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Ceferino Padua Law Office and Gatmaytan Law Office for petitioner. P.C. Jose & Associates for respondent.
in view of the deficient publication or notice of hearing, and (3) that the proceedings had yet to be closed and terminated, were issues which did not qualify as "questions of fact" as to place the appeal within the jurisdiction of the appellate court; thus: "The issues are evidently pure questions of law because their resolution are based on facts not in dispute. Admitted are the facts that intervenorappellant is a collateral relative within the fifth degree of Augusto H. Piedad; that she is the daughter of the first cousin of Augusto H. Piedad; that as such, intervenor-appellant seek to inherit from the estate of Augusto H. Piedad; that the notice of hearing was published for three consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation; that there was no order of closure of proceedings that has been issued by the intestate court; and that the intestate court has already issued an order for the transfer of the remaining estate of Augusto H. Piedad to petitioner-appellee. "These facts are undisputed. "In this case, there is no doubt nor difference that arise as to the truth or falsehood on alleged facts. The question as to whether intervenor-appellant as a collateral relative within the fifth civil degree, has legal interest in the intestate proceeding which would justify her intervention; the question as to whether the publication of notice of hearing made in this case is defective which would amount to lack of jurisdiction over the persons of the parties and the question as to whether the proceedings has already been terminated when the intestate court issued the order of transfer of the estate of Augusto H. Piedad to petitioner-appellee, in spite the absence of an order of closure of the intestate court, all call for the application and interpretation of the proper law. There is doubt as to what law is applicable on a certain undisputed state of facts. aHCSTD "The resolution of the issues raised does not require the review of the evidence, nor the credibility of witnesses presented, nor the existence and relevance of specific surrounding circumstances. Resolution on the issues may be had even without going to examination of facts on record." 2 Still unsatisfied, petitioner contested the resolution of the appellate court in the instant petition for review on certiorari. The Court finds no reversible error in the ruling of the appellate court. But let us set aside the alleged procedural decrepitude and take on the basic substantive issue. Specifically, can petitioner, a collateral relative of the fifth civil degree, inherit alongside respondent, a collateral relative of the third civil degree? Elsewise stated, does the rule of proximity in intestate succession find application among collateral relatives?
Augusto H. Piedad died without any direct descendants or ascendants. Respondent is the maternal aunt of the decedent, a third-degree relative of the decedent, while petitioner is the daughter of a first cousin of the deceased, or a fifth degree relative of the decedent. The various provisions of the Civil Code on succession embody an almost complete set of law to govern, either by will or by operation of law, the transmission of property, rights and obligations of a person upon his death. Each article is construed in congruity with, rather than in isolation of, the system set out by the Code. The rule on proximity is a concept that favors the relatives nearest in degree to the decedent and excludes the more distant ones, except when and to the extent that the right of representation can apply. Thus, Article 962 of the Civil Code provides: "ARTICLE 26.In every inheritance, the relative nearest in degree excludes the more distant ones, saving the right of representation when it properly takes place."Relatives in the same degree shall inherit in equal shares, subject to the provisions of article 1006 with respect to relatives of the full and half blood, and of Article 987, paragraph 2, concerning division between the paternal and maternal lines. By right of representation, a more distant blood relative of a decedent is, by operation of law, "raised to the same place and degree" of relationship as that of a closer blood relative of the same decedent. The representative thereby steps into the shoes of the person he represents and succeeds, not from the latter, but from the person to whose estate the person represented would have succeeded. "ARTICLE 970.Representation is a right created by fiction of law, by virtue of which the representative is raised to the place and the degree of the person represented, and acquires the rights which the latter would have if he were living or if he could have inherited." "ARTICLE 971.The representative is called to the succession by the law and not by the person represented. The representative does not succeed the person represented but the one whom the person represented would have succeeded." In the direct line, right of representation is proper only in the descending, never in the ascending, line. In the collateral line, the right of representation may only take place in favor of the children of brothers or sisters of the decedent when such children survive with their uncles or aunts.
DECISION VITUG, J p: On 28 August 1995, herein petitioner Ofelia Hernando Bagunu moved to intervene in Special Proceedings No. 3652, entitled "In the Matter of the Intestate Proceedings of the Estate of Augusto H. Piedad," pending before the Regional Trial Court ("RTC"), Branch 117, of Pasay City. Asserting entitlement to a share of the estate of the late Augusto H. Piedad, petitioner assailed the finality of the order of the trial court awarding the entire estate to respondent Pastora Piedad contending that the proceedings were tainted with procedural infirmities, including an incomplete publication of the notice of hearing, lack of personal notice to the heirs and creditors, and irregularity in the disbursements of allowances and withdrawals by the administrator of the estate. The trial court denied the motion, prompting petitioner to raise her case to the Court of Appeals. Respondent sought the dismissal of the appeal on the thesis that the issues brought up on appeal only involved pure questions of law. Finding merit in that argument, the appellate court dismissed the appeal, citing Section 2(c) of Rule 41 of the 1997 Revised Rules on Civil Procedure which would require all appeals involving nothing else but questions of law to be raised before the Supreme Court by petition for review oncertiorari in accordance with Rule 45 thereof and consistently with Circular 2-90 of the Court. In a well-written resolution, the Court of Appeals belabored the distinctions between questions of law and questions of fact, thus: "There is a question of law in a given case when the doubt or difference arises as to what the law is on a certain state of facts, and there is a question of fact when the doubt or difference arises as to the truth or the falsehood of alleged facts. There is question of fact when the query necessarily invites calibration of the whole evidence considering mainly the credibility of witnesses, existence and relevance of specific surrounding circumstances, and their relation to each other and to the whole and the probabilities of the situation." 1 Justice Eugenio S. Labitoria, speaking for the appellate court, ratiocinated that whether or not the RTC erred in denying the intervention considering (1) that the intervenor-appellant had a prima facie interest over the case, (2) that the jurisdiction over the person of the proper parties was not acquired
JR. JR. In determining the degree of relationship of the collateral relatives to the decedent.The right of representation takes place in the direct descending line. Leticia Rustia Miranda. AMELIA CRUZ-ENRIQUEZ and FIDEL R. October 10. ISADET WHEREFORE. they shall inherit in equal portions. Article 966 of the Civil Code gives direction. Luisa Delgado.Whether or not the intervenor was acknowledged as a natural or illegitimate child by the deceased Dr. aforequoted. Thus. the surviving spouse. being in the fourth-degree of relationship. J p: Respondent. in turn. except only in the case of nephews and nieces of the decedent concurring with their uncles or aunts. from succeeding ab intestato the estate of the decedent. whether or not the petitioner and the other claimants to the estate of the late Josefa Delgado are entitled to her estate. Melo. excludes the cousins of the decedent. HEIRS OF ROMAN RUSTIA. oppositor Marciana Rustia Vda." Article 1010. if he were living or could inherit. Among collateral relatives. DAMIAN.. Rustia-(Alaras) was allowed to intervene in the proceedings upon her assertion of the status of an acknowledged natural child. 1972. RUSTIA and GUILLERMA RUSTIA-ALARAS. four from his first cousin and so forth. of the Code.Should there be neither brothers nor sisters nor children of brothers or sisters. Guillermo Rustia who died on February 28. "In the collateral line. vs. namely: TERESITA CRUZ-SISON." — invoked by petitioner do not at all support her cause. Hortencia Rustia-Cruz. Guillerma S. continuance of their appeal from the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Manila Branch 55 in SP Case No.Whether or not the deceased Josefa Delgado was legally married to Dr. and Dr. 3. cdtai On April 3.In the negative. 23415 promulgated on November 27. JJ. the only surviving child and sole heir. the rule of proximity. FRANCISCO RUSTIA. 1976. 1997. of the decedent. ascent is made to the common ancestor and then descent is made to the person with whom the computation is to be made. de Danao filed a Petition for Letters of Administration of the intestate estate of the deceased spouses Josefa Delgado."ARTICLE 972. petitioner. Guillermo Rustia). SO ORDERED. CRUZ. SP No. Guillermo Rustia. nephews. Josefina. "ARTICLE 966. 1975. With the permission of the trial court. 97668.] CARLOTA DELGADO VDA. JOSEFINA CRUZ-RODIL. [G. On January 14. the other collateral relatives shall succeed to the estate. the legitimate children and descendants. but without the benefit of marriage. GUILLERMINA R. the instant Petition is DENIED. and a first cousin of the full blood can inherit equally with a first cousin of the half blood. 2. is an absolute rule." In fine. Virginia Rustia-Paraiso. ROMAN RUSTIA. (children of the late Roman Rustia. Bello for petitioner. and Gonzaga-Reyes.. if any. "The latter shall succeed without distinction of lines or preference among them by reason of relationship by the whole blood. no preference or distinction shall be observed "by reason of relationship by the whole blood. who died on September 8. of the late Augusto H. On May 8. de Damian also died and was substituted by her children Guillermo and Jose. would have priority in succession to a fifthdegree relative. nieces and grand-nephews and grand-nieces of Josefa Delgado. who is the brother of his father. Horacio. No costs. granting the private respondents' petition for certiorari and mandamus. firstly. and thus. DE DAMIAN. The appellate court had ruled for the approval of the private respondents' record on appeal. a relative of the fifth degree. of Dr. SERGIO RUSTIA. The petition was filed by Luisa Delgado on behalf of the surviving sisters. JR. In due course. 1974. thirdly.. being a third-degree relative. 103028. secondly. thus paving the way for the . it takes place only in favor of the children of brothers or sister. respondents. three from his uncle.." SCHATc Accordingly — Oscar A. this time alleging that the deceased Josefa Delgado and Guillermo Rustia had been living continuously as husband and wife. brothers. brother of the deceased Dr. Roman Rustia. DECISION TORRES. "ARTICLE 1009. HEIRS OF HORTENCIA RUSTIA CRUZ. Rustia. In time. Guillerma Rustia in his lifetime." The right of representation does not apply to "other collateral relatives within the fifth civil degree" (to which group both petitioner and respondent belong) who are sixth in order of preference following." "ARTICLE 974. but an uncle or an aunt. No. The provisions of Article 1009 and Article 1010 of the Civil Code — Assailed in this petition for review on certiorari is the Resolution of Court of Appeals Seventh Division in CA-G.R. the illegitimate children and descendants. the petition was opposed by Marciana Rustia Vda.. and Guillermina Rustia Rustia (de facto adopted daughter of Josefa Delgado and Guillermo Rustia). concur. Piedad excludes petitioner. being a relative within the third civil degree. The law means only that among the other collateral relatives (the sixth in the line of succession). if they survive with their uncles or aunts. Jr. Panganiban. a person is two degrees removed from his brother.Whether or not the oppositor Guillerma Rustia has any right or interest in the estate in controversy. in such manner that the representative or representatives shall not inherit more than what the person they represent would inherit. . LETICIA RUSTIA-MIRANDA. namely: GUILLERMO R. a maternal aunt can inherit alongside a paternal uncle. COURT OF APPEALS. Josefina Albano. CRUZ. Amelia and Fidel. Yolando Quisumbing-Javellana & Associates for private respondents. the division of the estate shall be made per stirpes. de Damian. In the ensuing proceedings. Luisa Delgado filed an Amended Petition for Letters of Administration. VIRGINIA RUSTIA-PARAISO. they shall inherit from the latter by representation. HEIRS OF MARCIANA RUSTIA VDA." "ARTICLE 975. and fifthly. whether they be of the full or half blood. (sisters of the deceased Dr. the parties presented their respective evidence upon the following issues. 1978. "In the collateral line. HORACIO R.Whenever there is succession by representation.The right to inherit ab intestato shall not extend beyond the fifth degree of relationship in the collateral line. fourthly. Inocentes & Associates Law Office for Guillerma Alaras. DAMIAN & JOSE R.R. The case was docketed as SP Case No.. 4. DE DELA ROSA. the legitimate parents and ascendants. but never in the ascending. expressed in Article 962. 97668. Guillermo J. Guillermo Rustia). Vda. Sergio Rustia. . as enumerated by the estate court: 1. the latter. namely: JOSEFINA RUSTIA-ALBANO. Francisco Rustia.When children of one or more brothers or sisters of the deceased survive. 1991. oppositor Hortencia Rustia-Cruz died and was substituted in the estate proceedings by her husband Fidel Cruz and their five children Teresita. Sumulong Law Offices and Toribio T. the brothers and sisters/nephews and nieces. But if they alone survive. Jr.
