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

201061 July 3, 2013 Subject: Preliminary Provisions of the Civil Code Topic: Effect and Applicability of Laws

FACTS: In 2004, Respondent Benjamin Bangayan filed a petition for declaration of a non-existent marriage and/or declaration of nullity of marriage before the RTC of Manila. Benjamin alleged that in 1973, he married Azucena in Caloocan City and they had three children; however, in 1979, Benjamin developed a romantic relationship with Sally who was a customer in the auto parts business owned by Benjamins family. He further alleged that in 1981, Azucena left for the USA; and in 1982, he and Sally lived together as husband and wife and had 2 children, Bernice and Bentley . Sallys father was against the relationship, in order to appease her father, Sally brought Benjamin to an office in Santolan, Pasig City where they signed a purported marriage contract. Benjamin claimed that Sally knew of his marital status and assured him that the marriage contract would not be registered. Benjamin and Sallys cohabitation produced two children. During their cohabitation, they also acquired several real properties, to wit: 1. TCT Nos. 61720 and 190860 registered in the name of Benjamin, married to Sally; 2. TCT No. 61722 registered in the names of Benjamin and Sally as spouses; 3. Condominium units CCT Nos. 8782 and 8783 registered in the name of Sally, married to Benjamin; and 4. TCT Nos. N-193656 and 253681 registered in the name of Sally as a single individual. The relationship of Benjamin and Sally ended in 1994 when Sally left for Canada, bringing Bernice and Bentley with her. She then filed criminal actions for bigamy and falsification of public documents against Benjamin, using their simulated marriage contract as evidence. Benjamin, in turn, filed a petition for declaration of a non-existent marriage / declaration of nullity of marriage on the ground that his marriage to Sally was bigamous and that it lacked the formal requisites to a valid marriage. Benjamin also asked the trial court for the partition of the properties he acquired with Sally in accordance with Article 148 of the Family Code, for his appointment as administrator of the properties during the pendency of the case, and for the declaration of Bernice and Bentley as illegitimate children. A total of 44 registered properties became the subject of the partition before the trial court, including 37 properties listed by Sally in her answer. The trial court ruled that the marriage between Benjamin and Sally was not bigamous, but was void nonetheless because of the lack of a marriage license. Hence, bigamy was not committed in this case. The trial court did not rule on the issue of the legitimacy status of Bernice and Bentley because they were not parties to the case. The trial court denied Sallys claim for spousal support because she was not married to Benjamin. The trial court likewise denied support for Bernice and Bentley who were both of legal age and did not ask for support. On the issue of partition, the trial court ruled that Sally could not claim the 37 properties she named in her answer as part of her conjugal properties with Benjamin. The trial court ruled that Sally was not legally married to Benjamin. Further, the 37 properties that Sally was claiming were owned by Benjamins parents who gave the properties to their children, including Benjamin, as advanced inheritance. The 37 titles were in the names of Benjamin and his brothers and the phrase "married to Sally Go" was merely descriptive of Benjamins civil status in the title. As regards the two lots under TCT Nos. 61720 and 190860, the trial court found that they were bought by Benjamin using his own money and that Sally failed to prove any actual contribution of money, property or industry in their purchase.

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While the RTC found that Sally was a registered co-owner of the lots covered by TCT Nos. 61722, N193656, and 253681 as well as the two condominium units under CCT Nos. 8782 and 8783, it also ruled that TCT No. 61722 and the two condominium units were purchased from the earnings of Benjamin alone. The RTC further ruled that these properties and the rest of the properties were part of the conjugal partnership of Benjamin and Azucena, without prejudice to Benjamins right to dispute his conjugal state with Azucena in a separate proceeding. The trial court further ruled that Sally acted in bad faith because she knew that Benjamin was married to Azucena. Applying Article 148 of the Family Code, the trial court forfeited all of Sallys share in favor of Bernice and Bentley while Benjamins share reverted to his conjugal ownership with Azucena. It is worthy to note that throughout the proceedings, Sally hardly produced her own evidence, instead insisting that Benjamin, who was not around, should be put on the stand. On appeal, the CA mostly upheld the ruling of the RTC, with the exception of a few properties, and that Sallyys insistence on presenting Benjamin and failure to submit her own evidence amounted to a waiver of the right to present evidence.

ISSUES: Did Sally validly waive her right to present evidence?

HELD: Yes. While Sally alleges that the Court of Appeals erred in affirming the trial courts ruling that she waived her right to present her evidence... [and] that in not allowing her to present evidence that she and Benjamin were married, the trial court abandoned its duty to protect marriage as an inviolable institution... XXX We agree with the trial court that by her continued refusal to present her evidence, she was deemed to have waived her right to present them. As pointed out by the Court of Appeals, Sallys continued failure to present her evidence despite the opportunities given by the trial court showed her lack of interest to proceed with the case. XXX Sally could not accuse the trial court of failing to protect marriage as an inviolable institution because the trial court also has the duty to ensure that trial proceeds despite the deliberate delay and refusal to proceed by one of the parties.

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FUJIKI v. MARINAY G.R. No. 196049 June 26, 2013 Subject: Preliminary Provisions of the Civil Code Topic: Effect and Applicability of Laws

FACTS: Fujiki is a Japanese national who married respondent Marinay in the Philippines in 2004. As Fujikis parents opposed the marriage, Fujiki could not bring his wife to Japan where he resides. They eventually lost contact with each other. Later, Marinay met anotherJapanese, Maekara. Without the first marriage being dissolved, Marinay and Maekara were married in 2008 in Quezon City, Philippines. Maekara brought Marinay to Japan, however, Marinay allegedly suffered physical abuse from Maekara, so she left Maekara and started to contact Fujiki. Fujiki and Marinay met in Japan and they were able to reestablish their relationship. In 2010, Fujiki helped Marinay obtain a judgment from a family court in Japan which declared the marriage between Marinay and Maekara void on the ground of bigamy. In 2011, Fujiki filed a petition in the RTC entitled: "Judicial Recognition of Foreign Judgment (or Decree of Absolute Nullity of Marriage)." Fujiki asked the Philippine court to: 1. Recognize the judgment of the Japanese Family Court ; 2. Declare void ab initio the bigamous marriage between Marinay; and 3. Direct the Local Civil Registrar of Quezon City to annotate the Japanese Family Court judgment on the Certificate of Marriage between Marinay and Maekara and to endorse such annotation to the Office of the Administrator and Civil Registrar General in the National Statistics Office (NSO). The RTC dismissed the petition, citing the following provisions of the Rule on Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void Marriages and Annulment of Voidable Marriages (A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC): Sec. 2. Petition for declaration of absolute nullity of void marriages. (a) Who may file. A petition for declaration of absolute nullity of void marriage may be filed solely by the husband or the wife... Sec. 4. Venue. The petition shall be filed in the Family Court of the province or city where the petitioner or the respondent has been residing for at least six months prior to the date of filing, or in the case of a non-resident respondent, where he may be found in the Philippines, at the election of the petitioner. The RTC ruled, without further explanation, that the petition was in "gross violation" of the above provisions. The trial court held that this is a "jurisdictional ground" to dismiss the petition. It also ruled that the verification and certification against forum shopping of the petition was not authenticated as required by A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC, also warranting the "immediate dismissal" of the petition. The Solicitor General, on the other hand, argued that Fujiki, as the spouse of the first marriage, is an injured party who can sue to declare the bigamous marriage between Marinay and Maekara void. The Solicitor General claims that A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC does not apply in cases of bigamy.

ISSUE: May a foreign judgment be considered part of national law of a foreigner here in the Philippines pursuant to Article 15 of the New Civil Code?

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HELD: Yes, it can be considered part of national law because a ...foreign judgment relating to the status of a marriage affects the civil status, condition and legal capacity of its parties. However, the effect of a foreign judgment is not automatic. To extend the effect of a foreign judgment in the Philippines, Philippine courts must determine if the foreign judgment is consistent with domestic public policy and other mandatory laws. Article 15 of the Civil Code provides that "[l]aws relating to family rights and duties, or to the status, condition and legal capacity of persons are binding upon citizens of the Philippines, even though living abroad." This is the rule of lex nationalii in private international law. Thus, the Philippine State may require, for effectivity in the Philippines, recognition by Philippine courts of a foreign judgment affecting its citizen, over whom it exercises personal jurisdiction relating to the status, condition and legal capacity of such citizen. XXX Section 48(b), Rule 39 of the Rules of Court provides that a foreign judgment or final order against a person creates a "presumptive evidence of a right as between the parties and their successors in interest by a subsequent title." Moreover, Section 48 of the Rules of Court states that "the judgment or final order may be repelled by evidence of a want of jurisdiction, want of notice to the party, collusion, fraud, or clear mistake of law or fact." Thus, Philippine courts exercise limited review on foreign judgments. Courts are not allowed to delve into the merits of a foreign judgment. Once a foreign judgment is admitted and proven in a Philippine court, it can only be repelled on grounds external to its merits, i.e. , "want of jurisdiction, want of notice to the party, collusion, fraud, or clear mistake of law or fact." The rule on limited review embodies the policy of efficiency and the protection of party expectations, as well as respecting the jurisdiction of other states. XXX In the recognition of foreign judgments, Philippine courts are incompetent to substitute their judgment on how a case was decided under foreign law. They cannot decide on the "family rights and duties, or on the status, condition and legal capacity" of the foreign citizen who is a party to the foreign judgment. Thus, Philippine courts are limited to the question of whether to extend the effect of a foreign judgment in the Philippines. In a foreign judgment relating to the status of a marriage involving a citizen of a foreign country, Philippine courts only decide whether to extend its effect to the Filipino party, under the rule of lex nationalii expressed in Article 15 of the Civil Code. For this purpose, Philippine courts will only determine (1) whether the foreign judgment is inconsistent with an overriding public policy in the Philippines; and (2) whether any alleging party is able to prove an extrinsic ground to repel the foreign judgment, i.e. want of jurisdiction, want of notice to the party, collusion, fraud, or clear mistake of law or fact. If there is neither inconsistency with public policy nor adequate proof to repel the judgment, Philippine courts should, by default, recognize the foreign judgment as part of the comity of nations. Section 48(b), Rule 39 of the Rules of Court states that the foreign judgment is already "presumptive evidence of a right between the parties." Upon recognition of the foreign judgment, this right becomes conclusive.

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VIRTUCIO v. ALEGARBES G.R. No. 187451 29 August 2012 Subject: Preliminary Provisions of the Civil Code Topic: Effect and Applicability of Laws

FACTS: Respondent Jose Alegarbes filed Homestead Application for a 24-hectare tract of unsurveyed land situated in Lantawan, Basilan in 1949. His application was approved on January 23, 1952. In 1955, however, the land was subdivided into 3 as a consequence of public land subdivision rules. One of the lots was allocated to Ulpiano Custodio and another to petitioner Jesus Virtucio. Both of them filed for homestead applications. Alegarbes opposed the homestead applications filed by Custodio and Virtucio, claiming that his approved application covered the whole area, including both lots allocated to Custodio and Virtucio. The Director of Lands rendered a decision denying Alegarbes' protest and amending the his application to exclude the lots allocated to Custodio and Virtucio. Alegarbes then appealed to the Secretary of Agriculture, who dismissed his appeal. He then sought relief from the Office of the President, which, however, affirmed the dismissal order of the Secretary. An order of execution was issued by the Lands Management Bureau, ordering Alegarbes and to vacate the subject lot, but he refused. Thus, Virtucio then filed a complaint for recovery of possession and ownership before the RTC. In his Answer, Alegarbes claimed that the decision of the Bureau of Lands was void ab initio considering that the Acting Director of Lands acted without jurisdiction and in violation of the provisions of the Public Land Act. Alegarbes argued that the said decision conferred no rights and imposed no duties and left the parties in the same position as they were before its issuance. He further alleged that the patent issued in favor of Virtucio was procured through fraud and deceit, thus, void ab initio. Alegarbes further argued, by way of special and/or affirmative defenses, that the approval of his homestead application on January 23, 1952 by the Bureau of Lands had already attained finality and could not be reversed, modified or set aside. His possession of the entire lot had been open, continuous, peaceful and uninterrupted in the concept of an owner for more than 30 years and had acquired such lots by acquisitive prescription. The RTC rendered its decision on February 19, 2001, favoring Virtucio. Alegarbes appealed to the CA. Meanwhile, Custodio won his case over for the other parcel of land. On February 25, 2009, the CA promulgated its decision declaring Alegarbes as the owner of Lot No. 140, Pls-19, thereby reversing and setting aside the decision of the RTC. Aggrieved, Virtucio filed this petition, insisting that the Court of Appeals gravely erred in disregarding the decision in CA-G.R. CV-26286 for Recovery of Possession and Ownership, Custodio vs. Alegarbes which contains same factual circumstances as in this case.

ISSUE: Does the CA ruling in Custodio v. Alegarbes constitute stare decisis or a precedent that must be applied and upheld by the court?

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HELD: No. Virtucio insists that the CA gravely erred in disregarding its decision in Custodio v. Alegarbes, CAG.R. CV 26286, for Recovery of Possession and Ownership, which involved the same factual circumstances and ruled against Alegarbes. It must be noted that the subject property in the said case was Lot 139 allocated to Custodio and that Virtucio was not a party to that case. The latter cannot enjoy whatever benefits said favorable judgment may have had just because it involved similar factual circumstances. The Court also found from the records that the period of acquisitive prescription in that case was effectively interrupted by Custodio's filing of a complaint, which is wanting in this case. Moreover, it is settled that a decision of the CA does not establish judicial precedent.40 "The principle of stare decisis enjoins adherence by lower courts to doctrinal rules established by this Court in its final decisions. It is based on the principle that once a question of law has been examined and decided, it should be deemed settled and closed to further argument." The Court agrees with the position of Alegarbes that by Virtucio's insistence that it was erroneous for the CA to disregard its earlier decision in CA-G.R. CV 26286, he, in effect, calls upon this Court to adhere to that decision by invoking the stare decisis principle, which is not legally possible because only final decisions of this Court are considered precedents.

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UNIVERSITY OF THE PHILIPPINES v. HON. DIZON G.R. No. 171182 August 23, 2012 Subject: Preliminary Provisions of the Civil Code Topic: Effect and Applicability of Laws

FACTS: On August 30, 1990, UP, through its then President Jose Abueva, entered into a construction agreement with respondent Stern Builders, represented by its President and GM Servillano dela Cruz, for the construction of the extension building and the renovation of the College of Arts and Sciences Building in UPs Los Baos campus. Stern Builders presented UP with 3 billings corresponding to the work accomplished, but the UP paid only 2 of the billings. The 3rd billing worth P273,729.47 was initially not paid due to its disallowance by the COA. However, despite the lifting of the disallowance, the UP failed to pay the billing, prompting Stern Builders to sue the UP to collect the unpaid billing and to recover various damages. After trial, on November 28, 2001, the RTC rendered its decision in favor of Stern Builders. Following the RTCs denial of its motion for reconsideration on May 7, 2002, UP filed a notice of appeal on June 3, 2002, which Stern Builders opposed, claiming that it was filed late, and moved for the execution of the decision. UP countered that the notice of appeal was filed within the reglementary period because the UPs Office of Legal Affairs in Diliman, Quezon City received the order of denial only on May 31, 2002. However, the RTC denied due course to the notice of appeal for having been filed out of time and granted the private respondents motion for execution. UP was served on January 3, 2005 with the order of December 21, 2004 directing DBP to release the garnished funds to Stern Builders. On January 6, 2005, Stern Builders and dela Cruz moved to cite DBP in direct contempt of court for its non-compliance with the order of release. On September 16, 2005, the CA promulgated its assailed decision dismissing the UPs petition for certiorari, ruling that the UP had been given ample opportunity to contest the motion to direct the DBP to deposit the check in the name of Stern Builders and dela Cruz; and that the garnished funds could be the proper subject of garnishment because they had been already earmarked for the project. UP now pleads that the Supreme Court gives due course to its petition for review in the name of equity in order to reverse or modify the adverse judgment against it despite its finality. At stake in the UPs plea for equity was the return of the amount of P16,370,191.74 illegally garnished from its trust funds.

ISSUE: Can remedial laws be given retroactive effect to affect cases already pending in court at the time of the laws promulgation?

HELD: Yes, procedural rules can be given retroactive effect. In so declaring the judgment of the RTC as final against the UP, the CA and the RTC applied the rule contained in the second paragraph of Section 3, Rule 41 of the Rules of Court to the effect that the filing of a motion for reconsideration interrupted the running of the period for filing the appeal; and that the period resumed upon notice of the denial of the motion for reconsideration. For that reason, the CA and the RTC might not be taken to task for strictly adhering to the rule then prevailing. However, equity calls for the retroactive application in the UPs favor of the fresh-period rule that the Court first announced in mid-September of 2005 through its ruling in Neypes v. Court of Appeals, viz: To standardize the appeal periods provided in the Rules and to afford litigants fair opportunity to appeal their cases, the Court deems it practical to allow a fresh period of 15 days within which to file the notice
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of appeal in the Regional Trial Court, counted from receipt of the order dismissing a motion for a new trial or motion for reconsideration. The retroactive application of the fresh-period rule, a procedural law that aims "to regiment or make the appeal period uniform, to be counted from receipt of the order denying the motion for new trial, motion for reconsideration (whether full or partial) or any final order or resolution,"99 is impervious to any serious challenge. This is because there are no vested rights in rules of procedure. A law or regulation is procedural when it prescribes rules and forms of procedure in order that courts may be able to administer justice. It does not come within the legal conception of a retroactive law, or is not subject of the general rule prohibiting the retroactive operation of statues, but is given retroactive effect in actions pending and undetermined at the time of its passage without violating any right of a person who may feel that he is adversely affected. We have further said that a procedural rule that is amended for the benefit of litigants in furtherance of the administration of justice shall be retroactively applied to likewise favor actions then pending, as equity delights in equality. We may even relax stringent procedural rules in order to serve substantial justice and in the exercise of this Courts equity jurisdiction. Equity jurisdiction aims to do complete justice in cases where a court of law is unable to adapt its judgments to the special circumstances of a case because of the inflexibility of its statutory or legal jurisdiction.

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ACCENTURE, INC. v. CIR G.R. No. 190102 July 11, 2012 Subject: Preliminary Provisions of the Civil Code Topic: Effect and Applicability of Laws

FACTS: Accenture, Inc, filed for a tax credit or refund worth P35,178,844.21 with the Department of Finance, claiming that it had overpaid on its taxes when it was- mistakenly, it claims- required to pay tax it was not liable for because its transactions were zero-rated. When this application was not acted upon, it went to the Court of Tax Appeals. The petition was opposed by the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, who claimed that Accenture could only be given a zero-rating classification under the Tax Code if it could prove that the foreign clients to which the Accenture rendered services did business outside the Philippines. The CTA ruled that that Accentures services would qualify for zero-rating under the 1997 Tax Code only if the recipient of the services was doing business outside of the Philippines, citing the Burmeister case as basis. Accenture filed a motion for reconsideration, arguing that the reliance of the CTA on Burmeister was erroneous because that decision was promulgated in January 22, 2007, or after Accenture had filed this petition. It claimed that such ruling cannot be given retroactive effect.

ISSUE: Can the Burmeister ruling be applied in this case without violating the rule on retroactivity of laws?

HELD: Yes. Clearly, the Supreme Courts pronouncements in the Burmeister case requiring that the recipient of the services must be doing business outside the Philippines as mandated by law govern the instant case. XXX This Court upholds the position of the CTA en banc that, because Section 108(B) of the 1997 Tax Code is a verbatim copy of Section 102(b) of the 1977 Tax Code, any interpretation of the latter holds true for the former. Moreover, even though Accentures Petition was filed before Burmeister was promulgated, the pronouncements made in that case may be applied to the present one without violating the rule against retroactive application. When this Court decides a case, it does not pass a new law, but merely interprets a preexisting one. When this Court interpreted Section 102(b) of the 1977 Tax Code in Burmeister, this interpretation became part of the law from the moment it became effective. It is elementary that the interpretation of a law by this Court constitutes part of that law from the date it was originally passed, since this Court's construction merely establishes the contemporaneous legislative intent that the interpreted law carried into effect. Accenture questions the CTAs application of Burmeister, because the provision interpreted therein was Section 102(b) of the 1977 Tax Code. In support of its position that Section 108 of the 1997 Tax Code does not require that the services be rendered to an entity doing business outside the Philippines, Accenture invokes this Courts pronouncements in Amex. However, a reading of that case will readily reveal that the provision applied was Section 102(b) of the 1977 Tax Code, and not Section 108 of the 1997 Tax Code. As previously mentioned, an interpretation of Section 102(b) of the 1977 Tax Code is an interpretation of Section 108 of the 1997 Tax Code, the latter being a mere reproduction of the former.

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AUJERO v. PHILIPPINE COMMUNICATIONS SATELLITE CORP. G.R. No. 193484 January 18, 2012 Subject: Preliminary Provisions of the Civil Code Topic: Effect and Applicability of Laws

FACTS: Aujero started working for Philcomsat as an accountant in the Finance Department. After 34 years of service, Aujero applied for early retirement. His application for retirement was approved, entitling him to receive retirement benefits at a rate equivalent to one and a half of his monthly salary for every year of service. At that time, Aujero was Philcomsat's Senior Vice-President with a monthly salary of P274,805. Aujero executed a Deed of Release and Quitclaim in Philcomsats favor, following his receipt from the latter of a check in the amount of P9,439,327.91. Almost 3 years thereafter, Aujero filed a complaint for unpaid retirement benefits, claiming that the actual amount of his retirement pay is P14,015,055 and that the P9,439,327.91 he received from Philcomsat as supposed settlement for all his claims is unconscionable. He thus asks that his quitclaim be declared as null and void. According to Aujero, he was simply forced into receiving the lesser amount because he needed money at that time, and was all set to return to his hometown. He says he only signed the quitclaim despite the considerable deficiency as no amount would be released to him if he did not execute a release and waiver in Philcomsat's favor. Philcomsat alleges that the Aujero willfully and knowingly executed the subject quitclaim in consideration of his receipt of his retirement pay. Philcomsat further alleges that the reduced amount P9,439,327.91 was arrived at following its negotiations with Aujero and the latter participated in the computation thereof, taking into account his accountabilities to Philcomsat and the latters financial debacles.

ISSUE: Was the quitclaim executed by Aujero in Philcomsats favor is valid, foreclosing his right to institute any further claim against Philcomsat?

HELD: Yes. Absent any evidence that any of the vices of consent is present and considering the petitioners position and education, the quitclaim executed by the petitioner constitutes a valid and binding agreement. In Goodrich Manufacturing Corporation, v. Ativo, this Court reiterated the standards that must be observed in determining whether a waiver and quitclaim has been validly executed: Not all waivers and quitclaims are invalid as against public policy. If the agreement was voluntarily entered into and represents a reasonable settlement, it is binding on the parties and may not later be disowned simply because of a change of mind. It is only where there is clear proof that the waiver was wangled from an unsuspecting or gullible person, or the terms of settlement are unconscionable on its face, that the law will step in to annul the questionable transaction. But where it is shown that the person making the waiver did so voluntarily, with full understanding of what he was doing, and the consideration for the quitclaim is credible and reasonable, the transaction must be recognized as a valid and binding undertaking. XXX

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

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CALIFORNIA CLOTHING v. QUIONES G.R. No.175822 October 23, 2013 Subject: Preliminary Provisions of the Civil Code Topic: Human Relations

FACTS: In 2001, respondent Quiones, went inside the Guess USA Boutique at the second floor of Robinsons Department Store (Robinsons) in Cebu City. She fitted four items: two jeans, a blouse and a shorts, then decided to purchase the black jeans worth P2,098.00. She allegedly paid for the jeans, as evidenced by a receipt issued by the store. However, after leaving the boutique, a Guess employee ran after her and informed her that she failed to pay for the jeans. She, however, insisted that she paid and showed the employee the receipt. She then suggested that they talk about it at the Cebu Pacific Office located at the basement of the mall, where she worked. When she arrived at the Cebu Pacific Office, the Guess employees allegedly subjected her to humiliation in front of the clients of Cebu Pacific and repeatedly demanded payment for the jeans. They allegedly even searched her wallet to check how much money she had. That same day, after Quiones went home, the Guess employees allegedly gave a letter to the Director of Cebu Pacific Air narrating the incident, but the latter refused to receive it as it did not concern the office and the same took place while respondent was off duty. Another letter was allegedly prepared and was supposed to be sent to the Cebu Pacific Office in Robinsons, but the latter again refused to receive it. Respondent also claimed that the Human Resource Department of Robinsons was furnished said letter and the latter in fact conducted an investigation for purposes of canceling respondents Robinsons credit card. Respondent further claimed that she was not given a copy of said damaging letter. Because of all of these, the respondent claims to have suffered physical anxiety, sleepless nights, mental anguish, fright, serious apprehension, besmirched reputation, moral shock and social humiliation. She thus filed this civil case for damaged before the RTC against petitioners California Clothing, Inc. and others. She demanded the payment of moral, nominal, and exemplary damages, plus attorneys fees and costs. The petitioners admitted the issuance of the receipt of payment, however, they claimed that there was a miscommunication between the boutiques cashier and invoicer that resulted in the store not receiving the payment for its account. Realizing the mistake, the petitioners chased after the respondent invited her to go back to the boutique to clarifify whether or not payment was indeed made. Instead of going back to the shop, the respondent suggested that they meet at the Cebu Pacific Office. The petitioners pointed out that it appeared in their conversation at the Cebu Pacific office that respondent could not recall to whom she gave the payment. They claim that they were gentle and polite in talking to respondent and it was the latter who was arrogant in answering their questions. As counterclaim, petitioners and the other defendants sought the payment of moral and exemplary damages, plus attorneys fees and litigation expenses. In 2003, the RTC rendered a Decision dismissing both the complaint and counterclaim of the parties, concluding that the petitioners believed in good faith that respondent failed to make payment. Considering that no motive to fabricate a lie could be attributed to the Guess employees, the court held that when they demanded payment from respondent, they merely exercised a right under the honest belief that no payment was made. The RTC also held that the actions of the petitioners was not damaging for the respondent when the confrontation took place in front of Cebu Pacific clients, because it was respondent herself who chose that location. On appeal, the CA reversed the RTC decision and ordered California Clothing to pay for damages. The CA found a preponderance of evidence showing that the petitioners acted in bad faith in sending the demand letter to respondents employer. The CA opined that the letter addressed to Cebu Pacifics director was sent to respondents employer not merely to ask for assistance for the collection of the
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disputed payment but to subject her to ridicule, humiliation and similar injury such that she would be pressured to pay, and that there was malice when petitioners dragged into the situation respondents employer who was not privy to the transaction. The CA finally stated that the making of false accusations by the petitioners was an abuse of right entitling respondent to collect moral damages and attorneys fees. Petitioner California Clothing was also made liable for its failure to exercise extraordinary diligence in the hiring and selection of its employees.

ISSUE: Did the employees of California Clothing abuse their right when trying to verify whether or not payment was actually made by Quiones?

HELD: Yes. Respondents complaint against petitioners stemmed from the principle of abuse of rights provided for in the Civil Code on the chapter of human relations. XXX [T]he exercise of such right is not without limitations. Any abuse in the exercise of such right and in the performance of duty causing damage or injury to another is actionable under the Civil Code. The Courts pronouncement in Carpio v. Valmonte31 is noteworthy: In the sphere of our law on human relations, the victim of a wrongful act or omission, whether done willfully or negligently, is not left without any remedy or recourse to obtain relief for the damage or injury he sustained. Incorporated into our civil law are not only principles of equity but also universal moral precepts which are designed to indicate certain norms that spring from the fountain of good conscience and which are meant to serve as guides for human conduct. First of these fundamental precepts is the principle commonly known as abuse of rights under Article 19 of the Civil Code. It provides that Every person must, in the exercise of his rights and in the performance of his duties, act with justice, give everyone his due and observe honesty and good faith.x x x The elements of abuse of rights are as follows: (1) there is a legal right or duty; (2) which is exercised in bad faith; (3) for the sole intent of prejudicing or injuring another.33 In this case, petitioners claimed that there was a miscommunication between the cashier and the invoicer leading to the erroneous issuance of the receipt to respondent. When they realized the mistake, they made a cash count and discovered that the amount which is equivalent to the price of the black jeans was missing. They, thus, concluded that it was respondent who failed to make such payment. It was, therefore, within their right to verify from respondent whether she indeed paid or not and collect from her if she did not. However, the question now is whether such right was exercised in good faith or they went overboard giving respondent a cause of action against them. Under the abuse of rights principle found in Article 19 of the Civil Code, a person must, in the exercise of legal right or duty, act in good faith. He would be liable if he instead acted in bad faith, with intent to prejudice another. Good faith refers to the state of mind which is manifested by the acts of the individual concerned. It consists of the intention to abstain from taking an unconscionable and unscrupulous advantage of another. Malice or bad faith, on the other hand, implies a conscious and intentional design to do a wrongful act for a dishonest purpose or moral obliquity. XXX It is evident from the circumstances of the case that petitioners went overboard and tried to force respondent to pay the amount they were demanding. In the guise of asking for assistance, petitioners even sent a demand letter to respondents employer not only informing it of the incident but obviously imputing bad acts on the part of respondent. Petitioners claimed that after receiving the receipt of payment and the item purchased, respondent was noted to hurriedly left (sic) the store. They also

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

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Sps. MAMARIL v. BOY SCOUTS OF THE PHILIPPINES G.R. No. 179382 January 14, 2013 Subject: Preliminary Provisions of the Civil Code Topic: Human Relations

FACTS: The spouses Mamaril would park their 6 passenger jeepneys every night at the BSP compound for a fee of P300 per month for each unit. As per usual, at 8 p.m., all these vehicles were parked inside the BSP compound. One morning, however, one of the vehicles was missing and was never recovered. According to the security guards of AIB Security Agency, Inc.- with whom BSP had contracted for its security and protection- a male person who looked familiar to them took the subject vehicle out of the compound. The spouses Mamaril filed a complaint for damages against BSP, AIB, and the guards.

ISSUE: Did BSPs negligence allow for the loss of the vehicle, such that a valid claim for damages can be made against them?

HELD: No. Article 20 of the Civil Code provides that every person, who, contrary to law, willfully or negligently causes damage to another, shall indemnify the latter for the same. Similarly, Article 2176 of the Civil Code states: Art. 2176. Whoever by act or omission causes damage to another, there being fault or negligence, is obliged to pay for the damage done. Such fault or negligence, if there is no preexisting contractual relation between the parties, is called a quasi-delict and is governed by the provisions of this Chapter. In this case, it is undisputed that the proximate cause of the loss of Sps. Mamaril's vehicle was the negligent act of security guards Pea and Gaddi in allowing an unidentified person to drive out the subject vehicle. Proximate cause has been defined as that cause, which, in natural and continuous sequence, unbroken by any efficient intervening cause, produces the injury or loss, and without which the result would not have occurred. XXX On the other hand, the records are bereft of any finding of negligence on the part of BSP. Hence, no reversible error was committed by the CA in absolving it from any liability for the loss of the subject vehicle based on fault or negligence. Neither will the vicarious liability of an employer under Article 218017 of the Civil Code apply in this case. It is uncontested that Pea and Gaddi were assigned as security guards by AIB to BSP pursuant to the Guard Service Contract. Clearly, therefore, no employer-employee relationship existed between BSP and the security guards assigned in its premises. Consequently, the latter's negligence cannot be imputed against BSP but should be attributed to AIB, the true employer of Pea and Gaddi.

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Sps. SERFINO v. FAR EAST BANK (now BPI) G.R. No. 171845 October 10, 2012 Subject: Preliminary Provisions of the Civil Code Topic: Human Relations

FACTS: In 1995, the spouses Serfino filed a case for collection for a sum of money against the spouses Cortez. A compromise settlement was agreed upon by both parties, which stipulated that Mrs. Cortez would pay the debt out of her retirement benefits from the GSIS one week after the money becomes available. The spouses Cortez failed to pay the settlement of P 155,000.00 agreed upon. The spouses Serfino, upon learning that the money had been deposited to the account of Cortez daughter-in-law Grace at Far East Bank, wrote the bank informing them that part of the money belongs to them by virtue of a settlement, and demanding that the accounts be frozen until ownership of the money is resolved. However, Grace withdrew most of the money from the account, leaving only P 54,534.00 with the bank. This remaining account was ordered by the court to be given to the spouses Serfino as partial payment of the debt of the spouses Cortez. Unsatisfied, the spouses Serfino filed a case against the spouses Cortez, Grace, and the bank. The lower court rules that the spouses Cortez and Grace fraudulently diverted the funds, but absolved Far East Bank of any liability for allowing Grace to withdraw the money in question after the plaintiffs asked them not to. On appeal, the spouses Serfino allege that it was an error for the lower court to hold that only a court order can compel a bank to freeze an account. They claim that the bank has been duly notified thrice of the adverse claim, and therefore it was their duty to freeze the account pending the resolution of the adverse claim.

ISSUE: Was there a positive duty on the part of Far East Bank to freeze the account of its client Grace to protect the interests of the third party spouses Serfino who have made an adverse claim on the funds under the account?

HELD: No, no duty exists on the part of the bank to protect interest of third person claiming [a] deposit in the name of another. XXX Under Article 2219 of the Civil Code, moral damages are recoverable for acts referred to in Article 21 of the Civil Code. Article 21 of the Civil Code, in conjunction with Article 19 of the Civil Code, is part of the cause of action known in this jurisdiction as "abuse of rights." The elements of abuse of rights are: (a) there is a legal right or duty; (b) exercised in bad faith; and (c) for the sole intent of prejudicing or injuring another. XXX The spouses Serfino invoke American common law that imposes a duty upon a bank receiving a notice of adverse claim to the fund in a depositors account to freeze the account for a reasonable length of time, sufficient to allow the adverse claimant to institute legal proceedings to enforce his right to the fund. In other words, the bank has a duty not to release the deposits unreasonably early after a third party makes known his adverse claim to the bank deposit. Acknowledging that no such duty is imposed by law in this jurisdiction, the spouses Serfino ask the Court to adopt this foreign rule.
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To adopt the foreign rule, however, goes beyond the power of this Court to promulgate rules governing pleading, practice and procedure in all courts. The rule reflects a matter of policy that is better addressed by the other branches of government, particularly, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, which is the agency that supervises the operations and activities of banks, and which has the power to issue rules of conduct or the establishment of standards of operation for uniform application to all institutions or functions covered. To adopt this rule will have significant implications on the banking industry and practices, as the American experience has shown. Recognizing that the rule imposing duty on banks to freeze the deposit upon notice of adverse claim adopts a policy adverse to the bank and its functions, and opens it to liability to both the depositor and the adverse claimant, many American states have since adopted adverse claim statutes that shifted or, at least, equalized the burden. Essentially, these statutes do not impose a duty on banks to freeze the deposit upon a mere notice of adverse claim; they first require either a court order or an indemnity bond. XXX In the absence of a law or a rule binding on the Court, it has no option but to uphold the existing policy that recognizes the fiduciary nature of banking. It likewise rejects the adoption of a judicially-imposed rule giving third parties with unverified claims against the deposit of another a better right over the deposit. As current laws provide, the banks contractual relations are with its depositor, not with the third party; a bank is under obligation to treat the accounts of its depositors with meticulous care and always to have in mind the fiduciary nature of its relationship with them. In the absence of any positive duty of the bank to an adverse claimant, there could be no breach that entitles the latter to moral damages.

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ABAD v. BIASON G.R. No. 191933 December 5, 2012 Subject: Persons Topic: Civil Personality

FACTS: In March 2007, petitioner Abad filed a petition for guardianship over the person and properties of Maura B. Abad with RTC of Dagupan City. Abad stated in his petition that he maintains residence at No. 14 B St. Paul Street, Horseshoe Village, Quezon City and that he is Mauras nephew. He averred that Maura, who is single, more than 90 years old and a resident of Rizal Street, Poblacion, Mangaldan, Pangasinan, is in dire need of a guardian who will look after her and her business affairs. Due to her advanced age, Maura is already sickly and can no longer manage to take care of herself and her properties unassisted. Biason opposed the petition, and alleged that he is also a nephew of Maura and that he was not notified of the pendency of the petition for the appointment of the Mauras guardian. He vehemently opposed the appointment of Abad as Mauras guardian as he cannot possibly perform his duties as such since he resides in Quezon City while Maura maintains her abode in Mangaldan, Pangasinan. Biason prayed that he be appointed as Mauras guardian since he was previously granted by the latter with a power of attorney to manage her properties. Eventually, Biason was appointed guardian. However, during the pendency of the proceedings, to determine the propriety of his appointment as guardian, Biason died.

ISSUE: Is the guardianship terminated upon Biason's death?

HELD: Yes. In his petition, Abad prayed for the nullification of the CA Decision dated August 28, 2009 and Resolution dated April 19, 2010, which dismissed his appeal from the Decision dated September 26, 2007 of the RTC and denied his motion for reconsideration, respectively. Basically, he was challenging Biasons qualifications and the procedure by which the RTC appointed him as guardian for Maura. However, with Biasons demise, it has become impractical and futile to proceed with resolving the merits of the petition. It is a well-established rule that the relationship of guardian and ward is necessarily terminated by the death of either the guardian or the ward. The supervening event of death rendered it pointless to delve into the propriety of Biasons appointment since the juridical tie between him and Maura has already been dissolved. The petition, regardless of its disposition, will not afford Abad, or anyone else for that matter, any substantial relief.

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CREWLINK, INC. v. TERINGTERING G.R. No. 166803 October 11, 2012 Subject: Persons Topic: Civil Personality

FACTS: In her complaint for death benefits, Teringtering alleged that her husband Jacinto entered into an overseas employment contract with Crewlink, Inc. for and in behalf of its foreign principal Gulf Marine Services. She alleged hat before her husband was employed, he was subjected to a medical examination and was pronounced as "fit to work." Thus, her husband joined his vessel of assignment and performed his duties as oiler on the vessel bound for the United Arab Emirates. In 2001, a death certificate was issued by the Ministry of Health of the UAE wherein it was stated that Jacinto died on April 9, 2001 due to asphyxia of drowning. Later on, an embalming and sealing certificate was issued after which the remains of Jacinto was brought back to the Philippines. After learning of the death of Jacinto, Teringtering claimed from Crewlink the payment of death compensation, burial expenses, and additional death compensation for their minor child but was refused without any valid cause. Teringtering claimed that in order for her husband's death to be compensable it is enough that he died during the term of his contract and while still on board. Teringtering asserted that Jacinto was suffering from a psychotic disorder, which resulted to his jumping into the sea and his eventual death. Teringtering further asserted that her husbands death was not deliberate and not of his own will, but was a result of a mental disorder, thus, compensable. Crewlink answered that sometime on April 9, 2001, around 8:20 p.m., the late Jacinto suddenly jumped into the sea, but the second engineer was able to recover him. Thus, a person was assigned to watch him. However,at around 10:30 p.m., Jacinto jumped off the boat again. Around 11:00 p.m., the watchman reported that Jacinto was recovered but despite efforts to revive him, he was already dead.

ISSUE: With the legal presumption of sanity, can Jacinto's death be ruled as a result of a mental disorder, thus compensable, on the mere allegation of her wife of insanity?

HELD: No. Indeed, in order to avail of death benefits, the death of the employee should occur during the effectivity of the employment contract. The death of a seaman during the term of employment makes the employer liable to his heirs for death compensation benefits. This rule, however, is not absolute. The employer may be exempt from liability if it can successfully prove that the seaman's death was caused by an injury directly attributable to his deliberate or willful act. In the instant case, petitioner was able to substantially prove that Jacinto's death was attributable to his deliberate act of killing himself by jumping into the sea. Meanwhile, respondent, other than her bare allegation that her husband was suffering from a mental disorder, no evidence, witness, or any medical report was given to support her claim of Jacinto's insanity. The record does not even show when the alleged insanity of Jacinto did start. Homesickness and/or family problems may result to depression, but the same does not necessarily equate to mental disorder. The issue of insanity is a question of fact; for insanity is a condition of the mind not susceptible of the usual means of proof. As no man would know what goes on in the mind of
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another, the state or condition of a persons mind can only be measured and judged by his behavior. Establishing the insanity of an accused requires opinion testimony which may be given by a witness who is intimately acquainted with the person claimed to be insane, or who has rational basis to conclude that a person was insane based on the witness own perception of the person, or who is qualified as an expert, such as a psychiatrist. No such evidence was presented to support respondent's claim.

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PEOPLE v. BAYRANTE G.R. No. 188978 June 13, 2012 Subject: Persons Topic: Civil Personality

Facts: On April 3, 2000, AAA filed before the MTC of Pili, Camarines, 2 separate complaints against AccusedAppellant Marcial Bayrante for the crime of Rape. Finding probable cause that Bayrante may have committed the crimes charged, the MTC ordered the filing of the appropriate informations, to which the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor concurred. Bayrante, in his defense, claimed that it was AAA who pursued him. He claims that AAA threatened to commit suicide if they do not become sweethearts. He says he even consulted a friend for he was scared that AAA might actually carry out her threat to commit suicide. Also, he averred that on one occasion, AAA went inside his bedroom and suggested that they should leave the place since her parents will not approve of their relationship. Bayrante further testified that he and AAA checked in at El Alma Hotel when they found out that her parents were looking for them. They checked out of the following morning on and went to the house of his cousin to pick up their personal belongings, however, AAAs parents were there when they arrived. Dr. Escuadra, a Medical Specialist with expertise in psychiatric evaluation and management of patients at the Bicol Medical Center, and who was also in charge of the women and children protection unit of the said hospital, is the one who conducted psychiatric and psychological tests on AAA. Dr. Escuadra testified that AAA suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, and also diagnosed AAA with mild mental retardation because of her IQ of only 55, which meant that her mental age is equivalent to that of 9-10 year old child, despite already being 20 years of age. On appeal, Bayrante maintains that AAA was his lover and that she voluntarily eloped with him as evidenced by the affidavit she signed before Brgy. Capt. Regis. Furthermore, Bayrante argues that the prosecution failed to establish the mental state of AAA which is crucial to the charge that he raped a woman who is of the legal age but otherwise deprived of reason. He asserts that the prosecution was not able to prove that AAA suffers from mental retardation.

ISSUE: Does AAA, a 20-year old suffering from mental retardation, have the legal capacity to give a valid consent to sexual congress, thus absolving Bayrante from guilt in the crime of rape?

HELD: No. It is settled in jurisprudence that, under the foregoing provision of law, carnal knowledge of a woman with a mental deficiency is considered rape because such a person is not capable of giving consent to a sexual act. In a recent case, we had declared that in cases of rape involving a victim suffering from mental retardation, proof of force or intimidation is not necessary, it being sufficient for the State to establish (1) the sexual congress between the accused and the victim, and (2) the mental retardation of the victim. Previously in People v. Dalandas, we described in detail the nature of mental retardation as well as its different degrees as defined in the modern and the old intelligence quotient (IQ) scales: Mental retardation is a chronic condition present from birth or early childhood and characterized by impaired intellectual functioning measured by standardized tests. It manifests itself in impaired adaptation to the daily demands of the individuals own social environment. Commonly, a mental

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retardate exhibits a slow rate of maturation, physical and/or psychological, as well as impaired learning capacity. Although mental retardation is often used interchangeably with mental deficiency, the latter term is usually reserved for those without recognizable brain pathology. The degrees of mental retardation according to their level of intellectual function are illustrated, thus: Mental Retardation LEVEL DESCRIPTION TERM INTELLIGENCE QUOTIENT (IQ RANGE) Below 20 20-35 36-52 53-68

I II III IV

Profound Severe Moderate Mild

A normal mind is one which in strength and capacity ranks reasonably well with the average of the great body of men and women who make up organized human society in general, and are by common consent recognized as sane and competent to perform the ordinary duties and assume the ordinary responsibilities of life. The traditional but now obsolescent terms applied to those degrees of mental retardation were (a) idiot, having an IQ of 0-19, and a maximum intellectual factor in adult life equivalent to that of the average two-year old child; (b) imbecile by an IQ of 20 to 49 and a maximum intellectual function in adult life equivalent to that of the average seven-year old child; (c) moron or feebleminded, having an IQ of 50 to 69 and a maximum intellectual function in adult life equivalent to that of the average twelveyear old child. Psychiatrists and psychologists apply the term borderline intelligence to those with IQ between 70 to 89. In People v. Palma, we ruled that a person is guilty of rape when he had sexual intercourse with a female who was suffering from a borderline mental deficiency. In the case at bar, the undisputed expert testimony of Dr. Imelda Escuadra, a Medical Specialist II and officer-in-charge of the Women and Children Protection Unit at the Bicol Medical Center who personally conducted the psychiatric tests on AAA, clearly established that the victim is afflicted with mild mental retardation. She further testified that AAA was also suffering from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and that AAA possesses an IQ of 55 with a mental age equivalent to that of a normal 9 to 10-year-old person.

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OROPESA v. OROPESA G.R. No. 184528 April 25, 2012 Subject: Persons Topic: Civil Personality

FACTS: Nilo alleged that his father Cirilo has been afflicted with several maladies and has been sickly for over 10 years already having suffered a stroke twice in 2003. He claims that even before his stroke, Cirilos judgment and memory were already impaired causing him to fail to manage his property properly. Because of his and medical condition, he cannot, without outside aid, manage his affairs wisely, and has become an easy prey for deceit and exploitation by people around him, particularly by Ms. Ma. Luisa Agamata, his girlfriend. Thus, Nilo filed a petition for him and a certain Ms. Louie Ginez to be appointed as guardians over the property of his father Cirilo. Cirilo opposed the petition for guardianship.

ISSUE: Is Cirilo of unsound mind and incapable of attending to his personal affairs and administering his properties?

