You are on page 1of 46

NATIVIDAD P. NAZARENO, MAXIMINO P. NAZARENO, JR., petitioners, vs. COURT OF APPEALS, ESTATE OF MAXIMINO A. NAZARENO, SR., ROMEO P.

NAZARENO and ELIZA NAZARENO, respondents. DECISION


MENDOZA, J.:

This is a petition for review on certiorari of the decision[1] of the Court of Appeals in CA-GR CV No. 39441 dated May 29, 1998 affirming with modifications the decision of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 107, Quezon City, in an action for annulment of sale and damages. The facts are as follows: Maximino Nazareno, Sr. and Aurea Poblete were husband and wife. Aurea died on April 15, 1970, while Maximino, Sr. died on December 18, 1980. They had five children, namely, Natividad, Romeo, Jose, Pacifico, and Maximino, Jr. Natividad and Maximino, Jr. are the petitioners in this case, while the estate of Maximino, Sr., Romeo, and his wife Eliza Nazareno are the respondents. During their marriage, Maximino Nazareno, Sr. and Aurea Poblete acquired properties in Quezon City and in the Province of Cavite. It is the ownership of some of these properties that is in question in this case. It appears that after the death of Maximino, Sr., Romeo filed an intestate case in the Court of First Instance of Cavite, Branch XV, where the case was docketed as Sp. Proc. No. NC-28. Upon the reorganization of the courts in 1983, the case was transferred to the Regional Trial Court of Naic, Cavite. Romeo was appointed administrator of his fathers estate. In the course of the intestate proceedings, Romeo discovered that his parents had executed several deeds of sale conveying a number of real properties in favor of his sister, Natividad. One of the deeds involved six lots in Quezon City which were allegedly sold by Maximino, Sr., with the consent of Aurea, to Natividad on January 29, 1970 for the total amount of P47,800.00. The Deed of Absolute Sale reads as follows:

DEED OF ABSOLUTE SALE KNOW ALL MEN BY THESE PRESENTS: I, MAXIMINO A. NAZARENO, Filipino, married to Aurea Poblete-Nazareno, of legal age and a resident of the Mun. of Naic, Prov. of Cavite, Philippines, -WITNESSETH-

That I am the absolute registered owner of six (6) parcels of land with the improvements thereon situated in Quezon City, Philippines, which parcels of land are herewith described and bounded as follows, to wit: TRANS. CERT. OF TITLE NO. 140946 A parcel of land (Lot 3-B of the subdivision plan Psd-47404, being a portion of Lot 3, Block D-3 described on plan Bsd-10642, G.L.R.O. Record No.) situated in the Quirino District, Quezon City. Bounded on the N., along line 1-2 by Lot 15, Block D3 of plan Bsd - 10642; along line 2-3 by Lot 4, Block D-3 of plan Bsd-10642; along line 3-4 by Aurora Boulevard (Road Lot-1, Bsd-10642); and along line 4-1 by Lot 3D of the subdivision plan. Beginning at a point marked 1 on plan, being S.29 deg. 26E., 1156.22 m. from B.L.L.M. 9, Quezon City, thence N. 79 deg. 53E., 12.50 m. to point 2; thence S. 10 deg. 07E., 40.00 m. to point 3; thence S. 79 deg. 53W., 12.50 m. to point 4; thence N. 10 deg. 07W., 40.00 m. to the point of beginning; containing an area of FIVE HUNDRED (500) SQUARE METERS. All points referred to are indicated on the plan and are marked on the ground as follows: points 1 and 4 by P.L.S. Cyl. Conc. Mons. bearings true; date of the original survey, April 8-July 15, 1920 and that of the subdivision survey, March 25, 1956. TRANS. CERT. OF TITLE NO. 132019 A parcel of land (Lot 3, Block 93 of the subdivision plan Psd-57970 being a portion of Lot 6, Pcs-4786, G.L.R.O. Rec. No. 917) situated in Quirino District Quezon City. Bounded on the NW., along line 1-2, by Lot 1, Block 93; on the NE., along line 2-3, by Road Lot 101; on the SE., along line 3-4, by Road Lot 100; on the SW., along line 4-1, by Lot 4, Block 93; all of the subdivision plan. Beginning at point marked 1 on plan, being S. 65 deg. 40 3339.92 m. from B.L.L.M. No. 1, Marikina, Rizal; thence N. 23 deg. 28 min. E., 11.70 m. to point 2; thence S. 66 deg. 32 min. E., 18.00 m. to point 3; thence S. 23 deg. 28 min. W., 11.70 m. to point 4;

thence N. 66 deg. 32. min. W., 18.00 m. to the point of beginning; containing an area of TWO HUNDRED TEN SQUARE METERS AND SIXTY SQUARE DECIMETERS (210.60). All points referred to are indicated on the plan and are marked on the ground by B.L. Cyl. Conc. Mons. 15 x 60 cm.; bearings true; date of the original survey, Nov. 10, 1920 and Jan. 31-March 31, 1924 and that of the subdivision survey, February 1 to September 30, 1954. Date approved March 9, 1962. TRANS. CERT. OF TITLE NO. 118885 A parcel of land (Lot No. 10, of the consolidation and subdivision plan Pcs-988, being a portion of the consolidated Lot No. 26, Block No. 6, Psd-127, and Lots Nos. 27-A and 27-B, Psd-14901, G.L.R.O. Record No. 917), situated in the District of Cubao, Quezon City, Island of Luzon. Bounded on the NE., by Lot No. 4 of the consolidation and subdivision plan; on the SE., by Lot No. 11 of the consolidation and subdivision plan; on the SW., by Lot No. 3 of the consolidation and subdivision plan; and on the NW., by Lot No. 9 of the consolidation and subdivision plan. Beginning at a point marked 1 on the plan, being S. 7 deg. 26W., 4269.90 m. more or less from B.L.L.M. No. 1, Mp. of Mariquina; thence S. 25 deg. 00E., 12.00 m. to point 2; thence S. 64 deg. 59W., 29.99 m. to point 3; thence N. 25 deg. 00W., 12.00 m to point 4; thence N. 64 deg. 59E., 29.99 m. to the point of beginning; containing an area of THREE HUNDRED SIXTY SQUARE METERS (360), more or less. All points referred to are indicated on the plan and on the ground are marked by P.L.S. Conc. Mons. 15 x 60 cm.; bearings true; declination 0 deg. 50E., date of the original survey, April 8 to July 15, 1920, and that of the consolidation and subdivision survey, April 24 to 26, 1941. TRANS. CERT. OF TITLE NO. 118886 A parcel of land (Lot No. 11, of the consolidation and subdivision plan Pcs-988, being a portion of the consolidated Lot No. 26, Block No. 6, Psd-127, and Lots Nos. 27-A and 27-B, Psd-14901, G.L.R.O. Record No. 917), situated in the District of Cubao, Quezon City, Island of Luzon. Bounded on the NE., by Lot No. 4 of the consolidation and subdivision plan; on the SE., by Lot No. 12 of the consolidation and

subdivision plan; on the SW., by Lot No. 3 of the consolidation and subdivision plan; on the NW., by Lot No. 10 of the consolidation and subdivision plan. Beginning at a point marked 1 on plan, being S. 79 deg. 07W., 4264.00 m. more or less from B.L.L.M. No. 1, Mp. of Mariquina; thence S. 64 deg. 59W., 29.99 m. to point 2; thence N. 25 deg. 00W., 12.00 m. to point 3; thence N. 64 deg. 59E., 29.99 m. to point 4; thence S. 26 deg. 00E., 12.00 m. to the point of beginning; containing an area of THREE HUNDRED SIXTY SQUARE METERS (360), more or less. All points referred to are indicated on the plan and on the ground, are marked by P.L.S. Conc. Mons. 15 x 60 cm.; bearings true; declination 0 deg. 50E.; date of the original survey, April 8 to July 15, 1920, and that of the consolidation and subdivision survey, April 24 to 26, 1941. A parcel of land (Lot No. 13 of the consolidation and subdivision plan Pcs-988, being a portion of the consolidated Lot No. 26, Block No. 6, Psd-127, and Lots Nos. 27-A and 27-B, Psd-14901, G.L.R.O. Record No. 917), situated in the District of Cubao, Quezon City, Island of Luzon. Bounded on the NE., by Lot No. 4 of the consolidation and subdivision plan; on the SE., by Lot No. 14, of the consolidation; and subdivision plan; on the SW., by Lot No. 3 of the consolidation and subdivision plan; and on the NW., by Lot No. 12, of the consolidation and subdivision plan. Beginning at the point marked 1 on plan, being S.78 deg. 48W., 4258.20 m. more or less from B.L.L.M. No. 1, Mp. of Mariquina; thence S. 64 deg. 58W., 30.00 m. to point 2; thence N. 25 deg. 00W., 12.00 m. to point 3; thence N. 64 deg. 59E., 29.99 m. to point 4; thence S.25 deg. 00E., 12.00 m. to point of beginning; containing an area of THREE HUNDRED SIXTY SQUARE METERS (360, more or less. All points referred to are indicated on the plan and on the ground are marked by P.L.S. Conc. Mons. 15 x 60 cm.; bearings true; declination 0 deg. 50E., date of the original survey, April 8 to July 15, 1920, and that of the consolidation and subdivision survey, April 24 to 26, 1941.

A parcel of land (Lot No. 14, of the consolidation and subdivision plan Pcs-988, being a portion of the consolidated Lot No. 26, Block No. 6, Psd-127, and Lots Nos. 27-A and 27-B, Psd-14901, G.L.R.O. Record No. 917), situated in the District of Cubao, Quezon City, Island of Luzon. Bounded on the NE., by Lot No. 4 of the consolidation and subdivision plan; on the SE., by Lot No. 15, of the consolidation and subdivision plan; on the SW., by Lot No. 3 of the consolidation and subdivision plan; and on the NW., by Lot No. 13 of the consolidation and subdivision plan. Beginning at the point marked 1 on plan, being S.78 deg. 48W., 4258.20 m. more or less from B.L.L.M. No. 1, Mp. of Mariquina; thence S. 25 deg. 00E., 12.00 m. to point 2; thence S. 65 deg. 00W., 30.00 m. to point 3; thence S. 65 deg. 00W., 12.00 m. to point 4; thence N.64 deg. 58E., 30.00 m. to the point of beginning; containing an area of THREE HUNDRED SIXTY SQUARE METERS (360), more or less. All points referred to are indicated on the plan and on the ground are marked by P.L.S. Conc. Mons. 15 x 60 cm.; bearings true; declination 0 deg. 50E., date of the original survey, April 8 to July 15, 1920, and that of the consolidation and subdivision survey, April 24 to 26, 1941. That for and in consideration of the sum of FORTY THREE THOUSAND PESOS (P43,000.00) PHILIPPINE CURRENCY, to me in hand paid by NATIVIDAD P. NAZARENO, Filipino, single, of legal age and a resident of the Mun. of Naic, Prov. of Cavite, Philippines, the receipt whereof is acknowledged to my entire satisfaction, I do hereby CEDE, SELL, TRANSFER, CONVEY and ASSIGN unto the said Natividad P. Nazareno, her heirs, administrators and assigns, all my title, rights, interests and participations to the abovedescribed parcels of land with the improvements thereon, with the exception of LOT NO. 11 COVERED BY T.C.T. NO. 118886, free of any and all liens and encumbrances; and That for and in consideration of the sum of FOUR THOUSAND EIGHT HUNDRED PESOS (P4,800.00) PHILIPPINE CURRENCY, to me in hand paid by NATIVIDAD P. NAZARENO, Filipino, single, of legal age and a resident of the Mun. of Naic, Prov. of Cavite, Philippines, the receipt whereof is acknowledged to my entire satisfaction, I do hereby CEDE, SELL, TRANSFER, CONVEY and ASSIGN unto the said Natividad P. Nazareno, her heirs, administrators and assigns, all my title, rights, interests and participations in and to Lot No. 11 covered by T.C.T. No. 118886 above-described, free of any and all liens and encumbrances, with the understanding

