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CEFERINO S. CABREZA, JR., BJD HOLDINGS CORP v.

AMPARO ROBLES CABREZA January 16, 2012 (Sereno) Effects of dissolution of CPG (Guys, I did my best, but this case is so magulo) FACTS: In 2001, the RTC of Pasig Br 70 declared void ab initio the marriage between Ceferino Cabreza Jr and Amparo Cabreza (see dispositive portion of the Decision in Note 1) and ordered the dissolution and liquidation of the conjugal partnership in accordance with Article 129 FC. Upon finality of RTC decision, Ceferino moved that their only conjugal property, their conjugal home, be sold and the proceeds distributed as mandated by law; RTC granted the motion in May 2003 o Amparo questioned the Order; SC dismissed Amparos petition on technicalities; RTC decision became final Ceferino then filed an Omnibus Motion: o (1) to approve the Deed of Absolute Sale o (2) to authorize him to sign the Deed of Sale for and on behalf of Amparo and o (3) to order the occupants of the premises to vacate the property His motion was granted by the RTC Br 70 in Oct 2003 (see Dispositive portion of the Decision in Note #2) o Along with the Order granting authority to Ceferino to sign the Deed of Sale in behalf of Amparo, the same Order also contained (in the dispositive portion) a directive that (a)fter the sale of the subject property shall have been consummated, all the occupants thereof shall vacate and clear the same to enable the buyer to take complete possession and control of the property.; Thereafter, Ceferino executed a Deed of Sale in favor of BJD Holdings Corporation; Subsequently, he filed a Motion for Writ of Possession and to Divide the Purchase Price; RTC Br.70 granted his motion and issued a Writ of Possession, and I June 2005, a Notice to Vacate o Amparo filed a Motion to Hold in Abeyance the writ of possession and notice to vacate; She argued that: that (1) the parties had another conjugal lot apart from the conjugal dwelling; and (2) under Article 129 of the Family Code, the conjugal dwelling should be adjudicated to her as the spouse, with whom four of the five Cabreza children were staying. (see Note 3 for Art. 129 provision) o her motions were denied by the RTC Br. 70, CA and eventually, SC (in GR 171260 became final and executory in Jan 2010); RTC and CA both found that there was only one conjugal property conclusive upon parties (SC) o she then filed a petition for review certiorari to nullify the Writ of Possession Meanwhile, in 2005, while Amparos CA petition in what would eventually be GR 171260 was pending (ie Petition impugning the Writ of Possessoin), Amparo also

filed with RTC Br. 67 a Complaint to Annul the Deed of Absolute Sale for being void due to lack of her consent o RTC 67dismissed the complaint with prejudice, on the ground of litis pendencia and forum shopping; o CA reversed the RTC (no litis pendencia, therefore, no forum shopping) and directed that the case be remanded for trial on the merits o Ceferino filed an MR of the CA decision (denied) Hence, this petition for review under Rule 45 (GR 181962 eto ung case na binabasa natin at this very moment)

ISSUE Whether the CA erred in reversing RTC Br. 67s decision to dismiss Amparos Complaint for Declaration of Nullity of the Deed of Absolute Sale while her petition for certiorari to nullify the Writ of Possession was pending, on the grounds of litis pendencia and forum shopping RULING YES Requisites of litis pendencia (as a ground to dismiss an action): (a) identity of parties in both cases (b) identity of rights asserted and relief prayed for, founded on the same facts and cause of action (c) identity of a and b, such that judgment in one will amount to res judicata in the other Tests to determine whether Requisite (b) is present: 1) whether the same evidence would support and sustain both the first and second causes of action or 2) whether the defenses in one case may be used to substantiate the complaint in the other Court held that the first requisite is present. Second requisite is also present; there is substantial identity of rights asserted and reliefs prayed for between the two cases o Using the first test, the same evidence in both the Complaint for Declaration of Nullity of Deed of Sale and the action impugning the Writ of Possession - the RTC Br. 70 Order granting authority to Ceferino to sign the Deed of Sale in his and Amparos behalf + directive for the occupants of the property to vacate and clear the property after the sale has been consummated - would defeat both Amparos complaint for Declaration of Nullity of the sale and her petition impugning the Writ of Possession, respectively o Using the second test, the same defense - the RTC Br. 70 Order - will defeat both the complaint for declaration of nullity and the petition to impugn the writ of possession. The Court held that the subsequent Writ of Posession merely gave effect to, or is the logical consequence of the Deed of Sale. (In both actions, Amparo contends that since the RTC Br 70 decision merely directed the dissolution and liquidation of the conjugal partnership in accordance with Art. 129 FC, its subsequent Orders directing the sale of the conjugal home improperly modified its own final decision; moreover, because she was the spouse with whom a majority of the children chose to remain, the conjugal home should be adjudicated to her according to the provisions of Art. 129 (9).) The last requisite is also present. A final judgment on the merits by a competent court in the Petition to nullify the Writ of Possession would have barred the