HELD: No. We have held in the past that a finding that a person is incompetent should be anchored on clear, positive and definite evidence. We consider that evidentiary standard unchanged and, thus, must be applied in the case at bar. XXX Respondent denied the allegations made by petitioner and cited petitioners lack of material evidence to support his claims. According to respondent, petitioner did not present any relevant documentary or testimonial evidence that would attest to the veracity of his assertion that respondent is incompetent largely due to his alleged deteriorating medical and mental condition. In fact, respondent points out that the only medical document presented by petitioner proves that he is indeed competent to run his personal affairs and administer his properties. Portions of the said document, entitled Report of Neuropsychological Screening, were quoted by respondent in his Memorandum to illustrate that said report in fact favored respondents claim of competence, to wit: General Oropesa spoke fluently in English and Filipino, he enjoyed and participated meaningfully in conversations and could be quite elaborate in his responses on many of the test items. He spoke in a clear voice and his articulation was generally comprehensible. General Oropesa performed in the average range on most of the domains that were tested. He was able to correctly perform mental calculations and keep track of number sequences on a task of attention. He did BEST in visuo-constructional tasks where he had to copy geometrical designs using tiles. Likewise, he was able to render and read the correct time on the Clock Drawing Test. Reasoning abilities were generally intact as he was able to suggest effective solutions to problem situations. XXX In an analogous guardianship case wherein the soundness of mind of the proposed ward was at issue, we had the occasion to rule that where the sanity of a person is at issue, expert opinion is not necessary [and that] the observations of the trial judge coupled with evidence establishing the persons state of mental sanity will suffice.
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XXX The Court noted the absence of any testimony of a medical expert which states that Gen. Cirilo O. Oropesa does not have the mental, emotional, and physical capacity to manage his own affairs. On the contrary, Oppositors evidence includes a Neuropsychological Screening Report which states that Gen. Oropesa, (1) performs on the average range in most of the domains that were tested; (2) is capable of mental calculations; and (3) can provide solutions to problem situations. The Report concludes that Gen. Oropesa possesses intact cognitive functioning, except for mildly impaired abilities in memory, reasoning and orientation. It is the observation of the Court that oppositor is still sharp, alert and able. (Citation omitted; emphasis supplied.)

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JALOSJOS v. COMELEC G.R. No. 191970 April 24, 2012 Subject: Persons Topic: Citizenship and Domicile

FACTS: Rommel Jalosjos was born in Quezon City on October 26, 1973. He migrated to Australia in 1981 when he was eight years old and there acquired Australian citizenship. On November 22, 2008, at age 35, he decided to return to the Philippines and lived with his brother, Romeo, Jr., in Zamboanga Sibugay. Upon his return, he took an oath of allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines, resulting in his being issued a Certificate of Reacquisition of Philippine Citizenship by the Bureau of Immigration. In September 2009, he renounced his Australian citizenship, executing a sworn renunciation. From the time of his return, Jalosjos acquired real properties in Zamboanga Sibugay. He then applied for registration as a voter in the Municipality of Ipil but respondent Dan Erasmo, Sr., the Barangay Captain of his village, opposed the same. However, the Election Registration Board approved it and included Jalosjos name in the COMELECs voters list. Respondent Erasmo thus filed a petition for the exclusion of Jalosjos name from the official voters list. The MCTC rendered a decision, denying the petition, which was affirmed by the RTC on appeal. The RTC decision became final and executory. On November 28, 2009, Jalosjos filed his Certificate of Candidacy for Governor of Zamboanga Sibugay Province for the May 10, 2010 elections. Erasmo promptly filed a petition to deny due course or to cancel Jalosjos COC on the ground that the latter made material misrepresentation in the same since he failed to comply with (1) the requirements of R.A. 9225 and (2) the one-year residency requirement of the Local Government Code. The COMELEC ruled that, while Jalosjos had regained Philippine citizenship by complying with the requirements of R.A. 9225, he failed to prove the compliance with the residency requirement for a gubernatorial candidate. He failed to present ample proof of a bona fide intention to establish his domicile in Zamboanga Sibugay. The COMELEC En Banc affirmed the decision, ruling that Jalosjos had been a mere guest or transient visitor in his brothers house and, for this reason, he cannot claim Zamboanga Sibugay as his domicile. In the interim, Jalosjos won the election and was proclaimed winner of the 2010 gubernatorial race in the Province of Zamboanga Sibugay.

ISSUE: Can Jalosjos validly claim that Zamboanga Sibugay is his domicile?

HELD: Yes. The Local Government Code requires a candidate seeking the position of provincial governor to be a resident of the province for at least one year before the election. For purposes of the election laws, the requirement of residence is synonymous with domicile, meaning that a person must not only intend to reside in a particular place but must also have personal presence in such place coupled with conduct indicative of such intention. There is no hard and fast rule to determine a candidates compliance with residency requirement since the question of residence is a question of intention. Still, jurisprudence has laid down the following guidelines: (a) every person has a domicile or residence somewhere; (b) where once established, that domicile remains until he acquires a new one; and (c) a person can have but one domicile at a time.
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It is inevitable under these guidelines and the precedents applying them that Jalosjos has met the residency requirement for provincial governor of Zamboanga Sibugay. One. The COMELEC appears hasty in concluding that Jalosjos failed to prove that he successfully changed his domicile to Zamboanga Sibugay. The COMELEC points out that, since he was unable to discharge the burden of proving Zamboanga Sibugay to be his rightful domicile, it must be assumed that his domicile is either Quezon City orAustralia. But it is clear from the facts that Quezon City was Jalosjos domicile of origin, the place of his birth. It may be taken for granted that he effectively changed his domicile from Quezon City to Australia when he migrated there at the age of eight, acquired Australian citizenship, and lived in that country for 26 years. Australia became his domicile by operation of law and by choice. On the other hand, when he came to the Philippines in November 2008 to live with his brother in Zamboanga Sibugay, it is evident that Jalosjos did so with intent to change his domicile for good. He left Australia, gave up his Australian citizenship, and renounced his allegiance to that country. In addition, he reacquired his old citizenship by taking an oath of allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines, resulting in his being issued a Certificate of Reacquisition of Philippine Citizenship by the Bureau of Immigration. By his acts, Jalosjos forfeited his legal right to live in Australia, clearly proving that he gave up his domicile there. And he has since lived nowhere else except in Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay. To hold that Jalosjos has not establish a new domicile in Zamboanga Sibugay despite the loss of his domicile of origin (Quezon City) and his domicile of choice and by operation of law (Australia) would violate the settled maxim that a man must have a domicile or residence somewhere. Two. The COMELEC concluded that Jalosjos has not come to settle his domicile in Ipil since he has merely been staying at his brothers house. But this circumstance alone cannot support such conclusion. Indeed, the Court has repeatedly held that a candidate is not required to have a house in a community to establish his residence or domicile in a particular place. It is sufficient that he should live there even if it be in a rented house or in the house of a friend or relative. To insist that the candidate own the house where he lives would make property a qualification for public office. What matters is that Jalosjos has proved two things: actual physical presence in Ipil and an intention of making it his domicile. XXX Three. While the Court ordinarily respects the factual findings of administrative bodies like the COMELEC, this does not prevent it from exercising its review powers to correct palpable misappreciation of evidence or wrong or irrelevant considerations. The evidence Jalosjos presented is sufficient to establish Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay, as his domicile. The COMELEC gravely abused its discretion in holding otherwise.

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SABILI v. COMELEC G.R. No. 193261 April 24, 2012 Subject: Persons Topic: Citizenship and Domicile

FACTS: Sabili filed his certificate of candidacy for mayor of Lipa City for the 2010 elections. He stated in the application that he had been a resident of the city for 2 years and 8 months. Prior to the 2010 elections, he had been twice elected as Provincial Board Member in Batangas, representing the 4th District. During the 2007 elections, he ran for Congressman of the 4th District of Batangas, but lost. The 4th District of Batangas includes Lipa City. However, when Sabili filed his COC during the 2007 elections, he and his family were then staying at his ancestral home in San Juan, Batangas. Librea filed an action to cancel the certificate of candidacy of Sabili before the COMELEC, alleging that Sabili failed to comply with the one-year residency requirement under the Local Government Code. Librea alleges that Sabili falsely declared under oath in his COC that he had already been a resident of Lipa City for two years and eight months prior to the May 10, 2010 local elections. The COMELEC disqualified him, hence this recourse.

ISSUE: Was Sabili able to establish that Lipa City is his domicile for at least one year prior to the May 2010 elections?

HELD: Yes. In the present case, the parties are in agreement that the domicile of origin of Sabili was Brgy. Sico, San Juan, Batangas. He claims that he abandoned his domicile of origin and established his domicile of choice in Brgy. Pinagtong-ulan, Lipa City, thereby making him qualified to run for Lipa City mayor. On the other hand, respondent COMELEC held that no such change in domicile or residence took place and, hence, the entry in his Certificate of Candidacy showing that he was a resident of Brgy. Pinagtong-ulan, Lipa City constituted a misrepresentation that disqualified him from running for Lipa City mayor. To establish a new domicile of choice, personal presence in the place must be coupled with conduct indicative of the intention to make it one's fixed and permanent place of abode. As in all administrative cases, the quantum of proof necessary in election cases is substantial evidence, or such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind will accept as adequate to support a conclusion. XXX Considering all of the foregoing discussion, it is clear that while separately, each evidence presented by petitioner might fail to convincingly show the fact of his residence at Pinagtong-ulan since 2007, collectively, these pieces of evidence tend to sufficiently establish the said fact. Petitioners actual physical presence in Lipa City is established not only by the presence of a place (Pinagtong-ulan house and lot) he can actually live in, but also the affidavits of various persons in Pinagtong-ulan, and the Certification of its barangay captain. Petitioners substantial and real interest in establishing his domicile of choice in Lipa City is also sufficiently shown not only by the acquisition of additional property in the area and the transfer of his voter registration, but also his participation in the communitys socio-civic and religious life, as well as his declaration in his ITR that he is a resident thereof.

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We therefore rule that petitioner has been able to adduce substantial evidence to demonstrate compliance with the one-year residency requirement for local elective officials under the law. XXX when the evidence of the alleged lack of residence qualification of a candidate for an elective position is weak or inconclusive and it clearly appears that the purpose of the law would not be thwarted by upholding the victor's right to the office, the will of the electorate should be respected. For the purpose of election laws is to give effect to, rather than frustrate, the will of the voters. In sum, we grant the Petition not only because petitioner sufficiently established his compliance with the one-year residency requirement for local elective officials under the law. We also recognize that (a)bove and beyond all, the determination of the true will of the electorate should be paramount. It is their voice, not ours or of anyone else, that must prevail. This, in essence, is the democracy we continue to hold sacred.

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REPUBLIC v. SAGUN G.R. No. 187567 February 15, 2012 Subject: Persons Topic: Citizenship and Domicile

FACTS: Respondent Nora Fe Sagun is the legitimate child of Albert S. Chan, a Chinese national, and Marta Borromeo, a Filipino citizen. She was born on August 8, 1959 in Baguio City and did not elect Philippine citizenship upon reaching the age of majority. In 1992, at the age of 33 and after getting married to Alex Sagun, she executed an Oath of Allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines. Said document was notarized, but was not recorded and registered with the Local Civil Registrar of Baguio City. Sometime in September 2005, respondent applied for a Philippine passport. Her application was denied due to the citizenship of her father and there being no annotation on her birth certificate that she has elected Philippine citizenship. Consequently, she sought a judicial declaration of her election of Philippine citizenship and prayed that the Local Civil Registrar of Baguio City be ordered to annotate the same on her birth certificate. In her petition, respondent averred that she was raised as a Filipino, speaks Ilocano and Tagalog fluently and attended local schools in Baguio City. Respondent claimed that despite her part-Chinese ancestry, she always thought of herself as a Filipino. She is a registered voter in Baguio City and had voted in local and national elections as shown in the Voter Certification issued by the COMELEC. She asserted that by virtue of her positive acts, she has effectively elected Philippine citizenship and such fact should be annotated on her record of birth so as to entitle her to the issuance of a Philippine passport. The trial court granted the petition and declared the respondent a Filipino citizen. Contending that the lower court erred in so ruling, the OSG directly filed the instant recourse via a petition for review on certiorari before the SC.

ISSUE: Is Nora a Filipino citizen under the 1935 Constitution?

HELD: No, Nora is not a Filipino citizen under the 1935 Constitution. Clearly, it was erroneous for the trial court to make a specific declaration of respondents Filipino citizenship as such pronouncement was not within the courts competence. As to the propriety of respondents petition seeking a judicial declaration of election of Philippine citizenship, it is imperative that we determine whether respondent is required under the law to make an election and if so, whether she has complied with the procedural requirements in the election of Philippine citizenship. When respondent was born on August 8, 1959, the governing charter was the 1935 Constitution, which declares as citizens of the Philippines those whose mothers are citizens of the Philippines and elect Philippine citizenship upon reaching the age of majority. XXX Under Article IV, Section 1(4) of the 1935 Constitution, the citizenship of a legitimate child born of a Filipino mother and an alien father followed the citizenship of the father, unless, upon reaching the age
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of majority, the child elected Philippine citizenship. The right to elect Philippine citizenship was recognized in the 1973 Constitution when it provided that [t]hose who elect Philippine citizenship pursuant to the provisions of the Constitution of nineteen hundred and thirty-five are citizens of the Philippines. Likewise, this recognition by the1973 Constitution was carried over to the 1987 Constitution which states that [t]hose born before January 17, 1973 of Filipino mothers, who elect Philippine citizenship upon reaching the age of majority are Philippine citizens. It should be noted, however, that the 1973 and 1987 Constitutional provisions on the election of Philippine citizenship should not be understood as having a curative effect on any irregularity in the acquisition of citizenship for those covered by the 1935 Constitution. If the citizenship of a person was subject to challenge under the old charter, it remains subject to challenge under the new charter even if the judicial challenge had not been commenced before the effectivity of the new Constitution. Being a legitimate child, respondents citizenship followed that of her father who is Chinese, unless upon reaching the age of majority, she elects Philippine citizenship. It is a settled rule that only legitimate children follow the citizenship of the father and that illegitimate children are under the parental authority of the mother and follow her nationality. An illegitimate child of Filipina need not perform any act to confer upon him all the rights and privileges attached to citizens of the Philippines; he automatically becomes a citizen himself. But in the case of respondent, for her to be considered a Filipino citizen, she must have validly elected Philippine citizenship upon reaching the age of majority. XXX Based on the foregoing, the statutory formalities of electing Philippine citizenship are: (1) a statement of election under oath; (2) an oath of allegiance to the Constitution and Government of the Philippines; and (3) registration of the statement of election and of the oath with the nearest civil registry. Furthermore, no election of Philippine citizenship shall be accepted for registration under C.A. No. 625 unless the party exercising the right of election has complied with the requirements of the Alien Registration Act of 1950. In other words, he should first be required to register as an alien.[24] Pertinently, the person electing Philippine citizenship is required to file a petition with the Commission of Immigration and Deportation (now Bureau of Immigration) for the cancellation of his alien certificate of registration based on his aforesaid election of Philippine citizenship and said Office will initially decide, based on the evidence presented the validity or invalidity of said election.[25] Afterwards, the same is elevated to the Ministry (now Department) of Justice for final determination and review XXX respondent failed to comply with the legal requirements for a valid election. Specifically, respondent had not executed a sworn statement of her election of Philippine citizenship. The only documentary evidence submitted by respondent in support of her claim of alleged election was her oath of allegiance, executed 12 years after she reached the age of majority, which was unregistered. As aptly pointed out by the petitioner, even assuming arguendo that respondents oath of allegiance suffices, its execution was not within a reasonable time after respondent attained the age of majority and was not registered XXX Based on the foregoing circumstances, respondent clearly failed to comply with the procedural requirements for a valid and effective election of Philippine citizenship. Respondent cannot assert that the exercise of suffrage and the participation in election exercises constitutes a positive act of election of Philippine citizenship since the law specifically lays down the requirements for acquisition of citizenship by election. The mere exercise of suffrage, continuous and uninterrupted stay in the Philippines, and other similar acts showing exercise of Philippine citizenship cannot take the place of election of Philippine citizenship. Hence, respondent cannot now be allowed to seek the intervention of the court to confer upon her Philippine citizenship when clearly she has failed to validly elect Philippine citizenship.

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REPUBLIC v. ALBIOS G.R. No. 198780 October 16, 2013 Subject: Family Relations Topic: Marriage

FACTS: American citizen Fringer and Albios were married before MTC Judge Calo to enable Albios to acquire American citizenship. Albios agreed to pay him US$2,000 as consideration. After the ceremony, Fringer returned to the United States and never again communicated with Albios. In turn, Albios did not pay him because he never processed her petition for citizenship. Albios filed a petition for declaration of nullity of her marriage with Fringer because they never really had any intention of entering into a marriage or complying with any of their essential marital obligations. She described their marriage as one made in jest.

ISSUES: 1. Is the marriage of Fringer and Albios void ab initio on the ground of lack of consent 2. Is their marriage voidable on the ground of fraud under the Family Code?

HELD: 1. No. Under said Article 2, for consent to be valid, it must be (1) freely given and (2) made in the presence of a solemnizing officer. A freely given consent requires that the contracting parties willingly and deliberately enter into the marriage. Consent must be real in the sense that it is not vitiated nor rendered defective by any of the vices of consent under Articles 45 and 46 of the Family Code, such as fraud, force, intimidation, and undue influence. Consent must also be conscious or intelligent, in that the parties must be capable of intelligently understanding the nature of, and both the beneficial or unfavorable consequences of their act. Their understanding should not be affected by insanity, intoxication, drugs, or hypnotism. Based on the above, consent was not lacking between Albios and Fringer. In fact, there was real consent because it was not vitiated nor rendered defective by any vice of consent. Their consent was also conscious and intelligent as they understood the nature and the beneficial and inconvenient consequences of their marriage, as nothing impaired their ability to do so. That their consent was freely given is best evidenced by their conscious purpose of acquiring American citizenship through marriage. Such plainly demonstrates that they willingly and deliberately contracted the marriage. There was a clear intention to enter into a real and valid marriage so as to fully comply with the requirements of an application for citizenship. There was a full and complete understanding of the legal tie that would be created between them, since it was that precise legal tie which was necessary to accomplish their goal. 2. No, their marriage cannot be considered voidable on the ground of fraud under Article 45 (3) of the Family Code. Only the circumstances listed under Article 46 of the same Code may constitute fraud, namely, (1) non-disclosure of a previous conviction involving moral turpitude; (2) concealment by the wife of a pregnancy by another man; (3) concealment of a sexually transmitted disease; and (4) concealment of drug addiction, alcoholism, or homosexuality. No other misrepresentation or deceit shall constitute fraud as a ground for an action to annul a marriage. Entering into a: marriage for the sole purpose of evading immigration laws does not qualify under any of the listed circumstances. Furthermore, under Article 47 (3), the ground of fraud may only be brought by the injured or innocent party. In the present case, there is no injured party because Albios and Fringer both conspired to enter into the sham marriage.

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IWASAWA v. GANGAN G.R. No. 204169 September 11, 2013 Subject: Family Relations Topic: Marriage

FACTS: Petitioner Yasuo Iwasawa, a Japanese national, met private respondent Felisa Gangan sometime in 2002 in one of his visits to the Philippines. Felisa introduced herself as single and never married. Later that year, petitioner came back to the Philippines and married private respondent on November 28, 2002 in Pasay City. After the wedding, the couple resided in Japan. In July 2009, Yasuo noticed his wife becoming depressed. Suspecting that something might have happened in the Philippines, he confronted his wife about it. To his shock, Felisa confessed to him that she received news that her previous husband passed away. Yasuo sought to confirm the truth of his wifes confession and discovered that indeed, she was married to one Raymond Arambulo in 1994. This prompted Yasuo to file a petition for the declaration of his marriage to Felisa as null and void on the ground that their marriage is a bigamous one, based on Article 35(4) in relation to Article 41 of the Family Code. However, in 2012 the RTC ruled that there was insufficient evidence to prove private respondents prior existing valid marriage to another man. It held that while Yasuo offered the certificate of marriage of private respondent to Arambulo, it was only Yasuo who testified about said marriage. The RTC ruled that his testimony is unreliable because he has no personal knowledge of private respondents prior marriage nor of Arambulos death which makes him a complete stranger to the marriage certificate between private respondent and Arambulo and the latters death certificate. It further ruled that his testimony about the NSO certification is likewise unreliable since he is a stranger to the preparation of said document.

ISSUES: 1. Are the documents presented by Yazuo sufficient to establish Felisas prior marriage? 2. Is Felisas marriage to Yazuo bigamous despite the eventual death of her first husband?

HELD: 1. Yes. There is no question that the documentary evidence submitted by petitioner are all public documents. As provided in the Civil Code: ART. 410. The books making up the civil register and all documents relating thereto shall be considered public documents and shall be prima facie evidence of the facts therein contained. As public documents, they are admissible in evidence even without further proof of their due execution and genuineness. Thus, the RTC erred when it disregarded said documents on the sole ground that the petitioner did not present the records custodian of the NSO who issued them to testify on their authenticity and due execution since proof of authenticity and due execution was not anymore necessary. Moreover, not only are said documents admissible, they deserve to be given evidentiary weight because they constitute prima facie evidence of the facts stated therein. And in the instant case, the facts stated therein remain unrebutted since neither the private respondent nor the public prosecutor presented evidence to the contrary. 2. Yes. This Court has consistently held that a judicial declaration of nullity is required before a valid subsequent marriage can be contracted; or else, what transpires is a bigamous
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marriage, which is void from the beginning as provided in Article 35(4) of the Family Code of the Philippines. And this is what transpired in the instant case. As correctly pointed out by the OSG, the documentary exhibits taken together concretely establish the nullity of the marriage of petitioner to private respondent on the ground that their marriage is bigamous. The exhibits directly prove the following facts: (1) that private respondent married Arambulo on June 20, 1994 in the City of Manila; (2) that private respondent contracted a second marriage this time with petitioner on November 28, 2002 in Pasay City; (3) that there was no judicial declaration of nullity of the marriage of private respondent with Arambulo at the time she married petitioner; (3) that Arambulo died on July 14, 2009 and that it was only on said date that private respondents marriage with Arambulo was deemed to have been dissolved; and (4) that the second marriage of private respondent to petitioner is bigamous, hence null and void, since the first marriage was still valid and subsisting when the second marriage was contracted.

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GARCIA-QUIAZON v. BELEN G.R. No. 189121 July 31, 2013 Subject: Family Relations Topic: Marriage

FACTS: After Eliseos death, his common-law spouse and daughter, Lourdes and Elise, respectively, applied to the court for letters of administration of his intestate estate. Elise claims that he is the acknowledged natural child of Eliseo, and that her parents Eliseo and Lourdes were both capacitated to marry each other at the time she was conceived and born. Amelia, to whom Eliseo was married, opposed the petition. As a response to the opposition, Elise claimed that Amelia has no standing in the current case because her marriage to Eliseo was bigamous, having been contracted at a time when Amelia was in a prior subsisting marriage with one Filipito. Elise was issued the letters of administration upon the filing of a bond, having also attained the age of majority in the interim. On appeal, the CA upheld the findings of the trial court that Amelia was not validly married to Eliseo, and that Eliseo and Lourdes lived together as husband and wife from 1975 up to his death in 1992, with Elise being the product of their cohabitation as a family.

ISSUES: 1. Is Amelias marriage to Eliseo void ab initio? Can a void marriage be questioned collaterally and even after the death of a party? 2. Was Amelias previous marriage to Filipito sufficiently established, despite lack of corroborating evidence?

HELD: 1. Yes, unmeritorious is petitioners contention that the Court of Appeals erred in declaring Amelias marriage to Eliseo as void ab initio. In a void marriage, it was though no marriage has taken place, thus, it cannot be the source of rights. Any interested party may attack the marriage directly or collaterally. A void marriage can be questioned even beyond the lifetime of the parties to the marriage. It must be pointed out that at the time of the celebration of the marriage of Eliseo and Amelia, the law in effect was the Civil Code, and not the Family Code, making the ruling in Nial v. Bayadog applicable four-square to the case at hand. In Nial, the Court, in no uncertain terms, allowed therein petitioners to file a petition for the declaration of nullity of their fathers marriage to therein respondent after the death of their father, by contradistinguishing void from voidable marriages, to wit: Consequently, void marriages can be questioned even after the death of either party but voidable marriages can be assailed only during the lifetime of the parties and not after death of either, in which case the parties and their offspring will be left as if the marriage had been perfectly valid. That is why the action or defense for nullity is imprescriptible, unlike voidable marriages where the action prescribes. Only the parties to a voidable marriage can assail it but any proper interested party may attack a void marriage. It was emphasized in Nial that in a void marriage, no marriage has taken place and it cannot be the source of rights, such that any interested party may attack the marriage directly or
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collaterally without prescription, which may be filed even beyond the lifetime of the parties to the marriage. 2. Yes, the existence of a previous marriage between Amelia and Filipito was sufficiently established by no less than the Certificate of Marriage issued by the Diocese of Tarlac and signed by the officiating priest of the Parish of San Nicolas de Tolentino in Capas, Tarlac. The said marriage certificate is a competent evidence of marriage and the certification from the National Archive that no information relative to the said marriage exists does not diminish the probative value of the entries therein. We take judicial notice of the fact that the first marriage was celebrated more than 50 years ago, thus, the possibility that a record of marriage can no longer be found in the National Archive, given the interval of time, is not completely remote. Consequently, in the absence of any showing that such marriage had been dissolved at the time Amelia and Eliseos marriage was solemnized, the inescapable conclusion is that the latter marriage is bigamous and, therefore, void ab initio.

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CHAN v. CHAN G.R. No. 179786 July 24, 2013 Subject: Family Relations Topic: Marriage

FACTS: Petitioner Josielene Chan filed before the Makati RTC a petition for the declaration of nullity of her marriage to respondent Johnny Chan, the dissolution of their conjugal partnership of gains, and the award of custody of their children to her, alleging that Johnny failed to care for and support his family and that a psychiatrist diagnosed him as mentally deficient due to alcohol and drug use. She claims that it was also her who convinced him to undergo detoxification and rehabilitation at the hospital. Johnny resisted the action, claiming that it was Josielene who failed in her wifely duties. To save their marriage, he claims that he agreed to marriage counseling but when he and Josielene got there, two men forcibly held him by both arms while another gave him an injection. Their relationship took a turn for the worse when, after the hospital incident, Josielene was detained by the police for an unrelated crime. These instances were so damaging, Johnny claims, that their marriage could no longer be repaired. During the pre-trial conference, Josielene marked as evidence the Philhealth claim form that Johnny attached to his answer as proof that he was forcibly confined at the rehabilitation unit of a hospital. Noticing that the form carried a physicians handwritten note that Johnny suffered from "methamphetamine and alcohol abuse", Josielene filed with the RTC a request for the issuance of a subpoena duces tecum addressed to Medical City, covering Johnnys medical records when he was there confined. The request was accompanied by a motion to "be allowed to submit in evidence" the records sought by subpoena duces tecum. Johnny opposed the motion, arguing that the medical records were covered by physician-patient privilege. The RTC sustained the opposition and denied Josielenes motion. It also denied her motion for reconsideration, prompting her to file a special civil action of certiorari before the CA, imputing grave abuse of discretion to the RTC. The CA denied Josielenes petition. It ruled that, if courts were to allow the production of medical records, then patients would be left with no assurance that whatever relevant disclosures they may have made to their physicians would be kept confidential. The prohibition covers not only testimonies, but also affidavits, certificates, and pertinent hospital records. The CA added that, although Johnny can waive the privilege, he did not do so in this case. He attached the Philhealth form to his answer for the limited purpose of showing his alleged forcible confinement.

ISSUE: Is the issuance of a subpoena duces tecum for the production and submission in court of the respondent husband's hospital record proper for a case of declaration of nullity of marriage where one of the issues is the husbands mental fitness?

HELD: No, the issuance of the subpoena is improper, unless Johnny consents to the use of the records as evidence. Section 24(c), Rule 130 of the Rules of Evidence which reads: SEC. 24. Disqualification by reason of privileged communication. The following persons cannot testify as to matters learned in confidence in the following cases:

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(c) A person authorized to practice medicine, surgery or obstetrics cannot in a civil case, without the consent of the patient, be examined as to any advice or treatment given by him or any information which he may have acquired in attending such patient in a professional capacity, which information was necessary to enable him to act in that capacity, and which would blacken the reputation of the patient. The physician-patient privileged communication rule essentially means that a physician who gets information while professionally attending a patient cannot in a civil case be examined without the patients consent as to any facts which would blacken the latters reputation. This rule is intended to encourage the patient to open up to the physician, relate to him the history of his ailment, and give him access to his body, enabling the physician to make a correct diagnosis of that ailment and provide the appropriate cure. Any fear that a physician could be compelled in the future to come to court and narrate all that had transpired between him and the patient might prompt the latter to clam up, thus putting his own health at great risk. XXX Since the offer of evidence is made at the trial, Josielenes request for subpoena duces tecum is premature. She will have to wait for trial to begin before making a request for the issuance of a subpoena duces tecum covering Johnnys hospital records. It is when those records are produced for examination at the trial, that Johnny may opt to object, not just to their admission in evidence, but more so to their disclosure. XXX It is of course possible to treat Josielenes motion for the issuance of a subpoena duces tecum covering the hospital records as a motion for production of documents, a discovery procedure available to a litigant prior to trial. XXX But the above right to compel the production of documents has a limitation: the documents to be disclosed are not privileged. Josielene of course claims that the hospital records subject of this case are not privileged since it is the "testimonial" evidence of the physician that may be regarded as privileged. Section 24(c) of Rule 130 states that the physician "cannot in a civil case, without the consent of the patient, be examined" regarding their professional conversation. The privilege, says Josielene, does not cover the hospital records, but only the examination of the physician at the trial. To allow, however, the disclosure during discovery procedure of the hospital recordsthe results of tests that the physician ordered, the diagnosis of the patients illness, and the advice or treatment he gave himwould be to allow access to evidence that is inadmissible without the patients consent. Physician memorializes all these information in the patients records. Disclosing them would be the equivalent of compelling the physician to testify on privileged matters he gained while dealing with the patient, without the latters prior consent.

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PEOPLE v. ODTUHAN G.R. No. 191566 July 17, 2013 Subject: Family Relations Topic: Marriage

FACTS: Respondent Edgardo married Jasmin Modina in 1980. In 1993, Edgardo contracted a 2nd marriage with Eleanor Alagon. In August 1994, he filed a petition for annulment of his marriage with his first wife Jasmin. In 1999, the Pasig City RTC granted respondents petition and declared his marriage with Jasmin void ab initio for lack of a valid marriage license. In 2003, Eleanor died. But in June 2003, before Eleanor dies, private complainant Evelyn Alagon learned of Edgardos previous marriage with Jasmin. Evelyn thus filed a complaint-affidavit charging Edgardo with bigamy. James moved for the quashal of the information on two grounds, claiming that the facts, even if admintted, do not charge the offense of bigamy, and that, in any event, the criminal action or liability has been extinguished. The RTC, however, held that the facts alleged in the information that there was a valid marriage between respondent and Jasmin and without such marriage having been dissolved, respondent contracted a second marriage with Eleanor constitute the crime of bigamy. The trial court further held that neither can the information be quashed on the ground that criminal liability has been extinguished, because the declaration of nullity of the first marriage is not one of the modes of extinguishing criminal liability.

ISSUES: 1. Do the facts alleged constitute the crime of bigamy? 2. Has Edgardos criminal liability been extinguished either by the annulment of his first marriage or the dead of his second wife?

HELD: 1. Yes. An examination of the information filed against respondent, however, shows the sufficiency of the allegations therein to constitute the crime of bigamy as it contained all the elements of the crime as provided for in Article 34932 of the Revised Penal Code, to wit: (1) That the offender has been legally married; (2) That the first marriage has not been legally dissolved or, in case his or her spouse is absent, the absent spouse could not yet be presumed dead according to the Civil Code; (3) That he contracts a second or subsequent marriage; and (4) That the second or subsequent marriage has all the essential requisites for validity. Here, the information contained the following allegations: (1) that respondent is legally married to Jasmin; (2) that without such marriage having been legally dissolved; (3) that respondent willfully, unlawfully, and feloniously contracted a second marriage with Eleanor; and (4) that the second marriage has all the essential requisites for validity. Respondents evidence showing the courts declaration that his marriage to Jasmin is null and void from the beginning because of the absence of a marriage license is only an evidence that seeks to establish a fact contrary to that alleged in the information that a first valid marriage was subsisting at the time he contracted the second marriage. This should not be considered at all, because matters of defense cannot be raised in a motion to quash. It is notproper, therefore, to resolve the charges at the very outset without the benefit of a full blown trial.
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2. No. The Family Code has settled once and for all the conflicting jurisprudence on the matter. A declaration of the absolute nullity of a marriage is now explicitly required either as a cause of action or a ground for defense. It has been held in a number of cases that a judicial declaration of nullity is required before a valid subsequent marriage can be contracted; or else, what transpires is a bigamous marriage, reprehensible and immoral. What makes a person criminally liable for bigamy is when he contracts a second or subsequent marriage during the subsistence of a valid marriage. Parties to the marriage should not be permitted to judge for themselves its nullity, for the same must be submitted to the judgment of competent courts and only when the nullity of the marriage is so declared can it be held as void, and so long as there is no such declaration, the presumption is that the marriage exists. Therefore, he who contracts a second marriage before the judicial declaration of nullity of the first marriage assumes the risk of being prosecuted for bigamy. If we allow respondents line of defense and the CAs ratiocination, a person who commits bigamy can simply evade prosecution by immediately filing a petition for the declaration of nullity of his earlier marriage and hope that a favorable decision is rendered therein before anyone institutes a complaint against him.

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CAPILI v. PEOPLE and TISMO G.R. No. 183805 July 3, 2013 Subject: Family Relations Topic: Marriage

FACTS: On June 28, 2004, petitioner James Capili was charged with the crime of bigamy before the Pasig RTC. The information states that James contracted a second marriage with private respondent Shirley Tismo in 1999 while still being married to Karla Y. Medina-Capili. James filed a Motion to Suspend Proceedings alleging that there is a pending civil case for declaration of nullity of the second marriage before the RTC of Antipolo City filed by Karla Y. Medina-Capili. He theorizes that in the event that the 2nd marriage is declared null and void, it would exculpate him from the charge of bigamy, thus posing a prejudicial question. In the interim, the RTC of Antipolo City rendered a decision declaring the voidness or incipient invalidity of the second marriage between James and Shirley on the ground that a subsequent marriage contracted by the husband during the lifetime of the legal wife is void from the beginning. Thus, James asked that the bigamy charges against him be dismissed.

ISSUE: Is the subsequent declaration of nullity of the second marriage an automatic ground for dismissal of the criminal case for bigamy already instituted?

HELD: No. Article 349 of the Revised Penal Code defines and penalizes the crime of bigamy as follows: Art. 349. Bigamy. The penalty of prision mayor shall be imposed upon any person who shall contract a second or subsequent marriage before the former marriage has been legally dissolved, or before the absent spouse has been declared presumptively dead by means of a judgment rendered in the proper proceedings. The elements of the crime of bigamy, therefore, are: (1) the offender has been legally married; (2) the marriage has not been legally dissolved or, in case his or her spouse is absent, the absent spouse could not yet be presumed dead according to the Civil Code; (3) that he contracts a second or subsequent marriage; and (4) that the second or subsequent marriage has all the essential requisites for validity. In the present case, it appears that all the elements of the crime of bigamy were present when the Information was filed on June 28, 2004. It is undisputed that a second marriage between petitioner and private respondent was contracted on December 8, 1999 during the subsistence of a valid first marriage between petitioner and Karla Y. Medina-Capili contracted on September 3, 1999. Notably, the RTC of Antipolo City itself declared the bigamous nature of the second marriage between petitioner and private respondent. Thus, the subsequent judicial declaration of the second marriage for being bigamous in nature does not bar the prosecution of petitioner for the crime of bigamy. Jurisprudence is replete with cases holding that the accused may still be charged with the crime of bigamy, even if there is a subsequent declaration of the nullity of the second marriage, so long as the first marriage was still subsisting when the second marriage was celebrated. In Jarillo v. People,10 the Court affirmed the accuseds conviction for bigamy ruling that the crime of bigamy is consummated on the celebration of the subsequent marriage without the previous one having been judicially declared null and void.
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XXX Thus, under the law, a marriage, even one which is void or voidable, shall be deemed valid until declared otherwise in a judicial proceeding. In this case, even if petitioner eventually obtained a declaration that his first marriage was void ab initio, the point is, both the first and the second marriage were subsisting before the first marriage was annulled. In like manner, the Court recently upheld the ruling in the aforementioned case and ruled that what makes a person criminally liable for bigamy is when he contracts a second or subsequent marriage during the subsistence of a valid first marriage. It further held that the parties to the marriage should not be permitted to judge for themselves its nullity, for the same must be submitted to the judgment of competent courts and only when the nullity of the marriage is so declared can it be held as void, and so long as there is no such declaration the presumption is that the marriage exists. Therefore, he who contracts a second marriage before the judicial declaration of the first marriage assumes the risk of being prosecuted for bigamy.

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GO-BANGAYAN v. BANGAYAN G.R. No. 201061 July 3, 2013 Subject: Family Relations Topic: Marriage

FACTS: In 2004, Respondent Benjamin Bangayan filed a petition for declaration of a non-existent marriage and/or declaration of nullity of marriage before the RTC of Manila. Benjamin alleged that in 1973, he married Azucena in Caloocan City and they had three children; however, in 1979, Benjamin developed a romantic relationship with Sally who was a customer in the auto parts business owned by Benjamins family. He further alleged that in 1981, Azucena left for the USA; and in 1982, he and Sally lived together as husband and wife and had 2 children, Bernice and Bentley . Sallys father was against the relationship, in order to appease her father, Sally brought Benjamin to an office in Santolan, Pasig City where they signed a purported marriage contract. Benjamin claimed that Sally knew of his marital status and assured him that the marriage contract would not be registered. Benjamin and Sallys cohabitation produced two children. During their cohabitation, they also acquired several real properties, to wit: 5. TCT Nos. 61720 and 190860 registered in the name of Benjamin, married to Sally; 6. TCT No. 61722 registered in the names of Benjamin and Sally as spouses; 7. Condominium units CCT Nos. 8782 and 8783 registered in the name of Sally, married to Benjamin; and 8. TCT Nos. N-193656 and 253681 registered in the name of Sally as a single individual. The relationship of Benjamin and Sally ended in 1994 when Sally left for Canada, bringing Bernice and Bentley with her. She then filed criminal actions for bigamy and falsification of public documents against Benjamin, using their simulated marriage contract as evidence. Benjamin, in turn, filed a petition for declaration of a non-existent marriage / declaration of nullity of marriage on the ground that his marriage to Sally was bigamous and that it lacked the formal requisites to a valid marriage. Benjamin also asked the trial court for the partition of the properties he acquired with Sally in accordance with Article 148 of the Family Code, for his appointment as administrator of the properties during the pendency of the case, and for the declaration of Bernice and Bentley as illegitimate children. A total of 44 registered properties became the subject of the partition before the trial court, including 37 properties listed by Sally in her answer. The trial court ruled that the marriage between Benjamin and Sally was not bigamous, but was void nonetheless because of the lack of a marriage license. Hence, bigamy was not committed in this case. The trial court did not rule on the issue of the legitimacy status of Bernice and Bentley because they were not parties to the case. The trial court denied Sallys claim for spousal support because she was not married to Benjamin. The trial court likewise denied support for Bernice and Bentley who were both of legal age and did not ask for support. On the issue of partition, the trial court ruled that Sally could not claim the 37 properties she named in her answer as part of her conjugal properties with Benjamin. The trial court ruled that Sally was not legally married to Benjamin. Further, the 37 properties that Sally was claiming were owned by Benjamins parents who gave the properties to their children, including Benjamin, as advanced inheritance. The 37 titles were in the names of Benjamin and his brothers and the phrase "married to Sally Go" was merely descriptive of Benjamins civil status in the title. As regards the two lots under TCT Nos. 61720 and 190860, the trial court found that they were bought by Benjamin using his own money and that Sally failed to prove any actual contribution of money, property or industry in their purchase.

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While the RTC found that Sally was a registered co-owner of the lots covered by TCT Nos. 61722, N193656, and 253681 as well as the two condominium units under CCT Nos. 8782 and 8783, it also ruled that TCT No. 61722 and the two condominium units were purchased from the earnings of Benjamin alone. The RTC further ruled that these properties and the rest of the properties were part of the conjugal partnership of Benjamin and Azucena, without prejudice to Benjamins right to dispute his conjugal state with Azucena in a separate proceeding. The trial court further ruled that Sally acted in bad faith because she knew that Benjamin was married to Azucena. Applying Article 148 of the Family Code, the trial court forfeited all of Sallys share in favor of Bernice and Bentley while Benjamins share reverted to his conjugal ownership with Azucena On appeal, the CA mostly upheld the ruling of the RTC, with the exception of a few properties, and that Sallyys insistence on presenting Benjamin and failure to submit her own evidence amounted to a waiver of the right to present evidence.

ISSUES: 1. Is there a valid marriage between Benjamin and Sally? 2. Is Benjamins marriage to Sally bigamous?

HELD: 1. No. Teresita Oliveros (Oliveros), Registration Officer II of the Local Civil Registrar of Pasig City, testified that there was no valid marriage license issued to Benjamin and Sally. Oliveros confirmed that only Marriage Licence Nos. 6648100 to 6648150 were issued for the month of February 1982. Marriage License No. N-07568 did not match the series issued for the month. Oliveros further testified that the local civil registrar of Pasig City did not issue Marriage License No. N-07568 to Benjamin and Sally. The certification from the local civil registrar is adequate to prove the non-issuance of a marriage license and absent any suspicious circumstance, the certification enjoys probative value, being issued by the officer charged under the law to keep a record of all data relative to the issuance of a marriage license. Clearly, if indeed Benjamin and Sally entered into a marriage contract, the marriage was void from the beginning for lack of a marriage license. It was also established before the trial court that the purported marriage between Benjamin and Sally was not recorded with the local civil registrar and the National Statistics Office. XXX As pointed out by the trial court, the marriage between Benjamin and Sally "was made only in jest" and "a simulated marriage, at the instance of Sally, intended to cover her up from expected social humiliation coming from relatives, friends and the society especially from her parents seen as Chinese conservatives." In short, it was a fictitious marriage. XXX We see no inconsistency in finding the marriage between Benjamin and Sally null and void ab initio and, at the same time, non-existent. Under Article 35 of the Family Code, a marriage solemnized without a license, except those covered by Article 34 where no license is necessary, "shall be void from the beginning." In this case, the marriage between Benjamin and Sally was solemnized without a license. XXX The marriage between Benjamin and Sally was also non-existent. Applying the general rules on void or inexistent contracts under Article 1409 of the Civil Code, contracts which are absolutely
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simulated or fictitious are "inexistent and void from the beginning." Thus, the Court of Appeals did not err in sustaining the trial courts ruling that the marriage between Benjamin and Sally was null and void ab initio and non-existent. 2. No, the marriage is not bigamous. It is required that the first or former marriage shall not be null and void. The marriage of the petitioner to Azucena shall be assumed as the one that is valid, there being no evidence to the contrary and there is no trace of invalidity or irregularity on the face of their marriage contract. However, if the second marriage was void not because of the existence of the first marriage but for other causes such as lack of license, the crime of bigamy was not committed. In People v. De Lara [CA, 51 O.G., 4079], it was held that what was committed was contracting marriage against the provisions of laws not under Article 349 but Article 350 of the Revised Penal Code. XXX For bigamy to exist, the second or subsequent marriage must have all the essential requisites for validity except for the existence of a prior marriage. In this case, there was really no subsequent marriage. Benjamin and Sally just signed a purported marriage contract without a marriage license. The supposed marriage was not recorded with the local civil registrar and the National Statistics Office. In short, the marriage between Benjamin and Sally did not exist. They lived together and represented themselves as husband and wife without the benefit of marriage.

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FUJIKI v. MARINAY G.R. No. 196049 June 26, 2013 Subject: Family Relations Topic: Marriage

FACTS: Fujiki is a Japanese national who married respondent Marinay in the Philippines in 2004. As Fujikis parents opposed the marriage, Fujiki could not bring his wife to Japan where he resides. They eventually lost contact with each other. Later, Marinay met anotherJapanese, Maekara. Without the first marriage being dissolved, Marinay and Maekara were married in 2008 in Quezon City, Philippines. Maekara brought Marinay to Japan, however, Marinay allegedly suffered physical abuse from Maekara, so she left Maekara and started to contact Fujiki. Fujiki and Marinay met in Japan and they were able to reestablish their relationship. In 2010, Fujiki helped Marinay obtain a judgment from a family court in Japan which declared the marriage between Marinay and Maekara void on the ground of bigamy. In 2011, Fujiki filed a petition in the RTC entitled: "Judicial Recognition of Foreign Judgment (or Decree of Absolute Nullity of Marriage)." Fujiki asked the Philippine court to: 1. Recognize the judgment of the Japanese Family Court; 2. Declare void ab initio the bigamous marriage between Marinay; and 3. direct the Local Civil Registrar of Quezon City to annotate the Japanese Family Court judgment on the Certificate of Marriage between Marinay and Maekara and to endorse such annotation to the Office of the Administrator and Civil Registrar General in the National Statistics Office (NSO). The RTC dismissed the petition, citing the following provisions of the Rule on Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void Marriages and Annulment of Voidable Marriages (A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC): Sec. 2. Petition for declaration of absolute nullity of void marriages. (a) Who may file. A petition for declaration of absolute nullity of void marriage may be filed solely by the husband or the wife... Sec. 4. Venue. The petition shall be filed in the Family Court of the province or city where the petitioner or the respondent has been residing for at least six months prior to the date of filing, or in the case of a non-resident respondent, where he may be found in the Philippines, at the election of the petitioner. The Solicitor General, on the other hand, argued that Fujiki, as the spouse of the first marriage, is an injured party who can sue to declare the bigamous marriage between Marinay and Maekara void. The Solicitor General claims that A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC does not apply in cases of bigamy.

ISSUES: 1. Is the Rule on Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void Marriages and Annulment of Voidable Marriages (A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC) applicable for the recognition of a foreign judgment in this case? 2. May the husband or wife of a prior marriage file a petition to recognize a foreign judgment nullifying the subsequent marriage between his or her spouse and a foreign citizen on the ground of bigamy?
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3. Can the RTC recognize the foreign judgment in a proceeding for cancellation or correction of entries in the Civil Registry under Rule 108 of the Rules of Court?

