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G.R.No.202370.September23,2013.

JUAN SEVILLA SALAS, JR., petitioner, vs. EDEN


VILLENAAGUILA,respondent.
Remedial Law; Civil Procedure; Intervention; The Rules of
Court provide that only a person who has a legal interest in the
matter in litigation, or in the success of either of the parties, or an
interest against both, or is so situated as to be adversely affected by
a distribution or other disposition of property in the custody of the
court or of an officer thereof may, with leave of court, be allowed to
intervene in the action.Considering that Rubina failed to prove
her title or her legal interest in the Discovered Properties, she has
no right to intervene in this case. The Rules of Court provide that
onlyapersonwhohasalegalinterestinthematterinlitigation,or
inthesuccessofeitheroftheparties,oraninterestagainstboth,or
is so situated as to be adversely affected by a distribution or other
disposition of property in the custody of the court or of an officer
thereof may, with leave of court, be allowed to intervene in the
action.
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*SECONDDIVISION.

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Salas, Jr. vs. Aguila

Civil Law; Husband and Wife; Property Relations; Article 147


of the Family Code applies to the union of parties who are legally
capacitated and not barred by any impediment to contract
marriage, but whose marriage is nonetheless declared void under
Article 36 of the Family Code.In Dio v. Dio, 640 SCRA 178
(2011), we held that Article 147 of the Family Code applies to the
unionofpartieswhoarelegallycapacitatedandnotbarredbyany
impedimenttocontractmarriage,butwhosemarriageisnonetheless
declaredvoidunderArticle36oftheFamilyCode.xxxUnderthis
property regime, property acquired during the marriage is prima
facie presumed to have been obtained through the couples joint
efforts and governed by the rules on coownership. In the present
case,Salasdidnotrebutthispresumption.Inasimilarcasewhere
thegroundfornullityofmarriagewasalsopsychologicalincapacity,
weheldthatthepropertiesacquiredduringtheunionoftheparties,
as found by both the RTC and the CA, would be governed by co
ownership.Accordingly,thepartitionoftheDiscoveredPropertiesas
ordered by the RTC and the CA should be sustained, but on the
basisofcoownershipandnotontheregimeofconjugalpartnership
ofgains.

PETITION for review on certiorari of the decision and


resolutionoftheCourtofAppeals.
ThefactsarestatedintheopinionoftheCourt.
Oliver C. Ongforpetitioner.
Edwin P. Sulit forrespondent.
CARPIO,J.:
The Case
This petition for review on certiorari1 assails the 16
March2012Decision2andthe28June2012Resolution3of
theCourt
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1UnderRule45ofthe1997RulesofCivilProcedure.
2Rollo,pp.1021.PennedbyAssociateJusticeRomeoF.Barzawith
AssociateJusticesNoelG.TijamandEdwinD.Sorongon,concurring.
3Id.,atpp.3132.
254

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SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATED
Salas, Jr. vs. Aguila

ofAppeals(CA)inCAG.R.CVNo.95322.TheCAaffirmed
the26September2008Order4oftheRegionalTrialCourtof
Nasugbu, Batangas, Branch 14 (RTC), in Civil Case No.
787.
The Facts
On7September1985,petitionerJuanSevillaSalas,Jr.
(Salas) and respondent Eden Villena Aguila (Aguila) were
married. On 7 June 1986, Aguila gave birth to their
daughter, Joan Jiselle. Five months later, Salas left their
conjugal dwelling. Since then, he no longer communicated
withAguilaortheirdaughter.
On7October2003,AguilafiledaPetitionforDeclaration
of Nullity of Marriage (petition) citing psychological
incapacityunderArticle36oftheFamilyCode.Thepetition
statesthattheyhavenoconjugalpropertieswhatsoever.5
In the Return of Summons dated 13 October 2003, the
sheriff narrated that Salas instructed his mother Luisa
Salastoreceivethecopyofsummonsandthepetition.6
On7May2007,theRTCrenderedaDecision7declaring
the nullity of the marriage of Salas and Aguila (RTC
Decision). The RTC Decision further provides for the
dissolutionoftheirconjugalpartnershipofgains,ifany.8
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4Id.,atpp.7787.PennedbyJudgeWilfredoDeJoyaMayor.
5Id.,atp.59.
6Records,p.9.
7Rollo,pp.6170.PennedbyJudgeElihuA.Ibaez.
8Id.,atp.70.Thedispositiveportionreads:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered
DECLARINGTHENULLITYofthemarriageofpetitionerEdenVillena
Aguila Salas and respondent Juan Sevilla Salas, Jr. which was
celebrated on September 7, 1985 and the DISSOLUTION of their

conjugalpartnershipofgains,ifany.
SOORDERED.
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Salas, Jr. vs. Aguila


