G.R. No.

182839, June 02, 2014
PHILIPPINE NATIONAL BANK, Petitioner, v. JOSE GARCIA AND CHILDREN NORA GARCIA, JOSE GARCIA, JR.,
BOBBY GARCIA AND JIMMY GARCIA AND HEIRS OF ROGELIO GARCIA NAMELY: CELEDONIO GARCIA, DANILO
GARCIA, ELSA GARCIA, FERMIN GARCIA, HEHERSON GARCIA, GREGORIO GARCIA, IMELDA GARCIA AND
JANE GARCIA, Respondent.
DECISION
BRION, J.:
We resolve this petition for review on certiorari1 assailing the decision2 dated September 26, 2007 and the
resolution3 dated May 6, 2008 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CV No. 71356.
These challenged CA rulings reversed and set aside the decision of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 23, Roxas,
Isabela, dismissing Civil Case No. Branch 23-500-96 for lack of cause of action.
The Factual Background
The facts of the case, gathered from the records, are briefly summarized below.
The subject of the present case is a parcel of residential land with all its improvements (subject property) located in Barrio
Olango, Mallig, Isabela. The land is covered by Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. T-44422 under the name of Jose
Garcia Sr. (Jose Sr.) who acquired the subject property during his marriage with Ligaya Garcia. Ligaya died on January
21, 1987.
The marriage of Jose Sr. and Ligaya produced the following children: Nora, Jose Jr., Bobby and Jimmy, all surnamed
Garcia, who are the respondents in the present case.
Sometime in 1989, the spouses Rogelio and Celedonia Garcia (Spouses Garcia) obtained a loan facility from the
petitioner, Philippine National Bank (petitioner bank), initially for P150,000.00. The loan was secured by a Real Estate
Mortgage over their property covered by TCT No. 177585. The spouses Garcia increased their loan to P220,000.00 and
eventually to P600,000.00. As security for the increased loan, they offered their property covered by TCT No. 75324 and
the subject property covered by TCT No. T-44422.
Jose Sr. agreed to accommodate the spouses Garcia by offering the subject property as additional collateral security for
the latter’s increased loan. For this purpose, Jose Sr. executed Special Powers of Attorney (SPAs) dated April 14, 1992
and October 6, 1993, respectively, expressly authorizing the Spouses Garcia to apply for, borrow, or secure any loan from
the petitioner bank, and to convey and transfer the subject property by way of mortgage. Jose Sr. also executed an
Amendment of Real Estate Mortgage in favor of the petitioner bank. The SPAs and the Amendment of Real Estate
Mortgage are both inscribed on TCT No. T-44422. All of these transactions, however, were without the knowledge and
consent of Jose Sr.’s children.
On maturity of the loan on April 20, 1994, the spouses Garcia failed to pay their loan to the petitioner bank despite
repeated demands.
On January 12, 1996, the respondents filed before the RTC a Complaint for Nullity of the Amendment of Real Estate
Mortgage, Damages with Preliminary Injunction against the spouses Garcia and the petitioner bank. They claimed that
the Amendment of Real Estate Mortgage was null and void as to respondents Nora, Jose Jr., Bobby and Jimmy as they
were not parties to the contract.
The respondents alleged that the subject property was a conjugal property of Jose Sr. and his deceased spouse, Ligaya,
as they acquired the subject property during their marriage; that upon Ligaya’s death, Jose Sr., together with his children
Nora, Jose Jr., Bobby and Jimmy, by law, became owners pro indivisoof the subject property; that the petitioner bank was
at fault for not including Jose Sr. as payee to the check representing the loan despite its knowledge that Jose Sr. was a
signatory to the real estate mortgage; that the real estate mortgage executed by Jose Sr. could not bind his children as
they did not give their consent or approval to the encumbrance; and that the real estate mortgage was also void as to
Jose Sr. since he never benefitted from the loan.
In their answer, the Spouses Garcia alleged that Jose Sr. was indebted to them in the amount of P133,800.00. To settle
this indebtedness, Jose Sr. volunteered to give the subject property as additional security for their (the Garcias’) loan to
the petitioner bank.
The petitioner bank, on the other hand, claimed that the mortgage was made in good faith and for value, and maintained
that the respondents’ complaint stated no cause of action against it. It alleged that the real estate mortgage over the

1

properties was duly registered and inscribed on their titles and was thus binding on the whole world.
In the course of the proceedings, Nora, Jose Jr., Bobby and Jimmy executed an SPA dated May 31, 1996 authorizing
Jose Sr. to act as their attorney-in-fact during the pretrial of the case.
The Ruling of the RTC
The RTC dismissed the complaint for lack of cause of action. The court held that the subject property was a conjugal
property since it was acquired by Jose Sr. during his marriage with his now deceased wife. As a conjugal property, it is
presumed that upon the death of his spouse, one-half of the property passed on to Jose Sr., while the other half went to
Jose and his children as co-owners and as forced heirs of his deceased spouse. Without the consent of the children, the
trial court ruled that the conjugal property could only be transferred or encumbered to the extent of Jose Sr.’s share in the
conjugal partnership, plus his share as an heir in the other half pertaining to the estate of his deceased spouse.
The RTC nevertheless declared that by virtue of the SPA executed by Nora, Jose Jr., Bobby and Jimmy in this suit, they
are already estopped from questioning the mortgage and from alleging lack of consent or knowledge in the transaction. It
held Jose Sr. liable as an accommodation party and upheld the petitioner bank’s right to collect the debt.
The respondents disagreed with the RTC ruling and elevated the case to the CA via an ordinary appeal.cra1awredjgc
The Ruling of the CA
On September 26, 2007, the CA upheld the trial court’s finding that the subject property was conjugal, but reversed and
set aside its ruling in so far as it declared valid and binding the Amendment of Real Estate Mortgage between the
petitioner bank, on one hand, and the spouses Garcia and Jose Sr., on the other hand, with respect to respondents Nora,
Jose Jr., Bobby and Jimmy. Relying on the Court’s ruling inNufable v. Nufable,4 the CA ruled that the encumbrance Jose
Sr. made over the entire conjugal property, without his children’s conformity, was null and void because a mere part owner
could not alienate the shares of the other co-owners.
The CA also declared that the conjugal property could only be liable to the extent of Jose Sr.’s shares; Jose Sr.’s acts
could not affect his children’s pro-indiviso shares in the subject property. It disagreed with the trial court’s estoppel theory
and held that their execution of the SPA should not be construed as acquiescence to the mortgage transaction. Lastly, it
ruled that Jose Sr. could not escape liability from the mortgage since he voluntarily bound himself as the Spouses Garcia’s
accommodation mortgagor.cra1awredjgc
The petition
The petitioner bank disputes the CA’s finding that the subject property was conjugal in nature. It argues that, as can be
gleaned from TCT No. T-44422, the subject property was registered in the name of Jose Sr. alone, who was described
in the title as “widower” and not “married.” The petitioner bank posits that as a mortgagee in good faith, it had the right
to rely on the mortgagor’s certificate of title; in the absence of any indication that could arouse suspicion, it had no
obligation to undertake further investigation and verify whether the property was conjugal or was acquired during marriage
or thereafter.
Since the subject property belonged to Jose Sr., insofar as petitioner bank as mortgagee was concerned, Jose Sr. had the
right under Article 428 of the Civil Code to mortgage it without the consent of his children. Accordingly, the mortgage in its
entirety should be declared valid.cra1awredjgc
The Comment
The respondents state that the issues raised by petitioner bank are essentially factual; hence, they are beyond the
competence of this Court in a petition for review. They submit that in a certiorari petition under Rule 45 of the Rules of
Court, only questions of law may be entertained because the Court is not a trier of facts.cra1awredjgc
The Court’s Ruling
We deny the petition for lack of merit.
The petition before us raises both questions of fact and of law. Whether petitioner bank is a mortgagee in good faith and
for value and whether the subject property was conjugal, are factual issues that this Court cannot look into as our
examination would entail going into factual matters and records of the case. In Rule 45 petitions, only questions of law
may be put into issue. Questions of fact cannot be entertained. 5
Although there are exceptions to the rule that only questions of law may be raised in a petition forcertiorari, the petitioner
bank failed to show that this case falls under any of the established exceptions. Too, since the CA partially affirmed the

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findings of the trial court and absent any indication that these courts committed a serious error in its findings, this Court is
bound by these courts’ findings.6
Moreover, even if we were to review the factual issues raised by the petitioner bank, we still find no reason to depart from
the CA’s ruling.
The Subject Property is Conjugal
a. All property acquired during marriage
is presumed conjugal
Since Jose Sr. and Ligaya were married prior to the effectivity of the Family Code, their property relations were governed
by the conjugal partnership of gains as provided under Article 119 of the Civil Code. Under Article 160 of the Civil Code,
“all property of the marriage is presumed to belong to the conjugal partnership, unless it can be proven that it pertains
exclusively to the husband or to the wife.”
In his testimony, Jose Sr. admitted that at the time he acquired the land through sale, he was already married. The
material portion of his testimony is as follows:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
Q:
Upon the death of your wife did you and your wife ever own a piece of land?
A:
Yes, sir.
Q:
Where is that land situated?
A:
In Centro, District 2, Mallig[,] Isabela.
Q:
Is that land titled in your names?
A:
Yes, sir.
xxxx
Q:
You and your wife acquired that piece of land?
A:
Yes, sir.
xxxx
Q:
May we know from you[,] Mr. Witness, how did you acquire this parcel of land presently embraced and
covered by TCT No. T-44422?
A:
I purchased that piece of land from the Baniqued Family during my incumbency as Municipal Mayor, sir.
Q:
What was your civil status at the time you purchased that piece of land?
A:
I was already married, sir. (Emphasis ours, TSN, July 24, 1997, Jose Garcia Sr.)7
Because of the petitioner bank’s failure to rebut the allegation that the subject property was acquired during the former’s
marriage to Ligaya, the legal presumption of the conjugal nature of the property, in line with Article 160 of the Civil Code,
applies to this property. Proof of the subject property’s acquisition during the subsistence of marriage suffices to render
the statutory presumption operative.8
b. Registration of the subject property in
the name of one spouse does not destroy
the presumption that the property is conjugal
The petitioner bank claims that the CA failed to consider that the subject property was registered in the name of Jose Sr.
alone. Likewise, it raises the argument that Jose Sr.’s change of status in the subject property’s title from “married” to
“widower” prior to the constitution of the real estate mortgage showed that the property was no longer conjugal.
We do not consider this argument persuasive.
Registration of a property alone in the name of one spouse does not destroy its conjugal nature. What is material is the
time when the property was acquired.9 The registration of the property is not conclusive evidence of the exclusive
ownership of the husband or the wife. Although the property appears to be registered in the name of the husband, it has
the inherent character of conjugal property if it was acquired for valuable consideration during marriage. 10 It retains its
conjugal nature.
In order to rebut the presumptive conjugal nature of the property, the petitioner must present strong, clear and convincing
evidence of exclusive ownership of one of the spouses. 11 The burden of proving that the property belongs exclusively to
the wife or to the husband rests upon the party asserting it.
In the present case, aside from its allegation that the subject property is no longer conjugal and its assertion that it is a
mortgagee in good faith, the petitioner bank offered no evidence, convincing to this Court, that the subject property

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2007of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. to the portion which may be allotted to him in the division upon the termination of the coownership. and the heirs of the deceased. and even substitute another person in its enjoyment.cra1awlaw1ibrary WHEREFORE. Bobby and Jimmy) because they did not give their consent to the transaction.14 This resulting ordinary co-ownership among the heirs is governed by Article 493 of the Civil Code which reads:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary Art. by mandate of the same article.owner cannot adjudicate to himself or claim title to any definite portion of the land or thing owned in common until its actual partition by agreement or judicial decree.17 Accordingly. with respect to the co-owners shall be limited to the portion which may be allotted to him in the division upon the termination of the co-ownership. 493.13 and the successional rights of her heirs vest. shall be limited. As stated earlier. CV No. constituted the mortgage over the entire subject property after the death of Ligaya. the petitioner bank failed to overcome the legal presumption that the disputed property was conjugal. 4 . Factual findings of the CA affirming those of the trial court are binding on this Court unless there is a clear showing that such findings are tainted with arbitrariness. he could not dispose of or mortgage the entire property without his children’s consent. the conjugal partnership was automatically dissolved and terminated pursuant to Article 175(1) of the Civil Code. Each co-owner shall have the full ownership of his part and of the fruits and benefits pertaining thereto. He has no right to sell or alienate a concrete. specific. Thus. But the effect of the alienation of the mortgage. 71356. Jose Sr.4 What a co owner may dispose of is only his undivided aliquot share. over the entire property without his coowners’ consent is not necessarily void in its entirety. therefore. and he may therefore alienate. each co-owner shall have the full ownership of his part and of the fruits and benefits pertaining thereto and he may alienate.12 The conjugal partnership was converted into an implied ordinary co-ownership upon the death of Ligaya Upon the death of Ligaya on January 21. Court of Appeals. While under Article 493 of the Civil Code.exclusively belonged to Jose Sr. Jose Jr. assign or mortgage it except when personal rights are involved. which states that “[t]he rights to the succession are transmitted from the moment of the death of the decedent. Should a co-owner alienate or mortgage the coowned property itself. as provided under Article 777 of the Civil Code. Prior to that time all that the co-owner has is an Ideal or abstract quota or proportionate share in the entire thing owned in common by all the co-owners. the conjugal partnership was converted into an implied ordinary co-ownership between the surviving spouse. but before the liquidation of the conjugal partnership. SO ORDERED. 1987. assign or mortgage it. we hereby AFFIRM the Decision dated September 26. on the other.R. on the one hand. and even substitute another person in its enjoyment. Costs against petitioner Philippine National Bank. the effect of the alienation or the mortgage with respect to the co-owners. As correctly emphasized by the trial court. which shall be limited to the portion that may be allotted to him upon partition. each co-owner has the full ownership of his part or share in the co-ownership and may. alienate. assign or mortgage it.. in view of the foregoing. the Amendment of Real Estate Mortgage constituted by Jose Sr. the conclusion of both lower courts that the subject property was conjugal property holds. or determinate part of the thing in common to the exclusion of the other co-owners because his right over the thing is represented by an abstract or Ideal portion without any physical adjudication. in the event of a division and liquidation of the subject property. 15 In Carvajal v. capriciousness or palpable error. Jose Sr. even if he had the right to freely mortgage or even sell his undivided interest in the disputed property. except when personal rights are involved. In the present case.” (Emphasis supplied)ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary Under this provision. the alienation or mortgage shall remain valid but only to the extent of the portion which may be allotted to him in the division upon the termination of the co-ownership. The right of the petitioner bank as mortgagee is limited though only to the portion which may be allotted to Jose Sr. Accordingly.16 the Court said:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary While under Article 493 of the New Civil Code. [emphasis supplied].’s right in the subject property is limited only to his share in the conjugal partnership as well as his share as an heir on the other half of the estate which is his deceased spouse’s share.3 An individual co. the mortgage contract is void insofar as it extends to the undivided shares of his children (Nora.” Consequently.

71987 which affirmed with modification the Judgment4 dated April 6. Branch 19 (RTC) in Civil Case No. GRACE ANDRADE. JASMIN BLAZA. for P100.00. Jasmin Blaza. Andrew. In this accord. Bobby consolidated his ownership over the subject properties. namely. Sr. i. the Andrades elevated the matter on appeal. BOBBY TAN. Miriam Rose. executed a Deed of Assignment.000. It ruled that the subject transaction was a bona fide sale and not an equitable mortgage as can be gleaned from its terms and conditions. On July 26.00. filed a complaint 13 for reconveyance and annulment of deeds of conveyance and damages against Bobby before the RTC. The Deed of Assignment was signed by. CV No. On October 7. No. Bobby extended an Option to Buy11 the subject properties in favor of Proceso. 171904.20cralaw virtualaw library Dissatisfied.: Before the Court are consolidated petitions for review on certiorari1 assailing the Decision2 dated July 26. docketed as Civil Case No. ANDREW ANDRADE.R.. As Proceso. the RTC rendered a Judgment17 dismissing the Andrades’ complaint. When Proceso. Henry. 1984 to purchase the same for the sum of P310. 19. 2005. De Andrade (Rosario) was the registered owner of four parcels of land known as Lots 17. failed to exercise his option to buy back the subject properties. 2013 BOBBY TAN. ANDREW ANDRADE. J. CEB 20969.. as instrumental witness. Proceso. CHARITY A. 172017 GRACE ANDRADE. they argued that they remained as co-owners of the subject properties together with Bobby. Henry Andrade (Henry). the CA rendered the assailed Decision21 upholding in part the RTC’s ruling.7 When the redemption period was about to expire. 1997. and 205 situated in Cebu City (subject properties) which she mortgaged to and subsequently foreclosed by one Simon 6 Diu (Simon). PROCESO ANDRADE. SANTIAGO. they alleged that the transaction between Rosario and Bobby (subject transaction) was not one of sale but was actually an equitable mortgage which was entered into to secure Rosario’s indebtedness with Bobby. the subject properties were conjugal in nature. GLORY ANDRADE. Jr. JASMIN BLAZA. Jr. v. HENRY ANDRADE. AND JOSEPH ANDRADE. and thus. Petitioners. 1983 (subject deed of sale). Rosario’s children. It found that the subject deed of sale was indeed what it purports to be.18 As regards the nature of the subject properties.000. one of Rosario’s sons.00 as evidenced by a Deed of Absolute Sale 9 dated April 29. (Proceso. and the TCTs12therefor were issued in his name. failed to do so. Jr. 2001 of the Regional Trial Court of Cebu City. G. Proceso. Jr.8 Thereafter. Rosario sold the same to Bobby and her son. 2006 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G. 1983. (Proceso. 2001. despite the issuance of the TCTs in his name. Notwithstanding the aforementioned Deed of Assignment. AND JOSEPH ANDRADE. Grace. Jr. The Facts Rosario Vda. Jr.15 He also interposed the defenses of prescription and laches against the Andrades.e. Joseph (all surnamed Andrade). August 07. HENRY ANDRADE. CEB 20969. resulting to the issuance of TCTs in his name which are deemed to be conclusive proof of his ownership thereto. 18. Respondents. v. DECISION PERLAS-BERNABE. In his defense. They also claimed that since the subject properties were inherited by them from their father. the RTC found that they “appeared to be the exclusive properties of Rosario. a bona fide contract of sale. noting further that the subject deed of sale was not even questioned by the Andrades at the time of its execution. Rosario had no right to dispose of their respective shares therein.R. Santiago (Andrades). Bobby contended that the subject properties were solely owned by Rosario per the TCTs issued in her name14 and that he had validly acquired the same upon Proceso.000. The CA Ruling On July 26.Respondent. among others. JR. Glory. Jr. Sr.). 10 ceding unto Bobby his rights and interests over the subject properties in consideration of P50. and Charity A. MIRIAM ROSE ANDRADE. Jr.”19Finally. giving the latter until 7:00 in the evening of July 31.. 2005 and Resolution3 dated March 3.’s failure to exercise his option to buy back the subject properties. No. Proceso Andrade. In their complaint. Petitioner. SANTIAGO..G. the titles thereto were validly consolidated in Bobby’s favor. Proceso Andrade. 16cralaw virtualaw library The RTC Ruling On April 6. MIRIAM ROSE ANDRADE. it found that the Andrades’ claim over the subject properties had already prescribed and thatlaches had already set in.). Rosario sought the assistance of Bobby Tan (Bobby) who agreed to redeem the subject properties.R. CHARITY A. it 5 . In this light.

she co-owned the same together with her children. the present consolidated petitions. the consequent course of action would be for the Court to conduct a reexamination of the evidence if only to determine which among the two is correct. Proceso. 22cralaw virtualaw library Nevertheless. Characterization of the subject properties. Yamane:39cralaw virtualaw library x x x As a condition sine qua non for the operation of [Article 160] in favor of the conjugal partnership.28 As for Bobby’s part. Settled is the rule that when the trial court's factual findings have been affirmed by the CA. 35 while the CA. In G. Also. No. and in the absence of any showing that the findings complained of are totally devoid of support in the evidence on record. the CA ruled that the subject properties belong to the conjugal partnership of Rosario and her late husband. such findings must stand. Hence. however. the Andrades. preliminarily prove that the property was indeed acquired during the marriage. 27cralaw virtualaw library In view of the CA’s pronouncement. a resulting trust was created between Bobby and the Andrades25 and. the sale was valid only with respect to Rosario’s pro-indiviso share in the subject properties and it cannot prejudice the share of the Andrades since they did not consent to the sale.R.denied the Andrades’ claim that the subject transaction was an equitable mortgage since their allegation that the purchase price was unusually low was left unsupported by any evidence. Pertinent to the resolution of this second issue is Article 160 of the Civil Code 38 which states that “[a]ll property of the marriage is presumed to belong to the conjugal partnership. insisting that it is actually an equitable mortgage. the Andrades submit that the CA erred in ruling that the subject transaction is in the nature of a sale.” For this presumption to apply. As echoed in the case of Ampo v. unless it be proved that it pertains exclusively to the husband or to the wife. while in G.36 In this regard.26Accordingly. and may no longer be reviewed on Rule 45 petitions. No. ruled that the said properties were exclusive properties of Rosario. 172017. Characterization of the subject transaction. the party who invokes the presumption must first prove that the property was acquired during the marriage. With respect to the nature of the subject properties. B. they sought the reconsideration of the CA’s finding as to its characterization of the subject transaction as one of sale. the CA ordered Bobby to reconvey to the Andrades their share in the subject properties. Issues Before the Court The present controversy revolves around the CA’s characterization of the subject properties as well as of the subject transaction between Rosario and Bobby.R. 37 as an exception to the proscription in Rule 45 petitions. the party invoking the same must. Hence. however. on the one hand. the Andrades’ petition in G. denied by the CA in a Resolution30dated March 3. prescription and/or laches has yet to set in so as to bar them from instituting the instant case. 31 While there exists exceptions to this rule – such as when the CA’s and RTC’s findings are in conflict with each other 32 – the Court observes that none applies with respect to the ruling that the subject transaction was one of sale and not an equitable mortgage. 172017 must therefore be denied. he maintained that the sale should have covered the entirety of the subject properties and not only Rosario’s pro-indiviso share. 34cralaw virtualaw library Consequently. Sr. No. 6 . Records readily reveal that both the RTC and the CA observed that there is no clear and convincing evidence to show that the parties agreed upon a mortgage. The Court’s Ruling A. as such. pronounced that they are conjugal in nature. 24 In effect.. the courts a quo were at variance such that the RTC. and thus. As held in Go v. on the other hand. For the Andrades’ part. this finding should now be deemed as conclusive and perforce must stand. or that they are so glaringly erroneous as to constitute serious abuse of discretion. 171904. Bobby contends that the CA erred in ruling that the subject properties are conjugal in nature. CA:33cralaw virtualaw library x x x Factual findings of the Court of Appeals are conclusive on the parties and not reviewable by this Court – and they carry even more weight when the Court of Appeals affirms the factual findings of the trial court. their averment that they have been in continuous possession of the subject properties was belied by the testimony of Andrew Andrade (Andrew) who stated that Bobby was already in possession of the same. said findings are generally conclusive and binding upon the Court. 2006. 23 In this respect. absent any glaring error therein or any other compelling reason to hold otherwise.R. the parties filed their respective motions for reconsideration. 29 Both motions for reconsideration were.

was a co-vendee in the subject deed of sale. 171904. Due to the above-stated reasons. The argument that they did not know about the subject transaction is clearly belied by the facts on record. Moreover.. and the April 6. WHEREFORE. this is an indication that the property belongs exclusively to the said spouse. PEREZ. Sr.41 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: x x x The issuance of the title in the name solely of one spouse is not determinative of the conjugal nature of the property. 172017. DELA PEA and ALVIN JOHN B. widow. The presumption cannot prevail when the title is in the name of only one spouse and the rights of innocent third parties are involved. The presumption under Article 160 of the New Civil Code. CEB 20969 is REINSTATED. Chairperson. No. warranting a presumption that the party entitled to assert it has either abandoned or declined to assert it. and Josefina L. Proceso. that property acquired during marriage is conjugal. Bobby’s petition in G. 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. Miriam Rose Andrade. CA. 197843 while the transfer certificates of title over the subject properties were issued on September 28. 1983.R. It is undisputed that Proceso. SO ORDERED. 171904 is hereby granted. Jasmin Blaza. clear. DELA PEA. Besides. Rosario’s sons.R. who was a party to the same. G. 71987 are herebyREVERSED and SET ASIDE. Jr.R. Case law defines laches as the “failure to assert a right for an unreasonable and unexplained length of time.” 44 Other than their bare allegation. Rosario’s declaration that she is the absolute owner of the disputed parcels of land in the subject deed of sale 45 was not disputed by her son Proceso. 1979 and solely in the name of “Rosario Vda. Charity A. Filipino. categorical and convincing evidence.R. 42cralaw virtualaw library In this case. as decreed in Valdez v. the Court hereby (a) GRANTS the petition of Bobby Tan in G.. No. 187490 Present: .40 (Citations omitted) Corollarily.48 while Henry was an instrumental witness to the Deed of Assignment49 and Option to Buy50 both dated July 26. there is no evidence to indicate when the property was acquired by petitioner Josefina. 2001 Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Cebu City. by virtue of these incidents. Santiago.In other words. CV No. No. Henry Andrade. de Andrade. BRION. does not apply where there is no showing as to when the property alleged to be conjugal was acquired. Branch 19 in Civil Case No. the Court observes that laches had already set in. records reveal that the conjugal partnership of Rosario and her husband was terminated upon the latter’s death on August 7. Thus. Hence. the Court upholds the RTC’s finding 46 that the subject properties were exclusive or sole properties of Rosario. Jr. No.versus - CARPIO. did not question the execution of the subject deed of sale made by their mother to Bobby. thereby precluding the Andrades from pursuing their claim. x x x. Moreover. There must be strict proof of the exclusive ownership of one of the spouses.” 47cralaw virtualaw library Records disclose that the Andrades took 14 years before filing their complaint for reconveyance in 1997. 2005 and Resolution dated March 3. Likewise. Valdez. we agree with petitioner Josefina’s declaration in the deed of absolute sale she executed in favor of the respondent that she was the absolute and sole owner of the property. of legal age. 2006 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. the presumption in favor of conjugality does not operate if there is no showing of when the property alleged to be conjugal was acquired. since there is no showing that it was acquired during the marriage of the Spouses Carlos Valdez.51 These incidents can but only lead to the conclusion that they were well-aware of the subject transaction and yet only pursued their claim 14 years after the sale was executed. Petitioners. Moreover. the presumption may be rebutted only with strong. and Andrew.R. In this case. the Decision dated July 26. ANTONIA R. 7 . and (b)DENIES the petition of Grace Andrade. J. and the burden of proof rests upon the party asserting it. Andrew Andrade. Accordingly. 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. Jr. and Joseph Andrade in G.

pursuant to the Promissory Note the former executed in favor of the latter..... N-32315 of the Registry of Deeds of Rizal.. AVILA and FAR EAST BANK & TRUST CO... Aguila & Sons. [6] On 4 November 1997.. Promulgated: February 8... was payable on or before 7 July 1996. is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE..[7] Utilizing the document.... together with the improvements thereon.SERENO.. J.. Antonia executed a notarized Deed of Absolute Sale over the property in favor of respondent Gemma Remilyn C.. Gemma also constituted a real estate mortgage 8 . [4] On 7 May 1996... Gemma caused the cancellation of TCT No.. the appeal is GRANTED and the assailed Decision.. and REYES.C.. 1999 are upheld as valid and binding. CV No.. The Deed of Absolute Sale in favor of Gemma Avila dated November 4. N-32315 as well as the issuance of TCT No. Co.000.. Antonia obtained from A.. for the purpose of securing the payment of said loan obligation.. 1997 and the subsequent sale on auction of the subject property to FEBTC (now Bank of the Philippine Islands) on March 15.. with interest pegged at 5% per month.00 which.. Branch 272. dated December 18. for the stated consideration ofP600. The deed provided. 90485.[2] the dispositive portion of which states: WHEREFORE... situated in Marikina City and previously registered in the name of petitioner Antonia R.. Respondents.. married to Antegono A....[8] On 26 November 1997. 2007.[5] On the very same day.. naming her as the owner of the subject realty. that (t)his contract is for a period of Three (3) months from the date of this instrument..: Filed pursuant to Rule 45 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure... this petition for review on certiorari seeks the reversal and setting aside of the Decision[1] dated 31 March 2009 rendered by the then Second Division of the Court of Appeals in CAG.000... SO ORDERED. GEMMA REMILYN C... in part.-x DECISION PEREZ.. of the Regional Trial Court of Marikina City..... Dela Pea (Antegono) under Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. (Aguila) a loan in the sum of P250. Antonia also executed in favor of Aguila a notarized Deed of Real Estate Mortgageover the property. Avila (Gemma)... 2012 x . 337834 of the Marikina City Registry of Deeds.....R. Dela Pea (Antonia).[3] The Facts The suit concerns a 277 square meter parcel of residential land... JJ..00. premises considered...

Antonia and her son. the Dela Peas alleged. among others. altered the same to 1997.000. 98-445-MK.00 04/30/98 BDS#980821 03/10/98 P450.00. that she was the true and lawful owner of the property which had been titled in the name of Gemma under TCT No. that the 4 November 1997 Deed of Absolute Sale in favor of Gemma was executed by Antonia who was misled into believing that the transfer was necessary for the loan the former promised to procure on her behalf from FEBTCBPI. As the highest bidder at the public auction conducted in the premises. the due date of the loan secured by the mortgage was shortened by Gemma who.000. in the aggregate sum of P1.000. on the other hand. In addition to the annulment of said Deed of Absolute Sale for being simulated and derogatory of Alvins successional 9 .000.200. petitioner Alvin John B. and. Antonia filed with the Register of Deeds of Marikina an Affidavit of Adverse Claim to the effect. FEBTC-BPI caused the extrajudicial foreclosure of the real estate mortgage constituted over the property. that the 7 May 1996 Deed of Real Estate Mortgage Antonia executed in favor of Aguila was not consented to by Antegono who had.[10] Gemma obtained the following loans from Visayas Avenue Branch of the FEBTC-BPI. 337834 as Entry No.00 04/30/98 BDS#970790 12/15/97 P100.000.00 04/14/98 BDS#980800 01/16/98 P100.000.[14] On 18 May 1998. to secure a loan facility with a credit limit of P1.00 04/30/98 BDS#980805 02/06/98 P100. 32315. 501099 on 10 March 1998. [11] As a consequence. Claiming that the subject realty was conjugal property. in the meantime.200.00 04/30/98 BDS#980817 02/27/98 P150. to wit: Promissory Note Date Amount Maturity BDS#970779 12/02/97 P300. Antonias Affidavit of Adverse Claim was inscribed on TCT No. 415392 of the Marikina registry.00. among other matters. filed against Gemma the complaint for annulment of deed of sale docketed before Branch 272 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Marikina City as Civil Case No.000. that despite its intended 1998 maturity date.000. taking advantage of her proximate relationship with Aguila. and. Dela Pea (Alvin).[12] In view of Gemmas failure to pay the principal as well as the accumulated interest and penalties on the loans she obtained.over said parcel in favor of respondent Far East Bank and Trust Company [now Bank of the Philippine Islands] (FEBTCBPI). that the Deed of Absolute Sale Gemma utilized in procuring her title was simulated. already died.[9] As evidenced by the Promissory Notes she executed from 12 December 1997 to 10 March 1998. by then.00 04/30/98 On 3 March 1998. [13] FEBTC-BPI later consolidated its ownership over the realty and caused the same to be titled in its name under TCT No.

[15] Served with summons.000. and.200. with interest pegged at 10% per month. hence. impleading FEBTC-BPI as additional defendant. asserted that the property was already titled in Gemmas name when she executed the 26 November 1997 real estate mortgage thereon.rights. Gemma specifically denied the material allegations of the foregoing complaint in her 1 July 1998 answer. that conformably with the foregoing agreement.00 loan she obtained from Aguila on its stipulated 7 July 1996 maturity. FEBTC-BPI alternatively interposed cross-claims against Gemma for the payment of the subject loans.00. that approached to help prevent the extrajudicial foreclosure of the mortgage constituted on the property. Antonia agreed to the use of the property as collateral for a loan to be obtained by her from FEBTC-BPI. the RTC issued the order terminating the pre-trial stage and declaring Gemma in default for failure to attend the pre-trial settings and to engage the services of a new lawyer despite due notice and the withdrawal of her counsel of record. the Dela Peas filed a supplemental complaint.00 loan. the accumulated interests and penalties thereon as well as such sums for which it may be held liable in the premises.000. Antonia [20] and Alvin[21] both took the witness stand and. it was a mortgagee in good faith.[19] In support of their complaint.[16] On 25 September 1999. Seeking the dismissal of the complaint and the grant of its counterclaims for damages against the Dela Peas. the Dela Peas alleged that FEBTC-BPI was in bad faith when it purchased the property at public auction on 15 March 1999. the execution of the impugned Deed of Absolute Sale.00 from FEBTC-BPI and applied the proceeds thereof to the sums owed by Antonia.000. the Dela Peas sought the reconveyance of the property as well as the grant of their claims for moral and exemplary damages. to secure the payment of the loans she obtained in the sum of P1. in turn. 337834 on 10 December 1999. litigation expenses and the costs. attorneys fees. Gemma averred that the former failed to pay the P250. Gemma also prayed for the grant of her counterclaims for moral and exemplary damages. entitled to foreclose the mortgage upon Gemmas failure to pay the loans she obtained. attorneys fees and the costs. that not being privy to Antonias transaction with Gemma and unaware of any adverse claim on the property. she obtained loans in the total sum of P1. by way of 10 . and. that to pay back the foregoing accommodations. FEBTC-BPI. Together with the dismissal of the complaint. she agreed to settle the outstanding obligation to Aguila and to extend Antonia a P50.200. Calling attention to Antonias 3 March 1998 Affidavit of Adverse Claim and the Notice of Lis Pendens they purportedly caused to be annotated on TCT No. [17] In their 12 November 1999 answer. [18] On 14 April 2000. Maintaining that the realty was the exclusive property of Antonia who misrepresented that her husband was still alive.000.

upon the following findings and conclusions: (a) the property was paraphernal in nature for failure of the Dela Peas to prove that the same was acquired during Antonias marriage to Antegono. [Gemma] as null and void. By way of defense evidence.17 as of November 10. costs of the suit On the cross-claim.000. that said signatures were written by one and the same person.[27] Aggrieved.[25] On 18 December 2007.R. with twelve (12%) percent interest per annum until fully paid.[26] the RTC disposed of the case in the following wise: WHEREFORE. reversing the RTCs appealed decision. Brushing aside FEBTC-BPIs claim of good faith. CV No. [Gemma] is hereby ordered to pay [FEBTC-BPI] the amount of P2. among others. the amount of P200. FEBTC-BPI perfected the appeal which was docketed before the CA as CA-G. Antonia is barred from seeking the annulment of the 4 November 1997 Deed of Absolute Sale. FEBTC-BPI adduced the oral evidence elicited from Eleanor Abellare.029. 415392 in the name of [FEBTC-BPI].317. On 31 March 2009 the CAs Second Division rendered the herein assailed decision. Ordering [Gemma] to pay the [Dela Peas] the following: a). SO ORDERED. and. (b) having misled Gemma into believing that the property was exclusively hers. (c) Antonias claim that her signature was forged is belied by her admission in the pleadings that she was misled by Gemma into executing said Deed of Absolute Sale and by NBI Questioned Document Report No.00 as moral damages. 3). 90485. 1999. the amount of P20. in view of all the foregoing. Ordering defendant [FEBTC-BPI] to execute a deed of reconveyance in favor of the [Dela Peas] involving the subject property now covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the plaintiffs and against the defendants. 482-802.[24] issued NBI Questioned Documents Report No. (d) 11 . Declaring the Deed of Absolute dated November 04. the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Document Examiner who. and b). as follows: 1). its Account Officer who handled Gemmas loans. [23] and Zenaida Torres. 2). and c).corroborative evidence. 1997 in favor of defendant. 482-802 to the effect.00 as and for attorneys fees. the RTC went on to render a Decision finding 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. presented the testimony of one Alessandro Almoden [22] who claimed to have referred Antonia to Gemma for the purpose of obtaining a loan. on the other hand. after analyzing Antonias specimen signatures on the 7 May 1996 Deed of Real Estate Mortgage and 4 November 1997Deed of Absolute Sale.000.