HELD: 1. No. The Rule on Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void Marriages and Annulment of Voidable Marriages (A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC) does not apply in a petition to recognize a foreign judgment relating to the status of a marriage where one of the parties is a citizen of a foreign country. Moreover, in Juliano-Llave v. Republic, this Court held that the rule in A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC that only the husband or wife can file a declaration of nullity or annulment of marriage does not apply if the reason behind the petition is bigamy. For Philippine courts to recognize a foreign judgment relating to the status of a marriage where one of the parties is a citizen of a foreign country, the petitioner only needs to prove the foreign judgment as a fact under the Rules of Court. To be more specific, a copy of the foreign judgment may be admitted in evidence and proven as a fact under Rule 132, Sections 24 and 25, in relation to Rule 39, Section 48(b) of the Rules of Court. Petitioner may prove the Japanese Family Court judgment through (1) an official publication or (2) a certification or copy attested by the officer who has custody of the judgment. If the office which has custody is in a foreign country such as Japan, the certification may be made by the proper diplomatic or consular officer of the Philippine foreign service in Japan and authenticated by the seal of office. To hold that A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC applies to a petition for recognition of foreign judgment would mean that the trial court and the parties should follow its provisions, including the form and contents of the petition, the service of summons, the investigation of the public prosecutor, the setting of pre-trial, the trial and the judgment of the trial court. This is absurd because it will litigate the case anew. It will defeat the purpose of recognizing foreign judgments, which is "to limit repetitive litigation on claims and issues. The interpretation of the RTC is tantamount to relitigating the case on the merits. XXX A petition to recognize a foreign judgment declaring a marriage void does not require relitigating under a Philippine court of the case as if it were a new petition for declaration of nullity of marriage. Philippine courts cannot presume to know the foreign laws under which the foreign judgment was rendered. They cannot substitute their judgment on the status, condition and legal capacity of the foreign citizen who is under the jurisdiction of another state. Thus, Philippine courts can only recognize the foreign judgment as a fact according to the rules of evidence. XXX While the Philippines does not have a divorce law, Philippine courts may, however, recognize a foreign divorce decree under the second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code, to capacitate a Filipino citizen to remarry when his or her foreign spouse obtained a divorce decree abroad. There is therefore no reason to disallow Fujiki to simply prove as a fact the Japanese Family Court judgment nullifying the marriage between Marinay and Maekara on the ground of bigamy. While the Philippines has no divorce law, the Japanese Family Court judgment is fully consistent with Philippine public policy, as bigamous marriages are declared void from the beginning under Article 35(4) of the Family Code. 2. Yes. Rule 108 creates a remedy to rectify facts of a persons life which are recorded by the State pursuant to the Civil Register Law or Act No. 3753. These are facts of public consequence such as birth, death or marriage, which the State has an interest in recording.

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XXX Rule 108, Section 1 of the Rules of Court states: Sec. 1. Who may file petition. Any person interested in any act, event, order or decree concerning thecivil status of persons which has been recorded in the civil register, may file a verified petition for the cancellation or correction of any entry relating thereto, with the Regional Trial Court of the province where the corresponding civil registry is located. (Emphasis supplied) Fujiki has the personality to file a petition to recognize the Japanese Family Court judgment nullifying the marriage between Marinay and Maekara on the ground of bigamy because the judgment concerns his civil status as married to Marinay. For the same reason he has the personality to file a petition under Rule 108 to cancel the entry of marriage between Marinay and Maekara in the civil registry on the basis of the decree of the Japanese Family Court. There is no doubt that the prior spouse has a personal and material interest in maintaining the integrity of the marriage he contracted and the property relations arising from it. There is also no doubt that he is interested in the cancellation of an entry of a bigamous marriage in the civil registry, which compromises the public record of his marriage. XXX In any case, Section 2(a) of A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC preserves this substantive right by limiting the personality to sue to the husband or the wife of the union recognized by law. XXX Article 35(4) of the Family Code, which declares bigamous marriages void from the beginning, is the civil aspect of Article 349 of the Revised Penal Code, which penalizes bigamy. Bigamy is a public crime. Thus, anyone can initiate prosecution for bigamy because any citizen has an interest in the prosecution and prevention of crimes. If anyone can file a criminal action which leads to the declaration of nullity of a bigamous marriage, there is more reason to confer personality to sue on the husband or the wife of a subsisting marriage. XXX For this purpose, he can petition a court to recognize a foreign judgment nullifying the bigamous marriage and judicially declare as a fact that such judgment is effective in the Philippines. Once established, there should be no more impediment to cancel the entry of the bigamous marriage in the civil registry. 3. Yes. A recognition of a foreign judgment is not an action to nullify a marriage. It is an action for Philippine courts to recognize the effectivity of a foreign judgment, which presupposes a case which was already tried and decided under foreign law. XXX Article 26 of the Family Code confers jurisdiction on Philippine courts to extend the effect of a foreign divorce decree to a Filipino spouse without undergoing trial to determine the validity of the dissolution of the marriage. The second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code provides that "[w]here a marriage between a Filipino citizen and a foreigner is validly celebrated and a divorce is thereafter validly obtained abroad by the alien spouse capacitating him or her to remarry, the Filipino spouse shall have capacity to remarry under Philippine law." In Republic v. Orbecido, this Court recognized the legislative intent of the second paragraph of Article 26 which is "to avoid the absurd situation where the Filipino spouse remains married to the alien spouse who, after obtaining a divorce, is no longer married to the Filipino spouse" under the laws of his or her country. The second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code only authorizes Philippine courts to adopt the effects of a foreign divorce decree precisely because the
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Philippines does not allow divorce. Philippine courts cannot try the case on the merits because it is tantamount to trying a case for divorce. The second paragraph of Article 26 is only a corrective measure to address the anomaly that results from a marriage between a Filipino, whose laws do not allow divorce, and a foreign citizen, whose laws allow divorce. The anomaly consists in the Filipino spouse being tied to the marriage while the foreign spouse is free to marry under the laws of his or her country. The correction is made by extending in the Philippines the effect of the foreign divorce decree, which is already effective in the country where it was rendered. The second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code is based on this Courts decision in Van Dorn v. Romillo which declared that the Filipino spouse should not be discriminated against in her own country if the ends of justice are to be served. XXX Moreover, notwithstanding Article 26 of the Family Code, Philippine courts already have jurisdiction to extend the effect of a foreign judgment in the Philippines to the extent that the foreign judgment does not contravene domestic public policy. A critical difference between the case of a foreign divorce decree and a foreign judgment nullifying a bigamous marriage is that bigamy, as a ground for the nullity of marriage, is fully consistent with Philippine public policy as expressed in Article 35(4) of the Family Code and Article 349 of the Revised Penal Code. The Filipino spouse has the option to undergo full trial by filing a petition for declaration of nullity of marriage under A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC, but this is not the only remedy available to him or her. Philippine courts have jurisdiction to recognize a foreign judgment nullifying a bigamous marriage, without prejudice to a criminal prosecution for bigamy. XXX Upon recognition of the foreign judgment, this right becomes conclusive and the judgment serves as the basis for the correction or cancellation of entry in the civil registry. The recognition of the foreign judgment nullifying a bigamous marriage is a subsequent event that establishes a new status, right and fact that needs to be reflected in the civil registry. Otherwise, there will be an inconsistency between the recognition of the effectivity of the foreign judgment and the public records in the Philippines. However, the recognition of a foreign judgment nullifying a bigamous marriage is without prejudice to prosecution for bigamy under Article 349 of the Revised Penal Code.93 The recognition of a foreign judgment nullifying a bigamous marriage is not a ground for extinction of criminal liability under Articles 89 and 94 of the Revised Penal Code. Moreover, under Article 91 of the Revised Penal Code, "[t]he term of prescription [of the crime of bigamy] shall not run when the offender is absent from the Philippine archipelago."

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ABBAS v. ABBAS G.R. No. 183896 January 30, 2013 Subject: Family Relations Topic: Marriage

FACTS: Petitioner Syed Abbas filed for the declaration of nullity of his marriage to Gloria Goo-Abbas, alleging the absence of a marriage licensee as a ground for the nullity of his marriage to Gloria. Syed, a Pakistani citizen, and Gloria, a Filipino citizen, met in Taiwan in 1991. Syed arrived in the Philippines in December of 1992. On January 9, 1993, he was visiting Glorias mother at their house in Malate, Manila when 2 men arrived. These men allegedly told Syed that he needed to undergo some ceremony as one of the requirements for his stay in the Philippines, but was not told of the nature of said ceremony. During the ceremony he and Gloria signed a document. Syed claims that he did not know that the ceremony was a marriage until Gloria told him later. Syed also testified that he never went to Carmona, Cavite to apply for a marriage license, and that he had never resided in that area. Respondent Gloria claims that Syed is her husband, and presented the marriage contract bearing their signatures as proof. She claimes that her marriage to Syed took place on January 9, 1993 at their residence. She presented their purported marriage contract, which states that marriage license No. 9969967, issued at Carmona, Cavite on January 8, 1993, was presented to the solemnizing officer. Gloria also testified that she filed a bigamy case against Syed, who allegedly was previously married on August 9, 1992 in Taiwan, but that she did not know if said marriage had been celebrated under Muslim rites, because the one who celebrated their marriage was Chinese. Petitioner Syed claims because Gloria had instituted bigamy cases against him, he went to the Registrar of Carmona, Cavite to get certification on whether or not there was a marriage license on advice of his counsel. He presented Norberto Bagsic, an employee of the Civil Registrar of Carmona, Cavite, who appeared under a letter of authority from the Registrar of Carmona, Cavite, and brought documents pertaining to the alleged marriage license No. 9969967, which was issued to a different couple, not to Syed and Gloria. The Registrar also sent a certification stating for the record that No Marriage License appear[s] to have been issued to Mr. Syed Azhar Abbas and Ms. Gloria F. Goo on January 8, 1993. The RTC sided with Syed and declared his marriage to Gloria of no effect for lack of a marriage license. The CA granted Glorias her appeal. It held that the certification of the Municipal Civil Registrar failed to categorically state that a diligent search for the marriage license of Gloria and Syed was conducted, and thus held that said certification could not be accorded probative value.The CA also did not want for Syed to escape a bigamy charge by attacking thevalidity of his second marriage to Gloria.

ISSUE: Is the allegedly bigamous marriage of Gloria and Syed valid?

HELD: No, the marriage of Gloria and Syed is void ab initio. Art. 3. The formal requisites of marriage are: (1) Authority of the solemnizing officer; (2) A valid marriage license except in the cases provided for in Chapter 2 of this Title; and
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(3) A marriage ceremony which takes place with the appearance of the contracting parties before the solemnizing officer and their personal declaration that they take each other as husband and wife in the presence of not less than two witnesses of legal age. Art. 4. The absence of any of the essential or formal requisites shall render the marriage void ab initio, except as stated in Article 35(2). XXX Art. 35. The following marriages shall be void from the beginning: (3) Those solemnized without a license, except those covered by the preceding Chapter. The resolution of this case, thus, hinges on whether or not a valid marriage license had been issued for the couple. The RTC held that no valid marriage license had been issued. The CA held that there was a valid marriage license. We find the RTC to be correct in this instance. Respondent Gloria failed to present the actual marriage license, or a copy thereof, and relied on the marriage contract as well as the testimonies of her witnesses to prove the existence of said license. To prove that no such license was issued, Syed turned to the office of the Municipal Civil Registrar of Carmona, Cavite which had allegedly issued said license. It was there that he requested certification that no such license was issued. In the case of Republic v. Court of Appeals such certification was allowed, as permitted by Sec. 29, Rule 132 of the Rules of Court, which reads: SEC. 28. Proof of lack of record. A written statement signed by an officer having the custody of an official record or by his deputy that after diligent search, no record or entry of a specified tenor is found to exist in the records of his office, accompanied by a certificate as above provided, is admissible as evidence that the records of his office contain no such record or entry. In the case of Republic, in allowing the certification of the Civil Registrar of Pasig to prove the nonissuance of a marriage license, the Court held: The above Rule authorized the custodian of the documents to certify that despite diligent search, a particular document does not exist in his office or that a particular entry of a specified tenor was not to be found in a register. As custodians of public documents, civil registrars are public officers charged with the duty, inter alia, of maintaining a register book where they are required to enter all applications for marriage licenses, including the names of the applicants, the date the marriage license was issued and such other relevant data. The Court held in that case that the certification issued by the civil registrar enjoyed probative value, as his duty was to maintain records of data relative to the issuance of a marriage license. The Municipal Civil Registrar of Carmona, Cavite, where the marriage license of Gloria and Syed was allegedly issued, issued a certification to the effect that no such marriage license for Gloria and Syed was issued, and that the serial number of the marriage license pertained to another couple... XXX Under Sec. 3(m), Rule 131 of the Rules of Court, it is a disputable presumption that an official duty has been regularly performed, absent contradiction or other evidence to the contrary. We held, "The presumption of regularity of official acts may be rebutted by affirmative evidence of irregularity or failure to perform a duty." No such affirmative evidence was shown that the Municipal Civil Registrar was lax in performing her duty of checking the records of their office, thus the presumption must stand. In fact, proof does exist of a diligent search having been conducted, as Marriage License No. 996967 was indeed located and submitted to the court. The fact that the names in said license do not correspond to

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those of Gloria and Syed does not overturn the presumption that the registrar conducted a diligent search of the records of her office. It is telling that Gloria failed to present their marriage license or a copy thereof to the court. She failed to explain why the marriage license was secured in Carmona, Cavite, a location where, admittedly, neither party resided. She took no pains to apply for the license, so she is not the best witness to testify to the validity and existence of said license. Neither could the other witnesses she presented prove the existence of the marriage license, as none of them applied for the license in Carmona, Cavite. Her mother, Felicitas Goo, could not even testify as to the contents of the license, having admitted to not reading all of its contents. Atty. Sanchez, one of the sponsors, whom Gloria and Felicitas Goo approached for assistance in securing the license, admitted not knowing where the license came from. The task of applying for the license was delegated to a certain Qualin, who could have testified as to how the license was secured and thus impeached the certification of the Municipal Civil Registrar as well as the testimony of her representative. As Gloria failed to present this Qualin, the certification of the Municipal Civil Registrar still enjoys probative value. It is also noted that the solemnizing officer testified that the marriage contract and a copy of the marriage license were submitted to the Local Civil Registrar of Manila. Thus, a copy of the marriage license could have simply been secured from that office and submitted to the court. However, Gloria inexplicably failed to do so, further weakening her claim that there was a valid marriage license issued for her and Syed. In the case of Cario v. Cario, following the case of Republic, it was held that the certification of the Local Civil Registrar that their office had no record of a marriage license was adequate to prove the nonissuance of said license. The case of Cario further held that the presumed validity of the marriage of the parties had been overcome, and that it became the burden of the party alleging a valid marriage to prove that the marriage was valid, and that the required marriage license had been secured. Gloria has failed to discharge that burden, and the only conclusion that can be reached is that no valid marriage license was issued. It cannot be said that there was a simple irregularity in the marriage license that would not affect the validity of the marriage, as no license was presented by the respondent. No marriage license was proven to have been issued to Gloria and Syed, based on the certification of the Municipal Civil Registrar of Carmona, Cavite and Glorias failure to produce a copy of the alleged marriage license. XXX As to the motive of Syed in seeking to annul his marriage to Gloria, it may well be that his motives are less than pure, that he seeks to evade a bigamy suit. Be that as it may, the same does not make up for the failure of the respondent to prove that they had a valid marriage license, given the weight of evidence presented by petitioner. The lack of a valid marriage license cannot be attributed to him, as it was Gloria who took steps to procure the same. The law must be applied. As the marriage license, a formal requisite, is clearly absent, the marriage of Gloria and Syed is void ab initio.

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BECKETT v. JUDGE SARMIENTO A.M. No. RTJ-12-2326 January 30, 2013 Subject: Family Relations Topic: Marriage

FACTS: This case stems from a complaint filed by Geoffrey Beckett against Judge Sarmiento, RTC of Cebu City Branch 24, charging Judge Sarmiento with gross ignorance of the law, manifest partiality and dereliction and neglect of duty allegedly committed during the special proceeding Geoffrey Beckett v. Eltesa Densing Beckett while the case was pending the judges sala. Complainant Beckett is an Australian national who was previously married to Eltesa, a Filipina. During their marriage they begot a son, Geoffrey, Jr. Beckett alleged that their union was troubled from the beginning. They eventually separated and even sued each other. In 2006, Eltesa filed a case against Beckett for violation of RA 7610 (Violence Against Women and their Children Act), followed by an action declaration of nullity of their marriage. Both cases ended in the sala of respondent Judge Sarmiento. Beckett also commenced criminal charges against Eltesa, one of which was for adultery. The couples initial legal battle ended when Judge Sarmiento, on September 25, 2006, rendered judgment based on a compromise agreement in which Eltesa and Beckett agreed and undertook, among others, to cause the dismissal of all pending civil and criminal cases each may have filed against the other. They categorically agreed too that Beckett shall have full and permanent custody over Geoffrey, Jr., then five 5 years old, subject to the visitorial rights of Eltesa. Beckett left for Australia, taking Geoffrey, Jr. with him. Beckett alleged that he cared and provided well for Geoffrey, Jr. Beckett also promised that they would come and see Eltesa in Cebu every Christmas. The yearly Christmas visits continued, notwithstanding the fact that Beckett obtained a divorce decree in Australia against Eltesa. During Christmas 2010 visit, Beckett allowed Geoffrey, Jr. stay with Eltesa even after the holidays, provided she return the child on January 9, 2011. When Geoffrey, Jr. was not returned to Becketts custody, he filed a petition against Eltesa for violation of RA 7610. This petition was again raffled to the sala of Judge Sarmiento. And because Geoffrey remained in the meantime in the custody of Eltesa, Beckett also applied for the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus. Judge Sarmiento issued an order dated March 1, 2011, directing Eltesa to return Geoffrey, Jr. to Beckett. However, the turnover of Geoffrey, Jr. to Beckett did not materialize. At this point, Geoffrey, Jr. was already 9 years old. Beckett sought the immediate implementation of the said March 1, 2011 Order. But instead of enforcing said order, Judge Sarmiento, in open court, issued another order giving Eltesa provisional custody over Geoffrey, Jr. and at the same time directing the DSWD to conduct a social case study on the child. Beckett moved for the reconsideration of the judges provisional custody order, on the main contention that Judge Sarmiento can no longer grant provisional custody to Eltesa in light of the compromise agreement. Beckett also alleged that respondent judge conversed with Eltesa in Cebuano, a dialect which neither Beckett nor his counsel understood. Beckett also asked for a few minutes to confer with his counsel but when they returned to the courtroom, the proceedings had already been adjourned. The OCA regards the Becketts complaint meritorious as far as the charges for gross ignorance of the law is concerned given that respondent judge issued an order granting provisional custody in favor of Eltesa despite the existence of the judicial compromise. The OCA, thus, recommended that respondent judge be adjudged liable for gross ignorance of the law and fined with stern warning.

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ISSUES: 1. Was Judge Sarmiento correct in awarding custody to Eltesa despite the fact that he himself earlier ruled that Beckett should be awarded custody? 2. Did Judge Sarmiento abandon the principle of res judicata when he went against judicial compromise he himself allowed regarding the custody of Geoffrey, Jr.?

HELD: 1. Yes. In all questions relating to the care, custody, education and property of the children, the latter's welfare is paramount. This means that the best interest of the minor can override procedural rules and even the rights of parents to the custody of their children. Since, in this case, the very life and existence of the minor is at stake and the child is in an age when she can exercise an intelligent choice, the courts can do no less than respect, enforce and give meaning and substance to that choice and uphold her right to live in an atmosphere conducive to her physical, moral and intellectual development. XXX The more appropriate description of the legal situation engendered by the March 15, 2011 Order issued amidst the persistent plea of the child not to be returned to his father, is that respondent judge exhibited fidelity to jurisprudential command to accord primacy to the welfare and interest of a minor child. As it were, the matter of custody, to borrow from Espiritu v. Court of Appeals, is not permanent and unalterable and can always be re-examined and adjusted. 2. Yes. Respondent judge, in granting provisional custody over Geoffrey, Jr. in favor of his mother, Eltesa, did not disregard the res judicata rule. XXX As aptly observed in a separate opinion in Dacasin v. Dacasin, a custody agreement can never be regarded as permanent and unbending, the simple reason being that the situation of the parents and even of the child can change, such that sticking to the agreed arrangement would no longer be to the latters best interest. In a very real sense, then, a judgment involving the custody of a minor child cannot be accorded the force and effect of res judicata. XXX In disputes concerning post-separation custody over a minor, the well-settled rule is that no child under seven (7) years of age shall be separated from the mother, unless the court finds compelling reasons to order otherwise. And if already over 7 years of age, the childs choice as to which of his parents he prefers to be under custody shall be respected, unless the parent chosen proves to be unfit. Finally, in Perez v. Court of Appeals, We held that in custody cases, the foremost consideration is always the welfare and best interest of the child, as reflected in no less than the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child which provides that in all actions concerning children, whether undertaken by public or private social welfare institutions, courts of law, administrative authorities or legislative bodies, the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration.

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REPUBLIC v. ENCELAN G.R. No. 170022 January 09, 2013 Subject: Family Relations Topic: Marriage

FACTS: Cesar married Lolita in 1979, and the union bore two children, Maricar and Manny. To support his family, Cesar went to work in Saudi Arabia in 1984. In 1986, while still in Saudi Arabia, Cesar learned that Lolita had been having an affair with one Alvin Perez, and in 1991, Lolita allegedly left the conjugal home with her children and lived with Alvin. Since then, Cesar and Lolita had been separated. In 1995, Cesar filed with the RTC a petition against Lolita for the declaration of the nullity of his marriage based on Lolita's psychological incapacity. Lolita denied the affair and insisted that she is not psychologically incapacitated. Lolita claims that she left their home because of differences with her mother-in-law. Cesar presented the psychological evaluation report on Lolita prepared by Dr. Fareda Fatima Flores of the National Center for Mental Health. Dr. Flores found that Lolita was "not suffering from any form of major psychiatric illness but had been "unable to provide the expectations expected of her for a good and lasting marital relationship, her "transferring from one job to the other depicts some interpersonal problems with co-workers as well as her impatience in attaining her ambitions and "her refusal to go with her husband abroad signifies her reluctance to work out a good marital and family relationship. The RTC declared Cesar's marriage to Lolita void, finding sufficient basis to declare Lolita psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential marital obligations. The petitioner, through the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), appealed to the CA, which court set aside the RTC's verdict, finding that Lolita's abandonment of the conjugal dwelling and infidelity were not serious cases of personality disorder/psychological illness. Lolita merely refused to comply with her marital obligations which she was capable of doing. The CA observed that infidelity is only a ground for legal separation, not for the declaration of the nullity of a marriage.

ISSUE: Is Lolita psychologically incapacitated to comply with her essential marital obligations to Cesar?

HELD: No. Article 36 of the Family Code governs psychological incapacity as a ground for declaration of nullity of marriage. It provides that [a] marriage contracted by any party who, at the time of the celebration, was psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential marital obligations of marriage, shall likewise be void even if such incapacity becomes manifest only after its solemnization. In interpreting this provision, we have repeatedly stressed that psychological incapacity contemplates "downright incapacity or inability to take cognizance of and to assume the basic marital obligations, not merely the refusal, neglect or difficulty, much less ill will, on the part of the errant spouse. The plaintiff bears the burden of proving the juridical antecedence (i.e., the existence at the time of the celebration of marriage), gravity and incurability of the condition of the errant spouse. XXX In this case, Cesar's testimony failed to prove Lolita's alleged psychological incapacity. Cesar testified on the dates when he learned of Lolita's alleged affair and her subsequent abandonment of their home, as well as his continued financial support to her and their children even after he learned of the affair, but
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he merely mentioned in passing Lolita's alleged affair with Alvin and her abandonment of the conjugal dwelling. In any event, sexual infidelity and abandonment of the conjugal dwelling, even if true, do not necessarily constitute psychological incapacity; these are simply grounds for legal separation. To constitute psychological incapacity, it must be shown that the unfaithfulness and abandonment are manifestations of a disordered personality that completely prevented the erring spouse from discharging the essential marital obligations. No evidence on record exists to support Cesar's allegation that Lolita's infidelity and abandonment were manifestations of any psychological illness. Cesar mistakenly relied on Dr. Flores' psychological evaluation report on Lolita to prove her alleged psychological incapacity. The psychological evaluation, in fact, established that Lolita did not suffer from any major psychiatric illness. Dr. Flores' observation on Lolita's interpersonal problems with co-workers to our mind, does not suffice as a consideration for the conclusion that she was at the time of her marriage psychologically incapacitated to enter into a marital union with Cesar. Aside from the time element involved, a wife's psychological fitness as a spouse cannot simply be equated with her professional/work relationship; workplace obligations and responsibilities are poles apart from their marital counterparts. While both spring from human relationship, their relatedness and relevance to one another should be fully established for them to be compared or to serve as measures of comparison with one another. To be sure, the evaluation report Dr. Flores prepared and submitted cannot serve this purpose. Dr. Flores' further belief that Lolita's refusal to go with Cesar abroad signified a reluctance to work out a good marital relationship is a mere generalization unsupported by facts and is, in fact, a rash conclusion that this Court cannot support.

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OFFICE OF THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR v. JUDGE AQUINO A.M. No. RTJ-10-2244 November 28, 2012 Subject: Family Relations Topic: Marriage

FACTS: An OCA Memorandum reported that Judge Aquino heard and decided 41 cases for annulment or declaration of nullity of marriage from June 2003 to January 2009, without the mandatory requirements of no-collusion report and pre-trial as provided by law. Judge Aquino likewise failed to require the public prosecutor to conduct an investigation to determine if there was collusion between the parties despite the failure of a respondent to file an answer. Also, instead of directing the public prosecutor to conduct an investigation to determine if there was collusion between the parties, Judge Aquino would immediately cause the setting the case for hearing. The no-collusion reports were submitted by the public prosecutor only after the hearings and the formal offers of exhibits by a petitioner. Where the investigation report of the public prosecutor stated the non-appearance of a respondent, Judge Aquino, nonetheless, proceeded to hear and decide the case in favor of the respondent.

ISSUE: Did Judge Aquino violate the rules by proceeding with cases for annulment/declaration of nullity of marriages without the proper intervention and investigation of the fiscal/prosecutor?

HELD: Yes, Judge Aquino indeed admitted that she had violated the rules when she proceeded to hear some cases despite non-compliance with the requirements. In annulment of marriage cases, the investigation report of the prosecutor is a condition sine qua non for the setting of pre-trial.

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MENDOZA v. REPUBLIC and MENDOZA G.R. No. 157649 November 12, 2012 Subject: Family Relations Topic: Marriage

FACTS: Petitioner Arabelle and Dominic met in 1989 upon his return to the country from his employment in Papua New Guinea. After a month of courtship, they became intimate and their intimacy ultimately led to her pregnancy with their daughter whom they named Allysa Bianca. They got married on her eighth month of pregnancy in civil rites solemnized in Pasay City on June 24, 1991, after which they moved to her place, although remaining dependent on their parents for support. When Arabelle delivered Alyssa Bianca, Dominic had to borrow money to settle the hospital bills. He remained jobless and dependent upon his father for support until he finished his college course in October 1993. Arabelle took on various jobs to meet the familys needs and she shouldered all of the familys expenses. In 1994, Dominic he started working as a car salesman for Toyota Motors in Bel-Air, Makati. He spent his first sales commission on a celebratory bash with his friends. Arabelle still shouldered all the household expenses and their childs schooling because his irregular income could not be depended upon. In September of the same year, she discovered his illicit relationship with Zaida, his co-employee. Eventually, communication between them became rare until they started to sleep in separate rooms, thereby affecting their sexual relationship. In November 1995, Dominic gave her a car as a birthday present. Later on, he asked her to issue two blank checks that he claimed would be for the cars insurance coverage. She soon found out, however, that the checks were not paid for the cars insurance coverage but for his personal needs. Worse, she also found out that he did not pay for the car itself, forcing her to rely on her father-in-law to pay part of the cost of the car, leaving her to bear the balance of P120,000.00. To make matters worse, Dominic was fired from his employment after he ran away with P164,000.00 belonging to his employer. He was criminally charged with violation of Batas Pambansa Blg. 22 and estafa, for which he was arrested and incarcerated. After Arabelle bailed him out of jail, she discovered that he had also swindled many clients, some of whom were threatening their family. In 1997, Dominic left the conjugal abode because petitioner asked him for "time and space to think things over." A month later, she refused his attempt at reconciliation, causing him to threaten to commit suicide. At that, she and her family immediately left the house to live in another place concealed from him. On August 5, 1998, petitioner filed in the RTC her petition for the declaration of the nullity of her marriage with Dominic based on his psychological incapacity under Article 36 of the Family Code. The OSG opposed the petition. The RTC declared the marriage between petitioner and Dominic an absolute nullity, holding that the result of the clinical evaluation showed that Arabelle appears to be mature, strong and responsible individual, who gave all of herself unconditionally to Dominic, who cannot reciprocate. Dominic was found to have a personality that can be characterized as inadequate, immature and irresponsible. His criminal acts in the present time are mere extensions of his misconduct established in childhood. The CA, however, reversed, holding that the testimonies of Arabelles witnesses were insufficient to establish Dominics psychological affliction to be of such a grave or serious nature that it was medically or clinically rooted.

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ISSUES: 1. Has Arabelle proven Dominics psychological incapacity? 2. Do the new guidelines on psychological incapacity cases- which no longer require expert testimony- justify the non-admission into evidence of such expert testimony?

HELD: 1. No. To entitle petitioner spouse to a declaration of the nullity of his or her marriage, the totality of the evidence must sufficiently prove that respondent spouse's psychological incapacity was grave, incurable and existing prior to the time of the marriage. XXX We consider the CAs refusal to accord credence and weight to the psychiatric report to be well taken and warranted. The CA correctly indicated that the ill-feelings that she harbored towards Dominic, which she admitted during her consultation with Dr. Samson, furnished the basis to doubt the findings of her expert witness; that such findings were one-sided, because Dominic was not himself subjected to an actual psychiatric evaluation by petitioners expert; and that he also did not participate in the proceedings; and that the findings and conclusions on his psychological profile by her expert were solely based on the self-serving testimonial descriptions and characterizations of him rendered by petitioner and her witnesses. XXX Thus, any doubt should be resolved in favor of the validity of the marriage. Emotional immaturity and irresponsibility, invoked by her, cannot be equated with psychological incapacity.

2. No. Even if expert testimony is no longer a requirement for Article 36 cases, the courts must still use them if available, in line with its mandate to rule based on the totality of evidence. By the very nature of cases involving the application of Article 36, it is logical and understandable to give weight to the expert opinions furnished by psychologists regarding the psychological temperament of parties in order to determine the root cause, juridical antecedence, gravity and incurability of the psychological incapacity. However, such opinions, while highly advisable, are not conditions sine qua non in granting petitions for declaration of nullity of marriage. At best, courts must treat such opinions as decisive but not indispensable evidence in determining the merits of a given case. In fact, if the totality of evidence presented is enough to sustain a finding of psychological incapacity, then actual medical or psychological examination of the person concerned need not be resorted to. The trial court, as in any other given case presented before it, must always base its decision not solely on the expert opinions furnished by the parties but also on the totality of evidence adduced in the course of the proceedings. Petitioners view that the Court in Marcos stated that the personal medical or psychological examination of respondent spouse therein was not a requirement for the declaration of his psychological incapacity is not entirely accurate. To be clear, the statement in Marcos ran as follows: The guidelines incorporate the three basic requirements earlier mandated by the Court in Santos v. Court of Appeals: "psychological incapacity must be characterized by (a) gravity (b) juridical antecedence, and (c) incurability." The foregoing guidelines do not require that a physician examine the person to be declared psychologically incapacitated. In fact, the root cause may be "medically or clinically identified." What is important is the presence of evidence that can adequately establish the partys psychological condition. For indeed, if the totality of evidence presented is enough to sustain a finding of psychological incapacity, then actual medical examination of the person concerned need not be resorted to.
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In light of the foregoing, even if the expert opinions of psychologists are not conditions sine qua non in the granting of petitions for declaration of nullity of marriage, the actual medical examination of Dominic was to be dispensed with only if the totality of evidence presented was enough to support a finding of his psychological incapacity. This did not mean that the presentation of any form of medical or psychological evidence to show the psychological incapacity would have automatically ensured the granting of the petition for declaration of nullity of marriage. What was essential, we should emphasize herein, was the "presence of evidence that can adequately establish the partys psychological condition," as the Court said in Marcos. But where... the parties had the full opportunity to present the professional and expert opinions of psychiatrists tracing the root cause, gravity and incurability of the alleged psychological incapacity, then the opinions should be presented and be weighed by the trial courts in order to determine and decide whether or not to declare the nullity of the marriages. It bears repeating that the trial courts, as in all the other cases they try, must always base their judgments not solely on the expert opinions presented by the parties but on the totality of evidence adduced in the course of their proceedings. We find the totality of the evidence adduced by petitioner insufficient to prove that Dominic was psychologically unfit to discharge the duties expected of him as a husband, and that he suffered from such psychological incapacity as of the date of the marriage... psychological incapacity should refer to no less than a mental, not physical, incapacity that causes a party to be truly incognitive of the basic marital covenants...

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REPUBLIC v. CA and DE QUINTOS G.R. No. 159594 November 12, 2012 Subject: Family Relations Topic: Marriage

FACTS: Eduardo and Catalina were married on March 16, 1977 in a civil wedding officiated by the Mayor of Lingayen, Pangasinan. The couple did not have any children. In 1998, Eduardo filed a petition for the declaration of nullity of their marriage, citing Catalinas psychological incapacity to comply with her essential marital obligations. Catalina did not interpose any objection to the petition, but prayed to be given her share in the conjugal house and lo. Prosecutor determined that there was no collusion between Eduardo and Catalina. Eduardo testified that Catalina always left their house without his consent; that she engaged in petty arguments with him; that she constantly refused to give in to his sexual needs; that she spent most of her time gossiping with neighbors instead of doing the household chores and caring for their adopted daughter; that she squandered by gambling all his remittances as an overseas worker in Qatar since 1993; and that she abandoned the conjugal home in 1997 to live with Bobbie Castro, her paramour. Eduardo presented the results of the neuro-psychiatric evaluation conducted by Dr. Annabelle L. Reyes, a psychiatrist. Based on the tests she administered on Catalina, Dr. Reyes opined that Catalina exhibited traits of Borderline Personality Disorder that was no longer treatable. Dr. Reyes found that Catalinas disorder was mainly characterized by her immaturity that rendered her psychologically incapacitated to meet her marital obligations. The RTC granted the petition under Article 36 of the Family Code on August 9, 2000. On July 30, 2003, the CA affirmed the declaration by the Regional Trial Court, hence this appeal by the State. The State claims that the psychological incapacity has not been sufficiently established.

ISSUE: Was sufficient evidence established warranting the declaration of the nullity of Catalinas marriage to Eduardo based on her psychological incapacity under Article 36 of the Family Code?

HELD: No. We find the State's appeal to be meritorious. Hence, we uphold once again the validity of a marriage on the ground that the alleged psychological incapacity was not sufficiently established. Psychological incapacity under Article 36 of the Family Code contemplates an incapacity or inability to take cognizance of and to assume basic marital obligations, and is not merely the difficulty, refusal, or neglect in the performance of marital obligations or ill will. It consists of: (a) a true inability to commit oneself to the essentials of marriage; (b) the inability must refer to the essential obligations of marriage, that is, the conjugal act, the community of life and love, the rendering of mutual help, and the procreation and education of offspring; and (c) the inability must be tantamount to a psychological abnormality. Proving that a spouse failed to meet his or her responsibility and duty as a married person is not enough; it is essential that he or she must be shown to be incapable of doing so due to some psychological illness. In Santos v. Court of Appeals, we decreed that psychological incapacity should refer to a mental incapacity that causes a party to be truly incognitive of the basic marital covenants such as those

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enumerated in Article 68 of the Family Code and must be characterized by gravity, juridical antecedence and incurability. XXX ...both lower courts noticeably relied heavily on the results of the neuro-psychological evaluation by Dr. Reyes despite the paucity of factual foundation to support the claim of Catalinas psychological incapacity. XXX Yet, the report was ostensibly vague about the root cause, gravity and incurability of Catalinas supposed psychological incapacity. XXX Under the circumstances, the report and court testimony by Dr. Reyes did not present the gravity and incurability of Catalinas psychological incapacity. There was, to start with, no evidence showing the root cause of her alleged borderline personality disorder and that such disorder had existed prior to her marriage. We have repeatedly pronounced that the root cause of the psychological incapacity must be identified as a psychological illness, with its incapacitating nature fully explained and established by the totality of the evidence presented during trial. XXX However, her immaturity alone did not constitute psychological incapacity. To rule that such immaturity amounted to psychological incapacity, it must be shown that the immature acts were manifestations of a disordered personality that made the spouse completely unable to discharge the essential obligations of the marital state, which inability was merely due to her youth or immaturity. XXX The only fact established here, which Catalina even admitted in her Answer, was her abandonment of the conjugal home to live with another man. Yet, abandonment was not one of the grounds for the nullity of marriage under the Family Code. It did not also constitute psychological incapacity, it being instead a ground for legal separation under Article 55(10) of the Family Code. On the other hand, her sexual infidelity was not a valid ground for the nullity of marriage under Article 36 of the Family Code, considering that there should be a showing that such marital infidelity was a manifestation of a disordered personality that made her completely unable to discharge the essential obligations of marriage. Needless to state, Eduardo did not adduce such evidence, rendering even his claim of her infidelity bereft of factual and legal basis. XXX In fine, given the insufficiency of the evidence proving the psychological incapacity of Catalina, we cannot but resolve in favor of the existence and continuation of the marriage and against its dissolution and nullity.

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MONTAES v. CIPRIANO G.R. No. 181089 October 22, 2012 Subject: Family Relations Topic: Marriage

FACTS: On April 8, 1976, respondent Lourdes married Socrates Flores in Aklan.3 On January 24, 1983, during the subsistence her marriage to Socrates, Lourdes married Silverio Cipriano, in Laguna. In 2001, Lourdes filed with the RTC of Muntinlupa a petition for the annulment of her marriage to Socrates on the ground of the Socrates alleged psychological incapacity as defined under Article 36 of the Family Code, and on July 18, 2003, the RTC declared that the marriage of respondent to Socrates is null and void. Said decision became final and executory on October 13, 2003. On May 14, 2004, petitioner Merlinda Montaez, Silverios daughter, filed with a complaint for bigamy against respondent Lourdes. Attached to the complaint was an affidavit, thumb-marked by Silverio, which also alleges that Lourdes did not reveal to Silverio that she was still married to Socrates. In due course, the information for bigamy was filed by the prosecutor. On July 24, 2007 and before her arraignment, respondent, through counsel, filed a Motion to Quash Information alleging that her marriage with Socrates had already been declared void ab initio in 2003, thus, there was no more marriage to speak of prior to her marriage to Silverio on January 24, 1983; that the basic element of the crime of bigamy, i.e., two valid marriages, is therefore wanting. She also claimed that since the second marriage was held in 1983, the crime of bigamy had already prescribed. The prosecution filed its comment arguing that the crime of bigamy had already been consummated when respondent filed her petition for declaration of nullity. However, the RTC ruled against the prosecution, holding that at the time the accused had contracted a second marriage on January 24, 1983- before the Family Code- the existing law did not require a judicial declaration of absolute nullity as a condition precedent to contracting a subsequent marriage and that jurisprudence before the Family Code on the matter was unsettled.

ISSUES: 1. Is the judicial nullity of the first marriage a defense for the crime of bigamy? 2. If both marriages in a case for bigamy were entered into prior to the Family Code, is the judicial declaration of nullity/annulment of the first marriage unnecessary before entering into a second marriage to avoid a case for bigamy?

HELD: 1. No. Article 349 of the Revised Penal Code defines and penalizes bigamy as follow: Art. 349. Bigamy. The penalty of prision mayor shall be imposed upon any person who shall contract a second or subsequent marriage before the former marriage has been legally dissolved, or before the absent spouse has been declared presumptively dead by means of a judgment rendered in the proper proceedings. The elements of the crime of bigamy are: (a) the offender has been legally married; (b) the marriage has not been legally dissolved or, in case his or her spouse is absent, the absent spouse could not yet be presumed dead according to the Civil Code; (c) that he contracts a second or subsequent marriage; and (d) the second or subsequent marriage has all the essential requisites for validity. The felony is consummated on the celebration of the second marriage or subsequent marriage. It is essential in the prosecution for bigamy that the alleged second
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marriage, having all the essential requirements, would be valid were it not for the subsistence of the first marriage. In this case, it appears that when respondent contracted a second marriage with Silverio in 1983, her first marriage with Socrates celebrated in 1976 was still subsisting as the same had not yet been annulled or declared void by a competent authority. Thus, all the elements of bigamy were alleged in the Information. XXX Here, at the time respondent contracted the second marriage, the first marriage was still subsisting as it had not yet been legally dissolved. As ruled in the above-mentioned jurisprudence, the subsequent judicial declaration of nullity of the first marriage would not change the fact that she contracted the second marriage during the subsistence of the first marriage. Thus, respondent was properly charged of the crime of bigamy, since the essential elements of the offense charged were sufficiently alleged. 2. No. As far back as 1995, in Atienza v. Brillantes, Jr., the Court already made the declaration that Article 40, which is a rule of procedure, should be applied retroactively because Article 256 of the Family Code itself provides that said Code shall have retroactive effect insofar as it does not prejudice or impair vested or acquired rights. The Court went on to explain, thus: The fact that procedural statutes may somehow affect the litigants' rights may not preclude their retroactive application to pending actions. The retroactive application of procedural laws is not violative of any right of a person who may feel that he is adversely affected. The reason is that as a general rule, no vested right may attach to, nor arise from, procedural laws. XXX Otherwise, all that an adventurous bigamist has to do is disregard Article 40 of the Family Code, contract a subsequent marriage and escape a bigamy charge by simply claiming that the first marriage is void and that the subsequent marriage is equally void for lack of a prior judicial declaration of nullity of the first.

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VILLATUYA v. TABALINGCOS A.M. No. 6622 July 10, 2012 Subject: Family Relations Topic: Marriage

FACTS: In a Legal Ethics case, complainant Miguel Villatuya accused Atty. Bede Tabalingcos of committing two counts of bigamy. Miguel alleged that Atty. Tabalingcos married two other women while his first marriage was subsisting. Villatuya submitted a certification issued by the NSO certifying that Tabalingcos had contracted marriage thrice. The three marriage contracts in question- when examined- matched the entries indicated in the NSO Certification submitted by Villatuya. Atty. Tabalingcos even misrepresented himself as single under the entry for civil status in the 2nd and 3rd marriage contracts.

ISSUE: Are the NSO-certified copies of the 3 marriage contracts sufficient to prove that Atty. Tabalingcos commit bigamy, at least for the administrative proceedings of disbarment?

HELD: Yes, the marriage contracts are sufficient proof. The documents were certified by the NSO, which is the official repository of civil registry records pertaining to the birth, marriage and death of a person. Having been issued by a government agency, the NSO certification is accorded much evidentiary weight and carries with it a presumption of regularity. In this case, respondent has not presented any competent evidence to rebut those documents. XXX Respondents regard for marriage contracts as ordinary agreements indicates either his wanton disregard of the sanctity of marriage or his gross ignorance of the law on what course of action to take to annul a marriage under the old Civil Code provisions.

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REPUBLIC v. GRANADA G. R. No. 187512 June 13, 2012 Subject: Family Relations Topic: Marriage

FACTS: In May 1991, respondent Yolanda met Cyrus Granada at Sumida Electric Philippines, an electronics company in Paranaque where both were then working. Eventually, the 2 got married at the Manila City Hall on 3 March 1993. Their marriage resulted in the birth of their son, Cyborg Granada. Sometime in May 1994, when Sumida Electric Philippines closed down, Cyrus went to Taiwan to seek employment. Yolanda claimed that from that time, she had not received any communication from her husband, notwithstanding efforts to locate him. Her brother testified that he had asked the relatives of Cyrus regarding the latters whereabouts, to no avail. After 9 years of waiting, Yolanda filed a Petition to have Cyrus declared presumptively dead, and on February 7, 2005, the RTC rendered a Decision declaring Cyrus as presumptively dead. On March 10, 2005, petitioner Republic, through the Solicitor General OSG, filed a Motion for Reconsideration of this Decision. Petitioner argued that Yolanda had failed to exert earnest efforts to locate Cyrus and thus failed to prove her well-founded belief that he was already dead. The RTC denied the motion. Petitioner filed a Notice of Appeal to elevate the case to the CA, presumably under Rule 41, Section 2(a) of the Rules of Court. Yolanda filed a Motion to Dismiss on the ground that the CA had no jurisdiction over the appeal. She argued that her Petition for Declaration of Presumptive Death, based on Article 41 of the Family Code, was a summary judicial proceeding, in which the judgment is immediately final and executory and, thus, not appealable.

ISSUE: Is the Republic correct in claiming that Yolanda has not exercised the required diligence to foster a well-founded belief that Cyrus is dead?