insisting on the final and executory nature of the trial court's May 11. thirty-one (31) days from the time counsel for private respondents' counsel received the court's decision. Guillermo Rustia. contrary to law and settled jurisprudence that the taking of an appeal including the filing of the record on appeal within the reglementary period is mandatory and jurisdictional. Rustia et. de Dela Rosa was substituted for her sister. "SO ORDERED. al. and failure to do the same removes from the appellate court any jurisdiction over the action. entitled to the entire estate of the said decedent. 1991. and after hearing the parties' respective oral arguments. rendered its decision 2 appointing herein petitioner Carlota Vda. on its face. 1990. Liwag acted within his jurisdiction and in accordance with the law when he dismissed the appeal of Guillerma R. including all documents. the petition for certiorari and mandamus is GRANTED. the private respondents (oppositors below) filed a notice of appeal on May 20. The petition was docketed as CA-G.The Court of Appeals acted without jurisdiction and with grave abuse of discretion in approving the record on appeal of Guillermina R. de Dela Rosa as administrator of the estates of the two mentioned deceased. "A. 1988. de Damian. and in the interest of substantial justice. "D. and entitled to partition the same among themselves in accordance with the proportions referred to in this Decision. immediately upon receipt of this Decision.00). the Order of respondent Court dated September 25. the Court hereby APPOINTS her as the ADMINISTRATRIX of the intestate estate of the deceased JOSEFA DELGADO in relation to the estate of DR. "C. "Accordingly. and thus. The dispositive portion of the trial court's decision reads: "WHEREFORE. "SO ORDERED. Hermogenes R. the latter then having concurrent jurisdiction with the Court over the petition. 23415. and the trial court's decision had thus become final and executory. Liwag. Rustia is hereby declared as the sole and only surviving heir of the late Dr. 1990. 3 In its Resolution dated November 27. and enumerated elsewhere in this Decision. denied due course to. De Dela Rosa) and her co-claimants to the estate of the late Josefa Delgado listed in the petition. the Hon. GUILLERMO J." Petitioner Carlota Delgado Vda. pursuant to Batas Pambansa 129 and the Interim Rules. thereby notifying the court of their intention to appeal the decision. oppositor GUILLERMINA RUSTIA RUSTIA is hereby ordered to cease and desist from her acts of administration of the subject estates. 1987. Liwag did not commit grave abuse of discretion nor acted without or in excess of jurisdiction in issuing the order of September 25. Rustia and the heirs of Marciana Vda. RUSTIA.The Court of Appeals acted without jurisdiction and committed grave abuse and reversible error in giving due course to the appeal of Guillermina R.R. although Hermogenes R.The Court of Appeals committed grave abuse of discretion in setting aside the order of September 25. the decision dated March 21. al. the Regional Trial Court of Manila Branch 55. in view of all the foregoing. the intervenor Guillerma S. DE DELA ROSA upon her filing of the requisite bond in the sum of FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND PESOS (P500. records and titles pertaining to such estates to the petitioner and appointed Administratrix CARLOTA DELGADO VDA. the appellate court reversed itself. de Damian and accordingly dismissed the appeal. in the proceedings for joint administration of estate of the late Josefa Delgado and Dr. "The Affidavit of Self-Adjudication of the estate of Josefa Delgado executed by the late Guillermo J. Liwag. de Dela Rosa is now before us. On March 20. and ruled that in the light of special circumstances attending the proceedings leading to the issuance of the letters of administration. 1990. al. al.5. in a Resolution dated November 5. The court cited Supreme Court rulings furthering exceptional instances where delay in filing a record on appeal. this Court referred the petition to the Court of Appeals. SP No. 1991. are hereby declared as the only legal heirs of the said Josefa Delgado who died intestate in the City of Manila on September 8. in order to perfect an appeal. and 6. 1990. "B. 1990 decision naming her as administrator of the subject estates. 1972. as every party-litigant should be afforded ample opportunity for the proper and just determination of his cause. de Dela Rosa has established her right to the appointment as administratrix of the estates. "As the estates of both decedents have not as yet been settled. She argues that the Court of Appeals erred in setting aside the trial court's decision dismissing the private respondents' appeal. 1. Guillermo Rustia. 1991 is hereby RECONSIDERED. The Record on Appeal was filed with the trial court on June 21. The court observed that the perfection of an appeal within the time prescribed by the rules is a jurisdictional requirement. was ignored. although their record on appeal was filed out of time. 1990 which denied due course to the appeal of respondents heirs of Marciana Vda. which dismissed the appeal of respondents Guillermina R. 1990 is ANNULLED and SET ASIDE and another one is rendered APPROVING the Record on Appeal and GIVING DUE COURSE to the appeal interposed by oppositorsappellants-petitioners from the decision of respondent court rendered on May 11. 1990 of Judge Hermogenes R.Who is entitled to the estate's administration? 1 On March 14. The same oppositor is hereby required to render an accounting of her actual administration of the estates in controversy within a period of sixty (60) days from receipt hereof. a single administrator therefore is both proper and necessary. Rustia et. papers. and declared of no force and effect. Rustia et. Private respondents assailed the ruling in a petition for certiorari and mandamus. "WHEREFORE. as the taking of an appeal and the filing of the record on appeal within the reglementary period is mandatory and jurisdictional in nature. the appeal appears to be impressed with merit. on motion for reconsideration by the private respondents filed on April 11. "Similarly. However.Judge Hermogenes R. and dismissed the appeal on the ground that the Record on Appeal was filed a day late. let the corresponding LETTERS OF ADMINISTRATION issue to the petitioner CARLOTA DELGADO VDA. Rustia et. and the private respondents' failure to comply with such requirement renders their appeal nugatory. and is likewise ordered to turn over to the appointed Administratrix all her collections of the rentals and income due on the assets of the estates in question. 1991.Whether or not the estate of Josefa Delgado was legally settled. the Regional Trial Court of Manila Branch 55. since they filed their record on appeal beyond the reglementary period of thirty (30) days. and their settlement are considered consolidated in this proceeding in accordance with law. Rustia on June 15. when. the Court of Appeals held that the trial court should have proceeded with caution in considering the allowance of private respondents' appeal. filed with the Supreme Court on October 20. However. the respondent appellate court ruled that the appeal was not perfected in time. 1990. de Danao. as the petitioner Carlota Delgado Vda. petitioner (Carlota Delgado Vda. the private respondents' appeal should be given due course. and. 1990. who had died on May 18. On September 25. free from the constraints of technicalities. 1973 is hereby SET ASIDE. DE DELA ROSA. the petitioner Luisa Vda. herein petitioner Carlota Delgado Vda. to the exclusion of the oppositors and the other parties thereto." In due time.It is clear and patent error for the Court of Appeals to have granted the petition for certiorari and mandamus of respondents Guillermina R. "Finally. although it was filed beyond the thirty (30) day reglementary period.000. . On May 11. 1990 in SP-97668.
de Damian. . We have advised the courts to proceed with caution so as not to deprive a party of the right to appeal (National Waterworks and Sewerage Authority vs. 4 However. thereby showing that respondent court was too stringent in applying the rules on oppositors. Counsel also submitted that the Record on Appeal and the Notice of Appeal be heard and approved 'on Friday. or within the 30-day reglementary period from counsel's receipt of the decision sought to be appealed. (Gregorio vs. as well as the numerous authorities in point. 9 . which urge this Court to relax the stringent application of technical rules in the exercise of our equity jurisdiction. The respondent court heard her motion for reconsideration as well as granted counsels time within which to submit their comment/opposition/reply and Guillerma filed her rejoinder. 20 June 1990'. 5 cdtai As a rule. The rules of procedure are used only to help secure. Bagasao. Philippines. the respondent court afforded considerable time and opportunity and patience to the private respondent's recourses which lasted for more than three (3) months. Court of Appeals 7 ." We are restating the instances wherein we allowed the continuance of an appeal in some cases where a narrow and stringent application of the rules would have denied it. 1990. 97 SCRA 138) and instructed that every party litigant should be afforded the amplest opportunity for the proper and just disposition of his cause. June 21. dismissal of appeals based on purely technical grounds is frowned upon by the courts as it is their policy to encourage hearings of appeals on the merits. Intervenor Guillerma Rustia filed a motion for reconsideration of the decision and an amplificatory arguments (sic) in support of her motion. be admitted'. that it was already prepared. she did not do so but deemed it best to file the Record on Appeal. not override substantial justice. In Castro vs. The court had two hearings concerning the omnibus motion. in spite of the apparent negligence of counsel. on the substantial implication/effect of the dismissal of the appeal just because the record on appeal was presented 1-day late. We stressed the importance and real purpose of appeal and ruled: "An appeal is an essential part of our judicial system. and must be exercised in the manner and in accordance with the provisions thereof and such jurisdiction is acquired by the appellate court over the subject matter and parties by the perfection of the appeal. from the legal standpoint. can speak for itself. which were to be raised in the appeal. under exceptional circumstances. finished and signed by counsel for oppositors on June 20. shows that it consists of 361 pages. "A look at the case records also show that in between June 21 — when the Record on Appeal was filed. 1991. free from the constraints of technicalities. de Dela Rosa then filed an urgent ex-parte motion for implementation of the decision naming and appointing her as administratrix and a reply to oppositors' opposition to her urgent exparte motion. vs. Private respondent filed an ex-parte motion praying for the dismissal of the appeal in conjunction with the plea of intervenor Guillerma Rustia. who claims to be a natural child of Dr. The record on Appeal. and the merits of the oppositors' cause. Though the Record on Appeal should have been presented on or before June 20. but statutory. but were barred absolutely by the denial of the Record on Appeal upon the too technical ground of late filing. the status of intervenor Guillerma S. Summing up. Intervenor Guillerma Rustia then filed an omnibus motion. Court of Appeals. Private respondent Carlota Vda. therefore. 1990 to compel Judge Hermogenes R. Gayapa. Rustia. and that of oppositor Guillermina R." The emerging trend in the rulings of this Court is to afford every partylitigant the amplest opportunity for the proper and just determination of his cause. Municipality of Libmanan. Oppositors filed an opposition to the omnibus motion. strong considerations of substantial significance are manifest.2. when to do so would serve the demands of substantial justice and in the exercise of equity jurisdiction. even in the initial comment by counsel for respondent Carlota to the Record on Appeal. . We find it justifiable to reconsider Our decision and reverse and set aside the order of respondent court dated September 25. Intervenor Guillerma then filed a rejoinder to the opposition filed by oppositors. . The appellate jurisdiction of the courts is conferred by law. The appellate court's discussion is hereby reproduced: "A look at oppositors' Record on Appeal which was also forwarded with the case records. The court particularly referred to the importance. The respondent court issued an order considering the urgent ex-parte motion submitted for resolution. relating to the determination of the heirs of the decedents and the party entitled to administration of their estate. periods prescribed to do certain acts must be followed. On its page 360. 72 SCRA 120). as attested to by the appellate court's findings. It was dated 'Quezon City. but was submitted on the following day. Court of Appeals (83 SCRA 453) that a six-day delay in the perfection of the appeal does not warrant its dismissal. . the intent of counsel for oppositors to comply strictly with rules governing the manner and period for perfecting the appeal as well as to avoid needless delays so necessary to the orderly and speedy discharge of judicial business is manifest. 6 Even assuming that the private respondents' record on appeal was filed a day late. therefore. the appellate court declared: "In the light of the peculiar facts embodied in the pleadings and documents and records of the main case. (96 SCRA 395). Intervenor Guillerma Rustia also filed a motion praying that she be appointed as special administratrix and a motion to dismiss the appeal. June 29. or after all these pleadings were filed and the proceedings were held that respondent court issued the order denying due course to the record on appeal and dismissed the appeal.Mandamus cannot and should not be granted to set aside the order of September 25. yet it resolved to disapprove the Record on Appeal as well as to dismiss oppositors' appeal because the record on appeal was filed 1-day late. completed. "The rules of procedure are not to be applied in a very rigid and technical sense. However. Inc. Also counsel could have filed a motion for extension for more time to submit the Record on Appeal. 100 SCRA 590). 1990. most importantly. submitting that '. for Manila. who on the other hand claims to have been acknowledged by Guillermo Rustia as his daughter. Court of Appeals. 1991. however asking that it includes the documents passed upon by the trial court. freed from the constraints of technicalities (A-One Feeds. which is allowable under the rules. — up to September 25 — when the Record on Appeal was disapproved and the appeal was dismissed — there were numerous pleadings submitted before respondent court as well as certain proceedings had and taken in connection therewith which must have contributed to the delay in the resolution of the Record on Appeal. Private respondent Carlota again filed an urgent ex-parte motion for implementation of the portion of the decision appointing her as administratrix. Guillermo Rustia with one Amparo Sagarbarria. Private respondent Carlota also filed her comment on the Record on Appeal. when. Likewise. 8 Jr." The general rule still holds. And again in Ramos vs. this Court held that the delay of four (4) days in filing a notice of appeal and a motion for extension of time to file a record on appeal can be excused on the basis of equity. This is also a clear manifestation of her desire not to delay the proceedings. reiterated in Velasco vs. the arguments/issues raised and argued during the hearing. and the resolution of their status demands closer consideration. counsel for oppositors-appellants submitted that the Record on Appeal together with the evidence be certified to this Court. a delay in the filing of an appeal may be excused on grounds of substantial justice. concern legitimacy of children. Therefore. Liwag to give due course to the appeal of respondent heirs of Marciana Vda. he submitted that the record on appeal 'be admitted' despite the fact that the counsel was furnished a copy of the record on appeal and must have found out that it was submitted on June 21.' Page 361 of the Record on Appeal shows that a copy thereof was sent by registered mail to counsel for private respondents. Rustia. of the question of the veracity of the decedents' status as husband and wife. that the right to appeal is not a natural right. we ruled in Republic vs. 1990. the record on appeal submitted by oppositors . that during that intervening period. On September 25. 1990. It is observed." The respondent court likewise pointed out the trial court's pronouncements as to certain matters of substance.
In the absence of the foregoing evidence. and THE HONORABLE PRESIDING JUDGE MANUEL S. JJ . 53 SCRA 228. Guillermo Rustia could be found. Esperanza C. Article 175. SO ORDERED. the natural and legal course for them would have been to file a motion for extension of time within which to submit their Record on Appeal. 266a. 173. 172. and that it was highly irregular that the two could celebrate important occasions in grand fashion. Court of Appeals. does not appear indubitably valid. Cortes & Reyna Law Firm for private respondents. No. cda In this instance. PADOLINA of Br. represents a crucial bar in the claim of the private respondents. 175. Joaquin P. Such change of stance was accepted by the trial court. PASCUAL. proceeding. especially in light of the trial court's finding that Josefa Delgado and Dr.In Cawit vs. 1990 decision. which from a reading of the pleadings and evidence on record. in the belief that this measure was a more efficient recourse as the Record on Appeal. it is presumed in our jurisdiction that a man and a woman deporting themselves as husband and wife have entered into a lawful contract of marriage. vs. Pascual v. PASCUAL. PASCUAL.Illegitimate children may establish their illegitimate filiation in the same way and on the same evidence as legitimate children. which consisted of 361 pages. Pascual-Bautista. Regalado. NONA PASCUAL-FERNANDO. In another vein. pointing to a child's action for establishing filiation even beyond the putative parent's death are modified by the enactment of the above-cited provisions of the Family Code. RTC. 162. Guillermo Rustia were legally married. in conjunction with Article 173 and 172 of the Family Code provides for the means for proving filiation: Art. PASCUAL-BAUTISTA.. The action already commenced by the child shall survive notwithstanding the death of either or both of the parties. VIRGINIA PASCUAL-NER. petitioner and the intervenor pounded on this technical lapse to further their own interests. Guillermo Rustia were not married to each other. Susana C. PASCUAL and HERMES S. petitioners. It bears mentioning that the records likewise disclose testimonies pointing out the existence of marriage between the decedents. as under Articles 988 13 and 1003 14 of the Civil Code. GERANAIA PASCUAL-DUBERT. As for the status of Guillerma Rustia-Alaras as an acknowledged child of Dr. SP No. Jose Pascual. LEIDA PASCUALMARTINES. [G. or (2)An admission of legitimate filiation is a public document or a private handwritten instrument and signed by the parent concerned. such request would have been granted. Branch LV Regional Trial Court's May 11. March 25.] OLIVIA S. Manuel C. In corroboration. we departed from the rigid interpretation of Section 6. their separate estates must be settled in different proceedings. 1991 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. in which case the action may be brought during the lifetime of the alleged parent. SUSANA C. 1992.The action to claim legitimacy may be brought by the child during his or her lifetime and shall be transmitted to the heirs should the child die during minority or in a state of insanity. Pascual. The acknowledgment of Guillerma Alaras as an acknowledged (illegitimate) child of Dr. in view of the foregoing considerations. Guillermo Rustia. Needless to state. 1973. Metro Manila. de Damian as sole administrator of the estates of the decedents is put to question. for the APPROVAL of the private respondents' Record on Appeal and the CONTINUANCE of the appeal from the Manila. except when the action is based on the second paragraph of 172. counsel for private respondents instead continued with the filing of the Record on Appeal with the trial court for approval. promulgated on September 28. DECISION PARAS.R. Rule 41 of the Rules of Court to the effect that failure to state and/or show in the Record on Appeal that the appeal was perfected on time is a sufficient cause for the dismissal of the appeal. (265a. SP. 11 but in all other instances. advancing that the two were never actually married. (286a) The cases relied upon in the trial court's decision. Yuseco and Reynarte D. respondents. even if the deceased persons are related as ascendants and descendants. INTESTATE ESTATE OF ELEUTERIO T. 23415. ESPERANZA C. Pasig. A review of the trial court's decision is needed. concur. the Court hereby AFFIRMS the Resolution dated November 27. No. never occurred. private respondents' intention to raise valid issues in the appeal is apparent and should not have been construed as an attempt to delay or prolong the administration proceedings. 1988 in CA-G. This is the common order of society. in view of the abovedemonstrated divergence of the evidence and arguments presented. Guillermo Rustia.. (289a) (Emphasis Ours) xxx xxx xxx Art. such as this petition. However. Hipolito for petitioners. allegedly. 267a) xxx xxx xxx Art. JR. WENCESLAO C. upon the justification that no record of marriage of Josefa Delgado and Dr. the propriety of the appointment of Carlota Vda. were different heirs are determined for different decedents. 14010 entitled "Olivia S. albeit belatedly. J p: This is a petition for review on certiorari which seeks to reverse and set aside: (a) the decision of the Court of Appeals 1 dated April 29. JOSE C. the legitimate filiation shall be proved by: (1)The open and continuous possession of the status of a legitimate child. OCTAVIO PASCUAL. PASCUAL. PASCUAL. which cite definite periods within which such actions must be interposed.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. but were only living together as husband and wife. Court of Appeals. Unfortunately. the heirs shall have a period of five years within which to institute the action. In these cases. AVELINO PASCUAL. ERLINDA C. Puno and Mendoza. 12 The reason for this is the avoidance of opportunity of encroachment into the estate left by one decedent by the heirs of another. Pascual and Hermes S. ISOCELES PASCUAL. 10 the Court observed that in the early case of Berkenkotter vs. would be submitted for approval earlier than if the time for the submission of the same was extended. Surely. especially in instances. only to withdraw such submission later by a belated amended petition. 84240. or (2)Any other means allowed by the Rules of Court and special laws. PASCUAL-BAUTISTA. MANUEL C. and can only be rebutted by sufficient contrary evidence. In the inception of this action for issuance of letters of administration.R. when no whiff was made of their own marriage. and under usual practice. The action must be brought within the same period specified in Article 173. WHEREFORE. petitioner's predecessor alleged that Josefa Delgado and Dr. It has been observed that the estates of deceased spouses may be settled in a single . PASCUAL. the testimonies of certain "close friends" of Josefa Delgado disclose that the marriage between Josefa and Guillermo.R. OCTAVIO PASCUAL-FERNANDO.