[33] As the parties invoking the presumption of conjugality under Article 160 of the Civil Code. [30] proof of acquisition during the marriage is an essential condition for the operation of the presumption in favor of the conjugal partnership. unless it be proved that it pertains exclusively to the husband or to the wife. 2) Whether or not the CA erred in reversing the RTC declaring null and void the Deed of Absolute Sale executed by Antonia to (Gemma). the party who invokes this presumption must first prove that the property in controversy was acquired during the marriage. [31] In the case of Francisco vs. to wit: 1) Whether or not the CA erred in reversing the RTC holding the house and lot covered by TCT No. there must be a strict proof of exclusive ownership of one of the spouses. Proof of acquisition during the coverture is a condition sine qua non for the operation of the presumption in favor of the conjugal partnership.FEBTC-BPI is a mortgagee in good faith and for value since Gemmas 26 November 1997 execution of the real estate mortgage in its favor predated Antonias 3 March 1998 Affidavit of Adverse Claim and the 10 December 1999 annotation of a Notice of Lis Pendens on TCT No. Beyond Antonias bare and uncorroborated assertion that the property was purchased when she was already married.[32] this Court categorically ruled as follows: 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. the Dela Peas did not even come close to proving that the subject property was acquired during the marriage between Antonia and Antegono. When queried about 12 . Whether or not the CA erred in reversing the RTC holding (FEBTC-BPI) a mortgagee/purchaser in bad faith. Court of Appeals. [34] the record is bereft of any evidence from which the actual date of acquisition of the realty can be ascertained. and 3." However. Pursuant to Article 160 of the Civil Code of the Philippines.[28] The Issues The Dela Peas seek the reversal of the assailed 31 March 2009 CA decision upon the affirmative of following issues. clear and convincing evidence. the presumption refers only to the property acquired during the marriage and does not operate when there is no showing as to when property alleged to be conjugal was acquired. this presumption in favor of conjugality is rebuttable. 337834.[29] The Courts Ruling The petition is bereft of merit. N-32315 conjugal property of the spouses Antegono and Antonia Dela Pea. Moreover. The party who asserts this presumption must first prove said time element. Although it is not necessary to prove that the property was acquired with funds of the partnership. but only with strong. all property of the marriage is presumed to belong to the conjugal partnership. Needless to say.

Filipino. the Dela Peas insist that the registration thereof in the name of Antonia R. Confronted with the same issue in the case Ruiz vs.[37] this Court ruled.[38] Viewed in light of the paraphernal nature of the property. The double lie inherent in Antonias assertion that the same deed was altered by Gemma to shorten the maturity of the loan to 1997 instead of 1998 is instantly evident from paragraph 1 of the document which. to be presumed conjugal in nature. the CA correctly ruled that the RTC reversibly erred in nullifying Antonias 4 November 1997 sale thereof in favor of Gemma.[43] Antonia contradicted the allegation in the Dela Peas complaint that she was misled by Gemma into signing the same document. even Alvin admitted that his sole basis for saying that the property was owned by his parents was Antonias unilateral pronouncement to the effect. 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. belonging exclusively to said spouse. be readily gleaned from her utilization thereof as security for the payment of the P250. for lack of the liquidation required under Article 130 of the Family Code. Dela Pea should have already sufficiently established its conjugal nature.the matter during his cross-examination. [36] we find that the CA cannot be faulted for ruling that the realty in litigation was Antonias exclusive property. married to Antegono A. i. [44] The rule is well-settled that judicial admissions like those made in 13 . In disavowing authorship of the signature appearing on said deed. Since there is no showing as to when the property in question was acquired. her alleged alteration of the 7 May 1996 Deed of Real Estate Mortgage to shorten the maturity of the loan secured thereby was also properly brushed aside by the CA. of legal age. neither would registration thereof in said manner constitute proof that the same was acquired during the marriage and.000.[39] That Antonia treated the realty as her own exclusive property may.e. however.[42] Antonias evident lack of credibility also impels us to uphold the CAs rejection of her version of the circumstances surrounding the execution of the 4 November 1997 Deed of AbsoluteSale in favor of Gemma. [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. for said reason. consistent with 7 July 1996 maturity date provided in the Promissory Note she executed. Dela Pea. in fact. Not having established the time of acquisition of the property. the fact that the title is in the name of the wife alone is determinative of its nature as paraphernal.00 loan she borrowed from Aguila. Because it is likewise possible that the property was acquired by the wife while she was still single and registered only after her marriage. Court of Appeals.[41] specifically stated that (t)his contract is for a period of Three (3) months from the date of this instrument. [40] Despite Gemmas forfeiture of the right to present evidence on her behalf..

Absent clear and convincing evidence to contradict the same. found to have been written by one and the same person in Questioned Document Report No. For all of Antonias denial of her receipt of any consideration for the sale of the property in favor of Gemma. Antonias signature on theDeed of Absolute Sale was. Executed on 26 November 1997. Notably. [51] With the material contradictions in the Dela Peas evidence.[53] public documents enjoy a presumption of regularity which may only be rebutted by evidence so clear. unfortunately. Since foreclosure of the mortgage is but the necessary consequence of non-payment of the mortgage debt. [54] The burden of proof to overcome said presumptions lies with the party contesting the notarial document [55] like the Dela Peas who.000. moreover. Alessandro Almoden also admitted that Gemma had extended a loan in the sum of P50.00 she loaned Antonia.000. [46] Parenthetically.[45] Alongside that appearing on the Deed of Real Estate Mortgage she admitted executing in favor of Aguila. Alessandro Almodens claim that the title to the property had been delivered to Gemma as a consequence of the transaction[50] is at odds with Antonias claim that she presented said document to the Registry of Deeds when she verified the status of the property prior to the filing of the complaint from which the instant suit originated. [47] the evidence on record also lend credence to Gemmas version of the circumstances surrounding the execution of the assailed 4 November 1997 Deed of Absolute Sale. the CA cannot be faulted for upholding the validity of the impugned 4 November 1997 Deed of Absolute Sale. 482-802 prepared by Zenaida Torres. Consistent with Gemmas claim that said deed was executed to facilitate the loans she obtained from FEBTC-BPI which were agreed to be used as payment of the sums she expended to settle the outstanding obligation to Aguila and the P50. strong and convincing as to exclude all controversy as to falsity. unequivocal manner. failed to discharge said onus. acting well within its rights as mortgagee when it foreclosed the real estate mortgage on the property upon Gemmas failure to pay the loans secured thereby. [49] Presented as witness of the Dela Peas. the NBI Document Examiner to whom said specimen signatures were submitted for analysis. said deed is a public document which carries the evidentiary weight conferred upon it with respect to its due execution. this conclusion is borne out by our comparison of the same signatures. Having been duly notarized. the mortgage predated Antonias filing 14 . [48]the latter admitted during her direct examination that she did not pay the loan she obtained from Aguila. likewise. [56] FEBTC-BPI was.00 in favor of Antonia.the pleadings are binding and cannot be contradicted. we find that the CA correctly pronounced the Deed of Absolute Sale was valid and binding between Antonia and Gemma. absent any showing that the same was made thru palpable mistake. [52] Regarded as evidence of the facts therein expressed in a clear.

2002. 59986 rendered on June 3.00 from petitioner. vs. Laguna in Civil Case No. the inapplicability of the general rule that a mortgagee need not look beyond the title does not apply to them. Jr. WHEREFORE. Gesmundo executed on the same day a Real Estate Mortgage constituted on the subject property in favor of petitioner. The abovementioned transactions.: This is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Revised Rules of Court. authorizing the latter to obtain a loan from petitioner Homeowners Savings and Loan Bank to be secured by the spouses Dailos house and lot in San Pablo City. and apply the proceeds of the sale to the satisfaction of the unpaid loan. a Certificate of Sale was issued in favor of petitioner as the 15 . 1967. San Pablo City from a certain Sandra Dalida. 1993. including the execution of the SPA in favor of Gesmundo. respondent. The Deed of Absolute Sale. As a result. DAILO. As security therefor. premises considered. HOMEOWNERS SAVINGS & LOAN BANK. San Pablo City. J. 337834 on 10 December 1999. DECISION TINGA. Branch 29. the resolution of this case cannot be affected by the principles that banks like FEBTC-BPI are expected to exercise more care and prudence than private individuals in that their dealings because their business is impressed with public interest[59] and their standard practice is to conduct an ocular inspection of the property offered to be mortgaged and verify the genuineness of the title to determine the real owner or owners thereof. however. hence. as vendee thereof to the exclusion of his wife. [60] The validity of the Deed of Absolute Sale executed by Antonia in favor of Gemma having been upheld. Pursuant to the SPA. The following factual antecedents are undisputed.R. Marcelino Dailo.[57] When the principal obligation is not paid when due. After the extrajudicial sale thereof. executed a Special Power of Attorney (SPA) in favor of one Lilibeth Gesmundo. which affirmed with modification the October 18. Respondent Miguela C. the mortgagee consequently has the right to foreclose the mortgage. The subject property was declared for tax assessment purposes under Assessment of Real Property No. [4] Upon maturity. During their marriage. [58] Finally. Jr. the loan remained outstanding. the spouses purchased a house and lot situated at Barangay San Francisco. 1997 Decision[2] of the Regional Trial Court. FEBTC-BPIs supposed failure to ascertain the ownership of the property has been rendered immaterial for the purpose of determining the validity of the mortgage executed in its favor as well as the subsequent extrajudicial foreclosure thereof. took place without the knowledge and consent of respondent.000. AFFIRMED in toto. petitioner instituted extrajudicial foreclosure proceedings on the mortgaged property.[3] On December 1. petitioner. SO ORDERED.of anAffidavit of Adverse Claim with the Register of Deeds of Marikina on 3 March 1998 and the annotation of a Notice of Lis Pendens on TCT No. Dailo and Marcelino Dailo. MIGUELA C. Gesmundo obtained a loan in the amount of P300. SP-4748 (97). to the fulfilment of the obligation for whose security it was constituted. accordingly. 94-051-2802. CV No. Jr. Themortgage directly and immediately subjects the property upon which it is imposed. the petition is DENIED for lack of merit and the assailed CA Decision dated 31 March 2009 is. sell the property. were married on August 8. was executed only in favor of the late Marcelino Dailo. assailing the Decision[1] of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. whoever the possessor may be.

4. in the absence of clear and convincing evidence to rebut the presumption that the subject property acquired during the marriage of spouses Dailo belongs to their conjugal partnership. The counterclaim is dismissed. a Ford sedan. 124. Branch 29. ON THE SUBJECT PROPERTY AS CO-OWNER THEREOF IS VALID AS TO HIS UNDIVIDED SHARE. (c) The Affidavit of Consolidation of Ownership executed by the defendant (c) The Affidavit of Consolidation of Ownership executed by the defendant over the residential lot located at Brgy. Zayas. 95-091-1236 entered as Doc. in accordance with Article 124 of the Family Code. was razed because Brion allowed a boy to play with fire within the premises. Jr. 83. petitioner takes issue with the legal provision applicable to the factual milieu of this case. Thus. San Francisco. 212.00 as attorneys fees.[5] In the meantime. Jr. ON BOTH CAUSES OF ACTION 1. It contends that Article 124 of the Family Code should be construed in relation to Article 493 of the Civil Code. Book No. In one of her visits to the subject property. Series of 1993. XXI. SO ORDERED. the appellate court found petitioner to be liable therefor because it is responsible for the consequences of the acts or omissions of the person it hired to accomplish the assigned task. respondent learned that petitioner had already employed a certain Roldan Brion to clean its premises and that her car. These powers do not include the powers of 16 . San Pablo City. Each co-owner shall have the full ownership of his part and of the fruits and benefits pertaining thereto. 1996 an Affidavit of Consolidation of Ownership and a Deed of Absolute Sale. Affidavit of Consolidation of Ownership. 493. the appellate court affirmed the trial courts finding that the subject property was conjugal in nature. WHETHER OR NOT THE MORTGAGE CONSTITUTED BY THE LATE MARCELINO DAILO.[11] First. In the event that one spouse is incapacitated or otherwise unable to participate in the administration of the conjugal properties. JR. ON THE SECOND CAUSE OF ACTION 1. The declaration of the following documents as null and void: (a) The Deed of Real Estate Mortgage dated December 1. respondent instituted with the Regional Trial Court. The defendant to pay plaintiff P25.[9] All told. assign or mortgage it. this petition. 2. SP-2222 (97) for Nullity of Real Estate Mortgage and Certificate of Sale. 1995. Marcelino Dailo. except when personal rights are involved. The defendant to pay the plaintiff the sum of P40. The defendant to pay the plaintiff the sum of P25. JR. Reconveyance with Prayer for Preliminary Injunction and Damages against petitioner. 1997. Deed of Sale. Book No. which states: ART. WHETHER OR NOT THE CONJUGAL PARTNERSHIP IS LIABLE FOR THE PAYMENT OF THE LOAN OBTAINED BY THE LATE MARCELINO DAILO. Claiming that she had no knowledge of the mortgage constituted on the subject property. with respect to the co-owners.000. The defendant to pay the plaintiff the sum of P10. 3. [7] The appellate court declared as void the mortgage on the subject property because it was constituted without the knowledge and consent of respondent.00 as moral damages. petitioner. and even substitute another person in its enjoyment.[10] Hence. Article 124 of the Family Code provides in part: ART. San Pablo City. the trial court rendered a Decision on October 18.00 representing the value of the car which was burned. the appellate court affirmed the trial courts Decision. Page No. shall be limited to the portion which may be allotted to him in the division upon the termination of the co-ownership. consolidated the ownership thereof by executing on June 6. 1995.000. died on December 20. To pay the cost of the suit. . Civil Case No. petitioner prayed for the dismissal of the complaint on the ground that the property in question was the exclusive property of the late Marcelino Dailo. but deleted the award for damages and attorneys fees for lack of basis. and he may therefore alienate. (b) The Certificate of Sale executed by Notary Public Reynaldo Alcantara on April 20. After trial on the merits. 1993 executed before Notary Public Romulo Urrea and his notarial register entered as Doc. Page No.[6] Upon elevation of the case to the Court of Appeals. which was conjugal in nature.00 as exemplary damages. 95-051-1236. the plaintiff having proved by the preponderance of evidence the allegations of the Complaint. raising the following issues for this Courts consideration: 1. covered by ARP No. 406. 44. through its vice-president. III. THE SAME HAVING REDOUNDED TO THE BENEFIT OF THE FAMILY. After the lapse of one year without the property being redeemed. 2. 2. But the effect of the alienation or the mortgage. .highest bidder. Series of 1996 of Notary Public Octavio M. (d) The assessment of real property No. No.[8] With respect to the damage to respondents car. it upheld the trial courts order to reconvey the subject property to respondent. . The defendant is ordered to reconvey the property subject of this complaint to the plaintiff. the other spouse may assume sole powers of administration. No. the Court finds for the plaintiff and hereby orders: ON THE FIRST CAUSE OF ACTION: 1.000. In the latters Answer with Counterclaim.000. The dispositive portion thereof reads as follows: WHEREFORE. The administration and enjoyment of the conjugal partnership property shall belong to both spouses jointly.

[T]he conjugal partnership shall be liable for: . The basic and established fact is that during his lifetime. even in a suppletory manner. suppletorily. fruits and income from their separate properties and those acquired by either or both spouses through their efforts or by chance. to finance the construction of housing units without a doubt redounded to the benefit of his family. Even on appeal.[26] WHEREFORE. the obligation contracted by the late Marcelino Dailo. Jr. including the portion of the conjugal property pertaining to the husband who contracted the sale. Nowhere in the answer filed with the trial court was it alleged that the proceeds of the loan redounded to the benefit of the family.[14] In applying Article 124 of the Family Code. Where the law does not distinguish. Petitioner argues that although Article 124 of the Family Code requires the consent of the other spouse to the mortgage of conjugal properties. . were married on August 8. In Guiang v. the loan obtained by the late Marcelino Dailo. courts should not distinguish. . Jr. foremost. does not persuade this Court. [18] the conjugal partnership shall be governed by the rules on contract of partnership in all that is not in conflict with what is expressly determined in the chapter (on conjugal partnership of gains) or by the spouses in their marriage settlements. Respondent and the late Marcelino Dailo. For the subject property to be held liable. Second. the former prevails because the Civil Code provisions on partnership apply only when the Family Code is silent on the matter. The aforequoted provision does not qualify with respect to the share of the spouse who makes the disposition or encumbrance in the same manner that the rule on co-ownership under Article 493 of the Civil Code does. (3) Debts and obligations contracted by either spouse without the consent of the other to the extent that the family may have been benefited. . by the rules on partnership under the Civil Code. In case of conflict. By express provision of Article 124 of the Family Code. 1967. [20] Thus. . In addition. on the conjugal partnership to the extent that it redounded to the benefit of the family.[21] Under Article 121 of the Family Code.[24] Petitioners sweeping conclusion that the loan obtained by the late Marcelino Dailo. products. there is nothing from the records of the case to compel a finding that. non qui negat (he who asserts. When a party adopts a certain theory in the court below. without adducing adequate proof. [25] A party may change his legal theory on appeal only when the factual bases thereof would not require presentation of any further evidence by the adverse party in order to enable it to properly meet the issue raised in the new theory. the framers of the law could not have intended to curtail the right of a spouse from exercising full ownership over the portion of the conjugal property pertaining to him under the concept of co-ownership. [16] The rules on co-ownership do not even apply to the property relations of respondent and the late Marcelino Dailo. 17 . the property relations of respondent and her late husband shall be governed. petitioner never claimed that the family benefited from the proceeds of the loan. Chapter 4 on Conjugal Partnership of Gains in the Family Code was made applicable to conjugal partnership of gains already established before its effectivity unless vested rights have already been acquired under the Civil Code or other laws. Court of Appeals. petitioner vigorously asserted that the subject property was the exclusive property of the late Marcelino Dailo. the system of relative community or conjugal partnership of gains governed the property relations between respondent and her late husband. justice and due process. petitioner imposes the liability for the payment of the principal obligation obtained by the late Marcelino Dailo. the conjugal partnership cannot be held liable for the payment of the principal obligation. Certainly. [12] Thus. . there is no legal basis to construe Article 493 of the Civil Code as an exception to Article 124 of the Family Code. [23] Ei incumbit probatio qui dicit. Jr. to make a conjugal partnership respond for a liability that should appertain to the husband alone is to defeat and frustrate the avowed objective of the new Civil Code to show the utmost concern for the solidarity and well-being of the family as a unit. a perusal of the records of the case reveals that during the trial.[13] it was held that the sale of a conjugal property requires the consent of both the husband and wife. Costs against petitioner. any disposition or encumbrance of the conjugal property shall be void. Jr. 1988. for to permit him to do so would not only be unfair to the other party but it would also be offensive to the basic rules of fair play. . Jr. where the husband and wife place in a common fund the proceeds.s share in the conjugal partnership. Jr. petitioner would have this Court uphold the validity of the mortgage to the extent of the late Marcelino Dailo. Consequently. In the absence of a marriage settlement. by Chapter 4 on Conjugal Partnership of Gains of the Family Code and. There must be the requisite showing then of some advantage which clearly accrued to the welfare of the spouses. indeed. in the absence of (court) authority or written consent of the other spouse. not he who denies. [17] Unlike the absolute community of property wherein the rules on co-ownership apply in a suppletory manner. redounded to the benefit of the family. without the knowledge and consent of his wife. [19] Thus. The same principle in Guiang squarely applies to the instant case. which formed part of their conjugal partnership. both the trial court and the appellate court are correct in declaring the nullity of the real estate mortgage on the subject property for lack of respondents consent. Marcelino Dailo. . the petition is DENIED. must have redounded to the benefit of the conjugal partnership. . The regime of conjugal partnership of gains is a special type of partnership. In the absence of such authority or consent. he will not be permitted to change his theory on appeal. the disposition or encumbrance shall be void. Jr.[15] With the effectivity of the Family Code on August 3. this Court declared that the absence of the consent of one renders the entire sale null and void. [22] The burden of proof that the debt was contracted for the benefit of the conjugal partnership of gains lies with the creditor-party litigant claiming as such. Jr. Jr. Other than petitioners bare allegation. As shall be discussed next. must prove).disposition or encumbrance which must have the authority of the court or the written consent of the other spouse. constituted a real estate mortgage on the subject property. .

Davao. Present: .*** CALLEJO. Loreza Pelayo (Loreza). signed only on the third page in the space provided for witnesses on account of which Perez application for registration of the deed with the Office of the Register of Deeds in Tagum. Davao was denied. 91-46. Chairman. Cad. PELAYO and LORENZA* B. PELAYO.: This resolves the petition for review on certiorari seeking the reversal of the Decision[1] of the Court of Appeals (CA) promulgated on April 20. 1999 which reversed the Decision of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Panabo. 276 covered by OCT P-16873.. JJ. Promulgated: MELKI E.SO ORDERED. 1988. Respondent. SR. and another one whose signature is illegible witnessed the execution of the deed. G. Davao which are portions of Lot 4192. DAVID V. J. and CHICO-NAZARIO. wife of Pelayo. 1999 denying petitioners motion for reconsideration. in Civil Case No. The antecedent facts as aptly narrated by the CA are as follows: David Pelayo (Pelayo).R. PEREZ. and the CA Resolution dated December 17. Branch 34. however. 18 . Loreza. 141323 Petitioners. June 8. TINGA.versus - PUNO.** AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ.by a Deed of Absolute Sale executed on January 11. 2005 x-----------------------------------------------------------x DECISION AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ. conveyed to Melki Perez (Perez) two parcels of agricultural land (the lots) situated in Panabo. No.

hence. The defendants moved to dismiss the complaint on the ground that it stated no cause of action. in his Pre-trial brief filed on March 19. there was no marital consent to nor actual consideration for the deed.000. 1988 and which provides that contracts executed prior thereto shall be valid only when registered with the Register of Deeds within a period of three (3) months after the effectivity of this Act. The questioned deed having been executed on January 10. The trial court. or is under civil interdiction or is confined in a leprosarium. in light of Art. In their Answer. the deed could only be considered as evidence of debt. 1988. that defendant Pelayo was indebted to Perez for services rendered and. therefore. judgment is hereby rendered ordering and directing the defendants to pay plaintiff Melki Perez the sum of TEN THOUSAND (P10. 1996. Unless the wife has been declared a non compos mentis or a spendthrift. therefore. and that in any event.000. 166 of the Civil Code which provides: Article 166. and that the deed being simulated and bereft of consideration is void/inexistent.Perez thereupon asked Loreza to sign on the first and second pages of the deed but she refused. hence feared by many. but as they failed to. Defendant Pelayo claimed in any event.00) as attorneys fees. that Perez did not possess. it is null and void. the latter sent a letter to the Register of Deeds of Tagum requesting him not to entertain any transaction concerning the lots title to which was entrusted to Perez who misplaced and could [not] locate it. . citing Section 6 of RA 6656 otherwise known as the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law which took effect on June 10.00) Pesos as principal with 12% interest per annum starting from the date of filing of the complaint on August 1. that the deed was without his wife Lorezas consent. . The trial court thus dismissed the complaint. the defendants claimed that as the lots were occupied illegally by some persons against whom they filed an ejectment case. 1988 within which to register the same. 19 . On appeal to this Court. held that the deed was null and void and accordingly rendered judgment the dispositive portion of which reads: WHEREFORE. just made it appear in the deed that the lots were sold to him in order to frighten said illegal occupants. 1991 until plaintiff is fully paid. the defendants claimed that Perez had at least up to September 10. finding. he instituted on August 8. among others. 1991 the instant complaint for specific performance against her and her husband Pelayo (defendants). the husband cannot alienate or encumber any real property of the conjugal partnership without the wifes consent . and that after his relationship with defendant Pelayo became sour. hence. they and Perez who is their friend and known at the time as an activist/leftist. The defendants shall likewise pay to plaintiff the sum of THREE THOUSAND (P3. Perez countered that the lots were given to him by defendant Pelayo in consideration of his services as his attorney-in-fact to make the necessary representation and negotiation with the illegal occupants-defendants in the ejectment suit. the dismissal was set aside and the case was remanded to the lower court for further proceedings. with the intentional omission of Lorezas signature so that the deed could not be registered. nor pay the taxes on the lots. it is not valid and. unenforceable.

that herein petitioners failed to adduce sufficient proof to overthrow the presumption that there was consideration for the deed. she had knowledge of the transaction and is deemed to have given her consent to the same.00 adjudged by the trial court as Perezs remuneration as the consideration for the deed of sale. The CA erred in ignoring the specific provision of Section 6. 1999. . being a lawyer. 1999 whereby it ruled that by Lorenzas signing as witness to the execution of the deed. Petitioners moved for reconsideration of the decision but the same was denied per Resolution dated December 17. No. The CA reversed and set aside the RTC Decision. 6657 otherwise known as the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law of 1988 which took effect on June 15. is presumed to have acted with due care and to have signed the deed with full knowledge of its contents and import. . Hence. instead of declaring the same as null and void for 20 .000. this petition for review on certiorari on the following grounds: 1. petitioners failed to present any ground bearing on the merits of the case to justify a reversal or setting aside of the decision. The CA then promulgated its Decision on April 20.[2] The RTC Decision was appealed by herein respondent Perez to the CA.The court further orders that the Deed of Absolute Sale. and that petitioner David Pelayo. declaring as valid and enforceable the questioned deed of sale and ordering herein petitioner Lorenza Pelayo to affix her signature on all pages of said document. 1988 and which provides that contracts executed prior thereto shall be valid only when registered with the Register of Deeds within a period of three (3) months after the effectivity of this Act. Petitioners failed to file their appellees brief. . (Annex A) of the complaint and (Annex C) of the plaintiffs Motion for Summary Judgment is declared null and void and without force and it is likewise removed as a cloud over defendants title and property in suit. 2.A. The CA erred in holding that the deed of sale was valid and considering the P10. in relation to Section 4 of R. The CA found said motion to have been filed out of time and ruled that even putting aside technicality.

the landholding ceiling prescribed by R. 38700[3] brought by respondent assailing the RTC Order granting herein petitioners motion to dismiss. the CA ruled that the deed of sale subject of this case is valid under R. the landowner-seller retained area and when the total landholding of the purchasertransferee. and that therefore.being fictitious or simulated and on the basis of Art. 491. 4. considering the existence of peculiar circumstances which prevented petitioners from filing said brief. the land in dispute is only 1.A.3 hectares and there is no proof that the transferees (herein respondent) total landholding inclusive of the subject land will exceed 5 hectares. No. the sale or transfer of private agricultural land is allowed only when the area of the land being conveyed constitutes or is a part of. Respondent further maintains that the CA correctly held in its assailed Decision that there was consideration for the contract and that Lorenza is deemed to have given her consent to the deed of sale.A. No. Respondent emphasized that in petitioners motion for reconsideration. SP No.A. respondent points out that the CA. 6657. 6657.A. already ruled that under R. No. they did not even cite any errors made by the CA in its Decision. 6657 that such document must be registered with the 21 . that the failure of respondent to register the instrument was not due to his fault or negligence but can be attributed to Lorenzas unjustified refusal to sign two pages of the deed despite several requests of respondent. 6657. including the property sold. Par. in resolving the first appeal docketed as CA-G. Petitioners should have been allowed to file their appellees brief to ventilate their side. 2 of the New Civil Code which prohibits agents from acquiring by purchase properties from his principal under his charge. The issues boil down to the question of whether or not the deed of sale was null and void on the following grounds: (a) for not complying with the provision in R. does not exceed five (5) hectares. No. 3. that in this case. Respondent likewise opines that the CA was right in denying petitioners motion for reconsideration where they prayed that they be allowed to file their appellees brief as their counsel failed to file the same on account of said counsels failing health due to cancer of the liver. On the other hand.R. The CA made a novel ruling that there was implied marital consent of the wife of petitioner David Pelayo.

A. said ruling of the CA is now binding on petitioners. [5] In said decision. . the CA ruled that respondents failure to register the deed of sale within three months after effectivity of The Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law did not invalidate the deed of sale as the transaction over said property is not proscribed by R. the sale or transfer of a private agricultural land is allowed only when said land area constitutes or is a part of the landowner-seller retained area and only when the total landholdings of the purchaser-transferee. 6657. the CA interpreted Section 4. including the property sold does not exceed five (5) hectares. Thus. We rule against petitioners. It means that whatever is once irrevocably established as the controlling legal rule or decision between the same parties in the same case continues to be the law of the case. so long as the facts on which such decision was predicated continue to be the facts of the case before the court.Register of Deeds within three months after the effectivity of said law. 6657. Court of Appeals. No. the question there settled becomes the law of the case upon subsequent appeal. had been resolved with finality by the CA in its Decision dated November 24. 1995. SP No. in relation to Section 70 of R.A. 6657. 1994 in CA-G. 6657. and (d) for lack of consideration. No. for respondents failure to register said document with the Register of Deeds within three months after the effectivity of R. [4] Herein petitioners no longer elevated said CA Decision to this Court and the same became final and executory on January 7. under the principle of law of the case.[6] to wit: Law of the case has been defined as the opinion delivered on a former appeal. Aside from declaring that the failure of respondent to register the deed was not of his own fault or negligence. Such principle was elucidated in Cucueco vs.A. 6657.R. No. 22 . the proper interpretation of both sections is that under R. The issue of whether or not the deed of sale is null and void under R. to mean thus: .A. (b) for lack of marital consent. whether correct on general principles or not. It is a term applied to an established rule that when an appellate court passes on a question and remands the case to the lower court for further proceedings. No. . (c) for being prohibited under Article 1491 (2) of the Civil Code. No.A. 38700.

so it is highly improbable for Lorenza not to be aware of what her husband was doing to remedy such problems. 6657. it is quite certain that she knew of the sale of their conjugal property between her husband and respondent.[9] petitioners admitted that even prior to 1988. As they themselves stated. whom many feared for being a leftist/activist.A.Petitioners not having questioned the Decision of the CA dated November 24. although it appears on the face of the deed of sale that Lorenza signed only as an instrumental witness. they have been having serious problems. including threats to the life of petitioner David Pelayo. the ruling that the deed of sale subject of this case is not among the transactions deemed as invalid under R. [7] A wifes consent to the husbands disposition of conjugal property does not always have to be explicit or set forth in any particular document. offered his help in driving out said illegal occupants. is deemed to have given her implied consent to the contract of sale. Human experience tells us that a wife would surely be aware of serious problems such as threats to her husbands life and the reasons for such threats. circumstances leading to the execution of said document point to the fact that Lorenza was fully aware of the sale of their conjugal property and consented to the sale. Petitioners do not deny that Lorenza Pelayo was present during the execution of the deed of sale as her signature appears thereon. 23 . We agree with the CA ruling that petitioner Lorenza. by affixing her signature to the Deed of Sale on the space provided for witnesses. 1994 which then attained finality. petitioners problems over the subject property had been going on for quite some time. due to conflicts with the illegal occupants of the property in question. No. so that respondent. Neither do they claim that Lorenza Pelayo had no knowledge whatsoever about the contents of the subject document. is now immutable. [8] In the present case. Sale is a consensual contract that is perfected by mere consent. which may either be express or implied. In their Pre-Trial Brief. so long as it is shown by acts of the wife that such consent or approval was indeed given. Thus.

the lack of marital consent to the disposition of conjugal property does not make the contract void ab initio but merely voidable. if the transaction was indeed entered into without Lorenzas consent. showing respondents insistence on enforcing said contract. ask the courts for the annulment of any contract of the husband entered into without her consent. Hence. or is under civil interdiction or is confined in a leprosarium. 1991 when petitioners brought up Lorenzas alleged lack of consent as an affirmative defense.. Unless the wife has been declared a non compos mentis or a spendthrift. when such consent is required. or any act or contract of the husband which tends to defraud her or impair her interest in the conjugal partnership property. [10] Petitioners did not even attempt to overcome the aforementioned presumption as no evidence was ever presented to show that Lorenza was in any way lacking in her mental faculties and. hence. 173. If Lorenza had any objections over the conveyance of the disputed property. which was still in effect on January 11. could not have fully understood the ramifications of signing the deed of sale. Lorenza even affixed her signature thereto. If she refuses unreasonably to give her consent. Art.Under the rules of evidence. It was only when respondent filed a complaint for specific performance on August 8. and within ten years from the transaction questioned. both of the New Civil Code. the husband cannot alienate or encumber any real property of the conjugal property without the wifes consent. the court may compel her to grant the same. Moreover. it has been held that the contract is valid until the court annuls the same and only upon an action brought by the wife whose consent was not obtained. forced. Lorenza did absolutely nothing to seek the nullification of the assailed contract. despite respondents repeated demands for Lorenza to affix her signature on all the pages of the deed of sale. after the dissolution of the marriage. 1988 when the deed in question was executed. during the marriage. The wife may. Lorenza still did not file a case for annulment of the deed of sale. 24 . in relation to Article 166. Neither did petitioners present any evidence that Lorenza had been defrauded. Said provisions of law provide: Art.[11] In the present case.. Should the wife fail to exercise this right. intimidated or threatened either by her own husband or by respondent into affixing her signature on the subject document. Instead. Thus. she or her heirs. we find it quite puzzling why for more than three and a half years. 166. may demand the value of property fraudulently alienated by the husband. she could have totally refrained from having any part in the execution of the deed of sale. under Article 173. . it is presumed that a person takes ordinary care of his concerns.

the deeds of sale signed by Iluminada Abiertas shows that she gave consent to the sale of the properties in favor of her son. . we find such argument unmeritorious. The landowner subsequently executed a Deed of Certification of Sale of Unregistered Land. she.. the prohibition against agents purchasing property in their hands for sale or management is not absolute. It does not apply if the principal consents to the sale of the property in the hands of the agent or administrator.The foregoing circumstances lead the Court to believe that Lorenza knew of the full import of the transaction between respondent and her husband. and. the consent of the principal Iluminada Abiertas removes the transaction out of the prohibition contained in Article 1491(2). who was the administrator of the properties. The following persons cannot acquire by purchase. Therein. thereby making the transaction an exception to the general rule that agents are prohibited from purchasing the property of their principals.. designated one of her sons as the administrator of several parcels of her land. Rufo. by signing the Deed of Sale in favor of respondent. signified her consent to the disposition of their conjugal property. are also deemed to have given their consent to the sale of the subject property in favor of respondent. Thus. With regard to petitioners asseveration that the deed of sale is invalid under Article 1491. conveying some of said land to her son/administrator.. 1491. Article 1491 (2) provides: Art. we held that: Under paragraph (2) of the above article. the property whose administration or sale may have been entrusted to them. In Distajo vs. Iluminada Abiertas. [13] The above-quoted ruling is exactly in point with this case before us. unless the consent of the principal has been given. Petitioners. either in person or through the mediation of another: . In this case. paragraph 2 of the New Civil Code. 25 .[12] a landowner. by affixing her signature on the deed of sale. even at a public or judicial auction.. in effect. (2) Agents. Court of Appeals.