HELD: Possibly; nevertheless, the final and executor decision can no longer be revisited. Petitioner also assails the RTCs grant of the Petition for Declaration of Presumptive Death of the absent spouse of respondent on the ground that she had not adduced the evidence required to establish a well-founded belief that her absent spouse was already dead, as expressly required by Article 41 of the Family Code. Petitioner cites Republic v. Nolasco, United States v. Biasbas and Republic v. Court of Appeals and Alegro as authorities on the subject. In Nolasco, petitioner Republic sought the reversal of the CAs affirmation of the RTCs grant of respondents Petition for Declaration of Presumptive Death of his absent spouse, a British subject who left their home in the Philippines soon after giving birth to their son while respondent was on board a vessel working as a seafarer. Petitioner Republic sought the reversal of the ruling on the ground that respondent was not able to establish his well-founded belief that the absentee is already dead, as required by Article 41 of the Family Code. In ruling thereon, this Court recognized that this provision imposes more stringent requirements than does Article 83 of the Civil Code. The Civil Code provision merely requires either that there be no news that the absentee is still alive; or that the absentee is generally considered to be dead and is believed to be so by the spouse present, or is presumed dead under Articles 390 and 391 of the Civil Code. In comparison, the Family Code provision prescribes a
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well-founded belief that the absentee is already dead before a petition for declaration of presumptive death can be granted. As noted by the Court in that case, the four requisites for the declaration of presumptive death under the Family Code are as follows: 1. That the absent spouse has been missing for four consecutive years, or two consecutive years if the disappearance occurred where there is danger of death under the circumstances laid down in Article 391, Civil Code; 2. That the present spouse wishes to remarry; 3. That the present spouse has a well-founded belief that the absentee is dead; and 4. That the present spouse files a summary proceeding for the declaration of presumptive death of the absentee. In evaluating whether the present spouse has been able to prove the existence of a well-founded belief that the absent spouse is already dead, the Court in Nolasco cited United States v. Biasbas, which it found to be instructive as to the diligence required in searching for a missing spouse. In Biasbas, the Court held that defendant Biasbas failed to exercise due diligence in ascertaining the whereabouts of his first wife, considering his admission that that he only had a suspicion that she was dead, and that the only basis of that suspicion was the fact of her absence. Similarly, in Republic v. Court of Appeals and Alegro, petitioner Republic sought the reversal of the CA ruling affirming the RTCs grant of the Petition for Declaration of Presumptive Death of the absent spouse on the ground that the respondent therein had not been able to prove a well-founded belief that his spouse was already dead. The Court reversed the CA, granted the Petition, and provided the following criteria for determining the existence of a well-founded belief under Article 41 of the Family Code: For the purpose of contracting the subsequent marriage under the preceding paragraph, the spouse present must institute a summary proceeding as provided in this Code for the declaration of presumptive death of the absentee, without prejudice to the effect of reappearance of the absent spouse. XXX The belief of the present spouse must be the result of proper and honest to goodness inquiries and efforts to ascertain the whereabouts of the absent spouse and whether the absent spouse is still alive or is already dead. Whether or not the spouse present acted on a well-founded belief of death of the absent spouse depends upon the inquiries to be drawn from a great many circumstances occurring before and after the disappearance of the absent spouse and the nature and extent of the inquiries made by present spouse. Applying the foregoing standards to the present case, petitioner points out that respondent Yolanda did not initiate a diligent search to locate her absent husband. XXX The Republics arguments are well-taken. Nevertheless, we are constrained to deny the Petition. The RTC ruling on the issue of whether respondent was able to prove her well-founded belief that her absent spouse was already dead prior to her filing of the Petition to declare him presumptively dead is already final and can no longer be modified or reversed. Indeed, [n]othing is more settled in law than that when a judgment becomes final and executory, it becomes immutable and unalterable. The same may no longer be modified in any respect, even if the modification is meant to correct what is perceived to be an erroneous conclusion of fact or law.

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

FACTS: Orlando B. Catalan was a naturalized American citizen. After allegedly obtaining a divorce in the United States from his first wife, Felicitas Amor, he contracted a second marriage with petitioner Merope. On 18 November 2004, Orlando died intestate in the Philippines. On 28 February 2005, Merope filed with the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Dagupan City a Petition for the issuance of letters of administration for her appointment as administratrix of the intestate estate of Orlando. However, respondent Louella A. Catalan-Lee, one of the children of Orlando from his first marriage, filed a similar petition. The two cases were subsequently consolidated. Merope prayed for the dismissal of Louellas action the ground of litis pendentia, considering that a petition covering the same estate was already pending. Louella, on the other hand, alleged that petitioner was not considered an interested person qualified to file a petition for the issuance of letters of administration of the estate of Orlando. In support of her contention, Louella alleged that a criminal case for bigamy was filed against Merope the RTC of Alaminos, Pangasinan. Apparently, Orlandos first wife Felicitas filed a complaint for bigamy, alleging that Merope contracted a second marriage to Orlando despite having been married to one Eusebio Bristol in 1959. By 1998, the RTC had acquitted Merope of bigamy. The trial court ruled that since Orlando was a divorced American citizen whose divorce was not recognized under Philippine law, the marriage between him and Merope was invalid from the beginning. Furthermore, it took note of the action for declaration of nullity then pending with the RTC in Dagupan City filed by Felicitas against the Orlando and Merope. The RTC considered the pending action to be a prejudicial question in determining the guilt of Merope for the crime of bigamy. Finally, the RTC also found that Merope had never been married to Eusebio Bristol in the first place. On 26 June 2006, the RTC dismissed the Petition for the issuance of letters of administration filed by Merope and granted that Louella. Contrary to the original findings in 1998, the RTC held that the marriage between petitioner and Eusebio Bristol was valid and subsisting when she married Orlando. The RTC reasoned further that Meropes acquittal in the previous bigamy case was fatal to her cause. Thus, the trial court held that petitioner was not an interested party who may file a petition for the issuance of letters of administration. The CA affirmed, ruling that Bigamy... negates the validity of her subsequent marriage with Orlando B. Catalan [which] has not been disproved... no basis for us to make a contrary finding not being an interested party the dismissal of her petition for letters of administration by the trial court is in place. Merope moved for reconsideration, alleging that the reasoning of the CA was illogical in stating, on the one hand, that she was acquitted of bigamy, while, on the other hand, still holding that her marriage with Orlando was invalid. She insists that with her acquittal of the crime of bigamy, the marriage enjoys the presumption of validity.

ISSUE: Is Meropes marriage to Orlando valid?

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

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XXX It appears that the trial court no longer required petitioner to prove the validity of Orlandos divorce under the laws of the United States and the marriage between petitioner and the deceased. Thus, there is a need to remand the proceedings to the trial court for further reception of evidence to establish the fact of divorce. Should petitioner prove the validity of the divorce and the subsequent marriage, she has the preferential right to be issued the letters of administration over the estate. Otherwise, letters of administration may be issued to respondent, who is undisputedly the daughter or next of kin of the deceased, in accordance with Sec. 6 of Rule 78 of the Revised Rules of Court. XXX Therefore, this case should be remanded to the trial court for further reception of evidence on the divorce decree obtained by Merry Lee and the marriage of respondent and Felicisimo. (Emphasis supplied) Thus, it is imperative for the trial court to first determine the validity of the divorce to ascertain the rightful party to be issued the letters of administration over the estate of Orlando B. Catalan.

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CAMPOS v. CAMPOS A.M. No. MTJ-10-1761 February 8, 2012 Subject: Family Relations Topic: Legal Separation

FACTS: Aida and Judge Campos were married and had two children, Alistair and Charmaine. Judge Campos filed a petition for declaration of nullity of marriage, alleging that he and Aida were both psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential marital obligations. Judge Campos alleged that he is a homosexual who could not be intimate with his wife unless he imagined that she was another man, and that because of his homosexuality, his wife had affairs with other men. Aida denied the allegations in respondents petition for declaration of nullity of their marriage and alleged that Judge Campos wanted their marriage annulled so that he could marry another woman with whom he was having a relationship. Aida opposed the petition for declaration of nullity of marriage and filed instead a petition for legal separation. Judge Campos maintains that he is homosexual, and avers that he had admitted the same to his children who understood that the filing of the petition for declaration of nullity of marriage was based on his homosexuality and Aidas infidelity.

ISSUE: Has it been established by evidence that Judge Campos is indeed a homosexual, giving ground for legal separation?

HELD: No. Sexual tendencies are questions of fact and must be proven by evidence, not mere assertions. With respect to respondents alleged homosexuality, such issue is for the determination of the trial court wherein the petition for declaration of nullity is pending. Thus, we also agree with the investigating judge and the OCA in absolving respondent from the charge of dishonesty. The fact that respondent got married and had children is not proof against his claim of homosexuality. As pointed out by the investigating judge, it is possible that respondent was only suppressing or hiding his true sexuality.

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VENTURA v. Sps. ABUDA G.R. No. 202932 October 23, 2013 Subject: Family Relations Topic: Property Relations

FACTS: Socorro and Esteban were married on June 9, 1980. Both of them had children from prior marriages: Esteban had a daughter named Evangeline Abuda, and Socorro had a son, who was the father of petitioner Edilberto. Socorro had a prior subsisting marriage to one Crispin Roxas when she married Esteban. Socorro married Crispin on 18 April 1952. This marriage was not annulled, and Crispin was alive at the time of Socorros marriage to Esteban. Estebans prior marriage, on the other hand, was dissolved by virtue of his wifes death in 1960. According to Edilberto, sometime in 1968, Esteban purchased a portion of a lot in Tondo, Manila (Vitas property). The remaining portion was thereafter purchased by Evangeline on her Estebans behalf sometime in 1970. The Vitas property was covered by a TCT, dated December 11, 1980, issued to Esteban Abletes, of legal age, Filipino, married to Socorro Torres. Edilberto also claimed that starting 1978, Evangeline and Esteban operated small business establishments also located in Tondo, Manila (Delpan property). According to Edilberto, when Esteban was diagnosed with colon cancer sometime in 1993, he decided to sell the Delpan and Vitas properties to Evangeline and her husband. Evangeline continued paying the amortizations on the Delpan property. The amortizations, P 200,000 paid in advance, were considered part of the purchase price of the Delpan properties. Evangeline likewise gave her Esteban P 50,000 for the purchase of the Vitas properties and shouldered her fathers medical expenses. Esteban passed away on September 11, 1997, while Socorro passed away on July 23, 1999. Edilberto filed a Petition for Annulment of Deeds of Sale before the RTC, alleging that the sale of the properties was fraudulent because Estebans signature on the deeds of sale was forged. Evangeline and his husband, on the other hand, argued that because of Socorros prior marriage to Crispin, her subsequent marriage to Esteban was null and void, thus neither Socorro nor her heirs can claim any right or interest over the properties purchased by Esteban and respondents. The RTC-Manila dismissed the petition for lack of merit, ruling that the marriage between Socorro and Esteban was void from the beginning. According to the RTC, the Vitas and Delpan properties are not conjugal, and are governed by Articles 144 and 485 of the Civil Code. The RTC concluded that Socorro did not contribute any funds for the acquisition of the properties. Hence, she cannot be considered a co- owner, and her heirs cannot claim any rights over the Vitas and Delpan properties. Aggrieved, Edilberto filed an appeal before the CA, which court sustained the decision of the RTC. The CA ruled, however, that the RTC-Manila should have applied Article 148 of the Family Code, and not Articles 144 and 485 of the Civil Code. Article 148 of the Family Code states that in unions between a man and a woman who are incapacitated to marry each other, only the properties acquired by both of the parties through their actual joint contribution of money, property, or industry shall be owned by them in common in proportion to their respective contributions. In the absence of proof to the contrary, their contributions and corresponding shares are presumed to be equal. The same rule and presumption shall apply to joint deposits of money and evidences of credit

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ISSUE: Are the Vitas and Delpan properties co-owned by Esteban and Socorro?

HELD: No, the properties belong exclusively to Esteban. Edilberto admitted that in unions between a man and a woman who are incapacitated to marry each other, the ownership over the properties acquired during the subsistence of that relationship shall be based on the actual contribution of the parties. He even quoted our ruling in Borromeo v. Descallar in his petition: It is necessary for each of the partners to prove his or her actual contribution to the acquisition of property in order to be able to lay claim to any portion of it. Presumptions of co-ownership and equal contribution do not apply. This is a reiteration of Article 148 of the Family Code, which the CA applied in the assailed decision: Art 148. In cases of cohabitation [wherein the parties are incapacitated to marry each other], only the properties acquired by both of the parties through their actual joint contribution of money, property, or industry shall be owned by them in common in proportion to their respective contributions. In the absence of proof to the contrary, their contributions and corresponding shares are presumed to be equal. The same rule and presumption shall apply to joint deposits of money and evidences of credit. If one of the parties is validly married to another, his or her share in the co-ownership shall accrue to the absolute community or conjugal partnership existing in such valid marriage. If the party who acted in bad faith is not validly married to another, his or her share shall be forfeited in the manner provided in the last paragraph of the preceding Article. The foregoing rules on forfeiture shall likewise apply even if both parties are in bad faith. XXX Edilberto argues that the certificate of title covering the Vitas property shows that the parcel of land is co-owned by Esteban and Socorro because: (1) the Transfer Certificate of Title was issued on 11 December 1980, or several months after the parties were married; and (2) title to the land was issued to Esteban Abletes, of legal age, married to Socorro Torres. We disagree. The title itself shows that the Vitas property is owned by Esteban alone. The phrase married to Socorro Torres is merely descriptive of his civil status, and does not show that Socorro coowned the property. The evidence on record also shows that Esteban acquired ownership over the Vitas property prior to his marriage to Socorro, even if the certificate of title was issued after the celebration of the marriage. XXX We cannot sustain Edilberto's claim. Both the RTC-Manila and the CA found that the Delpan property was acquired prior to the marriage of Esteban and Socorro. Furthermore, even if payment of the purchase price of the Delpan property was made by Evangeline, such payment was made on behalf of her father. Article 1238 of the Civil Code provides: Art. 1238. Payment made by a third person who does not intend to be reimbursed by the debtor is deemed to be a donation, which requires the debtor's consent. But the payment is in any case valid as to the creditor who has accepted it. Thus, it is clear that Evangeline paid on behalf of her father, and the parties intended that the Delpan property would be owned by and registered under the name of Esteban.

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TAN v. ANDRADE G.R. No. 171904 and 172017 August 7, 2013 Subject: Family Relations Topic: Property Relations

FACTS: Rosario Vda. De Andrade was the registered owner of four parcels of land known as Lots 17, 18, 19, and 20 situated in Cebu which she mortgaged to one Simon Diu, who foreclosed on the same. When the redemption period was about to expire, Rosario sought the assistance of Bobby Tan who agreed to redeem the subject properties. Thereafter, Rosario sold the same to Bobby and her son, Proceso for P100,000 as evidenced by a Deed of Absolute Sale dated April 29, 1983. On July 26, 1983, Proceso executed a Deed of Assignment, ceding to Bobby his interests over the properties in consideration of P50,000. The Deed of Assignment was signed by Henry, one of Rosarios sons, as instrumental witness. Bobby extended an Option to Buy the subject properties to Proceso, giving the latter until 7:00 in the evening of July 31, 1984 to purchase the properties for the sum of P310,000. When Proceso failed to purchase them, Bobby consolidated his ownership over the properties, and the TCTs were issued in his name. On October 7, 1997, Rosarios children, including Proceso and Henry, filed a complaint for reconveyance and annulment of deeds and damages against Bobby before the RTC. They alleged that the initial transaction between Rosario and Bobby was actually an equitable mortgage which was entered into to secure Rosarios indebtedness with Bobby. They also claimed that since the subject properties were inherited by them from their father, the subject properties were conjugal in nature, and thus, Rosario had no right to dispose of their respective shares. They argued that they remained as co-owners of the subject properties together with Bobby, despite the issuance of the TCTs in his name. In his defense, Bobby contended that the subject properties were solely owned by Rosario per the TCTs issued in her name and that he had validly acquired the same upon Proceso, Jr.s failure to exercise his option to buy back the subject properties.

ISSUE: Are the properties conjugal in nature?

HELD: No. Pertinent to the resolution of this second issue is Article 160 of the Civil Code which states that "[a]ll property of the marriage is presumed to belong to the conjugal partnership, unless it be proved that it pertains exclusively to the husband or to the wife." For this presumption to apply, the party invoking the same must, however, preliminarily prove that the property was indeed acquired during the marriage. As held in Go v. Yamane: As a condition sine qua non for the operation of [Article 160] in favor of the conjugal partnership, the party who invokes the presumption must first prove that the property was acquired during the marriage. In other words, the presumption in favor of conjugality does not operate if there is no showing of when the property alleged to be conjugal was acquired. Moreover, the presumption may be rebutted only with strong, clear, categorical and convincing evidence. There must be strict proof of the exclusive ownership of one of the spouses, and the burden of proof rests upon the party asserting it. Corollarily, as decreed in Valdez v. CA, the presumption under Article 160 cannot be made to apply where there is no showing as to when the property alleged to be conjugal was acquired:
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The issuance of the title in the name solely of one spouse is not determinative of the conjugal nature of the property, since there is no showing that it was acquired during the marriage of the Spouses Carlos Valdez, Sr. and Josefina L. Valdez. The presumption under Article 160 of the New Civil Code, that property acquired during marriage is conjugal, does not apply where there is no showing as to when the property alleged to be conjugal was acquired. The presumption cannot prevail when the title is in the name of only one spouse and the rights of innocent third parties are involved. Moreover, when the property is registered in the name of only one spouse and there is no showing as to when the property was acquired by same spouse, this is an indication that the property belongs exclusively to the said spouse. XXX In this case, records reveal that the conjugal partnership of Rosario and her husband was terminated upon the latters death on August 7, 1978 while the transfer certificates of title over the subject properties were issued on September 28, 1979 and solely in the name of "Rosario Vda. de Andrade, of legal age, widow, Filipino." Other than their bare allegation, no evidence was adduced by the Andrades to establish that the subject properties were procured during the coverture of their parents or that the same were bought with conjugal funds. Moreover, Rosarios declaration that she is the absolute owner of the disputed parcels of land in the subject deed of sale was not disputed by her son Proceso, Jr., who was a party to the same. Hence, by virtue of these incidents, the Court upholds the RTCs finding that the subject properties were exclusive or sole properties of Rosario.

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GO-BANGAYAN v. BANGAYAN G.R. No. 201061 July 3, 2013 Subject: Family Relations Topic: Property Relations

FACTS: In 2004, Respondent Benjamin Bangayan filed a petition for declaration of a non-existent marriage and/or declaration of nullity of marriage before the RTC of Manila. Benjamin alleged that in 1973, he married Azucena in Caloocan City and they had three children; however, in 1979, Benjamin developed a romantic relationship with Sally who was a customer in the auto parts business owned by Benjamins family. He further alleged that in 1981, Azucena left for the USA; and in 1982, he and Sally lived together as husband and wife and had 2 children, Bernice and Bentley . Sallys father was against the relationship, in order to appease her father, Sally brought Benjamin to an office in Santolan, Pasig City where they signed a purported marriage contract. Benjamin claimed that Sally knew of his marital status and assured him that the marriage contract would not be registered. Benjamin and Sallys cohabitation produced two children. During their cohabitation, they also acquired several real properties, to wit: 1. TCT Nos. 61720 and 190860 registered in the name of Benjamin, married to Sally; 2. TCT No. 61722 registered in the names of Benjamin and Sally as spouses; 3. Condominium units CCT Nos. 8782 and 8783 registered in the name of Sally, married to Benjamin; and 4. TCT Nos. N-193656 and 253681 registered in the name of Sally as a single individual. The relationship of Benjamin and Sally ended in 1994 when Sally left for Canada, bringing Bernice and Bentley with her. She then filed criminal actions for bigamy and falsification of public documents against Benjamin, using their simulated marriage contract as evidence. Benjamin, in turn, filed a petition for declaration of a non-existent marriage / declaration of nullity of marriage on the ground that his marriage to Sally was bigamous and that it lacked the formal requisites to a valid marriage. Benjamin also asked the trial court for the partition of the properties he acquired with Sally in accordance with Article 148 of the Family Code, for his appointment as administrator of the properties during the pendency of the case, and for the declaration of Bernice and Bentley as illegitimate children. A total of 44 registered properties became the subject of the partition before the trial court, including 37 properties listed by Sally in her answer. The trial court ruled that the marriage between Benjamin and Sally was not bigamous, but was void nonetheless because of the lack of a marriage license. Hence, bigamy was not committed in this case. The trial court did not rule on the issue of the legitimacy status of Bernice and Bentley because they were not parties to the case. The trial court denied Sallys claim for spousal support because she was not married to Benjamin. The trial court likewise denied support for Bernice and Bentley who were both of legal age and did not ask for support. On the issue of partition, the trial court ruled that Sally could not claim the 37 properties she named in her answer as part of her conjugal properties with Benjamin. The trial court ruled that Sally was not legally married to Benjamin. Further, the 37 properties that Sally was claiming were owned by Benjamins parents who gave the properties to their children, including Benjamin, as advanced inheritance. The 37 titles were in the names of Benjamin and his brothers and the phrase "married to Sally Go" was merely descriptive of Benjamins civil status in the title. As regards the two lots under TCT Nos. 61720 and 190860, the trial court found that they were bought by Benjamin using his own money and that Sally failed to prove any actual contribution of money, property or industry in their purchase.

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While the RTC found that Sally was a registered co-owner of the lots covered by TCT Nos. 61722, N193656, and 253681 as well as the two condominium units under CCT Nos. 8782 and 8783, it also ruled that TCT No. 61722 and the two condominium units were purchased from the earnings of Benjamin alone. The RTC further ruled that these properties and the rest of the properties were part of the conjugal partnership of Benjamin and Azucena, without prejudice to Benjamins right to dispute his conjugal state with Azucena in a separate proceeding. The trial court further ruled that Sally acted in bad faith because she knew that Benjamin was married to Azucena. Applying Article 148 of the Family Code, the trial court forfeited all of Sallys share in favor of Bernice and Bentley while Benjamins share reverted to his conjugal ownership with Azucena

ISSUE: Is Art. 148 the applicable property regime between Sally and Benjamin?

HELD: Yes. The Court of Appeals correctly ruled that the property relations of Benjamin and Sally is governed by Article 148 of the Family Code which states: Art. 148. In cases of cohabitation not falling under the preceding Article, only the properties acquired by both of the parties through their actual joint contribution of money, property, or industry shall be owned by them in common in proportion to their respective contributions. In the absence of proof to the contrary, their contributions and corresponding shares are presumed to be equal. The same rule and presumption shall apply to joint deposits of money and evidences of credit. If one of the parties is validly married to another, his or her share in the co-ownership shall accrue to the absolute community of conjugal partnership existing in such valid marriage. If the party who acted in bad faith is not validly married to another, his or her share shall be forfeited in the manner provided in the last paragraph of the preceding Article. The foregoing rules on forfeiture shall likewise apply even if both parties are in bad faith. Benjamin and Sally cohabitated without the benefit of marriage. Thus, only the properties acquired by them through their actual joint contribution of money, property, or industry shall be owned by them in common in proportion to their respective contributions. Thus, both the trial court and the Court of Appeals correctly excluded the 37 properties being claimed by Sally which were given by Benjamins father to his children as advance inheritance. Sallys Answer to the petition before the trial court even admitted that Benjamins late father himself conveyed a number of properties to his children and their respective spouses which included Sally. XXX We have ruled that the words "married to" preceding the name of a spouse are merely descriptive of the civil status of the registered owner.29 Such words do not prove co-ownership. Without proof of actual contribution from either or both spouses, there can be no co-ownership under Article 148 of the Family Code.

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PANA v. HEIRS OF JUANITE G.R. No. 164201 December 10, 2012 Subject: Family Relations Topic: Property Relations

FACTS: The prosecution accused petitioner Efren Pana and his wife Melecia with murder before the RTC of Surigao. On July 9, 1997 the RTC rendered a decision acquitting Efren, but found Melecia guilty and sentenced her to death, later modified to reclusion perpetua by the SC. The SC further ordered the guilty to pay each of the heirs of the victims, jointly and severally, P50,000 each as civil indemnity, P50,000 each as moral damages, P15,000 each as temperate damages, and P50,000 exemplary damages per victim. The decision became final and executory on October 1, 2001, and upon motion for execution by the heirs of the deceased, othe RTC ordered the issuance of the writ, resulting in the levy of real properties registered in the names of Efren and Melecia. A notice of levy and a notice of sale on execution were also issued. On April 3, 2002, petitioner Efren and his wife Melecia filed a motion to quash the writ of execution, claiming that the levied properties were conjugal assets, not paraphernal assets of Melecia. The RTC denied both the motion and the subsequent motion for reconsideration. Efren claims that his marriage with Melecia falls under the regime of conjugal partnership of gains, given that they were married prior to the enactment of the Family. Although the heirs of the deceased victims do not dispute that it was the Civil Code, not the Family Code, which governed the marriage, they insist that it was the system of absolute community of property that applied to Efren and Melecia, because nothing prevents the application of Art. 94, last paragraph, of the Family Code because their property regime is precisely governed by the law on absolute community. The RTC and the CA both agreed, and in support of such decision, used Art. 256 of the Family Code which states: "This code shall have retroactive effect in so far as it does not prejudice or impair vested or acquired rights in accordance with the Civil Code or other laws." They went on to rule that, with both spouses still alive, no vested rights have been acquired by each over the properties of the community. Hence, the liabilities imposed on the accused-spouse may properly be charged against the community.

ISSUE: May the conjugal properties of spouses Efren and Melecia be levied and executed upon for the satisfaction of Melecias civil liability in the murder case?

HELD: No. Both the RTC and the CA are in error on this point. While it is true that the personal stakes of each spouse in their conjugal assets are inchoate or unclear prior to the liquidation of the conjugal partnership of gains and, therefore, none of them can be said to have acquired vested rights in specific assets, it is evident that Article 256 of the Family Code does not intend to reach back and automatically convert into absolute community of property relation all conjugal partnerships of gains that existed before 1988 excepting only those with prenuptial agreements.

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The Family Code itself provides in Article 76 that marriage settlements cannot be modified except prior to marriage. XXX Post-marriage modification of such settlements can take place only where: (a) the absolute community or conjugal partnership was dissolved and liquidated upon a decree of legal separation; (b) the spouses who were legally separated reconciled and agreed to revive their former property regime; (c) judicial separation of property had been had on the ground that a spouse abandons the other without just cause or fails to comply with his obligations to the family; (d) there was judicial separation of property under Article 135; (e) the spouses jointly filed a petition for the voluntary dissolution of their absolute community or conjugal partnership of gains. None of these circumstances exists in the case of Efren and Melecia. What is more, under the conjugal partnership of gains established by Article 142 of the Civil Code, the husband and the wife place only the fruits of their separate property and incomes from their work or industry in the common fund. XXX What is clear is that Efren and Melecia were married when the Civil Code was still the operative law on marriages. The presumption, absent any evidence to the contrary, is that they were married under the regime of the conjugal partnership of gains. XXX Consequently, the Court must refer to the Family Code provisions in deciding whether or not the conjugal properties of Efren and Melecia may be held to answer for the civil liabilities imposed on Melecia in the murder case. Its Article 122 provides: Art. 122. The payment of personal debts contracted by the husband or the wife before or during the marriage shall not be charged to the conjugal properties partnership except insofar as they redounded to the benefit of the family. Neither shall the fines and pecuniary indemnities imposed upon them be charged to the partnership. However, the payment of personal debts contracted by either spouse before the marriage, that of fines and indemnities imposed upon them, as well as the support of illegitimate children of either spouse, may be enforced against the partnership assets after the responsibilities enumerated in the preceding Article have been covered, if the spouse who is bound should have no exclusive property or if it should be insufficient; but at the time of the liquidation of the partnership, such spouse shall be charged for what has been paid for the purpose above-mentioned. Since Efren does not dispute the RTCs finding that Melecia has no exclusive property of her own, the above applies. The civil indemnity that the decision in the murder case imposed on her may be enforced against their conjugal assets after the responsibilities enumerated in Article 121 of the Family Code have been covered. XXX Contrary to Efrens contention, Article 121 above allows payment of the criminal indemnities imposed on his wife, Melecia, out of the partnership assets even before these are liquidated. Indeed, it states that such indemnities may be enforced against the partnership assets after the responsibilities enumerated in the preceding article have been covered. No prior liquidation of those assets is required. This is not altogether unfair since Article 122 states that at the time of liquidation of the partnership, such [offending] spouse shall be charged for what has been paid for the purposes above-mentioned.

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BEUMER v. AMORES G.R. No. 195670 December 3, 2012 Subject: Family Relations Topic: Property Relations

FACTS: Petitioner Beumer, a Dutch National, and respondent Amores, a Filipina, married in March 29, 1980. After several years, the RTC of Negros Oriental, Branch 32, declared the nullity of their marriage because of the Beumers psychological incapacity. Consequently, Beumer filed a Petition for Dissolution of Conjugal Partnership dated December 14, 2000 praying for the distribution of properties claimed to have been acquired during the subsistence of their marriage. In defense, Amores averred that, with the exception of their 2 residential houses, she and petitioner did not acquire any conjugal properties during their marriage, the truth being that she used her own personal money to purchase the other properties and inherited the rest. During trial, petitioner testified that while four of the lots were registered in the name of Amores, these properties were acquired with the money he received from the Dutch government as his disability benefit since respondent did not have sufficient income to pay for their acquisition. The RTC of Negros Oriental, rendered its Decision, dissolving the parties conjugal partnership, awarding all the parcels of land to respondent as her paraphernal properties, the tools and equipment in favor of petitioner as his exclusive properties, and the 2 residential houses standing as co-owned by the parties. It ruled that, regardless of the source of funds for the acquisition of the parcels of land, Beumer could not have acquired any right whatsoever over these properties as petitioner still attempted to acquire them notwithstanding his knowledge of the constitutional prohibition against foreign ownership of private lands. Petitioners plea for reimbursement for the amount he had paid to purchase the foregoing properties on the basis of equity was likewise denied for not having come to court with clean hands. Petitioner elevated the matter to the CA, contesting only the RTCs award of the 4 lots in favor of respondent. He insisted that the money used to purchase the foregoing properties came from his own capital funds and that they were registered in the name of his former wife only because of the constitutional prohibition against foreign ownership. Thus, he prayed for reimbursement of 1/2 of the value of what he had paid in the purchase of the said properties, waiving the other half in favor of his estranged ex-wife. However, the CA upheld the RTC decision.

ISSUE: Can a foreigner assert a share in conjugal properties consisting of lands despite the Constitutional prohibition on foreign ownership of private Philippine land?

HELD: No. The issue to be resolved is not of first impression. In In Re: Petition For Separation of PropertyElena Buenaventura Muller v. Helmut Muller the Court had already denied a claim for reimbursement of the value of purchased parcels of Philippine land instituted by a foreigner Helmut Muller, against his former Filipina spouse, Elena Buenaventura Muller. It held that Helmut Muller cannot seek reimbursement on the ground of equity where it is clear that he willingly and knowingly bought the property despite the prohibition against foreign ownership of Philippine land enshrined under Section 7, Article XII of the 1987 Philippine Constitution which reads:

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Section 7. Save in cases of hereditary succession, no private lands shall be transferred or conveyed except to individuals, corporations, or associations qualified to acquire or hold lands of the public domain. Undeniably, petitioner openly admitted that he "is well aware of the above-cited constitutional prohibition" and even asseverated that, because of such prohibition, he and respondent registered the subject properties in the latters name. Clearly, petitioners actuations showed his palpable intent to skirt the constitutional prohibition. On the basis of such admission, the Court finds no reason why it should not apply the Muller ruling and accordingly, deny petitioners claim for reimbursement.

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QUIAO v. QUIAO G.R. No 176556 July 4, 2012 Subject: Family Relations Topic: Property Relations

FACTS: On October 26, 2000, herein respondent Rita C. Quiao filed a complaint for legal separation against herein petitioner Brigido B. Quiao. The RTC rendered a decision declaring the legal separation of plaintiff Rita C. Quiao and defendant-respondent Brigido B. Quiao pursuant to Article 55. Except for Letecia C. Quiao who is of legal age, the RTC ordered that the three minor children, namely, Kitchie, Lotis and Petchie, shall remain under the custody of the Rita who is the innocent spouse. The RTC also ruled that, except for the personal and real properties already foreclosed by the RCBC, all the remaining properties, shall be divided equally between herein Rita and Rigido subject to the respective legitimes of the children and the payment of the unpaid conjugal liabilities. Rigidos share, however, of the net profits earned by the conjugal partnership was forfeited in favor of the common children. Rigido filed a motion for clarification to, asking the court to define the forfeiture, the term net profits, and the governing laws.

ISSUES: 1. Is the conjugal partnership of gains the governing property relations law? 2. Does the Family Code govern the dissolution of the property regime even if the New Civil Code was the law in force at the time of the marriage? 3. Will the application of the Family Code provisions on dissolution impair vested rights under the New Civil Code? 4. How are net profits computed or ascertained?

HELD: 1. Yes,...the parties' property relation is governed by the system of relative community or conjugal partnership of gains. The petitioner claims that the court a quo is wrong when it applied Article 129 of the Family Code, instead of Article 102. He confusingly argues that Article 102 applies because there is no other provision under the Family Code which defines net profits earned subject of forfeiture as a result of legal separation. XXX the record, we can deduce that the petitioner and the respondent tied the marital knot on January 6, 1977. Since at the time of the exchange of marital vows, the operative law was the Civil Code of the Philippines (R.A. No. 386) and since they did not agree on a marriage settlement, the property relations between the petitioner and the respondent is the system of relative community or conjugal partnership of gains.

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2. Yes, since at the time of the dissolution of the petitioner and the respondent's marriage the operative law is already the Family Code, the same applies in the instant case and the applicable law in so far as the liquidation of the conjugal partnership assets and liabilities is concerned is Article 129 of the Family Code in relation to Article 63(2) of the Family Code. The latter provision is applicable because according to Article 256 of the Family Code This Code shall have retroactive effect insofar as it does not prejudice or impair vested or acquired rights in accordance with the Civil Code or other law. 3. No, as there is no vested right in the common properties prior to dissolution of the property regime. A vested right is one whose existence, effectivity and extent do not depend upon events foreign to the will of the holder, or to the exercise of which no obstacle exists, and which is immediate and perfect in itself and not dependent upon a contingency. The term vested right expresses the concept of present fixed interest which, in right reason and natural justice, should be protected against arbitrary State action, or an innately just and imperative right which enlightened free society, sensitive to inherent and irrefragable individual rights, cannot deny. To be vested, a right must have become a titlelegal or equitableto the present or future enjoyment of property. XXX The concept of vested right is a consequence of the constitutional guaranty of due process that expresses a present fixed interest which in right reason and natural justice is protected against arbitrary state action; it includes not only legal or equitable title to the enforcement of a demand but also exemptions from new obligations created after the right has become vested. Rights are considered vested when the right to enjoyment is a present interest, absolute, unconditional, and perfect or fixed and irrefutable. From the foregoing, it is clear that while one may not be deprived of his vested right, he may lose the same if there is due process and such deprivation is founded in law and jurisprudence. XXX In case there are no children, the innocent spouse shall be entitled to all the net profits. From the foregoing, the petitioner's claim of a vested right has no basis considering that even under Article 176 of the Civil Code, his share of the conjugal partnership profits may be forfeited if he is the guilty party in a legal separation case. XXX Prior to the liquidation of the conjugal partnership, the interest of each spouse in the conjugal assets is inchoate, a mere expectancy, which constitutes neither a legal nor an equitable estate, and does not ripen into title until it appears that there are assets in the community as a result of the liquidation and settlement. 4. Article 129 of the Family Code clearly applies to the present case since the parties' property relation is governed by the system of relative community or conjugal partnership of gains and since the trial court's Decision has attained finality and immutability. The net profits of the conjugal partnership of gains are all the fruits of the separate properties of the spouses and the products of their labor and industry. The petitioner inquires from us the meaning of net profits earned by the conjugal partnership for purposes of effecting the forfeiture authorized under Article 63 of the Family Code. He insists that since there is no other provision under the Family Code, which defines net profits
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earned subject of forfeiture as a result of legal separation, then Article 102 of the Family Code applies. XXX First and foremost, we must distinguish between the applicable law as to the property relations between the parties and the applicable law as to the definition of net profits. As earlier discussed, Article 129 of the Family Code applies as to the property relations of the parties. In other words, the computation and the succession of events will follow the provisions under Article 129 of the said Code. Moreover, as to the definition of net profits, we cannot but refer to Article 102(4) of the Family Code, since it expressly provides that for purposes of computing the net profits subject to forfeiture under Article 43, No. (2) and Article 63, No. (2), Article 102(4) applies. In this provision, net profits shall be the increase in value between the market value of the community property at the time of the celebration of the marriage and the market value at the time of its dissolution. Thus, without any iota of doubt, Article 102(4) applies to both the dissolution of the absolute community regime under Article 102 of the Family Code, and to the dissolution of the conjugal partnership regime under Article 129 of the Family Code. Where lies the difference? As earlier shown, the difference lies in the processes used under the dissolution of the absolute community regime under Article 102 of the Family Code, and in the processes used under the dissolution of the conjugal partnership regime under Article 129 of the Family Code. Considering that the couple's marriage has been dissolved under the Family Code, Article 129 of the same Code applies in the liquidation of the couple's properties in the event that the conjugal partnership of gains is dissolved...

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Sps. ABRENICA v. LAW FIRM OF ABRENICA, TUNGOL and TIBAYAN G.R. No. 180572 June 18, 2012 Subject: Family Relations Topic: Property Relations

FACTS: Petitioner Atty. Erlando A. Abrenica was a partner of individual respondents, Attys. Tungol and Tibayan, in the Law Firm of Abrenica, Tungol and Tibayan (the firm). In 1998, the respondents filed with the SEC 2 cases against petitioner. The first case was for Accounting and Return and Transfer of Partnership, where they alleged that petitioner refused to return partnership funds representing profits from the sale of a parcel of land in Batangas. The second case was also for Accounting and Return and Transfer of Partnership Funds, where respondents sought to recover from petitioner retainer fees that he received from two clients of the firm and the balance of the cash advance that he obtained from the firm in 1997. The cases were later transferred to the RTC pursuant to s new statute which transferred jurisdiction over intra-corporate controversies from the SEC to the courts. In a Consolidated Decision dated November 23, 2004, the RTC ordered Atty. Abrenica render full accounting of the transactions and remit the sums of P4,524,000 and P320,000 to the firm, plus interests. Respondents filed for a Writ of Execution pursuant to A.M. 01-2-04-SC, which provides that decisions in intra-corporate disputes are immediately executory and not subject to appeal unless stayed by an appellate court. As such, properties allegedly belonging to the souses are being executed upon, including 2 cars purchased before 1997 and a house and lot. Petitioners Erlando and Joena Abrenica subsequently filed with the CA a Petition for Annulment of Judgment. The Court noted that petitioners were married on May 28, 1998. The cases filed with the SEC May 6, 1998 and 15 October 1998 were filed against petitioner Erlando only. It was with the filing of CA-G.R. SP No. 98679 on 24 April 2007 that Joena joined Erlando as a co-petitioner. It appears from the records that petitioner Erlando was first married to a certain Ma. Aline Lovejoy Padua on 13 October 1983. They had three children: Patrik Erlando (born on 14 April 1985), Maria Monica Erline (born on 9 September 1986), and Patrik Randel (born on 12 April 1990).

ISSUE: Are the properties part of the absolute community of Erlando and Joena, such that they cannot be executed upon for the debts of Erlando?

HELD: No. Petitioner Joena also asserted that the two (2) motor vehicles purchased in 1992 and 1997, as well as the house and lot covered by TCT No. 216818 formed part of the absolute community regime. However, Art. 92, par. (3) of the Family Code excludes from the community property the property acquired before the marriage of a spouse who has legitimate descendants by a former marriage; and the fruits and the income, if any, of that property. Neither these two vehicles nor the house and lot belong to the second marriage.

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DELA PEA v. AVILA and FAR EAST BANK G.R. No. 187490 February 8, 2012 Subject: Family Relations Topic: Property Relations

FACTS: The suit concerns a parcel of residential land with improvements situated in Marikina City and previously registered in the name of petitioner Antonia R. Dela Pea married to Antegono A. Dela Pea. On May 7, 1996, Antonia obtained from A.C. Aguila & Sons, Co. a loan in the sum of P250,000 which, pursuant to a promissory note, was payable on or before July 7, 1996. On the very same day, Antonia also executed in favor of Aguila a notarized Deed of Real Estate Mortgage over the property, for the purpose of securing the payment of said loan obligation. On November 4, 1997, Antonia executed a notarized Deed of Absolute Sale over the property in favor of respondent Gemma Avila (Gemma), for the stated consideration of P600,000. After consolidating her title, on November 26, 1997, Gemma also constituted a real estate mortgage over the property in favor of respondent Far East Bank to secure her loan facility of P1,200,000 with the said bank. On March 3, 1998, Antonia filed with the Register of Deeds of Marikina an Affidavit of Adverse Claim to the effect that she was the true and lawful owner of the property which had been titled in the name of Gemma and that the Deed of Absolute Sale Gemma utilized in procuring her title was simulated. As a consequence, Antonias Affidavit of Adverse Claim was inscribed on Gemmas title. Gemma failed to pay her obligations with the bank, thus the bank caused the extrajudicial foreclosure of the real estate mortgage over the property. As the highest bidder at the public auction conducted in the premises, Far East Bank consolidated its ownership over the realty and caused the same to be titled in its name. On May 18, 1998, Antonia, filed against Gemma the complaint for annulment of deed of sale, claiming that the subject realty was conjugal property, and that transactions over the lot were not consented to by Antegono who had, by then, already died. The RTC held that the subject property was conjugal in nature and that the 4 November 1997 Deed of Absolute Sale Antonia executed in favor of Gemma was void as a disposition without the liquidation required under Article 130 of the Family Code. The CA reversed the RTC decision, stating that property was paraphernal in nature for failure of the Dela Peas to prove that the same was acquired during Antonias marriage to Antegono.

ISSUE: Is the property in question the conjugal property of Antegono and Antonia?

HELD: No; the property belongs exclusively to Antonia. Pursuant to Article 160 of the Civil Code of the Philippines, all property of the marriage is presumed to belong to the conjugal partnership, unless it be proved that it pertains exclusively to the husband or to the wife. Although it is not necessary to prove that the property was acquired with funds of the partnership, proof of acquisition during the marriage is an essential condition for the operation of the presumption in favor of the conjugal partnership. In the case of Francisco vs. Court of Appeals, this Court categorically ruled as follows:

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

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FORTALEZA v. LAPITAN G.R. No. 178288 August 15, 2012 Subject: Family Relations Topic: Family-Family Home

FACTS: The spouses Fortaleza obtained a loan from creditors Lapitan in the amount of P1.2 million subject to 34% interest per annum. As security, spouses Fortaleza executed a mortgage over their residential house and lot. When spouses Fortaleza failed to pay the indebtedness including the interests and penalties, the creditors applied for extrajudicial foreclosure of the mortgage, and the public auction sale was set. At the sale, the creditors son Dr. Raul Lapitan and his wife emerged as the highest bidders. They were issued a Certificate of Sale registered with the Registry of Deeds. The one-year redemption period expired without the spouses Fortaleza redeeming the mortgage. Thus, spouses Lapitan executed an affidavit of consolidation of ownership and caused the registration of the subject property in their names. Despite this, the spouses Fortaleza refused spouses Lapitans formal demand to vacate and surrender possession of the subject property. The RTC ordered the issuance of a writ of possession explaining that it is a ministerial duty of the court to uphold the ownership of the Lapitans since the redemption period had expired and a title had already been issued in their name. Spouses Fortaleza claimed that subject property is their family home and is exempt from foreclosure sale.

ISSUE: Is the subject property a family home exempt from forced sale, allowing the spouses Fortaleza to exercise the right of redemption even after the expiration of the one-year period?

HELD: No. Spouses Fortalezas argument that the subject property is exempt from forced sale because it is a family home deserves scant consideration. As a rule, the family home is exempt from execution, forced sale or attachment. However, Article 155(3) of the Family Code explicitly allows the forced sale of a family home "for debts secured by mortgages on the premises before or after such constitution." In this case, there is no doubt that spouses Fortaleza voluntarily executed on January 28, 1998 a deed of Real Estate Mortgage over the subject property which was even notarized by their original counsel of record. And assuming that the property is exempt from forced sale, spouses Fortaleza did not set up and prove to the Sheriff such exemption from forced sale before it was sold at the public auction. XXX such claim for exemption should be set up and proved to the Sheriff before the sale of the property at public auction. Failure to do so would estop the party from later claiming the exemption. As this Court ruled in Gomez v. Gealone: Although the Rules of Court does not prescribe the period within which to claim the exemption, the rule is, nevertheless, well-settled that the right of exemption is a personal privilege granted to the judgment debtor and as such, it must be claimed not by the sheriff, but by the debtor himself at the time of the levy or within a reasonable period thereafter. (Emphasis supplied.) Certainly, reasonable time for purposes of the law on exemption does not mean a time after the expiration of the one-year period for a judgment debtor to redeem the property.
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DE MESA v. ACERO G.R. No. 185064 January 16, 2012 Subject: Family Relations Topic: Family-Family Home

FACTS: The spouses De Mesa jointly purchased the subject property on 1984 while they were still merely cohabiting before their marriage. A house was later constructed on the subject property, which the spouses thereafter occupied as their family home after they got married sometime in 1987. Sometime in September 1988, Araceli (one of the spouses De mesa) obtained a loan from Claudio in the amount of P100,000, which was secured by a mortgage over the subject property. As payment, Araceli issued a check drawn against China Banking Corporation payable to Claudio, which was dishonored. The spouses De Mesa failed to heed Claudios subsequent demand for payment. Subsequently, an information for violation of B.P. 22 was filed against the spouses De Mesa. The RTC rendered a decision acquitting the spouses De Mesa but ordering them to pay Claudio the amount of P100,000 with legal interest from date of demand until fully paid. A writ of execution was issued and Sheriff Sheriff Samonte levied upon the subject property. On March 9, 1994, the subject property was sold on public auction; Claudio was the highest bidder and the corresponding certificate of sale was issued to him. Sometime in February 1995, Claudio leased the subject property to the spouses De Mesa and a certain Juanito for a monthly rent of P5,500. However, the spouses De Mesa and Juanito defaulted in the payment of the rent and as of October 3, 1998, their total accountabilities to Claudio amounted to P170,500. On March 24, 1995, a Final Deed of Sale over the subject property was issued to Claudio and on April 4, 1995, the Register of Deeds issued a TCT in his favor. Unable to collect the aforementioned rentals due, Claudio filed a complaint for ejectment against the spouses De Mesa and Juanito. On July 22, 1999, the MTC rendered a decision, ordering the spouses De Mesa and Juanito to vacate the subject property. On October 29, 1999, the spouses De Mesa filed a complaint to nullify the TCT issued in favor of Claudio. On the complaint, the spouses De Mesa asserted that the subject property is a family home, which is exempt from execution under the Family Code and, thus, could not have been validly levied upon for purposes of satisfying the March 15, 1993 writ of execution. ISSUE: Was the sale on execution of the Spouses De Mesa's family home valid?