1974. the Court of Appeals issued its resolution denying the motion for reconsideration (Rollo. . On September 30. 46-47) Adela Soldevilla de Pascual. 418). Otherwise stated they say the term "illegitimate" children as provided in Article 992 must be strictly construed to refer only to spurious children (Rollo.R. Petitioners contend that they do not fall squarely within the purview of Article 992 and of the doctrine laid down in Diaz v. p.Pascual-Bautista. p. private respondents maintain that herein petitioners are within the prohibition of Article 992 of the Civil Code and the doctrine laid down in Diaz v. can be interpreted to exclude recognized natural children from the inheritance of the deceased. brother of the full blood of the deceased. 1985. Sarmiento. their illegitimacy is not due to the subsistence of a prior marriage when such children were under conception (Rollo. 17). pp. 38) Petitioners filed their motion for reconsideration of said decision and on July 14. 113114) and the Memorandum in Support of Motion to reiterate Hereditary Rights (Rollo. Padolina issued an order. as regards the claims of Olivia Pascual and Hermes Pascual as legal heirs of the deceased. cdphil The undisputed facts of the case are as follows: Petitioners Olivia and Hermes both surnamed Pascual are the acknowledged natural children of the late Eligio Pascual. "SO ORDERED. their uncle (Rollo. petition. IAC (150 SCRA 645 ) because being acknowledged natural children. p. the surviving spouse of the late Don Andres Pascual. pp. 42). petitioners filed their Motion to Reiterate Hereditary Rights (Rollo. Pascual Hermes S. pp. et al. (c)Children of Pedro Pascual. presided over by Judge Manuel S. brother of the half blood of the deceased. 1973. On the other hand. Pascual-Bautista Manuel C. III Regina Sarmiento-Macaibay Eleuterio P. Sarmiento Dominga P. Pascual (e)Intestate of Eleuterio T. the petition is DISMISSED. Costs against the petitioners. 515-526). 102). Pascual Eleuterio M. premises considered. a brother of the full blood of the deceased. On January 13. Sr. that they are not among the known heirs of the deceased Don Andres Pascual (Rollo. Pascual Mamerta P. 419). Marquez Silvestre M. to wit: Esperanza C. a Special Proceeding. Br. petitioners filed their motion for reconsideration (Rollo.". 15). Pascual. Pascual Wenceslao C. After all the requirements had been filed. although Paragraph V of such compromise agreement provides. Don Andres Pascual. pp. Pascual. pp. 7554. On October 16. and such motion was denied. Jr. to wit: Olivia S. to belie the statement made by the oppositors. for administration of the intestate estate of her late husband (Rollo. the dispositive portion of which reads: "WHEREFORE. or by another compromise agreement. which dismissed the petition and in effect affirmed the decision of the trial court and (b) the resolution dated July 14. pp. Pascual Susana C. the latter being the full blood brother of the decedent Don Andres Pascual (Rollo. p. Pascual. a brother of the half blood of the deceased and represented by the following: Dominga M. Case No. legitimate. this petition for review on certiorari. the case was given due course. Pascual-Bautista Erlinda C. 14010 (Rollo. Pascual Jose C. 1973 without any issue. p. Hence.. Branch 162 (CFI of Rizal. 136). over the vehement objections of the herein petitioners Olivia S. 1987. this Court resolves as it is hereby resolved to Deny this motion reiterating the hereditary rights of Olivia and Hermes Pascual" (Rollo. Petitioners appealed their case to the Court of Appeals docketed as CAG. all the above-mentioned heirs entered into a COMPROMISE AGREEMENT." (Rollo. Wenceslao C. Pascual. adopted or spurious children and was survived by the following: (a)Adela Soldevilla de Pascual. p. p. Pascual and Hermes S. Eligio Pascual is the younger full blood brother of her late husband Don Andres Pascual. On February 27. 99-101). Adela Soldevilla de Pascual filed a Supplemental Petition to the Petition for Letters of Administration. Erlinda C. Fugoso Abraham S. manifesting their hereditary rights in the intestate estate of Don Andres Pascual. are among the heirs of Don Andres Pascual (Rollo. acknowledged natural. Don Andres Pascual died intestate on October 12. the respondent Court of Appeals rendered its decision the dispositive part of which reads: "WHEREFORE. 116-130). 1988. surviving spouse: (b)Children of Wenceslao Pascual. filed with the Regional Trial Court (RTC). 1988. (d)Acknowledged natural children of Eligio Pascual. Pascual (Rollo. the Regional Trial Court. 1988 denying petitioners' motion for reconsideration. to wit: Avelino Pascual Isoceles Pascual Loida Pascual-Martinez Virginia Pascual-Ner Nona Pascual-Fernando Octavio Pascual Geranaia Pascual-Dubert. to the effect that of her own knowledge. 47). Pascual. Jr. No. On December 18. 1988. p. where she expressly stated that Olivia Pascual and Hermes Pascual." (Rollo. On April 29. The said Compromise Agreement had been entered into despite the Manifestation/Motion of the petitioners Olivia Pascual and Hermes Pascual. 111-112). 1987.. San Diego Nelia P. IAC is applicable to them. again Adela Soldevilla de Pascual executed an affidavit. XXIII). p. 108). On December 18. to wit: LibLex "This Compromise Agreement shall be without prejudice to the continuation of the above-entitled proceedings until the final determination thereof by the court. p. The main issue to be resolved in the case at bar is whether or not Article 992 of the Civil Code of the Philippines.
. It may be argued as done by petitioners. provides: "An illegitimate child has no right to inherit ab intestato from the legitimate children and relatives of his father or mother. The descendants (of these illegitimate children) who may inherit by virtue of the right of representation may be legitimate or illegitimate. Padilla. IAC. Between the legitimate family and illegitimate family there is presumed to be an intervening antagonism and incompatibility. PREMISES CONSIDERED. the legitimate children of spouses Antonio Manuel and Beatriz Guiling. sees in the illegitimate child nothing but the product of sin. J p: The property involved in this petition for review on certiorari is the inheritance left by an illegitimate child who died intestate without any surviving descendant or ascendant. a donation propter nuptias over a parcel of land. in turn. 117246. full blood brother of their father. In whatever manner. 1995. that the illegitimate descendant of a legitimate child is entitled to represent by virtue of the provisions of Article 982.." (Amicus Curiae's Opinion by former Justice Minister Ricardo C. a situation which would set at naught the provisions of Article 992. It may be said that the law may be harsh but that is the law (DURA LEX SED LEX). And even granting that exceptions may be conceded. which undoubtedly settles the issue as to whether or not acknowledged natural children should be treated differently. palpable evidence of a blemish broken in life the law does no more than recognize this truth. ESPERANZA MANUEL. et al. The three named provisions are very clear on this matter. On motion for reconsideration of the decision in Diaz v." The issue in the case at bar. even if the law may be harsh or onerous. whether legitimate or illegitimate are subject to the limitation prescribed by Article 992 to the end that an illegitimate child has no right to inherit ab intestato from the legitimate children and relatives of his father or mother. concur. the court will not curtail the former nor add to the latter by implication (Samson v. 12). Thus. Branch 37. vs. and the resources of which it is thereby deprived. ). DECISION VITUG. the family is in turn hated by the illegitimate child. IAC. 98. pp. Petitioners. which provides that `the grandchildren and other descendants shall inherit by right of representation. v. p. it is not susceptible of interpretation.' Such a conclusion is erroneous. Marcelo C. Diaz v. "The rules laid down in Article 982 that `grandchildren and other descendants shall inherit by right of representation' and in Article 902 that the rights of illegitimate children . From this relationship. 165 SCRA 758-759 ). by avoiding further grounds of resentment. Applying the above doctrine to the case at bar. 42). The illegitimate child is disgracefully looked down upon by the legitimate family. all illegitimate children are generally placed under one category. petitioners insisted that Article 992 in the light of Articles 902 and 989 of the Civil Code allows them (Olivia and Hermes) to represent Eligio Pascual in the intestate estate of Don Andres Pascual. which squarely answers the questions raised by the petitioner on this point. FERRER. initiated this suit. Nolan R. 182 SCRA 427. Antonio had an extra-marital affair with one Ursula Bautista. nor shall such children or relatives inherit in the same manner from the illegitimate child. . JJ. SO ORDERED. During his marriage with Beatriz. HON. In their memorandum. supra. When the law is clear. August 21. where this Court ruled that: "Article 992 of the Civil Code provides a barrier or iron curtain in that it prohibits absolutely a succession ab intestato between the illegitimate child and the legitimate children and relatives of the father or mother of said legitimate child. married Esperanza Gamba. the former." Eligio Pascual is a legitimate child but petitioners are his illegitimate children. but this is not recognized by law for the purposes of Article 992. It must be applied regardless of who may be affected. AGAPITA MANUEL. Intermediate Appellate Court. Espinoza for Modesta Baltazar. and all doubts should be resolved in favor of the general provisions rather than the exception. covered by Original . Melencio-Herrera. 06 August 1960. 110 Phil. Verily. Regional Trial Court. It May not be amiss to state Article 982 is the general rule and Article 992 the exception. where a general rule is established by statute. The courts may not speculate as to the probable intent of the legislature apart from the words (Aparri v. the latter considers the privileged condition of the former. It would allow intestate succession by an illegitimate child to the legitimate parent of his father or mother. Article 982 is inapplicable to the instant case because Article 982 prohibits absolutely a succession ab intestato between the illegitimate child and the legitimate children and relatives of the father or mother. respectively. EMILIA MANUEL and NUMERIANA MANUEL. 1988 is AFFIRMED. Regalado and Nocon. Pertinent thereto. Article 992 of the Civil Code.R. the same as a general rule. (Nepomuceno. Finally under Article 176 of the Family Code. this Court further elucidated the successional rights of illegitimate children. they extend only so far as their language fairly warrants. RFC. with an area of 2. llcd Clearly the term "illegitimate" refers to both natural and spurious. PLACIDA MANUEL. had already been laid to rest in Diaz v. Gustilo. They may have a natural tie of blood. [G. Puno. 127 SCRA 233 ). Juan Manuel was born. (Baranda v. BASILISA MANUEL. Lingayen. petitioners. CA. Bermudez for petitioners. MADRONA MANUEL. the interpretation of the law desired by the petitioner may be more humane but it is also an elementary rule in statutory construction that when the words and phrases of the statute are clear and unequivocal. Pangasinan. NICODEMO T. 05 February 1981 and 04 November 1976. Several years passed before Antonio Manuel. and 990 clearly speaks of successional rights of illegitimate children. The Court held: "Article 902. Presiding Judge.The petition is devoid of merit. Eufrocino L. should be strictly but reasonably construed. 145 SCRA 654 ). the petition is DISMISSED for lack of merit and the assailed decision of the respondent Court of Appeals dated April 29. and his mistress Ursula finally crossed the bar on. their meaning must be determined from the language employed and the statute must be taken to mean exactly what it says. 431-432. are transmitted upon their death to their descendants.A. C.] BENIGNO MANUEL. No.700 square meters. respondents. respondent IAC did not err in holding that petitioners herein cannot represent their father Eligio Pascual in the succession of the latter to the intestate estate of the decedent Andres Pascual. MODESTA BALTAZAR and ESTANISLAOA MANUEL. one should not overlook the fact that the persons to be represented are themselves illegitimate. the illegitimate son of Antonio. in the negative. LORENZO MANUEL. which rights are transmitted to their descendants upon their death. Juan Manuel. The right of representation is not available to illegitimate descendants of legitimate children in the inheritance of a legitimate grandparent. Evangelista for Estanislaoa Manuel. In consideration of the marriage. his wife Beatriz. LIBERATO MANUEL.