that the title to be issued in relation hereto shall be separate and distinct from the title to be issued in connection with Lots Nos. 13 and 14, although covered by the same title. IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto signed this deed of absolute sale in the City of Manila, Philippines, this 29th day of January, 1970.[2]
By virtue of this deed, transfer certificates of title were issued to Natividad, to wit: TCT No. 162738 (Lot 3-B),[3] TCT No. 162739 (Lot 3),[4] TCT No. 162735 (Lot 10),[5] TCT No. 162736 (Lot 11),[6] and TCT No. 162737 (Lots 13 and 14),[7] all of the Register of Deeds of Quezon City. Among the lots covered by the above Deed of Sale is Lot 3-B which is registered under TCT No. 140946. This lot had been occupied by Romeo, his wife Eliza, and by Maximino, Jr. since 1969. Unknown to Romeo, Natividad sold Lot 3-B on July 31, 1982 to Maximino, Jr.,[8] for which reason the latter was issued TCT No. 293701 by the Register of Deeds of Quezon City.[9] When Romeo found out about the sale to Maximino, Jr., he and his wife Eliza locked Maximino, Jr. out of the house. On August 4, 1983, Maximino, Jr. brought an action for recovery ofpossession and damages with prayer for writs of preliminary injunction and mandatory injunction with the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City. On December 12, 1986, the trial court ruled in favor of Maximino, Jr. In CA-G.R. CV No. 12932, the Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the trial court.[10] On June 15, 1988, Romeo in turn filed, on behalf of the estate of Maximino, Sr., the present case for annulment of sale with damages against Natividad and Maximino, Jr. The case was filed in the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, where it was docketed as Civil Case No. 88-58.[11] Romeo sought the declaration of nullity of the sale made on January 29, 1970 to Natividad and that made on July 31, 1982 to Maximino, Jr. on the ground that both sales were void for lack of consideration. On March 1, 1990, Natividad and Maximino, Jr. filed a third-party complaint against the spouses Romeo and Eliza.[12] They alleged that Lot 3, which was included in the Deed of Absolute Sale of January 29, 1970 to Natividad, had been surreptitiously appropriated by Romeo by securing for himself a new title (TCT No. 277968) in his name.[13] They alleged that Lot 3 is being leased by the spouses Romeo and Eliza to third persons. They therefore sought the annulment of the transfer to Romeo and the cancellation of his title, the eviction of Romeo and his wife Eliza and all persons claiming rights from Lot 3, and the payment of damages. The issues having been joined, the case was set for trial. Romeo presented evidence to show that Maximino and Aurea Nazareno never intended to sell the six lots to Natividad and that Natividad was only to hold the said lots in trust for her siblings. He presented the Deed of Partition and Distribution dated June 28, 1962 executed by Maximino Sr. and Aurea and duly signed by all of their children, except Jose, who was then abroad and was represented by their mother, Aurea. By virtue of this deed, the nine lots subject of this Deed of Partition were assigned by raffle as follows:

1. Romeo - Lot 25-L (642 m2) 2. Natividad - Lots 23 (312 m2) and 24 (379 m2) 3. Maximino, Jr. - Lots 6 (338 m2) and 7 (338 m2) 4. Pacifico - Lots 13 (360 m2) and 14 (360 m2) 5. Jose - Lots 10 (360 m2) and 11 (360 m2) Romeo received the title to Lot 25-L under his name,[14] while Maximino, Jr. received Lots 6 and 7 through a Deed of Sale dated August 16, 1966 for the amount of P9,500.00.[15] Pacifico and Joses shares were allegedly given to Natividad, who agreed to give Lots 10 and 11 to Jose, in the event the latter came back from abroad. Natividads share, on the other hand, was sold to third persons [16] because she allegedly did not like the location of the two lots. But, Romeo said, the money realized from the sale was given to Natividad. Romeo also testified that Lot 3-B was bought for him by his father, while Lot 3 was sold to him for P7,000.00 by his parents on July 4, 1969. [17] However, he admitted that a document was executed by his parents transferring six properties in Quezon City, i.e., Lots 3, 3-B, 10, 11, 13, and 14, to Natividad. Romeo further testified that, although the deeds of sale executed by his parents in their favor stated that the sale was for a consideration, they never really paid any amount for the supposed sale. The transfer was made in this manner in order to avoid the payment of inheritance taxes.[18] Romeo denied stealing Lot 3 from his sister but instead claimed that the title to said lot was given to him by Natividad in 1981 after their father died. Natividad and Maximino, Jr. claimed that the Deed of Partition and Distribution executed in 1962 was not really carried out. Instead, in December of 1969, their parents offered to sell to them the six lots in Quezon City, i.e., Lots 3, 3-B, 10, 11, 13 and 14. However, it was only Natividad who bought the six properties because she was the only one financially able to do so. Natividad said she sold Lots 13 and 14 to Ros-Alva Marketing Corp.[19] and Lot 3-B to Maximino, Jr. for P175,000.00.[20] Natividad admitted that Romeo and the latters wife were occupying Lot 3 -B at that time and that she did not tell the latter about the sale she had made to Maximino, Jr. Natividad said that she had the title to Lot 3 but it somehow got lost. She could not get an original copy of the said title because the records of the Registrar of Deeds had been destroyed by fire. She claimed she was surprised to learn that Romeo was able to obtain a title to Lot 3 in his name. Natividad insisted that she paid the amount stated in the Deed of Absolute Sale dated January 29, 1970. She alleged that their parents had sold these properties to their children instead of merely giving the same to them in order to impose on them the value of hardwork. Natividad accused Romeo of filing this case to harass her after Romeo lost in the action for recovery of possession (Civil Case No. Q-39018) which had been brought against him by Maximino, Jr. It appears that before the case filed by Romeo could be decided, the Court of Appeals rendered a decision in CA-GR CV No. 12932 affirming the trial courts decision in favor of Maximino, Jr.

On August 10, 1992, the trial court rendered a decision, the dispositive portion of which states:

WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered declaring the nullity of the Deed of Sale dated January 29, 1970. Except as to Lots 3, 3-B, 13 and 14 which had passed on to third persons, the defendant Natividad shall hold the rest in trust for Jose Nazareno to whom the same had been adjudicated. The Register of Deeds of Quezon City is directed to annotate this judgment on Transfer Certificate of Titles Nos. 162735 and 162736 as a lien in the titles of Natividad P. Nazareno. The defendants counterclaim is dismissed. Likewise, the third-party complaint is dismissed. The defendants are hereby directed to pay to the plaintiff jointly and severally the sum of P30,000 as and for attorneys fees. Likewise, the third-party plaintiff is directed to pay the third-party defendants attorneys fees ofP20,000. All other claims by one party against the other are dismissed. SO ORDERED.[21]
Natividad and Maximino, Jr. filed a motion for reconsideration. As a result, on October 14, 1992 the trial court modified its decision as follows:

WHEREFORE, the plaintiffs Partial Motion for Reconsideration is hereby granted. The judgment dated August 10, 1992 is hereby amended, such that the first paragraph of its dispositive portion is correspondingly modified to read as follows: WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered declaring the nullity of the Deeds of Sale dated January 29, 1970 and July 31, 1982. Except as to Lots 3, 13 and 14 which had passed on to third person, the defendant Natividad shall hold the rest OF THE PROPERTIES COVERED BY THE DEED OF SALE DATED JANUARY 29, 1970 (LOTS 10 and 11) in trust for Jose Nazareno to whom the same had been adjudicated. The Register of Deeds of Quezon City is directed to annotate this judgment on Transfer Certificates of Title No. 162735 and 162736 as a lien on the titles of Natividad P. Nazareno. LIKEWISE, THE SAID REGISTER OF DEEDS IS DIRECTED TO CANCEL TCT NO. 293701 (formerly 162705) OVER LOT 3-B AND RESTORE TCT NO. 140946 IN THE NAME OF MAXIMINO NAZARENO SR. AND AUREA POBLETE.[22]

On appeal to the Court of Appeals, the decision of the trial court was modified in the sense that titles to Lot 3 (in the name of Romeo Nazareno) and Lot 3-B (in the name of Maximino Nazareno, Jr.), as well as to Lots 10 and 11 were cancelled and ordered restored to the estate of Maximino Nazareno, Sr. The dispositive portion of the decision dated May 29, 1998 reads:

WHEREFORE, the appeal is GRANTED. The decision and the order in question are modified as follows: 1. The Deed of Absolute Sale dated 29 January 1970 and the Deed of Absolute Sale dated 31 July 1982 are hereby declared null and void; 2. Except as to Lots 13 and 14 ownership of which has passed on to third persons, it is hereby declared that Lots 3, 3-B, 10 and 11 shall form part of the estate of the deceased Maximino Nazareno, Sr.; 3. The Register of Deeds of Quezon City is hereby ordered to restore TCT No. 140946 (covering Lot 3-B), TCT No. 132019 (covering Lot 3), TCT No. 118885 (covering Lot 10), and TCT No. 118886 (covering Lot 11).[23]
Petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration but it was denied in a resolution dated May 27, 1999. Hence this petition. Petitioners raise the following issues:
1. WHETHER OR NOT THE UNCORROBORATED TESTIMONY OF PRIVATE RESPONDENT ROMEO P. NAZARENO CAN DESTROY THE FULL FAITH AND CREDIT ACCORDED TO NOTARIZED DOCUMENTS LIKE THE DEED OF ABSOLUTE SALE DATED JANUARY 29, 1970 (EXH. 1) EXECUTED BY THE DECEASED SPOUSES MAXIMINO A. NAZARENO, SR. AND AUREA POBLETE IN FAVOR OF PETITIONER NATIVIDAD P. NAZARENO. 2. WHETHER OR NOT THE RESPONDENT COURT GROSSLY MISAPPRECIATED THE FACTS OF THE CASE WITH RESPECT TO THE VALIDITY OF THE SAID DEED OF ABSOLUTE SALE DATED JANUARY 29, 1970 (EXH. 1) IN THE LIGHT OF THE FOLLOWING: A) THE DOCUMENTARY EVIDENCE, ALL OF WHICH ARE NOTARIZED, EXECUTED BY THE DECEASED SPOUSES DURING THEIR LIFETIME INVOLVING SOME OF THEIR CONJUGAL PROPERTIES. B) THE EXECUTION OF AN EXTRA-JUDICIAL PARTITION WITH WAIVER OF RIGHTS AND CONFIRMATION OF SALE DATED MAY 24, 1975 (EXH. 14A) OF THE ESTATE OF AUREA POBLETE BY THE DECEASED MAXIMINO A. NAZARENO, SR. AND THEIR CHILDREN INVOLVING THE ONLY REMAINING ESTATE OF AUREA POBLETE THUS IMPLIEDLY ADMITTING THE VALIDITY OF PREVIOUS DISPOSITIONS MADE BY SAID DECEASED SPOUSES ON THEIR CONJUGAL PROPERTIES, HALF OF WHICH WOULD HAVE BECOME A PART OF AUREA POBLETES ESTATE UPON HER DEMISE.

C) THE ADMISSION MADE BY MAXIMINO A. NAZARENO, SR. IN HIS TESTIMONY IN OPEN COURT ON AUGUST 13, 1980 DURING HIS LIFETIME IN CIVIL CASE NO. NC-712 (EXH. 81, 81B) THAT HE HAD SOLD CERTAIN PROPERTIES IN FAVOR OF NATIVIDAD P. NAZARENO THUS BELYING THE CLAIM OF ROMEO P. NAZARENO THAT THE DEED OF ABSOLUTE SALE DATED JANUARY 29, 1970 IS ONE AMONG THE DOCUMENTS EXECUTED BY THE DECEASED SPOUSES TO BE WITHOUT CONSIDERATION. D) THE ADMISSIONS MADE BY ROMEO P. NAZARENO HIMSELF CONTAINED IN A FINAL DECISION OF THE RESPONDENT COURT IN CA-GR CV NO. 12932 DATED AUGUST 31, 1992 AND AN ANNEX APPEARING IN HIS ANSWER TO THE COMPLAINT IN CIVIL CASE NO. Q-39018 (EXH. 11-B) INVOLVING LOT 3B, ONE OF THE PROPERTIES IN QUESTION THAT THE SAID PROPERTY IS OWNED BY PETITIONER NATIVIDAD P. NAZARENO. E) THE PARTIAL PROJECT OF PARTITION DATED MAY 24, 1995 WHICH WAS APPROVED BY THE INTESTATE COURT IN SP. PROC. NO. NC-28 AND EXECUTED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE LATTER COURTS FINAL ORDER DATED JULY 9, 1991 DETERMINING WHICH WERE THE REMAINING PROPERTIES OF THE ESTATE. 3. WHETHER OR NOT THE DEED OF ABSOLUTE SALE DATED JANUARY 29, 1970 EXECUTED BY THE DECEASED SPOUSES MAXIMINO A. NAZARENO, SR. AND AUREA POBLETE DURING THEIR LIFETIME INVOLVING THEIR CONJUGAL PROPERTIES IS AN INDIVISIBLE CONTRACT? AND IF SO WHETHER OR NOT UPON THEIR DEATH, THE ESTATE OF MAXIMINO A. NAZARENO, SR. ALONE CAN SEEK THE ANNULMENT OF SAID SALE? 4. WHETHER OR NOT THE SALE OF LOT 3 UNDER THE DEED OF ABSOLUTE SALE DATED JANUARY 29, 1970 IN FAVOR OF PETITIONER NATIVIDAD P. NAZARENO, IS VALID CONSIDERING THAT AS PER THE ORDER OF THE LOWER COURT DATED NOVEMBER 21, 1990. ROMEO NAZARENO ADMITTED THAT HE DID NOT PAY THE CONSIDERATION STATED IN THE DEED OF ABSOLUTE SALE DATED JULY 4, 1969 EXECUTED BY THE DECEASED SPOUSES IN HIS FAVOR (EXH. M-2). 5. WHETHER OR NOT AS A CONSEQUENCE, THE TITLE ISSUED IN THE NAME OF ROMEO P. NAZARENO, TCT NO. 277968 (EXH. M) SHOULD BE CANCELLED AND DECLARED NULL AND VOID AND A NEW ONE ISSUED IN FAVOR OF NATIVIDAD P. NAZARENO PURSUANT TO THE DEED OF ABSOLUTE SALE EXECUTED IN THE LATTERS FAVOR ON JANUARY 29, 1970 BY THE DECEASED SPOUSES.[24]