HELD: Yes. The family homes exemption from execution must be set up and proved to the Sheriff before the sale of the property at public auction. Despite the fact that the subject property is a family home and, thus, should have been exempt from execution We agree with the CA that the petitioners should have asserted the subject property being a family home and its being exempted from execution at the time it was levied or within a reasonable time thereafter. As the CA aptly pointed out: In the light of the facts above summarized, it is evident that appellants did not assert their claim of exemption within a reasonable time. Certainly, reasonable time, for purposes of the law on exemption, does not mean a time after the expiration of the one-year period provided for in Section 30 of Rule 39 of
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the Rules of Court for judgment debtors to redeem the property sold on execution, otherwise it would render nugatory final bills of sale on execution and defeat the very purpose of execution to put an end to litigation. XXX While it is true that the family home is constituted on a house and lot from the time it is occupied as a family residence and is exempt from execution or forced sale under Article 153 of the Family Code, such claim for exemption should be set up and proved to the Sheriff before the sale of the property at public auction. Failure to do so would estop the party from later claiming the exemption. As this Court ruled in Gomez v. Gealone: Although the Rules of Court does not prescribe the period within which to claim the exemption, the rule is, nevertheless, well-settled that the right of exemption is a personal privilege granted to the judgment debtor and as such, it must be claimed not by the sheriff, but by the debtor himself at the time of the levy or within a reasonable period thereafter; XXX In the light of the facts above summarized, it is self-evident that appellants did not assert their claim of exemption within a reasonable time. Certainly, reasonable time, for purposes of the law on exemption, does not mean a time after the expiration of the one-year period provided for in Section 30 of Rule 39 of the Rules of Court for judgment debtors to redeem the property sold on execution, otherwise it would render nugatory final bills of sale on execution and defeat the very purpose of executionto put an end to litigation. We said before, and We repeat it now, that litigation must end and terminate sometime and somewhere, and it is essential to an effective administration of justice that, once a judgment has become final, the winning party be not, through a mere subterfuge, deprived of the fruits of the verdict. We now rule that claims for exemption from execution of properties under Section 12 of Rule 39 of the Rules of Court must be presented before its sale on execution by the sheriff.

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PERLA v. BARING G.R. No. 172471 November 12, 2012 Subject: Family Relations Topic: Filiation

FACTS: Respondent Mirasol Baring and her then minor son, Randy, filed before the RTC a complaint for support against Antonio. Mirasol claims that she and Antonio lived together as common-law spouses for two years. As a result of said cohabitation, Randy was born on November 11, 1983. However, when Antonio landed a job as seaman, he abandoned them and failed to give any support to his son. Respondents thus prayed that Antonio be ordered to support Randy. Antonio, who is now married and has a family of his own, denied having fathered Randy. Although he admitted to having known Mirasol, he averred that she never became his common-law wife nor was she treated as such. And since Mirasol had been intimidating and pestering him as early as 1992 with various suits by insisting that Randy is his son, Antonio sought moral and exemplary damages by way of counterclaim from respondents. Mirasol testified that from 1981 to 1983, she lived in Taguig where Antonio was a neighbor. In the first week of January 1981, Antonio courted her and eventually became her first boyfriend. Upon clarificatory question by the court whether she and Antonio eventually lived together as husband and wife, Mirasol answered that they were just sweethearts. When Mirasol became pregnant in 1983, Antonio assured her that he would support her. Eventually, however, Antonio started to evade her. On November 11, 1983, Mirasol gave birth to Randy. She presented Randys birth and baptismal certificates indicating her and Antonio as parents of the child. Mirasol testified that she and Antonio supplied the information in the said certificates. Next to take the witness stand was Randy who at that time was just 15 years old. Randy claimed that he knew Antonio to be the husband of her mother and as his father. He recounted having met him for the first time in 1994 in the house of his Aunt Lelita, Antonios sister, where he was vacationing. During their encounter, Randy called Antonio "Papa" and kissed his hand while the latter hugged him. When Randy asked him for support, Antonio promised that he would support him. Randy further testified that during his one-week stay in his Aunt Lelitas place, the latter treated him as member of the family. For her part, Aurora Ducay testified that she knew both Mirasol and Antonio as they were neighbors in Taguig. Presently, Antonio is still her neighbor in the said place. According to her, she knew of Mirasols and Antonios relationship because aside from seeing Antonio frequenting the house of Mirasol, she asked Antonio about it. She further narrated that the two have a son named Randy and that Antonios mother even tried to get the child from Mirasol. Testifying as an adverse witness for the respondents, Antonio admitted he had sexual intercourse with Mirasol only once which happened in the month of September or October of 1981.

ISSUE: Is Antonio obliged by law to support Randy as his illegitimate child?

HELD:

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No. "An order for x x x support x x x must be issued only if paternity or filiation is established by clear and convincing evidence." XXX Respondents Complaint for support is based on Randys alleged illegitimate filiation to Antonio. Hence, for Randy to be entitled for support, his filiation must be established with sufficient certainty. A review of the Decision of the RTC would show that it is bereft of any discussion regarding Randys filiation. Although the appellate court, for its part, cited the applicable provision on illegitimate filiation, it merely declared the certified true copies of Randys birth certificate and baptismal certificate both identifying Antonio as the father as good proofs of his filiation with Randy and nothing more. This is despite the fact that the said documents do not bear Antonios signature. "Time and again, this Court has ruled that a high standard of proof is required to establish paternity and filiation. An order for x x x support may create an unwholesome situation or may be an irritant to the family or the lives of the parties so that it must be issued only if paternity or filiation is established by clear and convincing evidence." Respondents failed to establish Randys illegitimate filiation to Antonio. The rules for establishing filiation are found in Articles 172 and 175 of the Family Code which provide as follows: Article 172. The filiation of legitimate children is established by any of the following: (1) The record of birth appearing in the civil register or a final judgment; or (2) An admission of legitimate filiation in a public document or a private handwritten instrument and signed by the parent concerned. In the absence of the foregoing evidence, the legitimate filiation shall be proved by: (1) The open and continuous possession of the status of a legitimate child; or (2) Any other means allowed by the Rules of Court and special laws. xxxx Article 175. Illegitimate children may establish their illegitimate filiation in the same way and on the same evidence as legitimate children. xxxx Respondents presented the Certificate of Live Birth of Randy identifying Antonio as the father. However, said certificate has no probative value to establish Randys filiation to Antonio since the latter had not signed the same. It is settled that "a certificate of live birth purportedly identifying the putative father is not competent evidence of paternity when there is no showing that the putative father had a hand in the preparation of said certificate." XXX Neither does the testimony of Randy establish his illegitimate filiation. That during their first encounter in 1994 Randy called Antonio "Papa" and kissed his hand while Antonio hugged him and promised to support him; or that his Aunt Lelita treated him as a relative and was good to him during his one-week stay in her place, cannot be considered as indications of Randys open and continuous possession of the status of an illegitimate child under the second paragraph of Article 172(1). "[T]o prove open and continuous possession of the status of an illegitimate child, there must be evidence of the manifestation of the permanent intention of the supposed father to consider the child as his, by continuous and clear manifestations of parental affection and care, which cannot be attributed to pure charity.1wphi1 Such acts must be of such a nature that they reveal not only the conviction of paternity, but also the apparent desire to have and treat the child as such in all relations in society and in life, not accidentally, but continuously." Here, the single instance that Antonio allegedly hugged Randy and promised to support him cannot be considered as proof of continuous possession of the status of a child. To emphasize, "[t]he fathers conduct towards his son must be spontaneous and uninterrupted for this ground to exist." Here, except for that singular occasion in which they met, there are no other acts of Antonio treating Randy as his son. Neither can Antonios paternity be deduced from how his sister Lelita treated Randy. To this Court, Lelitas actuations could have been done due to charity or some other reasons. Anent Randys baptismal certificate, we cannot agree with the CA that the same is a good proof of Antonios paternity of Randy. Just like in a birth certificate, the lack of participation of the supposed father in the preparation of a baptismal certificate renders this document incompetent to prove
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paternity. And "while a baptismal certificate may be considered a public document, it can only serve as evidence of the administration of the sacrament on the date specified but not the veracity of the entries with respect to the childs paternity. Thus, x x x baptismal certificates are per se inadmissible in evidence as proof of filiation and they cannot be admitted indirectly as circumstantial evidence to prove the same." XXX This crucial period therefore is during the early part of the first quarter of 1983. However, nothing from Mirasols testimony indicates that she had sexual intercourse with Antonio during that time. She merely testified that she last met with Antonio in 1983 but could not remember the particular month. Plainly, this hardly means anything not only because it was not established that the said meeting took place during that crucial period but also because Mirasol never mentioned that they had sexual contact during their meeting. Antonios admission of sexual intercourse with Mirasol does not likewise by any means strengthen respondents theory that he fathered Randy. When Antonio testified as an adverse witness for the respondents, he stated that he had sexual intercourse with Mirasol in February and August of 1981. Later testifying as witness for his own behalf, he mentioned that he had a one night affair with Mirasol which happened in the month of September or October of 1981. Assuming that he indeed had sexual contact with Mirasol on the dates mentioned, still, none of these sexual congresses could have led to the conception of Randy who was born two years later in 1983. All told, it is clear that respondents failed to establish Randys illegitimate filiation to Antonio. Hence, the order for Antonio to support Randy has no basis.

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MAKATI SHANGRI-LA HOTEL v. HARPER G.R. No. 189998 August 29, 2012 Subject: Family Relations Topic: Filiation

FACTS: In the first week of November 1999, Christian Harper came to Manila on a business trip as the Business Development Manager for Asia of ALSTOM Power Norway AS, an engineering firm with worldwide operations. He checked in at the Shangri-La Hotel and was billeted at Room 1428. He was due to check out on November 6, 1999. In the early morning of that date, however, he was murdered inside his hotel room by still unidentified malefactors. He was then 30 years old. In the meanwhile, Harpers family in Norway must have called Raymond Alarcon, the Duty Manager of the Shangri-La Hotel, to check on Harpers room. Alarcon and a security personnel went to Room 1428 at 11:27 a.m., and were shocked to discover Harpers lifeless body on the bed. On August 30, 2002, Harpers family commenced this suit in the RTC to recover various damages from the hotel. On October 25, 2005, the RTC rendered judgment after trial, finding the defendant hotel to be remiss in its duties and thus liable for the death of Christian Harper, this Court orders the defendant to pay Harpers family P43,901,055 as damages, P739,075 representing the expenses of transporting the remains of Harper to Norway, and P250,000 attorneys fees. The hotel appealed to the CA, claiming, among other things, that it has not been proven that the Ellen and Jonathan are Herpers heirs. The CA affiermed the RTC, hence this appeal.

ISSUE: Have Ellen and Jonathan sufieciently proven their filiation to the deceased Harper to be entitled to the award of damages for his untimely death?

HELD: Yes. The documents involved in this case are all kept in Norway. These documents have been authenticated by the Royal Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs; they bear the official seal of the Ministry and signature of one, Tanja Sorlie. The documents are accompanied by an Authentication by the Consul, Embassy of the Republic of the Philippines in Stockholm, Sweden to the effect that, Tanja Sorlie is duly authorized to legalize official documents for the Ministry. Exhibits "Q" and "R" are extracts of the register of births of both Jonathan Christopher Harper and the late Christian Fredrik Harper, respectively, wherein the former explicitly declares that Jonathan Christopher is the son of Christian Fredrik and Ellen Johanne Harper. Said documents bear the signature of the keeper, Y. Ayse B. Nordal with the official seal of the Office of the Registrar of Oslo, and the authentication of Tanja Sorlie of the Royal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Oslo, which were further authenticated by Philippine Consul Marian Jocelyn R. Tirol. In addition, the latter states that said documents are the birth certificates of Jonathan Christopher Harper and Christian Fredrik Harper issued by the Registrar Office of Oslo, Norway on March 23, 2004. Exhibits "Q-1", on the other hand, is the Marriage Certificate of Christian Fredrik Harper and Ellen Johanne Harper issued by the vicar of the Parish of Ullern while Exhibit "R-1" is the Probate Court Certificate from the Oslo Probate Court, naming Ellen Johanne Harper and Jonathan Christopher Harper as the heirs of the deceased Christian Fredrik Harper. The documents are certified true translations into English of the transcript of the said marriage certificate and the probate court certificate. They were
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likewise signed by the authorized government translator of Oslo with the seal of his office; attested by Tanja Sorlie and further certified by our own Consul. In view of the foregoing, WE conclude that plaintiffs-appellees had substantially complied with the requirements set forth under the rules. WE would also like to stress that plaintiffs-appellees herein are residing overseas and are litigating locally through their representative. While they are not excused from complying with our rules, WE must take into account the attendant reality that these overseas litigants communicate with their representative and counsel via long distance communication. Add to this is the fact that compliance with the requirements on attestation and authentication or certification is no easy process and completion thereof may vary depending on different factors such as the location of the requesting party from the consulate and the office of the record custodian, the volume of transactions in said offices and even the mode of sending these documents to the Philippines. With these circumstances under consideration, to OUR minds, there is every reason for an equitable and relaxed application of the rules on the issuance of the required attestation from the custodian of the documents to plaintiffs-appellees situation. Besides, these questioned documents were duly signed by the officers having custody of the same. XXX The Oslo Probate Court certificate recited that both Ellen Johanne Harper and Christopher S. Harper were Harpers heirs, to wit: The above names surviving spouse has accepted responsibility for the commitments of the deceased in accordance with the provisions of Section 78 of the Probate Court Act (Norway), and the above substitute guardian has agreed to the private division of the estate. The following heir and substitute guardian will undertake the private division of the estate: Ellen Johanne Harper Christopher S. Harper This probate court certificate relates to the entire estate. XXX A birth certificate, being a public document, offers prima facie evidence of filiation and a high degree of proof is needed to overthrow the presumption of truth contained in such public document. This is pursuant to the rule that entries in official records made in the performance of his duty by a public officer are prima facie evidence of the facts therein stated. The evidentiary nature of such document must, therefore, be sustained in the absence of strong, complete and conclusive proof of its falsity or nullity. XXX Under Art. 172 of the Family Code, the filiation of legitimate children shall be proved by any other means allowed by the Rules of Court and special laws, in the absence of a record of birth or a parents admission of such legitimate filiation in a public or private document duly signed by the parent. Such other proof of ones filiation may be a baptismal certificate, a judicial admission, a family Bible in which his name has been entered, common reputation respecting his pedigree, admission by silence, the testimonies of witnesses and other kinds of proof admissible under Rule 130 of the Rules of Court. By analogy, this method of proving filiation may also be utilized in the instant case. Public documents are the written official acts, or records of the official act of the sovereign authority, official bodies and tribunals, and public officers, whether of the Philippines, or a foreign country. The baptismal certificates presented in evidence by private respondents are public documents. Parish priests continue to be the legal custodians of the parish records and are authorized to issue true copies, in the form of certificates, of the entries contained therein.

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GOTARDO v. BULING G.R. No. 165166 August 15, 2012 Subject: Family Relations Topic: Filiation

FACTS: On September 6, 1995, respondent Divina Buling filed a complaint with the RTC of Maasin, Southern Leyte, for compulsory recognition and support pendente lite, claiming that petitioner Charles is the father of her child Gliffze. Charles denied the imputed paternity of Gliffze. Evidence for the Divina showed that she met the petitioner on December 1, 1992 at the Philippine Commercial and Industrial Bank, Maasin, Southern Leyte branch where she had been hired as a casual employee, while the Charles worked as accounting supervisor. Sometime in September 1993, the couple engaged in sexual relations in Charles rented room in the boarding house managed by Rodulfo, Divinas. On August 8, 1994, the respondent found out that she was pregnant. When told of the pregnancy, the Charles seemed happy and made plans to marry the respondent; the couple even applied for a marriage license. However, Charles backed out of the wedding plans. Divina gave birth to their son Gliffze on March 9, 1995. Charles failed to provide support to Gliffze, so Divina wrote him a letter demanding recognition and support for their child. When the Charles did not answer the demand, the respondent filed her complaint for compulsory recognition and support pendente lite. Charled took the witness stand and testified for himself. He denied the imputed paternity, claiming that he first had sexual contact with the respondent in the first week of August 1994, but when he was informed of the pregnancy on September 1994, she was already 3 months pregnant. In its June 25, 2002 decision, the RTC dismissed the complaint for insufficiency of evidence proving Gliffzes filiation. However, in its March 5, 2004 decision, the CA departed from the RTC's appreciation of the respondents testimony, and ordered the petitioner to recognize his minor son Gliffze. It also reinstated the RTC order granting a child support.

ISSUE: Was the CA in error when it set aside the RTCs findings and ordered the petitioner to recognize and provide legal support to his minor son Gliffze?

HELD: No. We have recognized that "[f]iliation proceedings are usually filed not just to adjudicate paternity but also to secure a legal right associated with paternity, such as citizenship, support (as in this case) or inheritance. [In paternity cases, the burden of proof] is on the person who alleges that the putative father is the biological father of the child." One can prove filiation, either legitimate or illegitimate, through the record of birth appearing in the civil register or a final judgment, an admission of filiation in a public document or a private handwritten instrument and signed by the parent concerned, or the open and continuous possession of the status of a legitimate or illegitimate child, or any other means allowed by the Rules of Court and special laws. We have held that such other proof of one's filiation may be a "baptismal certificate, a judicial admission, a family bible in which [his] name has been entered, common reputation respecting [his] pedigree,

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admission by silence, the [testimonies] of witnesses, and other kinds of proof [admissible] under Rule 130 of the Rules of Court." In Herrera v. Alba, we stressed that there are four significant procedural aspects of a traditional paternity action that parties have to face: a prima facie case, affirmative defenses, presumption of legitimacy, and physical resemblance between the putative father and the child. We explained that a prima facie case exists if a woman declares supported by corroborative proof that she had sexual relations with the putative father; at this point, the burden of evidence shifts to the putative father. We explained further that the two affirmative defenses available to the putative father are: (1) incapability of sexual relations with the mother due to either physical absence or impotency, or (2) that the mother had sexual relations with other men at the time of conception. In this case, the respondent established a prima facie case that the petitioner is the putative father of Gliffze through testimony that she had been sexually involved only with one man, the petitioner, at the time of her conception. Rodulfo corroborated her testimony that the petitioner and the respondent had intimate relationship. On the other hand, the petitioner did not deny that he had sexual encounters with the respondent, only that it occurred on a much later date than the respondent asserted, such that it was physically impossible for the respondent to have been three (3) months pregnant already in September 1994 when he was informed of the pregnancy. However, the petitioner failed to substantiate his allegations of infidelity and insinuations of promiscuity. His allegations, therefore, cannot be given credence for lack of evidentiary support. The petitioners denial cannot overcome the respondents clear and categorical assertions. XXX Since filiation is beyond question, support follows as a matter of obligation; a parent is obliged to support his child, whether legitimate or illegitimate.

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RONDINA v. PEOPLE G.R. No. 179059 June 13, 2012 Subject: Family Relations Topic: Filiation

FACTS: On July 15, 1998, AAA, upon arriving home from school at around 4:00 p.m., immediately proceeded to use the toilet, a communal toilet located outside AAAs house. She forgot to lock the door. AAA was surprised when Victor, a neighbor, suddenly entered the toilet with only a towel covering himself from the waist down. Victor immediately poked a knife on AAAs neck, covered her mouth and threatened her, and then raped her. AAA did not immediately tell anyone of her misfortune and just kept on crying. However, it came to the point where she could no longer keep silent so that a few months after the incident, AAA finally told her mother BBB that Victor raped her. When BBB had AAA examined by physicians, it was discovered that aside from having healed hymenal lacerations, AAA was more or less six months pregnant Victor was convicted of raping AAA, and was also ordered to support the child CCC, who was deemed an offspring of the rape. The Court, however, also ordered Victor to acknowledge the child.

ISSUE: Is the RTC correct in ordering Victor to acknowledge AAA's offspring CCC as his child?

HELD: No. The RTC ordered Victor to acknowledge AAAs offspring CCC and give her support. Article 345 of the Revised Penal Code provides for three different kinds of civil liability that may be imposed on the offender: a) indemnification, b) acknowledgement of the offspring, unless the law should prevent him from so doing, and c) in every case to support the offspring. With the passage of the Family Code, the classification of acknowledged natural children and natural children by legal fiction was eliminated and they now fall under the specie of illegitimate children. Since parental authority is vested by Article 176 of the Family Code upon the mother and considering that an offender sentenced to reclusion perpetua automatically loses the power to exercise parental authority over his children, no further positive act is required of the parent as the law itself provides for the childs status. Hence, [Victor] should only be ordered to indemnify and support the victims child.

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LIM-LUA v. LUA G.R. Nos. 175279-80 June 5, 2013 Subject: Family Relations Topic: Support

FACTS: On September 3, 2003, petitioner Susan Lim-Lua filed an action for the declaration of nullity of her marriage with respondent Danilo Y. Lua. She also prayed for for support pendente lite for herself and her two children, and sought the amount of P500,000.00 as monthly support, citing respondents ability to provide as much given his earnings from several companies and businesses here and abroad. After due hearing, the RTC, on March 31, 2004, granted the prayer for support pendente lite in the amount of P250,000.00 monthly beginning April 2004, excluding the P135,000.00 for medical attendance expenses needed by Susan for the operation of both her eye[s] which is demandable upon the conduct of such operation. The court commended Danilo on other amounts already extended by him to the 2 children, and encouraged him to should continue the same considering his vast financial resources. According to Art. 203 of the Family Code, support is demandable from the time plaintiff needed the said support but is payable only from the date of judicial demand. Since the instant complaint was filed on September 3, 2003, the amount of P250,000.00 should be paid by defendant to plaintiff retroactively to such date until the hearing of the support pendente lite. P250,000.00 x 7 corresponding to the 7 months that lapsed from such date amounts to P1,750,000.00 in arrears. The amounts are without prejudice to any increase or decrease thereof that this Court may grant plaintiff as the circumstances may warrant depending on the proof submitted by the parties during the proceedings for the main action for support. Danilo filed for reconsideration, asserting petitioner Susan is not entitled to spousal support considering that she does not maintain for herself a separate dwelling from their children and respondent has continued to support the family for their sustenance and well-being in accordance with familys social and financial standing. He also claims that the amounts he is required to pay are unconscionably excessive. However, because of a failure of the notice requirements for motions, the reconsideration was not granted. The CA, however, rendered ruled that the trial court gravely abused its discretion in granting P250,000.00 monthly support to petitioner without evidence to prove his actual income. The appellate court reduced the amount to P115,000 monthly, and neither of the spouses appealed this ruling. In compliance with this ruling, Danilo paid his arrears in support at the cost of P115,000 persos monthly since September, 2003, however, he deducted from the total value in arrears the cost of 2 cars, including maintenance costs, which he gave as gifts to his children. He also deducted from the total the credit card costs incurred by his children for their purchases of groceries, dry goods and books, which Danilo theorized also benefited their mother Susan. Opposing the deductions, Susan argues that it was patently erroneous for the CA to have allowed the deduction of the value of the two cars and their maintenance costs from the support in arrears, as these items are not indispensable to the sustenance of the family or in keeping them alive. She points out that the CA already considered the said items as chargeable to respondent Danilo, different and separate from the monthly support pendente lite of P115,000.00 which was the court fixed on the basis of the documentary evidence of Danilos income from various businesses and her own testimony that she needed P113,000.00 for the maintenance of the household, excluding the P135,000.00 she needed for her own medical needs.

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Danilo contends that disallowing the subject deductions would result in unjust enrichment, thus making him pay for the same obligation twice. Since petitioner and the children resided in one residence, the groceries and dry goods purchased by the children using respondents credit card, totalling P594,151.58 for the period September 2003 to June 2005 were not consumed by the children alone but shared with their mother. He also claims that the Volkswagen Beetle and BMW 316i which he bought for his children should also be considered advances for support, in keeping with the financial capacity of the family. Danilo stressed that his children never commuted nor ate in carinderias, being children of upper-class society. Hence, the cars and their maintenance are indispensable to the childrens day-today living, the value of which should properly be deducted from the arrearages in support pendente lite ordered by the trial and appellate courts. Totalling all of these expenses, Danilo claims he is entitled to deduct P2,482,348.16 from the support arrears amounting to P2,645,000.00.

ISSUES: 1. Is Danilo required to pay for all the expenses of his family if able to do so? 2. Is Danilo required to support his spouse financially- apart from the family- during the pendency of their declaration of nullity of marriage proceedings, including the costs of her personal medical expenses? 3. Can Danilo decide on the manner of disposition of support payments, or decide which items he provides are to be considered creditable against the support payments? 4. Was the CA correct in allowing Danilo to deduct from the amount of support in arrears to the costs incurred by him in giving his children cars and allowing them to charge expenses on his credit card?

HELD: 1. Yes, Danilo must provide support for his family. Article 194. Support comprises everything indispensable for sustenance, dwelling, clothing, medical attendance, education and transportation, in keeping with the financial capacity of the family. The education of the person entitled to be supported referred to in the preceding paragraph shall include his schooling or training for some profession, trade or vocation, even beyond the age of majority. Transportation shall include expenses in going to and from school, or to and from place of work. XXX As a matter of law, the amount of support which those related by marriage and family relationship is generally obliged to give each other shall be in proportion to the resources or means of the giver and to the needs of the recipient. Such support comprises everything indispensable for sustenance, dwelling, clothing, medical attendance, education and transportation, in keeping with the financial capacity of the family. Upon receipt of a verified petition for declaration of absolute nullity of void marriage or for annulment of voidable marriage, or for legal separation, and at any time during the proceeding, the court, motu proprio or upon verified application of any of the parties, guardian or designated custodian, may temporarily grant support pendente lite prior to the rendition of judgment or final order. Because of its provisional nature, a court does not need to delve fully into the merits of the case before it can settle an application for this relief. All that a court is tasked to do is determine the kind and amount of evidence which may suffice to enable it to justly resolve the application. It is enough that the facts be established by affidavits or other documentary evidence appearing in the record.

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2. Yes, Danilo is required to support his spouse separately from his support of his family or his children. Judicial determination of support pendente lite in cases of legal separation and petitions for declaration of nullity or annulment of marriage are guided by the following provisions of the Rule on Provisional Orders: Sec. 2. Spousal Support.In determining support for the spouses, the court may be guided by the following rules: (a) In the absence of adequate provisions in a written agreement between the spouses, the spouses may be supported from the properties of the absolute community or the conjugal partnership. (b) The court may award support to either spouse in such amount and for such period of time as the court may deem just and reasonable based on their standard of living during the marriage. (c) The court may likewise consider the following factors: (1) whether the spouse seeking support is the custodian of a child whose circumstances make it appropriate for that spouse not to seek outside employment; (2) the time necessary to acquire sufficient education and training to enable the spouse seeking support to find appropriate employment, and that spouses future earning capacity; (3) the duration of the marriage; (4) the comparative financial resources of the spouses, including their comparative earning abilities in the labor market; (5) the needs and obligations of each spouse; (6) the contribution of each spouse to the marriage, including services rendered in home-making, child care, education, and career building of the other spouse; (7) the age and health of the spouses; (8) the physical and emotional conditions of the spouses; (9) the ability of the supporting spouse to give support, taking into account that spouses earning capacity, earned and unearned income, assets, and standard of living; and (10) any other factor the court may deem just and equitable. (d) The Family Court may direct the deduction of the provisional support from the salary of the spouse. Sec. 3. Child Support.The common children of the spouses shall be supported from the properties of the absolute community or the conjugal partnership. Subject to the sound discretion of the court, either parent or both may be ordered to give an amount necessary for the support, maintenance, and education of the child. It shall be in proportion to the resources or means of the giver and to the necessities of the recipient. In determining the amount of provisional support, the court may likewise consider the following factors: (1) the financial resources of the custodial and non-custodial parent and those of the child; (2) the physical and emotional health of the child and his or her special needs and aptitudes; (3) the standard of living the child has been accustomed to; (4) the non-monetary contributions that the parents will make toward the care and well-being of the child. The Family Court may direct the deduction of the provisional support from the salary of the parent. Since the amount of monthly support pendente lite as fixed by the CA was not appealed by either party, there is no controversy as to its sufficiency and reasonableness. The dispute concerns the deductions made by respondent in settling the support in arrears. XXX This monthly support pendente lite to private respondent in the amount of P115,000.00 excludes the amount of One Hundred Thirty-Five (P135,000.00) Thousand Pesos for medical attendance expenses needed by private respondent for the operation of both her eye[s] which
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is demandable upon the conduct of such operation. Likewise, this monthly support of P115,000.00 is without prejudice to any increase or decrease thereof that the trial court may grant private respondent as the circumstances may warrant i.e. depending on the proof submitted by the parties during the proceedings for the main action for support. 3. No, Danilo cannot dictate on how the support should be spent, or which items he will pay for. In Bradford v. Futrell, appellant sought review of the decision of the Circuit Court which found him in arrears with his child support payments and entered a decree in favor of appellee wife. He complained that in determining the arrearage figure, he should have been allowed full credit for all money and items of personal property given by him to the children themselves, even though he referred to them as gifts. The Court of Appeals of Maryland ruled that in the suit to determine amount of arrears due the divorced wife under decree for support of minor children, the husband (appellant) was not entitled to credit for checks which he had clearly designated as gifts, nor was he entitled to credit for an automobile given to the oldest son or a television set given to the children. Thus, if the children remain in the custody of the mother, the father is not entitled to credit for money paid directly to the children if such was paid without any relation to the decree. In the absence of some finding of consent by the mother, most courts refuse to allow a husband to dictate how he will meet the requirements for support payments when the mode of payment is fixed by a decree of court. Thus he will not be credited for payments made when he unnecessarily interposed himself as a volunteer and made payments direct to the children of his own accord. The payments to the children themselves do not appear to have been made as payments upon alimony, but were rather the result of his fatherly interest in the welfare of those children. We do not believe he should be permitted to charge them to plaintiff. By so doing he would be determining for Mrs. Openshaw the manner in which she should expend her allowances. It is a very easy thing for children to say their mother will not give them money, especially as they may realize that such a plea is effective in attaining their ends. If she is not treating them right the courts are open to the father for redress. In Martin, Jr. v. Martin, the Supreme Court of Washington held that a father, who is required by a divorce decree to make child support payments directly to the mother, cannot claim credit for payments voluntarily made directly to the children. However, special considerations of an equitable nature may justify a court in crediting such payments on his indebtedness to the mother, when such can be done without injustice to her. The general rule is to the effect that when a father is required by a divorce decree to pay to the mother money for the support of their dependent children and the unpaid and accrued installments become judgments in her favor, he cannot, as a matter of law, claim credit on account of payments voluntarily made directly to the children. Koon v. Koon, supra; Briggs v. Briggs, supra. However, special considerations of an equitable nature may justify a court in crediting such payments on his indebtedness to the mother, when that can be done without injustice to her. Briggs v. Briggs, supra. The courts are justifiably reluctant to lay down any general rules as to when such credits may be allowed. (Emphasis supplied.) 4. No, ...the CA should not have allowed all the expenses incurred by respondent to be credited against the accrued support pendente lite. As earlier mentioned, the monthly support pendente lite granted by the trial court was intended primarily for food, household expenses such as salaries of drivers and house helpers, and also petitioners scoliosis therapy sessions. Hence, the value of two expensive cars bought by respondent for his children plus their maintenance cost, travel expenses of petitioner and Angelli, purchases through credit card of items other than groceries and dry goods (clothing) should have been disallowed, as these bear no relation to the judgment awarding supportpendente lite. While it is true that the dispositive portion of the executory decision in CA-G.R. SP No. 84740 ordered herein respondent to pay the support in arrears less than the amount supposedly given by petitioner to the private respondent as her and their two (2) children monthly
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support, the deductions should be limited to those basic needs and expenses considered by the trial and appellate courts. The assailed ruling of the CA allowing huge deductions from the accrued monthly support of petitioner and her children, while correct insofar as it commends the generosity of the respondent to his children, is clearly inconsistent with the executory decision in CA-G.R. SP No. 84740. More important, it completely ignores the unfair consequences to petitioner whose sustenance and well-being, was given due regard by the trial and appellate courts. This is evident from the March 31, 2004 Order granting support pendente lite to petitioner and her children, when the trial court observed: While there is evidence to the effect that defendant is giving some forms of financial assistance to his two (2) children via their credit cards and paying for their school expenses, the same is, however, devoid of any form of spousal support to the plaintiff, for, at this point in time, while the action for nullity of marriage is still to be heard, it is incumbent upon the defendant, considering the physical and financial condition of the plaintiff and the overwhelming capacity of defendant, to extend support unto the latter. On appeal, while the Decision in CA-G.R. SP No. 84740 reduced the amount of monthly support fixed by the trial court, it nevertheless held that considering respondents financial resources, it is but fair and just that he give a monthly support for the sustenance and basic necessities of petitioner and his children. This would imply that any amount respondent seeks to be credited as monthly support should only cover those incurred for sustenance and household expenses. In the case at bar, records clearly show and in fact has been admitted by petitioner that aside from paying the expenses of their two (2) childrens schooling, he gave his two (2) children two (2) cars and credit cards of which the expenses for various items namely: clothes, grocery items and repairs of their cars were chargeable to him which totaled an amount of more than One Hundred Thousand (P100,000.00) for each of them and considering that as testified by the private respondent that she needs the total amount of P113,000.00 for the maintenance of the household and other miscellaneous expenses and considering further that petitioner can afford to buy cars for his two (2) children, and to pay the expenses incurred by them which are chargeable to him through the credit cards he provided them in the amount of P100,000.00 each, it is but fair and just that the monthly support pendente lite for his wife, herein private respondent, be fixed as of the present in the amount of P115,000.00 which would be sufficient enough to take care of the household and other needs.

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CALDERON v. ROXAS G.R. No. 185595 January 9, 2013 Subject: Family Relations Topic: Support

FACTS: Calderon and Roxas, while married, had 4 children. Later, the wife Calderon filed a complaint for the declaration of nullity of their marriage on the ground of psychological incapacity under Article 36 of the Family Code. The trial court issued an order granting Calderons application for support pendente lite. Husband Roxas filed a motion to reduce support, which was granted, along with a denial of Calderons motion for spousal support, increase of the childrens monthly support pendente lite and support-in-arrears. Eventually, the trial court rendered its decision on the marriage issue by declaring the marriage between Calderon and Roxas null and void. Calderon a Notice of Appeal from the Orders denying her motions for support. In her appeal brief, Calderon pointed out that her appeal is "from the RTC Order dated March 7, 2005, issued prior to the rendition of the decision in the main case", as well as the May 4, 2005 Order denying her motion for partial reconsideration. The CA dismissed the appeal, and noted that Calderon failed to avail of the proper remedy to question an interlocutory order.

ISSUE: Is the issue of support pendente lite only incidental to the main action for declaration of nullity of marriage, such that all orders regarding support pendent lite are interlocutory in nature?

HELD: Yes, because support pendentle lite is only a provisional remedy. The assailed orders relative to the incident of support pendente lite and support in arrears, as the term suggests, were issued pending the rendition of the decision on the main action for declaration of nullity of marriage, and are therefore interlocutory. They did not finally dispose of the case nor did they consist of a final adjudication of the merits of petitioners claims as to the ground of psychological incapacity and other incidents as child custody, support and conjugal assets. The Rules of Court provide for the provisional remedy of support pendente lite which may be availed of at the commencement of the proper action or proceeding, or at any time prior to the judgment or final order. XXX Provisional remedies are writs and processes available during the pendency of the action which may be resorted to by a litigant to preserve and protect certain rights and interests therein pending rendition, and for purposes of the ultimate effects, of a final judgment in the case. They are provisional because they constitute temporary measures availed of during the pendency of the action, and they are ancillary because they are mere incidents in and are dependent upon the result of the main action. The subject orders on the matter of support pendente lite are but an incident to the main action for declaration of nullity of marriage. Moreover, private respondents obligation to give monthly support in the amount fixed by the RTC in the assailed orders may be enforced by the court itself, as what transpired in the early stage of the
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proceedings when the court cited the private respondent in contempt of court and ordered him arrested for his refusal/failure to comply with the order granting support pendente lite. A few years later, private respondent filed a motion to reduce support while petitioner filed her own motion to increase the same, and in addition sought spousal support and support in arrears. This fact underscores the provisional character of the order granting support pendente lite.

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RONDINA v. PEOPLE G.R. No. 179059 June 13, 2012 Subject: Family Relations Topic: Support

FACTS: On July 15, 1998, AAA, upon arriving home from school at around 4:00 p.m., immediately proceeded to use the toilet, a communal toilet located outside AAAs house. She forgot to lock the door. AAA was surprised when Victor, a neighbor, suddenly entered the toilet with only a towel covering himself from the waist down. Victor immediately poked a knife on AAAs neck, covered her mouth and threatened her, and then raped her. AAA did not immediately tell anyone of her misfortune and just kept on crying. However, it came to the point where she could no longer keep silent so that a few months after the incident, AAA finally told her mother BBB that Victor raped her. When BBB had AAA examined by physicians, it was discovered that aside from having healed hymenal lacerations, AAA was more or less six months pregnant Victor was convicted of raping AAA, and was also ordered to support the child CCC, who was deemed an offspring of the rape. The Court, however, also ordered Victor to acknowledge the child.

ISSUE: Is the RTC correct in ordering Victor to support the child?

HELD: Yes. Article 345 of the Revised Penal Code provides for three different kinds of civil liability that may be imposed on the offender: a) indemnification, b) acknowledgement of the offspring, unless the law should prevent him from so doing, and c) in every case to support the offspring. With the passage of the Family Code, the classification of acknowledged natural children and natural children by legal fiction was eliminated and they now fall under the specie of illegitimate children. Since parental authority is vested by Article 176 of the Family Code upon the mother and considering that an offender sentenced to reclusion perpetua automatically loses the power to exercise parental authority over his children, no further positive act is required of the parent as the law itself provides for the childs status. Hence, [Victor] should only be ordered to indemnify and support the victims child. The amount [and terms] of support shall be determined by the trial court after due notice and hearing in accordance with Article 201 of the Family Code. XXX Petitioner Victor Rondina is further ordered to give support to AAAs offspring, CCC, in such amount and under such terms to be determined by the Regional Trial Court ofOrmoc City in a proper proceeding with support arrears to be reckoned from the finality of this Decision.

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BECKETT v. JUDGE SARMIENTO A.M. No. RTJ-12-2326 January 30, 2013 Subject: Family Relations Topic: Parental Authority

FACTS: This case stems from a complaint filed by Geoffrey Beckett against Judge Sarmiento, RTC of Cebu City Branch 24, charging Judge Sarmiento with gross ignorance of the law, manifest partiality and dereliction and neglect of duty allegedly committed during the special proceeding Geoffrey Beckett v. Eltesa Densing Beckett while the case was pending the judges sala. Complainant Beckett is an Australian national who was previously married to Eltesa, a Filipina. During their marriage they begot a son, Geoffrey, Jr. Beckett alleged that their union was troubled from the beginning. They eventually separated and even sued each other. In 2006, Eltesa filed a case against Beckett for violation of RA 7610 (Violence Against Women and their Children Act), followed by an action declaration of nullity of their marriage. Both cases ended in the sala of respondent Judge Sarmiento. Beckett also commenced criminal charges against Eltesa, one of which was for adultery. The couples initial legal battle ended when Judge Sarmiento, on September 25, 2006, rendered judgment based on a compromise agreement in which Eltesa and Beckett agreed and undertook, among others, to cause the dismissal of all pending civil and criminal cases each may have filed against the other. They categorically agreed too that Beckett shall have full and permanent custody over Geoffrey, Jr., then five 5 years old, subject to the visitorial rights of Eltesa. Beckett left for Australia, taking Geoffrey, Jr. with him. Beckett alleged that he cared and provided well for Geoffrey, Jr. Beckett also promised that they would come and see Eltesa in Cebu every Christmas. The yearly Christmas visits continued, notwithstanding the fact that Beckett obtained a divorce decree in Australia against Eltesa. During Christmas 2010 visit, Beckett allowed Geoffrey, Jr. stay with Eltesa even after the holidays, provided she return the child on January 9, 2011. When Geoffrey, Jr. was not returned to Becketts custody, he filed a petition against Eltesa for violation of RA 7610. This petition was again raffled to the sala of Judge Sarmiento. And because Geoffrey remained in the meantime in the custody of Eltesa, Beckett also applied for the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus. Judge Sarmiento issued an order dated March 1, 2011, directing Eltesa to return Geoffrey, Jr. to Beckett. However, the turnover of Geoffrey, Jr. to Beckett did not materialize. At this point, Geoffrey, Jr. was already 9 years old. Beckett sought the immediate implementation of the said March 1, 2011 Order. But instead of enforcing said order, Judge Sarmiento, in open court, issued another order giving Eltesa provisional custody over Geoffrey, Jr. and at the same time directing the DSWD to conduct a social case study on the child. Beckett moved for the reconsideration of the judges provisional custody order, on the main contention that Judge Sarmiento can no longer grant provisional custody to Eltesa in light of the compromise agreement. Beckett also alleged that respondent judge conversed with Eltesa in Cebuano, a dialect which neither Beckett nor his counsel understood. Beckett also asked for a few minutes to confer with his counsel but when they returned to the courtroom, the proceedings had already been adjourned.

ISSUE: Should Geoffrey, Jr. be allowed to stay with his mother Eltesa if he chooses to do so while the cases between his parents are pending?

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HELD: Yes, the preference of a child over 7 years of age as to whom he desired to live with shall be respected. Moreover, custody, even if previously granted by a competent court in favor of a parent, is not, to reiterate, permanent. In Espiritu,we ruled that: The matter of custody is not permanent and unalterable. If the parent who was given custody suffers a future character change and becomes unfit, the matter of custody can always be re-examined and adjusted x x x. To be sure, the welfare, the best interests, the benefit, and the good of the child must be determined as of the time that either parent is chosen to be the custodian. XXX In disputes concerning post-separation custody over a minor, the well-settled rule is that no child under seven (7) years of age shall be separated from the mother, unless the court finds compelling reasons to order otherwise. And if already over 7 years of age, the childs choice as to which of his parents he prefers to be under custody shall be respected, unless the parent chosen proves to be unfit. Finally, in Perez v. Court of Appeals, We held that in custody cases, the foremost consideration is always the welfare and best interest of the child, as reflected in no less than the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child which provides that "in all actions concerning children, whether undertaken by public or private social welfare institutions, courts of law, administrative authorities or legislative bodies, the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration." XXX Geoffrey, Jr., at the time when he persistently refused to be turned over to his father, was already over 7 years of age. As such, he was very much capable of deciding, based on his past experiences, with whom he wanted to stay. Noteworthy too are the results of the interviews which were reflected in the three reports previously mentioned, excerpts from which are hereunder quoted, to wit: Being in the custody of his mother is something (sic) he feel (sic) secure and protected and this is manifested in the childs craving for his mothers presence all the time and the desire to be always with her that even (sic) he sleeps he wants his mother to embrace and hug him and cries when he wakes up and he cannot see his mother.

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Sps. ABRENICA v. LAW FIRM OF ABRENICA, TUNGOL and TIBAYAN G.R. No. 180572 June 18, 2012 Subject: Family Relations Topic: Parental Authority

FACTS: Petitioner Atty. Erlando A. Abrenica was a partner of individual respondents, Attys. Tungol and Tibayan, in the Law Firm of Abrenica, Tungol and Tibayan (the firm). In 1998, the respondents filed with the SEC 2 cases against petitioner. The first case was for Accounting and Return and Transfer of Partnership, where they alleged that petitioner refused to return partnership funds representing profits from the sale of a parcel of land in Batangas. The second case was also for Accounting and Return and Transfer of Partnership Funds, where respondents sought to recover from petitioner retainer fees that he received from two clients of the firm and the balance of the cash advance that he obtained from the firm in 1997. The cases were later transferred to the RTC pursuant to s new statute which transferred jurisdiction over intra-corporate controversies from the SEC to the courts. In a Consolidated Decision dated November 23, 2004, the RTC ordered Atty. Abrenica render full accounting of the transactions and remit the sums of P4,524,000 and P320,000 to the firm, plus interests. Thus, the properties of the petitioners were levied upon. Petitioners Erlando and Joena Abrenica subsequently filed with the CA a Petition for Annulment of Judgment. The Court noted that petitioners were married on May 28, 1998. The cases filed with the SEC May 6, 1998 and 15 October 1998 were filed against petitioner Erlando only. It was with the filing of CA-G.R. SP No. 98679 on 24 April 2007 that Joena joined Erlando as a co-petitioner. It appears from the records that petitioner Erlando was first married to a certain Ma. Aline Lovejoy Padua on 13 October 1983. They had three children: Patrik Erlando (born on 14 April 1985), Maria Monica Erline (born on 9 September 1986), and Patrik Randel (born on 12 April 1990).

ISSUE: Can Joena validly represent the interests of her step-children?

HELD: No. After the dissolution of the first marriage of Erlando, he and Joena got married on 28 May 1998. In her Affidavit, Joena alleged that she represented her stepchildren; that the levied personal properties in particular, a piano with a chair, computer equipment and a computer table were owned by the latter. We note that two of these stepchildren were already of legal age when Joena filed her Affidavit. As to Patrik Randel, parental authority over him belongs to his parents. Absent any special power of attorney authorizing Joena to represent Erlandos children, her claim cannot be sustained.