RESPONDENT MODESTA BALTAZAR. The couple were not blessed with a child of their own. It is clear that by virtue of this barrier. in easy graphic presentation. . were not the real parties-ininterest to institute the suit. there being no material dispute on the facts.000. providing thusly: "ARTICLE 994. Modesta executed an Affidavit of Self-Adjudication claiming for herself the three parcels of land covered by OCT P-20594. 10 Indeed.00 for moral damages. the legitimate family is.An illegitimate child has no right to inherit ab intestato from the legitimate children and relatives of his father or mother. . 2 His thesis: "What is meant by the law when it speaks of brothers and sisters. and illegitimate relatives. of such brothers and sisters. submit that Article 994 should be read in conjunction with Article 992 of the Civil Code. IN NOT ANNULLING ALL THE ACTS OF. 7 that a natural child cannot represent his natural father in the succession to the estate of the legitimate grandparent. The trial court. we might.THE LOWER COURT.Certificate of Title ("OCT") No. prohibits absolutely a succession ab intestato between the illegitimate child and the legitimate children and relatives of the father or mother of said legitimate child. who shall be entitled to the entire estate. 992 of the Code. They may have a natural tie of blood. 8 that the natural daughter cannot succeed to the estate of her deceased uncle who is a legitimate brother of her natural father. Fabie 3 and. TCT No. of the Civil Code. P5. In a complaint filed before the Regional Trial Court of Lingayen.000." The rule in Article 992 has consistently been applied by the Court in several other cases. 41134 (all still in the name of Juan Manuel). enunciates what is so commonly referred to in the rules on succession as the "principle of absolute separation between the legitimate family and the illegitimate family. Modesta executed in favor of her co-respondent Estanislaoa Manuel a Deed of Renunciation and Quitclaim over the unredeemed one-half (1/2) portion of the land (now covered by TCT No. the petitioners sought the declaration of nullity of the aforesaid instruments. Juan Manuel died intestate on 21 February 1990. and the resources of which it is thereby deprived. Court of Appeals. a month after the death of Esperanza." On 03 June 1980.) Respondents. the three titles (OCT P-20594. an illegitimate child shall be succeeded by his or her surviving spouse. nephews and nieces' as legal heirs of an illegitimate child. 184224 and TCT No. which reads: "ARTICLE 992. of such brothers and sisters.00 for moral damages." firstly. 41134.000. OCT P-19902 and TCT No. The petition before us raises the following contentions: That — "1. AND NOT ARTICLE 992 OF THE SAME CODE. AS THE CONTROLLING LAW APPLICABLE BY VIRTUE OF THE ADMITTED FACTS. OCT P-19902 and TCT No. by avoiding further grounds of resentment. sees in the illegitimate child nothing but the product of sin. a basic postulate. cannot inherit from the illegitimate child. in turn. in turn. then. it has ruled that where the illegitimate child had half-brothers who were legitimate. Two years later. were later bought by Juan and registered in his name. nor shall such children or relative inherit in the same manner from the illegitimate child. we have said: "Article 992 of the New Civil Code . "2. P5. Pangasinan. however. 41134. in the early case of Grey v. any other part as to produce a harmonious whole. the law does no more than recognize this truth. Esperanza Gamba also passed away. Petitioners were also ordered to jointly and severally (solidarily) pay (a) respondent Modesta Manuel-Baltazar the sum of P5. Thus.In default of the father or mother. collate the order of preference and concurrence in intestacy expressed in Article 978 through Article 1014." 1 Petitioners argue that they are the legal heirs over one-half of Juan's intestate estate (while the other half would pertain to Juan's surviving spouse) under the provision of the last paragraph of Article 994 of the Civil Code. has had occasions to explain this "iron curtain. P5. and thus no part should be rendered inoperative 11 by. in turn. Following the registration of the document of adjudication with the Office of the Register of Deeds. Since the rule is predicated on the presumed will of the decedent. was submitted to the court a quo for summary judgment.) Article 992. The illegitimate child is disgracefully looked down upon by the legitimate family.00 for attorney's fees and P500. nephews and nieces. on other hand. the legitimate brothers and sisters as well as the children.00 for attorney's fees. The case. Intermediate Appellate Court 4 and De la Puerta v.TO ENFORCE ONE'S RIGHT WHEN THEY ARE VIOLATED IS NEVER A LEGAL WRONG.THE LOWER COURT (HAS) FAILED TO CONSIDER THE LAST PARAGRAPH OF ARTICLE 994 OF THE NEW CIVIL CODE.000. On 19 October 1992. she or he shall inherit one-half of the estate. 184225) that was sold to the latter by Juan Manuel under the 1980 Deed of Sale Con Pacto de Retro. Juan Manuel executed in favor of Estanislaoa Manuel a Deed of Sale Con Pacto de Retro (with a 10-year period of redemption) over a one-half (1/2) portion of his land covered by TCT No. Petitioners' motion for reconsideration was denied by the trial court. Consequently. P-20594 was executed in favor of Juan Manuel by Laurenciana Manuel. too. WHO ARROGATED UNTO HERSELF THE RIGHTS OF AN HEIR TO THE ESTATE OF DECEDENT JUAN MANUEL. whether legitimate or illegitimate. when the law speaks of 'brothers and sisters. 6 that the legitimate collateral relatives of the mother cannot succeed from her illegitimate child. Two other parcels of land. 41134) in the name of Juan Manuel were canceled and new titles." (Emphasis supplied." The doctrine rejects succession ab intestato in the collateral line between legitimate relatives.00 for exemplary damages. the law on succession is animated by a uniform general intent. (HAS) VIRTUALLY GRANTED SAID RESPONDENT THE STATUS OF AN HEIR MANIFESTLY CONTRARY TO LAW. the former. 9 and that an illegitimate child has no right to inherit ab intestato from the legitimate children and relatives of his father. and the latter the other half . covered by OCT P-19902 and Transfer Certificate of Title ("TCT") No. the latter had no right to the former's inheritance. it refers to illegitimate brothers and sisters as well as to the children. viz: . nephews and nieces. "If the widow or widower should survive with brothers and sisters. in the relatively recent cases of Diaz v. not being heirs ab intestato of their illegitimate brother Juan Manuel. the latter considers the privileged condition of the former. "3. hated by the illegitimate child." (Emphasis supplied) The Court. 12 In passing. AND VOIDING ALL DOCUMENTS EXECUTED BY. or on 04 February 1992. although it does not totally disavow such succession in the direct line. were issued in the name of Modesta Manuel-Baltazar. 184225. there is a barrier dividing members of the illegitimate family from members of the legitimate family. MORALS AND PUBLIC POLICY. Their desire to have one impelled the spouses to take private respondent Modesta Manuel-Baltazar into their fold and so raised her as their own "daughter. palpable evidence of a blemish broken in life. Between the legitimate family and the illegitimate family there is presumed to be an intervening antagonism and incompatibility. 5 In Diaz. 184223. on the one hand.000. dismissed the complaint holding that petitioners. whether legitimate or illegitimate. These acts of Modesta apparently did not sit well with petitioners. it has no application. This "barrier" between the members of the legitimate and illegitimate family in intestacy is explained by a noted civilist. as legal or intestate heirs of an illegitimate child? It must be noted that under Art.00 for exemplary damages and P500. TCT No. but this is not recognized by law for the purposes of Article 992. inclusive." (Emphasis supplied.00 for litigation expenses and (b) Estanislaoa Manuel the sum of P5. on testamentary dispositions. On 05 March 1992. in its now assailed 15th August 1994 decision. but must always be construed in relation to.
Martin Guerrero sold the lot to herein private respondent Teodora Domingo and thereafter. 1988. hence they seek to inherit from Teodora Dezoller Guerrero by right of representation. A ward (ampon). death certificates of Hermogenes Dezoller and Teodora Dezoller Guerrero. (2)whether or not the plaintiffs are entitled to inherit by right of representation from the estate of the late Teodora Dezoller. 121027. of the deceased Teodora Dezoller Guerrero who is the sister of petitioners' father. her surviving spouse. and Surviving Spouse (b)Legitimate Parents(b)Legitimate Parents and and AscendantsAscendants. Petitioners' father. the three (3) TCT's issued to her favor. respondents. No. the following issues were presented by both parties for resolution: (1)whether or not the plaintiffs (herein petitioners) are the nephew and niece of the late Teodora Dezoller. as a consequence of which Transfer Certificate of Title No. without the benefit of formal (judicial) adoption. An adverse result of a suit in law does not mean that its advocacy is necessarily so wrongful as to justify an assessment of damages against the actor. Hermogenes Dezoller. herein petitioners filed an action for reconveyance on November 2. joint affidavit of Juliana Cariaga and Manuela Cariaga attesting to the fact of marriage between Martin Guerrero and Teodora Dezoller. Petitioners. Branch 98.Order of PreferenceOrder of Concurrence (a)Legitimate Children(a)Legitimate Children and and DescendantsDescendants. and herein petitioners. Teodora Dezoller Guerrero died on March 5. the Illegitimate Parents) (d)Surviving Spouse(d)Surviving Spouse and Illegitimate Parents (e)Brothers and(e)Brothers and Sisters/Nephews and Sisters/Nephews and NiecesNieces and Surviving Spouse (f)Other Collateral Relatives(f)Alone (within the fifth civil degree) (g)State(g)Alone In her answer to the complaint. Branch 98. is neither a compulsory nor a legal heir. Hermogenes. July 31. (3)whether or not defendant (herein private respondent) must reconvey the reserved participation of the plaintiffs to the estate of the late Teodora Dezoller under Section 4. with the following documentary evidence offered to prove petitioners' filiation to their father and their aunt. The Court. Benjamin P. 374012 was issued in the latter's name. over a parcel of land with a house and apartment thereon located at San Francisco del Monte. certificates of destroyed records of birth of Teodora Dezoller and Hermogenes Dezoller. had neither the standing nor the cause of action to initiate the complaint. 1995 1 which affirmed the Order of December 3. Illegitimate Children and Descendants. that the complaint of petitioners seeking the nullity of the Affidavit of Self-Adjudication executed by Modesta. not being the real "parties-in-interest" 14 in the case. The records reveal that upon the death of Teodora Dezoller Guerrero. allegedly as sole heir. and (5)whether or not the subject property now in litigation can be considered as conjugal property of the spouses Martin Guerrero and Teodora Dezoller Guerrero. Martin Guerrero died on October 25. despite demands and knowing fully well that plaintiffs are the niece and nephew of said deceased. executed on September 15. She is right. Subsequently. baptismal certificates of Teodora and Hermogenes Dezoller.R. 13 We must hold. Martin Guerrero. Ramoso Law Office for private respondent. No special pronouncement on costs. 358074 was issued in the name of Martin Guerrero. however. moral and exemplary. which portion is hereby DELETED. Q-88-1054 pending therein. and the marriage certificate of Martin and Teodora Guerrero. COURT OF APPEALS and TEODORA DOMINGO. except insofar as it has awarded moral and exemplary damages. 1992 issued by the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City. granting herein private respondent's Demurrer to Plaintiff's Evidence filed in Civil Case No. as well as the Deed of Renunciation and Quitclaim in favor of Estanislaoa Manuel. It appears that petitioners Corazon Tison and Rene Dezoller are the niece and nephew. claiming that they are entitled to inherit one-half of the property in question by right of representation. joint affidavits of Pablo Verzosa and Meliton Sitjar attesting to the parents. as well as attorney's fees and litigation expenses. Quitoriano for petitioners. DECISION REGALADO. nevertheless. plus attorney' s fees for the willful and malicious refusal of defendant to reconvey the participation of plaintiffs in the estate of Teodora Dezoller. 1988. to wit: a family picture. died on October 3. Illegitimate Children and Descendants. Modesta candidly admitted that she herself is not an intestate heir of Juan Manuel. was properly dismissed by the trial court. 4 Petitioners thereafter rested their case and submitted a written offer of . (4)whether or not the plaintiffs are entitled to damages. respectively. and Surviving Spouse (c)Illegitimate Children and(c)Illegitimate Children Descendants (in theand Descendants and absence of ICDs andSurviving Spouse LPAs. 1986 an Affidavit of Extrajudicial Settlement 2 adjudicating unto himself. 1983 without any ascendant or descendant. the appealed decision of the Regional Trial Court of Pangasinan (Branch 37) is AFFIRMED. 3 During the hearing. and was survived only by her husband. 66886. 1988. The present appellate review involves an action for reconveyance filed by herein petitioners against herein private respondent before the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City. [G.] CORAZON DEZOLLER TISON and RENE R. the land in dispute which is covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. petitioners. sees no sufficient reason to sustain the award of amounts for moral and exemplary damages. Quezon City and which was originally owned by the spouses Martin Guerrero and Teodora Dezoller Guerrero. cdtai At the pre-trial conference. J p: The present appeal by certiorari seeks the reversal of the judgment rendered by respondent Court of Appeals on June 30. On January 2. docketed as the aforesaid Civil Case No. SO ORDERED. in favor of private respondents. vs. Transfer Certificate of Title No. Q-88-1054. 15 WHEREFORE. Rule 74 of the Rules of Court which was duly annotated on the title of the defendant. attorney's fees and litigation expenses. petitioner Corazon Dezoller Tison was presented as the lone witness. Martin. 1997. date and place of birth of Corazon and Rene Dezoller. certification of destroyed records of live birth of Corazon and Rene Dezoller. DEZOLLER. 1973.
