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Republic of the Philippines

SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. L-4963 January 29, 1953
MARA USON, plaintiff-appellee,
vs.
MARA !EL ROSARO, CONCEPCON NE"RE!A, CONRA!O NE"RE!A,
!OMNA!OR NE"RE!A, AN! #AUSTNO NE"RE!A, Jr., defendants-appellants.
Priscilo Evangelista for appellee.
Brigido G. Estrada for appellant.
"AUTSTA ANGELO, J.$
This is an action for recovery of the onership and possession of five !"# parcels of land situated
in the Municipality of $abrador, Province of Pan%asinan, filed by Maria &son a%ainst Maria del
Rosario and her four children na'ed Concepcion, Conrado, (o'inador, and )austino, surna'ed
Nebreda, ho are all of 'inor a%e, before the Court of )irst *nstance of Pan%asinan.
Maria &son as the laful ife of )austino Nebreda ho upon his death in +,-" left the lands
involved in this liti%ation. )austino Nebreda left no other heir e.cept his ido Maria &son.
/oever, plaintiff clai's that hen )austino Nebreda died in +,-", his co''on-la ife Maria
del Rosario too0 possession ille%ally of said lands thus deprivin% her of their possession and
en1oy'ent.
(efendants in their anser set up as special defense that on )ebruary 2+, +,3+, Maria &son and
her husband, the late )austino Nebreda, e.ecuted a public docu'ent hereby they a%reed to
separate as husband and ife and, in consideration of their separation, Maria &son as %iven a
parcel of land by ay of ali'ony and in return she renounced her ri%ht to inherit any other
property that 'ay be left by her husband upon his death !E.hibit +#.
After trial, at hich both parties presented their respective evidence, the court rendered decision
orderin% the defendants to restore to the plaintiff the onership and possession of the lands in
dispute ithout special pronounce'ent as to costs. (efendants interposed the present appeal.
There is no dispute that Maria &son, plaintiff-appellee, is the laful ife of )austino Nebreda,
for'er oner of the five parcels of lands liti%ated in the present case. There is li0eise no
dispute that Maria del Rosario, one of the defendants-appellants, as 'erely a co''on-la ife
of the late )austino Nebreda ith ho' she had four ille%iti'ate children, her no co-
defendants. *t li0eise appears that )austino Nebreda died in +,-" 'uch prior to the effectivity
of the ne Civil Code. 4ith this bac0%round, it is evident that hen )austino Nebreda died in
+,-" the five parcels of land he as sei5ed of at the ti'e passed fro' the 'o'ent of his death to
his only heir, his ido Maria &son !Article 6"7, old Civil Code#.As this Court aptly said, 8The
property belon%s to the heirs at the 'o'ent of the death of the ancestor as co'pletely as if the
ancestor had e.ecuted and delivered to the' a deed for the sa'e before his death8 !*lustre vs.
Alaras )rondosa, +7 Phil., 32+#. )ro' that 'o'ent, therefore, the ri%hts of inheritance of Maria
&son over the lands in 9uestion beca'e vested.
The clai' of the defendants that Maria &son had relin9uished her ri%ht over the lands in 9uestion
because she e.pressly renounced to inherit any future property that her husband 'ay ac9uire and
leave upon his death in the deed of separation they had entered into on )ebruary 2+, +,3+, cannot
be entertained for the si'ple reason that future inheritance cannot be the sub1ect of a contract nor
can it be renounced !+ Manresa, +23, si.th edition: Tolentino on Civil Code, p. +2: ;sorio vs.
;sorio and <nchausti =tea'ship Co., -+ Phil., "3+#.
But defendants contend that, hile it is true that the four 'inor defendants are ille%iti'ate
children of the late )austino Nebreda and under the old Civil Code are not entitled to any
successional ri%hts, hoever, under the ne Civil Code hich beca'e in force in >une, +,"?,
they are %iven the status and ri%hts of natural children and are entitled to the successional ri%hts
hich the la accords to the latter !article 226- and article 2@7, ne Civil Code#, and because
these successional ri%hts ere declared for the first ti'e in the ne code, they shall be %iven
retroactive effect even thou%h the event hich %ave rise to the' 'ay have occurred under the
prior le%islation !Article 22"3, ne Civil Code#.
There is no 'erit in this clai'. Article 22"3 above referred to provides indeed that ri%hts hich
are declared for the first ti'e shall have retroactive effect even thou%h the event hich %ave rise
to the' 'ay have occurred under the for'er le%islation, but this is so only hen the ne ri%hts
do not pre1udice any vested or ac9uired ri%ht of the sa'e ori%in. Thus, said article provides that
8if a ri%ht should be declared for the first ti'e in this Code, it shall be effective at once, even
thou%h the act or event hich %ives rise thereto 'ay have been done or 'ay have occurred under
the prior le%islation, provided said ne ri%ht does not pre1udice or i'pair any vested or ac9uired
ri%ht, of the sa'e ori%in.8 As already stated in the early part of this decision, the ri%ht of
onership of Maria &son over the lands in 9uestion beca'e vested in +,-" upon the death of her
late husband and this is so because of the i'perative provision of the la hich co''ands that
the ri%hts to succession are trans'itted fro' the 'o'ent of death !Article 6"7, old Civil Code#.
The ne ri%ht reco%ni5ed by the ne Civil Code in favor of the ille%iti'ate children of the
deceased cannot, therefore, be asserted to the i'pair'ent of the vested ri%ht of Maria &son over
the lands in dispute.
As re%ards the clai' that Maria &son, hile her deceased husband as lyin% in state, in a
%esture of pity or co'passion, a%reed to assi%n the lands in 9uestion to the 'inor children for the
reason that they ere ac9uired hile the deceased as livin% ith their 'other and Maria &son
anted to assua%e so'ehat the ron% she has done to the', this 'uch can be said: apart fro'
the fact that this clai' is disputed, e are of the opinion that said assi%n'ent, if any, parta0es of
the nature of a donation of real property, inas'uch as it involves no 'aterial consideration, and
in order that it 'ay be valid it shall be 'ade in a public docu'ent and 'ust be accepted either in
the sa'e docu'ent or in a separate one !Article 633, old Civil Code#. *nas'uch as this essential
for'ality has not been folloed, it results that the alle%ed assi%n'ent or donation has no valid
effect.
4/ERE);RE, the decision appealed fro' is affir'ed, ithout costs.
Paras, C.J., Pablo, Bengzon, Padilla, Tuason, Montemayor, eyes, Jugo and !abrador, JJ.,
concur.
The $aphil Pro1ect - Arellano $a )oundation