear and receive evidence, conclude
the proceedings and submit to this Court a report on its findings and recommende
d conclusions within three (3) months from finality of this Resolution.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 151 of 171

NOTARTE v. NOTARTE G.R. No. 180614 August 29, 2012 Subject: Property Topic: Owne
rship
FACTS: Godofredo bought from Patrocenia Gamboa a parcel of land evidenced by the
Deed of Absolute Sale executed in his favor. He filed his Affidavit of Adverse
Claim in the Registry of Deeds to protect his rights on the land he acquired fro
m Patrocenia pending the completion of all proper documents for the segregation
of separate portions of the whole parcel of land under OCT No. 48098. Thereafter
, he declared the land in his name under a tax declaration for 1985, indicating
its area as 29,482 sq.m. Godofredo alleged that the above-described land used to
be intact but the Leonardo and the other pertitioner, taking advantage of his a
bsence, took possession of portions of his land thereby reducing it to barely 13
,000 sq.m. Godofredo claimed that all demands upon the petitioners to return the
aforesaid portions and conciliations before the Barangay authorities failed. Le
onardo and company denied having encroached on respondents land, contending that
respondent instituted this complaint to increase the actual size of his land at
the expense of the adjoining owners. Petitioners asserted that they have been in
actual, notorious, public and exclusive possession of their respective parcels
for a very long time even before respondent bought his property from Patrocenia
Gamboa. They claimed that their common ascendant, Felipe, owned 10 hectares of t
he property which he acquired by purchase as early as 1951 and the latest in 196
7. The 37,604-sq. m. portion of Felipes land being occupied by petitioners, which
area adjoins Godofredos property on the west, was acquired by Felipe from James
Turner by virtue of a Quitclaim Deed dated April 2, 1951. Petitioners also alleg
ed that there are other co-owners of the whole undivided land covered by OCT No.
48098 who are indispensable for the final and complete determination of this ca
se. Godofredo pointed out in his reply that he had purchased a portion with a de
finite area of 27,604.714 sq.m. and that Leonardo knew about this because he bou
ght only one hectare of the said share. Being a registered land, their possessio
n of the encroached portion they do not own is illegal, no matter how long. He a
lso claimed that what Felipe acquired from Turner was the 1/7 share of Juan Nota
rte, which is situated north of Bernardos 1/7 share, one hectare of which was bou
ght by Leonardo. He averred that the land covered by Felipes title is no longer u
ndivided as it had been physically segregated into the designated shares of the
registered owners, and various transfer certificates of title have been issued.
ISSUE: Was Godofredo able to establish the identity and his ownership of the sub
ject land?
HELD: Yes. On the third issue, we hold that respondent has established by prepond
erance of evidence the identity and his ownership of the subject land. The gover
ning law is Article 434 of the Civil Code which provides: Art. 434. In an action
to recover, the property must be identified, and the plaintiff must rely on the
strength of his title and not on the weakness of the defendants claim. The first
requisite: the identity of the land. In an accion reinvindicatoria, the person
who claims that he has a better right to the property must first fix the identit
y of the land he is claiming by describing the location, area and boundaries the
reof. Anent the second requisite, i.e., the claimants title over the disputed are
a, the rule is that a party can claim a right of ownership only over the parcel
of land that was the object of the deed.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 152 of 171

To prove the identity of the land he bought from Patrocenia, respondent submitte
d in evidence deeds of conveyances from the original sale made by Bernardo in 19
29 in favor of Emiliano Gamboa, up to the acquisition thereof by Patrocenia. As
can be gleaned from the proceedings before the MTC, ownership by respondent was
not disputed but only the exact area because the deeds presented by him showed o
nly the area and location with respect to adjoining owners, but did not describe
the boundaries of the land sold in metes and bounds. XXX Leonardo failed to sho
w any document evidencing the supposed donation of his father and admitted he do
es not even know its exact area. XXX In any case, the requirement as to form for
contracts of donation to be valid and enforceable, are absolute and indispensab
le. The alleged prior oral donation by Patrocenia was thus void and ineffective;
it is not binding upon third parties like respondent who purchased a definite p
ortion of Patrocenias land in good faith, for value and evidenced by a duly notar
ized deed of sale. XXX It is settled that what really defines a piece of land is
not the area mentioned in its description, but the boundaries therein laid down
, as enclosing the land and indicating its limits. We have held, however, that i
n controversial cases where there appears to be an overlapping of boundaries, th
e actual size of the property gains importance. As already stated, the location
of respondents land is not in dispute because the adjoining owners are clearly id
entified.1wphi1 Petitioners in their Answer with Counterclaim merely contended th
at respondent just wants to increase the actual area of his property. And while
petitioners insisted on the visible physical boundaries to mark the limits of re
spondents land, petitioners Leonardo and Guillermo could not tell the exact areas
under their possession. These portions, still unregistered land, were also not
described in metes and bounds under their deeds of conveyances. The controversy
then lies in the delineation of the physical boundaries of the subject propertie
s by metes and bounds, notwithstanding that the documentary evidence adduced by
respondent established his ownership over a portion of Bernardos share, in an are
aenclosed by specified adjoining lots/owners, to the extent of 27,172 sq.m. XXX
Having ruled that respondent has established the identity and ownership of the l
and he acquired from Patrocenia with an area of 27,172 sq.m., this Court deems i
t just and proper to give him the opportunity to prove the alleged encroachment
by petitioners and the extent of such encroachment. For this purpose, a survey i
s necessary to ascertain the physical boundaries of the subject lands by metes a
nd bounds. Hence, remand of this case to the MTC for the conduct of a survey by
qualified geodetic engineers, is in order.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 153 of 171