We find the petition to be without merit. First. Petitioners argue that the lone testimony of Romeo is insufficient to overcome the presumption of validity accorded to a notarized document. To begin with, the findings of fact of the Court of Appeals are conclusive on the parties and carry even more weight when these coincide with the factual findings of the trial court. This Court will not weigh the evidence all over again unless there is a showing that the findings of the lower court are totally devoid of support or are clearly erroneous so as to constitute serious abuse of discretion. [25] The lone testimony of a

witness, if credible, is sufficient. In this case, the testimony of Romeo that no consideration was ever paid for the sale of the six lots to Natividad was found to be credible both by the trial court and by the Court of Appeals and it has not been successfully rebutted by petitioners. We, therefore, have no reason to overturn the findings by the two courts giving credence to his testimony. The fact that the deed of sale was notarized is not a guarantee of the validity of its contents. As held in Suntay v. Court of Appeals:[26]

Though the notarization of the deed of sale in question vests in its favor the presumption of regularity, it is not the intention nor the function of the notary public to validate and make binding an instrument never, in the first place, intended to have any binding legal effect upon the parties thereto. The intention of the parties still and always is the primary consideration in determining the true nature of a contract.
Second. Petitioners make capital of the fact that in C.A.-G.R. CV No. 12932, which was declared final by this Court in G.R. No. 107684, the Court of Appeals upheld the right of Maximino, Jr. to recover possession of Lot 3-B. In that case, the Court of Appeals held:

As shown in the preceding disquisition, Natividad P. Nazareno acquired the property in dispute by purchase in 1970. She was issued Transfer Certificate of Title No. 162738 of the Registry of Deeds of Quezon City.When her parents died, her mother Aurea Poblete-Nazareno in 1970 and her father Maximino A. Nazareno, Sr. in 1980, Natividad P. Nazareno had long been the exclusive owner of the property in question. There was no way therefore that the aforesaid property could belong to the estate of the spouses Maximino Nazareno, Sr. and Aurea Poblete. The mere fact that Romeo P. Nazareno included the same property in an inventory of the properties of the deceased Maximino A. Nazareno, Sr. will not adversely affect the ownership of the said realty. Appellant Romeo P. Nazarenos suspicion that his parents had entrusted all their assets under the care and in the name of Natividad P. Nazareno, their eldest living sister who was still single, to be divided upon their demise to all the compulsory heirs, has not progressed beyond mere speculation. His barefaced allegation on the point not only is without any corroboration but is even belied by documentary evidence. The deed of absolute sale (Exhibit B), being a public document (Rule 132, Secs. 19 and 23, Revised Rules on Evidence), is entitled to great weight; to contradict the same, there must be evidence that is clear, convincing and more than merely preponderant (Yturralde vs. Aganon, 28 SCRA 407; Favor vs. Court of Appeals, 194 SCRA 308).Defendants-appellants own conduct disproves their claim of co-ownership over the property in question. Being themselves the owner of a ten-unit apartment building along Stanford St., Cubao Quezon City, defendants-appellants, in a letter of demand to vacate addressed to their tenants (Exhibits P, P-1 and P-2) in said apartment, admitted that the house and lot

located at No. 979 Aurora Blvd., Quezon City where they were residing did not belong to them. Also, when they applied for a permit to repair the subject property in 1977, they stated that the property belonged to and was registered in the name of Natividad P. Nazareno. Among the documents submitted to support their application for a building permit was a copy of TCT No. 162738 of the Registry of Deeds of Quezon City in the name of Natividad Nazareno (Exhibit O and submarkings; tsn March 15, 1985, pp. 4-5).[27]
To be sure, that case was for recovery of possession based on ownership of Lot 3B. The parties in that case were Maximino, Jr., as plaintiff, and the spouses Romeo and Eliza, as defendants. On the other hand, the parties in the present case for annulment of sale are the estate of Maximino, Sr., as plaintiff, and Natividad and Maximino, Jr., as defendants. Romeo and Eliza were named third-party defendants after a third-party complaint was filed by Natividad and Maximino, Jr. As already stated, however, this third-party complaint concerned Lot 3, and not Lot 3-B. The estate of a deceased person is a juridical entity that has a personality of its own.[28] Though Romeo represented at one time the estate of Maximino, Sr., the latter has a separate and distinct personality from the former. Hence, the judgment in CA-GR CV No. 12932 regarding the ownership of Maximino, Jr. over Lot 3-B binds Romeo and Eliza only, and not the estate of Maximino, Sr., which also has a right to recover properties which were wrongfully disposed. Furthermore, Natividads title was clearly not an issue in the first case. In othe r words, the title to the other five lots subject of the present deed of sale was not in issue in that case. If the first case resolved anything, it was the ownership of Maximino, Jr. over Lot 3-B alone. Third. Petitioners allege that, as shown by several deeds of sale executed by Maximino, Sr. and Aurea during their lifetime, the intention to dispose of their real properties is clear.Consequently, they argue that the Deed of Sale of January 29, 1970 should also be deemed valid. This is a non-sequitur. The fact that other properties had allegedly been sold by the spouses Maximino, Sr. and Aurea does not necessarily show that the Deed of Sale made on January 29, 1970 is valid. Romeo does not dispute that their parents had executed deeds of sale. The question, however, is whether these sales were made for a consideration. The trial court and the Court of Appeals found that the Nazareno spouses transferred their properties to their children by fictitious sales in order to avoid the payment of inheritance taxes. Indeed, it was found both by the trial court and by the Court of Appeals that Natividad had no means to pay for the six lots subject of the Deed of Sale.

All these convince the Court that Natividad had no means to pay for all the lots she purportedly purchased from her parents. What is more, Romeos admission that he did not pay for the transfer to him of lots 3 and 25-L despite the considerations stated in

the deed of sale is a declaration against interest and must ring with resounding truth. The question is, why should Natividad be treated any differently, i.e., with consideration for the sale to her, when she is admittedly the closest to her parents and the one staying with them and managing their affairs? It just seems without reason. Anyway, the Court is convinced that the questioned Deed of Sale dated January 29, 1970 (Exh. A or 1) is simulated for lack of consideration, and therefore ineffective and void.[29]
In affirming this ruling, the Court of Appeals said:

Facts and circumstances indicate badges of a simulated sale which make the Deed of Absolute Sale dated 29 January 1970 void and of no effect. In the case of Suntay vs. Court of Appeals (251 SCRA 430 [1995]), the Supreme Court held that badges of simulation make a deed of sale null and void since parties thereto enter into a transaction to which they did not intend to be legally bound. It appears that it was the practice in the Nazareno family to make simulated transfers of ownership of real properties to their children in order to avoid the payment of inheritance taxes. Per the testimony of Romeo, he acquired Lot 25-L from his parents through a fictitious or simulated sale wherein no consideration was paid by him. He even truthfully admitted that the sale of Lot 3 to him on 04 July 1969 (Deed of Absolute Sale, Records, Vol. II, p. 453) likewise had no consideration. This document was signed by the spouses Max, Sr. and Aurea as vendors while defendant-appellant Natividad signed as witness.[30]
Fourth. Petitioners argue further:

The Deed of Absolute Sale dated January 29, 1970 is an indivisible contract founded on an indivisible obligation. As such, it being indivisible, it can not be annulled by only one of them. And since this suit was filed only by the estate of Maximino A. Nazareno, Sr. without including the estate of Aurea Poblete, the present suit must fail. The estate of Maximino A. Nazareno, Sr. can not cause its annulment while its validity is sustained by the estate of Aurea Poblete.[31]
An obligation is indivisible when it cannot be validly performed in parts, whatever may be the nature of the thing which is the object thereof. The indivisibility refers to the prestation and not to the object thereof.[32] In the present case, the Deed of Sale of January 29, 1970 supposedly conveyed the six lots to Natividad. The obligation is clearly indivisible because the performance of the contract cannot be done in parts, otherwise the value of what is transferred is diminished. Petitioners are therefore mistaken in basing the indivisibility of a contract on the number of obligors. In any case, if petitioners only point is that the estate of Maximino, Sr. alone can not contest the validity of the Deed of Sale because the estate of Aurea has not yet been

settled, the argument would nonetheless be without merit. The validity of the contract can be questioned by anyone affected by it. [33] A void contract is inexistent from the beginning. Hence, even if the estate of Maximino, Sr. alone contests the validity of the sale, the outcome of the suit will bind the estate of Aurea as if no sale took place at all. Fifth. As to the third-party complaint concerning Lot 3, we find that this has been passed upon by the trial court and the Court of Appeals. As Romeo admitted, no consideration was paid by him to his parents for the Deed of Sale. Therefore, the sale was void for having been simulated. Natividad never acquired ownership over the property because the Deed of Sale in her favor is also void for being without consideration and title to Lot 3 cannot be issued in her name. Nonetheless, it cannot be denied that Maximino, Sr. intended to give the six Quezon City lots to Natividad. As Romeo testified, their parents executed the Deed of Sale in favor of Natividad because the latter was the only female and the only unmarried member of the family.[34] She was thus entrusted with the real properties in behalf of her siblings. As she herself admitted, she intended to convey Lots 10 and 11 to Jose in the event the latter returned from abroad. There was thus an implied trust constituted in her favor. Art. 1449 of the Civil Code states:

There is also an implied trust when a donation is made to a person but it appears that although the legal estate is transmitted to the donee, he nevertheless is either to have no beneficial interest or only a part thereof.
There being an implied trust, the lots in question are therefore subject to collation in accordance with Art. 1061 which states:

Every compulsory heir, who succeeds with other compulsory heirs, must bring into the mass of the estate any property or right which he may have received from the decedent, during the lifetime of the latter, by way of donation, or any other gratuitous title, in order that it may be computed in the determination of the legitime of each heir, and in the account of the partition.
As held by the trial court, the sale of Lots 13 and 14 to Ros-Alva Marketing, Corp. on April 20, 1979[35] will have to be upheld for Ros-Alva Marketing is an innocent purchaser for value which relied on the title of Natividad. The rule is settled that every person dealing with registered land may safely rely on the correctness of the certificate of title issued therefor and the law will in no way oblige him to go behind the certificate to determine the condition of the property.[36] WHEREFORE, the decision of the Court of Appeals is AFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED.