. It is highly unlikely and contrary to human experience that a layman like respondent would be able to defraud. . Evidently. but not for that alone can the law intervene and restore. the consideration for the sale is respondents services plus the aforementioned cash money. or in any way vitiate the consent of a lawyer like petitioner David Pelayo who is expected to be more knowledgeable in the ways of drafting contracts and other legal transactions. Men may do foolish things. Our ruling in Buenaventura vs. but because he has been defeated or overcome illegally. there is no requirement that the price be equal to the exact value of the subject matter of sale. As we stated in Vales vs. petitioners have not presented proof that there has been fraud. Petitioners contend that the consideration stated in the deed of sale is excessively inadequate. Courts cannot constitute themselves guardians of persons who are not legally incompetent. in addition. the commission of what the law knows as an actionable wrong. a violation of the law. use miserable judgment. and lose money by them indeed. Villa: Courts cannot follow one every step of his life and extricate him from bad bargains.Petitioners also argue that the CA erred in ruling that there was consideration for the sale. in their Reply to Respondents Memorandum. all they have in the world. exert undue influence. [17] petitioners adopted the CAs narration of fact that petitioners stated in a letter they sent to the Register of Deeds of Tagum that they have entrusted the titles over subject 26 . Aside from such services rendered by respondent. Courts operate not because one person has been defeated or overcome by another. indicating that the deed of sale was merely simulated. protect him from unwise investments. in consideration of respondents services. in adopting the trial courts narration of antecedent facts in their petition. in the present case. mistake or undue influence exercised upon them by respondent. There must be. . relieve him from one-sided contracts. . before the courts are authorized to lay hold of the situation and remedy it. [14] thereby admitted that they authorized respondent to represent them in negotiations with the squatters occupying the disputed property and. . petitioners also acknowledged in the deed of sale that they received in full the amount of Ten Thousand Pesos. Court of Appeals [15] is pertinent. Furthermore. or annul the effects of foolish acts. Indeed. We find no error in said appellate courts ruling. We are not persuaded. to wit: . Petitioners. [16] Verily. The element of consideration for the sale is indeed present. make ridiculous contracts. they executed the subject deed of sale.

failed to file their appellees brief. Moreover. The motion having been belatedly filed. Petitioners never denied the CA finding that their motion for reconsideration was filed beyond the fifteen-day reglementary period. they prayed that they be allowed to submit such appellees brief. therefore. in Abalos vs. . Nothing is more settled in law than that once a judgment attains finality it thereby becomes immutable and unalterable. He. Philex Mining Corporation. in its Resolution dated December 17.lots to herein respondent. Petitioners did file such motion but they wasted such opportunity by failing 27 . was filed beyond the reglementary period.[18] we held that: . Thus. however. [19] In this case. On that point alone. petitioners had the opportunity to fully expound on their defenses through a motion for reconsideration. was sent through a private courier and. even if the modification is meant to correct what is perceived to be an erroneous conclusion of fact or law. 1999 by the addressee Court of Appeals. who was then suffering from cancer of the liver. Lastly. in their motion for reconsideration of the CA Decision. The motion. It may no longer be modified in any respect. stated thus: By movant-defendant-appellees own information. his counsel received a copy of the decision on May 5. the CA Decision had then attained finality. 1999. Thus. Such act is a clear indication that they intended to convey the subject property to herein respondent and the deed of sale was not merely simulated or fictitious. 1999. considered to have been filed on the date of actual receipt on June 17. it is pointed out by the CA that said motion did not present any defense or argument on the merits of the case that could have convinced the CA to reverse or modify its Decision. We have consistently held that a petitioners right to due process is not violated where he was able to move for reconsideration of the order or decision in question. had fifteen (15) days from said date or up to May 20. Technicality aside. petitioners claim that they were not able to fully ventilate their defense before the CA as their lawyer. . The CA. therefore. 1999 to file the motion. movant has not proffered any ground bearing on the merits of the case why the decision should be set aside. the CA is correct in denying due course to said motion. and regardless of whether the modification is attempted to be made by the court rendering it or by the highest court of the land.

on February 15. Palang. 101736 covering said rice land was issued in their names. Miguel and Cornelia Palang executed a Deed of Donation as a form of compromise agreement to settle and end a case filed by the latter. Herminia Palang. the denial of petitioners motion for reconsideration.to present therein whatever errors they believed the CA had committed in its Decision. Miguel and Erlinda were convicted of Concubinage upon Carlinas complaint. CV No. 1999 are herebyAFFIRMED.[2] Two months earlier. 24199 entitled Erlinda Agapay v. A few months after the wedding. born on December 6. AGAPAY. did not infringe petitioners right to due process as any issue that petitioners wanted to raise could and should have been contained in said motion for reconsideration. J. Miguel died. the then sixty-three-year-old Miguel contracted his second marriage with nineteen-year-old Erlinda Agapay. Dela Cruz dated June 22. Miguel and Erlinda. 1949 when he took private respondent Carlina (or Cornelia) Vallesterol as a wife at the Pozorrubio Roman Catholic Church in Pangasinan. DELA DECISION ROMERO. Transfer Certificate of Title No. vs. [1] When he returned for good in 1972. His next visit to the Philippines was in 1964 and during the entire duration of his year-long sojourn he stayed in Zambales with his brother. 1977. A house and lot in Binalonan. ERLINDA A. jointly purchased a parcel of agricultural land located at San Felipe. 1973. 1994 involving the ownership of two parcels of land acquired during the cohabitation of petitioner and private respondents legitimate spouse. respondents. he left to work in Hawaii. in October 1949. IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING. Miguel returned in 1954 for a year. Herminia Palang. on May 17. allegedly by Erlinda as the sole vendee. CARLINA (CORNELIA) V. TCT No. 1975. 1981.080 square meters. Carlina (Cornelia) Palang and Herminia P. 143120 covering said property was later issued in her name. Pangasinan with an area of 10. [5]Two years later. 1999 and its Resolution dated December 17. Consequently. [4] Miguel and Erlindas cohabitation produced a son. the petition is DENIED and the Decision of the Court of Appeals dated April 20. The trial court found evidence that as early as 1957. was born on May 12. On July 15. as evidenced by the Deed of Sale. but stayed alone in a house in Pozorrubio. petitioner. he refused to live with private respondents. Miguel Palang contracted his first marriage on July 16. Miguel and Carlinas only child.R. PALANG and HERMINIA P. Pangasinan. Kristopher A.: Before us is a petition for review of the decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. 1975. Miguel had attempted to divorce Carlina in Hawaii. [3] The parties therein agreed to donate their conjugal property consisting of six parcels of land to their only child. Pangasinan was likewise purchased on September 23. therefore. Binalonan. In 1979. not in Pangasinan with his wife and child. Definitely. CRUZ. 28 . 1973. 1950. herein petitioner. On October 30. praying that they be allowed to file appellees brief.

143120 and 101736 and to issue in lieu thereof another certificate of title in the name of plaintiffs-appellants. Petitioner. SO ORDERED. within 15 days after this decision becomes final and executory. U-4265). 101736. with costs against plaintiffs. respondent court reversed the trial courts decision. Pangasinan. 143120. 5) No pronouncement as to damages and attorneys fees. contended that while the riceland covered by TCT No. 1989 dismissing the complaint after declaring that there was little evidence to prove that the subject properties pertained to the conjugal property of Carlina and Miguel Palang. an action for recovery of ownership and possession with damages against petitioner before the Regional Trial Court in Urdaneta. Pangasinan.On July 11. Miguels illegitimate son. the lower court rendered its decision on June 30. 1994 with the following dispositive portion: WHEREFORE. 2) Confirming the ownership of defendant Erlinda Agapay of the residential lot located at Poblacion. Binalonan. 3) Confirming the ownership of one-half (1/2) portion of that piece of agricultural land situated at Balisa. 101736 in the name of Miguel Palang. Lot 290-B including the old house standing therein. 3. particularly of Kristopher Palang.080 square meters and as evidenced by TCT No. San Felipe. judgment is hereby rendered1) Dismissing the complaint. the estate of deceased Miguel Palang will have to be settled in another separate action. Binalonan. consisting of 10. otherwise.The dispositive portion of the decision reads: WHEREFORE. Erlinda added that Carlina is precluded from claiming aforesaid properties since the latter had already donated their conjugal estate to Herminia. Private respondents sought to get back the riceland and the house and lot both located at Binalonan. she had already given her half of the property to their son Kristopher Palang. Miguel Palang and Carlina Vallesterol Palang. as evidenced by TCT No. dated October 30. under TCT No. Miguel Palang. the one-half (1/2) of the agricultural land situated at Balisa. After trial on the merits. instituted the case at bar. 29 . PREMISES CONSIDERED. 101736 is registered in their names (Miguel and Erlinda). 1981. 1975. Declaring plaintiffs-appellants the owners of the properties in question. Lot 1123-A to Erlinda Agapay. a quit-claim forever renouncing any claims to annul/reduce the donation to Herminia Palang de la Cruz of all conjugal properties of her parents. having bought the same with her own money. Pangasinan. Carlina Palang and her daughter Herminia Palang de la Cruz. herein private respondents. 143120 is her sole property. provided that the former (Kristopher) executes. Binalonan. She added that the house and lot covered by TCT No.[6] On appeal. Ordering the Register of Deeds of Pangasinan to cancel Transfer Certificate of Title Nos. San Felipe. The lower court went on to provide for the intestate shares of the parties. Pangasinan (Civil Case No. 2. the appealed decision is hereby REVERSED and another one entered: 1. premises considered. The Court of Appeals rendered its decision on July 22. Pangasinan allegedly purchased by Miguel during his cohabitation with petitioner. as defendant below. Ordering defendant-appellee to vacate and deliver the properties in question to herein plaintiffs-appellants. 4) Adjudicating to Kristopher Palang as his inheritance from his deceased father.

Since petitioner failed to prove that she contributed money to the purchase price of the riceland in Binalonan. only the properties acquired by both of the parties through their actual joint contribution of money. petitioner was only around twenty years of age and Miguel Palang was already sixty-four and a pensioner of the U. petitioner contends that respondent appellate court erred in not declaring Kristopher A. the Court denies the petition and affirms the questioned decision of the Court of Appeals. There is no dispute that the transfers of ownership from the original owners of the riceland and the house and lot. Petitioner assails the validity of the deeds of conveyance over the same parcels of land. 24199. If the actual contribution of the party is not proved. property or industry shall be owned by them in common in proportion to their respective contributions. Proof of the precise date when they commenced their adulterous cohabitation not having been adduced. Considering her youthfulness.[7] Hence. It must be stressed that actual contribution is required by this provision. in not finding that there is sufficient pleading and evidence that Kristoffer A. Petitioner now claims that the riceland was bought two months before Miguel and Erlinda actually cohabited.[8] After studying the merits of the instant case. [11] there being no proof of the same. this petition. Consequently. the riceland should.00 as her share in the purchase price of subject property. we find no basis to justify her co-ownership with Miguel over the same.[9] In the case at bar. respondent court erred. even assuming that the subject property was bought before cohabitation. The first and principal issue is the ownership of the two pieces of property subject of this action. Second. Worth noting is the fact that on the date of conveyance. U-4625 before the trial court and in CA-G. in favor of Erlinda Agapay alone. Pangasinan. While Miguel and Erlinda contracted marriage on July 15. it is unrealistic to conclude that in 1973 she contributed P3. as correctly held by the Court of Appeals.S. Erlinda tried to establish by her testimony that she is engaged in the business of buy and sell and had a sari-sari store[10] but failed to persuade us that she actually contributed money to buy the subject riceland. according to petitioner.750.R. No. Palang should be considered as party-defendant in Civil Case No. 1973. The provision of law applicable here is Article 148 of the Family Code providing for cases of cohabitation when a man and a woman who are not capacitated to marry each other live exclusively with each other as husband and wife without the benefit of marriage or under a void marriage. 1973. Corazon Ilomin and the spouses Cespedes. Under Article 148. Petitioner claims that the Court of Appeals erred in not sustaining the validity of two deeds of absolute sale covering the riceland and the house and lot.No pronouncement as to costs. said added assertion was intended to exclude their case from the operation of Article 148 of the Family Code. are regarded as contributions to the acquisition of common property by one who has no salary or income or work or industry. The sale of the riceland on May 17. revert to the conjugal partnership property of the deceased Miguel and private respondent Carlina Palang. May 17. Palang or Christopher A. Third. Palang as Miguel Palangs illegitimate son and thus entitled to inherit from Miguels estate. In any case. as well as the pertinent provisions of law and jurisprudence. Government. were valid. was made in favor of Miguel and Erlinda. respectively. we cannot state definitively that the riceland was purchased even before they started living together. 1973. the first in favor of Miguel Palang and Erlinda Agapay and the second. 30 . in contrast to Article 147 which states that efforts in the care and maintenance of the family and household. there will be no co-ownership and no presumption of equal shares. the rules of co-ownership would still apply and proof of actual contribution would still be essential. In the nature of an afterthought. said union was patently void because the earlier marriage of Miguel and Carlina was still susbsisting and unaffected by the latters de factoseparation.

Kristopher.[12] Separation of property between spouses during the marriage shall not take place except by judicial order or without judicial conferment when there is an express stipulation in the marriage settlements. therefore.Furthermore.. G. 2013 JUAN SEVILLA SALAS. was. JR. proof of filiation of illegitimate children and the determination of the estate of the latter and claims thereto should be ventilated in the proper probate court or in a special proceeding instituted for the purpose and cannot be adjudicated in the instant ordinary civil action which is for recovery of ownership and possession. Erlinda allegedly bought the same for P20. Erlinda. [13] The judgment which resulted from the parties compromise was not specifically and expressly for separation of property and should not be so inferred. EDEN VILLENA AGUILA.[18] The trial court erred gravely. but one which was clearly void and inexistent by express provision of law because it was made between persons guilty of adultery or concubinage at the time of the donation. No. The trial court erred in holding that the decision adopting their compromise agreement in effect partakes the nature of judicial confirmation of the separation of property between spouses and the termination of the conjugal partnership. The questioned decision of the Court of Appeals is AFFIRMED. the instant petition is hereby DENIED. petitioner contends that Kristopher Palang should be considered as party-defendant in the case at bar following the trial courts decision which expressly found that Kristopher had not been impleaded as party defendant but theorized that he had submitted to the courts jurisdiction through his mother/guardian ad litem. not having been impleaded. vs. cannot be called his guardian ad litem for he was not involved in the case at bar. not a party to the case at bar. WHEREFORE. Constantino Sagun testified that Miguel Palang provided the money for the purchase price and directed that Erlindas name alone be placed as the vendee. it is immaterial that Miguel and Carlina previously agreed to donate their conjugal property in favor of their daughter Herminia in 1975. Article 87 of the Family Code expressly provides that the prohibition against donations between spouses now applies to donations between persons living together as husband and wife without a valid marriage. in order to avoid multiplicity of suits. His mother.[16] The second issue concerning Kristopher Palangs status and claim as an illegitimate son and heir to Miguels estate is here resolved in favor of respondent courts correct assessment that the trial court erred in making pronouncements regarding Kristophers heirship and filiation inasmuch as questions as to who are the heirs of the decedent. Respondent. SO ORDERED. Atty.R. Petitioner. 202370 September 23. DECISION 31 .00 on September 23. [17] As regards the third issue. the condition of those who incurred guilt would turn out to be better than those in legal union. Costs against petitioner. With respect to the house and lot.[19] Petitioners grave error has been discussed in the preceeding paragraph where the need for probate proceedings to resolve the settlement of Miguels estate and Kristophers successional rights has been pointed out.000. Moreover. Petitioner adds that there is no need for Kristopher to file another action to prove that he is the illegitimate son of Miguel. [14] The transaction was properly a donation made by Miguel to Erlinda.[15] for otherwise. under Article 739 of the Civil Code. The testimony of the notary public who prepared the deed of conveyance for the property reveals the falsehood of this claim. 1975 when she was only 22 years old.

Salas’ notice of hearing was returned unserved with the remark. Aguila testified that on 17 April 2007 someone informed her of the existence of the Discovered Properties. Quezon City. 11 On 8 February 2008. Salas (Rubina) is Salas’ common-law wife. The RTC Decision further provides for the "dissolution of their conjugal partnership of gains. and (b) a 108-square-meter parcel of land with improvement located in Tondo. On 7 October 2003. he no longer communicated with Aguila or their daughter. 243373 (collectively. 95322. 787. The Facts On 7 September 1985. married to Rubina C. and (3) motor vehicles. Aguila filed a Petition for Declaration of Nullity of Marriage (petition) citing psychological incapacity under Article 36 of the Family Code. Batangas. The dispositive portion of the Order reads: 32 . petitioner Juan Sevilla Salas. Salas likewise enumerated properties he allegedly waived in favor of Aguila. Nasugbu. On 21 September 2007. and Batangas City. her counsel and the state prosecutor present. Batangas. Aguila filed a Manifestation and Motion 9 stating that she discovered: (a) two 200-square-meter parcels of land with improvements located in San Bartolome. specifically Honda City and Toyota Tamaraw FX(collectively. On 7 June 1986. N-259299-A and TCT No. in Civil Case No. During the hearing. Batangas. Alangilan. Since then. Thus. Salas contended that the conjugal properties were deemed partitioned. Thereafter. The registered owner of the Discovered Properties is "Juan S. covered by TCT No. No. the hearing for Aguila’s manifestation ensued. Silangan. (Salas) and respondent Eden Villena Aguila (Aguila) were married. Samaniego Street.CARPIO. P. Aguila testified that Rubina C. Salas filed a Manifestation with Entry of Appearance 10 requesting for an Entry of Judgment of the RTC Decision since no motion for reconsideration or appeal was filed and no conjugal property was involved." 8 On 10 September 2007. Five months later. However. financed by Filinvest. Aguila gave birth to their daughter. The petition states that they "have no conjugal properties whatsoever. Joan Jiselle. the RTC ruled in favor of Aguila. if any.: The Case This petition for review on certiorari1 assails the 16 March 2012 Decision2 and the 28 June 2012 Resolution3 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G. Salas left their conjugal dwelling. J. (2) cash amounting toP200. Branch 14 (RTC). Batangas City. covered by Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. the sheriff narrated that Salas instructed his mother Luisa Salas to receive the copy of summons and the petition." 5 In the Return of Summons dated 13 October 2003. the RTC rendered a Decision7 declaring the nullity of the marriage of Salas and Aguila (RTC Decision).R.6 On 7 May 2007." The manifestation was set for hearing on 21 September 2007. Aguila’s statement was a judicial admission and was not made through palpable mistake. "RTS Refused To Receive. N-255497. The Ruling of the Regional Trial Court In its 26 September 2008 Order. "Waived Properties").000. Manila. to wit:(1) parcels of land with improvements located in Sugar Landing Subdivision. Nasugbu. Salas. The CA affirmed the 26 September 2008 Order 4 of the Regional Trial Court of Nasugbu. Jr. CV No. "Discovered Properties"). When asked to clarify.00.Salas. Salas claimed that Aguila waived her right to the Discovered Properties." On 19 September 2007. Salas filed an Opposition to the Manifestation 12 alleging that there is no conjugal property to be partitioned based on Aguila’s petition. she verified the information and secured copies of TCTs of the Discovered Properties. According to Salas. 176 Brias Street. with Aguila.

foregoing premises being considered. 243373-Ind. the Court shall confirm the partition so agreed upon bythe parties. if they were not married as they claimed.13 The RTC held that pursuant to the Rules. The RTC further held that Salas and Rubina were at fault for failing to correct the TCTs. Salas married to Rubina C. marked as Exhibit "D" and its improvements. the petitioner and the respondent are hereby directed to partition between themselves by proper instruments of conveyance. The CA likewise held that Rubina cannot collaterally attack a certificate of title. (3) A parcel of land registered in the name of Juan S. and (5) she authorized her brother to purchase the Discovered Properties but because he was not well-versed with legal documentation. Hence. (2) A parcel of land registered in the name of Juan S. The CA also ruled that Salas was not deprived of the opportunity to refute Aguila’s allegations in her manifestation. but Aguila found the Discovered Properties only on 17 April 2007 or before the promulgation of the RTC decision. the CA affirmed the order of the RTC. a widow and unmarried to Salas. (4) the RTC did not acquire jurisdiction over her as she was not a party in the case. shall be recorded in the Registry of Deeds of the place in which the property is situated. Thus. The Issues 33 . N-259299-A marked as Exhibit "A" and its improvements. he registered the properties in the name of "Juan S. this petition. the CA concluded that Aguila was palpably mistaken in her petition and it would be unfair to punish her over a matter that she had no knowledge of at the time she made the admission. Hence. (2) the Discovered Properties are her paraphernal properties. SO ORDERED. In a Resolution dated 28 June 2012.Salas married to Rubina Cortez Salas located in Tondo and covered by TCT No. claiming that: (1) she is Rubina Cortez. married to Rubina C. The CA pointed out that the petition was filed on 7 October 2003. Salas.15 The CA ruled that Aguila’s statement in her petition is not a judicial admission. Quezon City and covered by TCT No. Thereafter. The Ruling of the Court of Appeals On 16 March 2012. The RTC found that the Discovered Properties are among the conjugal properties to be partitioned and distributed between Salas and Aguila.Salas married to Rubina C. Quezon City and covered by TCT No. Joan Jisselle Aguila Salas: (1) A parcel of land registered in the name of Juan S. The RTC found that Salas failed to prove his allegation that Aguila transferred the Waived Properties to third persons. Salas. On 11 November 2008. partition and distribution of the conjugal partnership of gains if it has not been judicially adjudicated upon.WHEREFORE. even though he was not present in its hearing. Rubina filed a Complaint-in-Intervention. without prejudice to the legitime of their legitimate child. the court can proceed with the liquidation.14 even upon entry of judgment granting the annulment of marriage. the RTC denied the Motion for Reconsideration filed by Salas. as in this case. N-255497 marked as Exhibit "B" and its improvements. Salas located in San Bartolome. which state that Salas is the registered owner of the Discovered Properties. The RTC emphasized that it cannot go beyond the TCTs. together with the Order of the Court confirming the same." In its 16 December 2009 Order. Salas located in San Bartolome.16 the CA denied the Motion for Reconsideration17 filed by Salas. and such partition. Salas filed an appeal with the CA. (3) Salas did not contribute money to purchase the Discovered Properties as he had no permanent job in Japan. However. the following properties. the RTC held that Salas failed to prove the existence of the Waived Properties.

These are the following: (1) TCT No. In Villanueva v. [Aguila] submitted original copy of Certification issued by Ms. Cortez to intervene in this case18 The Ruling of the Court The petition lacks merit. However. except under compelling circumstances not present in this case. N-259299-A and N-255497 in Quezon City and as well as the property in Manila covered by TCT No. registered in the name of Eden A. as of September 17. this Court cannot order a division of the property. 24 34 . single. Such evidence. Moreover. registered in the name of Eden A. 243373 between petitioner and respondent. and the CA affirmed. Suffice it to say that such real properties are existing and registered in the name of [Aguila]. Moreover. (2) TCT No. certifying that [Aguila] has no real property (land and improvement) listed in the Assessment Roll for taxation purposes. T-68066 – a parcel of land situated in the Barrio of Landing. 2. Aguila proved that the Discovered Properties were acquired by Salas during their marriage. Nasugbu. has the presumption of regularity. hence. The Court of Appeals erred in affirming the trial court’s decision in not allowing Rubina C. Batangas. Batangas. or during the validity of Salas and Aguila’s marriage. Salas Jr. certified true copies thereof should have been the ones submitted to this Court. particularly if affirmed by the CA. Dasal. 22 On the other hand. The TCTs of the Discovered Properties were entered on 2 July 1999 and 29 September 2003. 19 Thus. are binding on us. which is cancelled by TCT No.Salas seeks a reversal and raises the following issues for resolution: 1. the RTC found. Court of Appeals.20 Basic is the rule that the party making an allegation in a civil case has the burden of proving it by a preponderance of evidence. in the absence of proof to the contrary. Erlinda A.21 Salas alleged that contrary to Aguila’s petition stating that they had no conjugal property. Salas. Nasugbu.1âwphi1Both the RTC and the CA agreed that the Discovered Properties registered in Salas’ name were acquired during his marriage with Aguila. married to Juan S. 23 we held that the question of whether the properties were acquired during the marriage is a factual issue. the settlement of the issue of ownership is the first stage in this action. T-105443 in the name of Joan Jiselle A. there is also a presumption that properties registered in the Registry of Deeds are also declared in the Assessment Roll for taxation purposes. 2008. Factual findings of the RTC. Since the original manifestation was an action for partition. unless it first makes a determination as to the existence of a co-ownership. Municipal Assessor of Nasugbu. married to Juan Salas Jr. that Salas failed to prove the existence and acquisition of the Waived Properties during their marriage: A perusal of the record shows that the documents submitted by [Salas] as the properties allegedly registered in the name of [Aguila] are merely photocopies and not certified true copies. T-65876 – a parcel of land located at Poblacion. x x x. they actually acquired the Waived Properties during their marriage. The Court of Appeals erred in affirming the trial court’s decision ordering the partition of the parcels of land covered by TCT Nos. Salas. Salas. this Court cannot admit the same as part of the records of this case. Batangas.

we find the allegation untenable. but on the basis of co-ownership and not on the regime of conjugal partnership of gains.28 we held that 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. CV No. Article147 of the Family Code provides: ART. Salas did not rebut this presumption. each vacant share shall belong to the respective surviving descendants. such share shall belong to the innocent party. When only one of the parties to a void marriage is in good faith. Salas" is the registered owner of the Discovered Properties. It was only when Rubina intervened that Salas supported Rubina’s statement that she owns the Discovered Properties. 29 In the present case. properties acquired while they lived together shall be presumed to have been obtained by their joint efforts. In the absence of descendants. the share of the party in bad faith in the co-ownership shall be forfeited in favor of their common children. On both Salas and Rubina’s contention that Rubina owns the Discovered Properties. without the consent of the other. The TCTs state that "Juan S. Considering that Rubina failed to prove her title or her legal interest in the Discovered Properties. Salas did not initially dispute the ownership of the Discovered Properties in his opposition to the manifestation. submitted evidence and filed his appeal. but whose marriage is nonetheless declared void under Article 36 of the Family Code. 35 . Neither party can encumber or dispose by acts inter vivos of his or her share in the property acquired during cohabitation and owned in common. property acquired during the marriage is prima facie presumed to have been obtained through the couple’s joint efforts and governed by the rules on co-ownership. Diño. we held that the properties acquired during the union of the parties.26 Furthermore. until after the termination of their cohabitation. Salas. 95322. live exclusively with each other as husband and wife without the benefit of marriage or under a void marriage. The Rules of Court provide that only "a person who has a legal interest in the matter in litigation. be allowed to intervene in the action. the partition of the Discovered Properties as ordered by the RTC and the CA should be sustained. (Emphasis supplied) Under this property regime. their wages and salaries shall be owned by them in equal shares and the property acquired by both of them through their work or industry shall be governed by the rules on co-ownership. she has no right to intervene in this case. we DENY the petition. In all cases. In the absence of proof to the contrary. WHEREFORE.R. In a similar case where the ground for nullity of marriage was also psychological incapacity. and shall be owned by them in equal shares. A Torrens title is generally a conclusive evidence of the ownership of the land referred to.30 Accordingly. or an interest against both.On Salas’ allegation that he was not accorded due process for failing to attend the hearing of Aguila’s manifestation. the forfeiture shall take place upon termination of the cohabitation. would be governed by coownership. work or industry. In case of default of or waiver by any or all of the common children or their descendants. we likewise find the contention unmeritorious."27 In Diño v. as in this case. as found by both the RTC and the CA. because there is a strong presumption that it is valid and regularly issued. with leave of court. The essence of due process is opportunity to be heard. 25 The phrase "married to" is merely descriptive of the civil status of the registered owner. or in the success of either of the parties. For purposes of this Article. We hold that Salas was given such opportunity when he filed his opposition to the manifestation. 147. We AFFIRM the Decision dated 16 March 2012 and the Resolution dated 28 June 2012 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. When a man and a woman who are capacitated to marry each other. 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. married to Rubina C. a party who did not participate in the acquisition by the other party of any property shall be deemed to have contributed jointly in the acquisition thereof if the former’s efforts consisted in the care and maintenance of the family and of the household.

DECISION PERALTA. the decision dated September 17. The facts. 2003. by way of affirmative defense. It found that even though the MTCC aptly applied Article 129 of the Family Code. and its Resolution 2 dated January 24.R. which ordered the partition of the subject property. 2003 is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE and a new judgment is hereby rendered ordering the parties: 36 . Nonato filed a Complaint for partition before the Municipal Trial Court in Cities (MTCC) of Bacolod City.00.000. T-140361. the partition case being an action incapable of pecuniary estimation. 2004. Barrido. J. 00235. No. Barrido claimed. Bacolod City. Respondent. Since there was no more reason to maintain their co-ownership over the property. The CA affirmed the Decision3 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) ofBacolod City. a house and lot covered by TCT No. covered by Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. Branch 3. Furthermore. which was their conjugal dwelling. Nonato and petitioner Marietta N. SO ORDERED. consisting ofa house and lot. 2006. The Bacolod MTCC rendered a Decision dated September 17. PREMISES CONSIDERED. Bacolod City.00 and litigation expenses of P575. SP No.they were able to acquire a property situated in Eroreco. Barrido questioning the Decision 1of the Court of Appeals (CA). it nevertheless made a reversible error in adjudicating the subject property to Barrido. the Bacolod RTC reversed the ruling of the MTCC. are as follows: In the course of the marriage of respondent Leonardo V. adjudicated to the defendant Marietta Nonato. dated November 16. Thus.R. It ruled in this wise: WHEREFORE. dated July 21. On July 21. defendant’s counterclaim is hereby granted. as culled from the records.: For the Court's resolution is a Petition for Review filed by petitioner Marietta N. Petitioner. NONATO. and attorney’s fees of P2. BARRIDO. ordering plaintiff to pay defendant P10.000. 1996. vs.00 as moral damages for the mental anguish and unnecessary inconvenience brought about by this suit. Its dispositive portion reads: WHEREFORE. 2007 in CA-G. LEONARDO V. and an additionalP10. Joseph Raymund and Joseph Leo. their marriage was declared void on the ground of psychological incapacity. 2004. that the subject property had already been sold to their children. She likewise moved for the dismissal of the complaint because the MTCC lacked jurisdiction. in Civil Case No. On March 15. 2003. 2014 MARIETTA N.4 Nonato appealed the MTCC Decision before the RTC. the spouse with whom the majority of the common children choose to remain.G. 03-12123. judgment is hereby rendered.000. premises considered. but the latter refused. applying Article 129 of the Family Code. ordering the conjugal property of the former Spouses Leonardo and Marietta Nonato. Branch 53. 176492 October 20. T-140361 located at Eroreco.00 as exemplary damages to deter others from following suit. on January 29. Nonato asked Barrido for partition.

however. (3) to deliver the presumptive legitimes of Joseph Raymund and Joseph Leo Nonato pursuant to Article 51 of the Family Code. JOSEPH LEO NONATO AND JOSEPH RAYMUND NONATO. Barrido filed a Motion for Reconsideration. Municipal Trial Courts and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts in civil cases.00)or. the CA affirmed the RTC Decision on November 16. (2) to reimburse Joseph Raymund and Joseph Leo Nonato of the amount advanced by them in payment of the debts and obligation of TCT No. III. Jurisdiction of Metropolitan Trial Courts.6 The petition lacks merit.7 Section 33 of Batas Pambansa Bilang 1298 provides: Section 33. which was.00. or foreclosure of a mortgage on real property. the dispositive portion of its decision still correctly ordered the equitable partition of the property. T-140361. She assigned the following errors in the CA Decision: I. SO ORDERED. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE MTCC HAD JURISDICTION TO TRY THE PRESENT CASE. and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts shall exercise: xxxx (3) Exclusive original jurisdiction in all civil actions which involve title to. or for the partition or condemnation of.000. 2006. II.(1) to equitably partition the house and lot covered by TCT No. or any interest therein where the assessed value of the propertyor interest therein does not exceed Twenty thousand pesos (P20. Municipal Trial Courts. Also. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE LOT COVERED BY TCT NO. denied for lack of merit. in civil actions in Metro Manila.– Metropolitan Trial Courts.080. Contrary to Barrido’s contention. Hence. T-140361 IS CONJUGAL AFTER BEING SOLD TO THE CHILDREN. T-140361 with Philippine National Bank. ON THE ASSUMPTION THAT THE TRIAL COURT HAD JURISDICTION OVER THE CASE. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN HOLDING THAT ARTICLE 129 OF THE FAMILY CODE HAS NO APPLICATION IN THE PRESENT CASE. It held that since the property’s assessed value was only P8. although the RTC erred in relying on Article 129 of the FamilyCode. real property. instead of Article 147. Barrido brought the case to the Court via a Petition for Review.5 Upon appeal. or for the recovery of possession. where such assessed value does not exceed Fifty thousand pesos 37 . it clearly fell within the MTCC’s jurisdiction. the MTCC has jurisdiction to take cognizance of real actions or those affecting title to real property. or possession of.

therefore. their wages and salaries shall be owned by them in equal shares and the property acquired by both of them through their work or industry shall be governed by the rules on co-ownership. attorney's fees. However. In the absence of descendants. No. each vacant share shall belong to the respective surviving descendants. all these elements are present. The records reveal that Nonatoand Barrido’s marriage had been declared void for psychological incapacity under Article 3610 of the Family Code.A.00) exclusive of interest.15 Under this property regime.14 Any impediment to marry has not been shown to have existed on the part of either Nonato or Barrido. and (3) their union is without the benefit of marriage or their marriage is void. For purposes of this Article.17 38 . such share shall belong to the innocent party. the man and the woman: (1) must be capacitated to marry each other. without the consent of the other. 147. that for Article 147 to operate.13 The term "capacitated" inthe first paragraph of the provision pertains to the legal capacity of a party to contract marriage. however. In the absence of proof to the contrary. (2) live exclusively with each other as husband and wife. Neither party can encumber or dispose by acts inter vivos of his or her share in the property acquired during cohabitation and owned in common.000. and shall beowned by them in equal shares. work or industry. an amount which certainly does not exceed the required limit of P20. (as amended by R. A party who did not participate in the acquisition of the property shall be considered as having contributed to the same jointly if said party's efforts consisted in the care and maintenance of the family household.(P50. 7691)9 Here. Although Article 12911 provides for the procedure in case of dissolution of the conjugal partnership regime. 12 It is clear. They lived exclusively with each other as husband and wife. the share of the party in bad faith in the co-ownership shall be forfeited in favor of their common children. their marriage was found to be void under Article 36 of the Family Code on the ground of psychological incapacity. Therefore.000. suffering no illegal impedimentto marry each other. During their marriage. damages of whatever kind. live exclusively with each other as husband and wife without the benefit of marriage or under a void marriage. When only one of the parties to a void marriage is in good faith. the conjugal partnership regime governed their property relations. until after the termination of their cohabitation. In case of default of or waiver by any or all of the common children or their descendants. the lower court correctly took cognizance of the instant case. exclusively live together as husband and wife under a void marriage or without the benefit of marriage.16 Efforts in the care and maintenance of the family and household are regarded as contributions to the acquisition of common property by one who has no salary or income or work or industry.1âwphi1 In all cases. properties acquired while they lived together shall be presumed tohave been obtained by their joint efforts. Article 147 reads: Art.080. Any property acquired during the union is prima faciepresumed to have been obtained through their joint efforts. Here. property acquired by both spouses through their work and industry shall be governed by the rules on equal coownership. litigation expenses and costs: Provided. the subject property’s assessed value was merely P8.00. a party who did not participate in the acquisition by the other party of any property shall be deemed to have contributed jointly in the acquisition thereof if the former's efforts consisted in the care and maintenance of the family and of the household.00 for civil actions outside Metro Manila tofall within the jurisdiction of the MTCC. Article 147 specifically covers the effects of void marriages on the spouses’ property relations. That value of such property shall be determined by the assessed value of the adjacent lots. This particular kind of co-ownership applies when a man and a woman. the forfeiture shall take place upon termination of the cohabitation. When a man and a woman who are capacitated to marry each other.