JAKOSALEM and DULFO v. BARANGAN G.R. No. 175025 February 15, 2012 Subject: Prope
rty Topic: Ownership
FACTS: On August 13, 1966, respondent Col. Roberto S. Barangan entered into a la
nd purchase agreement with Ireneo S. Labsilica of Citadel Realty to purchase on
installment a 300 square meter parcel of land, covered by TCT No. 165456,6, and
located in Antipolo, Rizal. Upon full payment, a deed of absolute sale was execu
ted on August 31, 1976 in Barangans favor. Consequently, the old title, TCT No. 1
71453,10 which was a transfer from TCT No. 165456,11 was cancelled and a new one
, TCT No. N-10772,12 was issued in his name. Since then, he has been dutifully p
aying real property taxes for the said property, but was not able to physically
occupy the subject property because as a member of the Philippine Air Force, he
was often assigned to various stations. In 1993, when he was about to retire fro
m the government service, respondent Barangan went to visit his property, where
he was planning to build a retirement home. It was only then that he discovered
that it was being occupied by petitioner Godofredo Dulfo and his family. On Febr
uary 4, 1994, Barangan sent a letter to petitioner Dulfo demanding that he and h
is family vacate the subject property within 30 days. In reply, petitioner Atty.
Rogelio J. Jakosalem, the son-in-law of petitioner Dulfo, sent a letter claimin
g ownership over the subject property. On February 19, 1994, respondent Barangan
filed with Barangay San Luis, Antipolo, Rizal, a complaint for violation of the
Anti-Squatting Law against petitioners. After a survey revealed that the proper
ty occupied by petitioner Dulfo and his family is the same property covered by r
espondent Barangans title, Barangan filed an action for recovery of possession, p
raying that petitioners Dulfo and Jakosalem be ordered to vacate the subject pro
perty and pay a monthly rental of P3,000.00 for the use and occupancy of the sub
ject property from May 1979 the property is vacated, plus damages. Dulfo and Jak
osalem claimed that the subject property was assigned to petitioner Jakosalem by
one Nicanor Samson and that that they have been in possession of the subject pr
operty since May 8, 1979. They insist that the property covered by respondent Ba
rangans title is not the property occupied by petitioner Dulfo and his family. Th
e RTC ruled in favour of Dulfo and Jakosalem. The CA, however, reversed the find
ings of the RTC, and found respondent Barangan entitled to recover possession of
the subject property because he was able to sufficiently prove the identity of
the subject property and that the same is owned by him, as evidenced by his TCT.
ISSUE: Is the Torrens Certificate of Title of Barangan conclusive proof that he
should be the lawful possessor?
HELD: Yes. This case exemplifies the age-old rule that the one who holds a Torren
s title over a lot is the one entitled to its possession. XXX Article 434 of the
Civil Code provides that "[i]n an action to recover, the property must be ident
ified, and the plaintiff must rely on the strength of his title and not on the w
eakness of the defendants claim." In
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 154 of 171

other words, in order to recover possession, a person must prove (1) the identit
y of the land claimed, and (2) his title. In this case, respondent Barangan was
able to prove the identity of the property and his title. To prove his title to
the property, he presented in evidence the following documents: (1) Land Purchas
e Agreement;(2) Deed of Absolute Sale (3) and a Torrens title registered under h
is name, TCT No. N10772.61 To prove the identity of the property, he offered the
testimonies of Engr. Jonco, who conducted the relocation survey, and Estardo, t
he caretaker of the subdivision, who showed respondent Barangan the exact locati
on of the subject property.63 He likewise submitted as evidence the Verification
Survey Plan of Lot 11, Block 5, (LRC) Psd-60846, which was plotted based on the
technical description appearing on respondent Barangans title. XXX By refusing t
o attend and participate in the relocation survey, [petitioners] are now estoppe
d from questioning the results of the relocation survey. XXX To us, the persiste
nt refusal of petitioners to participate in the relocation survey does not speak
well of their claim that they are not occupying respondent Barangans property. I
n fact, their unjustified refusal only shows either of two things: (1) that they
know for a fact that the result would be detrimental to their case; or (2) that
they have doubts that the result would be in their favor. Neither is there any
discrepancy between the title number stated in the Land Purchase Agreement and t
he Deed of Absolute Sale. As correctly found by the CA, TCT No. 171453, the titl
e stated in the Deed of Absolute Sale, is a transfer from TCT No. 165456, the ti
tle stated in the Land Purchase Agreement. Hence, both TCTs pertain to the same
property.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 155 of 171

HEIRS OF AMPIL v. MANAHAN G.R. No. 175990 October 11, 2012 Subject: Property Top
ic: Co-Ownership
FACTS: On February 14, 2003, Exequiel Ampil, as representative of the heirs of t
he late Albina Ampil, filed a complaint for ejectment against spouses Perfecto a
nd Virginia Manahan, and all persons claiming rights under them. In the complain
t, it was alleged that Albina was the owner of 2 adjoining residential lots, sit
uated in Paombong, Bulacan. The petitioner heirs asserted that during her lifeti
me, Albina allowed Perfecto and his family to occupy a portion of the said prope
rties on the condition that they would vacate the same should the need to use it
arise. After the death of Albina in 1986, her heirs, represented by Exequiel, r
equested Perfecto and family to vacate the property in question but the latter r
efused. On December 12, 2002, the heirs sent a demand letter to the Manahan resp
ondents asking for the surrender of possession of the lands in question, but to
no avail. Consequently, the heirs filed an ejectment complaint. On February 28,
2003, the respondents filed their answer with counterclaim averring that the lot
s they had been occupying belonged to them, their predecessor-in-interest having
been in peaceful and continuous possession thereof in the concept of an owner s
ince time immemorial and that Albina was never the owner of the property. The MT
C rendered judgment in favor of the petitioners. The MTC relied on the 2 tax dec
larations and the certification from the Municipal Treasurer showing that Albina
had been paying the real property taxes on the lands in question. It stressed t
hat the issue in ejectment cases is not the ownership of the property, but the m
aterial possession thereof. The RTC affirmed. Aggrieved, respondents Manahan app
ealed their case before the CA. In a Decision, dated July 11, 2006, the CA rever
sed and set aside the RTC Decision and dismissed the case for unlawful detainer.
It ruled that tax declarations and receipts are not conclusive proof of ownersh
ip or right of possession over a piece of land and it only becomes strong eviden
ce of ownership when accompanied by proof of actual possession.
ISSUES: 1. Does Exequiel, as co-owner, have the right to institute actions on hi
s own without the participation of the other co-owners? 2. Who has a better righ
t to the property?
HELD: 1. Yes. But before delving into the issue, the Court shall first discuss th
e question raised by respondents regarding the authority of Exequiel to file the
complaint on behalf of his co-heirs. Article 487 of the Civil Code provides tha
t anyone of the co-owners may bring an action for ejectment without joining the
others. The action is not limited to ejectment cases but includes all kinds of s
uits for recovery of possession because the suit is presumed to have been instit
uted for the benefit of all. In the case of Celino v. Heirs of Alejo and Teresa
Santiago,24 the Court held that:
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 156 of 171

