January 31, 1964
ROMULO LOPEZ, ET AL., plaintiffs-appellants, vs. LUI GONZAGA, ET AL., defendants, LUI GONZAGA an! A UN"ION GONZAGA, defendants-appellants. Lakandola G. Lopez and Romulo Lopez for plaintiffs-appellants. Amalia K. del Rosario for defendants-appellants. RE#E , J.$.L., J.: Joint and direct appeal by both parties-plaintiffs an parties-defendants from the decision of the Court of First Instance of Negros Occidental (in its Civil Case No. !"" to this #upreme Court, because the properties involved a valued at more than $%!!,!!!.!!. &he appealed decision dismissed the petition of plaintiffs (appellants' for partition and cancellation of titles of registered lands and ordered them to pay defendants (appellees' $(,!!!.!! by )ay of attorney*s fees, but refused to a)ard moral damages in favor of the defendants. &he original petition )as filed )ith the court a quo on + October (, -, alleging, among other things, that on #oledad .on/aga 0da. de Ferrer died intestate on (( 1pril (," )ithout any issue and leaving real and personal properties )orth $2!!,!!!.!!3 that she )as survived by the plaintiffs, )ho are her nearest of 4in, being her brother sisters, nephe)s, and nieces3 that during the lifetime the deceased, she e5pressed the )ish that as long as her brother, 6uis .on/aga, the principal defendant, )as engaged in his coconut oil e5perimentation he could use products and rentals of her properties in furtherance his e5periments3 that the said scientific venture by said defendant )as discontinued )hen he became totally blind in October, (, in vie) of )hich the plaintiffs no) as4 a partition of the estate and the cancellation of titles of lands allegedly fraudulently transferred by, and in the name of, the defendant. &he defendant filed a motion to dismiss on the grounds of res judicata and noninclusion of indispensable parties. &he plainttiffs amended their petition to include the omitted parties. 1fter hearing on the motion to dismiss, the court denied the said motion. &hereupon, the defendant filed their ans)er, pleading a denial as to intestacy of deceased, and alleging, among others, that a )ill of #oledad .on/aga 0da. de Ferrer instituted 6uis .on/aga as the sole heir estate, and that the )ill )as duly allo)ed and probated. 1fter trial, the court a quo rendered 7udgment, a both parties appealed, as aforesaid. &he genuineness of the follo)ing documents, and the 7urisdiction of the court )ith respect to them, are not disputed8
9:$. &O ?=O@ I& @1A CONC:9N8 &his is to certify that according to the records of this office. respectively.on/aga 0da. No. 2(2 and 2%2." . lost or destroyed during the ?orld ?ar II. there is no :5pediente No.on/aga y Jesena through the undersigned attorney. 2(2 and 2%2 C1>. a copy of the said
. ((2+! and (". C1>.on/aga 0da. . as all pre)ar records )ere burned. de Ferrer.. )hich parcel of land are described in &ransfer Certificate of &itle Nos." . (. (. de Ferrer died on 1pril ((.on/aga y Jesena in her )ill. (:5p. (. (#gd. %(2 6O&# NO#. %(+".6.on/aga 0da. (.<6IC OF &=: $=I6I$$IN:# CO.9& OF FI9#& IN#&1NC: OF OCCI>:N&16 N:.N1 Cler4 of Court. No. &hat #oledad .9. Iloilo'."+.9O# (-th Judicial >istrict .."+. to the =onorable Court respectfully follo)s8 &hat #oledad . %(+".NI&:> #&1&:# OF 1@:9IC1 CO@@ON?:16&= OF &=: $=I6I$$IN:# CO.90:A OF @1N1$61 5---------------------5 $:&I&ION 6uis .' CI$9I1NO C1<16. )hich )ill )as probated on @ay (C.O.9& OF FI9#& IN#&1NC: OF I6OI6O ((th Judicial >istrict >ecember ((. Iloilo' a copy of )hich is hereto attached. in )hich the petitioner 6uis . 9:CO9> NO. in the Court of First Instance of Iloilo (:5p.on/aga y Jesena is the only heir. )as approved by the =onorable Court of Iloilo in its order dated February -. (. %(+" entitled :state of >oBa #oledad . and she left all her properties in favor of 6uis . -. de Ferrer is the registered o)ner of 6ots Nos. Cadastral #urvey of @anapla. &hat the pro7ect of partition dated February ". #.