On10September2007,AguilafiledaManifestationand
Motion9 stating that she discovered: (a) two 200square
meter parcels of land with improvements located in San
Bartolome,QuezonCity,coveredbyTransferCertificateof
Title(TCT)No.N259299AandTCTNo.N255497;and(b)
a108squaremeterparceloflandwithimprovementlocated
inTondo,Manila,coveredbyTCTNo.243373(collectively,
Discovered Properties). The registered owner of the
DiscoveredPropertiesisJuanS.Salas,marriedtoRubina
C. Salas. The manifestation was set for hearing on 21
September 2007. However, Salas notice of hearing was
returned unserved with the remark, RTS Refused To
Receive.
On19September2007,SalasfiledaManifestationwith
EntryofAppearance10requestingforanEntryofJudgment
oftheRTCDecisionsincenomotionforreconsiderationor
appealwasfiledandnoconjugalpropertywasinvolved.
On 21 September 2007, the hearing for Aguilas
manifestation ensued, with Aguila, her counsel and the
state prosecutor present. During the hearing, Aguila
testifiedthaton17April2007someoneinformedherofthe
existence of the Discovered Properties. Thereafter, she
verified the information and secured copies of TCTs of the
Discovered Properties. When asked to clarify, Aguila
testified that Rubina C. Salas (Rubina) is Salas common
lawwife.11
On 8 February 2008, Salas filed an Opposition to the
Manifestation12allegingthatthereisnoconjugalproperty
to be partitioned based on Aguilas petition. According to
Salas,Aguilasstatementwasajudicialadmissionandwas
not made through palpable mistake. Salas claimed that
AguilawaivedherrighttotheDiscoveredProperties.Salas
likewiseenumeratedpropertiesheallegedlywaivedinfavor
ofAguila,
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9Id.,atpp.7172.
10Records,pp.188189.
11Id.,atp.174.TSN,21September2007,p.7.
12Rollo,pp.7376.
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SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATED
Salas, Jr. vs. Aguila

to wit: (1) parcels of land with improvements located in


SugarLandingSubdivision,Alangilan,BatangasCity;No.
176BriasStreet,Nasugbu,Batangas;P.SamaniegoStreet,

Silangan,Nasugbu,Batangas;andBatangasCity,financed
by Filinvest; (2) cash amounting to P200,000.00; and (3)
motor vehicles, specifically Honda City and Toyota
Tamaraw FX (collectively, Waived Properties). Thus,
Salas contended that the conjugal properties were deemed
partitioned.
The Ruling of the Regional Trial Court
Inits26September2008Order,theRTCruledinfavor
ofAguila.ThedispositiveportionoftheOrderreads:
WHEREFORE, foregoing premises being considered, the
petitionerandtherespondentareherebydirectedtopartition
betweenthemselvesbyproperinstrumentsofconveyance,the
followingproperties,withoutprejudicetothelegitimeoftheir
legitimatechild,JoanJisselleAguilaSalas:
(1)AparceloflandregisteredinthenameofJuan
S. Salas married to Rubina C. Salas located in San
Bartolome, Quezon City and covered by TCT No. N
259299AmarkedasExhibitAanditsimprovements;
(2)AparceloflandregisteredinthenameofJuan
S. Salas married to Rubina C. Salas located in San
Bartolome, Quezon City and covered by TCT No. N
255497markedasExhibitBanditsimprovements;
(3)AparceloflandregisteredinthenameofJuan
S. Salas married to Rubina Cortez Salas located in
TondoandcoveredbyTCTNo.243373Ind.markedas
ExhibitDanditsimprovements.
Thereafter,theCourtshallconfirmthepartitionsoagreed
upon by the parties, and such partition, together with the
OrderoftheCourtconfirmingthesame,shallbe
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Salas, Jr. vs. Aguila


recorded in the Registry of Deeds of the place in which the
propertyissituated.
SOORDERED.13