Respondents herein are co-owners of two parcels of land owned by their deceased
mother. The properties were allegedly encroached upon by the petitioner. As co-o
wner of the properties, each of the heirs may properly bring an action for eject
ment, forcible entry, or any kind of action for the recovery of possession of th
e subject properties. Thus, a co-owner may bring such an action, even without jo
ining all the other co-owners as co-plaintiffs, because the suit is deemed to be
instituted for the benefit of all. However, if the action is for the benefit of
the plaintiff alone, such that he claims the possession for himself and not for
the co-ownership, the action will not prosper. Also, in the case of Carandang v
. Heirs of De Guzman, this Court ruled that a co-owner was not even a necessary
party to an action for ejectment, for complete relief could be afforded even in
his absence, thus: In sum, in suits to recover properties, all co-owners are rea
l parties in interest. However, pursuant to Article 487 of the Civil Code and th
e relevant jurisprudence, any one of them may bring an action, any kind of actio
n for the recovery of co-owned properties. Therefore, only one of the co-owners,
namely the co-owner who filed the suit for the recovery of the co-owned propert
y, is an indispensable party thereto. The other co-owners are not indispensable
parties. They are not even necessary parties, for a complete relief can be affor
ded in the suit even without their participation, since the suit is presumed to
have been filed for the benefit of all coowners. In the case at bench, the compl
aint clearly stated that the disputed property was held in common by the petitio
ners; and that the action was brought to recover possession of the lots from res
pondents for the benefit of all the heirs of Albina. Hence, Exequiel, a co-owner
, may bring the action for unlawful detainer even without the special power of a
ttorney of his co-heirs, for a complete relief can be accorded in the suit even
without their participation because the suit is deemed to be instituted for the
benefit of all the co-owners. 2. The petitioner-heirs. A perusal of the records sh
ows that respondents occupation of the lot in question was by mere tolerance. To
prove ownership over the property, the petitioners presented the tax declaration
s covering the properties and a certification issued by the Municipality of Paom
bong, Bulacan, showing that their mother, Albina, had been paying the correspond
ing real property taxes thereon. XXX Also, in 1982, one of the petitioners verba
lly demanded that the respondents vacate the property and when the latter refuse
d, they filed a complaint before the Barangay Lupon. From the minutes of the mee
ting in the Barangay Lupon, Perfecto admitted that in 1952, Albina allowed them
temporary use of the lots and that they could not leave the premises because the
y had nowhere else to go. When the parties failed to reach a settlement, petitio
ners, in order to protect their rights to the lot in question, filed a case for
violation of P.D. No. 772, an Act Penalizing Squatting and other Similar Acts ag
ainst Perfecto... In the said case, Perfecto executed a Sinumpaang Salaysay, whe
rein he admitted that Albina was the owner of the lots in question and that he w
as merely allowed by her to use the property on condition that they would vacate
it on demand... On the other hand, respondents could not present proof that the
y and their predecessors-ininterest had openly and continuously possessed the su
bject land since time immemorial. XXX Well established is the rule that ownershi
p over the land cannot be acquired by mere occupation. While it is true that tax
declarations are not conclusive evidence of ownership, they, nevertheless, cons
titute at least proof that the holder has a claim of title over the property. It
strengthens one s bona fide claim of acquisition of ownership.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 157 of 171

RIZAL v. NAREDO G.R. No. 151898 March 14, 2012 Subject: Property Topic: Co-Owner
ship
FACTS: The Rizals filed a case against Marcela and Leoncia for partition and rec
overy of possession of Lot No. 252. The parties then entered into a compromise a
greement, approved by the CFI, with both sides acknowledging that they owned Lot
No. 252 in common, with 3/5 thereof as the interest of the Rizals and the other
2/5 belonging to Marcela and Leoncia. Later, the Rizals filed a Complaint befor
e the RTC for the immediate segregation, partition and recovery of shares and ow
nership of Lot No. 252, with damages. However, the RTC dismissed the complaint b
ecause of res judicata. The CA also ruled that the action for partition has been
barred by res judicata and held that the the Rizals no longer had any cause of
action for partition because the co-ownership of the parties over Lot No. 252 ha
d ceased to exist by the order of the CFI affirming the compromise settlement wi
th assignment of aliquot portions.
ISSUE: Did the finality of the decision, approving the compromise settlement, ca
use Lot No. 252 to be partitioned, thus terminating the co-ownership of the part
ies over the land?
HELD: Yes. Article 484 of the New Civil Code provides that there is co-ownership
whenever the ownership of an undivided thing or right belongs to different perso
ns. Thus, on the one hand, a co-owner of an undivided parcel of land is an owner
of the whole, and over the whole he exercises the right of dominion, but he is
at the same time the owner of a portion which is truly abstract. On the other ha
nd, there is no co-ownership when the different portions owned by different peop
le are already concretely determined and separately identifiable, even if not ye
t technically described. Pursuant to Article 494 of the Civil Code, no co-owner
is obliged to remain in the co-ownership, and his proper remedy is an action for
partition under Rule 69 of the Rules of Court, which he may bring at anytime in
so far as his share is concerned. Article 1079 of the Civil Code defines partit
ion as the separation, division and assignment of a thing held in common among t
hose to whom it may belong. It has been held that the fact that the agreement of
partition lacks the technical description of the parties respective portions o
r that the subject property was then still embraced by the same certificate of t
itle could not legally prevent a partition, where the different portions allotte
d to each were determined and became separately identifiable. The partition of L
ot No. 252 was the result of the approved Compromise Agreement in Civil Case No.
36C, which was immediately final and executory. Absent any showing that said Co
mpromise Agreement was vitiated by fraud, mistake or duress, the court cannot se
t aside a judgment based on compromise. It is axiomatic that a compromise agreem
ent once approved by the court settles the rights of the parties and has the for
ce of res judicata. It cannot be disturbed except on the ground of vice of conse
nt or forgery. Of equal significance is the fact that the compromise judgment in
Civil Case No. 36-C settled as well the question of which specific portions of
Lot No. 252 accrued to the parties separately as their proportionate shares ther
ein. XXX
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 158 of 171