any contest made in any other way is void." 9 The issue. The status conferred by the presumption. she in effect impliedly admitted the truth of such fact. whose estate is the subject of the present controversy. death and marriage certificates. The legitimacy of the child can be impugned only in a direct action brought for that purpose. when private respondent opted not to present countervailing evidence to overcome the presumption. place of birth and parentage of herein petitioners is inadmissible for being hearsay since the affiants were never presented for crossexamination. 7 In upholding the dismissal. may still be easily available. The bone of contention in private respondent's demurrer to evidence is whether or not herein petitioners failed to meet the quantum of proof required by Article 172 of the Family Code to establish legitimacy and filiation. The legitimacy of the child cannot be contested by way of defense or as a collateral issue in another action for a different purpose. 11 And in order to destroy the presumption. II. the baptismal. the certification issued by the Office of the Local Civil Registrar of Himamaylan. Negros Occidental is merely proof of the alleged destruction of the records referred to therein. consists mainly of the testimony of Corazon Dezoller Tison. Upon the expiration of the periods provided in Article 170. that would amount to an insult to his memory. I. because they refer to "the action to impugn the legitimacy. . It is only in exceptional cases that his heirs are allowed to contest such legitimacy. This is based on the theory that a presumption is prima facie proof of the fact presumed. 12 Where there is an entire lack of competent evidence to the contrary. in the first place.these exhibits to which a Comment 5 was filed by herein private respondent. when a fact is presumed. and within the period limited by law." This action can be brought only by the husband or his heirs and within the periods fixed in the present articles. The presumption consequently continues to operate in favor of petitioners unless and until it is rebutted. The rationale for these rules has been explained in this wise: "The presumption of legitimacy in the Family Code . becomes fixed. the party denying it must bear the burden of proof to overthrow the presumption. therefore. The necessity of an independent action directly impugning the legitimacy is more clearly expressed in the Mexican Code (Article 335) which provides: 'The contest of the legitimacy of a child by the husband or his heirs must be made by proper complaint before the competent court. in the second place. private respondent filed a Demurrer to Plaintiff's Evidence on the ground that petitioners failed to prove their legitimate filiation with the deceased Teodora Guerrero in accordance with Article 172 of the Family Code. this appeal. the trial court issued an order granting the demurrer to evidence and dismissing the complaint for reconveyance. and he should decide whether to conceal that infidelity or expose it. Also.' This principle applies under our Family Code. There is no presumption of the law more firmly established and founded on sounder morality and more convincing reason than the presumption that children born in wedlock are legitimate. which must necessarily be facts occurring during the period of the conception of the child. xxx xxx xxx Only the husband can contest the legitimacy of a child born to his wife. the party against whom it operates must adduce substantial and credible evidence to the contrary. and several joint affidavits executed by third persons all of which she identified and explained in the course and as part of her testimony. and the joint affidavit executed by Pablo Verzosa and Meliton Sitjar certifying to the date. It would have delimited the issues for resolution. requires a more intensive and extensive examination. the various certifications from the civil registrar. 8 And well settled is the rule that the issue of legitimacy cannot be attacked collaterally. it must stand as proved. as it did. 13 and unless or until it is rebutted. He is the one directly confronted with the scandal and ridicule which the infidelity of his wife produces. cdtai Ordinarily. It seems that both the court a quo and respondent appellate court have regrettably overlooked the universally recognized presumption on legitimacy. their filiation. We disagree on both counts. the issue of legitimacy may be validly controverted in an action for reconveyance. 6 On December 3. and can no longer be questioned. . It is important to note. of course. It is further averred that the testimony of petitioner Corazon Dezoller Tison regarding her relationship with her alleged father and aunt is self-serving. relieve the proponent from presenting evidence on the facts he alleged and such facts are thereby considered as duly proved. Articles 170 and 171 of the code confirm this view. There are two points for consideration before us: first is the issue on petitioner's legitimacy. and second is the question regarding their filiation with Teodora Dezoller Guerrero. Indeed. a family picture. family picture. it has been held that a presumption may stand in lieu of evidence and support a finding or decision. 1992. actually fixes a civil status for the child born in wedlock. none — even his heirs — can impugn legitimacy. and unless the fact thus established prima facie by the legal presumption of its truth is disproved. and that civil status cannot be attacked collaterally. respondent Court of Appeals declared that the documentary evidence presented by herein petitioners. by the proper parties. however.The weight and sufficiency of the evidence regarding petitioner's relationship with Teodora Dezoller Guerrero. the action to impugn the legitimacy of a child can no longer be brought. that herein petitioners have the onus probandi to prove their legitimacy and. by merely filing a demurrer to evidence instead. she overlooked or disregarded the evidential rule that presumptions like judicial notice and admissions. on the demurrer to evidence. and. and that it falls short of the quantum of proof required under Article 172 of the Family Code to establish filiation. it implies that the party in whose favor the presumption exists does not have to introduce evidence to establish that fact. and joint affidavits are all inadmissible and insufficient to prove and establish filiation. so that the evidence material to the matter. 15 Indubitably. 14 Perforce. are not per se sufficient proof of legitimacy nor even of pedigree. the burden of proof rests not on herein petitioners who have the benefit of the presumption in their favor. The obvious intention of the law is to prevent the status of a child born in wedlock from being in a state of uncertainty for a long time. Even assuming that the issue is allowed to be resolved in this case. Outside of these cases. This fact alone should have been sufficient cause for the trial court to exercise appropriate caution before acting. This is aside. corollarily. uncorroborated and incompetent. and in any litigation where that fact is put in issue. in view of the moral and economic interest involved. taken separately and independently of each other. as well as the time and effort necessitated thereby. but on private respondent who is disputing the same. . as earlier explained. as to whether petitioners are the legitimate children of Hermogenes Dezoller cannot be properly controverted in the present action for reconveyance. Hence. Petitioners' evidence. We find for petitioners. 10 The presumption of legitimacy is so strong that it is clear that its effect is to shift the burden of persuasion to the party claiming illegitimacy. therefore. that the rulings of both lower courts in the case are basically premised on the erroneous assumption that.It is not debatable that the documentary evidence adduced by petitioners. a presumption must be followed if it is uncontroverted. Subsequently. It also aims to force early action to settle any doubt as to the paternity of such child. from the further consideration that private respondent is not the proper party to impugn the legitimacy of herein petitioners. such as the baptismal certificates.
the declarant and to establish the admissibility of a declaration regarding claimant's pedigree. Petitioners are claiming a right to part of the estate of the declarant herself. to show that Hermogenes Dezoller is the brother of Teodora Dezoller Guerrero. who are the subject of the declaration. American jurisprudence has it that a distinction must be made as to when the relationship of the declarant may be proved by the very declaration itself. or the possible basis for objection thereto. and (4) that the declaration was made ante litem motam. As held in one case. At no time was the issue of the supposed inadmissibility thereof. although the grounds therefor were already apparent at the time these documents were being adduced in evidence during the testimony of Corazon Dezoller Tison but which objections were not timely raised therein. aid in determining the class to which the declarations belong. Such declarations do not derive their evidential value from that consideration. the same may be admitted and considered as sufficient to prove the facts therein asserted. is a waiver of any objections thereto. Thus. is that where the party claiming seeks recovery against a relative common to both claimant and declarant. he may not do so by declarant's own statements as to declarant' s relationship to the particular family. 32 There is no dispute with respect to the first. but on account of herein private respondent's failure to object thereto. but before any controversy has arisen thereon. 24 since the right to object is merely a privilege which the party may waive. 26 it has been repeatedly laid down as a rule of evidence that a protest or objection against the admission of any evidence must be made at the proper time. private respondent's counsel elicited answers from the witness on the circumstances and regularity of her obtention of said documents: The observations later made by private respondent in her comment to petitioners' offer of exhibits. in the one case the declarations . The reason is that declarant's declaration of his own relationship is of a self-serving nature. 18 As an exception. it is necessary to present evidence other than such declaration. whether or not the other documents offered in evidence sufficiently corroborate the declaration made by Teodora Dezoller Guerrero in her lifetime regarding the pedigree of petitioner Corazon Dezoller Tison or. The preliminary proof would render the main evidence unnecessary. in the other they are competent from reasons of necessity. together with the Joint Affidavits of Pablo Verzosa and Meliton Sitjar (Exhibits N and P). namely. 28 The situation is aggravated by the fact that counsel for private respondent unreservedly cross-examined petitioners. the Certificate of Marriage (Exhibit S) wherein it is indicated that the parents of Teodora Dezoller are Isabelo Dezoller and Cecilia Calpo. While the nature of the declaration is then disserving. In such case the declaration of the decedent. 25 As explained in Abrenica vs. or sometime in 1946. whose estate is in controversy. For while the documentary evidence submitted by petitioners do not strictly conform to the rules on their admissibility. on the sole basis of the decedent's declaration and without need for further proof thereof. the relationship of the declarant to the common relative may not be proved by the declaration itself. if at all. that is not the real ground for its admission. that is. even assuming ex gratia argumenti that these documents are inadmissible for being hearsay.) The general rule. are self-serving. notwithstanding the fact that there was no other preliminary evidence thereof. 31 Finally. is admissible without other proof of the fact of relationship. as the lone witness. or may be inferred. The distinction we have noted is sufficiently apparent. that petitioners are the niece and nephew of Teodora Dezoller Guerrero. 19 We are sufficiently convinced. on the documentary evidence that were offered. 16 Such a statement is considered a declaration about pedigree which is admissible. Applying the general rule in the present case would nonetheless produce the same result. or by other declarations of said declarant.. although it is a useful. there is in the present case an absolute failure by all and sundry to refute that declaration made by the decedent. if not an artificial. failure to object to parol evidence given on the stand. taken after the testimony has been given. 22 It is elementary that an objection shall be made at the time when an alleged inadmissible document is offered in evidence. 23 otherwise. et al. subject to the following conditions: (1) that the declarant is dead or unable to testify. or from the answer thereto." 17 (Emphasis ours. therefore. as a foundation for the admission of the declaration. categorically declared that the former is Teodora's niece. Hence. that he was related to the one who claims his estate. it seems absurd to require. a failure to except to the evidence because it does not conform with the statute is a waiver of the provisions of the law. This is in consonance with the rule that a prima facie showing is sufficient and that only slight proof of the relationship is required. does not apply where it is sought to reach the estate of the declarant himself and not merely to establish a right through his declarations to the property of some other member of the family. otherwise it will be deemed to have been waived. Gonda. is admissible and constitutes sufficient proof of such relationship. the declaration made by Teodora Dezoller Guerrero that petitioner Corazon is her niece. the objection shall be treated as waived. a member of the particular family. Conformably. is too late. 20 More importantly. and the Death Certificate of Hermogenes Dezoller (Exhibit K) the entries wherein were made by petitioner Corazon Dezoller Tison as his daughter. That objection to a question put to a witness must be made at the time the question is asked. may no longer serve to rectify the legal consequences which resulted therefrom. as well as the Certificates of Baptism of Teodora Dezoller 30 (Exhibit H) and Hermogenes Dezoller (Exhibit J) which both reflect the names of their parents as Isabelo Dezoller and Cecilia Calpo. we are however of the considered opinion that the same may be admitted by reason of private respondent's failure to interpose any timely objection thereto at the time they were being offered in evidence. cdtai From the foregoing disquisitions. for instance. bear the surname Dezoller. The rule is stated thus: "One situation to be noted is that where one seeks to set up a claim through. 27 Thus. under Section 39. The proper time is when from the question addressed to the witness. the requirement that there be other proof than the declarations of the declarant as to the relationship. An objection to the admission of evidence on the ground of incompetency. the inadmissibility of the evidence is. (3) that such relationship be shown by evidence other than the declaration. it may not be amiss to consider as in the nature of circumstantial evidence the fact that both the declarant and the claimants. as an exception to the hearsay rule. otherwise the requirement to admissibility that declarant's relationship to the common family must appear is not met. but not from. that the present case is one instance where the general requirement on evidence aliunde may be relaxed.The primary proof to be considered in ascertaining the relationship between the parties concerned is the testimony of Corazon Dezoller Tison to the effect that Teodora Dezoller Guerrero in her lifetime. where the party is in a position to object. the situation and the policy of the law applicable are quite different. ever raised. to prove that herein petitioners are the children of Hermogenes Dezoller — these can be deemed to have sufficiently established the relationship between the declarant and herein petitioners. and so hold. Instead. and when it must be supported by evidence aliunde. but not from the declarant himself or the declarant's estate. second and fourth elements. the reason being that such declaration is rendered competent by virtue of the necessity of receiving such evidence to avoid a failure of justice. What remains for analysis is the third element. proof of the very fact which the declaration is offered to establish. or from the presentation of the proof. Rule 130 of the Rules of Court. But when the party claiming seeks to establish relationship in order to claim directly from the declarant or the declarant's estate. 21 where the subject of the declaration is the declarant's own relationship to another person. it may thus be safely concluded. that is. There must be some independent proof of this fact. not only before the commencement of the suit involving the subject matter of the declaration. (2) that the declarant be related to the person whose pedigree is the subject of inquiry. 29 Accordingly. Accordingly there must be precedent proof from other sources that declarant is what he claimed to be.
the surviving spouse shall inherit the entire estate. the latter shall be entitled to one-half of the inheritance and the brothers and sisters or their children to the other half. the land of Ambrosio Arnaldo which he left to his two nephews. concur.7588 hectares was covered by tax declaration in the name of Justa Arnaldo Sering. the heirs denied they were mere tenants of Justa 9 but the latter's heirs entitled to her entire land. respondents. refused to give him (private respondent) his share of the harvest. by Julieta Ilogon. Martin Guerrero. namely. Martin Guerrero could only validly alienate his total undivided three-fourths (3/4) share in the entire property to herein private respondent.. SO ORDERED. Domingo and Virgilio.] HEIRS OF PASCASIO URIARTE. 975. Enecia.5481 hectares because the adjacent lot of about two hectares was acquired by Justa Arnaldo Sering. DECISION MENDOZA. JJ . 1989. His mother. Branch 27. in a holographic will executed by Ambrocio in 1908. and FELOMINA BUNIEL URIARTE. Jr.In the absence of legitimate descendants and ascendants. 3 Petitioners are thus grandchildren. Buenaflor for private respondent. The entire 2. 1998. they shall inherit from the latter by representation. should there be any. 4 The children of Primitiva by Conrado Uriarte. Petitioners. Private respondent Benedicto Estrada brought this case in the Regional Trial Court for the partition of the land left by Justa Arnaldo-Sering. Primitiva's brother. they shall inherit in equal portions. was only . private respondent may no longer be allowed to present evidence by reason of the mandate under Section 1 of revised Rule 3 of the Rules of Court which provides that "if the motion is granted but on appeal the order of dismissal is reversed he shall be deemed to have waived the right to present evidence. 10 their great granduncle.III. Primitiva Uriarte." Upon the death of Teodora Dezoller Guerrero. Resultantly. are Jorencio. were brothers. Juan Arnaldo. the remaining half shall be equally divided between the widower and herein petitioners who are entitled to jointly inherit in their own right. and HEIRS OF PRIMITIVA ARNALDO and HEIRS OF GREGORIO ARNALDO. At issue is the right of the parties to a 2. The area increased to 2. divided as follows: two-thirds or 3. 15 All told.5481 hectares. cdtai The other petitioners are the children of Primitiva and those of her brother Gregorio. which Justa Arnaldo-Sering left upon her death on March 31.654 square meters to Domingo. after the latter's death. the relatives within the fifth degree of consanguinity of Justa by her cousin Primitiva Arnaldo Uriarte. In its decision rendered on November 8. MADRILYN and LOURDES URIARTE. 1991 it ruled: As earlier stated. He complained that Pascasio Uriarte who. is on leave. Amado A. as well as the appellate court's resolution denying petitioners' motion for reconsideration.The following provisions of the Civil Code provide for the manner by which the estate of the decedent shall be divided in this case. petitioners. But if they alone survive. are the widow and daughters of Pascasio Uriarte. subject of the case. 11 Domingo was to receive two-thirds of the land and Juan. vs..5 hectare by inheritance from her parents Juan Arnaldo and Ursula Tubil. 277. and illegitimate children and their descendants. he claimed. . 116775.2 hectares by purchase. are Josefina. represented herein by FELISA ARNALDO SULLANO and LUPECINO ARNALDO. Thus. to wit: "Art. and 2.. 8 In their answer. Upon the death of Pedro Arreza. to the exclusion of all other relatives. These other petitioners are thus grandchildren and relatives within the fifth degree of consanguinity of Justa by her cousins Gregorio Arnaldo and Primitiva Arnaldo. Nicolas. Surigao del Sur. Madrid. Her nearest surviving relatives are the children of her uncle Domingo Arnaldo." 33 WHEREFORE. Domingo and Juan Arnaldo. without prejudice to the rights of brothers and sisters. Lupecino and Felisa. 2 Private respondent Benedicto Estrada is thus the nephew of Justa by her half sister Agatonica. as it is hereby. 6 He contended that Pascasio had no right to the entire land of Justa but could claim only one-half of the 0. Puno and Mendoza. Antonia C. Ursula married Juan Arnaldo by whom she had another daughter. Domingo Arnaldo and Justa's father." "Art. 13 They alleged that private respondent did not have any right to the property because he was not an heir of Ambrocio Arnaldo." "Art. The trial court sustained petitioner's contention. reversing the decision of the Regional Trial Court. Ambrocio's nephews. Caballero for petitioners. the decedent Justa. one-third.Should brothers and sisters or their children survive with the widow or widower. ROSELYN URIARTE.7588 hectares from . worked the land as Justa's tenant. on the basis of the foregoing considerations. 5 Private respondent claimed to be the sole surviving heir of Justa. Hence. nephews and nieces. Applying the aforequoted statutory provisions. J p: This is a petition for review on certiorari of the decision 1 of the Court of Appeals. cdasia The parties and their relationship to Justa Arnaldo-Sering are as follows: Private respondent Benedicto Estrada is the son of Agatonica Arreza. The children of Gregorio Arnaldo.7 hectare piece of land in Sungkit. petitioners and private respondent are deemed co-owners of the property covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. consisting of 2. if they survive with their uncles or aunts. all surnamed Uriarte. 7 Pascasio died during the pendency of the case and was substituted by his heirs. 1001.7 hectares. and herein petitioners and private respondent are declared co-owners of the subject property with an undivided one-fourth (1/4) and three-fourth (3/4) share therein. respectively. The latter however died intestate and without issue. denied. No. the rights to the succession are transmitted from the moment of the death of the decedent (Art. [G. Civil Code). had been acquired by Justa as follows: 0. Nonetheless.5 hectare land which Justa had inherited from her parents Juan Arnaldo and Ursula Tubil. Simplicio. Gaudencio. and one-third or 1. under Article 1001. J . Surigao del Sur. cdrep Romero. whose parents were Pedro Arreza and Ursula Tubil. 374012 in the proportion of an undivided one-fourth (1/4) and three-fourths (3/4) share thereof. to whom her entire estate passed on after her death by operation of law. whether legitimate or illegitimate. one-half of the subject property was automatically reserved to the surviving spouse.R. referred to in this case as the heirs of Pascasio Uriarte. on the ground that the latter died without issue. aside from Pascasio. It was alleged bequeathed to Domingo and Juan Arnaldo. January 22. cdt They claimed that the entire land. COURT OF APPEALS and BENEDICTO ESTRADA. 995. Torres. was originally owned by Ambrocio Arnaldo.When children of one or more brothers or sisters of the deceased survive. 12 The heirs claimed that the land had always been in their possession and that in her lifetime Justa never asserted exclusive right over the property but only received her share of the harvest from it. daughter of Juan Arnaldo. The land. Pascasio was one of the sons of Primitiva Arnaldo and Conrado Uriarte. 14 the original owner of the property. the questioned judgment of respondent Court of Appeals is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. the demurrer to plaintiffs' evidence should have been. of Tandag. as his share in the conjugal partnership. respectively. was the daughter of Domingo Arnaldo and Catalina Azarcon.827 square meters to Juan.