Occ. =e e5hibited to me his cedula No. issued at Jaro.!"t ?=:9:FO9:.on/aga y Jesena. in vie) of the foregoing.. 2(2 and 2%2 are described. he )ill submit the
. 2. Occ.I. of legal age. =O9&I661# 1ttorney for the petitioner % . Iloilo.<6IC .eneral 6una. "(. @arch ((. $. the petitioner respectfully prays the =onorable Court to order the cancellation of &ransfer Certificate of &itle Nos.I<6: NO&19A $. ((2+! and (".. (. $. )herein 6ots Nos. No. Iloilo. =ortillas. and that all the allegations contained in the foregoing petition are true to the best of my information tion and belief. depose and say8 &hat I am the attorney for the petitioner in the above case."+..order is hereto attached."+. single of legal age."+ &he 9egister of >eeds <acolod City. I. (#gd.I. at -8!! a. (. $age No. Cadastral #urvey of @anapla. Filipino and a resident of @anila. Francisco #. Occidental Negros."+. Negros #ir8 $lease ta4e notice that on #aturday."C >oc. on January (+.' F91NCI#CO #. in favor of 6uis . Office of the 9egister of >eeds of Occidental Negros. (#gd. (.' F91NCI#CO =O9&I661# #ubscribed and #)orn to before me this ((th day of @arch. +! <oo4 No.m. or soon thereafter as the undersigned may be heard.ntil >ec.' I66:. ( #eries of (. Iloilo Iloilo I. @arch %(. (. 1äwph 1. for <acolod. after having been duly s)orn. (#gd. and in lieu thereof to issue &ransfer Certificate of &itles for 6ots 2(2 and 2%2. (. $."+. Neg. :-(% !(%!. Iloilo.
("! 2 $9O0INC: Occ.: $% ."(!. (#gd. =O9&I661# . ("! ( &rans.. Cert. $etitioner.# OF &=: >:C:1#:> #O6:>1> . Neg.NI&:> #&1&:# OF 1@:9IC1 CO@@ON?:16&= OF &=: $=I6I$$IN:# CO. 5-------------------------5 CI0I6 C1#: NO.1 0>1.!! (!. Neg.!! . 6. Occ. Cert. ("&rans. >: F:99:9.%"!. =O9&I661# I hereby certify that I have sent a copy of the foregoing petition to the 9egister of >eeds of Occidental Negros evidenced by the registry receipt hereto attached.!! C. &rans.%(!.on/aga y Jesena is the only heir mentioned in the probated )ill of the late #ra. 6uis . &O?N @anapla @anapla @anapla Jaro Jaro &I&6: NO.9& OF FI9#& IN#&1NC: OF I6OI6O (Cth Judicial >istrict &:#&1&: $9OC::>IN.!!
1CCO. Cert.' F91NCI#CO #. Neg. %(+" $:&I&ION FO9 1>J. (#gd. Cert.OND1.OND1. -2"" &rans.N&# CO66:C&I<6: 1N> C1#=
. ((2+! &rans.foregoing petition to this =onorable Court for approval.>IC1&ION &he undersigned administrator to the =onorable Court respectfully states8 &hat the undersigned administrator.I# . #oledad .' F91NCI#CO #.1 A J:#:N1. 0da. de Ferrer. Cert.!! !!. Iloilo Iloilo 016. Occ.
.-!!.....(...... &he undersigned administrator is )illing to file a cash bond for the sum ob7ect of the complaint in case this e5pediente )ill be closed before the trial of the Civil Case No.... (...eneral 6una....... (!"%(...!! ""!............"+.......... Iloilo... Iloilo. Iloilo..... Euintin @e7orada and others ....:>1N.......................... and Cash .....' F91NCI#CO #... (#gd......... >eputy Cler4 of Court (Cth Judicial >istrict Iloilo....... =O9&I661# 1ttorney for the 1dministrator % .......NI>O# >: 1@:9IC1 CO@@ON?:16&= >: FI6I$IN1# J.. of First Instance of Iloilo.....D.. &he Cler4 of Court Iloilo........ :#&1>O# ........' F91NCI#CO #.. =O9&I661# 1 &9.............. Iloilo #ir8 $lease include the foregoing petition for ad7udication in the calendar for #aturday..!! (..................!! +!!................!(-.... Civil Case No............1>O >: $9I@:91 IN#&1NCI1 >: I6OI6O
..........!! %. et al. 2
&hat there is a pending civil complaint against the administrator by Consolacion ..