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REPUBLIC v. NARCEDA G.R. NO. 182760 April 10, 2013 Subject: Family Relations Topic: Summary Proceedings

FACTS: Respondent Robert Narceda married Marina on 22 July 1987. The marriage contract shows that at the time of their wedding, Marina was only 17 years and 4 months old. Robert alleges that Marina went to Singapore sometime in 1994 and never returned since. There was never any communication between them. He tried to look for her, but he could not find her. One of their town mates La Union came home from Singapore some years laters and told him that the last time she saw her, Marina was already living with a Singaporean husband. Robert desires to remarry, thus he filed the RTC in 2002 a Petition for a judicial declaration of the presumptive death and/or absence of Marina, which the RTC granted in 2005, without prejudice to her re-appearance, if ever. The OSG appealed the foregoing Decision to the CA. The OSG claims that respondent failed to conduct a search for his missing wife with enough diligence to give rise to a "well-founded" belief that she was dead. The CA dismissed the appeal ruling that the hearing of a petition for the declaration of presumptive death is a summary proceeding under the Family Code and is thus governed by Article 247 which provides that the judgment of the trial court in summary court proceedings shall be immediately final and executory. However, the CA upheld the ruling of the RTC, claiming that, as an appellate court, they have no jurisdiction to review the judgment. The CA ruled that the declaration of presumptive death of Marina Narceda by the La Union RTC was immediately final and executory, "because by express provision of law, the judgment of the RTC is not appealable, referring to Art. 247 of the Family Code which provides that The judgment of the court shall be immediately final and executor. The Republic of the Philippines is appealing the decision of the CA and its subsequent Resolution.

ISSUE: Is the declaration of Marinas presumptive death by the RTC immediately final and executor, such that the CA has no jurisdiction to review it on appeal?

HELD: Yes. We agree with the CA. Article 41 of the Family Code provides: Art. 41. A marriage contracted by any person during the subsistence of a previous marriage shall be null and void, unless before the celebration of the subsequent marriage, the prior spouse had been absent for four consecutive years and the spouse present has a well-founded belief that the absent spouse was already dead. In case of disappearance where there is danger of death under the circumstances set forth in the provisions of Article 391 of the Civil Code, an absence of only two years shall be sufficient. For the purpose of contracting the subsequent marriage under the preceding paragraph, the spouse present must institute a summary proceeding as provided in this Code for the declaration of presumptive death of the absentee, without prejudice to the effect of reappearance of the absent spouse.

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XXX By express provision of law, the judgment of the court in a summary proceeding shall be immediately final and executory. As a matter of course, it follows that no appeal can be had of the trial court's judgment in a summary proceeding for the declaration of presumptive death of an absent spouse under Article 41 of the Family Code. It goes without saying, however, that an aggrieved party may file a petition for certiorari to question abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction. Such petition should be filed in the Court of Appeals in accordance with the Doctrine of Hierarchy of Courts. XXX From the decision of the Court of Appeals, the losing party may then file a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court with the Supreme Court. This is because the errors which the court may commit in the exercise of jurisdiction are merely errors of judgment which are the proper subject of an appeal. When the OSG filed its notice of appeal under Rule 42, it availed itself of the wrong remedy. As a result, the running of the period for filing of a Petition for Certiorari continued to run and was not tolled. Upon lapse of that period, the Decision of the RTC could no longer be questioned. Consequently, petitioner's contention that respondent has failed to establish a well-founded belief that his absentee spouse is dead may no longer be entertained by this Court.

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REPUBLIC v. GRANADA G. R. No. 187512 June 13, 2012 Subject: Family Relations Topic: Summary Proceedings

FACTS: In May 1991, respondent Yolanda met Cyrus Granada at Sumida Electric Philippines, an electronics company in Paranaque where both were then working. Eventually, the 2 got married at the Manila City Hall on 3 March 1993. Their marriage resulted in the birth of their son, Cyborg Granada. Sometime in May 1994, when Sumida Electric Philippines closed down, Cyrus went to Taiwan to seek employment. Yolanda claimed that from that time, she had not received any communication from her husband, notwithstanding efforts to locate him. Her brother testified that he had asked the relatives of Cyrus regarding the latters whereabouts, to no avail. After 9 years of waiting, Yolanda filed a Petition to have Cyrus declared presumptively dead, and on February 7, 2005, the RTC rendered a Decision declaring Cyrus as presumptively dead. On March 10, 2005, petitioner Republic, through the Solicitor General OSG, filed a Motion for Reconsideration of this Decision. Petitioner argued that Yolanda had failed to exert earnest efforts to locate Cyrus and thus failed to prove her well-founded belief that he was already dead. The RTC denied the motion. Petitioner filed a Notice of Appeal to elevate the case to the CA, presumably under Rule 41, Section 2(a) of the Rules of Court. Yolanda filed a Motion to Dismiss on the ground that the CA had no jurisdiction over the appeal. She argued that her Petition for Declaration of Presumptive Death, based on Article 41 of the Family Code, was a summary judicial proceeding, in which the judgment is immediately final and executory and, thus, not appealable.

ISSUES: 1. Is the declaration of presumptive death required in Article 41 of the Family Code a summary proceeding under the same Code? 2. Is the declaration of presumptive death required in Article 41 of the Family Code a special proceeding under the Rules of Court? 3. Can the Republic appeal the declaration of presumptive death of Cyrus by the RTC?

HELD: 1. Yes. Art. 41. A marriage contracted by any person during the subsistence of a previous marriage shall be null and void, unless before the celebration of the subsequent marriage, the prior spouse had been absent for four consecutive years and the spouse present has a wellfounded belief that the absent spouse was already dead. In case of disappearance where there is danger of death under the circumstances set forth in the provisions of Article 391 of the Civil Code, an absence of only two years shall be sufficient. For the purpose of contracting the subsequent marriage under the preceding paragraph the spouse present must institute a summary proceeding as provided in this Code for the declaration of presumptive death of the absentee, without prejudice to the effect of reappearance of the absent spouse.

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Clearly, a petition for declaration of presumptive death of an absent spouse for the purpose of contracting a subsequent marriage under Article 41 of the Family Code is a summary proceeding as provided for under the Family Code. Further, Title XI of the Family Code is entitled Summary Judicial Proceedings in the Family Law. Subsumed thereunder are Articles 238 and 247, which provide: Art. 238. Until modified by the Supreme Court, the procedural rules in this Title shall apply in all cases provided for in this Code requiring summary court proceedings. Such cases shall be decided in an expeditious manner without regard to technical rules. Art. 247. The judgment of the court shall be immediately final and executory. Further, Article 253 of the Family Code reads: ART. 253. The foregoing rules in Chapters 2 and 3 hereof shall likewise govern summary proceedings filed under Articles 41, 51, 69, 73, 96, 124 and 217, insofar as they are applicable. Taken together, Articles 41, 238, 247 and 253 of the Family Code provide that since a petition for declaration of presumptive death is a summary proceeding, the judgment of the court therein shall be immediately final and executory. XXX In Summary Judicial Proceedings under the Family Code, there is no reglementary period within which to perfect an appeal, precisely because judgments rendered thereunder, by express provision of Section 247, Family Code, supra, are immediately final and executory. XXX It was erroneous for the OSG to file a notice of appeal, and for the RTC to give due course thereto. The Court of Appeals acquired no jurisdiction over the case, and should have dismissed the appeal outright on that ground. 2. No, it is not a special proceeding under the Rules of Court but a summary proceeding under the Family Code. In reversing the CA, this Court clarified that while an action for declaration of death or absence under Rule 72, Section 1(m), expressly falls under the category of special proceedings, a petition for declaration of presumptive death under Article 41 of the Family Code is a summary proceeding, as provided for by Article 238 of the same Code. Since its purpose was to enable her to contract a subsequent valid marriage, petitioners action was a summary proceeding based on Article 41 of the Family Code, rather than a special proceeding under Rule 72 of the Rules of Court. Considering that this action was not a special proceeding, petitioner was not required to file a record on appeal when it appealed the RTC Decision to the CA. XXX This case presents an opportunity for us to settle the rule on appeal of judgments rendered in summary proceedings under the Family Code and accordingly, refine our previous decisions thereon. Article 238 of the Family Code, under Title XI: SUMMARY JUDICIAL PROCEEDINGS IN THE FAMILY LAW, establishes the rules that govern summary court proceedings in the Family Code: ART. 238. Until modified by the Supreme Court, the procedural rules in this Title shall apply in all cases provided for in this Code requiring summary court proceedings. Such cases shall be decided in an expeditious manner without regard to technical rules.

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In turn, Article 253 of the Family Code specifies the cases covered by the rules in chapters two and three of the same title. It states: ART. 253. The foregoing rules in Chapters 2 and 3 hereof shall likewise govern summary proceedings filed under Articles 41, 51, 69, 73, 96, 124 and 217, insofar as they are applicable. 3. No. In plain text, Article 247 in Chapter 2 of the same title reads: ART 247. The judgment of the court shall be immediately final and executory.

By express provision of law, the judgment of the court in a summary proceeding shall be immediately final and executory. As a matter of course, it follows that no appeal can be had of the trial court's judgment in a summary proceeding for the declaration of presumptive death of an absent spouse under Article 41 of the Family Code. XXX From the decision of the Court of Appeals, the losing party may then file a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court with the Supreme Court. This is because the errors which the court may commit in the exercise of jurisdiction are merely errors of judgment which are the proper subject of an appeal. In sum, under Article 41 of the Family Code, the losing party in a summary proceeding for the declaration of presumptive death may file a petition for certiorari with the CA on the ground that, in rendering judgment thereon, the trial court committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction. From the decision of the CA, the aggrieved party may elevate the matter to this Court via a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court.

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REPUBLIC v. UY G.R. No. 198010 August 12, 2013 Subject: Final Provisions - Persons and Family Relations Topic: Use of Surnames

FACTS: On March 8, 2004, respondent Norma Lugsanay Uy filed a Petition for Correction of Entry of her birth certificate, impleading in her action the registrar of Gingoog City. She alleged that she was born on February 8, 1952 and is the illegitimate daughter of Sy Ton and Sotera Lugsanay. Her birth certificate shows that her full name is "Anita Sy" when she is allegedly known to her family and friends as "Norma S. Lugsanay." Norma further claimed that her school records, PRC Medicine Certificate, and passport all bear the name "Norma S. Lugsanay." She claims that since her parents were never married, she used the name Lugsanay; she was an illegitimate childe so she had to follow the surname of her mother. Norma also contended that she is a Filipino citizen and not Chinese, and all her siblings bear the surname Lugsanay and are all Filipinos. Norma allegedly filed earlier a petition for correction of entries with the registrar of Gingoog City to effect the corrections on her name and citizenship which was supposedly granted. However, the National Statistics Office (NSO) records did not bear such changes. The RTC granted the petition and directed the registrar of Gingoog City to effect the correction or change of the entries in Normas birth certificate so that the name would be Norma Sy Lugsanay and the citizenship Filipino, concluding that the petition would neither prejudice the government nor any third party. It also held that the names "Norma Sy Lugsanay" and "Anita Sy" refer to one and the same person, especially since the Local Civil Registrar of Gingoog City has effected the correction. Considering that respondent has continuously used and has been known since childhood as "Norma Sy Lugsanay" and as a Filipino citizen, the RTC granted the petition to avoid confusion. On February 18, 2011, the CA affirmed in toto the RTC Order. Hence, the present petition on the sole ground that the petition is dismissible for failure to implead indispensable parties.

ISSUE: Was the granting of the petition for change of entries in Normas birth certificate proper?

HELD: No. Cancellation or correction of entries in the civil registry is governed by Rule 108 of the Rules of Court, to wit: SEC. 1. Who may file petition. Any person interested in any act, event, order or decree concerning the civil status of persons which has been recorded in the civil register, may file a verified petition for the cancellation or correction of any entry relating thereto, with the Regional Trial Court of the province where the corresponding civil registry is located. SEC. 2. Entries subject to cancellation or correction. Upon good and valid grounds, the following entries in the civil register may be cancelled or corrected: (a) births; (b) marriages; (c) deaths; (d) legal separations; (e) judgments of annulments of marriage; (f) judgments declaring marriages void from the beginning; (g) legitimations; (h) adoptions; (i) acknowledgments of natural children; (j) naturalization; (k) election, loss or recovery of citizenship; (l) civil interdiction; (m) judicial determination of filiation; (n) voluntary emancipation of a minor; and (o) changes of name.

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SEC. 3. Parties. When cancellation or correction of an entry in the civil register is sought, the civil registrar and all persons who have or claim any interest which would be affected thereby shall be made parties to the proceeding. SEC. 4. Notice and Publication. Upon the filing of the petition, the court shall, by an order, fix the time and place for the hearing of the same, and cause reasonable notice thereof to be given to the persons named in the petition. The court shall also cause the order to be published once a week for three (3) consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation in the province. SEC. 5. Opposition. The civil registrar and any person having or claiming any interest under the entry whose cancellation or correction is sought may, within fifteen (15) days from notice of the petition, or from the last date of publication of such notice, file his opposition thereto. SEC. 6. Expediting proceedings. The court in which the proceeding is brought may make orders expediting the proceedings, and may also grant preliminary injunction for the preservation of the rights of the parties pending such proceedings. SEC. 7. Order. After hearing, the court may either dismiss the petition or issue an order granting the cancellation or correction prayed for. In either case, a certified copy of the judgment shall be served upon the civil registrar concerned who shall annotate the same in his record. XXX It has been settled in a number of cases starting with Republic v. Valencia that even substantial errors in a civil registry may be corrected and the true facts established provided the parties aggrieved by the error avail themselves of the appropriate adversary proceeding. The pronouncement of the Court in that case is illuminating: It is undoubtedly true that if the subject matter of a petition is not for the correction of clerical errors of a harmless and innocuous nature, but one involving nationality or citizenship, which is indisputably substantial as well as controverted, affirmative relief cannot be granted in a proceeding summary in nature. However, it is also true that a right in law may be enforced and a wrong may be remedied as long as the appropriate remedy is used. This Court adheres to the principle that even substantial errors in a civil registry may be corrected and the true facts established provided the parties aggrieved by the error avail themselves of the appropriate adversary proceeding. XXX The fact that the notice of hearing was published in a newspaper of general circulation and notice thereof was served upon the State will not change the nature of the proceedings taken. XXX It is clear from the foregoing discussion that when a petition for cancellation or correction of an entry in the civil register involves substantial and controversial alterations, including those on citizenship, legitimacy of paternity or filiation, or legitimacy of marriage, a strict compliance with the requirements of Rule 108 ofthe Rules of Court is mandated. If the entries in the civil register could be corrected or changed through mere summary proceedings and not through appropriate action wherein all parties who may be affected by the entries are notified or represented, the door to fraud or other mischief would be set open, the consequence of which might be detrimental and far reaching.

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REPUBLIC v. MARCOS G. R. No. 171701 February 8, 2012 Subject: Wills and Succession Topic: General Provisions

FACTS: After the EDSA People Power Revolution in 1986, the first executive act of then President Corazon C. Aquino was to create the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG). Pursuant to Executive Order No. 1, the PCGG was given the following mandate to prosecute for and recover the ill-gotten wealth the exiled former President Ferdinand Marcos. Thus, numerous civil and criminal cases were subsequently filed. One of the civil cases filed before the Sandiganbayan to recover the Marcoses alleged ill-gotten wealth was Civil Case No. 0002, now subject of this Petition. On July 16, 1987, the PCGG, acting on behalf of the Republic and assisted by the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), filed a Complaint for Reversion, Reconveyance, Restitution, Accounting and Damages against Ferdinand E. Marcos, who was later substituted by his estate upon his death; Imelda R. Marcos; and herein respondents Imee Marcos-Manotoc, Irene Marcos-Araneta, Bongbong Marcos, Tomas Manotoc, and Gregorio Araneta III. On October 1, 1987, the PCGG filed an amended Complaint to add Constante Rubio as defendant. Again on 9 February 1988, it amended the Complaint, this time to include as defendants Nemesio G. Co and herein respondents Yeung Chun Kam, Yeung Chun Ho, and Yeung Chun Fan. In 1989, Former President Marcos died. On April 23, 1990, the PCGG amended its Complaint for the 3rd time, adding to its growing list of defendants Imelda Cojuangco, the estate of Ramon Cojuangco, and Prime Holdings, Inc. The State prays that the Marcos respondents be made to (1) pay for the value of the alleged ill-gotten wealth with interest from the date of acquisition; (2) render a complete accounting and inventory of all funds and other pieces of property legally or beneficially held and/or controlled by them, as well as their legal and beneficial interest therein; (3) pay actual damages estimated at P200 billion and additional actual damages to reimburse expenses for the recovery of the alleged ill-gotten wealth estimated atP250 million or in such amount as may be proven during trial; (4) pay moral damages amounting to P50 billion; (5) pay temperate and nominal damages, as well as attorneys fees and litigation expenses in an amount to be proven during the trial; (6) pay exemplary damages in the amount of P1 billion; and (7) pay treble judicial costs.

ISSUE: Are the Marcos siblings compulsory heirs who must be impleaded in the action?

HELD: Yes, the Marcos siblings are compulsory heirs and must be impleaded. Since the pending case before the Sandiganbayan survives the death of Ferdinand E. Marcos, it is imperative therefore that the estate be duly represented. The purpose behind this rule is the protection of the right to due process of every party to a litigation who may be affected by the intervening death. The deceased litigant is himself protected, as he continues to be properly represented in the suit through the duly appointed legal representative of his estate. On that note, we take judicial notice of the probate proceedings regarding the will of Ferdinand E. Marcos. In Republic of the Philippines v.
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Marcos II. we upheld the grant by the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of letters testamentary in solidum to Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. and Imelda Romualdez-Marcos as executors of the last will and testament of the late Ferdinand E. Marcos. Unless the executors of the Marcos estate or the heirs are ready to waive in favor of the state their right to defend or protect the estate or those properties found to be ill-gotten in their possession, control or ownership, then they may not be dropped as defendants in the civil case pending before the Sandiganbayan. Rule 3, Sec. 7 of the Rules of Court defines indispensable parties as those parties-in-interest without whom there can be no final determination of an action. They are those parties who possess such an interest in the controversy that a final decree would necessarily affect their rights, so that the courts cannot proceed without their presence. Parties are indispensable if their interest in the subject matter of the suit and in the relief sought is inextricably intertwined with that of the other parties. In order to reach a final determination of the matters concerning the estate of Ferdinand E. Marcos that is, the accounting and the recovery of ill-gotten wealth the present case must be maintained against Imelda Marcos and herein respondent Ferdinand "Bongbong" R. Marcos, Jr., as executors of the Marcos estate pursuant to Sec. 1 of Rule 87 of the Rules of Court. According to this provision, actions may be commenced to recover from the estate, real or personal property, or an interest therein, or to enforce a lien thereon; and actions to recover damages for an injury to person or property, real or personal, may be commenced against the executors. We also hold that the action must likewise be maintained against Imee Marcos-Manotoc and Irene Marcos-Araneta on the basis of the non-exhaustive list attached as Annex "A" to the Third Amended Complaint, which states that the listed properties therein were owned by Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos and their immediate family It is only during the trial of Civil Case No. 0002 before the Sandiganbayan that there could be a determination of whether these properties are indeed ill-gotten or were legitimately acquired by respondents and their predecessors. Thus, while it was not proven that respondents conspired in accumulating ill-gotten wealth, they may be in possession, ownership or control of such ill-gotten properties or the proceeds thereof as heirs of the Marcos couple. Thus, their lack of participation in any illegal act does not remove the character of the property as ill-gotten and, therefore, as rightfully belonging to the State. Secondly, under the rules of succession, the heirs instantaneously became co-owners of the Marcos properties upon the death of the President. The property rights and obligations to the extent of the value of the inheritance of a person are transmitted to another through the decedents death. XXX In sum, the Marcos siblings are maintained as respondents, because (1) the action pending before the Sandiganbayan is one that survives death, and, therefore, the rights to the estate must be duly protected; (2) they allegedly control, possess or own ill-gotten wealth, though their direct involvement in accumulating or acquiring such wealth may not have been proven.

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MENDOZA v. DELOS SANTOS G.R. No. 176422 March 20, 2013 Subject: Wills and Succession Topic: Testamentary Succession

FACTS: Exequiel,a child of Placido and Dominga, possessed several properties, adjudicated to him by virtue of an alleged oral partition between him and his siblings of their parents estates. After Exequiel died, the properties passed on to his surviving spouse Leonor and only child, daughter Gregoria. When Leonor died, the properties passed on to Gregoria. Gregoria herself died in 1992, intestate and with no children. The petitioners and grandchildren- the children of Exequiels brothers Antonio, Apolonio, and Valentinallege that Leonors sister Julia, adjudicated unto herself the properties left behind by Gregoria. The grandchildren claim that the properties should have been reserved by Julia in their behalf and must now revert back to them, applying the Art. 891 reserva troncal provision of the Civil Code. Julia, however, answers that the properties are not reservable, and there was no obligation on her part to reserve the same, because the properties were not originally owned by Placido and Domingo, hence not originating from the familial line of the grandchildren. According to her, Exequiel and his brother Antonio bought the properties from a third person, though it appears that only Exequiel possessed the properties. The RTC ordered the Julias heirs to reconvey the properties to the grandchildren, holding that the properties were reservable. The decision was reversed by the CA. Now the grandchildren are assailing the decision of the CA, which ordered the dismissal of the case of the grandchildren.

ISSUE: Does reserve troncal apply in this case such that Julia is under the obligation to reserve the properties which she got from Gregoria?

HELD: No. Reserva troncal is a special rule designed primarily to assure the return of a reservable property to the third degree relatives belonging to the line from which the property originally came, and avoid its being dissipated into and by the relatives of the inheriting ascendant. XXX The principle of reserva troncal is provided in Article 891 of the Civil Code: Art. 891. The ascendant who inherits from his descendant any property which the latter may have acquired by gratuitous title from another ascendant, or a brother or sister, is obliged to reserve such property as he may have acquired by operation of law for the benefit of relatives who are within the third degree and belong to the line from which said property came. (Emphasis ours) There are three (3) lines of transmission in reserva troncal. The first transmission is by gratuitous title, whether by inheritance or donation, from an ascendant/brother/sister to a descendant called the prepositus. The second transmission is by operation of law from the prepositus to the other ascendant or reservor, also called the reservista. The third and last transmission is from the reservista to the reservees or reservatarios who must be relatives within the third degree from which the property came. XXX
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Based on the circumstances of the present case, Article 891 on reserva troncal is not applicable. XXX The persons involved in reserva troncal are: 1. The ascendant or brother or sister from whom the property was received by the descendant by lucrative or gratuitous title; 2. The descendant or prepositus (propositus) who received the property; 3. The reservor (reservista), the other ascendant who obtained the property from the prepositus by operation of law; and 4. The reservee (reservatario) who is within the third degree from the prepositus and who belongs to the (linea o tronco) from which the property came and for whom the property should be reserved by the reservor. It should be pointed out that the ownership of the properties should be reckoned only from Exequiels as he is the ascendant from where the first transmission occurred, or from whom Gregoria inherited the properties in dispute. The law does not go farther than such ascendant/brother/sister in determining the lineal character of the property. It was also immaterial for the CA to determine whether Exequiel predeceased Placido and Dominga or whether Gregoria predeceased Exequiel. What is pertinent is that Exequiel owned the properties and he is the ascendant from whom the properties in dispute originally came. Gregoria, on the other hand, is the descendant who received the properties from Exequiel by gratuitous title. Moreover, Article 891 simply requires that the property should have been acquired by the descendant or prepositus from an ascendant by gratuitous or lucrative title. A transmission is gratuitous or by gratuitous title when the recipient does not give anything in return. At risk of being repetitious, what was clearly established in this case is that the properties in dispute were owned by Exequiel (ascendant). After his death, Gregoria (descendant/prepositus) acquired the properties as inheritance. XXX Article 891 provides that the person obliged to reserve the property should be an ascendant (also known as the reservor/reservista) of the descendant/prepositus. Julia, however, is not Gregorias ascendant; rather, she is Gregorias collateral relative. Article 964 of the Civil Code provides for the series of degrees among ascendants and descendants, and those who are not ascendants and descendants but come from a common ancestor, viz: Art. 964. A series of degrees forms a line, which may be either direct or collateral. A direct line is that constituted by the series of degrees among ascendants and descendants. A collateral line is that constituted by the series of degrees among persons who are not ascendants and descendants, but who come from a common ancestor. (Emphasis and italics ours) Gregorias ascendants are her parents, Exequiel and Leonor, her grandparents, great-grandparents and so on. On the other hand, Gregorias descendants, if she had one, would be her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Not being Gregorias ascendants, both petitioners and Julia, therefore, are her collateral relatives. In determining the collateral line of relationship, ascent is made to the common ancestor and then descent to the relative from whom the computation is made. In the case of Julias collateral relationship with Gregoria, ascent is to be made from Gregoria to her mother Leonor (one line/degree), then to the common ancestor, that is, Julia and Leonors parents (second line/degree), and then descent to Julia, her aunt (third line/degree). Thus, Julia is Gregorias collateral relative within the third degree and not her ascendant. XXX Moreover, petitioners cannot be considered reservees/reservatarios as they are not relatives within the third degree of Gregoria from whom the properties came. The person from whom the degree should be
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reckoned is the descendant/prepositusthe one at the end of the line from which the property came and upon whom the property last revolved by descent. It is Gregoria in this case. Petitioners are Gregorias fourth degree relatives, being her first cousins. First cousins of the prepositus are fourth degree relatives and are not reservees or reservatarios. They cannot even claim representation of their predecessors Antonio and Valentin as Article 891 grants a personal right of reservation only to the relatives up to the third degree from whom the reservable properties came. The only recognized exemption is in the case of nephews and nieces of the prepositus, who have the right to represent their ascendants (fathers and mothers) who are the brothers/sisters of the prepositus and relatives within the third degree. In Florentino v. Florentino, the Court stated: Following the order prescribed by law in legitimate succession, when there are relatives of the descendant within the third degree, the right of the nearest relative, called reservatario, over the property which the reservista (person holding it subject to reservation) should return to him, excludes that of the one more remote. The right of representation cannot be alleged when the one claiming same as a reservatario of the reservable property is not among the relatives within the third degree belong to the line from which such property came Nevertheless there is right of representation on the part of reservatarios who are within the third degree mentioned by law, as in the case of nephews of the deceased person from whom the reservable property came. x x x. (Emphasis and underscoring ours) The conclusion, therefore, is that while it may appear that the properties are reservable in character, petitioners cannot benefit from reserva troncal. First, because Julia, who now holds the properties in dispute, is not the other ascendant within the purview of Article 891 of the Civil Code and second, because petitioners are not Gregorias relatives within the third degree. XXX What the RTC should have done, assuming for arguments sake that reserva troncal is applicable, is have the reservable nature of the property registered on respondents titles. In fact, respondent, as reservista, has the duty to reserve and to annotate the reservable character of the property on the title. In reserva troncal, the reservista who inherits from a prepositus, whether by the latters wish or by operation of law, acquires the inheritance by virtue of a title perfectly transferring absolute ownership. All the attributes of ownership belong to him exclusively. The reservor has the legal title and dominion to the reservable property but subject to the resolutory condition that such title is extinguished if the reservor predeceased the reservee. The reservor is a usufructuary of the reservable property. He may alienate it subject to the reservation. The transferee gets the revocable and conditional ownership of the reservor. The transferees rights are revoked upon the survival of the reservees at the time of the death of the reservor but become indefeasible when the reservees predecease the reservor.(Citations omitted) It is when the reservation takes place or is extinguished, that a reservatario becomes, by operation of law, the owner of the reservable property. In any event, the foregoing discussion does not detract from the fact that petitioners are not entitled to a reservation of the properties in dispute.

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GARCIA-QUIAZON v. BELEN G.R. No. 189121 July 31, 2013 Subject: Wills and Succession Topic: Legal or Intestate Succession

FACTS: After Eliseos death, his common-law spouse and daughter, Lourdes and Elise, respectively, applied to the court for letters of administration of his intestate estate. Elise claims that he is the acknowledged natural child of Eliseo, and that her parents Eliseo and Lourdes were both capacitated to marry each other at the time she was conceived and born. Amelia, to whom Eliseo was married, opposed the petition. As a response to the opposition, Elise claimed that Amelia has no standing in the current case because her marriage to Eliseo was bigamous, having been contracted at a time when Amelia was in a prior subsisting marriage with one Filipito. Elise was issued the letters of administration upon the filing of a bond, having also attained the age of majority in the interim. On appeal, the CA upheld the findings of the trial court that Amelia was not validly married to Eliseo, and that Eliseo and Lourdes lived together as husband and wife from 1975 up to his death in 1992, with Elise being the product of their cohabitation as a family.

ISSUE: Is Elise a compulsory heir who may validly question the validity of his fathers marriage top another woman?

HELD: Yes. Relevant to the foregoing, there is no doubt that Elise, whose successional rights would be prejudiced by her fathers marriage to Amelia, may impugn the existence of such marriage even after the death of her father. The said marriage may be questioned directly by filing an action attacking the validity thereof, or collaterally by raising it as an issue in a proceeding for the settlement of the estate of the deceased spouse, such as in the case at bar. Ineluctably, Elise, as a compulsory heir, has a cause of action for the declaration of the absolute nullity of the void marriage of Eliseo and Amelia, and the death of either party to the said marriage does not extinguish such cause of action.

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HEIRS OF YPON v. RICAFORTE G.R. No. 198680 July 8, 2013 Subject: Wills and Succession Topic: Legal or Intestate Succession

FACTS: The heirs of Ypon filed a complaint for cancellation of title and reconveyance against for several parcels of land in the possession of Gaudioso Ricaforte, who had the parcels of land titled to his name through an affidavit of self-adjudication, claiming that he (Gaudioso) is the sole compulsory heir of the decedent Magdaleno Ypon. To prove his status as an heir of Magdaleno, Gaudioso produced the following: a. his certificate of Live Birth; b. two (2) letters from Polytechnic School; c. a certified true copy of his passport; d. marriage contract of Magdaleno and Epegenia Evanglelista; and e. a letter. As an affirmative defense, he claimed that the petitioners have no cause of action against him as the case is not being prosecuted by the real parties in interest, given that there is no showing that the petitioners have been judicially declared as Magdalenos heirs. The RTC held that while the petitioners had established their relationship with Magdaleno in a previous special proceeding for administration, this did not automatically make the petitioners the compulsory heirs of Magdaleno.

ISSUE: Can heirship be adjudicated in a civil action for reconveyance?

HELD: No. As stated in the subject complaint, petitioners, who were among the plaintiffs therein, alleged that they are the lawful heirs of Magdaleno and based on the same, prayed that the Affidavit of SelfAdjudication executed by Gaudioso be declared null and void and that the transfer certificates of title issued in the latters favor be cancelled. While the foregoing allegations, if admitted to be true, would consequently warrant the reliefs sought for in the said complaint, the rule that the determination of a decedents lawful heirs should be made in the corresponding special proceeding precludes the RTC, in an ordinary action for cancellation of title and reconveyance, from granting the same. In the case of Heirs of Teofilo Gabatan v. CA,21 the Court, citing several other precedents, held that the determination of who are the decedents lawful heirs must be made in the proper special proceeding for such purpose, and not in an ordinary suit for recovery of ownership and/or possession XXX Jurisprudence dictates that the determination of who are the legal heirs of the deceased must be made in the proper special proceedings in court, and not in an ordinary suit for recovery of ownership and possession of property.1wphi1 This must take precedence over the action for recovery of possession and ownership. The Court has consistently ruled that the trial court cannot make a declaration of heirship in the civil action for the reason that such a declaration can only be made in a special proceeding. XXX
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Thus, concordant with applicable jurisprudence, since a determination of heirship cannot be made in an ordinary action for recovery of ownership and/or possession, the dismissal of Civil Case No. T-2246 was altogether proper. In this light, it must be pointed out that the RTC erred in ruling on Gaudiosos heirship which should, as herein discussed, be threshed out and determined in the proper special proceeding. As such, the foregoing pronouncement should therefore be devoid of any legal effect.

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VDA. DE FIGURACION v. FIGURACION-GERILLA G.R. No. 151334 February 13, 2013 Subject: Wills and Succession Topic: Legal or Intestate Succession

FACTS: Leandro died intestate in 1958. He left behind 2 parcels of land in Urdaneta, pangasinan, which he acquired during his lifetime. He is survived by his wife Carolina and their children Elena, Hilaria, Felipa, Quintin, and Mary who are the petitioners in this case. He is also survived by another child with his wife Carolina- Emilia- who is the respondent. Prior to decedents death, he executed a quitclaim over the parcels of land in favor of his 6 children. However, the shares were not delineated with particularity as Leandro and his wife Carolina wanted to reserve the use and fruits of the parcels of land for their daily expenses. Also involved in this case is a third lot in Urdaneta, Pangasinan, in the name of Eulalio. Eulalio married twice in his lifetime. From his first marriage, he has a daughter, Agripina. When Eulalios first wife died, Eulalio married again, and begot another daughter, petitioner Carolina, who is Leandros surviving spouse. In 1961, Carolinas half sister Agripina executed a quitclaim over half of the third lot in this case to her niece respondent Emilia, who is Carolinas daughter with Leandro. However, unknown to Emilia, Carolina executed an affidavit of self-adjudication over the third lot in 1962, claiming to be the sole surviving heir of her father, Eulalio. On the same day, she also executed a deed of absolute sale of the third lot to her other daughters Hilaria and Felipa, who are also her co-petitioners in this case. Hilaria and Felipa immediately caused the transfer of the title to their names. When Emilia returned to the Philippines in 1981 after 10 years in the United States, she built a house on half of the third lot, relying on the quitclaim in her favor executed by her aunt, her mothers half sister Agripina. Trouble arose in 1994 when Hilaria threatened to demolish her sister Emilias house built on the third lot, claiming that Emilia was on her property illegally, alleging that the lot belonged to her and Felipa alone, having bought the same from their mother Carolina as evidenced by a deed of absolute sale which Carolina executed in 1962. In response, Emilia asked for a partition of the third lot, as well as partitions of the 2 parcels of land left behind by their father Leandro. She also instituted an annulment of the affidavit of self adjudication and the deed of absolute sale executed by her mother over the third lot in 1962, and prayed for the reconveyance to her of the half of the third lot left to her by her aunt Agripina. Opposing the action, the petitioners claim that an action for partition is no longer possible because Felipa and Hilaria have already acquired rights adverse to that claimed by respondent Emilia, and that the registration of the third lot in their name amounted to a repudiation of the alleged co-ownership, and therefore they are now the owners of the third lot by acquisitive prescription. The RTC simplified the issues as follows: 1. Whether the 2 parcels of land acquired by Leandro during his lifetime are his exclusive properties; and 2. Whether Emilia owns half of the third lot. The RTC ruled that a partition of the 2 parcels of purportedly belonging to Leandro is premature since their ownership is yet to be transmitted from Leandro to his heirs whose respective shares thereto must still be determined in estate settlement proceedings. As for the third lot, the RTC held that Carolina
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validly transferred only her one-half share to Felipa and Hilaria and any conveyance of the other half pertaining to Agripina was void. Finally, the RTC refused to rule on the ownership claim by Emilia of half of the third lot because Eulalios estate has yet to be settled. The CA, on appeal, ruled that the RTC erred in refusing to partition the third lot. The CA explained that there is no necessity for placing the third lot under judicial administration since Carolina had long sold her pro indiviso share to Felipa and Hilaria. According to the CA, when Carolina sold the entire third lot in 1962, purportedly as her own, the sale affected only her share and not that belonging to her coowner, Agripina. The proper action in such case is not the nullification of the sale, or for the recovery of possession of the property owned in common from the third person, but for a division or partition of the entire lot. Such partition should result in segregating the portion belonging to the seller and its delivery to the buyer. Finally, the CA agreed that partitioning the 2 parcels of land from Leandro was indeed premature as the expenses for the last illness and burial of Leandro had yet to be accounted for.

ISSUE: Should the provisions of the Old Civil Code be followed in the intestate disposition of Marcelas share of the conjugal property, given that the Old Civil Code was the law in force at the time of Marcela and Eulalios marriage?

HELD: Yes. Under the Old Civil Code which was then in force at the time of Eulalio and Marcelas marriage, Lot No. 707 was their conjugal property. When Marcela died, one-half of the lot was automatically reserved to Eulalio, the surviving spouse, as his share in the conjugal partnership. Marcelas rights to the other half, in turn, were transmitted to her legitimate child, Agripina and surviving spouse Eulalio. Under Article 834 of the Old Civil Code, Eulalio was entitled only to the usufruct of the lot while the naked ownership belonged to Agripina. When he remarried, Eulalios one half portion of the lot representing his share in the conjugal partnership and his usufructuary right over the other half were brought into his second marriage with Faustina. When Eulalio died on July 20, 1930, portion of the lot was reserved for Faustina as her share in the conjugal partnership. The remaining were transmitted equally to the widow Faustina and Eulalios children, Carolina and Agripina. However, Faustina is only entitled to the usufruct of the third available for betterment. The usufructuary of Eulalio over the portion inherited by Agripina earlier was merged with her naked ownership. Upon the death of Faustina, the shares in Lot No. 707 which represents her share in the conjugal partnership and her inheritance from Eulalio were in turn inherited by Carolina including Faustinas usufructuary rights which were merged with Carolinas naked ownership. Consequently, Agripina is entitled to 5/8 portion of Lot No. 707 while the remaining 3/8 pertains to Carolina. Thus, when Carolina sold Lot No. 707 to Hilaria and Felipa, the sale affected only 3/8 portion of the subject lot. Since the Deed of Quitclaim, bequeathed only the eastern portion of Lot No. 707 in favor of Emilia instead of Agripinas entire 5/8 share thereof, the remaining 1/8 portion shall be inherited by Agripinas nearest collateral relative, who, records show, is her sister Carolina.

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NERI v. HEIRS OF UY G.R. No. 194366 October 10, 2012 Subject: Wills and Succession Topic: Legal or Intestate Succession

FACTS: Anunciacion Neri had seven children, 2 from her first marriage with Gonzalo Illut (Eutropia, Victoria) and 5 from her second marriage with Enrique Neri (Napoleon, Alicia, Visminda, Douglas, Rosa). During Anunciacions marriage with Enrique, they acquired several homestead properties in Davao del Norte. On September 21, 1977, Anunciacion died intestate. Her husband, Enrique, personally and as natural guardian of his minor children Rosa and Douglas, together with his other children Napoleon, Alicia, and Visminda, executed an extra-judicial settlement of the estate with absolute deed of sale in 1979. They adjudicated among themselves the said homestead properties, and then conveyed them to the spouses Uy for a consideration of P80,000. In 1996, the children of Enrique filed a complaint for annulment of sale of the said homestead properties against spouses Uy assailing the validity of the sale. The complaint was later amended to include Eutropia and Victoria as additional plaintiffs for having been deprived of their legitimes as children of Anunciacion from her first marriage. The RTC rendered a decision ordering, among others, the annulment of the Extra-Judicial Settlement of the Estate with Absolute Deed of Sale. It ruled that while the sale occurred beyond the 5-year prohibitory period, the sale is still void because Eutropia and Victoria were deprived of their hereditary rights and that Enrique had no judicial authority to sell the shares of his minor children, Rosa and Douglas. On appeal, the CA reversed the ruling of the RTC. It held that, while Eutropia and Victoria were not bound by the extra-judicial settlement, the CA found it unconscionable to permit the annulment of the sale considering spouses Uys possession thereof for 17 years. It, however, did not preclude the excluded heirs from recovering their legitimes from their co-heirs.

ISSUE: What are the intestate shares of the heirs in the estate of Anunciacion?

HELD: It bears to stress that all the petitioners herein are indisputably legitimate children of Anunciacion from her first and second marriages with Gonzalo and Enrique, respectively, and consequently, are entitled to inherit from her in equal shares, pursuant to Articles 979 and 980 of the Civil Code which read: ART. 979. Legitimate children and their descendants succeed the parents and other ascendants, without distinction as to sex or age, and even if they should come from different marriages ART. 980. The children of the deceased shall always inherit from him in their own right, dividing the inheritance in equal shares. As such, upon the death of Anunciacion on September 21, 1977, her children and Enrique acquired their respective inheritances, entitling them to their pro indiviso shares in her whole estate, as follows:

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Enrique Eutropia Victoria

9/16 (1/2 of the conjugal assets + 1/16) 1/16 1/16

Napoleon 1/16 Alicia 1/16

Visminda 1/16 Rosa Douglas 1/16 1/16

Hence, in the execution of the Extra-Judicial Settlement of the Estate with Absolute Deed of Sale in favor of spouses Uy, all the heirs of Anunciacion should have participated. Considering that Eutropia and Victoria were admittedly excluded and that then minors Rosa and Douglas were not properly represented therein, the settlement was not valid and binding upon them and consequently, a total nullity. XXX It is clear that Section 1 of Rule 74 does not apply to the partition in question which was null and void as far as the plaintiffs were concerned. The rule covers only valid partitions. The partition in the present case was invalid because it excluded six of the nine heirs who were entitled to equal shares in the partitioned property. Under the rule "no extrajudicial settlement shall be binding upon any person who has not participated therein or had no notice thereof." As the partition was a total nullity and did not affect the excluded heirs, it was not correct for the trial court to hold that their right to challenge the partition had prescribed after two years from its execution However, while the settlement of the estate is null and void, the subsequent sale of the subject properties made by Enrique and his children, Napoleon, Alicia and Visminda, in favor of the respondents is valid but only with respect to their proportionate shares therein. It cannot be denied that these heirs have acquired their respective shares in the properties of Anunciacion from the moment of her death and that, as owners thereof, they can very well sell their undivided share in the estate.

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SUNTAY III v. COJUANGCO-SUNTAY G.R. No. 183053 October 10, 2012 Subject: Wills and Succession Topic: Legal or Intestate Succession

FACTS: The decedent Cristina Aguinaldo-Suntay died intestate on 4 June 1990. Cristina was survived by her spouse, Dr. Federico Suntay and five grandchildren: three legitimate grandchildren, including herein respondent, Isabel; and two illegitimate grandchildren, including petitioner Emilio III, all by Federicos and Cristinas only child, Emilio A. Suntay, who predeceased his parents. The illegitimate grandchildren, Emilio III and Nenita, were both reared from infancy by the spouses Federico and Cristina. Their legitimate grandchildren, Isabel and her siblings, Margarita and Emilio II, lived with their mother Isabel Cojuangco, following the separation of Isabels parents, Emilio I and Isabel Cojuangco. Isabels parents, along with her paternal grandparents, were involved in domestic relations cases, including a case for parricide filed by Isabel Cojuangco against Emilio I. Emilio I was eventually acquitted. In retaliation, Emilio I filed a complaint for legal separation against his wife, charging her among others with infidelity. The trial court declared as null and void and of no effect the marriage of Emilio I and Isabel Cojuangco, finding that Emilio I had a mental condition. There is no controversy that the marriage between the parties was effected on July 9, 1958, years after Emilio Is mental illness had set in. This fact would justify a declaration of nullity of the marriage under Article 85 of the Civil Code. Intent on maintaining a relationship with their grandchildren, Federico and Isabel filed a complaint for visitation rights to spend time with Margarita, Emilio II, and Isabel in the same special lower court. The court gave them one hour a month of visitation rights which was subsequently reduced to thirty minutes, and ultimately stopped, because of respondent Isabels testimony in court that her grandparents visits caused her and her siblings stress and anxiety. On September 27, 1993, more than three years after Cristinas death, Federico adopted his illegitimate grandchildren, Emilio III and Nenita. On 26 October 1995, respondent Isabel, filed before the RTC of Malolos, Bulacan, a petition for the issuance of letters of administration over Cristinas estate. Federico, opposed the petition, pointing out that: (1) as the surviving spouse of the decedent, he should be appointed administrator of the decedents estate; (2) as part owner of the mass of conjugal properties left by the decedent, he must be accorded preference in the administration thereof; (3) Isabel and her siblings had been alienated from their grandparents for more than 30 years; (4) the enumeration of heirs in the petition was incomplete as it did not mention the other children of his son, Emilio III and Nenita; (5) even before the death of his wife, Federico had administered their conjugal properties, and thus, is better situated to protect the integrity of the decedents estate; (6) the probable value of the estate as stated in the petition was grossly overstated; and (7) Isabels allegation that some of the properties are in the hands of usurpers is untrue. In Suntay v. Cojuangco-Suntay, we categorically declared that Isabel and her siblings, having been born of a voidable marriage as opposed to a void, were legitimate children of Emilio I, who can all represent him in the estate of their legitimate grandmother, the decedent, Cristina. Still, Federico nominated Emilio III to administer the decedents estate on his behalf in the event letters of administration issues to Federico. Consequently, Emilio III filed an opposition echoing the allegations in his grandfathers, alleging that Federico, or in his stead, Emilio III, was better equipped than respondent to administer and manage the estate of the decedent, Cristina.

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On 13 November 2000, Federico died. On 9 November 2001, the trial court rendered a decision appointing Emilio III as administrator of decedent Cristinas intestate estate. Isabel appeals successfully to the CA, but lost in the SC, with Emilio being named as administrator. In this reconsideration, she pleads for total affirmance of the Court of Appeals Decision in favor of her sole administratorship based on her status as a legitimate grandchild of Cristina, whose estate she seeks to administer.

ISSUE: 1. Does the iron curtain rule in Article 992 of the Civil Code disqualify Emilio III as most interested party for issuance of letters of administration? 2. Should administration be removed from Emilio III? 3. Is Emilio III an heir of Cristina?