ART.125 hectares of the half hectare land as her father's (Juan Arnaldo's) share in the conjugal property. As the Court of Appeals held: According to Article 962 of the Civil Code. in their brief before the Court of Appeals. but who come from a common ancestor.575 or 2. As already stated. cdasia Indeed. that questions not taken up during the trial of a case cannot be raised for the first time on appeal. Plus the 2. two from the grandfather. 124 and subsequent revising tax declarations in the name of Justa Arnaldo Sering. 964. subject to the provisions of Article 1006 with respect to relatives of the full and half blood. 20 It is noteworthy that. his mother. Ordering the partition of the property described in the second amended complaint in the following manner: (1). Justa was entitled to 0. Accordingly. Juan Arnaldo and Ursula Tubil. Apparently they are now questioning private respondent's filiation because. 965. aisadc A direct line is that constituted by the series of degrees among ascendants and descendants. whereas petitioners who are the children of Primitiva Arnaldo and Gregorio Arnaldo. ascent is made to the common ancestor and then descent is made to the person with whom the computation is to be made. concerning division between paternal and maternal lines. consisting of 2. cdasia For this purpose. petitioners contend that the Court of Appeals gravely abused its discretion in holding that private respondent is the son of Agatonica Arreza. as entitled to the entire parcel of land described in Tax Declaration No. SO ORDERED. which may be either direct or collateral. cdt The former unites the head of the family with those who descend from him. together with the other heirs of the late Domingo Arnaldo. 962 of the Civil Code.Accordingly. aisadc In the direct line. declaring the defendants and the intervenors. Relatives in the same degree shall inherit in equal shares. the only one entitled to her estate. the heirs of Primitiva Uriarte. aisadc BAs to the second portion of the area of the land in question which as already stated was consolidated with the ½ hectare originally belonging to the conjugal partnership of Juan Arnaldo and Ursula Tubil. therefore. 17 Hence. This 2. Contrary to the trial court's finding. was acquired by Justa after the death of her parents.966 of the Civil Code. A collateral line is that constituted by the series of degrees among persons who are not ascendants and descendants. however.2 hectares. Half of this land (0.58 hectare as the share of the plaintiff. should such a question be disallowed when raised for the first time on appeal to this Court. as many degrees are counted as there are generations or persons.In the line. paragraph 2.2500 hectare as the share of defendants-intervenors. As the nephew of Justa by her half-sister Agatonica. as the Court of Appeals found. Petitioners are raising this issue only now. while petitioners are entitled to the other 0.7hectare land. are five degrees removed from Justa Arnaldo. 16 On appeal. as explained by the Court of Appeals. ART.125 hectares. this petition by the heirs of Pascasio Uriarte.25 hectares. who was the half-sister of Justa Arnaldo. saving the right of representation when it properly takes place. ascent is made to the common ancestor. No cost. 21 petitioners admitted that private respondent is Justa's nephew. judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the defendants and the intervenors [herein petitioners] and against the plaintiff [private respondent]. As a preliminary matter. In the dispositive portion of its decision the appellate court ordered: cdta WHEREFORE. Agatonica. the division of Justa's property should be as follows as private respondent contends: AThe first ½ hectare should be divided into two parts.5 hectares of the land in question belonged to the conjugal partnership of Justa's parents. we find it to be without merit. 19 The issue in this case is who among the petitioners and the private respondent is entitled to Justa's estate as her nearest relatives within the meaning of Art. In addition. In the collateral line. which will accrue to private respondent. being Justa's half-sister. the Court of Appeals reversed. formerly was conjugal property of her parents.A series of degrees forms a line. during their marriage.5 hectares had been acquired by Justa's parents. the share of Juan Arnaldo which will accrue to petitioners and the second half which pertains to Ursula Tubil. 18 After due consideration of the petition. and three from the great-grandparent. The rest. Thus the child is one degree removed from the parent. With more reason.The direct line is either descending or ascending. and (2)2. and who is only three degrees from Justa Arnaldo. cdtai The manner of determining the proximity of relationship are provided by Articles 963 . excluding the progenitor. therefore. cdt IVAND THE INSTANT PETITION IS IMPRESSED WITH MERIT AND SHOULD HAVE BEEN GRANTED. Each generation forms a degree. the court ordered: aisadc WHEREFORE. the same shall accrue to private respondent.7 hectares. THE HALF SISTER OF JUSTA ARNALDO SERING. given the fact that 0. and the heirs of Gregorio Arnaldo. ART. . the appellate court found that the 0. private respondent is the nearest relative of Justa and. The latter binds a person with those from whom he descends. Petitioners allege: cdtai ITHE RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ABUSED ITS DISCRETION TANTAMOUNT TO LACK AND/OR IN EXCESS OF JURISDICTION IN HOLDING THAT THE PLAINTIFF IS THE SON OF AGATONA ARREZA. private respondent was held to be entitled to share in the estate of Justa. the judgment appealed from is hereby REVERSED and another is hereby entered — IIITHE PRAYERS FOR RESTRAINING ORDER AND/OR WRIT OF PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION AND DAMAGES IS MERITORIOUS. They provide: ART. Justa left a piece of land consisting 2.58 hectares of the 2. who is the son of Agatonica Arreza.2 hectares which belonged to her in her own right.5 hectares).Proximity of relationship is determined by the number of generations. In every inheritance. SO ORDERED. Juan Arnaldo and Ursula Tubil. the relative nearest in degree excludes the more distant ones. and of Article 987. Justa inherited her mother's (Ursula Tubil's) share consisting of 0. 966. IITHE RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS PREFERRED TECHNICALITY OVER SUBSTANTIALITY WHEN IT GRAVELY ABUSED ITS DISCRETION IN HOLDING THAT THE HOLOGRAPHIC WILL LEFT BY THE DECEASED AMBROCIO ARNALDO CANNOT PASS REAL OR PERSONAL PROPERTY. Justa owned a total of 2. the court a quo is hereby directed to proceed with the partition in accordance with the procedure laid down in Rule 69 of the Rules of Court.58-hectare land was inherited by private respondent Benedicto Estrada as Justa's nearest surviving relative. It is well-settled. 963.
Dolores Saracho. or from 1943 to 1971. The trial court denied private respondents' motion to remove Cesar Tioseco as administrator. 23 The private respondent is only a half-blood relative is immaterial. his mother being Ursula's daughter not by Juan Arnaldo but by Pedro Arreza. and 64021 and the real estate mortgages constituted by the latter on said properties. COURT OF APPEALS. a person is two degrees removed from his brother. No. (2)Declaring said acknowledged natural children. Abad. and that during this period. CECILIA H. After due trial. then plaintiff is the lawful heir of Justa. were actually only administered by the latter. as the latter allegedly died a bachelor. the trial court appointed Cesar de Mesa Tioseco as administrator of the intestate estate of Ricardo de Mesa Abad. Marian E.000. Applying the principle that the nearest excludes the farthest.00) PESOS. On May 9. and the decision of the Court of Appeals is AFFIRMED. 1973. Puno and Martinez. 53671. He is thus a third degree relative of Justa. subject to the rights of Honoria Empaynado. which appointment is hereby revoked. The temporary restraining order issued by this Court is LIFTED. Cesar M. On July 7. leaving no descendants or ascendants. LLphil Meanwhile. 1 . petitioner. A nephew is considered a collateral relative who may inherit if no descendant. private respondents filed a motion to annul the extra-judicial partition executed by petitioners. This alone does not disqualify him from being his aunt's heir. namely: Dolores M. As the Court of Appeals correctly pointed out. monies and such papers that came into his possession by virtue of his appointment as administrator. the wife of their counsel. they alleged that Honoria Empaynado had been the common-law wife of Ricardo Abad for twenty-seven years before his death. TCT No. namely: Cecilia E. private respondent is the son of Justa's half-sister Agatonica. As the law awards the entire estate to the surviving children to the exclusion of collateral relatives. Abad the only surviving legal heirs of the deceased Ricardo M. 13530. rendered the following judgment: prLL WHEREFORE. 53671. The facts are as follows: On April 18. private respondents filed a motion to withdraw their first motion and. and 108484. on October 4. and Rosemarie S. HONORIA EMPAYNADO. As already stated. J p: Before us is a petition for certiorari to annul the decision of the Court of Appeals dated October 19. [G. the half-sister of Justa. docketed as Special Proceedings No. petitioners Carolina Abad Gonzales. ascendant. Dolores de Mesa Abad and Cesar de Mesa Tioseco sought the settlement of the intestate estate of their brother. On July 24. 117740. Abad. ABAD. petitioners claimed that they were the only heirs of Ricardo de Mesa Abad. before the then Court of First Instance of Manila. 53671. but allowed them to appear in the proceedings to establish their right as alleged heirs of Ricardo Abad. 13530. Ricardo de Mesa Abad. if any. Private respondents later discovered that petitioners had managed to cancel TCT Nos. Marian E. 108483 in the name of Cesar de Mesa Tioseco and TCT No 108484 in the name of Carolina Abad Gonzales. on May 2. the Register of Deeds cancelled the above-mentioned TCTs in the name of Ricardo Abad and issued. filed a motion for reconsideration praying that Cecilia Abad be appointed administrator instead of Cesar Tioseco. The three promptly executed real estate mortgages over the real properties in favor of Mrs. (3)Denying the petition of decedent's collateral relatives. On June 16. four from his first cousin. DECISION ROMERO. They claim that this being the case. Private respondents also disclosed the existence of Rosemarie Abad. 13530. MARIAN H. 108483. on November 2. the lower court. the Torrens titles issued in substitution of TCT Nos. Abad and as such entitled to succeed to the entire estate of said deceased. petitioners executed an extrajudicial settlement of the estate of their late mother Lucila de Mesa. Abad acknowledged natural children of the deceased Ricardo M. 13530. 108482 in the name of Dolores de Mesa Abad. or spouse survive the decedent. and 64021 through the stratagem of extra-judicially partitioning their mother's estate Accordingly. 1994. 1972. petitioners amended their petition by alleging that the real properties covered by TCT Nos. WHEREFORE. and 64021. In this case. (4)Appointing Honoria Empaynado as the administratrix in this intestacy with a bond of THIRTY THOUSAND (P30. 1972. three from his uncle.Thus. as well as TCT Nos. TCT No. as co-owner of any of the property of said estate that may have been acquired thru her joint efforts with the deceased during the period they lived together as husband and wife. ABAD and ROSEMARIE S." 24 Because of the conclusion we have thus reached. ABAD. cdasia Petitioners misappreciate the relationship between Justa and private respondent. Abad. October 30. plaintiff is the son of Agatonica. private respondent is not an heir of Justa and thus not qualified to share in her estate. 1973. Tioseco and Carolina M. Lucila de Mesa. Regalado. private respondents Honoria Empaynado. in lieu thereof. cdta On the other hand. In their motion. a child allegedly fathered by Ricardo Abad with another woman. Cecilia Abad Empaynado and Marian Abad Empaynado. their union had produced two children. the true owner being their late mother. Abad and Rosemarie S. 22 Nevertheless. Abad to be declared as heirs and excluding them from participating in the administration and settlement of the estate of Ricardo Abad. By virtue thereof. finding private respondents as the heirs of Ricardo de Mesa Abad as well as annulling petitioners' extrajudicial partition of the decedent's estate. in lieu thereof. They are thus fifth degree relatives of Justa. 1972.. and 64021.R. 1972. whether legitimate or illegitimate. cdtai SO ORDERED. In their petition. Abad. the third and fourth grounds of the petition for renew must fail. listed therein as belonging to the decedent. copying therein the technical descriptions of the lots covered by TCT Nos. He is therefore Justa's nephew. petitioners make much of the fact that private respondent is not an Arnaldo.] CAROLINA ABAD GONZALES. "The determination of whether the relationship is of the full or halfblood is important only to determine the extent of the share of the survivors. private respondents charged petitioners with deliberately concealing the existence of said three children in order to deprive the latter of their rights to the estate of Ricardo Abad. and so forth. respondents. Josefina Viola. 1998. concur. 86792. defendants and intervenors are the sons and daughters of Justa's cousin. and (5)Ordering Cesar Tioseco to surrender to the new administratrix all property or properties. and Marian Abad Empaynado filed a motion to set aside proceedings and for leave to file opposition in Special Proceedings No. vs. 1972. judgment is hereby rendered as follows: (1)Declaring Cecilia E Abad. 1972. JJ . 86792. 53671. who is the brother of his father. 108482. the petition is DENIED. The fact that his mother is only a halfsister of Justa is of no moment. Cecilia Abad Empaynado. Escolastico Viola.