$(.... (#gd.... Court...."+......... Juan #ornito .. demanding payment of the sum of $-"".2!... de 6ope/........' &:6:#FO9O .....: CO$A8 (#gd..9oman #opena . $...........I.......(!!.. February -..I.... (!"%(......... @aria 6edesma and others ... $..... February ".
%(+" 1. No. Iloilo.: CO$A8 (#gd. de fecha ((
.>ICI16 &:#&1@:N&19I1 . se aprueba la cuenta final de fecha enero %.(C.1 :5pediente No. >eputy Cler4 of Court (Cth Judicial >istrict Iloilo. titulada GConsolacion ."+. (!"%( de este Ju/gado.. 1si se ordena..NI>1> >: FI6I$IN1# J. 5--------------------5 .on/aga y Jesena. I."+.1>O >: $9I@:91 IN#&1NCI1 >: N:. @. de 6ope/. febrero -. y archivado el mismo por terminado. demandantes.NI>O# >: 1@:9IC1 @1NCO@.&O 0ista la peticion del solicitante #r. contra 6uis .:>1N.9O# OCCI>:N&16 (-. $.. :#&1>O# . et al.&O $revia prestacion por 6uis . Eueda cancelada la fian/a prestada por el administrador en este e5pediente. (. <.A#ON 61@$1 Jue/ 1 &9.o >istrito Judicial :5pediente Cadastral No.!!!.on/agaG.!! Fue tendra por ob7ecto responder al resultado de la causa civil No.9.' &:6:#FO9O . 2(2 y2%2 C1&1#&9O >: @1N1$61
1. %+ :6 . Iloilo.OND1..O. 6ui/ .D.6.O<I:9NO >: 61# I#61# FI6I$IN1# #olicitante.on/aga y Jesena de una fian/a por valor de $(. asi como el proyecto de particion de fecha " del actual. %(2 6otes Nos.! >I#&9I&O J. Cad 9ec. (.
Negros Occidental.O. "(" del catastro de @anapla. (. soltero y vecino de la ciuda de @anila.NI>1> >: FI6I$IN1# J.on/aga y Jesena.I# . el Ju/gado. y la e5pedicion de otro a favor de 6uis . haciendose constar en al certificado Fue se ha de e5pedir todos los gravamente Fue e5isten en al certificado de transferencia cancelado. @ocionante."+.1 A J:#:N1. "(" @1N1$61
1. C% .9O# OCCI>:N&16 (-. 1si se ordena.9.o >istrito Judicial :6 .1>O >: $9I@:91 IN#&1NCI1 >: N:. haciendos constar en los certificados Fue se han de e5pedir todos los gravamenes Fue e5isten el los certificados de transferencia Nos.6. y la e5pedicion de otros a favor de 6uis . (F>O. 2(2 y 2%2. Negros. %( de mar/o.on/aga y Jesena. filipino. filipino.F. mayor de edad3 soltero y vecino de la ciudad de @anila.NI>O# >: 1@:9IC1 @1NCO@. -2%% sobre el 6ote No. hallando de misma bien fundada3 $or el presente. Negros Occidental.OND1. ordena la cancelacion de los certificados de transferencia de titulo Nos. 5----------------5 :5p. (!-%% 6ote No. respectivamente. No."+. I. el Ju/gado. mayor de edad.&O 0ista y considerada la motion del solicitante 6uis ."+. #olicitante. ordena la cancelacion del certificado de transferencia de titulo No.
..de mar/o de (. 1si se ordena. Occ. de Fecha (( de mar/o de (. ((2+! y (".O<I:9NO >: 61# I#61# FI6I$IN1#. de 9eg.F..' <91. No.on/aga y Jesena. <acolod.. I. 9ec. ((2+! y (". sobre los lotes Nos... se tuviere alguno. del Catastro de @anapla. 6.6IO <1J1#1 Jue/ :#&1>O# .D. hallando la misma bien fundada3 $or el presents.