The CA was correct when it stated that no co-ownership exist when the different
portions owned by different people are already concretely determined and separat
ely identifiable, even if not yet technically described. It bears to note that t
he parties even acknowledged in Paragraph 7 of the Compromise Agreement that the
y had accepted their respective determined shares in the subject parcel of land,
and they agree to have their respective determined portions, Two-Fifths (2/5) fo
r defendants and Three-Fifths (3/5) for plaintiffs, to be covered by independent
and separate certificates of title in their respective names.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 159 of 171

ANTIOQUIA DEVELOPMENT CORP. v. RAHACAL G.R. No. 148843 September 5, 2012 Subject
: Property Topic: Possession
FACTS: Antioquia Development (ADC) is the registered owner of several parcels of
land. It entered into a joint venture agreement with another entity for the con
struction of a residential subdivision on its property. Rahacal and the other re
spondents were seasonal planters-workers on the property who were allowed by the
former owner to construct their houses on the land with an agreement that they
would surrender peacefully the premises when the owner needs the same. However,
despite oral and written demands by ADC, Rahacal and the other respondents refus
ed to vacate the premises. The respondents asserted that the previous owner gave
them express permission to build their respective houses on the property, and i
t was agreed that they would stay there as long as necessary to clean and clear
the land.
ISSUE: Is there a tenancy relationship between ADC and the respondents, thus ent
itling Rahacal and company to disturbance compensation?
HELD: No. From respondents declarations, we find that no tenancy relations existed
between them and petitioners, and neither was there any proof that they were th
e tenants of the late Mariano Antioquia, Sr. A tenant has been defined under Sec
tion 5(a) of R.A. No. 1199 as a person who, himself, and with the aid available
from within his immediate household, cultivates the land belonging to or possess
ed by another, with the latters consent for purposes of production, sharing the p
roduce with the landholder under the share tenancy system, or paying to the land
holder a price certain or ascertainable in produce or in money or both, under th
e leasehold system. Thus, there must be a concurrence of the following requisite
s in order to create a tenancy relationship between the parties: (1) the parties
are the landowner and the tenant; (2) the subject is agricultural land; (3) the
re is consent; (4) the purpose is agricultural production; (5) there is personal
cultivation; and (6) there is sharing of harvests. Once the tenancy relationshi
p is established, the tenant is entitled to security of tenure and cannot be eje
cted by the landlord unless ordered by the court for causes provided by law. How
ever, none of the afore-stated requisites was proven in this case as respondents
admitted they were allowed to stay on the land by a certain Dr. Carillo before
Mariano Antioquia, Sr. bought it, not for the purpose of agricultural production
, but allegedly to help clear the land. Respondents having failed to establish t
heir status as tenants or agricultural lessees, they are not entitled to securit
y of tenure nor are they covered by the Land Reform Program of the Government un
der existing laws, including the right to receive disturbance compensation...
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 160 of 171

UNION BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES v. MAUNLAD HOMES G.R. No. 190071 August 15, 2012 S
ubject: Property Topic: Possession
FACTS: Union Bank is the owner of the Maunlad Shopping Mall. Union Bank and Maun
lad Homes entered into a contract to sell involving the Maunlad Shopping Mall. T
he parties agreed that if Maunlad Homes breaches any provision of the contract,
all payments made for the shopping mall will be applied as rentals for the use a
nd possession of the property, and all improvements introduced on the land will
accrue in favor of Union Bank. When Maunlad Homes failed to pay the monthly amor
tization, Union Bank sent them a notice of rescission of contract demanding paym
ent of the installments due within 30 days from receipt, otherwise, it shall con
sider the contract automatically rescinded. Maunlad Homes failed to comply. Thus
, Union Bank sent Maunlad Homes a letter demanding payment of the rentals due an
d requiring that the subject property be vacated and its possession turned over
to the bank. Maunlad Homes still would not comply. Union Bank instituted an ejec
tment suit before the MTC. Maunlad Homes opposed, alleging that it is the owner
of the property as Union Bank did not reserve ownership of the property under th
e terms of the contract. By virtue of its ownership, Maunlad Homes claimed that
it has the right to possess the property. The MTC dismissed Union Banks ejectment
complaint. It found that Union Banks cause of action was based on a breach of co
ntract and that both parties are claiming a better right to possess the property
based on their respective claims of ownership of the property.
ISSUE: Was Maunlad Homes right possess the shopping mall extinguished because of
its failure to abide by the terms of the contract to sell?
HELD: Yes. The right to possess the property was extinguished when the contract t
o sell failed to materialize. Maunlad Homes acquired possession of the property ba
sed on its contract with Union Bank. While admitting that it suspended payment o
f the installments, Maunlad Homes contended that the suspension of payment did n
ot affect its right to possess the property because its contract with Union Bank
was one of sale and not to sell; hence, ownership of the property has been tran
sferred to it, allowing it to retain possession notwithstanding nonpayment of in
stallments. The terms of the contract, however, do not support this conclusion.
Section 11 of the contract between Union Bank and Maunlad Homes provides that "u
pon payment in full of the Purchase Price of the Property... the SELLER shall ex
ecute and deliver a Deed of Absolute Sale conveying the Property to the BUYER."
Jurisprudence has established that where the seller promises to execute a deed o
f absolute sale upon the completion by the buyer of the payment of the price, th
e contract is only a contract to sell. The presence of this provision generally
identifies the contract as being a mere contract to sell. After reviewing the te
rms of the contract between Union Bank and Maunlad Homes, we find no reasonable
ground to exempt the present case from the general rule; the contract between Un
ion Bank and Maunlad Homes is a contract to sell. In a contract to sell, the ful
l payment of the purchase price is a positive suspensive condition whose nonfulf
illment is not a breach of contract, but merely an event that prevents the selle
r from conveying title to the purchaser. "The non-payment of the purchase price
renders the contract to sell ineffective and
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 161 of 171

without force and effect." Maunlad Homes act of withholding the installment payme
nts rendered the contract ineffective and without force and effect, and ultimate
ly deprived itself of the right to continue possessing Maunlad Shopping Mall.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 162 of 171