HELD: 1. No. The paramount consideration in the appointment of an administrator over the estate of a decedent is the prospective administrators interest in the estate. This is the same consideration which Section 6, Rule 78 takes into account in establishing the order of preference in the appointment of administrator for the estate. The rationale behind the rule is that those who will reap the benefit of a wise, speedy and economical administration of the estate, or, in the alternative, suffer the consequences of waste, improvidence or mismanagement, have the highest interest and most influential motive to administer the estate correctly. In all, given that the rule speaks of an order of preference, the person to be appointed administrator of a decedents estate must demonstrate not only an interest in the estate, but an interest therein greater than any other candidate. 2. Yes. In our Decision under consideration, we zeroed in on Emilio IIIs demonstrable interest in the estate and glossed over the order of preference set forth in the Rules. We gave weight to Emilio IIIs demonstrable interest in Cristinas estate and without a closer scrutiny of the attendant facts and circumstances, directed co-administration thereof. We are led to a review of such position by the foregoing survey of cases. XXX Contrary to the assumption made in the Decision that Emilio IIIs demonstrable interest in the estate makes him a suitable co-administrator thereof, the evidence reveals that Emilio III has turned out to be an unsuitable administrator of the estate. Respondent Isabel points out that after Emilio IIIs appointment as administrator of the subject estate in 2001, he has not looked after the welfare of the subject estate and has actually acted to the damage and prejudice thereof as evidenced by the following: XXX Emilio III refutes Isabels imputations that he was lackadaisical in assuming and performing the functions of administrator of Cristinas estate[.] XXX The general denial made by Emilio III does not erase his unsuitability as administrator rooted in his failure to "make and return a true and complete inventory" which became proven fact when he actually filed partial inventories before the probate court and by his inaction on two occasions of Federicos exclusion of Cristinas other compulsory heirs, herein Isabel and her siblings, from the list of heirs. XXX

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Bearing in mind that the issuance of letters of administration is simply a preliminary order to facilitate the settlement of a decedents estate, we here point out that Emilio III is not without remedies to protect his interests in the estate of the decedent. 3. It is premature to decide on such matters as heirship. Once again, as we have done in the Decision, we exercise judicial restraint: we uphold that the question of who are the heirs of the decedent Cristina is not yet upon us. Article 992 of the Civil Code or the curtain bar rule is inapplicable in resolving the issue of who is better qualified to administer the estate of the decedent. Thus, our disquisition in the assailed Decision: Nonetheless, it must be pointed out that judicial restraint impels us to refrain from making a final declaration of heirship and distributing the presumptive shares of the parties in the estates of Cristina and Federico, considering that the question on who will administer the properties of the long deceased couple has yet to be settled. Our holding in Capistrano v. Nadurata on the same issue remains good law: The declaration of heirs made by the lower court is premature, although the evidence sufficiently shows who are entitled to succeed the deceased. The estate had hardly been judicially opened, and the proceeding has not as yet reached the stage of distribution of the estate which must come after the inheritance is liquidated. Section 1, Rule 90 of the Rules of Court does not depart from the foregoing admonition: Sec. 1. When order for distribution of residue is made. - x x x. If there is a controversy before the court as to who are the lawful heirs of the deceased person or as to the distributive shares to which each person is entitled under the law, the controversy shall be heard and decided as in ordinary cases. XXX Letters of Administration over the estate of decedent Cristina Aguinaldo-Suntay shall solely issue to respondent Isabel Cojuangco-Suntay upon payment of a bond to be set by the Regional Trial Court, Branch 78, Malolos, Bulacan...

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INING v. VEGA G.R. No. 174727 August 12, 2013 Subject: Wills and Succession Topic: Provisions Common to Testate and Intestate Successions

FACTS: Leon and his wife died without issue. His heirs are the grand children of his two sisters Romana and Gregoria. One of Romanas grand children- Leonardo- instituted an action for partition of Leons property, namely, a parcel of land in Kalibo, Aklan. However, Gregorias grandchild Teodora opposed the partition, claiming that her husband- Lucimo- had validly purchased the land from Enriquez, who bought the same from the decedent Leon. Thus, Lucimo claims that he is not a co-owner, but a solo owner of the property. He also claims that, even if he were a co-owner, that the other heirs led by Leonardo can no longer ask for partition of the land since he- Lucimo- has been in sole possession of the property for 30 years; that his exclusive possession of the property and appropriation of its fruits even his continuous payment of the taxes thereon shows that the other heirs led by Leonardo have given up their rights to the property. Thus, Lucimo reiterated that he is the only owner of the property and not a co-owner. The RTC found that the deeds of sale used as evidence by Lucimo were spurious, thus the land was never validly sold at the time of the decedents death making the land a part of Leons estate. However, the RTC also ruled that Leonardos cause of action had prescribed for failing to institute the action within 30 years from the time of Leons death in 1962. On appeal, the CA did not agree with the trial courts pronouncement that Leonardos action for partition was barred by prescription. The CA declared that prescription began to run not from Leons death in 1962, but from Lucimo Sr.s execution of the Affidavit of Ownership of Land in 1979, which amounted to a repudiation of his co-ownership of the property with Leonardo.

ISSUE: Is Lucimo an heir of Leon, such that he can validly repudiate the co-ownership by reason of prescription for Leonardos failure to institute partition proceedings within 30 years from Leons death?

HELD: No, Lucimo did not inherit from Leon, being merely married to the decedent Leons grand niece. One who is merely related by affinity to the decedent does not inherit from the latter and cannot become a co-owner of the decedents property. Consequently, he cannot effect a repudiation of the coownership of the estate that was formed among the decedents heirs. XXX For prescription to set in, the repudiation must be done by a co-owner. Time and again, it has been held that "a co-owner cannot acquire by prescription the share of the other co-owners, absent any clear repudiation of the co-ownership. In order that the title may prescribe in favor of a co-owner, the following requisites must concur: (1) the co-owner has performed unequivocal
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acts of repudiation amounting to an ouster of the other co-owners; (2) such positive acts of repudiation have been made known to the other co-owners; and (3) the evidence thereof is clear and convincing." XXX From the foregoing pronouncements, it is clear that the trial court erred in reckoning the prescriptive period within which Leonardo may seek partition from the death of Leon in 1962. Article 1141 and Article 494 (fifth paragraph) provide that prescription shall begin to run in favor of a co-owner and against the other co-owners only from the time he positively renounces the co-ownership and makes known his repudiation to the other co-owners. Lucimo Sr. challenged Leonardos co-ownership of the property only sometime in 1979 and 1980, when the former executed the Affidavit of Ownership of Land, obtained a new tax declaration exclusively in his name, and informed the latter before the Lupon Tagapamayapa of his 1943 purchase of the property. XXX What escaped the trial and appellate courts notice, however, is that while it may be argued that Lucimo Sr. performed acts that may be characterized as a repudiation of the co-ownership, the fact is, he is not a co-owner of the property. Indeed, he is not an heir of Gregoria; he is merely Antipolos son-in-law, being married to Antipolos daughter Teodora. Under the Family Code, family relations, which is the primary basis for succession, exclude relations by affinity. Art. 150. Family relations include those: (1) Between husband and wife; (2) Between parents and children; (3) Among other ascendants and descendants; and (4) Among brothers and sisters, whether of the full or half blood. In point of law, therefore, Lucimo Sr. is not a co-owner of the property; Teodora is. Consequently, he cannot validly effect a repudiation of the co-ownership, which he was never part of. For this reason, prescription did not run adversely against Leonardo, and his right to seek a partition of the property has not been lost. XXX In fine, since none of the co-owners made a valid repudiation of the existing co-ownership, Leonardo could seek partition of the property at any time.

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CASILANG v. CASILANG-DIZON G.R. No. 180269 February 20, 2013 Subject: Wills and Succession Topic: Provisions Common to Testate and Intestate Successions

FACTS: Deceased spouses Liborio Casilang and Francisca Zacarias had 8 children, namely: Felicidad, Ireneo Casilang, Marcelina, Jacinta, Bonifacio, Leonora, Jose, and Flora. Liborio died intestate in 1982 at the age of 83; his wife Francisca died later in the same year. Their son, Bonifacio, died in 1986, leaving behind his child Bernabe. Their son Ireneo died in 1992, survived by his 4 children, namely: Mario, Angelo, Rodolfo, and Rosario Casilang-Dizon, who are the respondents. Liborios estate left no debts. The estate consists of 3 parcels of land located in Calasiao, Pangasinan. On May 26, 1997, respondent Rosario filed with the MTC of Calasiao, Pangasinan a complaint for unlawful detainer, to evict her uncle- son of grandfather Liborio and brother of her father Ireneo- petitioner Jose from one of the lots. Rosario claimed that one of the parcels, Lot No. 4618, was owned by her father Ireneo, as evidenced by a tax declaration issued in her fathers name in 1994. On April 3, 1997, the respondents executed a Deed of Extrajudicial Partition with Quitclaim, adjudicating onto themselved Lot No. 4618. And in the same deed, respondents Mario, Angelo and Rodolfo renounced their respective shares in Lot No. 4618 in favor of Rosario. Jose raised the defense that he was the "lawful, absolute, exclusive owner and in actual possession" of the Lot no. 4618, and that he acquired the same "through intestate succession from his late father." For However, Jose failed to appear at the pre-trial conference, and was declared in default; thus, the MTC rendered the adverse judgement against Jose, holding that Rosario is the owner of Lot No. 4618, and ordering Jose to remove his house, vacate Lot No. 4618, and pay Rosario P500.00 in monthly rentals from the filing of the complaint until she was placed in possession, plus attorneys fees and costs. On June 2, 1998, the petitioners, the remaining children of Liborio and Francisca, filed with the RTC of Dagupan City a complaint for Annulment of Documents, Ownership and Peaceful Possession with Damages against the respondents. Among the documents sought to be annulled was the 1997 Deed of Extrajudicial Partition executed by Ireneos children over Lot No. 4618, as well as all other documents in favor of the respondents covering the lands in question. The petitioners alleged in their complaint that all 8 children of Liborio entered into a verbal partition of his estate, pursuant to which Jose was allotted Lot No. 4618 as his share. They also claimed that Ireneo never claimed ownership nor took possession of Lot No. 4618, because he was assigned a different lot which he possessed exclusively his lifetime. They averred that Jose has always resided in Lot No. 4618 since childhood, where he built his familys semi-concrete house just a few steps away from his parents old bamboo hut because he was the one who took care of his parents until their deaths. One of Joses children has also built a house on the lot. Jose also expressly renounced his shares in the other lots, because he had already received in advance his share in his fathers estate, Lot No. 4618. The RTC found baseless the claim of Rosario that Lot No. 4618 was an inheritance of her father Ireneo considering that a tax declaration is not conclusive proof of ownership. Rosario appealed to the CA, who ruled in her favor. The matter was elevated to the SC, where, among other things, the question of validity of oral partition was raised.

ISSUE: Is an oral partition of the inheritance of Liborio by his children valid? HELD:
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Yes, the oral partition is valid. The validity of an oral partition is well-settled in our jurisdiction. In Vda. de Espina v. Abaya, this Court declared that an oral partition is valid: Anent the issue of oral partition, We sustain the validity of said partition. "An agreement of partition may be made orally or in writing. An oral agreement for the partition of the property owned in common is valid and enforceable upon the parties. The Statute of Frauds has no operation in this kind of agreements, for partition is not a conveyance of property but simply a segregation and designation of the part of the property which belong to the co-owners." In Maestrado v. CA, the Supreme Court upheld the partition after it found that it conformed to the alleged oral partition of the heirs, and that the oral partition was confirmed by the notarized quitclaims executed by the heirs subsequently. In Maglucot-Aw v. Maglucot, the Supreme Court elaborated on the validity of parol partition: On general principle, independent and in spite of the statute of frauds, courts of equity have enforce [sic] oral partition when it has been completely or partly performed. Regardless of whether a parol partition or agreement to partition is valid and enforceable at law, equity will [in] proper cases, where the parol partition has actually been consummated by the taking of possession in severalty and the exercise of ownership by the parties of the respective portions set off to each, recognize and enforce such parol partition and the rights of the parties thereunder. Thus, it has been held or stated in a number of cases involving an oral partition under which the parties went into possession, exercised acts of ownership, or otherwise partly performed the partition agreement, that equity will confirm such partition and in a proper case decree title in accordance with the possession in severalty. In numerous cases it has been held or stated that parol partition may be sustained on the ground of estoppel of the parties to assert the rights of a tenant in common as to parts of land divided by parol partition as to which possession in severalty was taken and acts of individual ownership were exercised. And a court of equity will recognize the agreement and decree it to be valid and effectual for the purpose of concluding the right of the parties as between each other to hold their respective parts in severalty. A parol partition may also be sustained on the ground that the parties thereto have acquiesced in and ratified the partition by taking possession in severalty, exercising acts of ownership with respect thereto, or otherwise recognizing the existence of the partition. A number of cases have specifically applied the doctrine of part performance, or have stated that a part performance is necessary, to take a parol partition out of the operation of the statute of frauds. It has been held that where there was a partition in fact between tenants in common, and a part performance, a court of equity would have regard to and enforce such partition agreed to by the parties. Joses possession of Lot No. 4618 under a claim of ownership is well borne out by the records. It is also consistent with the claimed verbal partition with his siblings, and fully corroborated by his sisters Felicidad, Jacinta, Leonora, and Flora, who further testified that they each had taken possession of their own shares and built their houses thereon. A possessor of real estate property is presumed to have title thereto unless the adverse claimant establishes a better right. Moreover, under Article 541 of the Civil Code, one who possesses in the concept of owner has in his favor the legal presumption that he possesses with a just title, and he cannot be obliged to show or prove it. Similarly, Article 433 of the Civil Code provides that actual possession under a claim of ownership raises a disputable presumption of ownership. Thus, actual possession and exercise of dominion over definite portions of the property in accordance with an alleged partition are considered strong proof of an oral partition which the Court will not hesitate to uphold.

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VDA. DE FIGURACION v. FIGURACION-GERILLA G.R. No. 151334 February 13, 2013 Subject: Wills and Succession Topic: Provisions Common to Testate and Intestate Successions

FACTS: Leandro died intestate in 1958. He left behind 2 parcels of land in Urdaneta, pangasinan, which he acquired during his lifetime. He is survived by his wife Carolina and their children Elena, Hilaria, Felipa, Quintin, and Mary who are the petitioners in this case. He is also survived by another child with his wife Carolina- Emilia- who is the respondent. Prior to decedents death, he executed a quitclaim over the parcels of land in favor of his 6 children. However, the shares were not delineated with particularity as Leandro and his wife Carolina wanted to reserve the use and fruits of the parcels of land for their daily expenses. Also involved in this case is a third lot in Urdaneta, Pangasinan, in the name of Eulalio. Eulalio married twice in his lifetime. From his first marriage, he has a daughter, Agripina. When Eulalios first wife died, Eulalio married again, and begot another daughter, petitioner Carolina, who is Leandros surviving spouse. In 1961, Carolinas half sister Agripina executed a quitclaim over half of the third lot in this case to her niece respondent Emilia, who is Carolinas daughter with Leandro. However, unknown to Emilia, Carolina executed an affidavit of self-adjudication over the third lot in 1962, claiming to be the sole surviving heir of her father, Eulalio. On the same day, she also executed a deed of absolute sale of the third lot to her other daughters Hilaria and Felipa, who are also her co-petitioners in this case. Hilaria and Felipa immediately caused the transfer of the title to their names. When Emilia returned to the Philippines in 1981 after 10 years in the United States, she built a house on half of the third lot, relying on the quitclaim in her favor executed by her aunt, her mothers half sister Agripina. Trouble arose in 1994 when Hilaria threatened to demolish her sister Emilias house built on the third lot, claiming that Emilia was on her property illegally, alleging that the lot belonged to her and Felipa alone, having bought the same from their mother Carolina as evidenced by a deed of absolute sale which Carolina executed in 1962. In response, Emilia asked for a partition of the third lot, as well as partitions of the 2 parcels of land left behind by their father Leandro. She also instituted an annulment of the affidavit of self adjudication and the deed of absolute sale executed by her mother over the third lot in 1962, and prayed for the reconveyance to her of the half of the third lot left to her by her aunt Agripina. Opposing the action, the petitioners claim that an action for partition is no longer possible because Felipa and Hilaria have already acquired rights adverse to that claimed by respondent Emilia, and that the registration of the third lot in their name amounted to a repudiation of the alleged co-ownership, and therefore they are now the owners of the third lot by acquisitive prescription. The RTC simplified the issues as follows: 1. Whether the 2 parcels of land acquired by Leandro during his lifetime are his exclusive properties; and 2. Whether Emilia owns half of the third lot. The RTC ruled that a partition of the 2 parcels of purportedly belonging to Leandro is premature since their ownership is yet to be transmitted from Leandro to his heirs whose respective shares thereto must still be determined in estate settlement proceedings. As for the third lot, the RTC held that Carolina
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validly transferred only her one-half share to Felipa and Hilaria and any conveyance of the other half pertaining to Agripina was void. Finally, the RTC refused to rule on the ownership claim by Emilia of half of the third lot because Eulalios estate has yet to be settled. The CA, on appeal, ruled that the RTC erred in refusing to partition the third lot. The CA explained that there is no necessity for placing the third lot under judicial administration since Carolina had long sold her pro indiviso share to Felipa and Hilaria. According to the CA, when Carolina sold the entire third lot in 1962, purportedly as her own, the sale affected only her share and not that belonging to her coowner, Agripina. The proper action in such case is not the nullification of the sale, or for the recovery of possession of the property owned in common from the third person, but for a division or partition of the entire lot. Such partition should result in segregating the portion belonging to the seller and its delivery to the buyer. Finally, the CA agreed that partitioning the 2 parcels of land from Leandro was indeed premature as the expenses for the last illness and burial of Leandro had yet to be accounted for.

ISSUES: 1. Are co-heirs called to succeed by intestate succession to the same portion of the inheritance considered co-owners pro indiviso of such portion? 2. As a co-heir, can Carolina validly sell her aliquot interest of the estate to others? 3. Can heirs validly acquire by prescription the hereditary shares of their co-heirs, without proving their co-heirs repudiation of the same? 4. May an heir of the decedent request for a division of the portion of the hereditary estate owned in common at any time?

HELD: 1. Yes. The status of Agripina and Carolina as the legitimate heirs of Eulalio is an undisputed fact. As such heirs, they became co-owners of Lot No. 707 upon the death of Eulalio on July 20, 1930. Since Faustina was predeceased by Eulalio, she likewise became a co-owner of the lot upon Eulalios death. Faustinas share, however, passed on to her daughter Carolina when the former died on October 18, 1949. The Affidavit of Self-Adjudication executed by Carolina did not prejudice the share of Agripina because it is not legally possible for one to adjudicate unto himself an entire property he was not the sole owner of. A co-owner cannot alienate the shares of her other co-owners nemo dat qui non habet. Hence, Lot No. 707 was a co-owned property of Agripina and Carolina. As co-owners, each of them had full ownership of her part and of the fruits and benefits pertaining thereto. Each of them also had the right to alienate the lot but only in so far as the extent of her portion was affected. 2. Yes, but only in so far as her aliquot portion is concerned. Thus, when Carolina sold the entire Lot No. 707 on December 11, 1962 to Hilaria and Felipa without the consent of her co-owner Agripina, the disposition affected only Carolinas pro indiviso share, and the vendees, Hilaria and Felipa, acquired only what corresponds to Carolinas share. A co-owner is entitled to sell his undivided share; hence, a sale of the entire property by one co-owner without the consent of the other co-owners is not null and void and only the rights of the co-owner/seller are transferred, thereby making the buyer a co-owner of the property. Accordingly, the deed of sale executed by Carolina in favor of Hilaria and Felipa was a valid conveyance but only insofar as the share of Carolina in the co-ownership is concerned. As Carolinas successors-in-interest to the property, Hilaria and Felipa could not acquire any superior right in the property than what Carolina is entitled to or could transfer or alienate after partition.

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In a contract of sale of co-owned property, what the vendee obtains by virtue of such a sale are the same rights as the vendor had as co-owner, and the vendee merely steps into the shoes of the vendor as co-owner. 3. No. Co-heirs or co-owners cannot acquire by acquisitive prescription the share of the other coheirs or co-owners absent a clear repudiation of the co ownership. The act of repudiation, as a mode of terminating co-ownership, is subject to certain conditions, to wit: (1) a co-owner repudiates the co-ownership; (2) such an act of repudiation is clearly made known to the other co-owners; (3) the evidence thereon is clear and conclusive; and (4) he has been in possession through open, continuous, exclusive, and notorious possession of the property for the period required by law. The petitioners failed to comply with these conditions. The act of Hilaria and Felipa in effecting the registration of the entire Lot No. 707 in their names thru TCT No. 42244 did not serve to effectively repudiate the co-ownership. The respondent built her house on the eastern portion of the lot in 1981 without any opposition from the petitioners. Hilaria also paid realty taxes on the lot, in behalf of the respondent, for the years 1983-1987. These events indubitably show that Hilaria and Felipa failed to assert exclusive title in themselves adversely to Emilia. Their acts clearly manifest that they recognized the subsistence of their co-ownership with respondent Emilia despite the issuance of TCT No. 42244 in 1962. Their acts constitute an implied recognition of the co-ownership which in turn negates the presence of a clear notice of repudiation to the respondent. To sustain a plea of prescription, it must always clearly appear that one who was originally a joint owner has repudiated the claims of his co-owners, and that his co-owners were apprised or should have been apprised of his claim of adverse and exclusive ownership before the alleged prescriptive period began to run. 4. Yes, provided the same is not forbidden by the testator in a will, and that acquisitive prescription- counted from the time the disavowal of co-ownership took place- has not set in. The express disavowal of the co-ownership did not happen on December 11, 1962 when TCT No. 42244 was issued but in 1994 when Hilaria attempted to demolish Emilias house thus explicitly excluding her from the co-ownership. It was the only time that Hilaria and Felipa made known their denial of the co-ownership. On the same year, the respondent instituted the present complaint for partition; hence, the period required by law for acquisitive period to set in was not met. XXX In sum, the CA committed no reversible error in holding that the respondent is entitled to have Lot No. 707 partitioned.

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NERI v. HEIRS OF UY G.R. No. 194366 October 10, 2012 Subject: Wills and Succession Topic: Provisions Common to Testate and Intestate Successions

FACTS: Anunciacion Neri had seven children, 2 from her first marriage with Gonzalo Illut (Eutropia, Victoria) and 5 from her second marriage with Enrique Neri (Napoleon, Alicia, Visminda, Douglas, Rosa). During Anunciacions marriage with Enrique, they acquired several homestead properties in Davao del Norte. On September 21, 1977, Anunciacion died intestate. Her husband, Enrique, personally and as natural guardian of his minor children Rosa and Douglas, together with his other children Napoleon, Alicia, and Visminda, executed an extra-judicial settlement of the estate with absolute deed of sale in 1979. They adjudicated among themselves the said homestead properties, and then conveyed them to the spouses Uy for a consideration of P80,000. In 1996, the children of Enrique filed a complaint for annulment of sale of the said homestead properties against spouses Uy assailing the validity of the sale. The complaint was later amended to include Eutropia and Victoria as additional plaintiffs for having been deprived of their legitimes as children of Anunciacion from her first marriage. The RTC rendered a decision ordering, among others, the annulment of the Extra-Judicial Settlement of the Estate with Absolute Deed of Sale. It ruled that while the sale occurred beyond the 5-year prohibitory period, the sale is still void because Eutropia and Victoria were deprived of their hereditary rights and that Enrique had no judicial authority to sell the shares of his minor children, Rosa and Douglas. On appeal, the CA reversed the ruling of the RTC. It held that, while Eutropia and Victoria were not bound by the extra-judicial settlement, the CA found it unconscionable to permit the annulment of the sale considering spouses Uys possession thereof for 17 years. It, however, did not preclude the excluded heirs from recovering their legitimes from their co-heirs.

ISSUES: 1. Is the partition by extrajudicial settlement valid? 2. Is the disposition of the estates properties to the spouses Uy valid? HELD: 1. No. [I]n the execution of the Extra-Judicial Settlement of the Estate with Absolute Deed of Sale in favor of spouses Uy, all the heirs of Anunciacion should have participated. Considering that Eutropia and Victoria were admittedly excluded and that then minors Rosa and Douglas were not properly represented therein, the settlement was not valid and binding upon them and consequently, a total nullity. XXX However, while the settlement of the estate is null and void, the subsequent sale of the subject properties made by Enrique and his children, Napoleon, Alicia and Visminda, in favor of the respondents is valid but only with respect to their proportionate shares therein. It cannot be denied that these heirs have acquired their respective shares in the properties of Anunciacion from the moment of her death and that, as owners thereof, they can very well sell their undivided share in the estate. 2. Yes, but only with respect to some shares. With respect to Rosa and Douglas who were minors at the time of the execution of the settlement and sale, their natural guardian and father,
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Enrique, represented them in the transaction. However, on the basis of the laws prevailing at that time, Enrique was merely clothed with powers of administration and bereft of any authority to dispose of their 2/16 shares in the estate of their mother, Anunciacion. XXX Records, however, show that Rosa had ratified the extrajudicial settlement of the estate with absolute deed of sale Napoleon and Rosa also alleged: "That we are surprised that our names are included in this case since we do not have any intention to file a case against Hadji Yusop Uy and Julpha Ibrahim Uy and their family and we respect and acknowledge the validity of the Extra-Judicial Settlement of the Estate with Absolute Deed of Sale dated July 7, 1979;" (Underscoring supplied) Clearly, the foregoing statements constituted ratification of the settlement of the estate and the subsequent sale, thus, purging all the defects existing at the time of its execution and legitimizing the conveyance of Rosas 1/16 share in the estate of Anunciacion to spouses Uy. The same, however, is not true with respect to Douglas for lack of evidence showing ratification Considering, thus, that the extrajudicial settlement with sale is invalid and therefore, not binding on Eutropia, Victoria and Douglas, only the shares of Enrique, Napoleon, Alicia, Visminda and Rosa in the homestead properties have effectively been disposed in favor of spouses Uy. "A person can only sell what he owns, or is authorized to sell and the buyer can as a consequence acquire no more than what the seller can legally transfer." XXX Consequently, spouses Uy or their substituted heirs became pro indiviso co-owners of the homestead properties with Eutropia, Victoria and Douglas, who retained title to their respective 1/16 shares. They were deemed to be holding the 3/16 shares of Eutropia, Victoria and Douglas under an implied constructive trust for the latters benefit.

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REPUBLIC v. ESPINOSA G.R. No. 171514 July 18, 2012 Subject: Property Topic: Classification of Property

FACTS: Espinosa filed an application for land registration, alleging that the property is alienable and disposable, having purchased the same from his mother, Isabel, on July 4, 1970. She also alleged that her mothers other heirs had waived their rights to the land, and that he and his predecessor-in-interest have been in possession of the property in the concept of an owner for more than 30 years. Espinosa presented 2 tax declarations for the years 1965 and 1974 in Isabels name Tax Declaration Nos. 013516 and 06137 to prove that his mother had been in possession of the property since 1965. The Republic opposed Espinosa's application, pointing out Espinosas failure to prove that his possession and that of his predecessor-in-interest satisfied period required by law. As shown by Tax Declaration No. 013516, Isabels possession commenced only in 1965 and not on June 12, 1945 or earlier as required by Section 48(b) of the Public Land Act. On the other hand, Espinosa came into possession of the property only in 1970 following the sale that transpired between him and his mother and the earliest tax declaration in his name was for the year 1978. According to the Republic, that Espinosa and his predecessor-in-interest were supposedly in possession for more than 30 years is inconsequential absent proof that such possession began on June 12, 1945 or earlier.

ISSUE: Have Espinosa and his predecessor-in-interest have satisfied the period requirement to claim ownership? HELD: It is immaterial, since the property is not patrimonial and cannot be acquired through acquisitive prescription. Being clear that it is Section 14(2) of P.D. No. 1529 that should apply, it follows that the subject property being supposedly alienable and disposable will not suffice. As Section 14(2) categorically provides, only private properties may be acquired thru prescription and under Articles 420 and 421 of the Civil Code, only those properties, which are not for public use, public service or intended for the development of national wealth, are considered private. In Heirs of Mario Malabanan v. Republic, this Court held that there must be an official declaration to that effect before the property may be rendered susceptible to prescription: Nonetheless, Article 422 of the Civil Code states that "property of public dominion, when no longer intended for public use or for public service, shall form part of the patrimonial property of the State." It is this provision that controls how public dominion property may be converted into patrimonial property susceptible to acquisition by prescription. After all, Article 420(2) makes clear that those property "which belong to the State, without being for public use, and are intended for some public service or for the development of the national wealth" are public dominion property. For as long as the property belongs to the State, although already classified as alienable or disposable, it remains property of the public dominion if when it is "intended for some public service or for the development of the national wealth." Accordingly, there must be an express declaration by the State that the public dominion property is no longer intended for public service or the development of the national wealth or that the property has been converted into patrimonial. Without such express declaration, the property, even if classified as alienable or disposable, remains property of the public dominion, pursuant to Article 420(2), and thus
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incapable of acquisition by prescription. It is only when such alienable and disposable lands are expressly declared by the State to be no longer intended for public service or for the development of the national wealth that the period of acquisitive prescription can begin to run. Such declaration shall be in the form of a law duly enacted by Congress or a Presidential Proclamation in cases where the President is duly authorized by law. Thus, granting that Isabel and, later, Espinosa possessed and occupied the property for an aggregate period of thirty (30) years, this does not operate to divest the State of its ownership. The property, albeit allegedly alienable and disposable, is not patrimonial. As the property is not held by the State in its private capacity, acquisition of title thereto necessitates observance of the provisions of Section 48(b) of the PLA in relation to Section 14(1) of P.D. No. 1529 or possession and occupation since June 12, 1945. For prescription to run against the State, there must be proof that there was an official declaration that the subject property is no longer earmarked for public service or the development of national wealth. Moreover, such official declaration should have been issued at least ten (10) or thirty (30) years, as the case may be, prior to the filing of the application for registration. The period of possession and occupation prior to the conversion of the property to private or patrimonial shall not be considered in determining completion of the prescriptive period. Indeed, while a piece of land is still reserved for public service or the development of national wealth, even if the same is alienable and disposable, possession and occupation no matter how lengthy will not ripen to ownership or give rise to any title that would defeat that of the States if such did not commence on June 12, 1945 or earlier.

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REPUBLIC v. PARANAQUE G.R. No. 191109 July 18, 2012 Subject: Property Topic: Classification of Property

FACTS: The Public Estates Authority is a government corporation created to provide a coordinated, economical and efficient reclamation of lands, and the administration and operation of lands belonging to, managed and/or operated by, the government with the object of maximizing their utilization and hastening their development consistent with public interest. It was designated as the agency primarily responsible for integrating, directing and coordinating all reclamation projects for and on behalf of the national government. Philippine Reclamation Authority, the successor of the PEA, reclaimed several portions of the foreshore and offshore areas of Manila Bay, including those located in Paraaque City. It was issued OCTs and TCTs over the reclaimed lands. The Paraaque City Treasurer issued Warrants of Levy on PRAs reclaimed properties located in Paraaque City based on the assessment for delinquent real property taxes made by the City Assessor for tax years 2001 and 2002. PRA refused to pay real estate taxes.

ISSUE: Are reclaimed lands still part of the public domain, owned by the State and, therefore, exempt from payment of real estate taxes?

HELD: Yes. There is, moreover, no point in national and local governments taxing each other, unless a sound and compelling policy requires such transfer of public funds from one government pocket to another. There is also no reason for local governments to tax national government instrumentalities for rendering essential public services to inhabitants of local governments. The only exception is when the legislature clearly intended to tax government instrumentalities for the delivery of essential public services for sound and compelling policy considerations. There must be express language in the law empowering local governments to tax national government instrumentalities. Any doubt whether such power exists is resolved against local governments. XXX The Court agrees with PRA that the subject reclaimed lands are still part of the public domain, owned by the State and, therefore, exempt from payment of real estate taxes. Section 2, Article XII of the 1987 Constitution reads in part, as follows: Section 2. All lands of the public domain, waters, minerals, coal, petroleum, and other mineral oils, all forces of potential energy, fisheries, forests or timber, wildlife, flora and fauna, and other natural resources are owned by the State. With the exception of agricultural lands, all other natural resources shall not be alienated. The exploration, development, and utilization of natural resources shall be under the full control and supervision of the State. The State may directly undertake such activities, or it may enter into co-production, joint venture, or production-sharing agreements with Filipino citizens, or corporations or associations at least 60 per centum of whose capital is owned by such citizens. Such agreements may be for a period not exceeding twenty-five years, renewable for not more than twentyfive years, and under such terms and conditions as may provided by law. In cases of water rights for

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irrigation, water supply, fisheries, or industrial uses other than the development of waterpower, beneficial use may be the measure and limit of the grant. Similarly, Article 420 of the Civil Code enumerates properties belonging to the State: Art. 420. The following things are property of public dominion: (1) Those intended for public use, such as roads, canals, rivers, torrents, ports and bridges constructed by the State, banks, shores, roadsteads, and others of similar character; (2) Those which belong to the State, without being for public use, and are intended for some public service or for the development of the national wealth. [Emphases supplied] Here, the subject lands are reclaimed lands, specifically portions of the foreshore and offshore areas of Manila Bay. As such, these lands remain public lands and form part of the public domain. In the case of Chavez v. Public Estates Authority and AMARI Coastal Development Corporation, the Court held that foreshore and submerged areas irrefutably belonged to the public domain and were inalienable unless reclaimed, classified as alienable lands open to disposition and further declared no longer needed for public service. The fact that alienable lands of the public domain were transferred to the PEA (now PRA) and issued land patents or certificates of title in PEAs name did not automatically make such lands private. This Court also held therein that reclaimed lands retained their inherent potential as areas for public use or public service. As the central implementing agency tasked to undertake reclamation projects nationwide, with authority to sell reclaimed lands, PEA took the place of DENR as the government agency charged with leasing or selling reclaimed lands of the public domain. The reclaimed lands being leased or sold by PEA are not private lands, in the same manner that DENR, when it disposes of other alienable lands, does not dispose of private lands but alienable lands of the public domain. Only when qualified private parties acquire these lands will the lands become private lands. In the hands of the government agency tasked and authorized to dispose of alienable of disposable lands of the public domain, these lands are still public, not private lands. Furthermore, PEA's charter expressly states that PEA "shall hold lands of the public domain" as well as "any and all kinds of lands." PEA can hold both lands of the public domain and private lands. Thus, the mere fact that alienable lands of the public domain like the Freedom Islands are transferred to PEA and issued land patents or certificates of title in PEA's name does not automatically make such lands private.

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REPUBLIC v. METRO INDEX REALTY G.R. No. 198585 July 2, 2012 Subject: Property Topic: Classification of Property

FACTS: In 2006, Metro Index Realty filed with the RTC an application for judicial confirmation of title over 3 parcels of land. Metro Index presented 2 witnesses, Enrico and Herminia. Enrico testified that Metro Index bought the subject properties from Herminia, Melinda, and Hernando, and that the subject properties had been declared for tax purposes in Metro Indexs name since 2006. Enrico also stated that the subject properties are alienable and disposable as evidenced by the certification issued by the DENR, and, as shown by their respective affidavits, the adjoining lot owners had no adverse claim and objections to the Metro Indexs application. Enrico finally claimed that Metro Index and its predecessors-in-interest had been in possession of the subject properties for more than 50 years. Herminia testified that she and her siblings inherited the subject properties from their parents who had been in possession of the subject properties since 1956 as shown by the tax declarations in their name. Herminia also stated that from the time they inherited the subject properties, they had actively cultivated them and religiously paid the taxes due, as well as made use of the properties by planting trees and grains. The Republic- assuming that Metro Index's application is based on Section 14(2) of P.D. No. 1529- argues that the subject properties cannot be acquired by prescription as there is no showing that they had been classified as patrimonial at least 30 years prior to the filing of the application. According to the Republic, Metro Index failed to show proof of an official declaration that the subject properties are no longer intended for public service or for the development of national wealth. Thus, the properties are not patrimonial and cannot be acquired by acquisitive prescription.

ISSUE: Can the subject properties be acquired by prescription without establishing showing that the properties have already been classified as patrimonial?

HELD: No. Nonetheless, considering the respondents evidence purportedly demonstrating that its predecessors-in-interest started to possess and occupy the subject properties sometime in 1956 and not on June 12, 1945 or earlier, the reasonable conclusion is that its claim of having acquired an imperfect title over the subject properties is premised on its supposed compliance with the requirements of Section 14(2), which states: SEC. 14. Who may apply. The following persons may file in the proper Court of First Instance an application for registration of title to land, whether personally or through their duly authorized representatives: (2) Those who have acquired ownership of private lands by prescription under the provisions of existing laws. That properties of the public dominion are not susceptible to prescription and that only properties of the State that are no longer earmarked for public use, otherwise known as patrimonial, may be acquired by prescription are fundamental, even elementary, principles in this jurisdiction. In Heirs of Mario Malabanan v. Republic, this Court, in observance of the foregoing, clarified the import of Section 14(2)
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and made the following declarations: (a) the prescriptive period for purposes of acquiring an imperfect title over a property of the State shall commence to run from the date an official declaration is issued that such property is no longer intended for public service or the development of national wealth; and (b) prescription will not run as against the State even if the property has been previously classified as alienable and disposable as it is that official declaration that converts the property to patrimonial. XXX In complying with Section 14(2) of the Property Registration Decree, consider that under the Civil Code, prescription is recognized as a mode of acquiring ownership of patrimonial property. However, public domain lands become only patrimonial property not only with a declaration that these are alienable and disposable. There must also be an express government manifestation that the property is already patrimonial or no longer retained for public service or the development of national wealth, under Article 422 of the Civil Code. And only when the property has become patrimonial can the prescriptive period for the acquisition of property of the public dominion begin to run. XXX Simply put, it is not the notorious, exclusive and uninterrupted possession and occupation of an alienable and disposable public land for the mandated periods that converts it to patrimonial. The indispensability of an official declaration that the property is now held by the State in its private capacity or placed within the commerce of man for prescription to have any effect against the State cannot be overemphasized. This Court finds no evidence of such official declaration and for this reason alone, the respondents application should have been dismissed outright.

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REPUBLIC v. EAST SILVERLANE REALTY G.R. No. 186961 February 20, 2012 Subject: Property Topic: Classification of Property

FACTS: East Silverlane filed with the RTC an application for land registration, covering a parcel of land identified as Lot 9039 of Cagayan Cadastre, situated in Misamis Oriental, with an area of 9,794 square meters. East Silverlane purchased the portion of the subject property consisting of 4,708 square meters (Area A) from Francisca Oco pursuant to a Deed of Absolute Sale dated November 27, 1990 and the remaining portion consisting of 5,086 square meters (Area B) from Rosario U. Tan Lim, Nemesia Tan and Mariano U. Tan pursuant to a Deed of Partial Partition with Deed of Absolute Sale dated April 11, 1991. It was claimed that the respondents predecessors-in-interest had been in open, notorious, continuous and exclusive possession of the subject property since June 12, 1945. After hearing the same on the merits, the RTC issued on August 27, 2004 a Decision, granting the respondents petition for registration of the land. The CA affirmed, finding no merit in the Republics appeal, holding that It is a settled rule that an application for land registration must conform to three requisites: (1) the land is alienable public land; (2) the applicants open, continuous, exclusive and notorious possession and occupation thereof must be since June 12, 1945, or earlier; and (3) it is a bona fide claim of ownership, and the all the requirements are present.

ISSUE: Is East Silverlane Realty correct in alleging that the subject property was acquired through prescription from the State, when it appears that their application was filed after only four years from the time the property may be considered patrimonial under Article 422 of the Civil Code?

HELD: No. All other properties of the State, which is not of the character mentioned in Article 420 is patrimonial property, hence, susceptible to acquisitive prescription. XXX In other words, for one to invoke the provisions of Section 14 (2) and set up acquisitive prescription against the State, it is primordial that the status of the property as patrimonial be first established. Furthermore, the period of possession preceding the classification of the property as patrimonial cannot be considered in determining the completion of the prescriptive period. XXX

While the subject land was supposedly declared alienable and disposable on December 31, 1925 per the April 18, 1997 Certification and July 1, 1997 Report of the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO), the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) converted the same from agricultural to industrial only on October 16, 1990. Also, it was only in 2000 that the Municipality of El Salvador passed a Zoning Ordinance, including the subject property in the industrial zone. Therefore, it was only in 1990 that the subject property had been declared patrimonial and it is only then that the prescriptive period began to run. The respondent cannot benefit from the alleged possession of its predecessors-in-interest because prior to the withdrawal of the subject property from the public domain, it may not be acquired by prescription. XXX
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This Court is not satisfied with the evidence presented by the respondent to prove compliance with the possession required XXX The phrase adverse, continuous, open, public, and in concept of owner, by which the respondent describes its possession and that of its predecessors-in-interest is a conclusion of law. The burden of proof is on the respondent to prove by clear, positive and convincing evidence that the alleged possession of its predecessors-in-interest was of the nature and duration required by law. It is therefore inconsequential if the petitioner failed to present evidence that would controvert the allegations of the respondent. A person who seeks the registration of title to a piece of land on the basis of possession by himself and his predecessors-in-interest must prove his claim by clear and convincing evidence, i.e., he must prove his title and should not rely on the absence or weakness of the evidence of the oppositors. XXX Finally, that the respondents application was filed after only four years from the time the subject property may be considered patrimonial by reason of the DARs October 26, 1990 Order shows lack of possession whether for ordinary or extraordinary prescriptive period. The principle enunciated in Heirs of Malabanan cited above was reiterated and applied in Republic of the Philippines v. Rizalvo: On this basis, respondent would have been eligible for application for registration because his claim of ownership and possession over the subject property even exceeds thirty (30) years. However, it is jurisprudentially clear that the thirty (30)-year period of prescription for purposes of acquiring ownership and registration of public land under Section 14 (2) of P.D. No. 1529 only begins from the moment the State expressly declares that the public dominion property is no longer intended for public service or the development of the national wealth or that the property has been converted into patrimonial.

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ERMITANO v. PAGLAS G.R. No. 174436 January 23, 2013 Subject: Property Topic: Ownership

FACTS: On November 5, 1999, petitioner Juanita and respondent Lailanie executed a contract of lease. In the instrument, Juanita leased to Lailanie a 336 square meter residential lot and a house on the said lot. The contract period is 1 year, which commenced on November 4, 1999, with a monthly rental rate of P13,500. Subsequent to the execution of the lease contract, Lailanie received information that sometime in March 1999, Juanita mortgaged the subject property in favor of Yap and that the same was already foreclosed with Yap as the purchaser of the disputed lot in an extra-judicial foreclosure sale which was registered on February 22, 2000. Yap's brother later offered to sell the subject property to Lailanie. On June 1, 2000, Lailanie bought the subject property from Yap for P950,000. A deed of sale of was executed by the parties as evidence of the contract, but it was made clear in the said deed that the property was still subject to Juanita's right of redemption. The period of redemption expired on February 23, 2001 without Juanita having redeemed the subject property. Prior to Lailanie's purchase of the subject property, Juanita filed a suit for the declaration of nullity of the mortgage in favor of Yap as well as the sheriff's provisional certificate of sale which was issued after the disputed house and lot were sold on foreclosure. On May 25, 2000, Juanita sent a letter demanding Lailanie to pay the rentals which are due and to vacate the leased premises. A second demand letter was sent on March 25, 2001. Respondent ignored both letters. Juanita filed for ejectment.

ISSUE: Is Juanita entitled to possession of the property and the rentals being claimed by her?

HELD: Yes, but only from May, 2000 to February, 2001, or the period of 10 months during which, as mere mortgagor, Juanita was still entitled to possession. Going to the main issue in the instant petition, it is settled that in unlawful detainer, one unlawfully withholds possession thereof after the expiration or termination of his right to hold possession under any contract, express or implied. In such case, the possession was originally lawful but became unlawful by the expiration or termination of the right to possess; hence, the issue of rightful possession is decisive for, in such action, the defendant is in actual possession and the plaintiffs cause of action is the termination of the defendants right to continue in possession. XXX The conclusive presumption found in Section 2 (b), Rule 131 of the Rules of Court, known as estoppel against tenants, provides as follows: Sec. 2. Conclusive presumptions. The following are instances of conclusive presumptions: (b) The tenant is not permitted to deny the title of his landlord at the time of the commencement of the relation of landlord and tenant between them. (Emphasis supplied). XXX

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In the present case, what respondent is claiming is her supposed title to the subject property which she acquired subsequent to the commencement of the landlord-tenant relation between her and petitioner. XXX The foregoing notwithstanding, even if respondent is not estopped from denying petitioner's claim for rent, her basis for such denial, which is her subsequent acquisition of ownership of the disputed property, is nonetheless, an insufficient excuse from refusing to pay the rentals due to petitioner. There is no dispute that at the time that respondent purchased Yap's rights over the subject property, petitioner's right of redemption as a mortgagor has not yet expired. It is settled that during the period of redemption, it cannot be said that the mortgagor is no longer the owner of the foreclosed property, since the rule up to now is that the right of a purchaser at a foreclosure sale is merely inchoate until after the period of redemption has expired without the right being exercised. The title to land sold under mortgage foreclosure remains in the mortgagor or his grantee until the expiration of the redemption period and conveyance by the master's deed Stated differently, under Act. No. 3135, the purchaser in a foreclosure sale has, during the redemption period, only an inchoate right and not the absolute right to the property with all the accompanying incidents. He only becomes an absolute owner of the property if it is not redeemed during the redemption period. XXX It, thus, clearly follows from the foregoing that, during the period of redemption, the mortgagor, being still the owner of the foreclosed property, remains entitled to the physical possession thereof subject to the purchaser's right to petition the court to give him possession and to file a bond pursuant to the provisions of Section 7 of Act No. 3135, as amended. The mere purchase and certificate of sale alone do not confer any right to the possession or beneficial use of the premises. In the instant case, there is neither evidence nor allegation that respondent, as purchaser of the disputed property, filed a petition and bond in accordance with the provisions of Section 7 of Act No. 3135. In addition, respondent defaulted in the payment of her rents. Thus, absent respondent's filing of such petition and bond prior to the expiration of the period of redemption, coupled with her failure to pay her rent, she did not have the right to possess the subject property. On the other hand, petitioner, as mortgagor and owner, was entitled not only to the possession of the disputed house and lot but also to the rents, earnings and income derived therefrom. XXX The situation became different, however, after the expiration of the redemption period on February 23, 2001. Since there is no allegation, much less evidence, that petitioner redeemed the subject property within one year from the date of registration of the certificate of sale, respondent became the owner thereof. Consolidation of title becomes a right upon the expiration of the redemption period. Having become the owner of the disputed property, respondent is then entitled to its possession. As a consequence, petitioner's ejectment suit filed against respondent was rendered moot when the period of redemption expired on February 23, 2001 without petitioner having redeemed the subject property, for upon expiration of such period petitioner lost his possessory right over the same. Hence, the only remaining right that petitioner can enforce is his right to the rentals during the time that he was still entitled to physical possession of the subject property that is from May 2000 until February 23, 2001. In this regard, this Court agrees with the findings of the MTCC that, based on the evidence and the pleadings filed by petitioner, respondent is liable for payment of rentals beginning May 2000 until February 2001, or for a period of ten (10) months. However, it is not disputed that respondent already gave to petitioner the sum ofP27,000.00, which is equivalent to two (2) months rental, as deposit to cover for any unpaid rentals. It is only proper to deduct this amount from the rentals due to petitioner, thus leaving P108,000.00 unpaid rentals.