The RTC held that pursuant to the Rules,14 even upon


entryofjudgmentgrantingtheannulmentofmarriage,the
court can proceed with the liquidation, partition and
distributionoftheconjugalpartnershipofgainsifithasnot
beenjudiciallyadjudicatedupon,asinthiscase.TheRTC
found that the Discovered Properties are among the
conjugal properties to be partitioned and distributed
between Salas and Aguila. However, the RTC held that
SalasfailedtoprovetheexistenceoftheWaivedProperties.
On 11 November 2008, Rubina filed a Complaintin
Intervention, claiming that: (1) she is Rubina Cortez, a
widowandunmarriedtoSalas;(2)theDiscoveredProperties
areherparaphernalproperties;(3)Salasdidnotcontribute
moneytopurchasetheDiscoveredPropertiesashehadno
permanent job in Japan; (4) the RTC did not acquire
jurisdictionoverherasshewasnotapartyinthecase;and
(5) she authorized her brother to purchase the Discovered
Properties but because he was not wellversed with legal
documentation,heregisteredthepropertiesinthenameof

JuanS.Salas,marriedtoRubinaC.Salas.
In its 16 December 2009 Order, the RTC denied the
Motion for Reconsideration filed by Salas. The RTC found
that Salas failed to prove his allegation that Aguila
transferred the Waived Properties to third persons. The
RTCemphasizedthatitcannotgobeyondtheTCTs,which
state that Salas is the registered owner of the Discovered
Properties.TheRTC
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13Id.,atp.87.
14 Rule on Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void Marriages and
AnnulmentofVoidableMarriages(A.M.No.021110SC),Section21.
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SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATED
Salas, Jr. vs. Aguila

furtherheldthatSalasandRubinawereatfaultforfailing
to correct the TCTs, if they were not married as they
claimed.
Hence,SalasfiledanappealwiththeCA.
The Ruling of the Court of Appeals
On 16 March 2012, the CA affirmed the order of the
RTC.15TheCAruledthatAguilasstatementinherpetition
is not a judicial admission. The CA pointed out that the
petitionwasfiledon7October2003,butAguilafoundthe
Discovered Properties only on 17 April 2007 or before the
promulgationoftheRTCdecision.Thus,theCAconcluded
that Aguila was palpably mistaken in her petition and it
wouldbeunfairtopunishheroveramatterthatshehadno
knowledgeofatthetimeshemadetheadmission.TheCA
alsoruledthatSalaswasnotdeprivedoftheopportunityto
refute Aguilas allegations in her manifestation, even
thoughhewasnotpresentinitshearing.TheCAlikewise
held that Rubina cannot collaterally attack a certificate of
title.
InaResolutiondated28June2012,16theCAdeniedthe
Motion for Reconsideration17 filed by Salas. Hence, this
petition.
The Issues
Salasseeksareversalandraisesthefollowingissuesfor
resolution:
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15Rollo,pp.2021.ThedispositiveportionoftheDecisionreads:
WHEREFORE,inlightoftheforegoing,theinstantappealishereby
DENIEDforlackofmerit.Theappealedordersofthelowercourtdated
September26,2008andDecember16,2009areherebyAFFIRMED.
SOORDERED.
16Id.,atpp.3132.
17Id.,atpp.2229.
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Salas, Jr. vs. Aguila


1.The Court of Appeals erred in affirming the trial courts
decision ordering the partition of the parcels of land covered
byTCTNos.N
259299AandN255497inQuezonCityand
aswellasthepropertyinManilacoveredbyTCTNo.243373
betweenpetitionerandrespondent.
2.The Court of Appeals erred in affirming the trial courts
decisioninnotallowingRubinaC.Corteztointerveneinthis
case18