TOLENTINO v. LAUREL G.R. No. 181368 February 22, 2012 Subject: Property Topic: P
ossession
FACTS: Respondents (Laurels) allege that they are the registered owners of a par
cel of land situated in Tagkawayan, Quezon, with an area of 1,056,275 square met
ers, covered by TCT No. T-43927. For several years, petitioners have been in act
ual possession of the western portion of the said property with a total area of
620,000 square meters which they tried to develop into fishponds. In 1993 and 19
94, respondents informed petitioner Gustavo, that the area the petitioners were
are occupying was inside the respondents property and, therefore, they should v
acate and leave the same. Gustavo, however, asked for time to verify respondents
claim. If the claim is true, then the petitioners were willing to discuss with
respondents the improvements that they have introduced on the subject area. Res
pondents have waited for almost a year for the outcome of the intended verificat
ion, but they waited in vain until Gustavo died. Petitioners continued to develo
p the area they were occupying into fishponds, thereby manifesting their unwilli
ngness to vacate the premises and restore the possession thereof in favor of res
pondents. Hence, respondents filed a suit against petitioners to recover the pro
perty and demand payment of unearned income, attorney s fees and costs of suit.
Petitioners, as defendants in the trial court, averred in their Answer that the
subject property is owned by the Republic and they are occupying the same by vir
tue of a fishpond lease agreement entered with the Department of Agriculture. Th
e petitioners alleged that their stay over the property is lawful. On March 21,
2000, the trial court issued an Order allowing respondents to present their evid
ence ex parte, instead of declaring petitioners in default for failing to appear
. The RTC ruled in favor of respondents. Aggrieved, petitioners challenged the t
rial court s decision before the CA. The CA dismissed petitioners appeal and af
firmed the decision of the RTC. Petitioners then filed this present Petition for
Review on Certiorari under Rule 45.
ISSUES: 1. Can the certificate of title of the Laurels be collaterally attacked?
2. Is accion publiciana available to the respondent Laurels to assert possessio
n when they are also the owners of the subject property?
HELD: 1. No. In substance, the appeal of petitioners hinges on their possession o
ver the subject lot by virtue of an alleged Fishpond Lease Agreement with the De
partment of Agriculture. They questioned the validity of the respondents title
by claiming that since the property is owned by the government, it is part of th
e public domain and, therefore, cannot be privately owned by the respondents. Th
e petitioners submission is not meritorious. It is a rule that a certificate of
title cannot be the subject of collateral attack. Section 48 of Presidential De
cree No. 1529 provides that: Section 48. Certificate not Subject to Collateral A
ttack. - A certificate of title shall not be subject to collateral attack. It ca
nnot be altered, modified, or canceled, except in a direct proceeding in accorda
nce with law.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 163 of 171

Petitioners attack on the legality of TCT No. T-43927, issued in the name of re
spondents, is incidental to their quest to defend their possession of the proper
ty in an accion publiciana, not in a direct action whose main objective is to im
pugn the validity of the judgment granting the title. To permit a collateral att
ack on the title, such as what petitioners attempt, would reduce the vaunted leg
al indefeasibility of a Torrens title to meaningless verbiage. XXX Unless and un
til the land is reverted to the State by virtue of a judgment of a court of law
in a direct proceeding for reversion, the Torrens certificate of title thereto r
emains valid and binding against the whole world. XXX Respondents title over th
e subject property is evidence of their ownership thereof. It is a fundamental p
rinciple in land registration that the certificate of title serves as evidence o
f an indefeasible and incontrovertible title to the property in favor of the per
son whose name appears therein. It is conclusive evidence with respect to the ow
nership of the land described therein. It is also settled that the titleholder i
s entitled to all the attributes of ownership of the property, including possess
ion. Thus, the Court held that the age-old rule is that the person who has a Tor
rens title over a land is entitled to possession thereof. 2. No. ...it must be em
phasized that the action filed before the trial court is an accion publiciana, w
hich is a plenary action for recovery of possession in an ordinary civil proceed
ing in order to determine the better and legal right to possess, independently o
f title. The objective of the plaintiffs in an accion publiciana is to recover p
ossession only, not ownership. However, where the parties raise the issue of own
ership, the courts may pass upon the issue to determine who between the parties
has the right to possess the property. This adjudication, however, is not a fina
l and binding determination of the issue of ownership; it is only for the purpos
e of resolving the issue of possession, where the issue of ownership is insepara
bly linked to the issue of possession. The adjudication of the issue of ownershi
p, being provisional, is not a bar to an action between the same parties involvi
ng title to the property. It is undisputed that the subject property is covered
by TCT No. T-43927, registered in the name of the respondents. On the other hand
, petitioners do not claim ownership, but allege that they are leasing the porti
on they are occupying from the government. XXX Petitioners argument that an acc
ion publiciana is not the proper remedy available for the respondents, because m
ore than ten (10) years had already elapsed since the dispossession of the respo
ndents property, does not hold water. As the registered owners, respondents ri
ght to evict any person illegally occupying their property is imprescriptible. X
XX As registered owners of the lots in question, the private respondents have a
right to eject any person illegally occupying their property. This right is impr
escriptible. Even if it be supposed that they were aware of the petitioners occ
upation of the property, and regardless of the length of that possession, the la
wful owners have a right to demand the return of their property at any time as l
ong as the possession was unauthorized or merely tolerated, if at all. This righ
t is never barred by laches.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 164 of 171