The Decision of the Court of Appeals. are irrelevant to the liquidation of the coownership that exists between common-law spousesor spouses of void marriages. Chairman. dated November 16. it shall be presumed to have been obtained by their joint efforts.In the analogous case of Valdez. 143439 Present: . Promulgated: October 14. SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ. in the liquidation and partition of the property that they owned in common. 2005 x---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------x D E C I S I O N SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ. CARPIO MORALES. It must be noted that without the notarial seal. claims that the ownership over the property in question is already vested on their children. premises considered. however. PANGANIBAN. she merely annexed said Deed of Sale to her position paper. CORONA. the subject property remains to be owned in common by Nonato and Barrido..18 it was likewise averred that the trial court failed to apply the correct law that should govern the disposition of a family dwelling in a situation where a marriage is declared void ab initiobecause of psychological incapacity on the part of either or both parties in the contract of marriage. Therefore.22 Unfortunately. are hereby AFFIRMED. J. Barrido failed to prove its due execution and authenticity. But aside from the title to the property still being registered in the names of the former spouses. MAXIMO ALVAREZ. SP No. 2006. as well as its Resolution dated January 24. SO ORDERED. and shall be jointly owned by them in equal shares. the provisions on coownership under the Civil Code should aptly prevail. In fact. No. WHEREFORE. the former spouses both agree that they acquired the subject property during the subsistence of their marriage. 21 making it inadmissible in evidence unless properly authenticated.: 39 .R. Petitioner.R. Respondent. as well as in concluding that. the petition is DENIED. the property regimes recognized for valid and voidable marriages. 2007 in CA-G. a document remains to be private and cannot be converted into a public document. 00235. JJ. 20 Here. Thus.The Court held that the court a quodid not commit a reversible error in utilizing Article 147 of the Family Code and in ruling that the former spouses own the family home and all their common property in equal shares. Barrido. which should be divided in accordance with the rules on co-ownership. and GARCIA.19 The rules which are set up to govern the liquidation of either the absolute community or the conjugal partnership of gains. G.versus - SUSAN RAMIREZ. J. by virtue of a Deed of Sale. work or industry. said document of safe does not bear a notarization of a notary public.

as JUDGE RTC. versus. 1998 gasoline in the house located at Blk. Alvarez. xxx DIRECT EXAMINATION ATTY. the members of the family as well as Esperanza Alvarez. HON. MM. COURT: Swear in the witness. is the complaining witness in Criminal Case No. MESIAH: (sic) Your Honor. respondents. entitled SUSAN RAMIREZ. 19933-MN for arson [3] pending before the Regional Trial Court. the house owned by his sister-in-law Susan Ramirez. Your Honor. the estranged wife of the accused. Branch 72. the door of said house was burned and together with several articles of the house. we are offering the testimony of this witness for the purpose of proving that the accused Maximo Alvarez committed all the elements of the crime being charged particularly that accused Maximo Alvarez pour on May 29. He is the husband of Esperanza G. that accused Maximo Alvarez after pouring the gasoline on the door of the house of Susan Ramirez ignited and set it on fire. herein respondent. Malabon City. 2000 in CAG. Esperanza testified as follows: ATTY. Dagatdagatan. the private prosecutor called Esperanza Alvarez to the witness stand as the first witness against petitioner. ALCANTARA: 40 . the wife of the accused. 56154. SP No. MALABON. Phase 1-C. JR. Susan Ramirez. ALCANTARA: We are calling Mrs. Metro Manila.Before us is a petition for review on certiorari[1] assailing the Decision[2] of the Court of Appeals dated May 31. xxx ATTY. that the accused at the time he successfully set the house on fire (sic) of Susan Ramirez knew that it was occupied by Susan Ramirez. herein petitioner. The accused is Maximo Alvarez. Petitioner and his counsel raised no objection.R. 1999. BENJAMIN M.. sister of respondent. On June 21. 72. 5. chairs and others. petitioner. and MAXIMO ALVAREZ. Navotas. BR. that as a consequence of the accused in successfully setting the fire to the house of Susan Ramirez. AQUINO. her husband. COURT: You may proceed. including shoes. Lot 9. Esperanza Alvarez.

can you identify him? A: Yes. [7] The prosecution filed a motion for reconsideration but was denied in the other assailed Order dated October 19. 1999. Maximo Alvarez. prompting the trial judge to suspend the proceedings. Q: If that Maximo Alvarez you were able to see. can you state the name of that person. the trial court issued the questioned Order disqualifying Esperanza Alvarez from further testifying and deleting her testimony from the records. filed a motion [5] to disqualify Esperanza from testifying against him pursuant to Rule 130 of the Revised Rules of Court on marital disqualification. to file with the Court of Appeals a petition for certiorari[9] with application for preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order. the trial court directed the prosecution to proceed with the presentation of the other witnesses. I saw a man pouring the gasoline in the house of my sister (and witness pointing to the person of the accused inside the court room). 2000. this petition for review on certiorari. he gave his name as Maximo Alvarez. the latter showed uncontrolled emotions. if you know? A: He is my husband. Mrs. sir. Witness. On September 2. can you please point him? A: Witness pointing to a person and when asked to stand and asked his name. sir. Q: If you can see him inside the Court room. 41 . 1999. sir. petitioner.[8] This prompted respondent Susan Ramirez.[10] On May 31. 1999. Q: For the record. the complaining witness in Criminal Case No. through counsel. On June 30. Respondent filed an opposition[6] to the motion.xxx Q: When you were able to find the source. 19933-MN. Pending resolution of the motion. Hence.[4] In the course of Esperanzas direct testimony against petitioner. the Appellate Court rendered a Decision nullifying and setting aside the assailed Orders issued by the trial court. incidentally what was the source of that scent? A: When I stand by the window.

Rule 130 of the Revised Rules of Court provides: Sec. or in a criminal case for a crime committed by one against the other or the latters direct descendants or ascendants. outweigh those in support of the general rule. 22. If one were to testify for or against the other. neither the husband nor the wife may testify for or against the other without the consent of the affected spouse. identity of interests disappears and the consequent danger of perjury based on that identity is non-existent. which through their absence. During their marriage. The policy of the law is to guard the security and confidences of private life. the exceptions are backed by sound reasons which. which the law aims at protecting. [12] 42 . the security and confidences of private life. and 4. except in a civil case by one against the other. will be nothing but ideals. The reasons given for the rule are: 1. 19933-MN. in the excepted cases. Where there is want of domestic tranquility there is danger of punishing one spouse through the hostile testimony of the other.The issue for our resolution is whether Esperanza Alvarez can testify against her husband in Criminal Case No. the marital disqualification rule has its own exceptions. For instance. there is consequent danger of perjury.[11] But like all other general rules. Likewise. Section 22. merely leave a void in the unhappy home. In such a case. There is identity of interests between husband and wife. where the marital and domestic relations are so strained that there is no more harmony to be preserved nor peace and tranquility which may be disturbed. 2. Like the rule itself. and to prevent domestic disunion and unhappiness. in such a situation. even at the risk of an occasional failure of justice. Disqualification by reason of marriage. both in civil actions between the spouses and in criminal cases for offenses committed by one against the other. 3. the reason based upon such harmony and tranquility fails.

peace or tranquility to be preserved.[13] this Court held: We think that the correct rule. is an act totally alien to the harmony and confidences of marital relation which the disqualification primarily seeks to protect. 25 Okl.In Ordoo vs. In fact. Castaeda. the relationship between petitioner and his wife was already strained. Obviously. it was the latter himself who gave rise to its necessity. because (as stated by this Court in Francisco[14]). 220 Pac. they were separated de facto almost six months before the incident. His act. 64. The better rule is that. Indeed. the conjugal relation. confidence. must have the right to offer the direct testimony of Esperanza. It should be stressed that as shown by the records. or directly and vitally impairs. knowing fully well that his wife was there. In such a situation. directly impairs the conjugal relation between him and his wife Esperanza. 35 ALR 133. The Supreme Court has held that in such a case. which may be adopted in this jurisdiction. State. wherein the court said: The rule that the injury must amount to a physical wrong upon the person is too narrow. The criminal act complained of had the effect of directly and vitally impairing the conjugal relation. 43 . when an offense directly attacks. the evidence and facts presented reveal that the preservation of the marriage between petitioner and Esperanza is no longer an interest the State aims to protect. and the rule that any offense remotely or indirectly affecting domestic harmony comes within the exception is too broad. it bears emphasis that the State. 314. It underscored the fact that the marital and domestic relations between her and the accusedhusband have become so strained that there is no more harmony. (People v. even against the objection of the accused. the offense of arson attributed to petitioner. merely leave a void in the unhappy home. and in fact with the alleged intent of injuring the latter. Thus. 271 SCRA 504). prior to the commission of the offense. respect and love by which virtues the conjugal relationship survives and flourishes. it comes within the exception to the statute that one shall not be a witness against the other except in a criminal prosecution for a crime committee (by) one against the other. Daquigan. is that laid down in Cargil vs. identity is non-existent. the security and confidences of private life which the law aims to protect are nothing but ideals which through their absence. At this point. there is no longer any reason to apply the Marital Disqualification Rule. eradicates all the major aspects of marital life such as trust. As correctly observed by the Court of Appeals: The act of private respondent in setting fire to the house of his sister-in-law Susan Ramirez. being interested in laying the truth before the courts so that the guilty may be punished and the innocent exonerated. as embodied in the Information for arson filed against him.

made it appear that he signed the contract of mortgage. EDMUNDO T. Respondent. 19933-MN. DECISION AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ. Alberto Moreno (private respondent) filed with the RTC of Caloocan City a complaint against Hiyas Savings and Loan Bank. ACUÑA. petitioner filed a Motion to Dismiss on the ground that private respondent failed to comply with Article 151 of the Family Code wherein it is provided that no suit between members of the same family shall prosper unless it should appear from the verified complaint or petition that earnest efforts toward a compromise have been made. Caloocan City. Alberto also prayed that defendants be declared in default for their failure to file their answer on time. acting in conspiracy with Hiyas and the spouses Owe. is ordered to allow Esperanza Alvarez to testify against petitioner. 2001. nor did he sign or execute any contract of mortgage in its favor. vs. failure to allege in the complaint that earnest efforts toward a compromise had been made by the plaintiff before filing the complaint is not a ground for a motion to dismiss. filed his Rejoinder. The antecedent facts are as follows: On November 24. that he could not have executed the said contract because he was then working abroad. dated November 8. and ALBERTO MORENO. 8 On November 8. Malabon City. thus: 44 . who were the ones that benefited from the loan. 2000. Petitioner. Branch 72.WHEREFORE. 2001 2 and May 7. the RTC issued the first of its assailed Orders denying the Motion to Dismiss. in his capacity as Pairing Judge of Regional Trial Court. G. 6 Petitioner filed its Reply to the Comment with Opposition to the Motion to Strike and to Declare Defendants in Default. 2006 HIYAS SAVINGS and LOAN BANK. INC. in Criminal Case No. 7 Private respondent. Alberto asserts that since three of the party-defendants are not members of his family the ground relied upon by Hiyas in its Motion to Dismiss is inapplicable and unavailable. 5 Private respondent filed his Comment on the Motion to Dismiss with Motion to Strike Out and to Declare Defendants in Default. in turn. Branch 122. (petitioner). Branch 122. 154132 August 31. The trial court. his wife Remedios. 2001. J. then the complaint should be dismissed for lack of cause of action.R. respectively. Inc. Petitioner contends that since the complaint does not contain any fact or averment that earnest efforts toward a compromise had been made prior to its institution. Costs against petitioner. the Decision of the Court of Appeals is AFFIRMED. NO. RTC. that his wife. the spouses Felipe and Maria Owe and the Register of Deeds of Caloocan City for cancellation of mortgage contending that he did not secure any loan from petitioner. but that the same have failed. He argues that in cases where one of the parties is not a member of the same family as contemplated under Article 150 of the Family Code. HON. 2002 3denying herein petitioner’s Motion to Dismiss and Motion for Partial Reconsideration.: Before the Court is a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court seeking to nullify the Orders 1 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Caloocan City. 4 On May 17. her husband.

failure to allege in the complaint that earnest efforts towards a compromise were made by plaintiff. 14 xxx Hence. G[o]nong. 151. this Court held in Heirs of Bertuldo Hinog v. L-32159. Court of Appeals and the Regional Trial Courts have concurrent jurisdiction to issue writs of certiorari. dated November 8. October 28. Additionally. 10 Private respondent filed his Comment. however. Public respondent committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or in excess of jurisdiction when he ruled that lack of earnest efforts toward a compromise is not a ground for a motion to dismiss in suits between husband and wife when other parties who are strangers to the family are involved in the suit. 1977 and Mendez v. April 25. quo warranto. [B]iangon. Melicor 16 that: Although the Supreme Court. The trial court ruled: Reiterating the resolution of the court. the RTC issued the second assailed Order denying petitioner’s Motion for Partial Reconsideration. such concurrence does not give the petitioner unrestricted freedom of choice of court forum. II. if one of the parties is a stranger. Magbaleta v. is not a ground for a Motion to Dismiss. the Court notes that the instant Petition for Certiorari should have been filed with the Court of Appeals (CA) and not with this Court pursuant to the doctrine of hierarchy of courts. mandamus. L-44903. the court agrees with plaintiff that inasmuch as it is defendant Remedios Moreno who stands to be benefited by Art. As aptly pointed out in the cases cited by plaintiff. the same is meritorious only with respect to defendants Remedios Moreno and the Register of Deeds of Kaloocan City. Reiterating the established policy for the strict observance of this doctrine. the instant Petition for Certiorari on the following grounds: I. Gonong instead of the ruling in the case of De Guzman v. Genato. habeas corpus and injunction. prohibition. public respondent committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or in excess of jurisdiction when he applied the decision in the case of Magbaleta v. 12 Thereafter. Insofar as plaintiff’s prayer for declaration of default against defendants. being a member of the same family as that of plaintiff. only she may invoke said Art. This concurrence of jurisdiction is not. its Reply. failure to allege in the complaint that earnest efforts towards a compromise had been made by plaintiff before filing the complaint. 2002. A declaration of default against defendant bank is not proper considering that the filing of the Motion to Dismiss by said defendant operates to stop the running of the period within which to file the required Answer. private respondent filed his Rejoinder.The court agrees with plaintiff that earnest efforts towards a compromise is not required before the filing of the instant case considering that the above-entitled case involves parties who are strangers to the family. There is after all a hierarchy of courts. As we stated in People v. A becoming regard for that 45 . 151 of the Family Code. 9 Petitioner filed a Motion for Partial Reconsideration. Corollarily. Cuaresma: This Court's original jurisdiction to issue writs of certiorari is not exclusive. That hierarchy is determinative of the venue of appeals. It is shared by this Court with Regional Trial Courts and with the Court of Appeals. Public respondent committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or in excess of jurisdiction when he ruled that a party who is a stranger to the family of the litigants could not invoke lack of earnest efforts toward a compromise as a ground for the dismissal of the complaint. 15 At the outset. and also serves as a general determinant of the appropriate forum for petitions for the extraordinary writs. unrestrained freedom of choice of the court to which application therefor will be directed. 2001. 13 11 after which petitioner filed On May 7. is not a ground for motion to dismiss. to be taken as according to parties seeking any of the writs an absolute. considering that the above-entitled case involves parties who are strangers to the family. 1977.

calling for the exercise of its primary jurisdiction. to wit: No suit shall be filed or maintained between members of the same family unless it should appear that earnest efforts toward a compromise have been made. (d) Buklod ng Kawaning EIIB vs. Purgananon bail in extradition proceedings. with the Court of Appeals. petitioner failed to advance a satisfactory explanation as to its failure to comply with the principle of judicial hierarchy. The Court is not persuaded. Corona on the so-called "Win-Win Resolution" of the Office of the President which modified the approval of the conversion to agro-industrial area. There is no reason why the instant petition could not have been brought before the CA. This is [an] established policy. petitioner argues that what is applicable to the present case is the Court’s decision in De Guzman v. If it is shown that no such efforts were in fact made. Genato 18 and not in Magbaleta v. Zamora on status and existence of a public office. On this basis. Article 151 of the Family Code provides as follows: No suit between members of the same family shall prosper unless it should appear from the verified complaint or petition that earnest efforts toward a compromise have been made. such as cases of national interest and of serious implications. A direct invocation of the Supreme Court’s original jurisdiction to issue these writs should be allowed only when there are special and important reasons therefor. Gonong. Romulo on citizens’ right to bear arms. 17 In the present case. 20 The Code Commission that drafted Article 222 of the Civil Code from which Article 151 of the Family Code was taken explains: 46 . intended or otherwise. and those against the latter. And even if this Court passes upon the substantial issues raised by petitioner.judicial hierarchy most certainly indicates that petitions for the issuance of extraordinary writs against first level ("inferior") courts should be filed with the Regional Trial Court. justify the availment of the extraordinary remedy of writ of certiorari. and exceptional and compelling circumstances. essentially contains the same provisions. (b) Government of the United States of America vs. the instant petition likewise fails for lack of merit. 19 the former being a case involving a husband and wife while the latter is between brothers. and (e) Fortich vs. in the adjudication of cases. clearly and specifically set out in the petition. the instant petition should be dismissed. Thus. Exceptional and compelling circumstances were held present in the following cases: (a)Chavez vs. Quijano-Padilla on government contract involving modernization and computerization of voters’ registration list. but that the same have failed. or as better equipped to resolve the issues because this Court is not a trier of facts. subject to the limitations in Article 2035. This rule shall not apply to cases which may not be the subject of compromise under the Civil Code. (c) Commission on Elections vs. and to prevent further over-crowding of the Court’s docket. The rationale for this rule is two-fold: (a) it would be an imposition upon the precious time of this Court. It is a policy necessary to prevent inordinate demands upon the Court’s time and attention which are better devoted to those matters within its exclusive jurisdiction. this Court will not entertain direct resort to it unless the redress desired cannot be obtained in the appropriate courts. the case must be dismissed. which in some instances had to be remanded or referred to the lower court as the proper forum under the rules of procedure. Article 222 of the Civil Code from which Article 151 of the Family Code was taken. and (b) it would cause an inevitable and resultant delay. but that the same have failed. Restating its arguments in its Motion for Partial Reconsideration.

(2) Between parents and children. to wit: 47 . thereby implying that even in the presence of a party who is not a family member. the Court finds no specific. the delay and the complications that wranglings between or among relatives more often than not entail. now Article 151 of the Family Code. to confront the wife. the requirements that earnest efforts towards a compromise have been exerted must be complied with. unique. the case involved spouses and the alleged paramour of the wife. and (4) Among brothers and sisters. While De Guzman was decided after Magbaleta. 26 Thus. whether of the full or half blood. the alleged owner of the subject property. In the subsequent case of De Guzman. In the first place. Article 151 of the Family Code applies to cover when the suit is exclusively between or among family members. Article 151 of the Family Code and Article 222 of the Civil Code are clear that the provisions therein apply to suits involving "members of the same family" as contemplated under Article 150 of the Family Code. Family relations include those: (1) Between husband and wife. The Court finds no cogent reason why the ruling in Magbaleta as well as in all of the aforementioned cases should not equally apply to suits involving husband and wife. (3) Among other ascendants and descendants. The Court. through the Philippine Constabulary. taking into consideration the explanation made by the Code Commision in its report. It is not always that one who is alien to the family would be willing to suffer the inconvenience of. Lopez.[I]t is difficult to imagine a sadder and more tragic spectacle than a litigation between members of the same family. once a stranger becomes a party to a suit involving members of the same family. the case involved brothers and a stranger to the family. Petitioner makes much of the fact that the present case involves a husband and his wife while Magbaleta is a case between brothers. there was substantial compliance with the law. It is necessary that every effort should be made toward a compromise before a litigation is allowed to breed hate and passion in the family. Court of Appeals. The Court ruled that due to the efforts exerted by the husband. Martinez. however. or special circumstance that would make the ruling in Magbaleta as well as in the abovementioned cases inapplicable to suits involving a husband and his wife. 22 x x x. 21 In Magbaleta. However. Regional Trial Court. to wit: ART. ruled that: [T]hese considerations do not. as in the present case. 150. Hence. pursuant to Article 222 of the Civil Code.24 Spouses Hontiveros v. 25 and the most recent case of Martinez v. and Article 217 of the Civil Code. much less relish. the law no longer makes it a condition precedent that earnest efforts be made towards a compromise before the action can prosper. It is known that a lawsuit between close relatives generates deeper bitterness than between strangers. it is neither practical nor fair that the determination of the rights of a stranger to the family who just happened to have innocently acquired some kind of interest in any right or property disputed among its members should be made to depend on the way the latter would settle their differences among themselves. whether as a necessary or indispensable one. the principle enunciated in the Magbaleta is the one that now prevails because it is reiterated in the subsequent cases of Gonzales v. Besides. 23 Esquivias v. weigh enough to make it imperative that such efforts to compromise should be a jurisdictional pre-requisite for the maintenance of an action whenever a stranger to the family is a party thereto. Branch 25. Iloilo City.

Suffice it to say that since the Court has ruled that the requirement under Article 151 of the Family Code is applicable only in cases which are exclusively between or among members of the same family.: 48 . (2) Between parent and child. 170829 Petitioner. may not invoke the provisions of Article 151 of the Family Code. and Chico-Nazario. Sr. (3) Among other ascendants and their descendants. PERLA G. C. Austria-Martinez. Present: Panganiban. JJ.. Respondents. it necessarily follows that the same may be invoked only by a party who is a member of that same family. MARCELINO G. . Second Division. not being a member of the same family as respondent. PATRICIO. G. (4) Among brothers and sisters. 2006 x ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------.Ynares-Santiago. November 20. Costs against petitioner.ART. 217. the instant Petition for Certiorari is DISMISSED for lack of merit. WHEREFORE. DARIO III and THE HONORABLE COURT OF Promulgated: APPEALS.J. Family relations shall include those: (1) Between husband and wife.R. No. Callejo.versus .x DECISION YNARES-SANTIAGO. (Chairperson). Petitioner also contends that the trial court committed grave abuse of discretion when it ruled that petitioner. J.

In the now assailed Resolution. the appellate court partially reconsidered the October 19. 2005 [1] in CA-G. Marcelino Marc Dario and private respondent Marcelino G. Marcelino Marc G. the subject property should be distributed accordingly in the aforestated manner.[3] the trial court ordered the partition of the subject property in the following manner: Perla G. Accordingly. [5] hence he appealed before the Court of Appeals. covering an area of seven hundred fifty five (755) square meters. Thereafter. RT-30731 (175992) was cancelled and TCT No. 1987. Quezon City. Dario. as evidenced by Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. petitioner Perla G. CV No. In case of failure. It held that the family home should continue despite the death of one or both spouses as long as there is a minor beneficiary thereof.[4] Private respondent filed a motion for reconsideration which was denied by the trial court on August 11. upon a motion for reconsideration filed by private respondent on December 9. The heirs could not partition the property unless the court 49 . He was survived by his wife. Dario died intestate. 2005. 1/6. 2002. The trial court also ordered the sale of the property by public auction wherein all parties concerned may put up their bids. petitioner. Dario. 1/6. TCT No. more or less. 2005.This petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court seeks to annul and set aside the Resolution of the Court of Appeals dated December 9. petitioner and Marcelino Marc formally advised private respondent of their intention to partition the subject property and terminate the co-ownership. However. private respondent and Marcelino Marc. 2005 Decision. which dismissed the complaint for partition filed by petitioner for being contrary to law and evidence. On July 5. 80680. Among the properties he left was a parcel of land with a residential house and a pre-school building built thereon situated at 91 Oxford corner Ermin Garcia Streets in Cubao. RT-30731 (175992) of the Quezon City Registry of Deeds. Q-01-44038 and raffled to Branch 78. On October 3. Private respondent refused to partition the property hence petitioner and Marcelino Marc instituted an action for partition before the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City which was docketed as Civil Case No. Marcelino Marc and private respondent. which denied the same on October 19. Patricio and their two sons.R. Dario III. R-213963 was issued in the names of petitioner. [2] On August 10. 1987. Dario III. Patricio. Marcelino V. and Marcelino G. 2003. extrajudicially settled the estate of Marcelino V. 4/6. the Court of Appeals dismissed the complaint for partition filed by petitioner and Marcelino Marc for lack of merit.

THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS PATENTLY ERRED IN REVERSING ITS EARLIER DECISION OF OCTOBER 19. who is a beneficiary of the said family home. the same continues as such until the beneficiary becomes of age. 1987. II. Dario and Perla G. who is the grandson of the decedent.[7] The sole issue is whether partition of the family home is proper where one of the co-owners refuse to accede to such partition on the ground that a minor beneficiary still resides in the said home. Private respondent insists that even after the expiration of ten years from the date of death of Marcelino on July 5. who is a grandson of spouses Marcelino V. 50 . On the other hand. including the land on which it is situated. his 12-year-old son. The family home is a sacred symbol of family love and is the repository of cherished memories that last during ones lifetime. He argues that as long as the minor is living in the family home.found compelling reasons to rule otherwise. the instant petition on the following issues: I. The appellate court also held that the minor son of private respondent.[9] It is the dwelling house where husband and wife. petitioner alleges that the subject property remained as a family home of the surviving heirs of the late Marcelino V.[8] hence there is no more minor beneficiary to speak of. Patricio. still resides in the premises.e. the subject property continues to be considered as the family home considering that his minor son. Private respondent claims that the subject property which is the family home duly constituted by spouses Marcelino and Perla Dario cannot be partitioned while a minor beneficiary is still living therein namely. which was the 10 th year from the date of death of the decedent. was a minor beneficiary of the family home. reside. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS PATENTLY ERRED IN APPLYING ARTICLE 159 IN RELATION TO ARTICLE 154 OF THE FAMILY CODE ON FAMILY HOME INSTEAD OF ARTICLE 494 IN RELATION TO ARTICLES 495 AND 498 OF THE NEW CIVIL CODE ON CO-OWNERSHIP. COROLLARILY. 2005 WHICH AFFIRMED IN TOTO THE DECISION OF THE TRIAL COURT DATED 03 OCTOBER 2002 GRANTING THE PARTITION AND SALE BY PUBLIC AUCTION OF THE SUBJECT PROPERTY. Dario IV. i. Dario only up to July 5. or by an unmarried head of a family.. [6] Hence. Marcelino Lorenzo R. Petitioner argues that the brothers Marcelino Marc and private respondent Marcelino III were already of age at the time of the death of their father. even after July 1997.[10] It is constituted jointly by the husband and the wife or by an unmarried head of a family. 1997.