' @19I1NO CO9:O01 9egister of >eeds :#&1>O# .NI>O# >: 1@:9IC1 @1NCO@.-C #I&. +.NICI$IO >: J19O 5----------------5 1.8!! 1.1>O :N :6 @. Occidental Negros. (#gd. mayor de edad.A#ON 61@$ Jue/
."+ @.&O 0ista la peticion de 6uis . (. 1si se ordena.NI>1> >: FI6I$IN1# J.+-2 Inscribed on pages (!( of <oo4 0ol. <acolod.I. 9eceived the foregoing document at .1>O >: $9I@:91 IN#&1NCI1 >: I6OI6O (C..o >istrito Judicial .on/aga y Jesen soltero. Negros.9.<acolod. on @ay C.-< y ((%. (. filipino y vecino de @anila."+. $. @ar/o % .O. y encontrando el Ju/gado la misma bien fundada. <. (.D.on/aga y Jesena cancelacion de los Certificados de &ransferencia de titulo numeros (!! ( y ("! 2 por las ra/ones e5puestas en la misma. @ay C."+ (#gd. 9:CO9> NO. %( de @ar/o.6.' <91. por la presente ordena el 9egistrado de &itulos de la $rovincial del Iloilo cancela los Certificados de &ransferencia de &itulos numeros (!! ( y ("! 2 y e5piden otros en su lugar a nombre de 6uis .6IO <:J1#1 Jue/ <<Hspm. (.@.and registered under 1ct 2."+. 2. 0ol. 6O&:# NO#.+ as follo)s8 >ay <oo4. Iloilo.. ((%. Occ. :ntry No. Iloilo. . . -C of &ransfer Certificate of &itle as Certificate of %(( (.
1tty. thereafter. and they )ere actually acted upon and granted by the t)o courts of first instance to )hich he addressed his petitions..!!!. the defendant*s counsel. through his counsel. -. In the course of the years prior to the institution of this case in (. &hese manifestations are nigh conclusive. appellee held the properties and dealt )ith them as sole o)ner." or (."+-(. -'. not only once. Coupled )ith his undoubted possession as o)ner and )ith his o)n dominical acts e5ercised over the former properties of >oBa #oledad . as admittedly )as done.on/aga died leaving a )ill instituting her nephe) the appellee 6uis . =ortillas. >ue to the destruction of the court and property record of Iloilo as a result of the last )ar. %'3 and that. no )ill or probate order )as produce and neither )ere attested copies registered )ith the Office of the 9egister of >eeds of Negros Occidental leave little room for doubt that >oBa #oledad . for the reason that attorney =ortillas )as himself married to @onserrat . de 6ope/ for $(.on/aga y Jesena. a sister of #oledad.on/aga y Jesena. Francisco #.on/aga.on/aga and lieu thereof to issue ne) certificates in the name of apellee 6uis . in default forced heirs3 that said )ill )as duly probated in (. leasing. as her sole testamentary heir. )ho )ould have been one of the latter*s heirs intestate had it not been for the testament in favor of the appellee. in her probated )ill.'. the e5hibits aforementioned constitute practically conclusive proof of the truth of appellee*s defenses. as found by the court belo).1s a )itness. ?e can not fail to be impressed by the statement of attorney Francisco =ortillas. despite the destruction of the original )ill and decree of probate. &he authenticity of the s)orn petitions of the late attorney =ortillas (:5hibits a and (' are not impugned. upon s)orn petition of appellee. violating family ties and affection. the Court First Instance of Iloilo (:5hibit %%' and Occidental Negros (:5hibit "' ordered the respective $rovincial 9egisters of >eeds to cancel the Certificates of &itle standing then in the name of the deceased #oledad . as attested by the Cler4 of Court.