Sps. CABAHUG v. NAPOCOR G.R. No. 186069 January 30, 2013 Subject: Property Topic
: Easements and Servitudes
FACTS: The Spouses Cabahug are the owners of two parcels of land situated in Tab
ango, Leyte, registered in their with the Leyte provincial registry. They were a
mong the defendants in a suit for expropriation earlier filed by NPC before the
RTC, in connection with its Leyte-Cebu Interconnection Project. The suit was lat
er dismissed when NPC opted to settle with the landowners by paying an easement
fee equivalent to 10% of value of their property. In November 1996, Jesus Cabahu
g executed two documents denominated as Right of Way Grant in favor of NPC. For
and in consideration of the easement fees in the sums of P112,225.50 and P21,375
.00, Jesus Cabahug granted NPC a continuous easement of right of way for the lat
ters transmissions lines and their appurtenances over 24,939 and 4,750 square met
ers of the parcels of land. Jesus agreed not to construct any building or struct
ure whatsoever, nor plant in any area within the Right of Way that will adversel
y affect or obstruct the transmission line of NPC, except agricultural crops, th
e growth of which will not exceed three meters high. However, Jesus Cabahug rese
rved the option to seek additional compensation for easement fee. On 21 Septembe
r 1998, the Spouses Cabahug filed the complaint for the payment of just compensa
tion, damages and attorneys fees against NPC which was docketed as Civil Case No.
PN-0213 before the RTC. Claiming to have been totally deprived of the use of th
e portions of land because of the easement, the Spouses Cabahug alleged that in
accordance with the reservation provided under in the grant, they have demanded
from NPC payment of the balance of the just compensation for the subject propert
ies which, based on the valuation fixed by the Leyte Provincial Appraisal Commit
tee, amounted to P1,202,404.50. NPC answered that it already paid the full easem
ent fee mandated under Section 3-A of RA 6395 and that the reservation in the gr
ant referred to additional compensation for easement fee, not the full just comp
ensation sought by the Spouses Cabahug. The RTC went on to render a decision dat
ed 14 March 2000 ordering the NPC to par the spouses Cabahug more than P1.3 M. O
n appeal, the CA reversed the RTC and ruled that the Spouses Cabahug had already
accepted the payment of easement fee, pursuant to R.A. 6395, as amended, way ba
ck in 1996. Therefore, NPCs easement of right of way has for all legal intents an
d purposes, been established as far back as 1996. Since vested right has already
accrued in favor of NPC, to allow the Spouses Cabahug to pursue this case when
the easement of right of way had already been consummated would be in violation
of the contract. The contracting parties, the Spouses Cabahug and NPC had alread
y conformed with the terms and conditions of the agreement. To allow the Spouses
Cabahug to again collect from NPC payment of just compensation would amount to
unjust enrichment at the expense of NPC and would sanction violation of the part
ies contract.
ISSUE: Are the Spouses Cabahug entitled to just compensation, considering that t
he original agreement was only for an aerial easement? HELD: Yes. The CA regarded
the Grant of Right of Way executed by Jesus Cabahug in favor of NPC as a valid
and binding contract between the parties, a fact affirmed by the OSG in its 8 Oc
tober 2009 Comment to the petition at bench.18 Given that the parties have alrea
dy agreed on the easement fee for the portions of the subject parcels traversed
by NPCs transmissions lines, the CA ruled that the Spouses Cabahugs attempt to col
lect further sums by way of additional easement fee and/or just compensation
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 165 of 171

is violative of said contract and tantamount to unjust enrichment at the expense


of NPC. As correctly pointed out by the Spouses Cabahug, however, the CAs ruling
totally disregards the fourth paragraph of the Grant executed by Jesus Cabahug
which expressly states as follows: That I hereby reserve the option to seek addit
ional compensation for Easement Fee, based on the Supreme Court Decision in G.R.
No. 60077, promulgated on January 18, 1991, which jurisprudence is designated a
s "NPC vs. Gutierrez" case. From the foregoing reservation, it is evident that th
e Spouses Cabahugs receipt of the easement fee did not bar them from seeking furt
her compensation from NPC. Even by the basic rules in the interpretation of cont
racts, we find that the CA erred in holding that the payment of additional sums
to the Spouses Cabahug would be violative of the parties contract and amount to u
njust enrichment. Indeed, the rule is settled that a contract constitutes the la
w between the parties who are bound by its stipulations which, when couched in c
lear and plain language, should be applied according to their literal tenor. Cou
rts cannot supply material stipulations, read into the contract words it does no
t contain or, for that matter, read into it any other intention that would contr
adict its plain import. Neither can they rewrite contracts because they operate
harshly or inequitably as to one of the parties, or alter them for the benefit o
f one party and to the detriment of the other, or by construction, relieve one o
f the parties from the terms which he voluntarily consented to, or impose on him
those which he did not. Considering that Gutierrez was specifically made the po
int of reference for Jesus Cabahugs reservation to seek further compensation from
NPC, we find that the CA likewise erred in finding that the ruling in said case
does not apply to the case at bench. Concededly, the NPC was constrained to fil
e an expropriation complaint in Gutierrez due to the failure of the negotiations
for its acquisition of an easement of right of way for its transmission lines.
The issue that was eventually presented for this Courts resolution, however, was
the propriety of making NPC liable for the payment of the full market value of t
he affected property despite the fact that transfer of title thereto was not req
uired by said easement. In upholding the landowners right to full just compensati
on, the Court ruled that the power of eminent domain may be exercised although t
itle is not transferred to the expropriator in an easement of right of way. Just
compensation which should be neither more nor less than the money equivalent of
the property is, moreover, due where the nature and effect of the easement is t
o impose limitations against the use of the land for an indefinite period and de
prive the landowner its ordinary use. Even without the reservation made by Jesus
Cabahug in the Grant of Right of Way, the application of Gutierrez to this case
is not improper as NPC represents it to be. Where the right of way easement, as
in this case, similarly involves transmission lines which not only endangers li
fe and limb but restricts as well the owner s use of the land traversed thereby,
the ruling in Gutierrez remains doctrinal and should be applied. It has been ru
led that the owner should be compensated for the monetary equivalent of the land
if, as here, the easement is intended to perpetually or indefinitely deprive th
e owner of his proprietary rights through the imposition of conditions that affe
ct the ordinary use, free enjoyment and disposal of the property or through rest
rictions and limitations that are inconsistent with the exercise of the attribut
es of ownership, or when the introduction of structures or objects which, by the
ir nature, create or increase the probability of injury, death upon or destructi
on of life and property found on the land is necessary. Measured not by the take
rs gain but the owners loss, just compensation is defined as the full and fair equ
ivalent of the property taken from its owner by the expropriator. XXX In this ca
se, the Leyte Provincial Appraisal Committee fixed the valuation of the affected
properties at P45.00 per square meter at the instance of NPC. Considering that
the installation of the latters transmission lines amounted to the taking of 24,9
39 and 4,750 square meters from the parcels of land covered by TCT Nos. T-9813 a
nd T-1599 or a total of 29,689 square meters
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 166 of 171