They are not the beneficiaries contemplated by the Code. Rather. Article 159 of the Family Code applies in situations where death occurs to persons who constituted the family home. This rule shall apply regardless of whoever owns the property or constituted the family home. which may include the in-laws where the family home is constituted jointly by the husband and wife. [13] Article 154 of the Family Code enumerates who are the beneficiaries of a family home: (1) The husband and wife. To be a beneficiary of the family home. and (2) Their parents.[12] The law explicitly provides that occupancy of the family home either by the owner thereof or by any of its beneficiaries must be actual. Moreover. as opposed to something merely possible. and the heirs cannot partition the same unless the court finds compelling reasons therefor. however. or actually existing. Dr. brothers and sisters. the property may be occupied by the beneficiaries enumerated in Article 154 of the Family Code. Arturo M. descendants. or an unmarried person who is the head of a family. (2) they live in the family home. or to something which is presumptive or constructive. From the time of its constitution and so long as any of its beneficiaries actually resides therein. the family home continues to be such and is exempt from execution. need not be by the owner of the house specifically. Tolentino comments on the effect of death of one or both spouses or the unmarried head of a family on the continuing existence of the family home: 51 .[11] The family home is deemed constituted from the time it is occupied as a family residence. whether the relationship be legitimate or illegitimate. three requisites must concur: (1) they must be among the relationships enumerated in Art. 154 of the Family Code. forced sale or attachment except as hereinafter provided and to the extent of the value allowed by law. That which is actual is something real. ascendants. and (3) they are dependent for legal support upon the head of the family. Actual occupancy. But the law definitely excludes maids and overseers. Article 159 of the Family Code provides that the family home shall continue despite the death of one or both spouses or of the unmarried head of the family for a period of 10 years or for as long as there is a minor beneficiary. who are living in the family home and who depend upon the head of the family for legal support.

in which case the family home continues until that beneficiary becomes of age. the issue for resolution now is whether Marcelino Lorenzo R. it will continue for ten years.Upon the death of the spouses or the unmarried family head who constituted the family home. After these periods lapse. Dario IV. This rule applies regardless of whoever owns the property or who constituted the family home. unless at the expiration of the ten years. Thereafter. The intention of the law is to safeguard and protect the interests of the minor beneficiary until he reaches legal age and would now be capable of supporting himself. [15] (Emphasis supplied) The rule in Article 159 of the Family Code may thus be expressed in this wise: If there are beneficiaries who survive and are living in the family home. 154 of the Family Code. 159 in this manner: The family home shall continue to exist despite the death of one or both spouses or of the unmarried head of the family. it will continue for 10 years. the property will remain as family home for ten years or for as long as there is a minor beneficiary living in it. and (3) they are dependent for legal support upon the head of the family. three requisites must concur before a minor beneficiary is entitled to the benefits of Art. unless at the expiration of 10 years. 159: (1) the relationship enumerated in Art. because there is no more reason for its existence. or of the spouse who consented to the constitution of his or her separate property as family home. 159). the length of its continued existence is dependent upon whether there is still a minor-beneficiary residing therein. However. For as long as there is one beneficiary even if the head of the family or both spouses are already dead. May the heirs who are beneficiaries of the family home keep it intact by not partitioning the property after the period provided by this article? We believe that although the heirs will continue in ownership by not partitioning the property. the minor son of private respondent. Thus. After 10 years and a minor beneficiary still lives therein. If there is no more beneficiary left at the time of death. or of the spouse who consented to the constitution of his or her separate property as family home. we believe the family home will be dissolved or cease. can be considered as a beneficiary under Article 154 of the Family Code. If there is no minor-beneficiary. in which case the family home continues until that beneficiary becomes of age. (2) they live in the family home. Tolentino that as a general rule. Ernesto L. there is still a minor beneficiary.[14] (Emphasis supplied) Prof. the family home shall be preserved only until that minor beneficiary reaches the age of majority. 52 . it will subsist until 10 years and within this period. there is still a minor beneficiary. the family home may be preserved for a minimum of 10 years following the death of the spouses or the unmarried family head who constituted the family home. It may be deduced from the view of Dr. it will cease to be a family home. Pineda further explains the import of Art. the heirs cannot partition the same except when there are compelling reasons which will justify the partition. the family home will continue to exist (Arts. the property may be partitioned by the heirs. 153. If there are beneficiaries who survive living in the family home.

despite residing in the family home and his being a descendant of Marcelino V. but from his father. has been living in the family home since 1994. (4) It cannot be compromised. Dario. The law first imposes the obligation of legal support upon the shoulders of the parents. dwelling. brothers and sisters. Dario IVs parents. clothing. 159. being of legal age. As to the second requisite. minor beneficiaries must be actually living in the family home to avail of the benefits derived from Art. Marcelino Lorenzo R. as to the third requisite. ascendants. Dario IV. Marcelino Lorenzo R. Ubi lex non distinguit nec nos distinguire debemos. (2) It is intransmissible. Dario. especially the father. medical attendance. and only in their default is the obligation imposed on the grandparents. However. and who must now establish his own family home separate and distinct from that of his parents. Thus. (7) It is variable in amount. hence. also known as family support. Dario IV is dependent on legal support not from his grandmother. the son of private respondent and grandson of the decedent Marcelino V. (3) It cannot be renounced. [17] 53 . also known as Ino.As to the first requisite. and (2) Their parents. we should not distinguish. (5) It is free from attachment or execution. Dario IV cannot demand support from his paternal grandmother if he has parents who are capable of supporting him. The term descendants contemplates all descendants of the person or persons who constituted the family home without distinction. based on family ties which bind the obligor and the obligee. education and transportation. Marcelino Lorenzo R. the beneficiaries of the family home are: (1) The husband and wife. whether the relationship be legitimate or illegitimate. is that which is provided by law. It is his father whom he is dependent on legal support. or within 10 years from the death of the decedent. he satisfies the second requisite. Where the law does not distinguish. private respondents minor son. it must necessarily include the grandchildren and great grandchildren of the spouses who constitute a family home. who is also the grandchild of deceased Marcelino V. comprising everything indispensable for sustenance. especially his father. herein private respondent who is the head of his immediate family. Dario IV cannot be considered as beneficiary contemplated under Article 154 because he did not fulfill the third requisite of being dependent on his grandmother for legal support. Marcelino Lorenzo R. or an unmarried person who is the head of a family. Thus. descendants. Dario satisfies the first requisite. The liability for legal support falls primarily on Marcelino Lorenzo R. in keeping with the financial capacity of the family. hence. (6) It is reciprocal. Legal support.[16] Legal support has the following characteristics: (1) It is personal.

neither is there any evidence to prove that petitioner.[20] Since the parties were unable to agree on a partition.Professor Pineda is of the view that grandchildren cannot demand support directly from their grandparents if they have parents (ascendants of nearest degree) who are capable of supporting them. 199 which outlines the order of liability for support is imposed first upon the shoulders of the closer relatives and only in their default is the obligation moved to the next nearer relatives and so on.[19] no co-owner ought to be compelled to stay in a co-ownership indefinitely. Co-owners should be afforded every available opportunity to divide their co-owned property to prevent these situations from arising. Thus. As we ruled in Santos v. Rule 69 of the Rules of Court. Each co-owner may demand at any time the partition of the common property. The reasons behind Art. herein petitioner filed for the partition of the property which shows an intention to dissolve the family home. cannot be divided without great prejudice to the interest of the parties. This is so because we have to follow the order of support under Art. the obligation to support under Art. the court a quo should have ordered a partition by commissioners pursuant to Section 3. the stronger the tie that binds them. When it is made to appear to the commissioners that the real estate. Santos. An action to demand partition is imprescriptible or cannot be barred by laches. since there is no more reason for its existence after the 10-year period ended in 1997. was willing to voluntarily provide for her grandsons legal support. as the paternal grandmother.[18] We agree with this view. The law does not encourage co-ownerships among individuals as oftentimes it results in inequitable situations such as in the instant case. there is no legal impediment to partition the subject property. or a portion thereof. Not more than three competent and disinterested persons should be appointed as commissioners to make the partition. and may insist on partition on the common property at any time. With this finding. 199. commanding them to set off to the plaintiff and to each party in interest such part and proportion of the property as the court shall direct. 199 as explained by Pineda and Tolentino: the closer the relationship of the relatives. On the contrary. the court may order it assigned to one of the parties willing to take the same. There is no showing that private respondent is without means to support his son. 54 .

and the commissioners shall sell the same accordingly. Dario. Hence. [22] Under the law of intestate succession. as well as the improvements that lie therein. 80680 dated December 9. in the following manner: Perla G. 1/6. unless one of the parties interested ask that the property be sold instead of being so assigned. 1/6 and (3) Marcelino G. the court a quo may order it assigned to one of the parties willing to take the same. The case isREMANDED to the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City. provided he pays to the other parties such sum or sums of money as the commissioners deem equitable. or a portion thereof. 1/6 and Marcelino G. No pronouncement as to costs. When it is made to the commissioners that the real estate. in which case the court shall order the commissioners to sell the real estate at public sale.provided he pays to the other parties such sum or sums of money as the commissioners deem equitable. and the commissioners shall sell the same accordingly.R. the widow has the same share as that of each of the children.[24] WHEREFORE. since only one-half of the conjugal property which is owned by the decedent is to be allocated to the legal and compulsory heirs (the other half to be given exclusively to the surviving spouse as her conjugal share of the property). if the widow and legitimate children survive.[23] we held that an action for partition is at once an action for declaration of coownership and for segregation and conveyance of a determinate portion of the properties involved. the court may and should order the partition of the properties in the same action. Dario. de Daffon v.[21] The partition of the subject property should be made in accordance with the rule embodied in Art. the respective shares of the subject property. is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. 1/6. the widow will have the same share as each of her two surviving children. Court of Appeals. Marcelino Marc G. The Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. In Vda. cannot be divided without great prejudice to the interest of the parties. in which case the court shall order the commissioners to sell the real estate at public sale. If the court after trial should find the existence of co-ownership among the parties. unless one of the parties interested ask that the property be sold instead of being so assigned. 996 of the Civil Code. Dario III. who is directed to conduct a PARTITION BY COMMISSIONERS and effect the actual physical partition of the subject property. who should determine the technical metes and bounds of the property and the proper share appertaining to each heir. (2) Marcelino Marc G. the petition is GRANTED. 4/6. However. CV No. Branch 78. including the improvements. Dario II. Dario III. based on the law on intestate succession are: (1) Perla Generosa Dario. and thereafter distribute the proceeds of the sale appertaining to the just share of each heir. in accordance with Rule 69 of the Rules of Court. 55 . 4/6. 2005. The trial court is DIRECTED to appoint not more than three (3) competent and disinterested persons.

On February 16.G. if any. 2. 383714 (subject land). 56 . 2006 Decision1 and April 30. petitioner Vilma. thus: The defendants [petitioners] are correct in holding that the house or improvement erected on the property should not be included in the auction sale. 2003 but it had to be reset when petitioners refused to include in the auction the house (subject house) standing on the subject land. respondent sought its sale through public auction. SO ORDERED. SP No. 2004. the dispositive portion of which reads: WHEREFORE. Respondent is the son of decedent Fidel with his first wife Victoria C. Arriola and Anthony Ronald G. the RTC rendered a Decision.R. 2004. No. The relevant facts are culled from the records. Arriola. Branch 254. respondent.000. vs. ARRIOLA and ANTHONY RONALD G.3 The decision became final on March 15.R. 93570. ARRIOLA. Attorney's fees in the amount of TEN THOUSAND (P10. petitioners. The RTC denied the motion in an Order9 dated August 30. premises considered.: Before this Court is a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court.00) PESOS is hereby awarded to be reimbursed by the defendants to the plaintiff. for the reason that petitioners were justified in refusing to have the subject house included in the auction. Calabia. Las Piñas City (RTC) against Vilma G. Arriola by and among his heirs John Nabor C. 3. 383714 (84191) left by the decedent Fidel S. 8praying that petitioners be declared in contempt. 03-0010 with the Regional Trial Court. Costs against the defendants. Arriola and Anthony Ronald G. 2007 Resolution2 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. 7This prompted respondent to file with the RTC an Urgent Manifestation and Motion for Contempt of Court. 5 Accordingly. Ordering the partition of the parcel of land covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No.4 As the parties failed to agree on how to partition among them the land covered by TCT No. Arriola in equal shares of one-third (1/3) each without prejudice to the rights of creditors or mortgagees thereon. assailing the November 30. judgment is hereby rendered: 1. J. 2005. while petitioner Anthony is the son of decedent Fidel with his second wife. the RTC ordered the public auction of the subject land. John Nabor C. 177703 January 28.6 The public auction sale was scheduled on May 31. Arriola (petitioners) for judicial partition of the properties of decedent Fidel Arriola (the decedent Fidel). and petitioners acceded to it. ARRIOLA. DECISION AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ. JOHN NABOR C. 2008 VILMA G. Arriola (respondent) filed Special Civil Action No. Vilma G.

the CA granted the Petition for Certiorari. as plaintiff argued. In fact. Hence. Section 4. The Decision of the Court having attained its finality. 2005 and January 3.) Petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration but the CA denied the same in its Resolution 14 of April 30. viz: Sec. the petition is GRANTED. and prayed that he be allowed to proceed with the auction of the subject land including the subject house. How proceedings commenced. The contempt proceeding initiated by respondent was one for indirect contempt. To hold. 4. the present petition on the sole ground that the CA erred in holding that the RTC committed grave abuse of discretion in denying the motion for contempt of court.A cursory reading of the aforementioned Decision and of the evidence adduced during the ex-parte hearing clearly show that nothing was mentioned about the house existing on the land subject matter of the case. SO ORDERED. It is a well-settled rule that the court can not give a relief to that which is not alleged and prayed for in the complaint. and the sheriff is ordered to proceed with the public auction sale of the subject lot covered by TCT No. plaintiff can not be declared as a co-owner of the same house without evidence thereof and due hearing thereon.10 The RTC. in Civil Case No. In its November 30. Thus. as correctly pointed out. 11 Respondent filed with the CA a Petition for Certiorari12 where he sought to have the RTC Orders set aside. that the house is considered accessory to the land on which it is built is in effect to add to plaintiff's [a] right which has never been considered or passed upon during the trial on the merits. SCA 03-0010. – Proceedings for indirect contempt may be initiated motu proprio by the court against which the contempt was committed by an order or any other formal charge requiring the respondent to show cause why he should not be punished for contempt. 383714. including the house constructed thereon. to wit: WHEREFORE. 57 . 2006. 2006 issued by the RTC. In the absence of any other declaration. 2006 Decision. only the land should be partitioned in accordance to[sic] the aforementioned Decision as the house can not be said to have been necessarily adjudicated therein. Rule 71 of the Rules of Court prescribes the procedure for the institution of proceedings for indirect contempt. 2007. are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. obvious or otherwise. Undoubtedly therefore. SO ORDERED. judgment must stand even at the risk that it might be erroneous. denied respondent's Motion for Reconsideration. the Court did not include the house in its adjudication of the subject land because it was plaintiff himself who failed to allege the same. The assailed CA Decision and Resolution must be modified for reasons other than those advanced by petitioners. the Urgent Manifestation and Motion for Contempt of Court filed by plaintiff is hereby DENIED for lack of merit. even plaintiff's [respondent's] initiatory Complaint likewise did not mention anything about the house. The assailed orders dated August 30. in its Order dated January 3. WHEREFORE.13 (Emphasis supplied.

heard and decided separately. prior to the amendment of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure. If the contempt charges arose out of or are related to a principal action pending in the court. mere motion without complying with the requirements for initiatory pleadings was tolerated by the courts.) The RTC erred in taking jurisdiction over the indirect contempt proceeding initiated by respondent. Rule 71. the rules direct that the petition for contempt be treated independently of the principal action. xxxx Henceforth. The latter did not comply with any of the mandatory requirements of Section 4. Beyond question now is the mandatory requirement of a verified petition in initiating an indirect contempt proceeding. 58 . At the onset of the 1997 Revised Rules of Civil Procedure. and the payment of the necessary docket fees.) Under the aforecited second paragraph of the Rules. the filing of a verified petition that has complied with the requirements for the filing of initiatory pleading. the filing of a verified petition which fulfills the requirements on initiatory pleadings is a prerequisite. such practice can no longer be countenanced. and upon full compliance with the requirements for filing initiatory pleadings for civil actions in the court concerned. (Emphases supplied. unless the court in its discretion orders the consolidation of the contempt charge and the principal action for joint hearing and decision. attachment of a certification on non-forum shopping. and not a verified petition. While such proceeding has been classified as special civil action under the former Rules. He filed a mere Urgent Manifestation and Motion for Contempt of Court. the necessary prerequisites for the filing of initiatory pleadings. however. must be faithfully observed. is mandatory x x x: This new provision clarifies with a regularity norm the proper procedure for commencing contempt proceedings. the petition for contempt shall allege that fact but said petition shall be docketed. which is now required in the second paragraph of this amended section. In case where the indirect contempt charge is not initiated by the courts. his unverified motion should have been dismissed outright by the RTC. except for indirect contempt proceedings initiated motu propio by order of or a formal charge by the offended court. Thus. charges for indirect contempt shall be commenced by a verified petition with supporting particulars and certified true copies of documents or papers involved therein. xxxx Even if the contempt proceedings stemmed from the main case over which the court already acquired jurisdiction. Go. such as the filing of a verified petition. He likewise did not conform with the requirements for the filing of initiatory pleadings such as the submission of a certification against forum shopping and the payment of docket fees. the requirements for initiating an indirect contempt proceeding are a) that it be initiated by way of a verified petition and b) that it should fully comply with the requirements for filing initiatory pleadings for civil actions. has been for any party to file a motion without paying any docket or lawful fees therefore and without complying with the requirements for initiatory pleadings. In Regalado v. Consequently.16 (Emphasis ours. xxxx The provisions of the Rules are worded in very clear and categorical language.15 we held: As explained by Justice Florenz Regalado. Truly.In all other cases. all charges shall be commenced by a verified petition with full compliance with the requirements therefore and shall be disposed in accordance with the second paragraph of this section. the heterogenous practice tolerated by the courts.

as correctly held by the CA.. the following swapping-arrangement: Sir: Thank you very much for accommodating us even if we are only poor and simple people. We are very much pleased with the decision of Presiding Judge Manuel B. in the end. 383714 (84191) in Las Piñas City. We qualify.22 We agree that the subject house is covered by the judgment of partition for reasons postulated by the CA. The RTC and the CA differed in their views on whether the public auction should include the subject house. Until this question is finally resolved. However. the CA concludes that any decision in the action for partition of said estate should cover not just the subject land but also the subject house. the proper disposition of the present petition ought to be the reversal of the CA decision and the dismissal of respondent's unverified motion for contempt filed in the RTC for being in contravention of Section 4. 59 . the parties herein. Arriola be paid by the defendants depending on the choice of the plaintiff between item (1) or item (2). to preserve the sanctity of our house which is our residence for more than twenty (20) years. The trouble is that. Thus. Both properties form part of the estate of the deceased and are held in co-ownership by his heirs. 2004. detailed as follows: (1) Swap with a 500-square meters [sic] lot located at Baras Rizal x x x. Fernandez. the CA held that as the deceased owned the subject land. RTC Br.17 On the other hand. (2) Cash of P205. that this ruling does not necessarily countenance the immediate and actual partition of the subject house by way of public auction in view of the suspensive proscription imposed under Article 159 of The Family Code which will be discussed forthwith. We must therefore deal with it squarely. he also owned the subject house which is a mere accessory to the land. The Court quotes with approval the ruling of the CA. Such omission notwithstanding. However. it dismissed the motion. It is true that the existence of the subject house was not specifically alleged in the complaint for partition. 2005 ratiocinated that since the house constructed on the subject lot was not alleged in the complaint and its ownership was not passed upon during the trial on the merits. Hence. the subject house is deemed part of the judgment of partition for two compelling reasons.It is noted though that. while at first the RTC overlooked the infirmities in respondent's unverified motion for contempt. Las Piñas. under the provisions of the Civil Code. we wish to request that the 1/3 share of John Nabor C. in the assailed Order dated August 30. there will be no end to litigation between the parties. the subject house is deemed part of the subject land. Rule 71. First. Jr.18 44519 and 44620 of the Civil Code. We refer to the question of whether the subject house should be included in the public auction of the subject land. the appellate court committed the same oversight by delving into the merits of respondent's unverified motion and granting the relief sought therein.700. citing Articles 440. The RTC excluded the subject house because respondent never alleged its existence in his complaint for partition or established his co-ownership thereof. such simplistic disposition will not put an end to the dispute between the parties.00 x x x. A seed of litigation has already been sown that will likely sprout into another case between them at a later time. on the sharing of one-third (1/3) each of a land covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. x x x x.21 The CA further pointed out that petitioners themselves implicitly recognized the inclusion of the subject house in the partition of the subject land when they proposed in their letter of August 5. strictly speaking. 254. in the CA decision assailed herein. to wit: The RTC. however. here and now. albeit on substantive grounds.

we must emphasize that.23(Emphasis supplied) Second. So that even if the improvements including the house were not alleged in the complaint for partition. demand the partition of the subject house. they are deemed included in the lot on which they stand. That said notwithstanding. the family home continues to be such and is exempt from execution. Consequently. respondent has repeatedly claimed that the subject house was built by the deceased. the lot. without need anymore for the judicial or extrajudicial processes provided under the defunct Articles 224 to 251 of the Civil Code and Rule 106 of the Rules of Court.29 Petitioners add that said house has been their residence for 20 years. the subject house as well as the specific portion of the subject land on which it stands are deemed constituted as a family home by the deceased and petitioner Vilma from the moment they began occupying the same as a family residence 20 years back. We are not persuaded. the declaration of the existence of a state of co-ownership. The court further stated that it cannot give a relief to[sic] which is not alleged and prayed for in the complaint. the right to accession is automatic (ipso jure). constituted jointly by the husband and the wife or by an unmarried head of a family. without dividing the house which is permanently attached thereto. and second. the actual termination of that state of co-ownership through the segregation of the common property. applying these concepts. Article 153. 24 Petitioners never controverted such claim. it would be absurd to divide the principal. as such. may. it is owned in common by the latter's heirs. (Emphasis supplied.. otherwise. Furthermore. Whether the subject house should be sold at public auction as ordered by the RTC is an entirely different matter. the same is shielded from immediate partition under Article 159 of The Family Code. depending on the exact nature of the subject house. requiring no prior act on the part of the owner or the principal. Respondent claims that the subject house was built by decedent Fidel on his exclusive property. we stop short of authorizing its actual partition by public auction at this time. 25 any one of whom. From the time of its constitution and so long as any of its beneficiaries actually resides therein. the parties herein. The family home is deemed constituted on a house and lot from the time it is occupied as a family residence. while we treat the subject house as part of the co-ownership of the parties. i. Articles 152 and 153 specifically extend the scope of the family home not just to the dwelling structure in which the family resides but also to the lot on which it stands. under Article 49426 of the Civil Code. following the principle of accession. 30 Taken together. and the land on which it is situated. and therefore susceptible of partition among them. at any time. viz: 60 . least of all by the mere technical omission of said common property from the complaint for partition. is the dwelling house where they and their family reside. Thus. forced sale or attachment except as hereinafter provided and to the extent of the value allowed by law. In general. particularly: Article 152. respondent's recourse to the partition of the subject house cannot be hindered.e. 28 What is settled thus far is only the fact that the subject house is under the co-ownership of the parties. To follow the foregoing reasoning of the RTC will in effect render meaningless the pertinent rule on accession.) One significant innovation introduced by The Family Code is the automatic constitution of the family home from the time of its occupation as a family residence. There is then no dispute that the subject house is part of the estate of the deceased. 27 Therefore. the lot subject of judicial partition in this case includes the house which is permanently attached thereto. The family home. It bears emphasis that an action for partition involves two phases: first. 31 It being settled that the subject house (and the subject lot on which it stands) is the family home of the deceased and his heirs. these averments on record establish that the subject house is a family home within the contemplation of the provisions of The Family Code.the court cannot include the house in its adjudication of the subject lot.

The Court ruled in Honrado v. the parties herein. the family home he constituted cannot be partitioned. Article 159 imposes the proscription against the immediate partition of the family home regardless of its ownership. 2013. and the heirs cannot partition the same unless the court finds compelling reasons therefor. Arriola but EXEMPTED from partition by public auction within the period provided for in Article 159 of the Family Code. that in the meantime. or until March 10. much less dispel the protection cast upon it by the law. More importantly. G. 2006 Decision and April 30. Arriola and Anthony Ronald G.32 Thus. It bears emphasis. No compelling reason has been alleged by the parties. The family home shall continue despite the death of one or both spouses or of the unmarried head of the family for a period of ten years or for as long as there is a minor beneficiary. Decedent Fidel died on March 10. Herein petitioners timely objected to the inclusion of the subject house although for a different reason. nor has the RTC found any compelling reason to order the partition of the family home. The same evidence also establishes that the subject house and the portion of the subject land on which it is standing have been constituted as the family home of decedent Fidel and his heirs. Arriola. if there is still a minor beneficiary residing therein. 383714. 61 . 2013. 185064 SPOUSES ARACELI OLIVA-DE MESA and ERNESTO S. much less when no compelling reason exists for the court to otherwise set aside the restriction and order the partition of the property.Article 159. Court of Appeals33 that a claim for exception from execution or forced sale under Article 153 should be set up and proved to the Sheriff before the sale of the property at public auction.) The purpose of Article 159 is to avert the disintegration of the family unit following the death of its head. 2003. the petition is PARTLY GRANTED and the November 30. No. Set against the foregoing rules. Consequently. however. DE MESA. even if it has passed to the co-ownership of his heirs. WHEREFORE. for 10 years from said date or until March 10. the family home -. this fact alone cannot transform the family home into an ordinary property. To this end. there is no obstacle to the immediate public auction of the portion of the subject land covered by TCT No. that the heirs cannot judicially partition it during the aforesaid periods unless the court finds compelling reasons therefor. which falls outside the specific area of the family home. and second. either by physical segregation or assignment to any of the heirs or through auction sale as suggested by the parties. its actual and immediate partition cannot be sanctioned until the lapse of a period of 10 years from the death of Fidel Arriola. 2007 Resolution of the Court of Appeals are MODIFIED in that the house standing on the land covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. Vilma G. if there is still a minor beneficiary residing therein.R.consisting of the subject house and lot on which it stands -. or has been willed to any one of them. (Emphasis supplied. To recapitulate. or for a longer period. 383714 is DECLARED part of the co-ownership of the parties John Nabor C. This rule shall apply regardless of whoever owns the property or constituted the family home. the evidence of record sustain the CA ruling that the subject house is part of the judgment of co-ownership and partition.cannot be partitioned at this time. it preserves the family home as the physical symbol of family love. that the heirs cannot extra-judicially partition it for a period of 10 years from the death of one or both spouses or of the unmarried head of the family. security and unity by imposing the following restrictions on its partition: first. The rights of the individual co-owner or owner of the family home cannot subjugate the rights granted under Article 159 to the beneficiaries of the family home. This signifies that even if the family home has passed by succession to the co-ownership of the heirs. or for a longer period.

RUFINA Promulgated: D. . 2012 x-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------x DECISION REYES. JJ. REYES. SAMONTE and REGISTRAR ALFREDO SANTOS.versus - SERENO.Petitioner.. and MA. January 16. JR. Chairperson. Respondents. J.  SPOUSES CLAUDIO D. and BERNABE. SHERIFF FELIXBERTO L. ACERO. PEREZ. J. ACERO.: Nature of the Petition 62 . Present: CARPIO.

an information for violation of B. assailing the Court of Appeals’ (CA) Decision 1 dated June 6. Meycauayan. CV No. Mount Carmel Homes Subdivision. After preliminary investigation.R. which was formerly covered by Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. Spouses Claudio Acero. which was secured by a mortgage over the subject property. 22 was filed against the petitioners with the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Malolos.P. 22) against the petitioners. Bulacan and registered under Araceli’s name. 79391 entitled “Spouses Araceli Oliva-De Mesa and Ernesto De Mesa v. When the check was presented for payment. Bulacan a complaint for violation of Batas Pambansa Blg. Araceli issued a check drawn against China Banking Corporation payable to Claudio.00. The petitioners jointly purchased the subject property on April 17. 2008 and Resolution2 dated October 23. 1984 while they were still merely cohabiting before their marriage. et al. Thus. Bulacan. Iba.000.725 (M) issued by the Register of Deeds of Meycauayan.This is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court filed by the Spouses Araceli Oliva-De Mesa (Araceli) and Ernesto S. As payment. 22 (B. 1990. De Mesa (Ernesto).” The Antecedent Facts This involves a parcel of land situated at No.P. Araceli obtained a loan from Claudio D. Acero. Bulacan. it was dishonored as the account from which it was drawn had already been closed. Claudio filed with the Prosecutor's Office of Malolos. Jr. T-76. Sometime in September 1988. on April 26. 3 Forbes Street. The petitioners failed to heed Claudio’s subsequent demand for payment. 63 . A house was later constructed on the subject property. which the petitioners thereafter occupied as their family home after they got married sometime in January 1987. Jr. (Claudio) in the amount of P100. 2008 in CA-G..

1992. on the contrary. the MTC rendered a Decision.6 giving due course to Spouses Acero’s complaint and ordering the petitioners and Juanito to vacate the subject property. a writ of execution was issued and Sheriff Felixberto L. 1998. On July 22. a Final Deed of Sale 4 over the subject property was issued to Claudio and on April 4. the subject property was sold on public auction. thus cannot be evicted therefrom. 1994. the Register of Deeds of Meycauayan.00. their total accountabilities to Claudio amounted to P170.500.On October 21. Sometime in February 1995. 1999. T-76. the petitioners and Juanito defaulted in the payment of the rent and as of October 3. Rufina Acero (Rufina) (collectively referred to as Spouses Acero) filed a complaint for ejectment with the Municipal Trial Court (MTC) of Meycauayan. 1993. on March 24. Meanwhile.00. they are the lawful owners of the subject property and. 1995. Bulacan against the petitioners and Juanito.00 with legal interest from date of demand until fully paid. Claudio and his wife Ma. Bulacan cancelled TCT No.725 (M) and issued TCT No. T221755 (M)5 in his favor. Claudio leased the subject property to the petitioners and a certain Juanito Oliva (Juanito) for a monthly rent of P5. On March 9. the petitioners claimed that Spouses Acero have no right over the subject property.500. the RTC rendered a Decision3 acquitting the petitioners but ordering them to pay Claudio the amount of P100. Samonte (Sheriff Samonte) levied upon the subject property.000. Claudio was the highest bidder and the corresponding certificate of sale was issued to him. However. Unable to collect the aforementioned rentals due. 1995. Finding merit in Spouses Acero’s claims. The petitioners deny that they are mere lessors. the MTC dismissed 64 . In their defense. On March 15.

8 the CA denied the petitioner’s petition for review.the petitioners' claim of ownership over the subject property. 2007. Therein. the petitioners filed a petition for review7 with the CA assailing the RTC’s November 22. According to the MTC. Citing Article 155(3) of the Family Code. Bulacan. however. Consequently. dismissed in a Decision dated November 22. on October 29. which is exempt from execution under the Family Code and. On September 3. 1993 writ of execution. 1999.9 In the interregnum. T-221755 (M). 2000 Order. 11 which dismissed the petitioners’ complaint. 2000. the regularity of the public sale that was conducted thereafter and the legitimacy of Claudio’s Torrens title that was resultantly issued. the RTC ruled that even assuming that the subject property is a family home. the petitioners never assailed the validity of the levy made by Sheriff Samonte. the exemption 65 . the RTC rendered a Decision. thus. the petitioners filed against the respondents a complaint 10 to nullify TCT No. T-221755 (M) and other documents with damages with the RTC of Malolos. title to the subject property belongs to Claudio as shown by TCT No. could not have been validly levied upon for purposes of satisfying the March 15. The petitioners sought reconsideration of the said decision but the same was denied in an Order dated January 31. 1999 due to the petitioners’ failure to submit their Memorandum. The MTC also stated that from the time a Torrens title over the subject property was issued in Claudio’s name up to the time the complaint for ejectment was filed. The petitioners appealed the MTC’s July 22. 1999 Decision to the RTC. This appeal was. 1999 Decision and January 31. the petitioners asserted that the subject property is a family home. 2006 Decision. 2002. This became final on July 25. In a December 21.

The petitioners sought reconsideration of the RTC’s September 3. 2008. The petitioners then sought reconsideration of the said June 6. A mortgage was constituted over the subject property to secure the loan Araceli obtained from Claudio and it was levied upon as payment therefor. In their Comment. Aggrieved. 2006 Decision affirming it. The appellate court noted that at no time did the petitioners raise the supposed exemption of the subject property from execution on account of the same being a family home. They insist that the execution sale that was conducted is a nullity considering that the subject property is a family home. forced sale or attachment. 2002 Decision but this was denied in a Resolution12 dated January 14. the petitioners filed the instant petition for review. T-221755 (M). 1999 Decision on the complaint for ejectment filed by them. praying for the cancellation of TCT No. which had already become final and executory following the petitioner’s failure to appeal the CA’s December 21.15 Spouses Acero claimed that this petition ought to be denied on the ground of forum-shopping as the issues raised had already been determined by the MTC in its July 22. contrary to the disposition of the CA. The CA ratiocinated that the exemption of a family home from execution.from execution does not apply. 66 . 2003. 2008. attachment or forced sale under Article 153 of the Family Code is not automatic and should accordingly be raised and proved to the Sheriff prior to the execution. the CA affirmed the RTC’s disposition in its Decision 13 dated June 6. On appeal. a prior demonstration that the subject property is a family home is not required before it can be exempted from execution. The petitioners assert that. 2008 Decision but the same was denied by the CA in its Resolution14 dated October 23.

and (b) whether the lower courts erred in refusing to cancel Claudio’s Torrens title TCT No. and where a final judgment in one case will amount to res judicata in the other. and issues. essential facts. The elements of forum-shopping are: (a) identity of parties. (b) identity of rights asserted and relief prayed for. we find that the petitioners are not guilty of forum-shopping. or in anticipation thereof.Issues The threshold issues for resolution are the following: (a) whether the petitioners are guilty of forum-shopping. the relief being 67 . There is forum-shopping when as a result of an adverse decision in one forum. Forum-shopping exists when two or more actions involve the same transactions. a party seeks a favorable opinion in another forum through means other than an appeal or certiorari. and circumstances.16 Forum-shopping exists where the elements of litis pendentia are present. or at least such parties as would represent the same interest in both actions. T-221755 (M) over the subject property. The Court’s Ruling First Issue: Forum-Shopping On the first issue. subject matter. and raise identical causes of action.

The issue of ownership was likewise being contended. amount to res judicata in the action under consideration. it cannot be inferred that a judgment in the ejectment case would amount to res judicata in the annulment case. This issue is far from being novel and there is no reason to depart from this Court’s previous pronouncements. However. Forum-shopping exists where the elements of litis pendentia are present. the resolution thereof is only provisional as the same is solely for the purpose of determining who among the parties therein has a better right of possession over the subject property. regardless of which party is successful. Rural Bank of Cabuyao. the primordial issue in the ejectment case is who among the contending parties has a better right of possession over the subject property while ownership is the core issue in an action to cancel a Torrens title. the relief being founded on the same facts. and (c) identity of the two preceding particulars such that any judgment rendered in the other action will. regardless of which party is successful. In Malabanan v.18 this Court had previously clarified that a decision in an ejectment case is not res judicata in an annulment of title case and vice-versa given the provisional and inconclusive nature of the determination of the issue of ownership in the former.founded on the same facts. a judgment rendered in an ejectment case is not a bar to action between the same parties respecting title to the land or building. (b) identity of rights asserted and reliefs prayed for.17 There is no identity of issues and reliefs prayed for in the ejectment case and in the action to cancel TCT No. T221755 (M). It is true that the petitioners raised the issue of ownership over the subject property in the ejectment case.. Accordingly. namely: (a) identity of parties or at least such as representing the same interests in both actions. amounts to res judicata in the other. with same set of evidence being presented in both cases. Petitioner and respondent are the same parties in the annulment and ejectment cases. 68 . Verily. and (c) the identity in the two cases should be such that the judgment that may be rendered in one would. However. and vice-versa. Neither shall it be conclusive as to the facts therein. Inc.

the incidental issue of whether a pending action for annulment would abate an ejectment suit must be resolved in the negative. This is so because an ejectment case is simply designed to summarily restore physical possession of a piece of land or building to one who has been illegally or forcibly deprived thereof. the issue of ownership may be provisionally ruled upon for the sole purpose of determining who is entitled to possession de facto. However. nor suspend the proceedings. the only issue for resolution is the physical or material possession of the property involved. without prejudice to the settlement of the parties' opposing claims of juridical possession in appropriate proceedings.This issue is hardly a novel one. 19 (citations omitted) Second Issue: Nullification of TCT No. T-221755 (M) 69 . A pending action involving ownership of the same property does not bar the filing or consideration of an ejectment suit. Therefore. the provisional determination of ownership in the ejectment case cannot be clothed with finality. independent of any claim of ownership by any of the party litigants. It has been laid to rest by heaps of cases iterating the principle that a judgment rendered in an ejectment case shall not bar an action between the same parties respecting title to the land or building nor shall it be conclusive as to the facts therein found in a case between the same parties upon a different cause of action involving possession. It bears emphasizing that in ejectment suits. Corollarily.

The petitioners maintain that the subject property is a family home and. extrajudicial constitution is governed by Articles 240 to 242 of the Civil Code and involves the execution of a public instrument which must also be registered with the Registry of Property. then it must have been constituted either judicially or extra-judicially as provided under Articles 225. the debts incurred for which the exemption does not apply as provided under Art. Failure to comply with either one of these two modes of constitution will bar a judgment debtor from availing of the privilege. there is no need to constitute extrajudicially or judicially. Meanwhile. Hence. or if exclusively by one spouse. Moreover. 1988. 21 (citations omitted) 70 . the sale thereof on execution was a nullity. and its value must not exceed certain amounts depending upon the area where it is located. 154 actually resides therein. the family home should belong to the absolute community or conjugal partnership. 229-231 and 233 of the Civil Code. 1988.20 this Court laid down the rules relative to exemption of family homes from execution: For the family home to be exempt from execution. T-221755 (M). If the family home was constructed before the effectivity of the Family Code or before August 3. In Ramos v. accordingly. Pangilinan. On the other hand. The subject property is a family home. its constitution must have been with consent of the other. 155 for which the family home is made answerable must have been incurred after August 3. and the exemption is effective from the time it was constituted and lasts as long as any of its beneficiaries under Art. this Court finds that the CA did not err in dismissing the petitioners’ complaint for nullification of TCT No. Judicial constitution of the family home requires the filing of a verified petition before the courts and the registration of the court’s order with the Registry of Deeds of the area where the property is located. distinction must be made as to what law applies based on when it was constituted and what requirements must be complied with by the judgment debtor or his successors claiming such privilege. two sets of rules are applicable.Anent the second issue. 1988. for family homes constructed after the effectivity of the Family Code on August 3. Further.