Marian and Rosemarie Abad's filiation. Page No. 1974. of TCT Nos. Article 256.Order dated November 2.Declares as inexistent and void from the beginning the three (3) real estate mortgages executed on July 7. declaring in substance that the six (6) parcels of land described in TCT Nos. Due to the dismissal of their two appeals. it rendered the following judgment: LLpr WHEREFORE.PETITIONERS ARE ENTITLED TO THE SUBJECT ESTATE WHETHER THE SAME IS OWNED BY THE DECEASED RICARDO DE MESA ABAD OR BY LUCILA DE MESA. But while private respondents claim that Jose Libunao died in 1943. docketed therein as C. dated October 4.R. for if he was still alive in 1971. which states: Father's Name:Jose Libunao Occupation:engineer (mining) Mother's Name:Honoria Empaynado 5 . Petitioners. No.R. 4 To bolster their theory.Orders Atty. prompting petitioners to appeal to the Supreme Court. this Court finds oppositors' Motion for Annulment. 3 Petitioners now seek to annul the foregoing judgment on the following grounds: I. identified as Doc. petitioners again instituted certiorari and mandamus proceedings with the Court of Appeals. 1973 decision was denied by the trial court. 13530. their union having produced three children. to surrender to the new administratrix. the applicable provision of the Civil Code. 108483 in the name of Cesar de Mesa Tioseco and TCT No. and given that he was legally married to Honoria Empaynado. petitioners claim that the latter died sometime in 1971. The date of Jose Libunao's death is important. Honoria Empaynado was married to Jose Libunao. No. petitioners presented in evidence the application for enrollment at Mapua Institute of Technology of Angelita Libunao. On March 21. Viola. and Maria Nina. for being filed out of time. 108482. the presumption would be that Cecilia and Marian are not Ricardo Abad's children with the latter.The trial court.Declares that the six (6) parcels of land described in TCT Nos. this appeal was similarly denied on the ground that it had been filed out of time.-G. 108483 of Cesar de Mesa Tioseco. Book No. Viola. Escolastico R. Marian and Rosemarie. 1985. the appellate court granted petitioners' petition and ordered the lower court to give due course to the latter's appeal. ABAD ARE THE ACKNOWLEDGED NATURAL CHILDREN OF THE DECEASED RICARDO DE MESA ABAD. 1994. Cesar. restore and/or issue the corresponding certificate of title in the name of Ricardo Abad. to be inexistent and void from the beginning. the instant appeal is DENIED for lack of merit. docketed there as C. was still alive when Cecilia and Marian Abad were born in 1948 and 1954. 1973 declaring private respondents heirs of the deceased Ricardo Abad. Manila. TCT No. San Andres Subdivision. and the residential house situated at 2432 Opalo Street. Likewise. 108484 of Carolina de Mesa Abad-Gonzales and in lieu thereof. SP-03268-R. 30. 108482. SO ORDERED. 108483. XX. 256. 145. On November 2. 1975. petitioners filed their notice of appeal of the November 19. (b) petitioner Cesar de Mesa Tioseco. 53671 and 64021.Orders the Register of Deeds of Manila to cancel TCT No. 1975 denying the appeal of Dolores de Mesa Abad and Cesar de Mesa Tioseco from the latter Order. On October 19. Cruz) by petitioners and Carolina de Mesa Abad-Gonzales. accomplished in 1956. Page No. Jose Libunao. all the foregoing considered. executed on May 2. On July 9. Series of 1972 of the notarial book of Faustino S. Series of 1972. SP-04352. II. and orders the Register of Deeds of Manila to cancel the registration or annotation thereof from the back of the torrens title of Ricardo Abad. prior to the birth of Cecilia and Marian. identified as Doc. 5.Declares as null and void the cancellation of TCT Nos. 2 Petitioners' motion for reconsideration of the November 2. It is undisputed that prior to her relationship with Ricardo Abad.The child shall be presumed legitimate. Book No. however. No. declaring in substance that Cecilia. 1972 executed by (a) petitioner Dolores de Mesa Abad. ABAD. although the mother may have declared against its legitimacy or may have been sentenced as an adulteress. and 6. 108484 in the name of Carolina de Mesa Abad-Gonzales. ABAD AND ROSEMARIE S. The appellate court affirmed the dismissal of the two appeals. petitioners instituted certiorari and mandamus proceedings with the Court of Appeals. 53671 and 64021 are the properties of Ricardo Abad. On November 19. Josefina C. Series of 1972.A. 1974. but of Jose Libunao and Honoria Empaynado. this Court directed the trial court to give due course to petitioners' appeal from the order of November 2. 108482 in the name of Dolores de Mesa Abad.THE COURT OF APPEALS AND THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN HOLDING THAT RESPONDENTS CECILIA E. 2. Their notice of appeal was likewise denied on the ground that the same had been filed out of time. With costs against petitionerappellants. likewise. Page 31. on January 4. annulling certain documents pertaining to the intestate estate of deceased. XX. 108483 and 108484. all of the notarial book of Ricardo P.A. 1975. 3. Viola and his law associate and wife. as replaced by TCT No. 86. all registered in the name of Ricardo Abad. 1974 ruling of the trial court. all surnamed Abad as the acknowledged natural children and the only surviving heirs of the deceased Ricardo Abad.Order dated March 21. Josefina C.Order dated November 19. 1973 to be meritorious and accordingly — 1. in favor of Mrs. respectively. in contesting Cecilia. 1974. the Court of Appeals rendered judgment as follows: WHEREFORE. 108482 of Dolores de Mesa Abad. dctai 2. MARIAN E. and 3. No. Angelita. and the order dated November 19. are all AFFIRMED in toto. Honoria Empaynado. 53671 and 64021 and issuance in lieu thereof. 1973. Because of this ruling. XX.Declares the deed of Extra Judicial Settlement of the Estate of the Deceased Lucila de Mesa. The orders of the court a quo in SP No. 445. Book No. No. 1972 (Doc. to be the properties of the late Ricardo Abad. 146. 30. No.-G. Yap of Manila. The two appeals were accordingly elevated by the trial court to the appellate court. the Register of Deeds be ordered to restore and/or issue the corresponding Certificates of Title in the name of Ricardo Abad. THE MOTHER OF PETITIONERS AND RICARDO DE MESA ABAD. that the extrajudicial partition of the estate of the deceased Lucila de Mesa executed on May 2. 1972 is inexistent and void from the beginning. Page No. and 108484 within five (5) days from receipt hereof cdll SO ORDERED. the cancellation of the aforementioned TCTs is null and void. submit the startling theory that the husband of Honoria Empaynado. provides: cdasia Art. TCT Nos. and (c) Carolina de Mesa Abad-Gonzales. VII. 13530. identified as Doc. to wit: 1. Book No. found in favor of private respondents with respect to the latter's motion for annulment of certain documents. 144. and TCT No. The trial court. 86792. again dismissed petitioners' appeal on the ground that their record on appeal was filed out of time. 1974. 4. We are not persuaded. TCT No. 13530. Series of 1972.
Arenas' affidavit. Rule 130 of the Rules of Court. the enrollment forms of his children would have stated so. are final and conclusive and may not be reviewed on appeal. petitioners presented the affidavit of Dr. 1965. argue that factual findings of the Court of Appeals are not binding on this Court when there appears in the record of the case some fact or circumstance of weight and influence which has been overlooked. Aetna Life Insurance Company. d) the information was necessary for the performance of his professional duty. We thus hold the affidavit inadmissible in evidence. far from conclusive. And the same remains inadmissible in evidence. it must be noted that petitioners are disputing the veracity of the trial court's finding of facts. under Savings Account 17348 which has (sic) a balance of P34. or the significance of which has been misinterpreted. being merely secondary evidence thereof. petitioners are precluded from inheriting the estate of their brother. (Exh.In the absence of legitimate descendants or ascendants.812. Petitioners have. 33-44). 49053 in the name of Ricardo Abad and/or Cecilia Abad (Exh. 35.00 with the People's Bank and Trust Company which was renewed until (sic) 1971. would affect the result of the case. on [a] twenty (20) year-endowment plan with the Insular Life Assurance Co. The applicable provisions are: Art. Ricardo Abad and his sister Dolores Abad had (sic) agreed to stipulate in their PBTC Trust Agreement that the 9% income of their P100. Petitioners conveniently forget that Ricardo Abad's "sterility" arose when the latter contracted gonorrhea. however. After one has gone to his grave. 1973. a fact which most assuredly blackens his reputation. from the communications and disclosures which a patient should make to his physician. . then eleven (11) years old. February 27. the evidence presented by petitioners to prove that Jose Libunao died in 1971 are. Lastly. and that the former had been interred at the Loyola Memorial Park. We quote with approval the trial court's decision. February 27. 36-E). this person appears to be different from Honoria Empaynado's first husband. however. although there is no showing that said death certificate has been lost or destroyed as to be unavailable as proof of Jose Libunao's death. the living are not permitted to impair his name and disgrace his . 8 Ricardo Abad's physician. 9 Petitioners. TSN. It is a fundamental and settled rule that factual findings of the trial court. it was pointed out that: "The privilege of secrecy is not abolished or terminated because of death as stated in established precedents. xxx xxx xxx In December 1959. 1971. the latter's name being Jose Santos Libunao. and as his legitimate dependent children.. 1968. 10 This Court finds no justifiable reason to apply this exception to the case at bar. to say the least. 36-A.00 with the same bank. Cecilia. They assert. which states: Father's Name:Jose Libunao Occupation:none Mother's Name:Honoria Empaynado 6 Petitioners claim that had Jose Libunao been dead during the time when said applications were accomplished. if death removed the seal of secrecy. 99 N. that the finding as to Ricardo Abad's "sterility" does not blacken the character of the deceased. Marian (except in Exh. sterility alone. pp. he and his daughter Cecilia Abad opened a trust fund account of P100. leaving as his widow. notwithstanding the death of Ricardo Abad. thus: In his individual statements of income and assets for the calendar years 1958 and 1970. it is clearly apparent that petitioners have failed to establish their claim by the quantum of evidence required by law. As to Dr. 1973. 38) where the income of the trust fund intended for Cecilia was also deposited monthly (TSN. but rather the legitimate children of the spouses Jose Libunao and Honoria Empaynado. 34 and 34-A. 35-A to D.000. that if considered. Jose Bautista Libunao's wife is listed as Josefa Reyes while the wife of Jose Santos Libunao was Honoria Empaynado. and e) the disclosure of the information would tend to blacken the reputation of the patient. Ricardo Abad insured his daughters Cecilia. without the attendant embarrassment of contracting a sexually-transmitted disease. the evidence presented by private respondents overwhelmingly prove that they are the acknowledged natural children of Ricardo Abad. TSN. As stated by the trial court: In the case of Westover vs. Furthermore. February 26. It is an established rule that the purpose of the law would be thwarted and the policy intended to be promoted thereby would be defeated. 1969 and 1970. he has declared therein as his legitimate wife. pp.28 as of June 30. the illegitimate children shall succeed to the entire estate of the deceased. Failure to indicate on an enrollment form that one's parent is "deceased" is not necessarily proof that said parent was still living during the time said form was being accomplished. Pedro Arenas. More telling. c) the advice or treatment given by him or any information was acquired by the physician while professionally attending the patient. On January 4. Honoria Empaynado. 60-B). 7-20). payable to either of them in the event of death (Exhs. adopted and confirmed by the Court of Appeals. On January 5. Honoria Empaynado.000. 1972. while the records of Loyola Memorial Park show that a certain Jose Bautista Libunao was indeed buried there in 1971. represented by him. then (5) years old. memory by dragging to light communications and disclosures made under the seal of the statute. These not being the case. 21-36). First. as father. 37-A). In 1966.00 trust fund shall (sic) be paid monthly to the account reserved for Cecilia. cdll At the outset. 12 to 19. 34-B to C. 59. cdphil Given the above disquisition. 12) and Rosemarie Abad (Exhs. 11 The rule on confidential communications between physician and patient requires that: a) the action in which the advice or treatment given or any information is to be used is a civil case. under PBTC Savings Account No. the joint affidavit of Juan Quiambao and Alejandro Ramos as to the supposed death of Jose Libunao in 1971 is not competent evidence to prove the latter's death at that time. 988. Ltd.Y. he had examined Ricardo Abad and found him to be infected with gonorrhea. pp. however.000. Jose Libunao's death certificate would have been the best evidence as to when the latter died. petitioners presented the joint affidavit of Juan Quiambao and Alejandro Ramos 7 stating that to their knowledge Jose Libunao had died in 1971. 1967. With these pieces of evidence. would be sufficient to blacken the reputation of any patient. and paid for their premiums (Exh. In fact. 12 Petitioners do not dispute that the affidavit meets the first four requisites. and that the latter had become sterile as a consequence thereof. . Ricardo Abad had also deposited (money) with the Monte de Piedad and Savings Bank in the name of his daughter Marian. payable to his daughter Marian (Exh. Even the name of the wife is different. the same was objected to by private respondents as being privileged communication under Section 24 (c). and Marian. Ricardo Abad opened a trust fund of P100. given that society holds virility at a premium. With the finding that private respondents are the illegitimate children of Ricardo Abad. inexplicably failed to present the same. they conclude that Jose Libunao must have still been alive in 1956 and 1958. declaring that in 1935. petitioners claim that Cecilia and Marian Abad are not the illegitimate children of Ricardo Abad.as well as Cesar Libunao's 1958 application for enrollment at the Mapua Institute of Technology. Additionally. On the other hand. 1973. and in all his individual income tax returns for the years 1964. 1971. b) the relation of physician and patient existed between the person claiming the privilege or his legal representative and the physician.