ROLANDO SANCHEZ, FLORIDA MIERLY SANCHEZ, ALFREDO T. SANCHEZ and MYRNA T. SANCHEZ, petitioners, vs. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, ROSALIA S. LUGOD, ARTURO S. LUGOD, EVELYN LUGOD-RANISES and ROBERTO S. LUGOD, respondents. DECISION
PANGANIBAN, J.:

Is a petition for certiorari, in lieu of appeal, the proper remedy to correct orders of a probate court nullifying certain deeds of sale and, thus, effectively passing upon title to the properties subject of such deeds? Is a compromise agreement partitioning inherited properties valid even without the approval of the trial court hearing the intestate estate of the deceased owner? The Case These questions are answered by this Court as it resolves the petition for review on certiorari before us assailing the November 23, 1992 Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 28761 which annulled the decision of the trial court and which declared the compromise agreement among the parties valid and binding even without the said trial courts approval. The dispositive portion of the assailed Decision reads:
[1] [2] [3] [4]

WHEREFORE, for the reasons hereinabove set forth and discussed, the instant petition is GRANTED and the challenged decision as well as the subsequent orders of the respondent court are ANNULLED and SET ASIDE. The temporary restraining order issued by this Court on October 14, 1992 is made PERMANENT. The compromise agreement dated October 30, 1969 as modified by the memorandum of agreement of April 13, 1970 is DECLARED valid and binding upon herein parties. And Special Proceedings No. 44-M and 1022 are deemed CLOSED and TERMINATED. SO ORDERED.
[5]

The Antecedent Facts

The facts are narrated by the Court of Appeals as follows: [Herein private respondent] Rosalia S. Lugod is the only child of spouses Juan C. Sanchez and Maria Villafranca while [herein private respondents] Arturo S. Lugod, Evelyn L. Ranises and Roberto S. Lugod are the legitimate children of [herein private respondent] Rosalia. [Herein petitioners] Rolando, Florida Mierly, Alfredo and Myrna, all surnamed Sanchez, are the illegitimate children of Juan C. Sanchez. Following the death of her mother, Maria Villafranca, on September 29, 1967, [herein private respondent] Rosalia filed on January 22, 1968, thru counsel, a petition for letters of administration over the estate of her mother and the estate of her father, Juan C. Sanchez, who was at the time in state of senility (Annex B, Petition). On September 30, 1968, [herein private respondent] Rosalia, as administratrix of the intestate estate of her mother, submitted an inventory and appraisal of the real and personal estate of her late mother (Annex C, Petition). Before the administration proceedings in Special Proceedings No. 44-M could formally be terminated and closed, Juan C. Sanchez, [herein private respondent] Rosalias father, died on October 21, 1968. On January 14, 1969, [herein petitioners] as heirs of Juan C. Sanchez, filed a petition for letters of administration (Special Proceedings No. 1022) over the intestate estate of Juan C. Sanchez, which petition was opposed by (herein private respondent) Rosalia.
[6]

On October 30, 1969, however, [herein private respondent] Rosalia and [herein petitioners] assisted by their respective counsels executed a compromise agreement (Annex D, Petition) wherein they agreed to divide the properties enumerated therein of the late Juan C. Sanchez. On November 3, 1969, petitioner Rosalia was appointed by [the trial court], and took her oath as the administratrix of her fathers intestate estate. On January 19, 1970, [herein petitioners] filed a motion to require administratrix, [herein private respondent] Rosalia, to deliver deficiency of 24 hectares and or to set aside compromise agreement (Annex E, Petition). Under date of April 13, 1970, (herein private respondent) Rosalia and [herein petitioners] entered into and executed a memorandum of agreement which modified the compromise agreement (Annex F. Petition) On October 25, 1979, or nine years later, [herein petitioners] filed, thru counsel, a motion to require [herein private respondent] Rosalia to submit a

new inventory and to render an accounting over properties not included in the compromise agreement (Annex G, Petition). They likewise filed a motion to defer the approval of the compromise agreement (Annex H, Ibid), in which they prayed for the annulment of the compromise agreement on the ground of fraud. On February 4, 1980, however, counsel for [herein petitioners] moved to withdraw his appearance and the two motions he filed, Annex G and H (Annex I, Petition). On February 28, 1980, the [trial] court issued an order directing [herein private respondent] Rosalia to submit a new inventory of properties under her administration and an accounting of the fruits thereof, which prompted [herein private respondent] Rosalia to file a rejoinder on March 31, 1980 (Annex K, Petition). On May 12, 1980, [herein petitioners], thru new counsel, filed a motion to change administratrix (Annex L, Petition) to which [herein private respondent] Rosalia filed an opposition (AnnexM, Ibid). The parties were subsequently ordered to submit their respective position papers, which they did (Annexes N and O, Petition). On September 14, 1989, former counsel of (herein petitioners) entered his re-appearance as counsel for (herein petitioners). On the bases of memoranda submitted by the parties, the [trial court], this time presided by Judge Vivencio A. Galon, promulgated its decision on June 26, 1991, the dispositive portion of which states: WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered as follows by declaring and ordering: 1.That the entire intestate estate of Maria Villafranca Sanchez under Special Proceedings No.44-M consists of all her paraphernal properties and one-half (1/2) of the conjugal properties which must be divided equally between Rosalia Sanchez de Lugod and Juan C. Sanchez; 2.That the entire intestate estate of Juan C. Sanchez under Special Proceedings No. 1022 consists of all his capital properties, one-half (1/2) from the conjugal partnership of gains and one-half (1/2) of the intestate estate of Maria Villafranca under Special Proceedings No. 44-M; 3.That one-half (1/2) of the entire intestate estate of Juan C. Sanchez shall be inherited by his only legitimate daughter, Rosalia V. Sanchez de Lugod while the other one-half

(1/2) shall be inherited and be divided equally by, between and among the six (6) illegitimate children, namely: Patricia Alburo, Maria Ramuso Sanchez, Rolando Pedro T. Sanchez, Florida Mierly T. Sanchez, Alfredo T. Sanchez and Myrna T. Sanchez; 4.That all the Deed (sic) of Absolute Sales executed by Juan C. Sanchez and Maria Villafranca in favor of Rosalia Sanchez Lugod, Arturo S. Lugod, Evelyn S. Lugod and Roberto S. Lugod on July 26, 1963 and June 26, 1967 are all declared simulated and fictitious and must be subject to collation and partition among all heirs; 5.That within thirty (30) days from finality of this decision, Rosalia Sanchez Lugod is hereby ordered to prepare a project of partition of the intestate estate of Juan C. Sanchez under Special Proceedings No. 1022 and distribute and deliver to all heirs their corresponding shares. If she fails to do so within the said thirty (30) days, then a Board of Commissioners is hereby constituted, who are all entitled to honorarium and per diems and other necessary expenses chargeable to the estate to be paid by Administratrix Rosalia S. Lugod, appointing the Community Environment and Natural Resources Officer (CENRO) of Gingoog City as members thereof, with the task to prepare the project of partition and deliver to all heirs their respective shares within ninety (90) days from the finality of said decision; 6.That within thirty (30) days from receipt of this decision, Administratrix Rosalia Sanchez Vda. de Lugod is hereby ordered to submit two (2) separate certified true and correct accounting, one for the income of all the properties of the entire intestate estate of Maria Villafranca under Special Proceedings No. 44-M, and another for the properties of the entire intestate estate of Juan C. Sanchez under Special Proceedings No. 1022 duly both signed by her and both verified by a Certified Public Accountant and distribute and deliver to her six (6) illegitimate brothers and sisters in equal shares, one -half (1/2) of the net income of the estate of Juan C. Sanchez from October 21, 1968 up to the finality of this decision; 7.For failure to render an accounting report and failure to give cash advances to the illegitimate children of Juan C. Sanchez during their minority and hour of need from the net income of the estate of Juan C. Sanchez, which adversely prejudiced their social standing and pursuit of college education, (the trial court) hereby orders Rosalia Sanchez Vda. de Lugod to pay her six (6) illegitimate brothers and sisters the sum of Five Hundred Thousand (P500,000.00) Pesos, as exemplary damages, and also the sum of One Hundred Fifty Thousand (P150,000.00) Pesos for attorneys fees; 8.Upon release of this decision and during its pendency, should appeal be made, the Register of Deeds and Assessors of the Provinces and Cities where the properties of Juan C. Sanchez and Maria Villafranca are located, are all ordered to register and

annotate in the title and/or tax declarations, the dispositive portion of this decision for the protection of all heirs and all those who may be concerned. SO ORDERED. [Herein private respondent] Rosalia filed a motion for reconsideration dated July 17, 1991 (Annex P, Petition) on August 6, 1991. On August 13, 1991, [herein petitioners] filed a motion for execution and opposition to [herein private respondent] Rosalias motion for reconsideration (Annex Q, Petition). On September 3, 1991, [the trial court] issued an Omnibus Order (Annex S, Petition) declaring, among other things, that the decision at issue had become final and executory. [Herein private respondent] Rosalia then filed a motion for reconsideration of said Omnibus Order (Annex T, Petition). Said [herein private respondent] was allowed to file a memorandum in support of her motion (Annex V, Petition).
On June 26, 1991, [the trial court] issued and Order denying petitioner Rosalias motion for reconsideration (Annex W, Petition).[7]

Thereafter, private respondents elevated the case to the Court of Appeals via a petition for certiorari and contended:
I

The [trial court] has no authority to disturb the compromise agreement.


II

The [trial court] has arbitrarily faulted [herein private respondent] Rosalia S. Lugod for alleged failure to render an accounting which was impossible.
III

The [trial court] acted without jurisdiction in derogation of the constitutional rights of [herein private respondents] Arturo S. Lugod, Evelyn L. Ranises and Roberto S. Lugod when [the trial court] decided to annul the deed of sale between the said [herein private respondents] and Juan C. Sanchez without affording them their day in court.
IV

[The trial court judge] defied without rhyme or reason well-established and entrenched jurisprudence when he determined facts sans any evidence thereon.
V

[The trial court] grossly misinterpreted [herein private respondent] Rosalia S. Lugods right to appeal.
[8]

For claritys sake, this Court hereby reproduces verbatim the compr omise agreement of the parties:
[9]

COMPROMISE AGREEMENT COME NOW, the parties in the above-entitled case, motivated by their mutual desire to preserve and maintain harmonious relations between and among themselves, for mutual valuable considerations and in the spirit of good will and fair play, and, for the purpose of this Compromise Agreement, agree to the following: 1. That the deceased Juan C. Sanchez who died intestate on October 21, 1968 was legally married to Maria Villafranca de Sanchez, who predeceased her on September 29, 1967, out of whose wedlock Rosalia Sanchez Lugod, Oppositor herein, was born, thus making her the sole and only surviving legitimate heir of her deceased parents; 2. That the said deceased Juan C. Sanchez, left illegitimate children, IntervenorsOppositors and Petitioners, respectively, herein namely; (1) Patricio Alburo, born out of wedlock on March 17, 1926 at Cebu City, Philippines, to Emilia Alburo; (2) Maria Ramoso Sanchez, born out of wedlock on May 9, 1937 at Gingoog, Misamis Oriental, now, Gingoog City, to Alberta Ramoso; (3) (a) Rolando Pedro Sanchez, born on May 19, 1947, (b) Florida Mierly Sanchez, born on February 16, 1949, (c) Alfredo Sanchez, born on July 21, 1950,and

(d) Myrna Sanchez, born on June 16, 1952, all born out of wedlock to Laureta Tampus in Gingoog City, Philippines. 3. That the deceased Juan C. Sanchez left the following properties, to wit: I. SEPARATE CAPITAL OF JUAN C. SANCHEZ NATURE, DESCRIPTION AND AREA ASSESSED VALUE (1) Agricultural Land. Covered by Tax. Decl. No. 06458, Cad. Lot No. 1041 C-2, located at Murallon, Gingoog City and bounded on the North by Lot Nos. 1033, 1035, 1036, 1037, 1039, 1040, 1042 & 1043; South by Lot No. 1080, 1088, 1087 & 1084; East by Lot Nos. 1089, 1061 & 2319; West by Lot Nos. 954, 1038, 1057 & 1056, containing an area of ONE HUNDRED EIGHTY THREE THOUSAND SIX HUNDRED SEVENTY TWO (183, 672) sq. ms. more or less. P21,690.00 II. CONJUGAL PROPERTY OF JUAN C. SANCHEZ AND MARIA VILLAFRANCA DE SANCHEZ (1) Agricultural Land. Covered by Tax Decl. No. 06447, Cad. Lot No. 2745, C-7 located at Agay-ayan, Gingoog City and bounded on the North by Lot Nos. 2744, 2742, 2748; South by Lot No. 2739; East by Lot No. 2746; West by Lot No. 2741, containing an area of FOURTEEN THOUSAND SEVEN HUNDRED (14,700) sq. ms. more or less. P1,900.0 0 (2) Agricultural Land. Covered by Tax Decl. No. 06449, Cad, Lot No. 3271 C-7 located at Panyangan, Lanao, Gingoog City and bounded on the North by Lot No. 3270; South by Lot Nos. 2900 & 3462; East by Panyangan River & F. Lumanao; and Part of Lot 3272; and West by Samay Creek, containing an area of ONE HUNDRED FOUR THOUSAND SIX HUNDRED (104,600) sq. ms. more or less. P11,580.00 (3) Agricultural Land. Covered by Tax Decl. No. 06449, Cad. Lot No. 2319, Case 2, located at Murallon, Gingoog City and bounded on the