subsequent judgment on the Complaint for Declaration of Nullity of the Deed of Sale based on res judicata because when Amparo filed the Petition to declare the nullity of the deed of sale, the petition impugning the wit of possession as already pending. Since litis pendencia is present, Amparo was necessarily also guilty of forumshopping. Hence, the Complaint for nullification of the Deed of Absolute Sale on this ground was properly dismissed by the RTC Br 67. OBITER: Nevertheless, as a clarification, res judicata cannot be applied herein simply because Amparos petition to nullify the writ of possession was dismissed in GR 171260. This is because though the dismissal in the latter was final, it was not a dismissal on the merits of the case. (judgment on the merits: when the judgment determines the rights and liabilities of the parties based on disclosed facts, irrespective of formal, technical or dilatory objections). Rather, the decision in GR 171260 dismissing the action for declaration of nullity of the writ of possession was based upon a procedural inability to consider the case based on the principle of finality of judgments. The reason for the denial was that the writ was merely a subsequent order to implement the decision authorizing the sale of the conjugal home. Also, the complaint for declaration of nullity of sale cannot prosper because it seeks to modify an already final order of the RTC Br. 70. Hence, in line with the Courts ruling that Amparo cannot be allowed to impugn the already final order of the RTC in 2003 directing the sale of the conjugal home, the prayer for preliminary injunction to implement the Notice to Vacate was denied. DISPOSITION PETITION IS GRANTED. CA decision and resolution REVERSED. The RTC resolution dismissing the Complaint for Declaration of Nullity of Deed of Sale on the ground of litis pendencia and forum shopping is REINSTATED. NOTES 1. The dispositive portion of the Decision read: WHEREFORE, the Court hereby grants the instant petition and declared the marriage of petitioner and respondent a nullity pursuant to Art. 36 of the Family Code. Further, the conjugal partnership is hereby dissolved and must be liquidated in accordance with Art. 129 of the Family Code, without prejudice to the prior rights of known and unknown creditors of the conjugal partnership. Let copies of this decision be furnished the Local Civil Registrars of Cainta, Rizal and Pasig City and the Registry of Deeds of Pasig City for record purposes. SO ORDERED.

2. The dispositive portion of the said Order reads: In view of the previous Order of this Court dated 26 May 2003 relative to the liquidation of the conjugal partnership property that the same which consists in the property covered by TCT No. 17460 be sold and the proceeds thereof be distributed as therein indicated, the Deed of Absolute Sale attached as Annex A to the Omnibus Motion which is in accordance with the aforestated Order is hereby APPROVED. For the purpose of selling or conveying ownership over the property to the buyer, the herein petitioner Ceferino S. Cabreza, Jr., is hereby authorized and empowered to sign and execute the Deed of Absolute Sale for and in his own behalf and in behalf of the respondent, Amparo R. Cabreza who has failed and refused and continues to fail and refuse to comply with the aforestated Order of 26 May 2003. After the sale of the subject property shall have been consummated, all the occupants thereof shall vacate and clear the same to enable the buyer to take complete possession and control of the property. (Underscoring supplied)

3. Art. 129. Upon the dissolution of the conjugal partnership regime, the following procedure shall apply: (9) In the partition of the properties, the conjugal dwelling and the lot on which it is situated shall, unless otherwise agreed upon by the parties, be adjudicated to the spouse with whom the majority of the common children choose to remain. Children below the age of seven years are deemed to have chosen the mother, unless the court has decided otherwise. In case there is no such majority, the court shall decide, taking into consideration the best interests of said children. (Underscoring supplied)