dismissing petitioner Arnelito Adlawan's unlawful detainer suit against respondents Emeterio and Narcisa Adlawan. Graciana. in Civil Case No. he granted their plea to occupy the subject property provided they would vacate the same should his need for the property arise. the MTC dismissed the complaint holding that the establishment of petitioner's filiation and the settlement of the estate of Dominador are conditions precedent to the accrual of petitioner's action for ejectment. SO ORDERED. It added that since Dominador was survived by his wife.00 a month. Graciana. 20 They contended that as heirs of Graciana.R. 17 On appeal by petitioner. he executed an affidavit adjudicating to himself Lot 7226 and the house built thereon. JJ .. They alleged that Lot 7226 was originally registered in the name of their deceased father. 8842. 1975 denying the appeal of Dolores de Mesa Abad and Cesar de Mesa Tioseco for being filed out of time is SET ASIDE. 70 and 59 years of age. 2000. (Emphasis supplied) As to petitioners' claim that the properties in the name of Ricardo Abad actually belong to their mother Lucila de Mesa. 30184 dated October 19. reads: In View of the foregoing. As stated earlier. CEB-27806. for on July 9. 2002. It thus ordered respondents to turn over possession of the controverted lot to petitioner and to pay compensation for the use and occupation of the premises. then single. The spouses had nine 12 children including the late Dominador and herein surviving respondents Emeterio and Narcisa. 5 registered in the name of the late Dominador Adlawan and located at Barrio Lipata. 1962 simulated deed of sale. ADLAWAN and NARCISA M. the Judgment. Branch 7. his right to succeed is doubtful because Dominador was survived by his wife. 18 Meanwhile. The instant ejectment suit stemmed from the parties' dispute over Lot 7226 and the house built thereon. Cebu. 392. and reinstated the February 12. Narvasa. 1987 without any other issue. 1985. So ordered. 161916. on the other hand. both the trial court and the appellate court ruled that the evidence presented by private respondents proved that said properties in truth belong to Ricardo Abad. The decretal portion thereof. 10 denied that they begged petitioner to allow them to stay on the questioned property and stressed that they have been occupying Lot 7226 and the house standing thereon since birth. the findings of fact by the trial court are entitled to great weight and should not be disturbed on appeal. who died without issue. Metro Cebu. respondents. Sometime in January 1999. provides: Wherefore.] ARNELITO ADLAWAN. Municipality of Minglanilla. 14 a title was issued to Dominador which enabled him to secure a loan with Lot 7226 as collateral. covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. never disputed his parents' ownership of the lot. 13 Petitioner. The decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. ScCIaA Respondents also contended that Dominador's signature at the back of petitioner's birth certificate was forged. 1003. petitioner. 9 On the other hand. their contention being that they are entitled to the subject estate whether the same is owned by Ricardo Abad or by Lucila de Mesa. Costs against petitioners. is a stranger who never had possession of Lot 7226. or a surviving spouse. Purisima and Pardo. 2002 Decision 2 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Cebu City. By virtue of a January 31. 1994 is AFFIRMED with the MODIFICATION that the affirmance of the Order dated March 21. premises considered. DECISION YNARES-SANTIAGO. 1994. in Civil Case No.R. Notwithstanding the execution of the simulated deed. 13 In fact. and to pay plaintiff-appellant. who died 10 years thereafter. in its decision dated October 19.Art. concur. the above-entitled case is hereby Ordered DISMISSED. petitioner claimed that he is an acknowledged illegitimate child 6 of Dominador who died on May 28. of the Municipal Trial Court of Minglanilla. Graciana Ramas Adlawan. also occupied the same. He and his wife. petitioner filed the instant case on August 9. 2002. In his complaint. her legal heirs are also entitled to their share in Lot 7226. it being in a better position to examine the real evidence. the instant petition is hereby DENIED. 15 They argued that even if petitioner is indeed Dominador's acknowledged illegitimate son. 1997. C .J .. No. the latter is not an heir of Dominador and has no right to claim ownership of Lot 7226.If there are no . Dominador. for failure to prove by preponderance of evidence. illegitimate children. [G. Finally. the plaintiff's cause of action. they have a share in Lot 7226 and that intervention is necessary to protect their right over the property. SO ORDERED. . 1987 and May 6. he verbally requested respondents to vacate the house and lot. Cebu. but they refused and filed instead an action for quieting of title 8 with the RTC. respectively. 16 On February 12. SP No. 2006. they are allowing respondents to stay in Lot 7226 until a formal partition of the property is made. this Court had already ruled that the same was not filed out of time. EMETERIO M. the RTC reversed the decision of the MTC holding that the title of Dominador over Lot 7226 cannot be collaterally attacked. 2002 Judgment 3 of the Municipal Trial Court (MTC) of Minglanilla. The dispositive portion thereof. the Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court's order dated March 21. ADLAWAN. Ramon Adlawan 11 and the ancestral house standing thereon was owned by Ramon and their mother. compensation for their use and occupation of the property in the amount of P500. January 20. During the lifetime of their parents and deceased siblings. they transferred ownership of Lot 7226 in the name of their son Dominador who was the only one in the family who had a college education. all of them lived on the said property. Sometime in 1961. hence. cdphil WHEREFORE. 392. 7 Out of respect and generosity to respondents who are the siblings of his father. 2004 Resolution 4 of the Court of Appeals which denied petitioner' s motion for reconsideration. This affirmance is erroneous. vs. Graciana. Since they were not qualified to obtain a loan. CV No. the collateral relatives shall succeed to the entire estate of the deceased in accordance with the following articles. Kapunan. Claiming to be the sole heir of Dominador. as well as to observe the demeanor of the witnesses while testifying in the case. J p: Assailed in this petition for review is the September 23. petitioners seem to accept this conclusion. Defendantsappellees are directed to restore to plaintiff-appellant possession of Lot 7226 and the house thereon. they declared that as co-owners of the property. 1975 denying the appeal of Dolores de Mesa Abad and Cesar de Mesa Tioseco on the ground that the same was filed out of time. Alo & Velasquez Law Office for respondents. spouses Ramon and Oligia needed money to finance the renovation of their house. Likewise questioned is the January 8. 74921 which set aside the September 13. upon respondents' refusal to heed the last demand letter to vacate dated August 2. the RTC granted petitioner's motion for execution pending appeal 19 which was opposed by the alleged nephew and nieces of Graciana in their motion for leave to intervene and to file an answer in intervention. Digressing from the main issue. 2003 Decision 1 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. . Dominador and his wife. Neri & Associates Law Firm for petitioner. dated February 12. in Civil Case No.R. . 2000. Oligia Mañacap Adlawan. respondents Narcisa and Emeterio. respectively. beginning in August 2000. In addition. is reversed. did not disturb respondents' possession of the property until they died on May 28. Well-settled is the dictum that the rulings of the Supreme Court are binding upon and may not be reversed by a lower court.
as parties. Branch 7. being co-owners of the property. it is not disputed that petitioner brought the suit for unlawful detainer in his name alone and for his own benefit to the exclusion of the heirs of Graciana as he even executed an affidavit of selfadjudication over the disputed property. It is clear therefore that petitioner cannot validly maintain the instant action considering that he does not recognize the co-ownership that necessarily flows from his theory of succession to the property of his father. A co-owner may bring such an action without the necessity of joining all the other co-owners as co-plaintiffs because the suit is deemed to be instituted for the benefit of all. Petitioner averred that he is an acknowledged illegitimate son and the sole heir of Dominador. the action should be dismissed. The respondent failed to comply with the rule. to the prejudice of the latter's siblings. . he can on his own file the instant case pursuant to Article 487 of the Civil Code which provides: ART. 392 is REINSTATED. It ratiocinated that petitioner and the heirs of Graciana are co-owners of Lot 7226. because the suit is deemed to be instituted for the benefit of all. The decisive issue to be resolved is whether or not petitioner can validly maintain the instant case for ejectment. that the RTC lost sight of the fact that the theory of succession invoked by petitioner would end up proving that he is not the sole owner of Lot 7226. the Court of Appeals set aside the decision of the RTC and reinstated the judgment of the MTC. explained — . such that he claims possession for himself and not for the co-ownership. In ruling for the petitioner. There is no proof that the other co-owners had . Graciana and petitioner became co-owners of Lot 7226. whom petitioner labeled as "fictitious heirs. the Court held that — waived their rights over the subject property or conveyed the same to the respondent or such co-owners were aware of the case in the trial court. In Celino v. Costs against the respondent. 487. However. 32 and Sering v. A co-owner may bring such an action. however. SaAcHE The present controversy should be differentiated from the cases where the Court upheld the right of a co-owner to file a suit pursuant to Article 487 of the Civil Code. It should be stressed. the respondent alone filed the complaint. 24 By intestate succession. It has been held that the absence of an indispensable party in a case renders ineffective all the proceedings subsequent to the filing of the complaint including the judgment. including an accion publiciana and a reinvidicatory action. The trial court rendered judgment declaring the respondent as the sole owner of the property and entitled to its possession. In dismissing the complaint for want of respondent's authority to file the case. SO ORDERED. 25 The death of Graciana on May 6. did not make petitioner the absolute owner of Lot 7226 because the share of Graciana passed to her relatives by consanguinity and not to petitioner with whom she had no blood relations. 30 In the instant case. Rule 3 of the Rules of Court. CEB-27806 is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. the RTC held that the questioned January 31. the action will not prosper unless he impleads the other co-owners who are indispensable parties. in Civil Case No. P-16540 which was issued based on Free Patent No. petitioner forgets that he filed the instant case to acquire possession of the property and to recover damages. the action will not prosper. the appealed Decision dated September 13. (Emphasis added) 28 In Baloloy v. This article covers all kinds of actions for the recovery of possession." the State will inherit her share 31 and will thus be petitioner's co-owner entitled to possession and enjoyment of the property. be stressed that the Republic of the Philippines is also an indispensable party as defendant because the respondent sought the nullification of OCT No.Any one of the co-owners may bring an action in ejectment. as parties. 34 the complaint for quieting of title was Under Article 487 of the New Civil Code. 2002 of the Regional Trial Court of Cebu City. Tolentino. If granted. 22 On September 23. and recovery of ownership (accion de reivindicacion). the same cannot prejudice the rights of the unimpleaded coowners. ineffective for want of authority to act. but the evidence showed that respondent has co-owners over the property. Heirs of Alejo and Teresa Santiago. He in fact executed an affidavit adjudicating to himself the controverted property. This article covers all kinds of actions for the recovery of possession. Hence. he alone will gain possession of the lot and benefit from the proceeds of the award of damages to the exclusion of the heirs of Graciana. 27 The renowned civilist. If the action is for the benefit of the plaintiff alone who claims to be the sole owner and entitled to the possession thereof. 29 respondent filed a complaint for quieting of title claiming exclusive ownership of the property. If the action is for the benefit of the plaintiff alone. any decision of the Court would not be binding on it. petitioner cannot eject respondents from the property via an unlawful detainer suit filed in his own name and as the sole owner of the property. however. premises considered. Unless the State is impleaded as party-defendant. In Resuena v. 1987. Dominador. recalled the order granting the execution pending appeal having lost jurisdiction over the case in view of the petition filed by respondents with the Court of Appeals. As such. Incidentally. Graciana. rendered all proceedings subsequent to the filing thereof. Professor Arturo M. HaIATC Petitioner contends that even granting that he has co-owners over Lot 7226. in Civil Case No. Patently then. Any judgment of the court in favor of the co-owner will benefit the others but if such judgment is adverse. Hular. In this case. . there is no merit in petitioner's claim that he has the legal personality to file the present unlawful detainer suit because the ejectment of respondents would benefit not only him but also his alleged co-owners. Plazo. without the necessity of joining all the other co-owners as co-plaintiffs. Thus — WHEEFORE. The Court notes. 1962 deed of sale validly transferred title to Dominador and that petitioner is his acknowledged illegitimate son who inherited ownership of the questioned lot. 2003. however. 21 It. 33 the co-owners who filed the ejectment case did not represent themselves as the exclusive owner of the property. not only as to the absent parties but even as to those present. In the same vein. 2002 of the Municipal Trial Court of Minglanilla. and the Judgment dated February 12. the instant petition. that where the suit is for the benefit of the plaintiff alone who claims to be the sole owner and entitled to the possession of the litigated property. any of the co-owners may bring an action in ejectment. claiming sole ownership over the subject property and praying that he be declared the sole owner thereof. the decision of the trial court is erroneous. Court of Appeals. It must. Article 487 includes forcible entry and unlawful detainer (accion interdictal). 26 A co-owner may bring such an action without the necessity of joining all the other co-owners as coplaintiffs because the suit is presumed to have been filed to benefit his coowners. The absence of the respondent's siblings. 384019. likewise. Metro Cebu. it should be pointed out that in default of the said heirs of Graciana. who died 10 years after the demise of Dominador on May 28.The RTC denied the motion for leave to intervene. 1997. Under Section 7. This is so because Dominador was survived not only by petitioner but also by his legal wife. the respondent was mandated to implead his siblings. The Court of Appeals thus correctly held that petitioner has no authority to institute the instant action as the sole owner of Lot 7226. recovery of possession (accion publiciana). including the judgment of the court. 23 Petitioner's motion for reconsideration was denied. Hence. petitioner cannot successfully capitalize on the alleged benefit to his coowners.
As noted by Former Supreme Court Associate Justice Edgrado L. . 2003 Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. 2004 Resolution." 38 Indeed. of course. (Emphasis added) 37 Clearly. 2002 Judgment of the Municipal Trial Court of Minglanilla. the petition is DENIED. therefore. . however. The instant case. the plaintiff never disputed the existence of a coownership nor claimed to be the sole or exclusive owner of the litigated lot. xxx xxx xxx 5. . and its January 8.. and where they.brought in behalf of the co-owners precisely to recover lots owned in common. . the said cases find no application here because petitioner's action operates as a complete repudiation of the existence of co-ownership and not in representation or recognition thereof. Austria-Martinez. Dismissal of the complaint is therefore proper. The September 23. if the coowner expressly states that he is bringing the case only for himself. Justice dictates that respondents who are now in the twilight years of their life be granted possession of their ancestral property where their parents and siblings lived during their lifetime.. 392. will probably spend the remaining days of their life. WHEREFORE. Hence. SO ORDERED. . et al. of the aforementioned house and lot. In his complaint. are AFFIRMED. to wit: 3. C. dismissing petitioner's complaint in Civil Case No. Callejo. and automatically took POSSESSION. sole heir of the deceased Dominador Adlawan. Paras "[i]t is understood. Sr. Metro Cebu. respondents' not less than four decade actual physical possession of the questioned ancestral house and lot deserves to be respected especially so that petitioner failed to show that he has the requisite personality and authority as co-owner to file the instant case.. and Chico-Nazario. the plaintiff became the absolute owner. concur.Being the only child/descendant and. 36 the amended complaint specified that the plaintiff is one of the heirs who co-owns the controverted properties. petitioner made the following allegations. presents an entirely different backdrop as petitioner vigorously asserted absolute and sole ownership of the questioned lot. . that the action [under Article 487 of the Civil Code] is being instituted for all. 74921 which reinstated the February 12. SP No.J. Panganiban. A favorable decision therein would of course inure to the benefit not only of the plaintiff but to his co-owners as well.R. In the foregoing cases. JJ. the action should not be allowed to prosper. 35 Similarly in Vencilao v. Camarenta.The plaintiff was the only son (illegitimate) and sole heir of the late DOMINADOR ADLAWAN who died intestate on 28 May 1987 without any other descendant nor ascendant .
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