LIWAG v. HAPPY GLEN LOOP HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION G.R. No. 189755 July 4, 2012 Subj
ect: Property Topic: Easements and Servitudes
FACTS: In 1978, F.G.R. Sales, the original developer of Happy Glen Loop, obtaine
d a loan from Marcelo, the owner of T.P. Marcelo Realty Corporation. To settle i
ts debt, F.G.R. Sales assigned to Marcelo all its rights over several parcels of
land in the subdivision, as well as receivables from the lots already sold. As
the successor-in-interest of the original developer, Marcelo represented to subd
ivision lot buyers, the NHA and the HSRC that a water facility was available in
the subdivision. The overhead water tank was located above Lot 11, Block No. 5.
For almost 30 years, the residents of the subdivision relied on this facility as
their only source of water. Sometime in September 1995, Marcelo sold Lot 11, Bl
ock No. 5 to Hermogenes. Hermogenes, as president of the association, publicized
that the water facility is efficient and sufficient. When Hermogenes died in 20
03, his wife Liwag subsequently wrote a letter to the Happy Glen Loop Homeowners
Association, demanding the removal of the overhead water tank from the subject
parcel of land. Refusing to comply with Liwags demand, the homeowners associatio
n filed before the HLURB an action for specific performance; confirmation, maint
enance and donation of water facilities; annulment of sale; and cancellation of
TCT No. 350099 against the owner and developer of the subdivision, Liwag, and th
e other surviving heirs of Hermogenes.
ISSUE: Is there an easement for water facility existent on Lot 11, Block 5 of Ha
ppy Glen Loop Subdivision, which must be respected, such that Liwag cannot just
take it away?
HELD: Yes. Easements or servitudes are encumbrances imposed upon an immovable for
the benefit of another immovable belonging to a different owner, for the benefi
t of a community, or for the benefit of one or more persons to whom the encumber
ed estate does not belong. The law provides that easements may be continuous or
discontinuous and apparent or non-apparent. The pertinent provisions of the Civi
l Code are quoted below: Art. 615. Easements may be continuous or discontinuous,
apparent or non-apparent. Continuous easements are those the use of which is or
may be incessant, without the intervention of any act of man. Discontinuous eas
ements are those which are used at intervals and depend upon the acts of man. Ap
parent easements are those which are made known and are continually kept in view
by external signs that reveal the use and enjoyment of the same. Non-apparent e
asements are those which show no external indication of their existence.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 167 of 171

In this case, the water facility is an encumbrance on Lot 11, Block 5 of the Sub
division for the benefit of the community. It is continuous and apparent, becaus
e it is used incessantly without human intervention, and because it is continual
ly kept in view by the overhead water tank, which reveals its use to the public.
Contrary to petitioners contention that the existence of the water tank on Lot 1
1, Block 5 is merely tolerated, we find that the easement of water facility has
been voluntarily established either by Marcelo, the Subdivision owner and develo
per; or by F.G.R. Sales, his predecessor-in-interest and the original developer
of the Subdivision. For more than 30 years, the facility was continuously used a
s the residents sole source of water. The Civil Code provides that continuous and
apparent easements are acquired either by virtue of a title or by prescription
of 10 years. It is therefore clear that an easement of water facility has alread
y been acquired through prescription. XXX In this case, Spouses Liwag were aware
of the existence of the easement of water facility when Marcelo sold Lot 11, Bl
ock 5 to them. Hermogenes even executed an Affidavit dated 10 August 1982 attest
ing to the sufficiency of the water supply coming from an electrically operated
water pump in the Subdivision. It is undisputed that the water facility in quest
ion was their only water source during that time. As residents of the Subdivisio
n, they had even benefited for almost 30 years from its existence. Therefore, pe
titioner cannot be shielded by the principle of indefeasibility and conclusivene
ss of title, as she was not an innocent purchaser in good faith and for value.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 168 of 171

PEREZ v. MADRONA G.R. No. 184478 March 21, 2012 Subject: Property Topic: Nuisanc
e
FACTS: The spouses Fortunito Madrona and Yolanda Pante built a house on their lo
t and enclosed it with a concrete fence and steel gate. The spouses received the
following letter from Perez, Chief of the Marikina Demolition Office, stating t
hat the construction of the concrete fence and steel gate violated the National
Building Code, Programa sa Kalinisan at Disiplina sa Bangketa, and R.A. 917 as a
mended by Section 23, P.D. No. 17, DO No. 4 Series of 1987. The spouses were giv
en 7 days from receipt of the letter to voluntarily remove the concrete fence an
d steel gate allegedly protruding the sidewalk. Madrona sent petitioner a letter
dated June 8, 1999 stating that the May 25, 1999 letter contained an accusation
of a libelous nature as it is condemning him and his property without due proce
ss and that Perez has no basis and authority since there is no court order autho
rizing him to demolish their structure. Madrona also stated that the cited legal
bases do not expressly give Perez any authority to demolish. Finally, Madrona c
laims that the citation was false since their fence did not in fact extend to th
e sidewalk. More than a year later or on February 28, 2001, Perez sent another l
etter with the same contents as the May 25, 1999 letter but this time giving res
pondents 10 days from receipt thereof to remove the structure allegedly protrudi
ng to the sidewalk. This prompted respondents to file for an injunction before t
he Marikina City RTC on March 12, 2001. The RTC held that respondents, being law
ful owners of the subject property, are entitled to the peaceful and open posses
sion of every inch of their property and petitioners threat to demolish the concr
ete fence around their property is tantamount to a violation of their rights as
property owners who are entitled to protection under the Constitution and laws.
The RTC also ruled that there is no showing that respondents fence is a nuisance
per se and presents an immediate danger to the communitys welfare, nor is there b
asis for petitioners claim that the fence has encroached on the sidewalk as to ju
stify its summary demolition.
ISSUE: Can Madronas fence be considered a nuisance per se and thus abated without
need of judicial authority?
HELD: No. Respondents fence is not a nuisance per se. By its nature, it is not inj
urious to the health or comfort of the community. It was built primarily to secu
re the property of respondents and prevent intruders from entering it. And as co
rrectly pointed out by respondents, the sidewalk still exists. If petitioner bel
ieves that respondents fence indeed encroaches on the sidewalk, it may be so prov
en in a hearing conducted for that purpose. Not being a nuisance per se, but at
most a nuisance per accidens, its summary abatement without judicial interventio
n is unwarranted.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 169 of 171