1988 must be constituted as a family home either judicially or extrajudicially in accordance with the provisions of the Civil Code in order to be exempt from execution. 71 . there is no need to constitute the family home judicially or extrajudicially. Inc. Jr. All family homes constructed after the effectivity of the Family Code (August 3.In the earlier case of Kelley. for purposes of exemption from execution. are considered as family homes by operation of law and are prospectively entitled to the benefits accorded to a family home under the Family Code.22 we stressed that: Under the Family Code. 1988) are constituted as such by operation of law. could be summarized as follows: First. Planters Products.. family residences constructed after the effectivity of the Family Code on August 3. 1988 are automatically deemed to be family homes and thus exempt from execution from the time it was constituted and lasts as long as any of its beneficiaries actually resides therein. Second.23 (emphasis supplied and citation omitted) The foregoing rules on constitution of family homes. Third. family residences constructed before the effectivity of the Family Code or before August 3. All existing family residences as of August 3. family residences which were not judicially or extrajudicially constituted as a family home prior to the effectivity of the Family Code. 1988 are considered family homes and are prospectively entitled to the benefits accorded to a family home under the Family Code. v. but were existing thereafter.

The petitioners were thus correct in asserting that the subject property was a family home. x x x. 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.24 72 . when the Family Code took effect on August 3. should have been exempt from execution. the subject property became a family home by operation of law and was thus prospectively exempt from execution. we nevertheless rule that the CA did not err in dismissing the petitioners’ complaint for nullification of TCT No. otherwise it would render nugatory final bills of sale on execution and defeat the very purpose of execution – to put an end to litigation. There was no showing. 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. that the same was judicially or extrajudicially constituted as a family home in accordance with the provisions of the Civil Code. reasonable time. As the CA aptly pointed out: In the light of the facts above summarized. thus. Certainly.Here. the subject property became a family residence sometime in January 1987. T-221755 (M). Despite the fact that the subject property is a family home and. however. The family home’s exemption from execution must be set up and proved to the Sheriff before the sale of the property at public auction. for purposes of the law on exemption. it is evident that appellants did not assert their claim of exemption within a reasonable time. Still. 1988.

25 where it was categorically stated that at no other time can the status of a residential house as a family home can be set up and proved and its exemption from execution be claimed but before the sale thereof at public auction: 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. and We repeat it now. 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.The foregoing disposition is in accord with the Court’s November 25. Court of Appeals. through a mere subterfuge. nevertheless. the rule is. or before advertisement of sale. but as to the last there is contrary authority. reasonable time. such claim for exemption should be set up and proved to the Sheriff before the sale of the property at public auction. We said before. and it is essential to an effective administration of justice that. Failure to do so would estop the party from later claiming the exemption. 2005 Decision in Honrado v. for purposes of the law on exemption. Gealone: Although the Rules of Court does not prescribe the period within which to claim the exemption.” In the light of the facts above summarized. or at any time before sale. or within a reasonable time before the sale. “In the absence of express provision it has variously held that claim (for exemption) must be made at the time of the levy if the debtor is present. that litigation must end and terminate sometime and somewhere. it must be claimed not by the sheriff. 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. the winning party be not. Certainly. that it must be made within a reasonable time. but by the debtor himself at the time of the levy or within a reasonable period thereafter. deprived of the fruits of the verdict. or before the creditor has taken any step involving further costs. As this Court ruled in Gomez v. once a judgment has become final. or promptly. otherwise it would render nugatory final bills of sale on execution and defeat the very purpose of execution—to put an end to litigation.26 (citations omitted) 73 . well-settled that the right of exemption is a personal privilege granted to the judgment debtor and as such. or before the sale has commenced. it is self-evident that appellants did not assert their claim of exemption within a reasonable time.

Indeed. this right can be waived or be barred by laches by the failure to set up and prove the status of the property as a family home at the time of the levy or a reasonable time thereafter. but by the debtor himself before the sale of the property at public auction. x x x.28 (emphasis supplied and citations omitted) Having failed to set up and prove to the sheriff the supposed exemption of the subject property before the sale thereof at public auction. a family home is deemed constituted on a house and lot from the time it is occupied as a family residence.27 this Court stated that: Under the cited provision. The settled rule is that the right to exemption or forced sale under Article 153 of the Family Code is a personal privilege granted to the judgment debtor and as such. 30 The family home is a real right. the family home is a sacred symbol of family love and is the repository of cherished memories that last during one’s lifetime. there is no need to constitute the same judicially or extrajudicially. is generally exempt from execution.Reiterating the foregoing in Spouses Versola v. It cannot be seized by creditors except in certain special cases. from the time of its constitution and so long as any of its beneficiaries actually resides therein. Court of Appeals. it must be claimed not by the sheriff. which is gratuitous. the petitioners now are barred from raising the same. It is not sufficient that the person claiming exemption merely alleges that such property is a family home.31 However. inalienable and free from attachment. Failure to do so estop them from later claiming the said exemption.29 It is likewise without dispute that the family home.This claim for exemption must be set up and proved to the Sheriff. 74 . forced sale or attachment.

which affirmed the Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Malolos. later. The petitioners allowed the subject property to be levied upon and the public sale to proceed. the petition is DENIED. No. or approximately four (4) years from the time of the auction sale. are AFFIRMED. 1058-M-99 and dismissed the complaint for declaration of nullity of TCT No. still. Bulacan. waived or declined to assert it. it is incumbent upon the petitioners to invoke and prove the same within the prescribed period and it is not the sheriff’s duty to presume or raise the status of the subject property as a family home. Simple justice and fairness and equitable considerations demand that Claudio’s title to the property be respected. 221755 (M) and other documents. The petitioners’ negligence or omission renders their present assertion doubtful. Araceli’s Torrens title was cancelled and a new one issued under Claudio’s name. Equity dictates that the petitioners are made to suffer the consequences of their unexplained negligence. The assailed Decision dated June 6. Since the exemption under Article 153 of the Family Code is a personal right. EQUITABLE PCI BANK. 165950 75 . One (1) year lapsed from the time the subject property was sold until a Final Deed of Sale was issued to Claudio and. it was only after the respondents filed a complaint for unlawful detainer. that the petitioners claimed that the subject property is a family home. 2008 Resolution denying reconsideration. INC.R. 2008 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. the petitioners’ negligence or omission to assert their right within a reasonable time gives rise to the presumption that they have abandoned. thus. exempt from execution. Branch 22. Petitioner. G.In this case. it appears that it is a mere afterthought and artifice that cannot be countenanced without doing the respondents injustice and depriving the fruits of the judgment award in their favor. the petitioner remained silent. For all intents and purposes.R.. CV No. in Civil Case No. In fact. in consideration of the foregoing disquisitions. WHEREFORE. 79391. it is undisputed that the petitioners allowed a considerable time to lapse before claiming that the subject property is a family home and its exemption from execution and forced sale under the Family Code. and the October 23.

J. On January 27.. JJ.. Chairperson... 2004 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G..... As security for the said amount. the latter however failed to submit the required documents such as certificates of title and tax declarations so that the bank can evaluate his proposal to pay the mortgage debt via dacion en pago. a Real Estate Mortgage (REM) was executed over a condominium unit in San Miguel Court...* and VILLARAMA..x DECISION VILLARAMA..... OJ-MARK TRADING..... BRION.... respondent OJ-Mark Trading. SP No..[3] In a letter dated May 15. 2003. The factual antecedents: Respondent-spouses Oscar and Evangeline Martinez obtained loans from petitioner Equitable PCI Bank.918. premature. JR.[4] While petitioners officers held a meeting with respondent Oscar Martinez. Pasig City..[5] Consequently. which denied its petition for certiorari assailing the trial courts orders granting respondents application for a writ of preliminary injunction. Metro Manila where the spouses are residing. J. Respondent Oscar Martinez signed the REM both as principal debtor and as President of the registered owner and third-party mortgagor. 2010 x. PT-21363 of the Registry of Deeds of Pasig City.00). August 11.048. In their Complaint With Application for Temporary Restraining Order.800. 2002.. JR. 2002 stood at P4. 77703. and also 76 . Injunction and Annulment of Extrajudicial Foreclosure Sale in the RTC of Pasig City. Inc.. the trial court granted a TRO effective for twenty (20) days...... unreasonable and unwarranted.. The REM was annotated on Condominium Certificate of Title No. in the aggregate amount of Four Million Forty-Eight Thousand Eight Hundred Pesos (P4. Inc. BERSAMIN. they offered to settle their indebtedness with the assignment to the Bank of a commercial lot of corresponding value and also requested for recomputation at a lower interest rate and condonation of penalties.: Before us is a petition for review on certiorari filed by petitioner under Rule 45 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure.R.[2] Respondent-spouses defaulted in the payment of their outstanding loan obligation..160.versus - CARPIO MORALES.. praying for the reversal of the Decision [1] dated October 29..Present: .... 2003. Valle Verde 5. INC. andSPOUSES Promulgated: OSCAR AND EVANGELINE MARTINEZ..... Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Pasig City.. as amended.[7] respondents sought to enjoin the impending foreclosure sale alleging that the same was hasty...... which as of October 31.. 69294 for Temporary Restraining Order (TRO). respondents filed Civil Case No.[6] On January 23.. ABAD. Respondents. petitioner initiated the extrajudicial foreclosure of the real estate mortgage by filing an ex parte petition before the Office of the Executive Judge....03.

2003. By Decision dated October 29. Respondents maintained that aside from the REM being illegally notarized.claiming defects in the execution of the REM.respondent spouses have sufficiently shown that they have a right over the condominium unit which is subject of the mortgage. 2003. for the following reasons: first. Judge Mariano M. As respondent spouses have alleged in their complaint. Respondents imputed bad faith on the part of petitioner who did not officially inform them of the denial or disapproval of their proposal to settle the loan obligation by dacion via assignment of a commercial property. Inc. granted the application for a writ of preliminary injunction. while the condominium unit is supposedly a family home.MARTINEZ DESERVES THE PROTECTIVE MANTLE OF A WRIT OF PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION DESPITE THEIR CLEAR AND UNEQUIVOCAL ADMISSION OF THE OUTSTANDING LOANS AND THEIR DELINQUENCY IV THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THERE ARE STILL SEVERAL FACTUAL ISSUES TO BE RESOLVED IN A FULL-BLOWN TRIAL BEFORE PETITIONER EPCIB COULD EXERCISE ITS STATUTORY AND EQUITABLE RIGHT TO FORECLOSE[11] The sole issue to be resolved is whether or not the respondents have shown a clear legal right to enjoin the foreclosure and public auction of the third-party mortgagors property while the case for annulment of REM on said property is being tried. even assuming that OJ-Mark Trading. It was further averred that the subject property is being used and occupied by respondent-spouses as a family home. this petition raising the following grounds: I THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED A GRAVE REVERSIBLE ERROR IN HOLDING THAT THE TRIAL COURT DID NOT COMMIT GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OF JURISDICTION IN ISSUING THE ASSAILED WRIT OF PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION II THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED A GRAVE REVERSIBLE ERROR IN HOLDING THAT INDIVIDUAL RESPONDENTS SPS. the issuance of notice of foreclosure sale is at most premature as there are still several factual issues that need to be resolved before a foreclosure can be effected. and second. the appellate court sustained the assailed orders.. MARTINEZ HAVE PROPRIETARY RIGHT OVER THE MORTGAGED CONDOMINIUM UNIT III THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED A GRAVE REVERSIBLE ERROR IN HOLDING THAT SUCH PURPORTED PROPRIETARY RIGHT OF RESPONDENTS SPS. is a family 77 . the obligation subject thereof had been extinguished by the dacion proposal considering that the value of the property offered was more than sufficient to pay for the mortgage debt. Singzon. Petitioner argued that the appellate courts conclusion that respondents possess proprietary right over the mortgaged property subject of foreclosure is utterly baseless. In his Order dated February 17. it is admittedly owned by respondent corporation and not by the conjugal partnership or absolute community of respondent-spouses. holding that: .[9] Petitioner questioned the issuance of preliminary injunction before the CA arguing that the respondents are not entitled to injunctive relief after having admitted that they were unable to settle their loan obligations. Such already constitute the ostensible right which respondent spouses possess in order for the foreclosure sale to be temporarily enjoined. 2004.[10] Hence.[8] Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration which was denied under the Order dated April 21. Jr.. incomplete and unenforceable. This proprietary right over the condominium is what they are trying to protect when they applied for preliminary injunction.

They stand to lose a prime property. But petitioner maliciously. [16] With respect to the commercial lots offered in dacion. It was therefore impossible for respondents to deliver these titles to petitioner by October 21. apparently motivated by its discovery after re-appraisal that the floor area of the townhouse and number of its rooms had doubled (from 180. petitioner thus prevented the respondents repayment of the loan. m.750 sq. 2002 considering the normal time it takes to secure land titles. [12] As to the alleged proposal of respondent Oscar Martinez to assign commercial lots by dacion en pago to settle their loan obligations. respondents fault the petitioner in deliberately ignoring the fact that the Blue Mountains Subdivision located at Antipolo City was already approved by the Land Registration Authority. will not suffer any loss if the foreclosure will not proceed.000. with three [3] bedrooms. and much less to be owned by him. which was unfair as 78 . respondents stance contravenes the established rule that properties registered in the name of the corporation are owned by it as an entity separate and distinct from its members or stockholders. the individual titles had not yet been issued. and thus made a serious and sincere offer by way of dacion en pago. although the subdivided lots have already been applied. Petitioner. as well as the Affidavit dated January 24. m. in malicious haste to acquire the condominium unit as asset. [15] Respondents further claimed that the extrajudicial foreclosure will cause grave injustice and irreparable injury to respondent-spouses and their four (4) young children because their family home.corporation. the respondents contended that the petition raises factual issues not proper in an appeal by certiorari under Rule 45. but purportedly owned by another corporation (developer). at least insofar as the unencumbered area in excess of 180. it was petitioners duty not to sit on respondents dacion offer and should have informed them in writing that said offer is rejected. 2003 of Atty. petitioner pointed out that the properties offered fordacion are not owned.750 sq. Moreover. Oscar Martinez even paid P100. Respondents contended that as creditor. on the other hand. Respondents deplored the sudden filing of the petition for extrajudicial foreclosure. To show good faith and as required by petitioner to continue the negotiations for dacion. it serves more than a formal rejection of respondents dacion en pago offer. respondent Atty.[13] On their part. [14] Respondents argued that they appear to be entitled to the relief demanded by their Complaint because petitioner was in bad faith when it proceeded to foreclose while there was still a pending written proposal to pay. is exempt from forced sale or execution under Article 155 of theFamily Code. m.. with six [6] bedrooms). Oscar Martinez (adopted in the February 7. with the filing of a petition for extrajudicial foreclosure of the real estate mortgage by petitioner. in which they were residing since 1997. 2003 hearing) fully supported their application and hence the trial court did not act precipitately or arbitrarily in granting injunctive relief. Such evidence adduced by respondents. the president of which supposedly owes him a sum of money.Respondent Oscar Martinez likewise admitted during the hearings before the trial court his unpaid loan with petitioner. By hanging on the dacion talks.00 in October 2002. which petitioner accepted. They asserted that the trial court correctly found sufficient legal basis to grant the writ of preliminary injunction after conducting a summary hearing in which both parties actively participated and submitted oral and documentary evidence. it is now 350 sq. fraudulently and hastily proceeded to foreclose the renovated mortgaged property.

petitioner did not push through with the inspection. injunction is not proper. or is procuring or suffering to be done. There must be an existence of an actual right. it will not issue to protect a right not in esse and which may never arise. agency or a person is doing. Thus: In Almeida v. or is attempting to do.[23] we emphasized that it is necessary for the petitioner to establish in the main case its rights on an alleged dacion en pago agreement before those rights can be deemed actual and existing. it must be shown that the invasion of the right sought to be protected is material and substantial. for unknown reasons. or future rights. a writ of preliminary injunction may be issued only upon clear showing of an actual existing right to be protected during the pendency of the principal action. and the whole or part of such relief consists in restraining the commission or continuance of the act or acts complained of. some act or acts probably in violation of the rights of the applicant respecting the subject of the action or proceeding. the possibility of irreparable damage without proof of actual existing right is no ground for an injunction. to be entitled to an injunctive writ. as plaintiff. They must establish such clear and unmistakable right to the injunction. the petitioner. it is not sufficient for the respondents to simply harp on the serious damage they stand to suffer if the foreclosure sale is not stayed. As such. Injunction is not a remedy to protect or enforce contingent. or in requiring the performance of an act or acts. 3. [22] Hence. threatening. In the absence of a clear legal right. court. [20] For the issuance of the writ of preliminary injunction to be proper. The twin requirements of a valid injunction are the existence of a right and its actual or threatened violations. continuance or non-performance of the act or acts complained of during the litigation would probably work injustice to the applicant. was burdened to adduce testimonial and/or documentary evidence to establish her right to the injunctive writs. (b) That the commission. Section 3. Rule 58 of the Rules of Court provides that: SEC. the issuance of a writ of injunction constitutes grave abuse of discretion. However. and tending to render the judgment ineffectual. or (c) That a party. or to restrain an action which did not give rise to a cause of action.[18] A writ of preliminary injunction may be issued only upon clear showing of an actual existing right to be protected during the pendency of the principal action. abstract. the Court stressed how important it is for the applicant for an injunctive writ to establish his right thereto by competent evidence: Thus.the negotiations had already reached the stage when petitioner scheduled an ocular inspection for the appraisal of the lots. Court of Appeals. Export and Industry Bank. Hence.A preliminary injunction may be granted when it is established: (a) That the applicant is entitled to the relief demanded. the right to be protected and the violation against that right must be shown. Grounds for issuance of preliminary injunction. which would justify the injunctive writ. A clear and positive right especially calling for judicial protection must be established. and. Thus. as such.[21] The possibility of irreparable damage without proof of actual existing right is no ground for an injunction. where the plaintiffs right or title is doubtful or disputed. that the right of complainant is clear and unmistakable and that there is an urgent and paramount necessity for the writ to prevent serious damage. It must be stressed that injunction is not designed to protect contingent or future rights. either for a limited period or perpetually. In Duvaz Corporation v. 79 . [17] We grant the petition. [19] The issuance of a preliminary injunction rests entirely within the discretion of the court taking cognizance of the case and is generally not interfered with except in cases of manifest abuse.

It is the strong arm of equity that should never be extended unless to cases of great injury. xxxxxxxxx x x x.[27] This Court has denied the application for a Writ of Preliminary Injunction that would enjoin an extrajudicial foreclosure of a mortgage. the issuance of the injunctive writ constitutes grave abuse of discretion.[26] In a real estate mortgage when the principal obligation is not paid when due. It cannot be the other way around. 02-1029. In any event. for having been issued with grave abuse of discretion. unsubstantiated allegations of denial of due process and prematurity of a loan are not sufficient to defeat the mortgagees unmistakable right to an extrajudicial foreclosure. respondents failed to show that they have a right to be protected and that the acts against which the writ is to be directed are violative of the said right. In fine. and declared that foreclosure is proper when the debtors are in default of the payment of their obligation. The possibility of irreparable damage without proof of an actual existing right would not justify injunctive relief in his favor. 2002. petitioner had found the subdivision lots offered for dacion as unacceptable. As the Court had the occasion to state in Olalia v. [28] In these cases. Hizon. deliberation and sound discretion. they failed to comply with the documentary requirements imposed by the petitioner for proper evaluation of their proposal. it is still necessary for petitioner to establish in the main case its rights on the alleged dacion en pago before those rights become in esse or actual and existing. It should be granted only when the court is fully satisfied that the law permits it and the emergency demands it.An injunctive remedy may only be resorted to when there is a pressing necessity to avoid injurious consequences which cannot be remedied under any standard compensation. In the absence of a clear legal right. Otherwise. As respondent-spouses themselves admitted. or more dangerous in a doubtful case. Civil Case No. We are in full accord with the CA when it struck down. the mortgagee has the right to foreclose the mortgage and to have the property seized and sold with the view of applying the proceeds to the payment of the obligation. there is no mention whatsoever or even a slightest reference in that written contract to a supposed agreement of dacion en pago. not only because the 80 . On the face of their clear admission that they were unable to settle their obligations which were secured by the mortgage. mortgage contracts and promissory notes that the mortgagee is authorized to foreclose the mortgaged properties in case of default by the mortgagors. The reason therefor is that the right sought to be protected by the petitioner in this case through the writ of preliminary injunction is merely contingent and not in esse. It bears stressing that the existing written contract between petitioner and respondent was admittedly one of loan restructuring. [25] Foreclosure is but a necessary consequence of non-payment of a mortgage indebtedness. petitioner has a clear right to foreclose the mortgage. making the issuance of a Writ of Preliminary Injunction improper. the RTCs Order of September 25. it will be like putting the cart before the horse. Where the parties stipulated in their credit agreements. than the issuance of an injunction. granting petitioners prayer for a writ of preliminary injunction during the pendency of the main case. where courts of law cannot afford an adequate or commensurate remedy in damages.[24] [EMPHASIS SUPPLIED. Only then can the injunctive writ be properly issued.] In the case at bar. the mortgagee has a clear right to foreclosure in case of default. Every court should remember that an injunction is a limitation upon the freedom of action of the defendant and should not be granted lightly or precipitately. 196 SCRA 665 (1991): It has been consistently held that there is no power the exercise of which is more delicate. [29] We cannot agree with respondents position that petitioners act of initiating extrajudicial foreclosure proceeding while they negotiated for a dacion en pago was illegal and done in bad faith. which requires greater caution.

that is. was superior to that of petitioner as creditor-mortgagee. the appellate court seriously erred in sustaining the trial courts orders granting respondents application for preliminary injunction. the lots were not yet titled but also for the reason that respondent Oscar Martinezs claimed right therein was doubtful or inchoate. As we held in Tecnogas Philippines Manufacturing Corporation v. and cause or consideration must be present. the creditor is really buying the thing or property of the debtor. Pursuant to Section 47 of the General Banking Law of 2000. Requests by debtors-mortgagors for extensions to pay and proposals for restructuring of the loans. totally extinguishing the debt. the application should clearly allege facts and circumstances showing the existence of the requisites. negotiations for settlement of the mortgage debt by dacion en pago do not extinguish the same nor forestall the creditor-mortgagees exercise of its right to foreclose as provided in the mortgage contract. Without more. The rule requires that in order for a preliminary injunction to issue. Philippine National Bank [31] -Dacion en pago is a special mode of payment whereby the debtor offers another thing to the creditor who accepts it as equivalent of payment of an outstanding obligation. It is only when the thing offered as an equivalent is accepted by the creditor that novation takes place. thereby. the Court of Appeals did not err in ruling that Tecnogas has no clear legal right to an injunctive relief because its proposal to pay by way of dacion en pago did not extinguish its obligation. 153 of the Family Code. consent. It must be emphasized that an application for injunctive relief is construed strictly against the pleader. the essential elements of a contract of sale. However.] Respondent-spouses alleged proprietary right in the mortgaged condominium unit appears to be based merely on respondents averment that respondent OJ-Mark Trading. those proposals neither novated the parties mortgage contract nor suspended its execution. remain as that. Necessarily.[33] Assuming arguendo that the mortgaged condominium unit constitutes respondents family home. this Court has previously declared that all is not lost for defaulting mortgagors whose properties were foreclosed by creditorsmortgagees. whether as majority stockholder or creditor. and hence not in esse. mortgagors who have judicially or extrajudicially sold their real property for the full or partial payment of their obligation have the right to redeem the property within one year after 81 . Anent the grave and irreparable injury which respondents alleged they will suffer if no preliminary injunction is issued. The undertaking is really one of sale. Undeniably. As such. is entirely inconsistent with the clear contractual agreement of the REM. Thus. upon Tecnogas default in its obligations. petitioners will not be deprived outrightly of their property. is a family corporation. object certain. On the first issue. payment for which is to be charged against the debtors debt. for such is the purpose of requiring security for the loans. Respondents thus failed to show an ostensible right that needs protection of the injunctive writ. thereby raising issue on the mortgaged condominium unit being a family home and not corporate property. the same will not exempt it from foreclosure as Article 155 (3) of the same Code allows the execution or forced sale of a family home for debts secured by mortgages on the premisesbefore or after such constitution.[32] We note that the claim of exemption under Art. there is neither allegation nor evidence to show prima facie that such purported right. Tecnogas proposal to pay by way of dacion en pago was not accepted by PNB. the foreclosure of the REM becomes a matter of right on the part of PNB.lots were not owned by respondents as in fact. namely. [EMPHASIS SUPPLIED. Clearly. viz: In any case. without acceptance by the creditor-mortgagee. [30] In the same vein. Inc. the unaccepted proposal neither novates the parties mortgage contract nor suspends its execution as there was no meeting of the minds between the parties on whether the loan will be extinguished by way of dacion en pago.

as well as all the costs and expenses incurred by the bank. Petitioner. 82 . 3 Out of this illicit relationship. GRANDE. although Antonio was at that time already married to someone else. No. the Court forthwith issues the following Order granting the other reliefs sought in the Petition. this fact alone will not affect the validity of the sale but simply gives the mortgagor a cause of action to recover such surplus. [34] WHEREFORE. the RTC rendered a Decision in favor of herein respondent Antonio. and Grande left for the United States with her two children in May 2007. Moreover. 206248 February 18. The Decision dated October 29.R.R. 1999). JR. with interest rate specified. Respondent. 4The children were not expressly recognized by respondent as his own in the Record of Births of the children in the Civil Registry. two sons were born: Andre Lewis (on February 8. in which the Court held that if the mortgagee is retaining more of the proceeds of the sale than he is entitled to. PATRICIO T. This right was recognized in Sulit v. foregoing premises considered. Parental Physical Custody. They can redeem their real estate by paying the amount due. 2012 Decision 1 and March 5. appending a notarized Deed of Voluntary Recognition of Paternity of the children.Respondents application for a writ of preliminary injunction is DENIED. the Court hereby grants [Antonio’s] prayer for recognition and the same is hereby judicially approved. Branch 8 of Aparri. This prompted respondent Antonio to file a Petition for Judicial Approval of Recognition with Prayer to take Parental Authority. 2013 Resolution2 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G. G. however. CA..R. The parties’ relationship. ruling that "[t]he evidence at hand is overwhelming that the best interest of the children can be promoted if they are under the sole parental authority and physical custody of [respondent Antonio]. assailing the July 24. Correction/Change of Surname of Minors and for the Issuance of Writ of Preliminary Injunction before the Regional Trial Court. As culled from the records. DECISION VELASCO. Cagayan (RTC). under the mortgage deed. 77703 is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. 2010. ANTONIO."6 Thus. the facts of this case are: Petitioner Grace Grande (Grande) and respondent Patricio Antonio (Antonio) for a period of time lived together as husband and wife. 2014 GRACE M. J. x x x Consequently. Ordering the Office of the City Registrar of the City of Makati to cause the entry of the name of [Antonio] as the father of the aforementioned minors in their respective Certificate of Live Birth and causing the correction/change and/or annotation of the surnames of said minors in their Certificate of Live Birth from Grande to Antonio. the court a quo decreed the following: WHEREFORE. 2004 of the Court of Appeals in CAG.: Before this Court is a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45.the sale. to wit: a. 96406. petitioners have the right to receive any surplus in the selling price. the petition is GRANTED.5 On September 28. 1998) and Jerard Patrick (on October 13. SP No. vs. eventually turned sour. CV No. in extrajudicial foreclosures.

Ordering [Grande] to immediately surrender the persons and custody of minors Andre Lewis Grande and Jerard Patrick Grande unto [Antonio] for the days covered by the Order. compels the use by the children of the surname "ANTONIO. and may only take the children out upon the written consent of [Grande]. the appeal is partly GRANTED. c.) Aggrieved. in their respective certificates of live birth. b. However. 11-4492 is MODIFIED in part and shall hereinafter read as follows: a. Ordering parties to give and share the support of the minor children Andre Lewis Grande and Jerard Patrick Grande in the amount of P30. d. 7(Emphasis supplied. The dispositive portion of the CA Decision reads: WHEREFORE. maintained that the legal consequence of the recognition made by respondent Antonio that he is the father of the minors. Petitioner Grande then filed an appeal with the CA attributing grave error on the part of the RTC for allegedly ruling contrary to the law and jurisprudence respecting the grant of sole custody to the mother over her illegitimate children.b.) In ruling thus. the appealed Decision of the Regional Trial Court Branch 8. Granting [Antonio] the right to jointly exercise Parental Authority with [Grande] over the persons of their minor children. Granting [Antonio] primary right and immediate custody over the parties’ minor children Andre Lewis Grandre and Jerard Patrick Grande who shall stay with [Antonio’s] residence in the Philippines from Monday until Friday evening and to [Grande’s] custody from Saturday to Sunday evening.000. e. taken in conjunction with the universally protected "best-interest-of-the-child" clause. Andre Lewis Grande and Jerard Patrick Grande.000 per month at the rate of 70% for [Antonio] and 30% for [Grande]. 20108 for being pro forma and for lack of merit. [Antonio] shall have visitorial rights at least twice a week. Aparri Cagayan in SP Proc. and record the same in the Register of Births. Accordingly. her motion was denied by the trial court in its Resolution dated November 22. without the written consent of the other and permission from the court. Ordering parties to cease and desist from bringing the aforenamed minors outside of the country. the appellate court ratiocinated that notwithstanding the father’s recognition of his children. The parties are DIRECTED to give and share in support of the minor children Jerard Patrick and Andre Lewis in the amount of P30. 10 Since respondent Antonio failed to prove that petitioner Grande committed any act that adversely affected the welfare of the children or rendered her unsuitable to raise the minors. (Emphasis supplied. Case No. she cannot be deprived of her sole parental custody over their children. The Offices of the Civil Registrar General and the City Civil Registrar of Makati City are DIRECTED to enter the surname Antonio as the surname of Jerard Patrick and Andre Lewis. [Antonio] is ORDERED to deliver the minor children Jerard Patrick and Andre Lewis to the custody of their mother herein appellant. however. and d. the mother cannot be deprived of her sole parental custody over them absent the most compelling of reasons. The appellate court. the appellate court modified in part the Decision of the RTC." 11 83 . 9 In resolving the appeal. c. Grace Grande who by virtue hereof is hereby awarded the full or sole custody of these minor children.00 per month at the rate of 70% for [Antonio] and 30% for [Grande]. f. petitioner Grande moved for reconsideration.

then custody over the minor children also goes to the mother. respondent’s prayer has no legal mooring. But he wanted more: a judicial conferment of parental authority. (RA) 9255. Except for this modification. it is clear that the general rule is that an illegitimate child shall use the surname of his or her mother. In it. In such a situation.) From the foregoing provisions. there is none. 12 Lastly. illegitimate children may use the surname of their father if their filiation has been expressly recognized by their father through the record of birth appearing in the civil register. Otherwise. However. and shall be entitled to support in conformity with this Code. 19. In the case at bar.As to the issue of support. petitioner Grande interposed a partial motion for reconsideration. and shall be entitled to support in conformity with this Code. or when an admission in a public document or private handwritten instrument is made by the father." When her motion was denied. petitioner came to this Court via the present petition. The legitime of each illegitimate child shall consist of one-half of the legitime of a legitimate child. particularly assailing the order of the CA insofar as it decreed the change of the minors’ surname to "Antonio. (Emphasis supplied. all other provisions in the Civil Code governing successional rights shall remain in force. hence. in case his or her filiation is expressly recognized by the father through the record of birth appearing in the civil register or when an admission in a public document or private handwritten instrument is made by the father. 176. Central to the core issue is the application of Art. the CA ruled that there is no reason to deprive respondent Antonio of his visitorial right especially in view of the constitutionally inherent and natural right of parents over their children. Is there a legal basis for the court a quo to order the change of the surname to that of respondent? Clearly. Provided. 176 of the Family Code. This provision was later amended on March 19. originally phrased as follows: Illegitimate children shall use the surname and shall be under the parental authority of their mother. the order or ruling will contravene the explicit and unequivocal provision of Art. as amended by RA 9255. – Illegitimate children shall use the surname and shall be under the parental authority of their mother. it is also a consequence of his acknowledging the paternity of the minor children. We find the present petition impressed with merit. couched as it is in permissive language––may not be invoked by a father to compel the use by his illegitimate children of his surname without the consent of their mother. Now comes the matter of the change of surname of the illegitimate children. parental custody. the illegitimate child may use the surname of the father. she posits that Article 176 of the Family Code––as amended by Republic Act No. 2004 by RA 9255 14 which now reads: Art. The sole issue at hand is the right of a father to compel the use of his surname by his illegitimate children upon his recognition of their filiation. the CA held that the grant is legally in order considering that not only did Antonio express his willingness to give support. respondent filed a petition for judicial approval of recognition of the filiation of the two children with the prayer for the correction or change of the surname of the minors from Grande to Antonio when a public document acknowledged before a notary public under Sec. 176 of the Family Code. The legitime of each illegitimate child shall consist of one-half of the legitime of a legitimate child. unless she is shown to be unfit. and an official declaration of his children’s surname as Antonio. Parental authority over minor children is lodged by Art. The exception provided by RA 9255 is. 84 . Rule 132 of the Rules of Court 15 is enough to establish the paternity of his children. Since parental authority is given to the mother. 176 on the mother. the father has the right to institute an action before the regular courts to prove non-filiation during his lifetime. 13 Not satisfied with the CA’s Decision.