The Ruling of the Court


Thepetitionlacksmerit.
Since the original manifestation was an action for
partition,thisCourtcannotorderadivisionoftheproperty,
unlessitfirstmakesadeterminationastotheexistenceofa
coownership.19 Thus, the settlement of the issue of
ownershipisthefirststageinthisaction.20
Basicistherulethatthepartymakinganallegationina
civilcasehastheburdenofprovingitbyapreponderanceof
evidence.21 Salas alleged that contrary to Aguilas petition
stating that they had no conjugal property, they actually
acquired the Waived Properties during their marriage.
However, the RTC found, and the CA affirmed, that Salas
failedtoprovetheexistenceandacquisitionoftheWaived
Propertiesduringtheirmarriage:
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18Id.,atpp.4445.
19 Lacbayan v. Samoy, Jr., G.R. No. 165427, 21 March 2011, 645
SCRA 677; Ocampo v. Ocampo, 471 Phil. 519; 427 SCRA 545 (2004)
citing Heirs of Velasquez v. Court of Appeals, 382 Phil. 438; 325 SCRA
552 (2000) and Catapusan v. Court of Appeals, 332 Phil. 586; 264 SCRA
534(1996).
20Id.
21RulesofCourt,Rule133,Sec.1.
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SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATED
Salas, Jr. vs. Aguila
A perusal of the record shows that the documents
submitted by [Salas] as the properties allegedly registered in
thenameof[Aguila]aremerelyphotocopiesandnotcertified
true copies, hence, this Court cannot admit the same as part
oftherecordsofthiscase.Thesearethefollowing:
(1)TCT No. T65876 a parcel of land located at
Poblacion, Nasugbu, Batangas, registered in the name
of Eden A. Salas, married to Juan Salas Jr. which is
cancelled by TCT No. T
105443 in the name of Joan
JiselleA.Salas,single;
(2)TCTNo.T68066aparceloflandsituatedin
the Barrio of Landing, Nasugbu, Batangas, registered
inthenameofEdenA.Salas,marriedtoJuanS.Salas
Jr.
Moreover,[Aguila]submittedoriginalcopyofCertification
issued by Ms. Erlinda A. Dasal, Municipal Assessor of

Nasugbu, Batangas, certifying that [Aguila] has no real


property (land and improvement) listed in the Assessment
Roll for taxation purposes, as of September 17, 2008. Such
evidence, in the absence of proof to the contrary, has the
presumptionofregularity.xxx.
Sufficeittosaythatsuchrealpropertiesareexistingand
registeredinthenameof[Aguila],certifiedtruecopiesthereof
shouldhavebeentheonessubmittedtothisCourt.Moreover,
there is also a presumption that properties registered in the
RegistryofDeedsarealsodeclaredintheAssessmentRollfor
taxationpurposes.22

On the other hand, Aguila proved that the Discovered


Properties were acquired by Salas during their marriage.
Both the RTC and the CA agreed that the Discovered
Properties registered in Salas name were acquired during
his marriage with Aguila. The TCTs of the Discovered
Propertieswereenteredon2July1999and29September
2003,ordur
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22Rollo,pp.8586.
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Salas, Jr. vs. Aguila


ing the validity of Salas and Aguilas marriage. In
Villanueva v. Court of Appeals,23weheldthatthequestion
of whether the properties were acquired during the
marriage is a factual issue. Factual findings of the RTC,
particularlyifaffirmedbytheCA,arebindingonus,except
undercompellingcircumstancesnotpresentinthiscase.24
OnSalasallegationthathewasnotaccordeddueprocess
for failing to attend the hearing of Aguilas manifestation,
wefindtheallegationuntenable.Theessenceofdueprocess
is opportunity to be heard. We hold that Salas was given
such opportunity when he filed his opposition to the
manifestation,submittedevidenceandfiledhisappeal.
OnbothSalasandRubinascontentionthatRubinaowns
the Discovered Properties, we likewise find the contention
unmeritorious.TheTCTsstatethatJuanS.Salas,married
to Rubina C. Salas is the registered owner of the
Discovered Properties. A Torrens title is generally a
conclusiveevidenceoftheownershipofthelandreferredto,
because there is a strong presumption that it is valid and
regularly issued.25 The phrase married to is merely
descriptive of the civil status of the registered owner.26
Furthermore,Salasdidnotinitiallydisputetheownership
of the Discovered Properties in his opposition to the
manifestation. It was only when Rubina intervened that
Salas supported Rubinas statement that she owns the
DiscoveredProperties.
ConsideringthatRubinafailedtoprovehertitleorher
legalinterestintheDiscoveredProperties,shehasnoright
to intervene in this case. The Rules of Court provide that
onlya