MERCADO v. ESPINOCILLA G.R. No. 184109 February 1, 2012 Subject: Property Topic:
Prescription
FACTS: Doroteo Espinocilla owned a parcel of land in Sorsogon. After he died, hi
s five children, Salvacion, Aspren, Isabel, Macario, and Dionisia divided Lot No
. 552 equally among themselves. Later, Dionisia died without issue ahead of her
four siblings, and Macario took possession of Dionisias share. In an affidavit of
transfer of real property dated November 1, 1948, Macario claimed that Dionisia
had donated her share to him in May 1945. On August 9, 1977, Macario and his da
ughters Betty Gullaba and Saida Gabelo sold 225 sq. m. to his son Roger Espinoci
lla, husband of respondent Belen Espinocilla and father of respondent Ferdinand
Espinocilla. On March 8, 1985, Roger Espinocilla sold 114 sq. m. to Caridad Atie
nza. Per actual survey of the lot, respondent Belen Espinocilla occupies 109 sq.
m., Caridad Atienza occupies 120 sq. m., Caroline Yu occupies 209 sq. m., and p
etitioner, Salvacion s son, occupies 132 sq. m. Petitioner Celerino Mercado sued
the respondents Espinocilla, alleging encroachment by the respondents on 39 sq.
m. of his property that he claims must be returned to him. He avers that he is
entitled to own and possess 171 sq. m. of Lot No. 552, having inherited 142.5 sq
. m. from his mother Salvacion and bought 28.5 sq. m. from his aunt Aspren. Acco
rding to him, his mothers inheritance is 142.5 sq. m., that is, 114 sq. m. from D
oroteo plus 28.5 sq. m. from Dionisia. Since the area he occupies is only 132 sq
. m., he claims that respondents encroach on his share by 39 sq. m. Respondents
Espinocillo agree that Doroteos five children each inherited 114 sq. m. of Lot No
. 552. However, Macarios share increased when he received Dionisias share. Macarios
increased share was then sold to his son Roger, respondents husband and father.
Respondents claim that they rightfully possess the land they occupy by virtue of
acquisitive prescription and that there is no basis for petitioners claim of enc
roachment.
ISSUE: Is Celerino s action to recover the subject portion barred by prescriptio
n?
HELD: Yes. Prescription, as a mode of acquiring ownership and other real rights o
ver immovable property, is concerned with lapse of time in the manner and under
conditions laid down by law, namely, that the possession should be in the concep
t of an owner, public, peaceful, uninterrupted, and adverse. Acquisitive prescri
ption of real rights may be ordinary or extraordinary. Ordinary acquisitive pres
cription requires possession in good faith and with just title for 10 years. In
extraordinary prescription, ownership and other real rights over immovable prope
rty are acquired through uninterrupted adverse possession for 30 years without n
eed of title or of good faith. Here, petitioner himself admits the adverse natur
e of respondents possession with his assertion that Macarios fraudulent acquisitio
n of Dionisias share created a constructive trust. In a constructive trust, there
is neither a promise nor any fiduciary relation to speak of and the so-called t
rustee (Macario) neither accepts any trust nor intends holding the property for
the beneficiary (Salvacion, Aspren, Isabel). The relation of trustee and cestui
que trust does not in fact exist, and the holding of a constructive trust is for
the trustee himself, and therefore, at all times adverse. Prescription may supe
rvene even if the trustee does not repudiate the relationship.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 170 of 171

Then, too, respondents uninterrupted adverse possession for 55 years of 109 sq. m
. of Lot No. 552 was established. Macario occupied Dionisias share in 1945 althou
gh his claim that Dionisia donated it to him in 1945 was only made in a 1948 aff
idavit. We also agree with the CA that Macarios possession of Dionisias share was
public and adverse since his other co-owners, his three other sisters, also occu
pied portions of Lot No. 552. Indeed, the 1977 sale made by Macario and his two
daughters in favor of his son Roger confirms the adverse nature of Macarios posse
ssion because said sale of 225 sq. m.[23] was an act of ownership over Macarios o
riginal share and Dionisias share. In 1985, Roger also exercised an act of owners
hip when he sold 114 sq. m. to Caridad Atienza. It was only in the year 2000, up
on receipt of the summons to answer petitioners complaint, that respondents peacef
ul possession of the remaining portion (109 sq. m.) was interrupted. By then, ho
wever, extraordinary acquisitive prescription has already set in in favor of res
pondents. That the RTC found Macarios 1948 affidavit void is of no moment. Extrao
rdinary prescription is unconcerned with Macarios title or good faith. Accordingl
y, the RTC erred in ruling that Macario cannot acquire by prescription the share
s of Salvacion, Aspren, and Isabel, in Dionisias 114-sq. m. share from Lot No. 55
2. Moreover, the CA correctly dismissed petitioners complaint as an action for re
conveyance based on an implied or constructive trust prescribes in 10 years from
the time the right of action accrues. This is the other kind of prescription un
der the Civil Code, called extinctive prescription, where rights and actions are
lost by the lapse of time.[25] Petitioners action for recovery of possession hav
ing been filed 55 years after Macario occupied Dionisias share, it is also barred
by extinctive prescription. The CA while condemning Macarios fraudulent act of d
epriving his three sisters of their shares in Dionisias share, equally emphasized
the fact that Macarios sisters wasted their opportunity to question his acts.
Santos. DLSU Law. Civil Law Review 1 Case Digests. 2012 and 2013 cases.
Page 171 of 171