2 If admission of paternity is made through a private instrument.19 this Court. under Art. thus: The foregoing discussion establishes the significant connection of a person’s name to his identity. provided the registration is supported by the following documents: 85 . this Court has. has no legal basis. therefore. After hearing. The law and facts obtaining here favor Giovanni’s petition. may be advanced advocating the mandatory use of the father’s surname upon his recognition of his illegitimate children. Indeed. be affected by the right to present evidence in favor of or against such change. It is not the father (herein respondent) or the mother (herein petitioner) who is granted by law the right to dictate the surname of their illegitimate children.) An argument.Art. In fact. rebuffed the idea that the use of the father’s surname serves the best interest of the minor child. And where there is no ambiguity. Capote. The word "may" is permissive and operates to confer discretion 17 upon the illegitimate children. his status in relation to his parents and his successional rights as a legitimate or illegitimate child. A change of name will erase the impression that he was ever recognized by his father. In Alfon v. Art. In Republic of the Philippines v. these matters should not be taken lightly as to deprive those who may. it must be taken to mean what it says and it must be given its literal meaning free from any interpretation.20 We gave due deference to the choice of an illegitimate minor to use the surname of his mother as it would best serve his interest.1 The illegitimate child shall use the surname of the father if a public document is executed by the father. the trial court found (and the appellate court affirmed) that the evidence presented during the hearing of Giovanni’s petition sufficiently established that. This Court will not stand in the way of the reunification of mother and son. 16 Respondent’s position that the court can order the minors to use his surname. time and again. one must abide by its words. 7. 176. (Emphasis supplied.1. this Court allowed even a legitimate child to continue using the surname of her mother rather than that of her legitimate father as it serves her best interest and there is no legal obstacle to prevent her from using the surname of her mother to which she is entitled. and complied with all the procedural requirements. The use of the word "may" in the provision readily shows that an acknowledged illegitimate child is under no compulsion to use the surname of his illegitimate father. On the matter of children’s surnames. Giovanni is entitled to change his name as he was never recognized by his father while his mother has always recognized him as her child. Republic. even allowed the use of a surname different from the surnames of the child’s father or mother. either at the back of the Certificate of Live Birth or in a separate document. as amended.1. It is also to his best interest as it will facilitate his mother’s intended petition to have him join her in the United States. It is best to emphasize once again that the yardstick by which policies affecting children are to be measured is their best interest. 176 gives illegitimate children the right to decide if they want to use the surname of their father or not. 21 which states: Rule 7. 18 for instance. the child shall use the surname of the father. is free from ambiguity.1 For Births Not Yet Registered 7. however. Giovanni availed of the proper remedy. Nothing is more settled than that when the law is clear and free from ambiguity. in any way. in Calderon v. Requirements for the Child to Use the Surname of the Father 7. 176 of the Civil Code. On its face. citing the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of RA 9255. For sure. upholding the best interest of the child concerned. a petition for change of name under Rule 103 of the Rules of Court. Republic. the rule regarding the use of a child’s surname is second only to the rule requiring that the child be placed in the best possible situation considering his circumstances.

xxxx 7.2. Effects of Recognition 8. xxxx 8. Thus. it is the former that prevails.3 Except in Item 7.1 If filiation has been expressly recognized by the father.2. v. if a discrepancy occurs between the basic law and an implementing rule or regulation.2 If filiation has not been expressly recognized by the father. the hornbook rule is that an administrative issuance cannot amend a legislative act. For Births Previously Registered under the Surname of the Mother 7.1 If admission of paternity was made either at the back of the Certificate of Live Birth or in a separate public document or in a private handwritten document.) Nonetheless.2.2 For Births Previously Registered under the Surname of the Mother 8. as the power to amend or repeal a statute is vested in the Legislature. 8. Proper annotation shall be made in the Certificate of Live Birth and the Register of Births as follows: "Acknowledged by (name of father) on (date).1. because the law cannot be broadened by a mere administrative issuance — an administrative agency certainly cannot amend an act of Congress. the child shall use the surname of the father upon the submission of the accomplished AUSF [Affidavit of Use of the Surname of the Father].1. the power of administrative officials to promulgate rules in the implementation of a statute is necessarily limited to what is found in the legislative enactment itself. Ssangyong Corporation.1.2. 86 .2. the child shall use the surname of the father upon submission of a public document or a private handwritten instrument supported by the documents listed in Rule 7. In MCC Industrial Sales Corp.2.1 For Births Not Yet Registered 8. The surname of the child is hereby changed from (original surname) on (date) pursuant to RA 9255. the public document or AUSF shall be recorded in the Register of Legal Instruments.2.1 The surname of the father shall be entered as the last name of the child in the Certificate of Live Birth. 7. The consent may be contained in a separate instrument duly notarized. the consent of the illegitimate child is required if he/she has reached the age of majority. the public document or AUSF shall be recorded in the Register of Live Birth and the Register of Births as follows: "The surname of the child is hereby changed from (original surname) to (new surname) pursuant to RA 9255. 7." (Emphasis supplied.2 If filiation was not expressly recognized at the time of registration. xxxx Rule 8. The implementing rules and regulations of a law cannot extend the law or expand its coverage.22 We held: After all. The Certificate of Live Birth shall be recorded in the Register of Births." The original surname of the child appearing in the Certificate of Live Birth and Register of Births shall not be changed or deleted.

Such rules shall provide a simplified and inexpensive procedure for the speedy disposition of cases. The clear. 87 . The July 24. increase.Thus. they do not provide any evidentiary weight to sway this Court to rule for or against petitioner. VIII of the Constitution provides: Sec.000. 11-4492 is MODIFIED in part and shall hereinafter read as follows: a. the dispositive portion of which shall read: WHEREFORE. unambiguous. WHEREFORE. Aparri Cagayan in SP Proc. the use of the word "shall" in the IRR of RA 9255 is of no moment. Rule 7 and Rule 8 of the Office of the Civil Registrar General Administrative Order No. to this Court declaring their opposition to have their names changed to "Antonio.00 per month at the rate of 70% for [Antonio] and 30% for [Grande]. Accordingly. shall be uniform for all courts of the same grade. [Antonio] is ORDERED to deliver the minor children Jerard Patrick and Andre Lewis to the custody of their mother herein appellant. Case No.judicial bodies 24 when found contrary to statutes and/or the Constitution. Rules of procedure of special courts and quasi-judicial bodies shall remain effective unless disapproved by the Supreme Court. the instant petition is PARTIALLY GRANTED. Cagayan for the sole purpose of determining the surname to be chosen by the children Jerard Patrick and Andre Lewis.R. and unequivocal use of "may" in Art.) Thus. and shall not diminish.23 What is more. since these letters were not offered before and evaluated by the trial court. 1. 96406 is MODIFIED. (Emphasis supplied. Branch 8 of Aparri. The case is REMANDED to the Regional Trial Court. At this juncture.25 Section 5(5). CV No. We exercise this power in voiding the above-quoted provisions of the IRR of RA 9255 insofar as it provides the mandatory use by illegitimate children of their father’s surname upon the latter’s recognition of his paternity. Series of 2004 are DISAPPROVED and hereby declared NULL and VOID." 26 However. The parties are DIRECTED to give and share in support of the minor children Jerard Patrick and Andre Lewis in the amount of P30. and d. and legal assistance to the underprivileged. Grace Grande who by virtue hereof is hereby awarded the full or sole custody of these minor children. the appealed Decision of the Regional Trial Court Branch 8. 2012 Decision of the Court of Appeals in CAG. this Court has the constitutional prerogative and authority to strike down and declare as void the rules of procedure of special courts and quasi. the Integrated Bar. b. the admission to the practice of law. the children's choice of surname by the trial court is necessary.27 A proper inquiry into. practice and procedure in all courts. To conclude. the appeal is partly GRANTED. and may only take the children out upon the written consent of [Grande]: c. or modify substantive rights. SO ORDERED. [Antonio] shall have visitation rights28 at least twice a week. 176 rendering the use of an illegitimate father’s surname discretionary controls. now aged thirteen (13) and fifteen (15) years old. We can disregard contemporaneous construction where there is no ambiguity in law and/or the construction is clearly erroneous. The Supreme Court shall have the following powers: xxxx (5) Promulgate rules concerning the protection and enforcement of constitutional rights. and illegitimate children are given the choice on the surnames by which they will be known. Art. pleading. and evaluation of the evidence of. We take note of the letters submitted by the children. 5.

J.R. Antipolo City. Teresa. 88 . he had continuously acknowledged his yet unborn child. LEONARDO-DE CASTRO. Jenie.* JJ. CHRISTIAN DOMINIQUE S. who continued to live with Dominiques parents. and Affidavit of Acknowledgment executed by Dominiques father Domingo Butch Aquino. Dulumbayan. On September 4. CHICO-NAZARIO. and that his paternity had never been questioned. Dominique died. Chairperson. Jenie attached to the AUSF a document entitled AUTOBIOGRAPHY which Dominique. inter alia. Tomas Aquino (Dominique) lived together as husband and wife without the benefit of marriage. and PERALTA. Petitioners. Tomas Aquino at Pulang-lupa.T. 2005. the pertinent portions of which read: AQUINO. using Dominiques surname Aquino. represented by JENIE SANJUAN DELA CRUZ. with the Office of the City Civil Registrar.: For several months in 2005.. RONALD PAUL S. Rizal. [1] After almost two months. They resided in the house of Dominiques parents Domingo B. x------------------------------------------------x DECISION CARPIO MORALES. during his lifetime. July 31. Jenie applied for registration of the childs birth. J. 2009 Respondent. wrote in his own handwriting. gave birth to her herein co-petitioner minor child Christian Dela Cruz Aquino at the Antipolo Doctors Hospital.[2] Affidavit to Use the Surname of the Father[3] (AUSF) which she had executed and signed. No. 2005. that during the lifetime of Dominique. GRACIA.JENIE SAN JUAN DELA CRUZ and minor CHRISTIANDELA CRUZ AQUINO. CARPIO MORALES. G. or on November 2. [4] Both affidavits attested. in support of which she submitted the childs Certificate of Live Birth. Antipolo City. then 21-year old petitioner Jenie San Juan Dela Cruz (Jenie) and then 19-year old Christian Dominique Sto. in his capacity as City Civil Registrar of Promulgated: Antipolo City. Aquino and Raquel Sto. 177728 Present: versus QUISUMBING.

AND AS OF NOW SHE IS PREGNANT AND FOR THAT WE LIVE TOGETHER IN OUR HOUSE NOW. Certification of membership in any organization 5. 1. 102 Affidavit of Acknowledgment/Admission of Paternity or the Authority to Use the Surname of the Father).1. x x x. MY FATHERS NAME IS DOMINGO BUTCH AQUINO AND MY MOTHERS NAME IS RAQUEL STO. 7. docketed as SCA Case No. AT FIRST WE BECAME GOOD FRIENDS. I AM THE YOUNGEST IN OUR FAMILY. THEN WE FELL IN LOVE WITH EACH OTHER. TEREZA RIZAL. Article 176 of Executive Order No. Ronald Paul S. THATS ALL. otherwise Known as the Family Code of the Philippines]) provides that: Rule 7. TOMAS AQUINO. xxxx AS OF NOW I HAVE MY WIFE NAMED JENIE DELA CRUZ.[6] (Emphasis and underscoring supplied) By letter dated November 11. TOMAS AQUINO. SSS/GSIS records 3. 2005.1. 19 YEARS OF AGE TURNING 20 THIS COMING OCTOBER 31. 2005. Employment records 2. if 18 years old and over at the time of the filing of the document. provided the registration is supported by the following documents: a. Series of 2004 (Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act No. which was raffled to Branch 73 thereof. inter alia.2 If admission of paternity is made through a private handwritten instrument. the child cannot use the surname of his father because he was born out of wedlock and the father unfortunately died prior to his birth and has no more capacity to acknowledge his paternity to the child (either through the back of Municipal Form No. 9255 [An Act Allowing Illegitimate Children to Use the Surname of their Father.1 For Births Not Yet Registered 7. THEN WE BECAME GOOD COUPLES. c. The complaint alleged that. AUSF[8] b. TERESA. DULUMBAYAN.1 The illegitimate child shall use the surname of the father if a public document is executed by the father.AUTOBIOGRAPHY IM CHRISTIAN DOMINIQUE STO. Amending for the Purpose. denied Jenies application for registration of the childs name in this wise: 7. WE MET EACH OTHER IN OUR HOMETOWN.[7] the City Civil Registrar of Antipolo City. 209.[5] I RESIDE AT PULANG-LUPA STREET BRGY. I HAVE ONE BROTHER NAMED JOSEPH BUTCH STO. either at the back of the Certificate of Live Birth or in a separate document. Income Tax Return (ITR) In summary. Statement of Assets and Liability 6. TOMAS AQUINO. Requirements for the Child to Use the Surname of the Father 7. 06-539. (Underscoring supplied) Jenie and the child promptly filed a complaint [9] for injunction/registration of name against respondent before the Regional Trial Court of Antipolo City. Insurance 4. the child shall use the surname of the father. Consent of the child. Gracia (respondent). Any two of the following documents showing clearly the paternity between the father and the child: 1. Rule 7 of Administrative Order No. the denial of registration of the childs name is a violation of his right to use the surname 89 . RIZAL.

9255. For failure to file a responsive pleading or answer despite service of summons. he had acknowledged his yet unborn child. [13] By Decision[14] of April 25. the same does not contain any express recognition of paternity. 9255. also testified. 9255) which defines private handwritten document through which a father may acknowledge an illegitimate child as follows: 2.[10] which provides: Article 176. She testified on the circumstances of her common-law relationship with Dominique and affirmed her declarations in her AUSF that during his lifetime.A.) No. Hence. AS AMENDED BY R. [12] Dominiques lone brother.2.[15] (Underscoring supplied) 90 .A. 2007. The legitime of each illegitimate child shall consist of one-half of the legitime of a legitimate child.[11] She offered Dominiques handwritten Autobiography (Exhibit A) as her documentary evidence-in-chief. this direct resort to the Court via Petition for Review on Certiorari raising this purely legal issue of: WHETHER OR NOT THE UNSIGNED HANDWRITTEN STATEMENT OF THE DECEASED FATHER OF MINOR CHRISTIAN DELA CRUZ CAN BE CONSIDERED AS A RECOGNITION OF PATERNITY IN A PRIVATE HANDWRITTEN INSTRUMENT WITHIN THE CONTEMPLATION OF ARTICLE 176 OF THE FAMILY CODE. the father has the right to institute an action before the regular courts to prove non-filiation during his lifetime. as amended by Republic Act (R. 1.) No. Jenie thereupon presented evidence ex-parte. Joseph Butch S. Illegitimate children shall use the surname and shall be under the parental authority of their mother. citing paragraph 2. illegitimate children may use the surname of their father if their filiation has been expressly recognized by the father through the record of birth appearing in the civil register. or when an admission in a public document or private handwritten instrument is made by the father. However.2 Private handwritten instrument an instrument executed in the handwriting of the father and duly signed by him where he expressly recognizes paternity to the child. and shall be entitled to support in conformity with this Code. the trial court dismissed the complaint for lack of cause of action as the Autobiography was unsigned.of his deceased father under Article 176 of the Family Code. Rule 2 (Definition of Terms) of Administrative Order (A. Provided. WHICH ENTITLES THE SAID MINOR TO USE HIS FATHERS SURNAME. Series of 2004 (the Rules and Regulations Governing the Implementation of R. respondent was declared in default. (Emphasis and underscoring supplied) They maintained that the Autobiography executed by Dominique constitutes an admission of paternity in a private handwritten instrument within the contemplation of the above-quoted provision of law.O.A. Aquino. (Underscoring supplied) The trial court held that even if Dominique was the author of the handwritten Autobiography. corroborating Jenies declarations.T.

for the requirement in the above-quoted paragraph 2. This provision must. as amended.[19] Article 176 of the Family Code. be read in conjunction with related provisions of the Family Code which require that recognition by the father must bear his signature. thus: Art. explicitly state that the private handwritten instrument acknowledging the childs paternity must be signed by the putative father.2 of the Administrative Order that the admission/recognition must be duly signed by the father is void as it unduly expanded the earlier-quoted provision of Article 176 of the Family Code. 9255. as amended. a consummated act of acknowledgment of the childs paternity. is sufficient. or (2) An admission of legitimate filiation in a public document or a private handwritten instrument and signed by the parent concerned. They add that the deceaseds handwritten Autobiography. It further submits that Dominiques Autobiography merely acknowledged Jenies pregnancy but not [his] paternity of the child she was carrying in her womb. however. indeed. [16] Petitioners further contend that the trial court erred in not finding that Dominiques handwritten Autobiography contains a clear and unmistakable recognition of the childs paternity. the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) submits that respondents position. does not. no separate action for judicial approval is necessary. hence. as amended by R. 91 . in itself.A. 172.[17] In its Comment. as affirmed by the trial court. permits an illegitimate child to use the surname of his/her father if the latter had expressly recognized him/her as his offspring through the record of birth appearing in the civil register. or through an admission made in a public or private handwritten instrument. 175. The recognition made in any of these documents is. [18] Article 176 of the Family Code.Petitioners contend that Article 176 of the Family Code. does not expressly require that the private handwritten instrument containing the putative fathers admission of paternity must be signed by him. though unsigned by him. xxxx Art. 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. Illegitimate children may establish their illegitimate filiation in the same way and on the same evidence as legitimate children. is in consonance with the law and thus prays for the dismissal of the petition.

it did not unduly expand the import of Article 176 as claimed by petitioners. In the absence of the foregoing evidence. Series of 2004. or 92 . merely articulated such requirement. xxxx ART.[21] the Court summarized the laws. In Herrera v. These circumstances indicating Dominiques paternity of the child give life to his statements in his Autobiography that JENIE DELA CRUZ is MY WIFE as WE FELL IN LOVE WITH EACH OTHER and NOW SHE IS PREGNANT AND FOR THAT WE LIVE TOGETHER. Second. 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. discoursing in relevant part: Laws. the legitimate filiation shall be proved by: (1) The open and continuous possession of the status of a legitimate child. Dominique died about two months prior to the childs birth. though unsigned by him. however.[20] Third. In the present case. Paragraph 2. 175.x x x x (Emphasis and underscoring supplied) That a father who acknowledges paternity of a child through a written instrument must affix his signature thereon is clearly implied in Article 176 of the Family Code. Rules. Rule 2 of A. and Jurisprudence Establishing Filiation The relevant provisions of the Family Code provide as follows: ART. Illegitimate children may establish their illegitimate filiation in the same way and on the same evidence as legitimate children. First.2. 172. or (2) An admission of legitimate filiation in a public document or a private handwritten instrument and signed by the parent concerned. correspond to the facts culled from the testimonial evidence Jenie proffered. unquestionably handwritten by Dominique. substantially satisfies the requirement of the law. and jurisprudence on establishing filiation. special circumstances exist to hold that Dominiques Autobiography. Alba. No. 1. rules. the relevant matters in the Autobiography. Jenies testimony is corroborated by the Affidavit of Acknowledgment of Dominiques father Domingo Aquino and testimony of his brother Joseph Butch Aquino whose hereditary rights could be affected by the registration of the questioned recognition of the child.O.

in respect to the pedigree of any one of its members. a statement before a court of record. birth. Act or declaration about pedigree. engraving on rings. (Emphasis and underscoring supplied. Family reputation or tradition regarding pedigree. SEC. there is no dispute that the earlier quoted statements in Dominiques Autobiography have been made and written by him. may be received in evidence where it occurred before the controversy. The act or declaration of a person deceased. or unable to testify. may be received in evidence if the witness testifying thereon be also a member of the family. in respect to the pedigree of another person related to him by birth or marriage. Under Article 278 of the New Civil Code. there should be strict compliance with the requirement that the same must be signed by the acknowledging parent. neither a certificate of baptism nor family pictures are sufficient to establish filiation. she was pregnant when Dominique died on September 4. The relevant sections of Rule 130 provide: SEC. Standing alone. and 93 . Taken together with the other relevant facts extant herein that Dominique. the dates when and the places where these facts occurred. In Pe Lim v. a student permanent record. and the relationship between the two persons is shown by evidence other than such act or declaration. The reputation or tradition existing in a family previous to the controversy. the Court sees it fit to adopt the following rules respecting the requirement of affixing the signature of the acknowledging parent in any private handwritten instrument wherein an admission of filiation of a legitimate or illegitimate child is made: 1) Where the private handwritten instrument is the lone piece of evidence submitted to prove filiation. and Jenie were living together as common-law spouses for several months in 2005 at his parents house in Pulang-lupa. a will. To be effective. or in any authentic writing. voluntary recognition by a parent shall be made in the record of birth. The Rules on Evidence include provisions on pedigree. proved filiation. during his lifetime. However. Letters to the mother vowing to be a good father to the child and pictures of the putative father cuddling the child on various occasions. A notarial agreement to support a child whose filiation is admitted by the putative father was considered acceptable evidence. or a marriage contract where the putative father gave consent. and the names of the relatives. Teresa. 39. 2005. together with the certificate of live birth. either by consanguinity or affinity. marriage. 40. cannot be taken as authentic writing. the claim of filiation must be made by the putative father himself and the writing must be the writing of the putative father. In view of the pronouncements herein made. Rizal.(2) Any other means allowed by the Rules of Court and special laws. Jenie gave birth to the child they sufficiently establish that the child of Jenie is Dominiques. may be received as evidence of pedigree. Entries in family bibles or other family books or charts. a case petitioner often cites. CA. It embraces also facts of family history intimately connected with pedigree. family genealogy. death.) In the case at bar. a written consent to a father's operation. Dulumbayan. and about two months after his death. we stated that the issue of paternity still has to be resolved by such conventional evidence as the relevant incriminating verbal and written acts by the putative father. This Court's rulings further specify what incriminating acts are acceptable as evidence to establish filiation. family portraits and the like. The word "pedigree" includes relationship.

courts of law. J. it suffices that the claim of filiation therein be shown to have been made and handwritten by the acknowledging parent as it is merely corroborative of such other evidence. a child with an unknown father bears the stigma of dishonor. especially of illegitimate children x x x.[25] In the eyes of society. vs. the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration. the petition is GRANTED. In all actions concerning children. Tomas Aquino as the surname of petitioner minor Christian dela Cruz in his Certificate of Live Birth. (t)he State as parens patriae affords special protection to children from abuse. DECISION CORONA. GERARDO B. Our laws instruct that the welfare of the child shall be the paramount consideration in resolving questions affecting him. SO ORDERED. administrative authorities or legislative bodies. exploitation and other conditions prejudicial to their development.[24] Too. and record the same in the Register of Births. WHEREFORE. It is to petitioner minor childs best interests to allow him to bear the surname of the now deceased Dominique and enter it in his birth certificate. COURT OF APPEALS and MA. The City Civil Registrar of Antipolo City is DIRECTED to immediately enter the surname of the late Christian Dominique Sto.2) Where the private handwritten instrument is accompanied by other relevant and competent evidence.[22] Article 3(1) of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of a Child of which the Philippines is a signatory is similarly emphatic: Article 3 1. CONCEPCION. respondents. whether undertaken by public or private social welfare institutions. petitioner.: 94 .[23] (Underscoring supplied) It is thus (t)he policy of the Family Code to liberalize the rule on the investigation of the paternity and filiation of children. THERESA ALMONTE.

The child. the law will rise in his defense with the single-minded purpose of upholding only his best interests. PD 603 as amended. Gerardo filed a petition to have his marriage to Ma. On December 19. especially as he is a boy. [1] In case of assault on his rights by those who take advantage of his innocence and vulnerability. Theresa annulled on the ground of bigamy. [5] He alleged that nine years before he married Ma. 1991.m. 8. however. Concepcion and private respondent Ma. Quezon City. [3] Almost a year later. Theresas marriage to Mario was valid and subsisting when she married Gerardo and annulled her marriage to the latter for being bigamous. Gerardo and Ma. following the rule that an illegitimate child shall use the mothers surname. Theresa gave birth to Jose Gerardo. She moved for the reconsideration of the above decision INSOFAR ONLY as that portion of the decision which grant(ed) to the petitioner so-called visitation rights between the hours of 8 in the morning to 12:00 p. 1989. The Court allowed visitorial rights to the father knowing that the minor needs a father. to wit: In all questions regarding the care. Applying the best interest of the child principle.[11] She further maintained that Jose Gerardos surname should be changed from Concepcion to Almonte. Theresas parents in Fairview. and a child named Jose Gerardo. He insisted on his visitation rights and the retention of Concepcion as Jose Gerardos surname. by reason of his mental and physical immaturity. the respondents Motion for Reconsideration has to be. the trial court denied Ma. Theresa Almonte. There being no law which compels the Court to act one way or the other on this matter.[10] She argued that there was nothing in the law granting visitation rights in favor of the putative father of an illegitimate child.[7] Ma.[4] Gerardo and Ma. the Court invokes the provision of Art. Quezon City. Theresa did not deny marrying Mario when she was twenty years old. including appropriate legal protection before as well as after birth. Theresa felt betrayed and humiliated when Gerardo had their marriage annulled. [12] 95 . WHEREFORE. his welfare shall be the paramount consideration. as it is hereby DENIED. The custody of the child was awarded to Ma. Theresa while Gerardo was granted visitation rights. they lived with Ma. otherwise known as the Child and Youth Welfare Code. Gerardo opposed the motion. [8] The trial court ruled that Ma. 1990. which marriage was never annulled. Theresas motion and made the following observations: It is a pity that the parties herein seem to be using their son to get at or to hurt the other. Ma. something they should never do if they want to assure the normal development and well-being of the boy. she had married one Mario Gopiao. the Court believes that the emotional and psychological well-being of the boy would be better served if he were allowed to maintain relationships with his father. Theresas relationship turned out to be short-lived. averred that the marriage was a sham and that she never lived with Mario at all. [9] Ma. This is the story of petitioner Gerardo B. needs special safeguard and care. [2] After their marriage. however. It declared Jose Gerardo to be an illegitimate child as a result. Theresa were married on December 29. of any Sunday. on December 8. education and property of the child. who must have a father figure to recognize something that the mother alone cannot give. [6] Gerardo also found out that Mario was still alive and was residing in Loyola Heights. her maiden name. custody. Theresa on December 10. She held him responsible for the bastardization of Gerardo. Moreover. 1980. She.

Theresa that there was nothing in the law that granted a putative father visitation rights over his illegitimate child. The appellate court denied the petition and affirmed in toto the decision of the trial court. (underscoring ours) Thus. it (was) the childs welfare and not the convenience of the parents which (was) the primary consideration in granting visitation rights a few hours once a week. and would mean a judicial seal upon an illegitimate relationship. After hearing the oral arguments of the respective counsels of the parties. It should be what the law says and not what a parent says it is. the appellate court resolved the motion for reconsideration. therefore. the supposed father. the law and only the law determines who are the legitimate or illegitimate children for ones legitimacy or illegitimacy cannot ever be compromised. 146. But. should file a separate proceeding for a change of name under Rule 103 of the Rules of Court to effect the correction in the civil registry. [she] is right in firmly saying that [Gerardo] can claim neither custody nor visitorial rights over the child Jose Gerardo. Therefore. The child. Theresa] and Mario Gopiao (Art. and that she had never entered into a lawful marriage with the appellee [Gerardo] since the so-called marriage with the latter was void ab initio. It was [Gerardo] himself who had established these facts. would prevent any possible rapproachment between the married couple. In other words. Theresa] was married to Mario Gopiao. Consequently. Theresa elevated the case to the Court of Appeals. 1990. It reversed its earlier ruling and held that Jose Gerardo was not the son of Ma. represented by the mother. She also filed a motion to set the case for oral arguments so that she could better ventilate the issues involved in the controversy. Not only is it without legal basis (even supposing the child to be his illegitimate child [Art. Theresa] and [Gerardo]. Family Code).[15] Undaunted. Theresa that Jose Gerardo was their son. he cannot be deemed to be the illegitimate child of the void and non-existent marriage between [Ma. the child Jose Gerardo under the law is the legitimate child of the legal and subsisting marriage between [Ma. [16] The appellate court brushed aside the common admission of Gerardo and Ma. It gave little weight to Jose Gerardos birth certificate showing that he was born a little less than a year after Gerardo and Ma. Further. [17] (Emphasis supplied) 96 . Not even the birth certificate of the minor can change his status for the information contained therein are merely supplied by the mother and/or the supposed father. It ruled that [a]t bottom. She likewise opposed the continued use of Gerardos surname (Concepcion) despite the fact that Jose Gerardo had already been declared illegitimate and should therefore use her surname (Almonte). Theresa] was legitimately married to Mario Gopiao when the child Jose Gerardo was born on December 8. [Gerardo] cannot impose his name upon the child. Theresa] and Mario Gopiao. [14] The appellate court likewise held that an illegitimate child cannot use the mothers surname motu proprio. Theresa were married: We are not unaware of the movants argument that various evidence exist that appellee and the appellant have judicially admitted that the minor is their natural child. Ma. Theresa moved for the reconsideration of the adverse decision of the appellate court. but is said by the law to be the child of the legitimate and existing marriage between [Ma. In fine. undeniable established by the evidence in this case that the appellant [Ma.Ma. in the same vein. the appellate court affirmed the best interest of the child policy invoked by the court a quo.[13] On the issue raised by Ma. We cannot overlook the fact that Article 167 of the Family Code mandates: The child shall be considered legitimate although the mother may have declared against its legitimacy or may have been sentenced as an adulteress. Theresa by Gerardo but by Mario during her first marriage: It is. assigning as error the ruling of the trial court granting visitation rights to Gerardo. it would tend to destroy the existing marriage between [Ma. [Ma. 164. The Family Code]). Theresa] and Gopiao. implicit from the above provision is the fact that a minor cannot be deprived of his/her legitimate status on the bare declaration of the mother and/or even much less.

this appeal. Mario. stands. for instance. [25]his heirs. Gerardo moved for a reconsideration of the above decision but the same was denied. who can contest the legitimacy of the child Jose Gerardo born to his wife. unless such presumption is rebutted by evidence to the contrary. his heirs. [20] As a guaranty in favor of the child[21] and to protect his status of legitimacy. The child shall be considered legitimate although the mother may have declared against its legitimacy or may have been sentenced as an adulteress. in exceptional cases. he never became her husband and thus never acquired any right to impugn the legitimacy of her child. He has no standing in law to dispute the status of Jose Gerardo. There is no such evidence here. Fairview and Loyola Heights are only a scant four kilometers apart. [26] Impugning the legitimacy of a child is a strictly personal right of the husband or. The presumption of legitimacy proceeds from the sexual union in marriage. unless it appears that sexual union took place through the violation of prison regulations. as the issue of the marriage between Ma.[30] The presumption is quasi-conclusive and may be refuted only by the evidence of physical impossibility of coitus between husband and wife within the first 120 days of the 300 days which immediately preceded the birth of the child.[28] To overthrow this presumption on the basis of Article 166 (1)(b) of the Family Code. A child who is conceived or born during the marriage of his parents is legitimate. Mario was living in Loyola Heights which is also in Quezon City. the separation between Ma. Not only did both Ma.[27] Since the marriage of Gerardo and Ma. [22] We explained the rationale of this rule in the recent case of Cabatania v. Theresa was void from the very beginning. when they reside in different countries or provinces and they were never together during the period of conception. the husband was in prison during the period of conception. Theresas husband Mario or. the presumption of legitimacy in favor of Jose Gerardo.[18] Shocked and stunned. Evidence sufficient to defeat the assumption should be presented by him who asserts the contrary. Article 167 of the Family Code provides: Article 167. [19] Article 164 of the Family Code is clear.[33] Or. The status and filiation of a child cannot be compromised. Theresa were living together in Fairview. Theresa and her lawful husband. the separation between the spouses must be such as to make marital intimacy impossible. Court of Appeals[23]: The presumption of legitimacy does not only flow out of a declaration in the statute but is based on the broad principles of natural justice and the supposed virtue of the mother. Considering these circumstances. The law requires that every reasonable presumption be made in favor of legitimacy. [31] To rebut the presumption. Only Ma. [34] [32] Here. Theresa and Mario. it must be shown beyond reasonable doubt that there was no access that could have enabled the husband to father the child. [29] Sexual intercourse is to be presumed where personal access is not disproved. Sexual union between spouses is assumed. Quezon City. Theresa and Mario reside in the same city but also that no evidence at all was presented to disprove personal access between them. was certainly not such as to make it physically impossible for them to engage in the marital act. 97 . Hence. This may take place. Gerardo invokes Article 166 (1)(b)[24] of the Family Code. in a proper case. during the period that Gerardo and Ma. It is grounded on the policy to protect the innocent offspring from the odium of illegitimacy. Thus. particularly during the period of conception. He cannot.

Gerardos argument is without merit. or when the status of a child born after 300 days following the termination of marriage is sought to be established. First. to give credence to Ma. This declaration ― an avowal by the mother that her child is illegitimate ― is the very declaration that is proscribed by Article 167 of the Family Code. Thus. the law itself establishes the status of a child from the moment of his birth. Theresas statement is to allow her to arrogate unto herself a right exclusively lodged in the husband. in extraordinary cases. his heirs. The reliance of Gerardo on Jose Gerardos birth certificate is misplaced. then it would be tantamount to allowing the mother to make a declaration against the legitimacy of her child and consenting to the denial of filiation of the child by persons other than her husband. even then. their proximity to each other only serves to reinforce such possibility. it does not mean that there was never an instance where Ma. even assuming the truth of her statement. Theresa is not permitted by law to question Jose Gerardos legitimacy. If the Court were to validate that stipulation. That was. It also promotes the intention of the law to lean toward the legitimacy of children. Theresa and Gerardo admitted and agreed that Jose Gerardo was born to them was immaterial.[38] Hence. Ma. [39] The proscription is in consonance with the presumption in favor of family solidarity. An assertion by the mother against the legitimacy of her child cannot affect the legitimacy of a child born or conceived within a valid marriage. for reasons of public decency and morality. the child will be at the mercy of those who may be so minded to exploit his defenselessness. the status of Jose Gerardo as a legitimate child was not under attack as it could not be contested collaterally and. [40] Gerardos insistence that the filiation of Jose Gerardo was never an issue both in the trial court and in the appellate court does not hold water. Third. Far from foreclosing the possibility of marital intimacy. a married woman cannot say that she had no intercourse with her husband and that her offspring is illegitimate. Public policy demands that there be no compromise on the status and filiation of a child. Theresas statement is that Jose Gerardo is not her legitimate son with Mario but her illegitimate son with Gerardo. Second. The language of the law is unmistakable. Telling is the fact that both of them were living in Quezon City during the time material to Jose Gerardos conception and birth. the presentation of proof of legitimacy in this case was improper and uncalled for. Theresas statement in her answer [35] to the petition for annulment of marriage[36] that she never lived with Mario. These are the very acts from which the law seeks to shield the child.Gerardo relies on Ma. [37] A mother has no right to disavow a child because maternity is never uncertain. the import of Ma. [44]as the status of a child is determined by the law itself. He claims this was an admission that there was never any sexual relation between her and Mario. She never claimed that nothing ever happened between them. It has no evidentiary value in this case because it was not offered in evidence before the trial court. the impossibility of physical access was never established beyond reasonable doubt.[42] Moreover. only by the husband or. The fact that both Ma. an admission that was binding on her. his heirs. Hence. 98 . in effect. Theresa could have been together with Mario or that there occurred absolutely no intercourse between them. proof of filiation is necessary only when the legitimacy of the child is being questioned. [41] Otherwise. [45] Here. The rule is that the court shall not consider any evidence which has not been formally offered. All she said was that she never lived with Mario. [43] Although a record of birth or birth certificate may be used as primary evidence of the filiation of a child. an agreement that the child was illegitimate. or in a proper case. Finally.