. made 6uis . testified that the aforeFuoted records of the probate court of Iloilo )ere discovered by her among the records of the cadastral court in Negros Occidental.on/aga for t)entyt)o years ((. that the deceased >oBa #oledad. %(+"3 that the net residue of the estate )as ad7udicated by the court of said appellee. conspired )ith appellee to deprive his o)n )ife and children (no) some of the present appellants' of the la)ful share by intestacy in the properties left by >oBa #oledad if it )ere untrue that the latter had duly and properly beFueathed all her estate to appellee 6uis ."+ by the Court of First Instance of Iloilo in its #pecial $roceedings No.on/aga. encumbering. sub7ect to a claim of Consolacion .on/aga y Jesena the sole heir to her properties.!! (:5h. averring under )ith in clear and unmista4able terms. and selling some them. 1melia del 9osario. It ta5es credulity beyond all reason to imply (as appellants do' that attorney =ortillas. but t)ice before the Courts of First Instance of Iloilo and Negros (:5hibits ( and .
as )ell as that left )ith attorney =ortillas. that the order of February -. (."+ referred to therein spo4e of an order of ad7udication to a single heir. #ince the order made evident reference to the petition of January %.. &he argument is misleading. ho)ever. %"'. he had no need to as4 the court for an order of ad7udication. )e agree )ith the court belo) that the difference in
. the probate decree conclusively established the due e5ecution. (. assail the trial court is admission of the said court records on the ground that defendant-appellee failed to lay proper basis. not a copy. &here is no proof that copies of the )ill ever e5isted other than the one burned )hile in appellee*s possession (>ep. It may )ell be noted. it certainly can not be inferred that 1ttorney =ortillas 4ept a copy of the original submitted to the court. =e )as not trying to sho) that the )ill complied )ith the statutory reFuirements. and that the heir )as in no )ay disFualified to inherit3 7ust as a final order admitting a )ill to probate concludes all and sundry from thereafter contending that statutory formal reFuirements have not been observed in e5ecuting the testament."+ (:5hibit ( or <' spea4s of approval of a Gpro7ect of partitionG. #imilarly. or. for the )itnesses to the testament. according to appellee*s deposition. From this ans)er.on/aga. the )itness )as as4ed. Neither do )e see that appellee )as bound to call. but that the )ill had been admitted to probate and of course.. the order of ad7udication confirms it in this case.on/aga as sole heir. account. )hile the petition of January %. $age %2 of the appellee*s deposition is to the effect that I @y sister :ncarnacion had the custody of the )ill because she )as the one )ho )as at the beside of my sister (referring to the testatri5 >oBa #oledad'3 but by Gthe )illG )as obviously meant the one signed by the testatri5 and the )itnesses. . am I correct that you also presented a copy of the )illJ3 to )hich Fuestion the )itness ans)ered. )as in the custody of :ncarnacion . ?hen you filed this petition through your la)yer for the probate of the )ill. it is averred that appellee )as duty-bound to produce the copy that. &he original )as the one submitted.ranting that the original )ill )as destroyed )ith the court records in the last )ar. 1ppellants contend that if it )ere true that the )ill constituted 6uis . or predicate. Instead of contradicting the testamentary institution of heir. p. in passing. &he order of ad7udication is the 7udicial recognition that in appointing 6uis as her only heir the testatri5 did not contravene the la). &here is no merit to this contention.$laintiffs-appellants. for their admission.