North by Lot No. 1061; South by Hinopolan Creek; East by Lot No. 1044; and West by Lot No. 1041, containing an area of THREE THOUSAND TWO HUNDRED TWENTY FIVE (3,225) sq. ms. more or less. (4) Agricultural Land. Covered by Tax Decl. No. 06452, Cad. Lot No. 3272, C-7 Part 4 located at Panyangan, Lunao, Gingoog City and bounded on the North by Lot Nos. 3270 & 3273; East by Panyangan River; South by Panyangan River; and West by Lot Nos. 3270 & 3271, containing an area of FIFTY FIVE THOUSAND SIX HUNDRED (55,600) sq. ms. more or less, being claimed by Damian Querubin. P2.370.00 (5) Agricultural Land. Covered by Tax Decl. No. 06453, Cad. Lot No. 3270 Case 7, located at Sunog, Lunao, Gingoog City and bounded on the North by Samay Creek & Lot 3267; South by Lot Nos. 3271 & 3272; East by Lot Nos. 3269 & 3273; and West by Samay Creek, containing an area of FOUR HUNDRED EIGHT THREE THOUSAND SIX HUNDRED (483,600) sq. ms. more or less. P61,680.00 (6) Agricultural Land. Covered by Tax Decl. No. 06457, Cad. Lot No. 3273, C-7 Part 2 located at Panyangan, Lunao, Gingoog City and bounded on the North by Lot No. 3269; South by Lot No. 3272; East by Panyangan River; and West by Lot No. 3270, contaning an area of THIRTY FOUR THOUSAND THREE HUNDRED (34,300) sq. ms. more or less, being claimed by Miguel Tuto. P3,880.00 (7) Agricultural Land. Covered by Tax Decl. No. 12000, Cad. Lot No. 2806, Case 7 located at Agayayan, Gingoog City and bounded on the North by Agayayan River; South by Victoriano Barbac; East by Isabelo Ramoso; and West by Restituto Baol, contaning an area of SIX THOUSAND SIX HUNDRED SEVENTY SIX (6,676) sq. ms. more or less. P380.00

(8)

Agricultural Land. Covered by Tax Decl. No. 12924, Cad. Lot No. 1206 C-1 located at Cahulogan, Gingoog City and bounded on the NW., by Lot No. 1209; SW., by Lot No. 1207; East by National Highway; and West by Lot No. 1207; containing an area of FOUR THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED THIRTEEN (4,513) sq. ms. more or less. P740.00

(9)

Agricultural Land. Covered by Tax Decl. No. 12925, Cad. Lot No. 5554, located at Tinaytayan, Pigsalohan, Gingoog City and bounded on the North by Lot Nos. 5559 & 5558; South by Lot No. 3486; East by Lot No. 5555; and West by Lot No. 5355, containing an area of EIGHTEEN THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED TWENTY EIGHT (18,528) sq. ms. more or less. P320.00

(10) Agricultural Land. Covered by Tax Decl. No. 12926, Cad. Lot No. 5555 C-7 located at Tinaytayan, Pigsalojan, Gingoog City and bounded on the North by Tinaytayan Creek & Lot Nos. 5557 & 5558; South by Lot Nos. 3486, 3487, 3488, 3491 & 3496; East by Cr. & Lot No. 3496; and West by Lot No. 5554, containing an area of SEVENTY SEVEN THOUSAND SEVEN HUNDRED SEVENTY SIX (77,776) sq. ms. more or less. P1,350.00 (11) A Commercial Land. Covered by Tax Decl. No. 06454, Cad. Lot No. 61-C-1 located at Guno-Condeza Sts., Gingoog City and bounded on the North by Lot 64; South by Road-Lot 613 Condeza St; East by Lot Nos. 63, and 62; West by Road-Lot 614-Guno St., containing an area of ONE THOUSAND FORTY TWO (1,042) sq. ms. more or less. P9,320.00 (12) A Commercial Land. Covered by Tax Decl. No. 06484, Lot No. 5, Block 2, located at Cabuyoan, Gingoog City and bounded on the North by Lot No. 4, block 2; South by Lot No. 8, block 2; East by Lot No. 6, block 2, West by Subdivision Road, containing an area of FOUR HUNDRED (400) sq. ms. more or less. P12,240.00

(13) A Commercial Land. Covered by Tax Decl. No. 15798, Block No. 7A-16-0 located at Cabuyoan, Gingoog City and bounded on the North by Lot No. 7-A-16-0; South by Lot No. 7-16-0; East by Lot No. 7-A-18Road; West by Lot No. 8, PSU-120704-Julito Arengo vs. Restituto Baol, containing an area of TWO HUNDRED SIXTEEN (216) sq. ms. more or less. P1,050.00 (14) Agricultural Land. Covered by Tax, Decl. No. 06789, Cad. Lot No. 5157-C-7, located at Kiogat, Agayayan, Gingoog City and bounded on the North by Lot No. 5158, 5159, 5156; South by SE-Steep Bank; East by NW, by Lot No. 5158, Villafranca, containing an area of NINETY SIX THOUSAND TWO HUNDRED (96,200) sq. ms. more or less. P3,370.00 III. PERSONAL ESTATE (CONJUGAL) NATURE AND DESCRIPTION 1. LOCATION APPRAISAL

Fifty (50) shares of stock Rural Bank of Gingoog, Inc. at P100.00 per P5,000.00

share 2. Four (4) shares of Preferred Stock with San Miguel Corporation

400.00

4. That, the parties hereto have agreed to divide the above-enumerated properties in the following manner, to wit: (a) To Patricio Alburo, Maria Ramoso Sanchez, Roland Pedro T. Sanchez, Florida Mierly Sanchez, Alfredo T. Sanchez and Myrna T. Sanchez, in equal pro-indiviso shares, considering not only their respective areas but also the improvements existing thereon, to wit: Agricultural Land. Covered by Tax Decl. No. 06453, Cad. Lot No. 3270 Case 7, located at Sunog, Lunao, Gingoog City and bounded on the North by Samay Creek & Lot 3267; South by Lot

Nos. 3271 and 3272; East by Lot Nos. 3269 & 3273; and West by Samay Creek, containing an area of FOUR HUNDRED EIGHTY THREE THOUSAND SIX HUNDRED (483,600) sq. ms. and assessed in the sum of P61,680.00. (b) To Rosalia Sanchez Lugod all the rest of the properties, both real and personal, enumerated above with the exception of the following: (1) Two Preferred Shares of Stock in the San Miguel Corporation, indicated in San Miguel Corporation Stock Certificate No. 30217, which two shares she is ceding in favor of Patricio Alburo; The house and lot designated as Lot No. 5, Block 2 together with the improvements thereon and identified as parcel No. II-12, lot covered by Tax Decl. No. 15798 identified as Parcel No. II-13 in the above enumerated, and Cad. Lot No. 5157-C-7 together with the improvements thereon, which is identified as parcel No. II-14 of the above-enumeration of properties, which said Rosalia S. Lugod is likewise ceding and renouncing in favor of Rolando Pedro, Florida Mierly, Alfredo and Myrna, all surnamed Sanchez, in equal pro-indiviso shares;

(2)

5. That Rolando Pedro, Florida Mierly, Alfredo and Myrna, all surnamed Sanchez hereby acknowledge to have received jointly and severally in form of advances after October 21, 1968 the aggregate sum of EIGHT THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED THIRTY-THREE PESOS (P8,533.94) and NINETY-FOUR CENTAVOS; 6. That the parties hereto likewise acknowledge and recognize in the indebtedness of the deceased Juan G. Sanchez and his deceased wife Maria Villafranca Sanchez to the Lugod Enterprises, Inc., in the sum ofP43,064.99; 7. That the parties hereto shall be responsible for the payment of the estate and inheritance taxes proportionate to the value of their respective shares as may be determined by the Bureau of Internal Revenue and shall likewise be responsible for the expenses of survey and segregation of their respective shares; 8. That Patricio Alburo, Maria Ramoso Sanchez, Roland Pedro Sanchez, Florida Mierly Sanchez, Alfredo Sanchez and Myrna Sanchez hereby waive, relinquish and renounce, jointly and individually, in a manner that is absolute and irrevocable, all their rights and interests, share and participation which they have or might have in all the properties, both real and personal, known or unknown and/or which may not be listed herein, or in excess of the areas listed or mentioned herein, and/or which might

have been, at one time or another, owned by, registered or placed in the name of either of the spouses Juan C. Sanchez or Maria Villafranca de Sanchez or both, and which either one or both might have sold, ceded, transferred, or donated to any person or persons or entity and which parties hereto do hereby confirm and ratify together with all the improvements thereon, as well as all the produce and proceeds thereof, and particularly of the properties, real and personal listed herein, as well as demandable obligations due to the deceased spouses Juan C. Sanchez, before and after the death of the aforementioned spouses Juan C. Sanchez and Maria Villafranca de Sanchez, in favor of oppositor Rosalia S. Lugod; 9. That the expenses of this litigation including attorneys fees shall be borne respectively by the parties hereto; 10. That Laureta Tampus for herself and guardian ad-litem of her minor children, namely: Florida Mierly, Alfredo, and Myrna, all surnamed Sanchez, hereby declare that she has no right, interest, share and participation whatsoever in the estate left by Juan C. Sanchez and/or Maria Villafranca de Sanchez, or both, and that she likewise waives, renounces, and relinquishes whatever rigid, share, participation or interest therein which she has or might have in favor of Rosalia S. Lugod; 11. That, the parties hereto mutually waive and renounce in favor of each other any whatever claims or actions, arising from, connected with, and as a result of Special Proceedings Nos. 44-M and 1022 of the Court of First Instance of Misamis Oriental, Rosalia S. Lugod, warranting that the parcel of land ceded to the other parties herein contains 48 hectares and 36 acres. 12. That, Rosalia S. Lugod shall assume as she hereby assumes the payment to Lugod Enterprises, Inc., of the sum of P51,598.93 representing the indebtedness of the estate of Juan C. Sanchez and Maria Villafranca de Sanchez and the advances made to Rolando Pedro, Mierly, Alfredo, and Myrna all surnamed Sanchez, mentioned in paragraphs 5 and 6 hereof and, to give effect to this Agreement, the parties hereto agree to have letters of administration issued in favor of Rosalia S. Lugod without any bond. That Rosalia S. Lugod likewise agrees to deliver possession and enjoyment of the parcel of land herein ceded to petitioners and intervenors immediately after the signing of this agreement and that the latter also mutually agree among themselves to have the said lot subdivided and partitioned immediately in accordance with the proportion of one sixth (1/6) part for every petitioner and intervenor and that in the meantime that the partition and subdivision is not yet effected, the administrations of said parcel of land shall be vested jointly with Laureta Tampos, guardian ad litem of petitioners and Maria Ramoso, one of the intervenors who shall see to it that each

petitioner and intervenor is given one sixth (1/6) of the net proceeds of all agricultural harvest made thereon. WHEREFORE, it is most respectfully prayed that the foregoing compromise agreement be approved. Medina, Misamis Oriental, October 30, 1969. (Sgd.) PATRICIO ALBURO Intervenor-Oppositor (Sgd.) MARIA RAMOSO SANCHEZ Intervenor-Oppositor (Sgd.) ASSISTED BY: (Sgd.) REYNALDO L. FERNANDEZ Gingoog City PABLO S. REYES R-101-Navarro Bldg. Don A. Velez St. Cagayan de Oro City (Sgd.) ALFREDO T. SANCHEZ Petitioner (Sgd.) MYRNA T. SANCHEZ Petitioner (Sgd.) ROSALIA S. LUGOD Oppositor ASSISTED BY:

(Sgd.) ROLANDO PEDRO T. SANCHEZ Petitioner (Sgd.) FLORIDA MIERLY T. SANCHEZ Petitioner

(Sgd.) LAURETA TAMPUS For herself and as Guardian Ad-Litem of the minors Florida Mierly, Alfredo, and Myrna, all surnamed Sanchez ASSISTED BY: TEOGENES VELEZ, JR. Counsel for Petitioners

Cagayan de Oro City

The Clerk of Court Court of First Instance Branch III, Medina, Mis. Or. Greetings: Please set the foregoing compromise agreement for the approval of the Honorable Court today, Oct. 30, 1969. (Sgd.) PABLO S. REYES FERNANDEZ (Sgd.) TEOGENES VELEZ, JR. (Sgd.) REYNALDO L.