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23471Phil.394;427SCRA439(2004).
24 Land Bank of the Philippines v. Poblete, G.R. No. 196577, 25
February2013,691SCRA613citingMontecillo v. Reynes,434Phil.456;
385SCRA244(2002).
25Rodriguez v. Court of Appeals,G.R.No.184589,13June2013,698
SCRA352.
26 De Leon v. Rehabilitation Finance Corp., 146 Phil. 862; 36 SCRA
289(1970)citingLitam v. Espiritu,100Phil.364(1956).
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SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATED
Salas, Jr. vs. Aguila

personwhohasalegalinterestinthematterinlitigation,or
inthesuccessofeitheroftheparties,oraninterestagainst
both, or is so situated as to be adversely affected by a
distributionorotherdispositionofpropertyinthecustodyof
thecourtorofanofficerthereofmay,withleaveofcourt,be
allowedtointerveneintheaction.27
InDio v. Dio,28weheldthatArticle147oftheFamily
Code applies to the union of parties who are legally
capacitated and not barred by any impediment to contract
marriage,butwhosemarriageisnonethelessdeclaredvoid
underArticle36oftheFamilyCode,asinthiscase.Article
147oftheFamilyCodeprovides:
ART.147.When a man and a woman who are
capacitated to marry each other, live exclusively with each
otherashusbandandwifewithoutthebenefitofmarriageor
under a void marriage, their wages and salaries shall be
ownedbytheminequalsharesandthe property acquired
by both of them through their work or industry shall
be governed by the rules on coownership.
In the absence of proof to the contrary, properties
acquired while they lived together shall be presumed
to have been obtained by their joint efforts, work or
industry, and shall be owned by them in equal shares.
ForpurposesofthisArticle,apartywhodidnotparticipatein
the acquisition by the other party of any property shall be
deemed to have contributed jointly in the acquisition thereof
if the formers efforts consisted in the care and maintenance
ofthefamilyandofthehousehold.
Neitherparty can encumber or dispose by acts inter vivos
of his or her share in the property acquired during
cohabitationandownedincommon,withouttheconsent
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27RULESOF COURT ,Rule19,Sec.1.
28G.R.No.178044,19January2011,640SCRA178citingMercadoFehr v.
Bruno Fehr,460Phil.445;414SCRA288(2003).
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oftheother,untilaftertheterminationoftheircohabitation.
Whenonlyoneofthepartiestoavoidmarriageisingood
faith,theshareofthepartyinbadfaithinthecoownership
shallbeforfeitedinfavoroftheircommonchildren.Incaseof
default of or waiver by any or all of the common children or
their descendants, each vacant share shall belong to the
respective surviving descendants. In the absence of
descendants,suchshareshallbelongtotheinnocentparty.In
all cases, the forfeiture shall take place upon termination of
thecohabitation.(Emphasissupplied)

Under this property regime, property acquired during


themarriageisprima faciepresumedtohavebeenobtained
throughthecouplesjointeffortsandgovernedbytherules
oncoownership.29Inthepresentcase,Salasdidnotrebut
this presumption. In a similar case where the ground for
nullity of marriage was also psychological incapacity, we
held that the properties acquired during the union of the
parties, as found by both the RTC and the CA, would be
governed by coownership.30 Accordingly, the partition of
the Discovered Properties as ordered by the RTC and the
CA should be sustained, but on the basis of coownership
andnotontheregimeofconjugalpartnershipofgains.
WHEREFORE, we DENY the petition. We AFFIRM
theDecisiondated16March2012andtheResolutiondated
28 June 2012 of the Court of Appeals in CAG.R. CV No.
95322.
SO ORDERED.
Brion, Del Castillo, Perez and PerlasBernabe, JJ.,
concur.
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29 Valdes v. RTC, Branch 102, Quezon City, 328 Phil. 1289; 260
SCRA221(1996).
30 Buenaventura v. Court of Appeals, 494 Phil. 264; 454 SCRA 261
(2005).

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SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATED
Salas, Jr. vs. Aguila

Petition denied, judgment and resolution affirmed.


Notes.Acourtspowertoallowordenyinterventionis
circumscribed by the basic demand of sound judicial
procedure that only a person with interest in an action or
proceeding may be allowed to intervene. (Aonuevo vs.
Intestate Estate of Rodolfo G. Jalandoni, 636 SCRA 420
[2010])
Intervention is a remedy by which a third party, not
originallyimpleadedintheproceedings,becomesalitigant
thereintoenablehim,herorittoprotectorpreservearight
or interest which may be affected by such proceedings.
(MactanCebu International Airport Authority vs. Heirs of
Estanislao Mioza,641SCRA520[2011])

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