#ection . &he failure of the defendant. cancelled the bond of the administrator. &he contention that defendant-appellee. section .on/aga paid the inheritance ta5es. to file )ith the 9egister of >eeds a certified copy of his letters of administration and the )ill. and to record the attested copies of the )ill and of the allo)ance thereof by the court under #ection +%2 of 1ct (. (. must be deemed a trustee up to the present is infantile.terminology )as an inadvertent mista4e. >e Du/uarregui. having been appointed 1dministrator. No one faced by the recorded documents could ignore the reference therein to the probated testament3 and the rule is that 4no)ledge of )hat might have been revealed by proper inFuiry is imputable to the inFuirer (cf. (.! of the 9egistration 1ct.! directs. never made any move to reFuire 6uis to reconvey the property. It is usual for an 1dministrator to pay these ta5es. during his tenure as an administrator are not here in Fuestion."+ had approved the final account.!. as provided in #ection . are not GdealingsG )ith the property as administrator under section . because his dealings )ith the lands. appellants do not claim under the )ill or the partition3 their theory is that >oBa #oledad . %!2'. if any. the same purpose )as achieved I that of notice to all strangers of the cause and nature of the transfers3 and it does not appear that anyone )as pre7udiced by the defect in registration complained of. this is beside the point. the transfer of the certificates title to 6uis . " $hil. )ho 4ne) of the death of >oBa #oledad in (.on/aga )as an administrator. (c'L. :mas vs.on/aga*s o)n name in (. 1ny)ay. no delivery of properties can be made to the heirs until and unless the inheritance ta5es are paid KInternal 9evenue Code. 1s to the fact that 6uis .on/aga died intestate. and )as substantial compliance )ith the reFuired recording of the )ill itself. 1lthough the step ta4en is not e5actly )hat #ection +%2 of 1ct (. since by la). ad7udicate the property to the only heir. &he e5planation that >oBa #oledad . the recording of the 7udicial orders sufficed as notice to interested parties. and the lapse of more than t)enty years* open and adverse possession as o)ner )ould certainly suffice to vest title by prescription in the appellee. since by la).on/aga. and succeeded in having them so transferred."+ )ould constitute an open and clear repudiation of any trust. no delivery of properties can be made importance. No proof e5ists that the proceedings )ere reopened. #econdly.! of 1ct 2. or any part thereof.+ refers to the dealings )ith registered lands by an e5ecutor or administrator3 and )hile 6uis .on/aga had
. &he defendant sought and obtained the change in title in his o)n behalf and capacity. no administration could continue to e5ist after the order of February -.+. and ordered the case Garchi#ado el mismo por terminadoG. 6uis . since appellants.! of 1ct 2. &hat the defendant sought 7udicial orders to effect the transfers to his name of the certificates of title after the )ill )as probated.C. 1t any rate. does not negate the validity of the 7udgment or decree of probate nor the rights of the devisee under the )ill. In the first place." .
. is not clearly unfounded3 moral damages. )ith costs against the plaintiffs-appellants. .& )adilla& $autista An%elo& La*rador& 'oncepcion& $arrera& )aredes& +izon& Re%ala and . are not allo)able because the suit is not a malicious prosecution under No. and is presumed.!!. 9:1#ON#.akalintal& ((.!!!.!!.of 1rticle %%(. based on an agreement of $(. securing documents. &hat some of the plaintiffs )ere denied their day in court is incredible.!!!.#I#. if they had been at entitled to them. prior to the 7udgment is mute but eloFuent proof that their allegation that >elfin )as not their attorney but a last minute attempt to escape the adverse effect the appealed decision. and moral damages.e5press the )ish that all the income should go to 6uis )hile conducted e5perimental studies on coconut products )holly unconvincing as an e5cuse for the laches3 his right to the income could not have bloc4ed a partition of capital assets among appellants.%! . board and lodging. li4e)ise. although unmeritorious. Coming to the defendants* appeal8 It is grounded the disallo)ance of attorney*s fees. stenographic notes.(. or by counsel.& concur.+"'. in the absence of an abuse of discretion. 6-(-%-C.!!!.
. and did appear for them from the inception of the case after the lo)er court*s decision )as rendered.!! $lus (!M of the value of the properties if the case is decided in their favor. photostatic copies of e5hibits. to have been authori/ed to appear in their behalf. the appealed decision is hereby affirmed. @oral damages as4ed is $(!!. of the Civil Code. and ta4ing of deposition in the sum of $(. &he issue is one primarily addressed to the discretion of the court belo). &he other e5penses refer to transportation.!! for attorney*s fees. unless recoverable as 7udicial costs.!!!. &he authority of said counsel )as never Fuestioned until the verse decision )as rendered by the court belo)3 and complainant*s failure to appear by themselves.!!. but the defendants urge that the amount should be $2(. &he other e5penses. cannot be allo)ed because the complaint. since all the plaintiffs )ere represented by counsel 0icente >elfin. &he a)ard of attorney*s fees against the adverse party is essentially discretionary )ith the trial court (Francisco vs. a maneuver that deserves no consideration. )ho claimed. and. e5pense. FO9 &=: FO9:.OIN. )hich )e are not inclined to disturb. &he lo)er court granted only $(. the same should not be disturbed. "! @arch (. $en%zon& '.