The Memorandum of Agreement dated April 13, 1970, which the parties entered into with the assistance of their counsel, amended the above compromise. (It will be reproduced later in our discussion of the second issue raised by the petitioners.) The Court of Appeals, in a Resolution dated September 4, 1992, initially dismissed private respondents petition. Acting, however, on a motion for reconsideration and a supplemental motion for reconsideration dated September 14, 1992 and September 25, 1992, respectively, Respondent Court thereafter reinstated private respondents petition in a resolution dated October 14, 1992.
[10] [11] [12]

In due course, the Court of Appeals, as earlier stated, rendered its assailed Decision granting the petition, setting aside the trial courts decision and declaring the modified compromise agreement valid and binding. Hence, this appeal to this Court under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. The Issues In this appeal, petitioners invite the Courts attention to the following issues:
I

The respondent court grossly erred in granting the petition for certiorari under Rule 65 considering that the special civil action of certiorari may not be

availed of as a substitute for an appeal and that, in any event, the grounds invoked in the petition are merely alleged errors of judgment which can no longer be done in view of the fact that the decision of the lower court had long become final and executory.
II

Prescinding from the foregoing, the respondent court erred in annulling the decision of the lower court for the reason that a compromise agreement or partition, as the court construed the same to be, executed by the parties on October 30, 1969 was void and unenforceable the same not having been approved by the intestate court and that the same having been seasonably repudiated by petitioners on the ground of fraud.
III

The respondent court grossly erred in ignoring and disregarding findings of facts of the lower court that the alleged conveyances of real properties made by the spouses Juan C. Sanchez and Maria Villafranca just before their death in favor of their daughter and grandchildren, private respondents herein, are tainted with fraud or made in contemplation of death, hence, collationable.
IV

In any event, the respondent court grossly erred in treating the lower courts declaration of fictitiousness of the deeds of sale as a final adjudication of annulment.
V

The respondent court grossly erred in declaring the termination of the intestate proceedings even as the lower court had not made a final and enforceable distribution of the estate of the deceased Juan C. Sanchez.
VI

Prescinding from the foregoing, the respondent court grossly erred in not at least directing respondent Rosalia S. Lugod to deliver the deficiency of eight (8) hectares due petitioners under the compromise agreement and memorandum of agreement, and in not further directing her to include in the inventory properties conveyed under the deeds of sale found by the lower court to be part of the estate of Juan C. Sanchez.
[13]

The salient aspects of some issues are closely intertwined; hence, they are hereby consolidated into three main issues specifically dealing with the following subjects: (1) the propriety of certiorari as a remedy before the Court of Appeals, (2) the validity of the compromise agreement, and (3) the

presence of fraud in the execution of the compromise and/or collation of the properties sold. The Courts Ruling The petition is not meritorious. First Issue: Propriety of Certiorari Before the Court of Appeals Since private respondents had neglected or failed to file an ordinary appeal within the reglementary period, petitioners allege that the Court of Appeals erred in allowing private respondents recourse to Rule 65 of the Rules of Court. They contend that private respondents invocation of certiorari was procedurally defective. They further argue that private respondents, in their petition before the Court of Appeals, alleged errors of the trial court which, being merely errors of judgment and not errors of jurisdiction, were not correctable by certiorari. This Court disagrees.
[14] [15]

Doctrinally entrenched is the general rule that certiorari is not a substitute for a lost appeal. However, Justice Florenz D. Regalado lists several exceptions to this rule, viz.: (1) where the appeal does not constitute a speedy and adequate remedy (Salvadades vs. Pajarillo, et al., 78 Phil. 77), as where 33 appeals were involved from orders issued in a single proceeding which will inevitably result in a proliferation of more appeals ( PCIB vs. Escolin, et al., L-27860 and 27896, Mar. 29, 1974); (2) where the orders were also issued either in excess of or without jurisdiction (Aguilar vs. Tan, L23600, Jun 30, 1970, Cf. Bautista, et al. vs. Sarmiento, et al., L-45137, Sept. 231985); (3) for certain special consideration, as public welfare or public policy (See Jose vs. Zulueta, et al. -16598, May 31, 1961 and the cases cited therein); (4) where in criminal actions, the court rejects rebuttal evidence for the prosecution as, in case of acquittal, there could be no remedy (People vs. Abalos, L029039, Nov. 28, 1968); (5) where the order is a patent nullity (Marcelo vs. De Guzman, et al., L-29077, June 29, 1982); and (6) where the decision in the certiorari case will avoid future litigations (St. Peter Memorial Park, Inc. vs. Campos, et al., L-38280, Mar. 21, 1975). Even in a case where the remedy of appeal was lost, the Court has issued the writ of certiorari where the lower court patently acted in excess of or outside its jurisdiction, as in the present case.
[16] [17]

A petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court is appropriate and allowable when the following requisites concur: (1) the writ is directed against a tribunal, board or officer exercising judicial or quasi-judicial functions; (2) such tribunal, board or officer has acted without or in excess of jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction; and (3) there is no appeal or any plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law. After a thorough review of the case at bar, we are convinced that all these requirements were met.
[18]

As a probate court, the trial court was exercising judicial functions when it issued its assailed resolution. The said court had jurisdiction to act in the intestate proceedings involved in this case with the caveat that, due to its limited jurisdiction, it could resolve questions of title only provisionally. It is hornbook doctrine that in a special proceeding for the probate of a will, the question of ownership is an extraneous matter which the probate court cannot resolve with finality. This pronouncement no doubt applies with equal force to an intestate proceeding as in the case at bar. In the instant case, the trial court rendered a decision declaring as simulated and fictitious all the deeds of absolute sale which, on July 26, 1963 and June 26, 1967, Juan C. Sanchez and Maria Villafranca executed in favor of their daughter, Rosalia Sanchez Lugod; and grandchildren, namely, Arturo S. Lugod, Evelyn S. Lugod and Roberto S. Lugod. The trial court ruled further that the properties covered by the said sales must be subject to collation. Citing Article 1409 (2) of the Civil Code, the lower court nullified said deeds of sale and determined with finality the ownership of the properties subject thereof. In doing so, it clearly overstepped its jurisdiction as a probate court. Jurisprudence teaches:
[19] [20]

[A] probate court or one in charge of proceedings whether testate or intestate cannot adjudicate or determine title to properties claimed to be a part of the estate and which are claimed to belong to outside parties. All that the said court could do as regards said properties is to determine whether they should or should not be included in the inventory or list of properties to be administered by the administrator. If there is not dispute, well and good, but if there is, then the parties, the administrator, and the opposing parties have to resort to an ordinary action for a final determination of the conflicting claims of title because the probate court cannot do so.
[21]

Furthermore, the trial court committed grave abuse of discretion when it rendered its decision in disregard of the parties compromise agreement. Such disregard, on the ground that the compromise agreement was not approved by the court, is tantamount to an evasion of positive duty or to a virtual refusal to perform the duty enjoined or to act in contemplation and within the bounds of law.
[22] [23] [24]

The foregoing issues clearly involve not only the correctness of the trial courts decision but also the latters jurisdiction. They encompass plain errors of jurisdiction and grave abuse of discretion, not merely errors of judgment. Since the trial court exceeded its jurisdiction, a petition for certiorari is certainly a proper remedy. Indeed, it is well-settled that (a)n act done by a probate court in excess of its jurisdiction may be corrected by certiorari.
[25] [26]

Consistent with the foregoing, the following disquisition by respondent appellate court is apt: As a general proposition, appeal is the proper remedy of petitioner Rosalia here under Rule 109 of the Revised Rules of Court. But the availability of the ordinary course of appeal does not constitute sufficient ground to [prevent] a party from making use of the extraordinary remedy of certiorari where appeal is not an adequate remedy or equally beneficial, speedy and sufficient (Echauz vs. Court of Appeals, 199 SCRA 381). Here, considering that the respondent court has disregarded the compromise agreement which has long been executed as early as October, 1969 and declared null and void the deeds of sale with finality, which, as a probate court, it has no jurisdiction to do, We deem ordinary appeal is inadequate. Considering further the [trial courts] granting of [herein petitioners] motion for execution of the assailed decision, [herein private respondent] Rosalias resort to the instant p etition [for review on certiorari] is all the more warranted under the circumstances.
[27] [28]

We thus hold that the questioned decision and resolutions of the trial court may be challenged through a special civil action for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court. At the very least, this case is a clear exception to the general rule that certiorari is not a substitute for a lost appeal because the trial courts decision and resolutions were issued without or in excess of jurisdiction, which may thus be challenged or attacked at any time. A void judgment for want of jurisdiction is no judgment at all. It cannot be the source of any right nor the creator of any obligation. All acts performed pursuant to it and all claims emanating from it have no legal effect. Hence, it can never become final and any writ of execution based on it is void; x x x it may be said to be a lawless thing which can be treated as an outlaw and slain at sight, or ignored wherever and whenever it exhibits its head.
[29]

Second Issue: Validity of Compromise Agreement Petitioners contend that, because the compromise agreement was executed during the pendency of the probate proceedings, judicial approval is

necessary to shroud it with validity. They stress that the probate court had jurisdiction over the properties covered by said agreement. They add that Petitioners Florida Mierly, Alfredo and Myrna were all minors represented only by their mother/natural guardian, Laureta Tampus.
[30]

These contentions lack merit. Article 2028 of the Civil Code defines a compromise agreement as a contract whereby the parties, by making reciprocal concessions, avoid a litigation or put an end to one already commenced. Being a consensual contract, it is perfected upon the meeting of the minds of the parties. Judicial approval is not required for its perfection. Petitioners argument that the compromise was not valid for lack of judicial approval is not novel; the same was raised in Mayuga vs. Court of Appeals, where the Court, through Justice Irene R. Cortes, ruled:
[31] [32]

It is alleged that the lack of judicial approval is fatal to the compromise. A compromise is a consensual contract. As such, it is perfected upon the meeting of the minds of the parties to the contract. (Hernandez v. Barcelon, 23 Phil. 599 [1912]; see also De los Reyes v. de Ugarte, 75 Phil. 505 [1945].) And from that moment not only does it become binding upon the parties (De los Reyes v. De Ugarte, supra ), it also has upon them the effect and authority of res judicata (Civil Code, Art. 2037), even if not judicially approved (Meneses v. De la Rosa, 77 Phil. 34 [1946]; Vda. De Guilas v. David, 132 Phil. 241, L-24280, 23 SCRA 762 [May 27, 1968]; Cochingyan v. Cloribel, L-27070-71 [April 22, 1977], 76 SCRA 361). (Italics found in the original.) In the case before us, it is ineludible that the parties knowingly and freely entered into a valid compromise agreement. Adequately assisted by their respective counsels, they each negotiated its terms and provisions for four months; in fact, said agreement was executed only after the fourth draft. As noted by the trial court itself, the first and second drafts were prepared successively in July, 1969; the third draft on September 25, 1969; and the fourth draft, which was finally signed by the parties on October 30, 1969, followed. Since this compromise agreement was the result of a long drawn out process, with all the parties ably striving to protect their respective interests and to come out with the best they could, there can be no doubt that the parties entered into it freely and voluntarily. Accordingly, they should be bound thereby. To be valid, it is merely required under the law to be based on real claims and actually agreed upon in good faith by the parties thereto.
[33] [34] [35]

Indeed, compromise is a form of amicable settlement that is not only allowed but also encouraged in civil cases. Article 2029 of the Civil Code
[36]

mandates that a court shall endeavor to persuade the litigants in a civil case to agree upon some fair compromise. In opposing the validity and enforcement of the compromise agreement, petitioners harp on the minority of Florida Mierly, Alfredo and Myrna. Citing Article 2032 of the Civil Code, they contend that the courts approval is necessary in compromises entered into by guardians and parents in behalf of their wards or children.
[37]

However, we observe that although denominated a compromise agreement, the document in this case is essentially a deed of partition, pursuant to Article 1082 of the Civil Code which provides that [e]very act which is intended to put an end to indivision among co-heirs and legatees or devisees is deemed to be a partition, although it should purport to be a sale, an exchange, a compromise, or any other transaction. For a partition to be valid, Section 1, Rule 74 of the Rules of Court, requires the concurrence of the following conditions: (1) the decedent left no will; (2) the decedent left no debts, or if there were debts left, all had been paid; (3) the heirs and liquidators are all of age, or if they are minors, the latter are represented by their judicial guardian or legal representatives; and (4) the partition was made by means of a public instrument or affidavit duly filed with the Register of Deeds. We find that all the foregoing requisites are present in this case. We therefore affirm the validity of the parties compromise agreement/partition in this case.
[38]

In any event, petitioners neither raised nor ventilated this issue in the trial court. This new question or matter was manifestly beyond the pale of the issues or questions submitted and threshed out before the lower court which are reproduced below, viz.: I Are the properties which are the object of the sale by the deceased spouses to their grandchildren collationable? II Are the properties which are the object of the sale by the deceased spouses to their legitimate daughter also collationable?
III The first and second issues being resolved, how much then is the rightful share of the four (4) recognized illegitimate children?[39]