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VSD REALTY v. UNIWIDE G.R. No. 170677 October 24, 2012 Subject: Property Topic: Ownership

FACTS: VSD filed a complaint for annulment of title and recovery of possession of property against Uniwide, alleging that it is the registered owner of the subject property and that its title is the result of land registration proceedings in accordance with law. VSD claims that Baellos title is spurious, illegal, and should be annulled, and is seeking recovery of possession of the subject property. The RTC ruled in favor of VSD. It stated that the evidence for VSD showed that it is the rightful owner of the subject lot covered by TCT No. 285312 of the Register of Deeds of Caloocan City, while Baello is the registered owner of a parcel of land covered by TCT No. (35788) 12754. Uniwide is a mere lessee of the land, with Baello as lessor. Baello is the holder of a title over a lot entirely different and not in anyway related to petitioners title and its technical description. However, the CA reversed the RTC and rendered a decision in favor of Baello and Uniwide.

ISSUE: Is VSD entitled to recovery of possession of the subject property?

HELD: Yes; however, the SC ultimately remanded the case to the CA for further reception of evidence before deciding the issue of ownership with finality. The established legal principle in actions for annulment or reconveyance of title is that a party seeking it should establish not merely by a preponderance of evidence but by clear and convincing evidence that the land sought to be reconveyed is his. Article 434 of the Civil Code provides that to successfully maintain an action to recover the ownership of a real property, the person who claims a better right to it must prove two (2) things: first, the identity of the land claimed, and; second, his title thereto.20 In an action to recover, the property must be identified, and the plaintiff must rely on the strength of his title and not on the weakness of the defendant's claim. In regard to the first requisite, in an accion reinvindicatoria, the person who claims that he has a better right to the property must first fix the identity of the land he is claiming by describing the location, area and boundaries thereof. In this case, petitioner proved the identity of the land it is claiming through the technical description contained in its title, TCT No. T-285312; the derivative title of Felisa D. Bonifacio, TCT No. 265777; the technical description included in the official records of the subject lot in the Register of Deeds of Caloocan City; and the verification survey conducted by Geodetic Engineer Evelyn Celzo of the DENRNCR. XXX the technical description issued by the DENR for the segregation of the property of Felisa D. Bonifacio in LRC Case No. C-3288, and the testimonies of DENR representatives, show that the title of petitioner covers the property therein referred to as Lot 23-A-4-B-2-A-3-A, which is being occupied by Uniwide. XXX

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In this case, petitioner proved his title over the property in dispute as well as the identity of the said property; hence, it is entitled to recover the possession of the property from respondents. XXX Respondent Dolores Baello and all persons/entities claiming title under her, including respondent Uniwide Sales, Inc., are ordered to convey and to return the property or the lot covered by TCT No. T285312 to petitioner VSD Realty and Development Corporation upon finality of this Decision XXX Accordingly, the Court hereby remands this case to the Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals is tasked to hear and receive evidence, conclude the proceedings and submit to this Court a report on its findings and recommended conclusions within three (3) months from finality of this Resolution.

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NOTARTE v. NOTARTE G.R. No. 180614 August 29, 2012 Subject: Property Topic: Ownership

FACTS: Godofredo bought from Patrocenia Gamboa a parcel of land evidenced by the Deed of Absolute Sale executed in his favor. He filed his Affidavit of Adverse Claim in the Registry of Deeds to protect his rights on the land he acquired from Patrocenia pending the completion of all proper documents for the segregation of separate portions of the whole parcel of land under OCT No. 48098. Thereafter, he declared the land in his name under a tax declaration for 1985, indicating its area as 29,482 sq.m. Godofredo alleged that the above-described land used to be intact but the Leonardo and the other pertitioner, taking advantage of his absence, took possession of portions of his land thereby reducing it to barely 13,000 sq.m. Godofredo claimed that all demands upon the petitioners to return the aforesaid portions and conciliations before the Barangay authorities failed. Leonardo and company denied having encroached on respondents land, contending that respondent instituted this complaint to increase the actual size of his land at the expense of the adjoining owners. Petitioners asserted that they have been in actual, notorious, public and exclusive possession of their respective parcels for a very long time even before respondent bought his property from Patrocenia Gamboa. They claimed that their common ascendant, Felipe, owned 10 hectares of the property which he acquired by purchase as early as 1951 and the latest in 1967. The 37,604-sq. m. portion of Felipes land being occupied by petitioners, which area adjoins Godofredos property on the west, was acquired by Felipe from James Turner by virtue of a Quitclaim Deed dated April 2, 1951. Petitioners also alleged that there are other co-owners of the whole undivided land covered by OCT No. 48098 who are indispensable for the final and complete determination of this case. Godofredo pointed out in his reply that he had purchased a portion with a definite area of 27,604.714 sq.m. and that Leonardo knew about this because he bought only one hectare of the said share. Being a registered land, their possession of the encroached portion they do not own is illegal, no matter how long. He also claimed that what Felipe acquired from Turner was the 1/7 share of Juan Notarte, which is situated north of Bernardos 1/7 share, one hectare of which was bought by Leonardo. He averred that the land covered by Felipes title is no longer undivided as it had been physically segregated into the designated shares of the registered owners, and various transfer certificates of title have been issued.

ISSUE: Was Godofredo able to establish the identity and his ownership of the subject land?

HELD: Yes. On the third issue, we hold that respondent has established by preponderance of evidence the identity and his ownership of the subject land. The governing law is Article 434 of the Civil Code which provides: Art. 434. In an action to recover, the property must be identified, and the plaintiff must rely on the strength of his title and not on the weakness of the defendants claim. The first requisite: the identity of the land. In an accion reinvindicatoria, the person who claims that he has a better right to the property must first fix the identity of the land he is claiming by describing the location, area and boundaries thereof. Anent the second requisite, i.e., the claimants title over the disputed area, the rule is that a party can claim a right of ownership only over the parcel of land that was the object of the deed.
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To prove the identity of the land he bought from Patrocenia, respondent submitted in evidence deeds of conveyances from the original sale made by Bernardo in 1929 in favor of Emiliano Gamboa, up to the acquisition thereof by Patrocenia. As can be gleaned from the proceedings before the MTC, ownership by respondent was not disputed but only the exact area because the deeds presented by him showed only the area and location with respect to adjoining owners, but did not describe the boundaries of the land sold in metes and bounds. XXX Leonardo failed to show any document evidencing the supposed donation of his father and admitted he does not even know its exact area. XXX In any case, the requirement as to form for contracts of donation to be valid and enforceable, are absolute and indispensable. The alleged prior oral donation by Patrocenia was thus void and ineffective; it is not binding upon third parties like respondent who purchased a definite portion of Patrocenias land in good faith, for value and evidenced by a duly notarized deed of sale. XXX It is settled that what really defines a piece of land is not the area mentioned in its description, but the boundaries therein laid down, as enclosing the land and indicating its limits. We have held, however, that in controversial cases where there appears to be an overlapping of boundaries, the actual size of the property gains importance. As already stated, the location of respondents land is not in dispute because the adjoining owners are clearly identified.1wphi1 Petitioners in their Answer with Counterclaim merely contended that respondent just wants to increase the actual area of his property. And while petitioners insisted on the visible physical boundaries to mark the limits of respondents land, petitioners Leonardo and Guillermo could not tell the exact areas under their possession. These portions, still unregistered land, were also not described in metes and bounds under their deeds of conveyances. The controversy then lies in the delineation of the physical boundaries of the subject properties by metes and bounds, notwithstanding that the documentary evidence adduced by respondent established his ownership over a portion of Bernardos share, in an areaenclosed by specified adjoining lots/owners, to the extent of 27,172 sq.m. XXX Having ruled that respondent has established the identity and ownership of the land he acquired from Patrocenia with an area of 27,172 sq.m., this Court deems it just and proper to give him the opportunity to prove the alleged encroachment by petitioners and the extent of such encroachment. For this purpose, a survey is necessary to ascertain the physical boundaries of the subject lands by metes and bounds. Hence, remand of this case to the MTC for the conduct of a survey by qualified geodetic engineers, is in order.

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JAKOSALEM and DULFO v. BARANGAN G.R. No. 175025 February 15, 2012 Subject: Property Topic: Ownership

FACTS: On August 13, 1966, respondent Col. Roberto S. Barangan entered into a land purchase agreement with Ireneo S. Labsilica of Citadel Realty to purchase on installment a 300 square meter parcel of land, covered by TCT No. 165456,6, and located in Antipolo, Rizal. Upon full payment, a deed of absolute sale was executed on August 31, 1976 in Barangans favor. Consequently, the old title, TCT No. 171453,10 which was a transfer from TCT No. 165456,11 was cancelled and a new one, TCT No. N-10772,12 was issued in his name. Since then, he has been dutifully paying real property taxes for the said property, but was not able to physically occupy the subject property because as a member of the Philippine Air Force, he was often assigned to various stations. In 1993, when he was about to retire from the government service, respondent Barangan went to visit his property, where he was planning to build a retirement home. It was only then that he discovered that it was being occupied by petitioner Godofredo Dulfo and his family. On February 4, 1994, Barangan sent a letter to petitioner Dulfo demanding that he and his family vacate the subject property within 30 days. In reply, petitioner Atty. Rogelio J. Jakosalem, the son-in-law of petitioner Dulfo, sent a letter claiming ownership over the subject property. On February 19, 1994, respondent Barangan filed with Barangay San Luis, Antipolo, Rizal, a complaint for violation of the Anti-Squatting Law against petitioners. After a survey revealed that the property occupied by petitioner Dulfo and his family is the same property covered by respondent Barangans title, Barangan filed an action for recovery of possession, praying that petitioners Dulfo and Jakosalem be ordered to vacate the subject property and pay a monthly rental of P3,000.00 for the use and occupancy of the subject property from May 1979 the property is vacated, plus damages. Dulfo and Jakosalem claimed that the subject property was assigned to petitioner Jakosalem by one Nicanor Samson and that that they have been in possession of the subject property since May 8, 1979. They insist that the property covered by respondent Barangans title is not the property occupied by petitioner Dulfo and his family. The RTC ruled in favour of Dulfo and Jakosalem. The CA, however, reversed the findings of the RTC, and found respondent Barangan entitled to recover possession of the subject property because he was able to sufficiently prove the identity of the subject property and that the same is owned by him, as evidenced by his TCT.

ISSUE: Is the Torrens Certificate of Title of Barangan conclusive proof that he should be the lawful possessor?

HELD: Yes. This case exemplifies the age-old rule that the one who holds a Torrens title over a lot is the one entitled to its possession. XXX Article 434 of the Civil Code provides that "[i]n an action to recover, the property must be identified, and the plaintiff must rely on the strength of his title and not on the weakness of the defendants claim." In

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

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HEIRS OF AMPIL v. MANAHAN G.R. No. 175990 October 11, 2012 Subject: Property Topic: Co-Ownership

FACTS: On February 14, 2003, Exequiel Ampil, as representative of the heirs of the late Albina Ampil, filed a complaint for ejectment against spouses Perfecto and Virginia Manahan, and all persons claiming rights under them. In the complaint, it was alleged that Albina was the owner of 2 adjoining residential lots, situated in Paombong, Bulacan. The petitioner heirs asserted that during her lifetime, Albina allowed Perfecto and his family to occupy a portion of the said properties on the condition that they would vacate the same should the need to use it arise. After the death of Albina in 1986, her heirs, represented by Exequiel, requested Perfecto and family to vacate the property in question but the latter refused. On December 12, 2002, the heirs sent a demand letter to the Manahan respondents asking for the surrender of possession of the lands in question, but to no avail. Consequently, the heirs filed an ejectment complaint. On February 28, 2003, the respondents filed their answer with counterclaim averring that the lots they had been occupying belonged to them, their predecessor-in-interest having been in peaceful and continuous possession thereof in the concept of an owner since time immemorial and that Albina was never the owner of the property. The MTC rendered judgment in favor of the petitioners. The MTC relied on the 2 tax declarations and the certification from the Municipal Treasurer showing that Albina had been paying the real property taxes on the lands in question. It stressed that the issue in ejectment cases is not the ownership of the property, but the material possession thereof. The RTC affirmed. Aggrieved, respondents Manahan appealed their case before the CA. In a Decision, dated July 11, 2006, the CA reversed and set aside the RTC Decision and dismissed the case for unlawful detainer. It ruled that tax declarations and receipts are not conclusive proof of ownership or right of possession over a piece of land and it only becomes strong evidence of ownership when accompanied by proof of actual possession.

ISSUES: 1. Does Exequiel, as co-owner, have the right to institute actions on his own without the participation of the other co-owners? 2. Who has a better right to the property?

HELD: 1. Yes. But before delving into the issue, the Court shall first discuss the question raised by respondents regarding the authority of Exequiel to file the complaint on behalf of his co-heirs. Article 487 of the Civil Code provides that anyone of the co-owners may bring an action for ejectment without joining the others. The action is not limited to ejectment cases but includes all kinds of suits for recovery of possession because the suit is presumed to have been instituted for the benefit of all. In the case of Celino v. Heirs of Alejo and Teresa Santiago,24 the Court held that:

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Respondents herein are co-owners of two parcels of land owned by their deceased mother. The properties were allegedly encroached upon by the petitioner. As co-owner of the properties, each of the heirs may properly bring an action for ejectment, forcible entry, or any kind of action for the recovery of possession of the subject properties. Thus, a co-owner may bring such an action, even without joining all the other co-owners as co-plaintiffs, because the suit is deemed to be instituted for the benefit of all. However, if the action is for the benefit of the plaintiff alone, such that he claims the possession for himself and not for the co-ownership, the action will not prosper. Also, in the case of Carandang v. Heirs of De Guzman, this Court ruled that a co-owner was not even a necessary party to an action for ejectment, for complete relief could be afforded even in his absence, thus: In sum, in suits to recover properties, all co-owners are real parties in interest. However, pursuant to Article 487 of the Civil Code and the relevant jurisprudence, any one of them may bring an action, any kind of action for the recovery of co-owned properties. Therefore, only one of the co-owners, namely the co-owner who filed the suit for the recovery of the co-owned property, is an indispensable party thereto. The other co-owners are not indispensable parties. They are not even necessary parties, for a complete relief can be afforded in the suit even without their participation, since the suit is presumed to have been filed for the benefit of all coowners. In the case at bench, the complaint clearly stated that the disputed property was held in common by the petitioners; and that the action was brought to recover possession of the lots from respondents for the benefit of all the heirs of Albina. Hence, Exequiel, a co-owner, may bring the action for unlawful detainer even without the special power of attorney of his co-heirs, for a complete relief can be accorded in the suit even without their participation because the suit is deemed to be instituted for the benefit of all the co-owners. 2. The petitioner-heirs. A perusal of the records shows that respondents occupation of the lot in question was by mere tolerance. To prove ownership over the property, the petitioners presented the tax declarations covering the properties and a certification issued by the Municipality of Paombong, Bulacan, showing that their mother, Albina, had been paying the corresponding real property taxes thereon. XXX Also, in 1982, one of the petitioners verbally demanded that the respondents vacate the property and when the latter refused, they filed a complaint before the Barangay Lupon. From the minutes of the meeting in the Barangay Lupon, Perfecto admitted that in 1952, Albina allowed them temporary use of the lots and that they could not leave the premises because they had nowhere else to go. When the parties failed to reach a settlement, petitioners, in order to protect their rights to the lot in question, filed a case for violation of P.D. No. 772, an Act Penalizing Squatting and other Similar Acts against Perfecto... In the said case, Perfecto executed a Sinumpaang Salaysay, wherein he admitted that Albina was the owner of the lots in question and that he was merely allowed by her to use the property on condition that they would vacate it on demand... On the other hand, respondents could not present proof that they and their predecessors-ininterest had openly and continuously possessed the subject land since time immemorial. XXX Well established is the rule that ownership over the land cannot be acquired by mere occupation. While it is true that tax declarations are not conclusive evidence of ownership, they, nevertheless, constitute at least proof that the holder has a claim of title over the property. It strengthens one's bona fide claim of acquisition of ownership.

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RIZAL v. NAREDO G.R. No. 151898 March 14, 2012 Subject: Property Topic: Co-Ownership

FACTS: The Rizals filed a case against Marcela and Leoncia for partition and recovery of possession of Lot No. 252. The parties then entered into a compromise agreement, approved by the CFI, with both sides acknowledging that they owned Lot No. 252 in common, with 3/5 thereof as the interest of the Rizals and the other 2/5 belonging to Marcela and Leoncia. Later, the Rizals filed a Complaint before the RTC for the immediate segregation, partition and recovery of shares and ownership of Lot No. 252, with damages. However, the RTC dismissed the complaint because of res judicata. The CA also ruled that the action for partition has been barred by res judicata and held that the the Rizals no longer had any cause of action for partition because the co-ownership of the parties over Lot No. 252 had ceased to exist by the order of the CFI affirming the compromise settlement with assignment of aliquot portions.

ISSUE: Did the finality of the decision, approving the compromise settlement, cause Lot No. 252 to be partitioned, thus terminating the co-ownership of the parties over the land?

HELD: Yes. Article 484 of the New Civil Code provides that there is co-ownership whenever the ownership of an undivided thing or right belongs to different persons. Thus, on the one hand, a co-owner of an undivided parcel of land is an owner of the whole, and over the whole he exercises the right of dominion, but he is at the same time the owner of a portion which is truly abstract. On the other hand, there is no co-ownership when the different portions owned by different people are already concretely determined and separately identifiable, even if not yet technically described. Pursuant to Article 494 of the Civil Code, no co-owner is obliged to remain in the co-ownership, and his proper remedy is an action for partition under Rule 69 of the Rules of Court, which he may bring at anytime in so far as his share is concerned. Article 1079 of the Civil Code defines partition as the separation, division and assignment of a thing held in common among those to whom it may belong. It has been held that the fact that the agreement of partition lacks the technical description of the parties' respective portions or that the subject property was then still embraced by the same certificate of title could not legally prevent a partition, where the different portions allotted to each were determined and became separately identifiable. The partition of Lot No. 252 was the result of the approved Compromise Agreement in Civil Case No. 36C, which was immediately final and executory. Absent any showing that said Compromise Agreement was vitiated by fraud, mistake or duress, the court cannot set aside a judgment based on compromise. It is axiomatic that a compromise agreement once approved by the court settles the rights of the parties and has the force of res judicata. It cannot be disturbed except on the ground of vice of consent or forgery. Of equal significance is the fact that the compromise judgment in Civil Case No. 36-C settled as well the question of which specific portions of Lot No. 252 accrued to the parties separately as their proportionate shares therein. XXX

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The CA was correct when it stated that no co-ownership exist when the different portions owned by different people are already concretely determined and separately identifiable, even if not yet technically described. It bears to note that the parties even acknowledged in Paragraph 7 of the Compromise Agreement that they had accepted their respective determined shares in the subject parcel of land, and they agree to have their respective determined portions, Two-Fifths (2/5) for defendants and Three-Fifths (3/5) for plaintiffs, to be covered by independent and separate certificates of title in their respective names.

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ANTIOQUIA DEVELOPMENT CORP. v. RAHACAL G.R. No. 148843 September 5, 2012 Subject: Property Topic: Possession

FACTS: Antioquia Development (ADC) is the registered owner of several parcels of land. It entered into a joint venture agreement with another entity for the construction of a residential subdivision on its property. Rahacal and the other respondents were seasonal planters-workers on the property who were allowed by the former owner to construct their houses on the land with an agreement that they would surrender peacefully the premises when the owner needs the same. However, despite oral and written demands by ADC, Rahacal and the other respondents refused to vacate the premises. The respondents asserted that the previous owner gave them express permission to build their respective houses on the property, and it was agreed that they would stay there as long as necessary to clean and clear the land.

ISSUE: Is there a tenancy relationship between ADC and the respondents, thus entitling Rahacal and company to disturbance compensation?

HELD: No. From respondents declarations, we find that no tenancy relations existed between them and petitioners, and neither was there any proof that they were the tenants of the late Mariano Antioquia, Sr. A tenant has been defined under Section 5(a) of R.A. No. 1199 as a person who, himself, and with the aid available from within his immediate household, cultivates the land belonging to or possessed by another, with the latters consent for purposes of production, sharing the produce with the landholder under the share tenancy system, or paying to the landholder a price certain or ascertainable in produce or in money or both, under the leasehold system. Thus, there must be a concurrence of the following requisites in order to create a tenancy relationship between the parties: (1) the parties are the landowner and the tenant; (2) the subject is agricultural land; (3) there is consent; (4) the purpose is agricultural production; (5) there is personal cultivation; and (6) there is sharing of harvests. Once the tenancy relationship is established, the tenant is entitled to security of tenure and cannot be ejected by the landlord unless ordered by the court for causes provided by law. However, none of the afore-stated requisites was proven in this case as respondents admitted they were allowed to stay on the land by a certain Dr. Carillo before Mariano Antioquia, Sr. bought it, not for the purpose of agricultural production, but allegedly to help clear the land. Respondents having failed to establish their status as tenants or agricultural lessees, they are not entitled to security of tenure nor are they covered by the Land Reform Program of the Government under existing laws, including the right to receive disturbance compensation...

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UNION BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES v. MAUNLAD HOMES G.R. No. 190071 August 15, 2012 Subject: Property Topic: Possession

FACTS: Union Bank is the owner of the Maunlad Shopping Mall. Union Bank and Maunlad Homes entered into a contract to sell involving the Maunlad Shopping Mall. The parties agreed that if Maunlad Homes breaches any provision of the contract, all payments made for the shopping mall will be applied as rentals for the use and possession of the property, and all improvements introduced on the land will accrue in favor of Union Bank. When Maunlad Homes failed to pay the monthly amortization, Union Bank sent them a notice of rescission of contract demanding payment of the installments due within 30 days from receipt, otherwise, it shall consider the contract automatically rescinded. Maunlad Homes failed to comply. Thus, Union Bank sent Maunlad Homes a letter demanding payment of the rentals due and requiring that the subject property be vacated and its possession turned over to the bank. Maunlad Homes still would not comply. Union Bank instituted an ejectment suit before the MTC. Maunlad Homes opposed, alleging that it is the owner of the property as Union Bank did not reserve ownership of the property under the terms of the contract. By virtue of its ownership, Maunlad Homes claimed that it has the right to possess the property. The MTC dismissed Union Banks ejectment complaint. It found that Union Banks cause of action was based on a breach of contract and that both parties are claiming a better right to possess the property based on their respective claims of ownership of the property.

ISSUE: Was Maunlad Homes right possess the shopping mall extinguished because of its failure to abide by the terms of the contract to sell?

HELD: Yes. The right to possess the property was extinguished when the contract to sell failed to materialize. Maunlad Homes acquired possession of the property based on its contract with Union Bank. While admitting that it suspended payment of the installments, Maunlad Homes contended that the suspension of payment did not affect its right to possess the property because its contract with Union Bank was one of sale and not to sell; hence, ownership of the property has been transferred to it, allowing it to retain possession notwithstanding nonpayment of installments. The terms of the contract, however, do not support this conclusion. Section 11 of the contract between Union Bank and Maunlad Homes provides that "upon payment in full of the Purchase Price of the Property... the SELLER shall execute and deliver a Deed of Absolute Sale conveying the Property to the BUYER." Jurisprudence has established that where the seller promises to execute a deed of absolute sale upon the completion by the buyer of the payment of the price, the contract is only a contract to sell. The presence of this provision generally identifies the contract as being a mere contract to sell. After reviewing the terms of the contract between Union Bank and Maunlad Homes, we find no reasonable ground to exempt the present case from the general rule; the contract between Union Bank and Maunlad Homes is a contract to sell. In a contract to sell, the full payment of the purchase price is a positive suspensive condition whose nonfulfillment is not a breach of contract, but merely an event that prevents the seller from conveying title to the purchaser. "The non-payment of the purchase price renders the contract to sell ineffective and
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without force and effect." Maunlad Homes act of withholding the installment payments rendered the contract ineffective and without force and effect, and ultimately deprived itself of the right to continue possessing Maunlad Shopping Mall.

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TOLENTINO v. LAUREL G.R. No. 181368 February 22, 2012 Subject: Property Topic: Possession

FACTS: Respondents (Laurels) allege that they are the registered owners of a parcel of land situated in Tagkawayan, Quezon, with an area of 1,056,275 square meters, covered by TCT No. T-43927. For several years, petitioners have been in actual possession of the western portion of the said property with a total area of 620,000 square meters which they tried to develop into fishponds. In 1993 and 1994, respondents informed petitioner Gustavo, that the area the petitioners were are occupying was inside the respondents' property and, therefore, they should vacate and leave the same. Gustavo, however, asked for time to verify respondents' claim. If the claim is true, then the petitioners were willing to discuss with respondents the improvements that they have introduced on the subject area. Respondents have waited for almost a year for the outcome of the intended verification, but they waited in vain until Gustavo died. Petitioners continued to develop the area they were occupying into fishponds, thereby manifesting their unwillingness to vacate the premises and restore the possession thereof in favor of respondents. Hence, respondents filed a suit against petitioners to recover the property and demand payment of unearned income, attorney's fees and costs of suit. Petitioners, as defendants in the trial court, averred in their Answer that the subject property is owned by the Republic and they are occupying the same by virtue of a fishpond lease agreement entered with the Department of Agriculture. The petitioners alleged that their stay over the property is lawful. On March 21, 2000, the trial court issued an Order allowing respondents to present their evidence ex parte, instead of declaring petitioners in default for failing to appear. The RTC ruled in favor of respondents. Aggrieved, petitioners challenged the trial court's decision before the CA. The CA dismissed petitioners' appeal and affirmed the decision of the RTC. Petitioners then filed this present Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45.

ISSUES: 1. Can the certificate of title of the Laurels be collaterally attacked? 2. Is accion publiciana available to the respondent Laurels to assert possession when they are also the owners of the subject property?

HELD: 1. No. In substance, the appeal of petitioners hinges on their possession over the subject lot by virtue of an alleged Fishpond Lease Agreement with the Department of Agriculture. They questioned the validity of the respondents' title by claiming that since the property is owned by the government, it is part of the public domain and, therefore, cannot be privately owned by the respondents. The petitioners' submission is not meritorious. It is a rule that a certificate of title cannot be the subject of collateral attack. Section 48 of Presidential Decree No. 1529 provides that: Section 48. Certificate not Subject to Collateral Attack. - A certificate of title shall not be subject to collateral attack. It cannot be altered, modified, or canceled, except in a direct proceeding in accordance with law.

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Petitioners' attack on the legality of TCT No. T-43927, issued in the name of respondents, is incidental to their quest to defend their possession of the property in an accion publiciana, not in a direct action whose main objective is to impugn the validity of the judgment granting the title. To permit a collateral attack on the title, such as what petitioners attempt, would reduce the vaunted legal indefeasibility of a Torrens title to meaningless verbiage. XXX Unless and until the land is reverted to the State by virtue of a judgment of a court of law in a direct proceeding for reversion, the Torrens certificate of title thereto remains valid and binding against the whole world. XXX Respondents' title over the subject property is evidence of their ownership thereof. It is a fundamental principle in land registration that the certificate of title serves as evidence of an indefeasible and incontrovertible title to the property in favor of the person whose name appears therein. It is conclusive evidence with respect to the ownership of the land described therein. It is also settled that the titleholder is entitled to all the attributes of ownership of the property, including possession. Thus, the Court held that the age-old rule is that the person who has a Torrens title over a land is entitled to possession thereof. 2. No. ...it must be emphasized that the action filed before the trial court is an accion publiciana, which is a plenary action for recovery of possession in an ordinary civil proceeding in order to determine the better and legal right to possess, independently of title. The objective of the plaintiffs in an accion publiciana is to recover possession only, not ownership. However, where the parties raise the issue of ownership, the courts may pass upon the issue to determine who between the parties has the right to possess the property. This adjudication, however, is not a final and binding determination of the issue of ownership; it is only for the purpose of resolving the issue of possession, where the issue of ownership is inseparably linked to the issue of possession. The adjudication of the issue of ownership, being provisional, is not a bar to an action between the same parties involving title to the property. It is undisputed that the subject property is covered by TCT No. T-43927, registered in the name of the respondents. On the other hand, petitioners do not claim ownership, but allege that they are leasing the portion they are occupying from the government. XXX Petitioners' argument that an accion publiciana is not the proper remedy available for the respondents, because more than ten (10) years had already elapsed since the dispossession of the respondents' property, does not hold water. As the registered owners, respondents' right to evict any person illegally occupying their property is imprescriptible. XXX As registered owners of the lots in question, the private respondents have a right to eject any person illegally occupying their property. This right is imprescriptible. Even if it be supposed that they were aware of the petitioners' occupation of the property, and regardless of the length of that possession, the lawful owners have a right to demand the return of their property at any time as long as the possession was unauthorized or merely tolerated, if at all. This right is never barred by laches.

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Sps. CABAHUG v. NAPOCOR G.R. No. 186069 January 30, 2013 Subject: Property Topic: Easements and Servitudes

FACTS: The Spouses Cabahug are the owners of two parcels of land situated in Tabango, Leyte, registered in their with the Leyte provincial registry. They were among the defendants in a suit for expropriation earlier filed by NPC before the RTC, in connection with its Leyte-Cebu Interconnection Project. The suit was later dismissed when NPC opted to settle with the landowners by paying an easement fee equivalent to 10% of value of their property. In November 1996, Jesus Cabahug executed two documents denominated as Right of Way Grant in favor of NPC. For and in consideration of the easement fees in the sums of P112,225.50 and P21,375.00, Jesus Cabahug granted NPC a continuous easement of right of way for the latters transmissions lines and their appurtenances over 24,939 and 4,750 square meters of the parcels of land. Jesus agreed not to construct any building or structure whatsoever, nor plant in any area within the Right of Way that will adversely affect or obstruct the transmission line of NPC, except agricultural crops, the growth of which will not exceed three meters high. However, Jesus Cabahug reserved the option to seek additional compensation for easement fee. On 21 September 1998, the Spouses Cabahug filed the complaint for the payment of just compensation, damages and attorneys fees against NPC which was docketed as Civil Case No. PN-0213 before the RTC. Claiming to have been totally deprived of the use of the portions of land because of the easement, the Spouses Cabahug alleged that in accordance with the reservation provided under in the grant, they have demanded from NPC payment of the balance of the just compensation for the subject properties which, based on the valuation fixed by the Leyte Provincial Appraisal Committee, amounted to P1,202,404.50. NPC answered that it already paid the full easement fee mandated under Section 3-A of RA 6395 and that the reservation in the grant referred to additional compensation for easement fee, not the full just compensation sought by the Spouses Cabahug. The RTC went on to render a decision dated 14 March 2000 ordering the NPC to par the spouses Cabahug more than P1.3 M. On appeal, the CA reversed the RTC and ruled that the Spouses Cabahug had already accepted the payment of easement fee, pursuant to R.A. 6395, as amended, way back in 1996. Therefore, NPCs easement of right of way has for all legal intents and purposes, been established as far back as 1996. Since vested right has already accrued in favor of NPC, to allow the Spouses Cabahug to pursue this case when the easement of right of way had already been consummated would be in violation of the contract. The contracting parties, the Spouses Cabahug and NPC had already conformed with the terms and conditions of the agreement. To allow the Spouses Cabahug to again collect from NPC payment of just compensation would amount to unjust enrichment at the expense of NPC and would sanction violation of the parties contract.

ISSUE: Are the Spouses Cabahug entitled to just compensation, considering that the original agreement was only for an aerial easement? HELD: Yes. The CA regarded the Grant of Right of Way executed by Jesus Cabahug in favor of NPC as a valid and binding contract between the parties, a fact affirmed by the OSG in its 8 October 2009 Comment to the petition at bench.18 Given that the parties have already agreed on the easement fee for the portions of the subject parcels traversed by NPCs transmissions lines, the CA ruled that the Spouses Cabahugs attempt to collect further sums by way of additional easement fee and/or just compensation
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is violative of said contract and tantamount to unjust enrichment at the expense of NPC. As correctly pointed out by the Spouses Cabahug, however, the CAs ruling totally disregards the fourth paragraph of the Grant executed by Jesus Cabahug which expressly states as follows: That I hereby reserve the option to seek additional compensation for Easement Fee, based on the Supreme Court Decision in G.R. No. 60077, promulgated on January 18, 1991, which jurisprudence is designated as "NPC vs. Gutierrez" case. From the foregoing reservation, it is evident that the Spouses Cabahugs receipt of the easement fee did not bar them from seeking further compensation from NPC. Even by the basic rules in the interpretation of contracts, we find that the CA erred in holding that the payment of additional sums to the Spouses Cabahug would be violative of the parties contract and amount to unjust enrichment. Indeed, the rule is settled that a contract constitutes the law between the parties who are bound by its stipulations which, when couched in clear and plain language, should be applied according to their literal tenor. Courts cannot supply material stipulations, read into the contract words it does not contain or, for that matter, read into it any other intention that would contradict its plain import. Neither can they rewrite contracts because they operate harshly or inequitably as to one of the parties, or alter them for the benefit of one party and to the detriment of the other, or by construction, relieve one of the parties from the terms which he voluntarily consented to, or impose on him those which he did not. Considering that Gutierrez was specifically made the point of reference for Jesus Cabahugs reservation to seek further compensation from NPC, we find that the CA likewise erred in finding that the ruling in said case does not apply to the case at bench. Concededly, the NPC was constrained to file an expropriation complaint in Gutierrez due to the failure of the negotiations for its acquisition of an easement of right of way for its transmission lines. The issue that was eventually presented for this Courts resolution, however, was the propriety of making NPC liable for the payment of the full market value of the affected property despite the fact that transfer of title thereto was not required by said easement. In upholding the landowners right to full just compensation, the Court ruled that the power of eminent domain may be exercised although title is not transferred to the expropriator in an easement of right of way. Just compensation which should be neither more nor less than the money equivalent of the property is, moreover, due where the nature and effect of the easement is to impose limitations against the use of the land for an indefinite period and deprive the landowner its ordinary use. Even without the reservation made by Jesus Cabahug in the Grant of Right of Way, the application of Gutierrez to this case is not improper as NPC represents it to be. Where the right of way easement, as in this case, similarly involves transmission lines which not only endangers life and limb but restricts as well the owner's use of the land traversed thereby, the ruling in Gutierrez remains doctrinal and should be applied. It has been ruled that the owner should be compensated for the monetary equivalent of the land if, as here, the easement is intended to perpetually or indefinitely deprive the owner of his proprietary rights through the imposition of conditions that affect the ordinary use, free enjoyment and disposal of the property or through restrictions and limitations that are inconsistent with the exercise of the attributes of ownership, or when the introduction of structures or objects which, by their nature, create or increase the probability of injury, death upon or destruction of life and property found on the land is necessary. Measured not by the takers gain but the owners loss, just compensation is defined as the full and fair equivalent of the property taken from its owner by the expropriator. XXX In this case, the Leyte Provincial Appraisal Committee fixed the valuation of the affected properties at P45.00 per square meter at the instance of NPC. Considering that the installation of the latters transmission lines amounted to the taking of 24,939 and 4,750 square meters from the parcels of land covered by TCT Nos. T-9813 and T-1599 or a total of 29,689 square meters

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LIWAG v. HAPPY GLEN LOOP HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION G.R. No. 189755 July 4, 2012 Subject: Property Topic: Easements and Servitudes

FACTS: In 1978, F.G.R. Sales, the original developer of Happy Glen Loop, obtained a loan from Marcelo, the owner of T.P. Marcelo Realty Corporation. To settle its debt, F.G.R. Sales assigned to Marcelo all its rights over several parcels of land in the subdivision, as well as receivables from the lots already sold. As the successor-in-interest of the original developer, Marcelo represented to subdivision lot buyers, the NHA and the HSRC that a water facility was available in the subdivision. The overhead water tank was located above Lot 11, Block No. 5. For almost 30 years, the residents of the subdivision relied on this facility as their only source of water. Sometime in September 1995, Marcelo sold Lot 11, Block No. 5 to Hermogenes. Hermogenes, as president of the association, publicized that the water facility is efficient and sufficient. When Hermogenes died in 2003, his wife Liwag subsequently wrote a letter to the Happy Glen Loop Homeowners Association, demanding the removal of the overhead water tank from the subject parcel of land. Refusing to comply with Liwags demand, the homeowners' association filed before the HLURB an action for specific performance; confirmation, maintenance and donation of water facilities; annulment of sale; and cancellation of TCT No. 350099 against the owner and developer of the subdivision, Liwag, and the other surviving heirs of Hermogenes.

ISSUE: Is there an easement for water facility existent on Lot 11, Block 5 of Happy Glen Loop Subdivision, which must be respected, such that Liwag cannot just take it away?

HELD: Yes. Easements or servitudes are encumbrances imposed upon an immovable for the benefit of another immovable belonging to a different owner, for the benefit of a community, or for the benefit of one or more persons to whom the encumbered estate does not belong. The law provides that easements may be continuous or discontinuous and apparent or non-apparent. The pertinent provisions of the Civil Code are quoted below: Art. 615. Easements may be continuous or discontinuous, apparent or non-apparent. Continuous easements are those the use of which is or may be incessant, without the intervention of any act of man. Discontinuous easements are those which are used at intervals and depend upon the acts of man. Apparent easements are those which are made known and are continually kept in view by external signs that reveal the use and enjoyment of the same. Non-apparent easements are those which show no external indication of their existence.

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In this case, the water facility is an encumbrance on Lot 11, Block 5 of the Subdivision for the benefit of the community. It is continuous and apparent, because it is used incessantly without human intervention, and because it is continually kept in view by the overhead water tank, which reveals its use to the public. Contrary to petitioners contention that the existence of the water tank on Lot 11, Block 5 is merely tolerated, we find that the easement of water facility has been voluntarily established either by Marcelo, the Subdivision owner and developer; or by F.G.R. Sales, his predecessor-in-interest and the original developer of the Subdivision. For more than 30 years, the facility was continuously used as the residents sole source of water. The Civil Code provides that continuous and apparent easements are acquired either by virtue of a title or by prescription of 10 years. It is therefore clear that an easement of water facility has already been acquired through prescription. XXX In this case, Spouses Liwag were aware of the existence of the easement of water facility when Marcelo sold Lot 11, Block 5 to them. Hermogenes even executed an Affidavit dated 10 August 1982 attesting to the sufficiency of the water supply coming from an electrically operated water pump in the Subdivision. It is undisputed that the water facility in question was their only water source during that time. As residents of the Subdivision, they had even benefited for almost 30 years from its existence. Therefore, petitioner cannot be shielded by the principle of indefeasibility and conclusiveness of title, as she was not an innocent purchaser in good faith and for value.

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PEREZ v. MADRONA G.R. No. 184478 March 21, 2012 Subject: Property Topic: Nuisance

FACTS: The spouses Fortunito Madrona and Yolanda Pante built a house on their lot and enclosed it with a concrete fence and steel gate. The spouses received the following letter from Perez, Chief of the Marikina Demolition Office, stating that the construction of the concrete fence and steel gate violated the National Building Code, Programa sa Kalinisan at Disiplina sa Bangketa, and R.A. 917 as amended by Section 23, P.D. No. 17, DO No. 4 Series of 1987. The spouses were given 7 days from receipt of the letter to voluntarily remove the concrete fence and steel gate allegedly protruding the sidewalk. Madrona sent petitioner a letter dated June 8, 1999 stating that the May 25, 1999 letter contained an accusation of a libelous nature as it is condemning him and his property without due process and that Perez has no basis and authority since there is no court order authorizing him to demolish their structure. Madrona also stated that the cited legal bases do not expressly give Perez any authority to demolish. Finally, Madrona claims that the citation was false since their fence did not in fact extend to the sidewalk. More than a year later or on February 28, 2001, Perez sent another letter with the same contents as the May 25, 1999 letter but this time giving respondents 10 days from receipt thereof to remove the structure allegedly protruding to the sidewalk. This prompted respondents to file for an injunction before the Marikina City RTC on March 12, 2001. The RTC held that respondents, being lawful owners of the subject property, are entitled to the peaceful and open possession of every inch of their property and petitioners threat to demolish the concrete fence around their property is tantamount to a violation of their rights as property owners who are entitled to protection under the Constitution and laws. The RTC also ruled that there is no showing that respondents fence is a nuisance per se and presents an immediate danger to the communitys welfare, nor is there basis for petitioners claim that the fence has encroached on the sidewalk as to justify its summary demolition.

ISSUE: Can Madronas fence be considered a nuisance per se and thus abated without need of judicial authority?

HELD: No. Respondents fence is not a nuisance per se. By its nature, it is not injurious to the health or comfort of the community. It was built primarily to secure the property of respondents and prevent intruders from entering it. And as correctly pointed out by respondents, the sidewalk still exists. If petitioner believes that respondents fence indeed encroaches on the sidewalk, it may be so proven in a hearing conducted for that purpose. Not being a nuisance per se, but at most a nuisance per accidens, its summary abatement without judicial intervention is unwarranted.

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MERCADO v. ESPINOCILLA G.R. No. 184109 February 1, 2012 Subject: Property Topic: Prescription

FACTS: Doroteo Espinocilla owned a parcel of land in Sorsogon. After he died, his five children, Salvacion, Aspren, Isabel, Macario, and Dionisia divided Lot No. 552 equally among themselves. Later, Dionisia died without issue ahead of her four siblings, and Macario took possession of Dionisias share. In an affidavit of transfer of real property dated November 1, 1948, Macario claimed that Dionisia had donated her share to him in May 1945. On August 9, 1977, Macario and his daughters Betty Gullaba and Saida Gabelo sold 225 sq. m. to his son Roger Espinocilla, husband of respondent Belen Espinocilla and father of respondent Ferdinand Espinocilla. On March 8, 1985, Roger Espinocilla sold 114 sq. m. to Caridad Atienza. Per actual survey of the lot, respondent Belen Espinocilla occupies 109 sq. m., Caridad Atienza occupies 120 sq. m., Caroline Yu occupies 209 sq. m., and petitioner, Salvacion's son, occupies 132 sq. m. Petitioner Celerino Mercado sued the respondents Espinocilla, alleging encroachment by the respondents on 39 sq. m. of his property that he claims must be returned to him. He avers that he is entitled to own and possess 171 sq. m. of Lot No. 552, having inherited 142.5 sq. m. from his mother Salvacion and bought 28.5 sq. m. from his aunt Aspren. According to him, his mothers inheritance is 142.5 sq. m., that is, 114 sq. m. from Doroteo plus 28.5 sq. m. from Dionisia. Since the area he occupies is only 132 sq. m., he claims that respondents encroach on his share by 39 sq. m. Respondents Espinocillo agree that Doroteos five children each inherited 114 sq. m. of Lot No. 552. However, Macarios share increased when he received Dionisias share. Macarios increased share was then sold to his son Roger, respondents husband and father. Respondents claim that they rightfully possess the land they occupy by virtue of acquisitive prescription and that there is no basis for petitioners claim of encroachment.

ISSUE: Is Celerino's action to recover the subject portion barred by prescription?

HELD: Yes. Prescription, as a mode of acquiring ownership and other real rights over immovable property, is concerned with lapse of time in the manner and under conditions laid down by law, namely, that the possession should be in the concept of an owner, public, peaceful, uninterrupted, and adverse. Acquisitive prescription of real rights may be ordinary or extraordinary. Ordinary acquisitive prescription requires possession in good faith and with just title for 10 years. In extraordinary prescription, ownership and other real rights over immovable property are acquired through uninterrupted adverse possession for 30 years without need of title or of good faith. Here, petitioner himself admits the adverse nature of respondents possession with his assertion that Macarios fraudulent acquisition of Dionisias share created a constructive trust. In a constructive trust, there is neither a promise nor any fiduciary relation to speak of and the so-called trustee (Macario) neither accepts any trust nor intends holding the property for the beneficiary (Salvacion, Aspren, Isabel). The relation of trustee and cestui que trust does not in fact exist, and the holding of a constructive trust is for the trustee himself, and therefore, at all times adverse. Prescription may supervene even if the trustee does not repudiate the relationship.

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Then, too, respondents uninterrupted adverse possession for 55 years of 109 sq. m. of Lot No. 552 was established. Macario occupied Dionisias share in 1945 although his claim that Dionisia donated it to him in 1945 was only made in a 1948 affidavit. We also agree with the CA that Macarios possession of Dionisias share was public and adverse since his other co-owners, his three other sisters, also occupied portions of Lot No. 552. Indeed, the 1977 sale made by Macario and his two daughters in favor of his son Roger confirms the adverse nature of Macarios possession because said sale of 225 sq. m.[23] was an act of ownership over Macarios original share and Dionisias share. In 1985, Roger also exercised an act of ownership when he sold 114 sq. m. to Caridad Atienza. It was only in the year 2000, upon receipt of the summons to answer petitioners complaint, that respondents peaceful possession of the remaining portion (109 sq. m.) was interrupted. By then, however, extraordinary acquisitive prescription has already set in in favor of respondents. That the RTC found Macarios 1948 affidavit void is of no moment. Extraordinary prescription is unconcerned with Macarios title or good faith. Accordingly, the RTC erred in ruling that Macario cannot acquire by prescription the shares of Salvacion, Aspren, and Isabel, in Dionisias 114-sq. m. share from Lot No. 552. Moreover, the CA correctly dismissed petitioners complaint as an action for reconveyance based on an implied or constructive trust prescribes in 10 years from the time the right of action accrues. This is the other kind of prescription under the Civil Code, called extinctive prescription, where rights and actions are lost by the lapse of time.[25] Petitioners action for recovery of possession having been filed 55 years after Macario occupied Dionisias share, it is also barred by extinctive prescription. The CA while condemning Macarios fraudulent act of depriving his three sisters of their shares in Dionisias share, equally emphasized the fact that Macarios sisters wasted their opportunity to question his acts.

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