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G.R. No. 124320.

March 2, 1999
Petitioners claim that they are the legal heirs of the late Guido and Isabel Yaptinchay, the owners-
claimants of Lot No. 111 with an area of !"#,$% and Lot No. 11" with an area of &$,"! s'uare
meters, more or less situated in (armona, (a)ite. *n +arch 1,, 1&&-, petitioners e.ecuted an /.tra-
0udicial 1ettlement of the estate of the deceased Guido and Isabel Yaptinchay. *n 2ugust "$, 1&&-,
petitioners disco)ered that a portion, if not all, of the aforesaid properties were titled in the name of
respondent Golden 3ay 4ealty and 5e)elopment (orporation 67Golden 3ay89 under :(: ""!"!- and
""!"!!. ;ith the disco)ery of what happened to sub<ect parcels of land, petitioners filed a complaint for
2NN=L+/N: and>or 5/(L242:I*N *? N=LLI:Y *? :(: N*. -&$, -&$-, -&$$!, -&$$,
-&$,@ and its 5eri)ati)es@ 2s 2lternati)e 4econ)eyance of 4ealty ;I:A 2 P42Y/4 ?*4 2 ;4I:
*? P4/LI+IN24Y IN0=N(:I*N and>or 4/1:42INING *45/4 ;I:A 52+2G/1, docBeted as
4:( 3(C-&--1", before 3ranch "1 of the 4egional :rial (ourt in Imus, (a)ite.
=pon learning that 7Golden 3ay8 sold portions of the parcels of land in 'uestion, petitioners filed with
the 74:(8 an 2mended (omplaint to implead new and additional defendants and to mention the :(:s to
be annulled. "#$ $h% r%&'o()%($ co#r$ )*&+*&&%) $h% A+%()%) Co+',a*($. Petitioners mo)ed for
reconsideration of the *rder dismissing the 2mended (omplaint. :he motion was granted by the 4:( in
an *rder dated 0uly ,, 1&&!, which further allowed the herein petitioners to file a 1econd 2mended
(omplaint, which they promptly did. *n 2ugust 1", 1&&!, the pri)ate respondents presented a +otion to
5ismiss on the grounds that the complaint failed to state a cause of action, that plaintiffs did not ha)e a
right of action, $ha$ $h%- ha.% (o$ %&$a/,*&h%) $h%*r &$a$#& a& h%*r&, that the land being claimed is
different from that of the defendants, and that plaintiffsD claim was barred by laches. :he said +otion to
5ismiss was granted by the respondent court in its *rder dated *ctober "!, 1&&!, holding that '%$*$*o(%r&
0ha.% (o$ &ho1( a(- 'roo2 or %.%( a &%+/,a(c% o2 *$ 3 %4c%'$ $h% a,,%5a$*o(& $ha$ $h%- ar% $h% ,%5a,
h%*r& o2 $h% a/o.%3(a+%) Ya'$*(cha-& - that they ha)e been declared the legal heirs of the deceased
Petitioners interposed a +otion for 4econsideration but to no a)ail. :he same was denied by the 4:(.
=ndaunted, petitioners ha)e come before this (ourt to seeB relief from respondent courtDs *rders under
attacB. Petitioners contend that the respondent court acted with gra)e abuse of discretion in ruling that
the issue of heirship should first be determined before trial of the case could proceed. It is petitionersD
submission that the respondent court should ha)e proceeded with the trial and simultaneously resol)ed
the issue of heirship in the same case.
I11=/E ;>N the trial court can maBe a declaration of heirship in the ci)il action filed by the petitioners
considering that the petitioners are the legal heirs of the late Guido and Isabel Yaptinchay
A/L5E No, the trial court cannot maBe a declaration of heirship in the ci)il action for the reason that such
a declaration can only be made in a special proceeding. =nder 1ection , 4ule 1 of the 1&&, 4e)ised
4ules of (ourt, a ci)il action is defined as 7one by which a party sues another for the enforcement or
protection of a right, or the pre)ention or redress of a wrong8 while a special proceeding is 7a remedy by
which a party seeBs to establish a status, a right, or a particular fact.8 I$ *& $h%( )%c*&*.%,- c,%ar $ha$ $h%
)%c,ara$*o( o2 h%*r&h*' ca( /% +a)% o(,- *( a &'%c*a, 'roc%%)*(5 *(a&+#ch a& $h% '%$*$*o(%r& h%r%
ar% &%%6*(5 $h% %&$a/,*&h+%($ o2 a &$a$#& or r*5h$.
:he plaintiffs who claimed to be the legal heirs of the said Guido and Isabel Yaptinchay ha)e not shown
any proof or e)en a semblance of it - e.cept the allegations that they are the legal heirs of the
aforementioned Yaptinchays - that they ha)e been declared the legal heirs of the deceased couple. Now,
the determination of who are the legal heirs of the deceased couple must be made in the proper special
proceedings in court, and not in an ordinary suit for recon)eyance of property. Th*& +#&$ $a6%
'r%c%)%(c% o.%r $h% ac$*o( 2or r%co(.%-a(c%.
FIn Litam, et al. ). 4i)era, 1## Phil. $-, where despite the pendency of the special proceedings for the
settlement of the intestate estate of the deceased 4afael Litam, the plaintiffs-appellants filed a ci)il action
in which they claimed that they were the children by a pre)ious marriage of the deceased to a (hinese
woman, hence, entitled to inherit his one-half share of the con<ugal properties ac'uired during his
marriage to +arcosa 4i)era, the trial court in the ci)il case declared that the plaintiffs-appellants were not
children of the deceased, that the properties in 'uestion were paraphernal properties of his wife, +arcosa
4i)era, and that the latter was his only heir. *n appeal to this (ourt, we ruled that G&#ch )%c,ara$*o(&
7$ha$ Marco&a R*.%ra 1a& $h% o(,- h%*r o2 $h% )%c%)%($8 *& *+'ro'%r, *( C*.*, Ca&%, it being within
the exclusive competence of the court in Special Proceedings , *( 1h*ch *$ *& (o$ a& -%$, *( *&&#%, a(),
1*,, (o$ /%, or)*(ar*,-, *( *&&#% #($*, $h% 'r%&%($a$*o( o2 $h% 'ro9%c$ o2 'ar$*$*o(.D