Furthermore, the 27-page Memorandum dated February 17, 1990 filed by petitioners before the Regional Trial Court readily reveals that they never questioned the validity of the compromise. In their comment before the Court of Appeals, petitioners based their objection to said compromise agreement
[40] [41]

on the solitary reason that it was tainted with fraud and deception, zeroing specifically on the alleged fraud committed by private respondent Rosalia S. Lugod. The issue of minority was first raised only in petitioners Motion for Reconsideration of the Court of Appeals Decision; thus, it is as if it was never duly raised in that court at all. Hence, this Court cannot now, for the first time on appeal, entertain this issue, for to do so would plainly violate the basic rule of fair play, justice and due process. We take this opportunity to reiterate and emphasize the well-settled rule that (a)n issue raised for the first time on appeal and not raised timely in the proceedings in the lower court is barred by estoppel. Questions raised on appeal must be within the issues framed by the parties and, consequently, issues not raised in the trial court cannot be raised for the first time on appeal.
[42] [43] [44] [45] [46]

The petitioners likewise assail as void the provision on waiver contained in No. 8 of the aforequoted compromise, because it allegedly constitutes a relinquishment by petitioners of a right to properties which were not known. They argue that such waiver is contrary to law, public policy, morals or good custom. The Court disagrees. The assailed waiver pertained to their hereditary right to properties belonging to the decedents estate which were not included in the inventory of the estates properties. It also covered their right to other properties originally belonging to the spouses Juan Sanchez and Maria Villafranca de Sanchez which have been transferred to other persons. In addition, the parties agreed in the compromise to confirm and ratify said transfers. The waiver is valid because, contrary to petitioners protestation, the parties waived a known and existing interest -- their hereditary right which was already vested in them by reason of the death of their father. Article 777 of the Civil Code provides that (t)he rights to the succession are transmitted from the moment of death of the decedent. Hence, there is no legal obstacle to an heirs waiver of his/her hereditary share even if the actual extent of such share is not determined until the subsequent liquidation of the estate. At any rate, such waiver is consistent with the intent and letter of the law advocating compromise as a vehicle for the settlement of civil disputes.
[47] [48] [49]

Finally, petitioners contend that Private Respondent Rosalia T. Lugods alleged fraudulent acts, specifically her concealment of some of the decedents properties, attended the actual execution of the compromise agreement. This argument is debunked by the absence of any substantial and convincing evidence on record showing fraud on her part. As aptly observed by the appellate court:
[50]

[Herein petitioners] accuse [herein private respondent] Rosalia of fraud or deception by alleging, inter alia, that the parcel of land given to them never

conformed to the stated area, i.e., forty-eight (48) hectares, as stated in the compromise agreement. We find this argument unconvincing and unmeritorious. [Herein petitioners] averment of fraud on the part of [herein private respondent] Rosalia becomes untenable when We consider the memorandum of agreement they later executed with [herein private respondent] Rosalia wherein said compromise agreement was modified by correcting the actual area given to [herein petitioners] from forty-eight (48) hectares to thirty-six (36) hectares only. If the actual area allotted to them did not conform to the 48 hectare area stated in the compromise agreement, then why did they agree to the memorandum of agreement whereby their share in the estate of their father was even reduced to just 36 hectares? Where is fraud or deception there? Considering that [herein petitioners] were ably represented by their lawyers in executing these documents and who presumably had explained to them the import and consequences thereof, it is hard to believe their charge that they were defrauded and deceived by [herein private respondent] Rosalia. If the parcel of land given to [herein petitioners], when actually surveyed, happened to be different in area to the stated area of 48 hectares in the compromise agreement, this circumstance is not enough proof of fraud or deception on [herein private respondent] Rosalias part. Note that Tax Declaration No. 06453 plainly discloses that the land transferred to [herein petitioners] pursuant to the compromise agreement contained an area of 48 hectares (Annex A, Supplemental Reply). And when [herein petitioners] discovered that the land allotted to them actually contained only 24 hectares, a conference between the parties took place which led to the execution and signing of the memorandum of agreement wherein [herein petitioners] distributive share w as even reduced to 36 hectares. In the absence of convincing and clear evidence to the contrary, the allegation of fraud and deception cannot be successfully imputed to [herein private respondent] Rosalia who must be presumed to have acted in good faith.
[51]

The memorandum of agreement freely and validly entered into by the parties on April 13, 1970 and referred to above reads: MEMORANDUM OF AGREEMENT The parties assisted by their respective counsel have agreed as they hereby agree: 1. To amend the compromise agreement executed by them on October 30, 1969 so as to include the following:

a. Correction of the actual area being given to the petitioners and intervenors, all illegitimate children of the late Juan C. Sanchez, forty-eight (48) hectares, thirty-six (36) acres as embodied in the aforementioned compromise agreement to thirty-six (36) hectares only, thus enabling each of them to get six (6) hectares each. b. That the said 36-hectare area shall be taken from that parcel of land which is now covered by O.C.T. No. 146 (Patent No. 30012) and the adjoining areas thereof designated as Lot A and Lot C as reflected on the sketch plan attached to the record of this case prepared by Geodetic Engineer Olegario E. Zalles pursuant to the Courts commission of March 10, 1970 provided, however, that if the said 36-hectare area could not be found after adding thereto the areas of said lots A and C, then the additional area shall be taken from what is designated as Lot B, likewise also reflected in the said sketch plan attached to the records; c. That the partition among the six illegitimate children of the late Juan C. Sanchez (petitioners and intervenors) shall be effective among themselves in such a manner to be agreed upon by them, each undertaking to assume redemption of whatever plants found in their respective shares which need redemption from the tenants thereof as well as the continuity of the tenancy agreements now existing and covering the said shares or areas. d. The subdivision survey shall be at the expense of the said petitioners and intervenors prorata. e. That the administratrix agrees to deliver temporary administration of the area designated as Lot 5 of the Valles Sketch Plan pending final survey of the said 36hectare area. Cagayan de Oro City, April 13, 1970. (Sgd.) LAURETA TAMPOS For herself and as Guardian ad-litem of Rolando, Mierly, Alfredo and Myrna, all surnamed Sanchez Assisted by: (Sgd.) TEOGENES VELEZ, Jr. Counsel for Petitioners

(Sgd.) ROSALIA S. LUGOD Administratrix Assisted by: (Sgd.) PABLO S. REYES Counsel for Administratrix (Sgd.) MARIA RABOSO SANCHEZ Intervenor
[52]

Not only did the parties knowingly enter into a valid compromise agreement; they even amended it when they realized some errors in the original. Such correction emphasizes the voluntariness of said deed. It is also significant that all the parties, including the then minors, had already consummated and availed themselves of the benefits of their compromise. This Court has consistently ruled that a party to a compromise cannot ask for a rescission after it has enjoyed its benefits. By their acts, the parties are ineludibly estopped from questioning the validity of their compromise agreement. Bolstering this conclusion is the fact that petitioners questioned the compromise only nine years after its execution, when they filed with the trial court their Motion to Defer Approval of Compromise Agreement, dated October 26, 1979. In hindsight, it is not at all farfetched that petitioners filed said motion for the sole reason that they may have felt shortchanged in their compromise agreement or partition with private respondents, which in their view was unwise and unfair. While we may sympathize with this rueful sentiment of petitioners, we can only stress that this alone is not sufficient to nullify or disregard the legal effects of said compromise which, by its very nature as a perfected contract, is binding on the parties. Moreover, courts have no jurisdiction to look into the wisdom of a compromise or to render a decision different therefrom. It is a well-entrenched doctrine that the law does not relieve a party from the effects of an unwise, foolish, or disastrous contract, entered into with all the required formalities and with full awareness of what he was doing and a compromise entered into and carried out in good faith will not be discarded even if there was a mistake of law or fact, (McCarthy vs. Barber Steamship Lines, 45 Phil. 488) because courts have no power to relieve parties from obligations voluntarily assumed, simply because
[53] [54] [55] [56] [57]

their contracts turned out to investments. Volenti non fit injuria.


[58]

be

disastrous

deals

or

unwise

Corollarily, the petitioners contend that the Court of Appeals gravely abused its discretion in deeming Special Proceedings Nos. 44-M and 1022 CLOSED and TERMINATED, arguing that there was as yet no order of distribution of the estate pursuant to Rule 90 of the Rules of Court. They add that they had not received their full share thereto. We disagree. Under Section 1, Rule 90 of the Rules of Court, an order for the distribution of the estate may be made when the debts, funeral charges, and expenses of administration, the allowance to the widow, and inheritance tax, if any, had been paid. This order for the distribution of the estates residue must contain the names and shares of the persons entitled thereto. A perusal of the whole record, particularly the trial courts conclusion, reveals that all the foregoing requirements already concurred in this case. The payment of the indebtedness of the estates of Juan C. Sanchez and Maria Villafranca in the amount of P51,598.93 was shouldered by Private Respondent Rosalia, who also absorbed or charged against her share the advances of Rolando T. Lugod in the sum of P8,533.94, in compliance with Article 1061 of the Civil Code on collation. Furthermore, the compromise of the parties, which is the law between them, already contains the names and shares of the heirs to the residual estate, which shares had also been delivered. On this point, we agree with the following discussion of the Court of Appeals:
[59] [60] [61]

But what the (trial court) obviously overlooked in its appreciation of the facts of this case are the uncontroverted facts that (herein petitioners) have been in possession and ownership of their respective distributive shares as early as October 30, 1969 and they have received other properties in addition to their distributive shares in consideration of the compromise agreement which they now assail. Proofs thereof are Tax Declarations No. 20984, 20985, 20986, 20987, 20988, 20989 and 20990 (Annexes B to H, Supplemental Reply) in the respective names of (herein petitioners), all for the year 1972. (Herein petitioners) also retained a house and lot, a residential lot and a parcel of agricultural land (Annexes I, J and K, Ibid.) all of which were not considered in the compromise agreement between the parties. Moreover, in the compromise agreement per se, it is undoubtedly stated therein that cash advances in the aggregate sum of P8,533.94 were received by (herein petitioners) after October 21, 1968 (Compromise Agreement, par. 5)
[62]

All the foregoing show clearly that the probate court had essentially finished said intestate proceedings which, consequently, should be deemed closed and terminated. In view of the above discussion, the Court sees no reversible error on the part of the Court of Appeals.

Third Issue: Fraud and Collation Petitioners fault Respondent Court for not ordering Private Respondent Rosalia T. Lugod to deliver to them the deficiency as allegedly provided under the compromise agreement. They further contend that said court erred in not directing the provisional inclusion of the alleged deficiency in the inventory for purposes of collating the properties subject of the questioned deeds of sale. We see no such error. In the trial court, there was only one hearing conducted, and it was held only for the reception of the evidence of Rosalia S. Lugod to install her as administratix of the estate of Maria Villafranca. There was no other evidence, whether testimonial or otherwise, received, formally offered to, and subsequently admitted by the probate court below; nor was there a trial on the merits of the parties conflicting claims. In fact, the petitioners moved for the deferment of the compromise agreement on the basis of alleged fraudulent concealment of properties -- NOT because of any deficiency in the land conveyed to them under the agreements. Hence, there is no hard evidence on record to back up petitioners claims.
[63] [64] [65]

In any case, the trial court noted Private Respondent Rosalias willingness to reimburse any deficiency actually proven to exist. It subsequently ordered the geodetic engineer who prepared the certification and the sketch of the lot in question, and who could have provided evidence for the petitioners, to bring records of his relocation survey. However, Geodetic Engineer Idulsa did not comply with the courts subpoena duces tecum and ad testificandum. Neither did he furnish the required relocation survey. No wonder, even after a thorough scrutiny of the records, this Court cannot find any evidence to support petitioners allegations of fraud against Private Respondent Rosalia.
[66] [67]

Similarly, petitioners allegations of fraud in the execution of the questioned deeds of sale are bereft of substance, in view of the palpable absence of evidence to support them. The legal presumption of validity of the questioned deeds of absolute sale, being duly notarized public documents, has not been overcome. On the other hand, fraud is not presumed. It must be proved by clear and convincing evidence, and not by mere conjectures or speculations. We stress that these deeds of sale did not involve gratuitous transfers of future inheritance; these were contracts of sale perfected by the decedents during their lifetime. Hence, the properties conveyed thereby are not collationable because, essentially, collation mandated under Article 1061 of the Civil Code contemplates properties conveyed inter vivos by the decedent to an heir by way of donation or other gratuitous title.
[68] [69]

In any event, these alleged errors and deficiencies regarding the delivery of shares provided in the compromise, concealment of properties and fraud in the deeds of sale are factual in nature which, as a rule, are not reviewable by this Court in petitions under Rule 45. Petitioners have failed to convince us that this case constitutes an exception to such rule. All in all, we find that the Court of Appeals has sufficiently addressed the issues raised by them. Indeed, they have not persuaded us that said Court committed any reversible error to warrant a grant of their petition.
[70]

WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DENIED and the assailed Decision of the Court of Appeals is AFFIRMED. SO ORDERED. Narvasa, C.J. (Chairman), Romero, Melo and Francisco, JJ., concur.

MICHAEL C. GUY, petitioner, vs. HON. COURT OF APPEALS, HON. SIXTO MARELLA, JR., Presiding Judge, RTC, Branch 138, Makati City and minors, KAREN DANES WEI and KAMILLE DANES WEI, represented by their mother, REMEDIOS OANES, respondents. DECISION YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.: This petition for review on certiorari assails the January 22, 2004 Decision1 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 79742, which affirmed the Orders dated July 21, 20002 and July 17, 20033 of the Regional Trial Court of Makati City, Branch 138 in SP Proc. Case No. 4549 denying petitioner's motion to dismiss; and its May 25, 2004 Resolution4 denying petitioner's motion for reconsideration. The facts are as follows: On June 13, 1997, private respondent-minors Karen Oanes Wei and Kamille Oanes Wei, represented by their mother Remedios Oanes (Remedios), filed a petition for letters of administration5 before the Regional Trial Court of Makati City, Branch 138. The case was docketed as Sp. Proc. No. 4549 and entitled Intestate Estate of Sima Wei (a.k.a. Rufino Guy Susim). Private respondents alleged that they are the duly acknowledged illegitimate children of Sima Wei, who died intestate in Makati City on October 29, 1992, leaving an estate valued at P10,000,000.00 consisting of real and personal properties. His known heirs are his surviving spouse Shirley Guy and children, Emy, Jeanne, Cristina, George and Michael, all surnamed Guy. Private respondents prayed for the appointment of a regular administrator for the orderly settlement of Sima Wei's estate. They likewise prayed that, in the meantime, petitioner Michael C. Guy, son of the decedent, be

appointed as Special Administrator of the estate. Attached to private respondents' petition was a Certification Against Forum Shopping6 signed by their counsel, Atty. Sedfrey A. Ordoez. In his Comment/Opposition,7 petitioner prayed for the dismissal of the petition. He asserted that his deceased father left no debts and that his estate can be settled without securing letters of administration pursuant to Section 1, Rule 74 of the Rules of Court. He further argued that private respondents should have established their status as illegitimate children during the lifetime of Sima Wei pursuant to Article 175 of the Family Code. The other heirs of Sima Wei filed a Joint Motion to Dismiss8 on the ground that the certification against forum shopping should have been signed by private respondents and not their counsel. They contended that Remedios should have executed the certification on behalf of her minor daughters as mandated by Section 5, Rule 7 of the Rules of Court. In a Manifestation/Motion as Supplement to the Joint Motion to Dismiss,9 petitioner and his co-heirs alleged that private respondents' claim had been paid, waived, abandoned or otherwise extinguished by reason of Remedios' June 7, 1993 Release and Waiver of Claim stating that in exchange for the financial and educational assistance received from petitioner, Remedios and her minor children discharge the estate of Sima Wei from any and all liabilities. The Regional Trial Court denied the Joint Motion to Dismiss as well as the Supplemental Motion to Dismiss. It ruled that while the Release and Waiver of Claim was signed by Remedios, it had not been established that she was the duly constituted guardian of her minor daughters. Thus, no renunciation of right occurred. Applying a liberal application of the rules, the trial court also rejected petitioner's objections on the certification against forum shopping. Petitioner moved for reconsideration but was denied. He filed a petition for certiorari before the Court of Appeals which affirmed the orders of the Regional Trial Court in its assailed Decision dated January 22, 2004, the dispositive portion of which states: WHEREFORE, premises considered, the present petition is hereby DENIED DUE COURSE and accordingly DISMISSED, for lack of merit. Consequently, the assailed Orders dated July 21, 2000 and July 17, 2003 are hereby both AFFIRMED. Respondent Judge is hereby DIRECTED to resolve the controversy over the illegitimate filiation of the private respondents (sic) minors [-] Karen Oanes Wei and Kamille Oanes Wei who are claiming successional rights in the intestate estate of the deceased Sima Wei, a.k.a. Rufino Guy Susim. SO ORDERED.10 The Court of Appeals denied petitioner's motion for reconsideration, hence, this petition. Petitioner argues that the Court of Appeals disregarded existing rules on certification against forum shopping; that the Release and Waiver of Claim executed by Remedios released and discharged the Guy family and the estate of Sima Wei from any claims or liabilities; and that private respondents do not have the legal personality to institute the petition for letters of administration as they failed to prove their filiation during the lifetime of Sima Wei in accordance with Article 175 of the Family Code. Private respondents contend that their counsel's certification can be considered substantial compliance with the rules on certification of non-forum shopping, and that the petition raises no new issues to warrant the reversal of the decisions of the Regional Trial Court and the Court of Appeals.

The issues for resolution are: 1) whether private respondents' petition should be dismissed for failure to comply with the rules on certification of non-forum shopping; 2) whether the Release and Waiver of Claim precludes private respondents from claiming their successional rights; and 3) whether private respondents are barred by prescription from proving their filiation. The petition lacks merit. Rule 7, Section 5 of the Rules of Court provides that the certification of non-forum shopping should be executed by the plaintiff or the principal party. Failure to comply with the requirement shall be cause for dismissal of the case. However, a liberal application of the rules is proper where the higher interest of justice would be served. InSy Chin v. Court of Appeals,11 we ruled that while a petition may have been flawed where the certificate of non-forum shopping was signed only by counsel and not by the party, this procedural lapse may be overlooked in the interest of substantial justice.12 So it is in the present controversy where the merits13 of the case and the absence of an intention to violate the rules with impunity should be considered as compelling reasons to temper the strict application of the rules. As regards Remedios' Release and Waiver of Claim, the same does not bar private respondents from claiming successional rights. To be valid and effective, a waiver must be couched in clear and unequivocal terms which leave no doubt as to the intention of a party to give up a right or benefit which legally pertains to him. A waiver may not be attributed to a person when its terms do not explicitly and clearly evince an intent to abandon a right.14 In this case, we find that there was no waiver of hereditary rights. The Release and Waiver of Claim does not state with clarity the purpose of its execution. It merely states that Remedios received P300,000.00 and an educational plan for her minor daughters "by way of financial assistance and in full settlement of any and all claims of whatsoever nature and kind x x x against the estate of the late Rufino Guy Susim."15 Considering that the document did not specifically mention private respondents' hereditary share in the estate of Sima Wei, it cannot be construed as a waiver of successional rights. Moreover, even assuming that Remedios truly waived the hereditary rights of private respondents, such waiver will not bar the latter's claim. Article 1044 of the Civil Code, provides: ART. 1044. Any person having the free disposal of his property may accept or repudiate an inheritance. Any inheritance left to minors or incapacitated persons may be accepted by their parents or guardians. Parents or guardians may repudiate the inheritance left to their wards only by judicial authorization. The right to accept an inheritance left to the poor shall belong to the persons designated by the testator to determine the beneficiaries and distribute the property, or in their default, to those mentioned in Article 1030. (Emphasis supplied) Parents and guardians may not therefore repudiate the inheritance of their wards without judicial approval. This is because repudiation amounts to an alienation of property16 which must pass the court's scrutiny in order to protect the interest of the ward. Not having been judicially authorized, the Release and Waiver of Claim in the instant case is void and will not bar private respondents from asserting their rights as heirs of the deceased.

Furthermore, it must be emphasized that waiver is the intentional relinquishment of a known right. Where one lacks knowledge of a right, there is no basis upon which waiver of it can rest. Ignorance of a material fact negates waiver, and waiver cannot be established by a consent given under a mistake or misapprehension of fact.17 In the present case, private respondents could not have possibly waived their successional rights because they are yet to prove their status as acknowledged illegitimate children of the deceased. Petitioner himself has consistently denied that private respondents are his co-heirs. It would thus be inconsistent to rule that they waived their hereditary rights when petitioner claims that they do not have such right. Hence, petitioner's invocation of waiver on the part of private respondents must fail. Anent the issue on private respondents' filiation, we agree with the Court of Appeals that a ruling on the same would be premature considering that private respondents have yet to present evidence. Before the Family Code took effect, the governing law on actions for recognition of illegitimate children was Article 285 of the Civil Code, to wit: ART. 285. The action for the recognition of natural children may be brought only during the lifetime of the presumed parents, except in the following cases: (1) If the father or mother died during the minority of the child, in which case the latter may file the action before the expiration of four years from the attainment of his majority; (2) If after the death of the father or of the mother a document should appear of which nothing had been heard and in which either or both parents recognize the child. In this case, the action must be commenced within four years from the finding of the document. (Emphasis supplied) We ruled in Bernabe v. Alejo18 that illegitimate children who were still minors at the time the Family Code took effect and whose putative parent died during their minority are given the right to seek recognition for a period of up to four years from attaining majority age. This vested right was not impaired or taken away by the passage of the Family Code.19 On the other hand, Articles 172, 173 and 175 of the Family Code, which superseded Article 285 of the Civil Code, provide: ART. 172. The filiation of legitimate children is established by any of the following: (1) The record of birth appearing in the civil register or a final judgment; or (2) An admission of legitimate filiation in a public document or a private handwritten instrument and signed by the parent concerned. In the absence of the foregoing evidence, the legitimate filiation shall be proved by: (1) The open and continuous possession of the status of a legitimate child; or (2) Any other means allowed by the Rules of Court and special laws.

ART. 173. 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. In these cases, the heirs shall have a period of five years within which to institute the action. The action already commenced by the child shall survive notwithstanding the death of either or both of the parties. ART. 175. Illegitimate children may establish their illegitimate filiation in the same way and on the same, evidence as legitimate children. The action must be brought within the same period specified in Article 173, except when the action is based on the second paragraph of Article 172, in which case the action may be brought during the lifetime of the alleged parent. Under the Family Code, when filiation of an illegitimate child is established by a record of birth appearing in the civil register or a final judgment, or an admission of filiation in a public document or a private handwritten instrument signed by the parent concerned, the action for recognition may be brought by the child during his or her lifetime. However, if the action is based upon open and continuous possession of the status of an illegitimate child, or any other means allowed by the rules or special laws, it may only be brought during the lifetime of the alleged parent. It is clear therefore that the resolution of the issue of prescription depends on the type of evidence to be adduced by private respondents in proving their filiation. However, it would be impossible to determine the same in this case as there has been no reception of evidence yet. This Court is not a trier of facts. Such matters may be resolved only by the Regional Trial Court after a full-blown trial. While the original action filed by private respondents was a petition for letters of administration, the trial court is not precluded from receiving evidence on private respondents' filiation. Its jurisdiction extends to matters incidental and collateral to the exercise of its recognized powers in handling the settlement of the estate, including the determination of the status of each heir.20 That the two causes of action, one to compel recognition and the other to claim inheritance, may be joined in one complaint is not new in our jurisprudence.21 As held in Briz v. Briz:22 The question whether a person in the position of the present plaintiff can in any event maintain a complex action to compel recognition as a natural child and at the same time to obtain ulterior relief in the character of heir, is one which in the opinion of this court must be answered in the affirmative, provided always that the conditions justifying the joinder of the two distinct causes of action are present in the particular case. In other words, there is no absolute necessity requiring that the action to compel acknowledgment should have been instituted and prosecuted to a successful conclusion prior to the action in which that same plaintiff seeks additional relief in the character of heir. Certainly, there is nothing so peculiar to the action to compel acknowledgment as to require that a rule should be here applied different from that generally applicable in other cases. x x x The conclusion above stated, though not heretofore explicitly formulated by this court, is undoubtedly to some extent supported by our prior decisions. Thus, we have held in numerous cases, and the doctrine must be considered well settled, that a natural child having a right to compel acknowledgment, but who has not been in fact acknowledged, may maintain partition proceedings for the division of the inheritance against his coheirs (Siguiong vs. Siguiong, 8 Phil., 5; Tiamson vs. Tiamson, 32 Phil., 62); and the same person may intervene in proceedings for the distribution of the estate of his deceased natural father, or

mother (Capistrano vs. Fabella, 8 Phil., 135; Conde vs. Abaya, 13 Phil., 249; Ramirez vs. Gmur, 42 Phil., 855). In neither of these situations has it been thought necessary for the plaintiff to show a prior decree compelling acknowledgment. The obvious reason is that in partition suits and distribution proceedings the other persons who might take by inheritance are before the court; and the declaration of heirship is appropriate to such proceedings. WHEREFORE, the instant petition is DENIED. The Decision dated January 22, 2004 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 79742 affirming the denial of petitioner's motion to dismiss; and its Resolution dated May 25, 2004 denying petitioner's motion for reconsideration, are AFFIRMED. Let the records be REMANDED to the Regional Trial Court of Makati City, Branch 138 for further proceedings. SO ORDERED. Panganiban, C.J., Chairperson, Austria-Martinez, Callejo, Sr., Chico-Nazario, J.J., concur.