The paradox was that he was made to suffer supposedly for his own sake. The matter of changing Jose Gerardos name and effecting the corrections of the entries in the civil register regarding his paternity and filiation should be threshed out in a separate proceeding. Theresa would doggedly press for Jose Gerardos illegitimacy while claiming that they both had the childs interests at heart. reason and common sense dictate that a legitimate status is more favorable to the child. He is entitled to bear the surnames of both his father and mother. This case has been pending for a very long time already. otherwise known as the Child and Youth Welfare Code. Jose Gerardo shall have the right to bear the surnames of his father Mario and mother Ma. What is specially tragic is that an innocent child is involved. It is not conclusive evidence with respect to the truthfulness of the statements made therein by the interested parties. In case of annulment or declaration of absolute nullity of marriage. The law now comes to his aid to write finis to the controversy which has unfairly hounded him since his infancy. It perplexes us why both Gerardo and Ma. the latter shall prevail. Jose Gerardo was barely a year old when these proceedings began. [49] Moreover (without unwittingly exacerbating the discrimination against him). [47] Between the certificate of birth which is prima facie evidence of Jose Gerardos illegitimacy and the quasi-conclusive presumption of law (rebuttable only by proof beyond reasonable doubt) of his legitimacy. [46] As prima facie evidence. He can claim support only from a more limited group and his legitime is only half of that of his legitimate counterpart. Theresa. in conformity with the provisions of the Civil Code on surnames. the statements in the record of birth may be rebutted by more preponderant evidence. Article 8 of PD 603. in the eyes of society. it is also more conducive to the best interests of the child and in consonance with the purpose of the law. in the eyes of the law. full support and full inheritance. is clear and unequivocal: Article 8. we uphold the presumption of his legitimacy. education and property of the child. Article 3 (1) of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of a Child of which the Philippines is a signatory is similarly emphatic: Article 3 99 . There being no such parent-child relationship between them. [48] On the other hand. This madness should end. an illegitimate child is bound to use the surname and be under the parental authority only of his mother. [50] A persons surname or family name identifies the family to which he belongs and is passed on from parent to child. Having only his best interests in mind. the legitimate child enjoys a preferred and superior status. Article 49 of the Family Code grants visitation rights to a parent who is deprived of custody of his children. The law. Not only does it bear more weight. Gerardo has no legally demandable right to visit Jose Gerardo. custody. not related to him in any way. Needless to state. Such visitation rights flow from the natural right of both parent and child to each others company. Childs Welfare Paramount. a record of birth is merely prima facie evidence of the facts contained therein. Our laws seek to promote the welfare of the child. [51] Hence. He is now almost fifteen and all this time he has been a victim of incessant bickering. a bastard is usually regarded as bearing a stigma or mark of dishonor. Gerardo cannot impose his surname on Jose Gerardo who is. In the eyes of the law. his welfare shall be the paramount consideration. It is unfortunate that Jose Gerardo was used as a pawn in the bitter squabble between the very persons who were passionately declaring their concern for him.In addition. In all questions regarding the care. As a legitimate child. the legitimacy presumptively vested by law upon Jose Gerardo favors his interest.

2010 CHERRYL B. This is especially significant where. In all actions concerning children. whether undertaken by public or private social welfare institutions. 1995 and January 10. Dolina added a handwritten prayer for financial support3 from Vallecera for their supposed child. distracted or impaired by family acrimony. rendering unnecessary the issuance of a protection order against him. 2008 Order. the issue concerns their filiation as it strikes at their very identity and lineage. Vallecera opposed the petition. On March 13. to the end that their eventual development as responsible citizens and members of society shall not be impeded. She based her prayer on the latter’s Certificate of Live Birth which listed Vallecera as the child’s father. Dolina filed the present petition for review directly with this Court. The September 14.) 9262. and that Vallecera has never lived nor has been living with Dolina.: This case is about a mother’s claim for temporary support of an unacknowledged child.1. 20084 the RTC dismissed the petition after hearing since no prior judgment exists establishing the filiation of Dolina’s son and granting him the right to support as basis for an order to compel the giving of such support. Vallecera’s employer. The petition also asked the RTC to order Philippine Airlines. vs.R.R. The Facts and the Case In February 2008 petitioner Cherryl B. even their own parents. Dolina filed a motion for reconsideration but the RTC denied it in its April 4. 182367 December 15. administrative authorities or legislative bodies. J.5 with an admonition that she first file a petition for compulsory recognition of her child as a prerequisite for support. He claimed that Dolina’s petition was essentially one for financial support rather than for protection against woman and child abuses. VALLECERA. 40651 are hereby AFFIRMED. Unsatisfied. [52] Through its laws. 2 In filling out the blanks in the pro-forma complaint. that the petition is a harassment suit intended to force him to acknowledge the child as his and give it financial support. the State safeguards them from every one. Respondent. DOLINA.A. 2008-02-07 1 for alleged woman and child abuse under Republic Act (R. courts of law. the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration. No. Petitioner. 1996 resolutions of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. G. to withhold from his pay such amount of support as the RTC may deem appropriate. as in this case. GLENN D. Vallecera before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Tacloban City in P. It is mandated to provide protection to those of tender years. The State as parens patriae affords special protection to children from abuse. WHEREFORE. exploitation and other conditions prejudicial to their development. 100 . DECISION ABAD. CV No. which she sought in an action for the issuance of a temporary protection order that she brought against the supposed father.O. Dolina filed a petition with prayer for the issuance of a temporary protection order against respondent Glenn D. the petition is hereby DENIED. that the signature appearing on the child’s Certificate of Live Birth is not his. that he was not the child’s father.

MARIA CLARISSA POSADA. No. she may directly file an action for support.A. support follows as matter of obligation. Respondents. Dolina of course alleged that Vallecera had been abusing her and her child. CONSTANTINO POSADA and FRANCISCA POSADA. 2007 TEOFISTO I. 2008 that dismissed petitioner Cherryl B. this assumes that both are entitled to a protection order and to legal support. denying her motion for reconsideration dated March 28. The object of R. contrary to her claim. 2008. and as mother of minor VERNA AIZA POSADA. 10 Dolina’s remedy is to file for the benefit of her child an action against Vallecera for compulsory recognition in order to establish filiation and then demand support. the Court DENIES the petition and AFFIRMS the Regional Trial Court of Tacloban City’s Order dated March 13. that the RTC should not have dismissed the entire case based solely on the lack of any judicial declaration of filiation between Vallecera and Dolina’s child since the main issue remains to be the alleged violence committed by Vallecera against Dolina and her child and whether they are entitled to protection. While the Court is mindful of the best interests of the child in cases involving paternity and filiation. until Dolina shall have proved his relation to him. Alternatively. 2008. 101 . 11 It must be observed. 2008-02-07. The Court’s Ruling Dolina evidently filed the wrong action to obtain support for her child. it is just as aware of the disturbance that unfounded paternity suits cause to the privacy and peace of the putative father’s legitimate family. in proper action. This omission lends credence to the conclusion of the RTC that the real purpose of the petition is to obtain support from Vallecera. VERCELES.1avvphil But it became apparent to the RTC upon hearing that this was not the case since. illegitimate children are entitled to support and successional rights but their filiation must be duly proved. As it turned out. This issue has to be resolved in an appropriate case.8 If filiation is beyond question. But of course. 9262 under which she filed the case is the protection and safety of women and children who are victims of abuse or violence. vs. To be entitled to legal support.12 Vallecera disowns Dolina’s child and denies having a hand in the preparation and signing of its certificate of birth. Since Dolina’s demand for support for her son is based on her claim that he is Vallecera’s illegitimate child. if the same is not admitted or acknowledged. and Order dated April 4. 159785 April 27. 9 In short. Dolina’s action in P. the true object of her action was to get financial support from Vallecera for her child. in her own behalf.R. first establish the filiation of the child. this matter is already water under the bridge since Dolina failed to raise this error on review. Petitioner.7 The child’s remedy is to file through her mother a judicial action against Vallecera for compulsory recognition.O. her claim being that he is the father. G. ACCORDINGLY. neither she nor her child ever lived with Vallecera. however. where the issue of compulsory recognition may be integrated and resolved. 6 Although the issuance of a protection order against the respondent in the case can include the grant of legal support for the wife and the child. the latter is not entitled to such support if he had not acknowledged him.The Issue Presented The sole issue presented in this case is whether or not the RTC correctly dismissed Dolina’s action for temporary protection and denied her application for temporary support for her child. petitioner must. He of course vigorously denied this.

Clarissa accepted petitioner’s offer and worked as a casual employee in the mayor’s office starting on September 1. a young lass from the barrio of Pandan. Jaime and Jocelyn Vargas. 1986. Verceles. on orders of petitioner. with companions Aster de Quiros.DECISION QUISUMBING. Afraid of the mayor. They met at the lobby and he led her upstairs because he said he wanted the briefing done at the restaurant at the upper floor. 1401. petitioner opened a hotel room door. in Civil Case No. as he told her that he was unhappy with his wife and would "divorce" her anytime. Pat del Valle. 2003 and the Resolution2 dated August 27. Branch 42. Clarissa avers that he told her that they would have lunch at Mayon Hotel with their companions who had gone ahead..m. she said she wrote petitioner that she feared she was pregnant. the same day. if true. 1986.R. at around 11:00 a. She panicked. Should you become pregnant even unexpectedly. Catanduanes. She said she hurriedly exited and left the hotel. She succumbed to his advances. 1986. J. I should have no regret. After petitioner ordered food. On November 11. petitioner fetched Clarissa from "My Brother’s Place" where the seminar was being held. he started making amorous advances on her. But again she kept the incident to herself. At around 11:00 a. she went to Catanduanes Hotel on instructions of petitioner who asked to be briefed on the progress of her mission. When they reached the place her companions were nowhere. On December 22. The RTC held petitioner liable to pay monthly support to Verna Aiza Posada since her birth on September 23. He then called on the Posadas and at the end of the visit. and suddenly embraced her. attorney’s fees and costs of suit. 1987. Just relax and be happy. The facts in this case as found by the lower courts are as follows: Respondent Maria Clarissa Posada (Clarissa). Sometime in January 1987. led her in. 2003 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. He also claimed he could appoint her as a municipal development coordinator. 50557. In another letter in February 1987. she kept the incident to herself. she went to Virac. Instead. With all my love. 102 . mayor of Pandan. 1987 as well as moral and exemplary damages. petitioner Teofisto I. offered Clarissa a job. when she missed her menstruation.: This petition for review seeks the reversal of the Decision 1 dated May 30. In a handwritten letter dated February 4.m. We know what to do to protect our honor and integrity. Catanduanes. she accompanied petitioner to Legaspi City to attend a seminar on town planning. The appellate court had affirmed with modification the Judgment 3 dated January 4. however. to follow up funds for barangayprojects. he replied: My darling Chris. They stayed at the Mayon Hotel. 1995 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Virac. One of her tasks was following-upbarangay road and maintenance projects. From November 10 to 15 in 1986. she told him she was pregnant. ran and closeted herself inside a comfort room where she stayed until someone knocked. because I love you and you love me. Let us rejoice a common responsibility – you and I shall take care of it and let him/her see the light of this beautiful world. Catanduanes. CV No. sometime in 1986 met a close family friend. She went on as casual employee.

When her parents learned of her pregnancy. to pay the costs of the suit. Clarissa avers that on March 3.000. two of which were in his letterhead as mayor of Pandan. To pay a monthly support of P2.9 Verceles appealed to the Court of Appeals which affirmed the judgment with modification.00 to Verna Aiza Posada from her birth on September 23.00 as attorney’s fees. the trial court issued a judgment in their favor. 1995.000. handed her a letter and P2. 1987. aware of her pregnancy. specifying the party to whom the damages was awarded.00 to Verna Aiza Posada since her birth on September 23. Francisca. to pay the sum of P10. judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the [respondents] and against the [petitioner] and ordering the latter: 1.8 On January 4. 3. In court. In June 1987. Clarissa presented three other handwritten letters5 sent to her by petitioner. 2. Virac. The dispositive portion of the Court of Appeals’ decision reads: WHEREFORE. to pay a monthly support of P2. 7 she gave birth to a baby girl.000. and 5. she identified petitioner’s penmanship which she claims she was familiar with as an employee in his office. corroborated Clarissa’s story. her father fetched her and brought her back to Pandan. 1987. 1987 as he was proved to be the natural father of the above-named minor as shown by the exhibits and testimonies of the [respondents]. to pay the amount of P30. 1987. She added that she felt betrayed by petitioner and shamed by her daughter’s pregnancy. 103 . Catanduanes against petitioner on October 23." probably because of their twenty-five (25)-year age gap. Clarissa’s mother. On September 23. She said they learned of their daughter’s pregnancy through her husband’s cousin.000 pocket money to go to Manila and to tell her parents that she would enroll in a CPA review course or look for a job. SO ORDERED. sometime in July.000. the dispositive portion of which reads as follows: WHEREFORE.000 for her delivery. petitioner went to see her in Manila and gave her another P2.Ninoy 2/4/874 Clarissa explained petitioner used an alias "Ninoy" and addressed her as "Chris. The Posadas filed a Complaint for Damages coupled with Support Pendente Lite before the RTC. 1987. to pay the amount of P30. petitioner. in view of the foregoing. She also presented the pictures6 petitioner gave her of his youth and as a public servant.00 as moral damages.00 as exemplary damages. all bearing his handwritten notations at the back. 4. Verna Aiza Posada.000. the appealed judgment is AFFIRMED with modification by ordering [petitioner] Teofisto I. Verceles: 1.

the fact that petitioner proffered no countervailing evidence. Petitioner now presents the following issues for resolution: I.00 as exemplary damages. To pay [respondent] Maria Clarissa Posada the sum of P15. WOULD THIS ACTION FOR DAMAGES PROSPER? III. are preponderant evidence of paternity. WAS THERE ANY EVIDENCE ON RECORD TO PROVE THAT APPELLANT VERCELES WAS THE FATHER OF THE CHILD? II.00 as moral damages and [P]15. 13 In support of his argument that the issue on filiation should have been resolved in a separate action. 15 On the other hand.000.000. and that the issue of filiation should be resolved in a direct and not a collateral action. Castillo Rosales14 where we held that the legitimacy of a child which is controversial can only be resolved in a direct action.000. that the award for damages and attorney’s fees has no basis. 4. the love letters and pictures given by petitioner to Clarissa. To pay the costs of suit. (2) whether or not the filiation of Verna Aiza Posada as the illegitimate child of petitioner was proven. They cited the case of De Jesus v.00 as exemplary damages. 3. petitioner asserts that the fact of paternity and filiation of Verna Aiza Posada has not been duly established or proved in the proceedings.2. and 5. 12 As to the award for damages. and (3) whether or not respondents are entitled to damages.000. petitioner cited the case of Rosales v. They reiterate that Clarissa’s clear narration of the circumstances on "how she was deflowered" by petitioner. WOULD THE RTC COURT HAVE ACQUIRED JURISDICTION OVER THIS ISSUE OF APPELLANT’S PATERNITY OF THE CHILD.000. In his Memorandum. WHICH IS MADE COLLATERAL TO THIS ACTION FOR DAMAGES? 11 In sum. He further contends the alleged love letters he sent to Clarissa are not admissions of paternity but mere expressions of concern and advice. To pay each of the said three [respondents] P10.00 as attorney’s fees. being a willing participant in the "consensual carnal act" between them. the corroborating testimony of Clarissa’s mother. To pay [respondents] spouses Constantino and Francisca Posada the sum of P15. the pertinent issues in this case are: (1) whether or not paternity and filiation can be resolved in an action for damages with support pendente lite.10 Hence. 104 . SO ORDERED. petitioner argues Clarissa could not have suffered moral damages because she was in pari delicto. this petition. respondents in their Memorandum maintain that the Court of Appeals committed no error in its decision. Petitioner argues he never signed the birth certificate of Verna Aiza Posada as father and that it was respondent Clarissa who placed his name on the birth certificate as father without his consent.00 as moral damages and P15.

his amorous advances. Art. a statement before a court of record. as found by the courts a quo. her demand for support for her child. or (2) Any other means allowed by the Rules of Court and special laws. Courts are called upon to pierce the form and go into the substance thereof. his letters. except when the action is based on the second paragraph of Article 172. birth of her child. or in any authentic writing is. petitioner’s illegitimate child. to us. 175.19 In determining the nature of an action. the dates. 17 They also argue that damages should be awarded because petitioner inveigled Clarissa to succumb to his sexual advances. Even an inexperienced eye will come to the conclusion that they were all written by one and the same person. in itself. They are as follows: Art. It is not the caption but the facts alleged which give meaning to a pleading. 20 A perusal of the Complaint before the RTC shows that although its caption states "Damages coupled with SupportPendente Lite. are convincing. the similarity of the penmanship in these letters vis the annotation at the back of petitioner’s fading photograph as a youth is unmistakable. 172. 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.Syquia16 where we held that a conceived child can be acknowledged because this is an act favorable to the child. one of which is quoted above. 105 . it is not the caption. letters. Although petitioner used an alias in these letters. The caption is not determinative of the nature of a pleading. a will. 18 Could paternity and filiation be resolved in an action for damages? On this score.21 The letters of petitioner marked as Exhibits "A" to "D" are declarations that lead nowhere but to the conclusion that he sired Verna Aiza. all clearly establish a case for recognition of paternity. their trysts." Clarissa’s averments therein. 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. The action must be brought within the same period specified in Article 173. a consummated act of acknowledgement of the child. her meeting with petitioner. but the averments in the petition and the character of the relief sought. and his giving her money during her pregnancy. his offer of a job. the array of evidence presented by respondents. In a string of cases we made the following rulings. We also note that in his Memorandum. We have held that the due recognition of an illegitimate child in a record of birth. it is in itself a voluntary recognition that does not require a separate action for judicial approval. In addition. any authentic writing is treated not just a ground for compulsory recognition. and irrefutable evidence that Verna Aiza is. her seduction. are private handwritten instruments of petitioner which establish Verna Aiza’s filiation under Article 172 (2) of the Family Code. Illegitimate children may establish their illegitimate filiation in the same way and on the same evidence as legitimate children. 22 Articles 172 and 175 of the Family Code are the rules for establishing filiation. and no further court action is required. The letters. petitioner admitted his affair with Clarissa. pictures and testimonies. in which case the action may be brought during the lifetime of the alleged parent. In fact. her pregnancy. petitioner. that are controlling. indeed. the exchange of love letters between them. we find petitioner’s stance unmeritorious.

. if unsubstantiated by clear and convincing evidence..R.. 1258 and 1259. there is nothing in law or jurisprudence that entitles the parents of a consenting adult who begets a love child to damages. cannot rule that respondents are entitled to damages... SO ORDERED. whose parents were unknown. Petitioner. His bare denials are telling. 2003 and the Resolution dated August 27. MONINA P. were entrusted to them by a certain Lucia 106 . Lim. Nos.. Besides. MONINA P. Case Nos.: The Case This is a petition for review on certiorari filed by Monina P..-x IN RE: PETITION FOR ADOPTION OF MICHAEL JUDE P... Branch 22 (trial court). 50557 are AFFIRMED. with the MODIFICATION that the award of moral damages and exemplary damages be DELETED. LIM.. LIM. 2003 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.. x .. Well-settled is the rule that denials. Article 2219 24of the Civil Code which states moral damages may be recovered in cases of seduction is inapplicable in this case because Clarissa was already an adult at the time she had an affair with petitioner. Neither can her parents be entitled to damages. in SPL. which dismissed without prejudice the consolidated petitions for adoption of Michelle P. Petitioner is an optometrist by profession. On 23 June 1974. J.. Lim and Michael Jude P.Petitioner not only failed to rebut the evidence presented.... We. 168992-93 May 21.23 We. LIM. 2009 IN RE: PETITION FOR ADOPTION OF MICHELLE P.. PROC. WHEREFORE.. G. Lim (petitioner) seeking to set aside the Decision 1dated 15 September 2004 of the Regional Trial Court. she married Primo Lim (Lim).R. however. he himself presented no evidence of his own. the assailed Decision dated May 30. They were childless.. LIM. are negative and selfserving which merit no weight in law and cannot be given greater evidentiary value over the testimony of credible witnesses who testify on affirmative matters.. CV No. however. Petitioner. The Facts The following facts are undisputed. DECISION CARPIO. Minor children. Respondents Constantino and Francisca Posada have not cited any law or jurisprudence to justify awarding damages to them. General Santos City. affirm the grant of attorney’s fees in consonance with Article 2208 (2) 25 and (11)26 of the New Civil Code..

She was born on 15 March 1977. Petitioner’s argument that mere consent of her husband would suffice was untenable because. 85526 (RA 8552) to those individuals who simulated the birth of a child. Lim (Michelle) and Michael Jude P. Case Nos. Michelle and her husband gave their consent to the adoption as evidenced by their Affidavits of Consent. Lim died. Hence. In the Certification issued by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). Issue Petitioner appealed directly to this Court raising the sole issue of whether or not petitioner. The Court’s Ruling 107 . 10 The DSWD issued a similar Certification for Michael. They sent the children to exclusive schools. 8 Petitioner’s husband Olario likewise executed an Affidavit of Consent9 for the adoption of Michelle and Michael. which the husband. petitioner filed separate petitions for the adoption of Michelle and Michael before the trial court docketed as SPL PROC. an American citizen. who has remarried. 1258 and 1259. His date of birth is 1 August 1983. on 28 November 1998. petitioner decided to adopt the children by availing of the amnesty 5 given under Republic Act No. who was not even made a party in this case. Michelle was considered as an abandoned child and the whereabouts of her natural parents were unknown. The trial court ruled that since petitioner had remarried. Being so eager to have a child of their own. As to the argument that the adoptees are already emancipated and joint adoption is merely for the joint exercise of parental authority. They used the surname "Lim" in all their school records and documents. Article III of RA 8552 and Article 185 of the Family Code. the present petition. The children2 were named Michelle P.Ayuban (Ayuban). Thus. 7 Michael also gave his consent to his adoption as shown in his Affidavit of Consent. petitioner should have filed the petition jointly with her new husband.11 The Ruling of the Trial Court On 15 September 2004. such as residency and certification of his qualification. Thereafter. At the time of the filing of the petitions for adoption. The trial court ruled that joint adoption by the husband and the wife is mandatory citing Section 7(c). petitioner and Lim registered the children to make it appear that they were the children’s parents. In denying the motion. while Michael was 18 years and seven months old. Petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration of the decision but the motion was denied in the Order dated 16 June 2005. the trial court ruled that petitioner did not fall under any of the exceptions under Section 7(c). respectively. Unfortunately. under the law. On 27 December 2000. can singly adopt. 4 The spouses reared and cared for the children as if they were their own. the trial court rendered judgment dismissing the petitions. Michelle was barely eleven days old when brought to the clinic of petitioner. there are additional requirements.3 Michael was 11 days old when Ayuban brought him to petitioner’s clinic. on 24 April 2002. petitioner married Angel Olario (Olario). must comply. Article III of RA 8552. the trial court ruled that joint adoption is not only for the purpose of exercising parental authority because an emancipated child acquires certain rights from his parents and assumes certain obligations and responsibilities. Michelle was 25 years old and already married. Lim (Michael).

108 . Article III of RA 8552 reads: SEC. that he/she has been certified by his/her diplomatic or consular office or any appropriate government agency that he/she has the legal capacity to adopt in his/her country.The following may adopt: (a) Any Filipino citizen of legal age. at the time the petitions for adoption were filed. She filed the petitions by herself. Husband and wife shall jointly adopt. petitioner had already remarried. or (c) The guardian with respect to the ward after the termination of the guardianship and clearance of his/her financial accountabilities. further. Joint Adoption by Husband and Wife It is undisputed that. of good moral character. (b) Any alien possessing the same qualifications as above stated for Filipino nationals: Provided. 7. or (iii) if the spouses are legally separated from each other.Petitioner contends that the rule on joint adoption must be relaxed because it is the duty of the court and the State to protect the paramount interest and welfare of the child to be adopted. or is the spouse of the adoptee’s parent. Parental authority is not anymore necessary since they have been emancipated having attained the age of majority. The law is explicit. and that his/her government allows the adoptee to enter his/her country as his/her adopted son/daughter: Provided. or (ii) if one spouse seeks to adopt his/her own illegitimate son/daughter: Provided. has not been convicted of any crime involving moral turpitude. That the requirements on residency and certification of the alien’s qualification to adopt in his/her country may be waived for the following: (i) a former Filipino citizen who seeks to adopt a relative within the fourth (4th) degree of consanguinity or affinity. and who is in a position to support and care for his/her children in keeping with the means of the family. That his/her country has diplomatic relations with the Republic of the Philippines. We have no other recourse but to affirm the trial court’s decision denying the petitions for adoption. Section 7. at the time the petitions were filed. that he/she has been living in the Philippines for at least three (3) continuous years prior to the filing of the application for adoption and maintains such residence until the adoption decree is entered. Who May Adopt. She argues that joint parental authority is not necessary in this case since. That the other spouse has signified his/her consent thereto. or (iii) one who is married to a Filipino citizen and seeks to adopt jointly with his/her spouse a relative within the fourth (4th) degree of consanguinity or affinity of the Filipino spouses. or (ii) one who seeks to adopt the legitimate son/daughter of his/her Filipino spouse. at least sixteen (16) years older than the adoptee. Michelle was 25 years old and already married. except in the following cases: (i) if one spouse seeks to adopt the legitimate son/daughter of the other. Dura lex sed lex. . The requirement of sixteen (16) year difference between the age of the adopter and adoptee may be waived when the adopter is the biological parent of the adoptee. in possession of full civil capacity and legal rights. while Michael was already 18 years of age. We deny the petition. without being joined by her husband Olario. Petitioner argues that the legal maxim "dura lex sed lex" is not applicable to adoption cases. emotionally and psychologically capable of caring for children. however.

.14 Even the remarriage of the surviving parent shall not affect the parental authority over the children. As the child to be adopted is elevated to the level of a legitimate child. joint parental authority shall be exercised by the spouses. 16. SEC. Neither are the adoptees the legitimate children of petitioner. when he attains the age of majority or 18 years of age16 — emancipation terminates parental authority over the person and property of the child. 17. There are certain requirements that Olario must comply being an American citizen. Second. without joining her husband. 12 The law is clear. parental authority is merely just one of the effects of legal adoption. Since the petitions for adoption were filed only by petitioner herself. and (5) the adoptee is allowed to enter the adopter’s country as the latter’s adopted child. Effects of Adoption Petitioner contends that joint parental authority is not anymore necessary since the children have been emancipated having reached the age of majority. These requirements on residency and certification of the alien’s qualification to adopt cannot likewise be waived pursuant to Section 7. (Emphasis supplied) The use of the word "shall" in the above-quoted provision means that joint adoption by the husband and the wife is mandatory. thus: ARTICLE V EFFECTS OF ADOPTION SEC. The fact that Olario gave his consent to the adoption as shown in his Affidavit of Consent does not suffice. This is untenable. Parental Authority. None of these qualifications were shown and proved during the trial. the children to be adopted are not the legitimate children of petitioner or of her husband Olario. Legitimacy. This is in consonance with the concept of joint parental authority over the child which is the ideal situation. unless the court appoints another person to be the guardian of the person or property of the children. the children are not the illegitimate children of petitioner. mental and physical character and well-being. The children or adoptees are not relatives within the fourth degree of consanguinity or affinity of petitioner or of Olario. having remarried at the time the petitions for adoption were filed. (4) he has legal capacity to adopt in his own country. who shall then be qualified and responsible for all acts of civil life. And third. Olario. He must meet the qualifications set forth in Section 7 of RA 8552 such as: (1) he must prove that his country has diplomatic relations with the Republic of the Philippines. or one spouse adopts the illegitimate son/daughter of the other. the trial court was correct in denying the petitions for adoption on this ground.17 However. (3) he must maintain such residency until the adoption decree is entered. it is but natural to require the spouses to adopt jointly. petitioner and Olario are not legally separated from each other. all legal ties between the biological parent(s) and the adoptee shall be severed and the same shall then be vested on the adopter(s). 13 The father and the mother shall jointly exercise parental authority over the persons of their common children.15 It is true that when the child reaches the age of emancipation — that is. There is no room for ambiguity.Except in cases where the biological parent is the spouse of the adopter. First. (2) he must have been living in the Philippines for at least three continuous years prior to the filing of the application for adoption. must jointly adopt.The adoptee shall be considered the legitimate son/daughter of the adopter(s) for all intents and purposes and as such is entitled to all the rights and obligations provided by law to legitimate sons/daughters born to them 109 . Neither does petitioner fall under any of the three exceptions enumerated in Section 7. The rule also insures harmony between the spouses. Petitioner. . Parental authority includes caring for and rearing the children for civic consciousness and efficiency and the development of their moral.In case husband and wife jointly adopt. Article V of RA 8552 enumerates the effects of adoption.

Costs against petitioner. the adoptive parents shall. and support in keeping with the means of the family. enjoy all the benefits to which biological parents are entitled20 such as support21 and successional rights. in her Memorandum. in a manner that will sustain rather than defeat said purpose. We reiterate our ruling above that since. Case Nos. 18. which is the promotion of the welfare of the children. Regrettably. should have jointly filed the petitions with her husband.zw+ Petitioner. Branch 22 in SPL. It is not equivalent to a decree of dissolution of marriage. We disagree. the adoptee is still considered a legitimate child of the adopter with all the rights 19 of a legitimate child such as: (1) to bear the surname of the father and the mother. and (3) to be entitled to the legitime and other successional rights.without discrimination of any kind. the following effects: (1) sever all legal ties between the biological parent(s) and the adoptee. hold the interests and welfare of the child to be of paramount consideration. guidance. (2) deem the adoptee as a legitimate child of the adopter. Succession. To this end. joint adoption by the husband and the wife is required. the adoptee is entitled to love. insists that subsequent events would show that joint adoption could no longer be possible because Olario has filed a case for dissolution of his marriage to petitioner in the Los Angeles Superior Court. including but not limited to: (i) the right of the adopter to choose the name the child is to be known. if the adoptee and his/her biological parent(s) had left a will. the marriage still subsists. with respect to the adopted child. Adoption has. . the adopter(s) and the adoptee shall have reciprocal rights of succession without distinction from legitimate filiation. as well as to allow childless couples or persons to experience the joys of parenthood and give them legally a child in the person of the adopted for the manifestation of their natural parental instincts. Every reasonable intendment should be sustained to promote and fulfill these noble and compassionate objectives of the law. that the law on the matter is amended. and (3) give adopter and adoptee reciprocal rights and obligations arising from the relationship of parent and child. SEC. IN THE MATTER OF THE ADOPTION OF STEPHANIE NATHY ASTORGA GARCIA 110 . General Santos City. love.22 We are mindful of the fact that adoption statutes. and (ii) the right of the adopter and adoptee to be legal and compulsory heirs of each other. Until such time however. at the time the petitions for adoption were filed. Until and unless there is a judicial decree for the dissolution of the marriage between petitioner and Olario. as we have ruled inRepublic v. 1258 and 1259. thus. However.18 Therefore. we cannot sustain the respondent-spouses’ petition for adoption. care and education for less fortunate children. That being the case. joint adoption is mandatory. They are designed to provide homes. Vergara:24 We are not unmindful of the main purpose of adoption statutes.23 But. (Emphasis supplied)1avvphi1. the law on testamentary succession shall govern. petitioner was married to Olario. We cannot make our own legislation to suit petitioner. Conversely. Petitioner. needy or orphaned children and give them the protection of society and family. we DENY the petition. We AFFIRM the Decision dated 15 September 2004 of the Regional Trial Court. parental care and education for unfortunate. being married at the time the petitions for adoption were filed.In legal and intestate succession. (2) to receive support from their parents. the Court is not in a position to affirm the trial court’s decision favoring adoption in the case at bar. Accordingly. except when the biological parent is the spouse of the adopter. understanding and less severity in view of the fact that it is intended to provide homes. even if emancipation terminates parental authority. WHEREFORE. The filing of a case for dissolution of the marriage between petitioner and Olario is of no moment. being humane and salutary. the law should be construed liberally. The law must also be applied with compassion. PROC. for the law is clear and it cannot be modified without violating the proscription against judicial legislation.

that the grant of this petition would redound to the best interest and welfare of the minor Stephanie Nathy Astorga Garcia. 2000. On March 23. CATINDIG. Let copy of this Decision be furnished the National Statistics Office for record purposes. hence. this Court finds that the petitioner possesses all the qualifications and none of the disqualification provided for by law as an adoptive parent. care for and educate the child to be adopted. upon adoption by her natural father. He prayed that Stephanies middle name Astorga be changed to Garcia. 2001. (2) it is customary for every Filipino to have as middle name the surname of the mother.[3] the trial court rendered the assailed Decision granting the adoption. 1994. Stephanie Nathy Astorga Garcia is hereby freed from all obligations of obedience and maintenance with respect to her natural mother. finding the petition to be meritorious. Catindig. On May 28. and that her surname Garcia be changed to Catindig. and that he is now a widower and qualified to be her adopting parent. He alleged therein. WHEREFORE. Upon finality of this Decision. J. The facts are undisputed. herein petitioner. Henceforth. Petitioner submits that the trial court erred in depriving Stephanie of a middle name as a consequence of adoption because: (1) there is no law prohibiting an adopted child from having a middle name in case there is only one adopting parent.HONORATO B. and that as such he is qualified to maintain. Pursuant to Article 189 of the Family Code of the Philippines. the present petition raising the issue of whether an illegitimate child may use the surname of her mother as her middle name when she is subsequently adopted by her natural father. Hence. use the surname of her natural mother as her middle name? This is the issue raised in the instant case. SO ORDERED. that Stephanie was born on June 26. her mothers surname. let the same be entered in the Local Civil Registrar concerned pursuant to Rule 99 of the Rules of Court. Honorato B. petitioner filed a motion for clarification and/or reconsideration [5] praying that Stephanie should be allowed to use the surname of her natural mother (GARCIA) as her middle name. among others. and in the absence of any opposition to the petition. 603. 2001. and for civil purposes. On August 31. thus: After a careful consideration of the evidence presented by the petitioner. the minor shall be known as STEPHANIE NATHY CATINDIG. that Stephanie has been using her mothers middle name and surname.[6] the trial court denied petitioners motion for reconsideration holding that there is no law or jurisprudence allowing an adopted child to use the surname of his biological mother as his middle name. DECISION SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ. The Court further holds that the petitioners care and custody of the child since her birth up to the present constitute more than enough compliance with the requirement of Article 35 of Presidential Decree No. his surname. (4) adoption is for the benefit and best interest of the adopted child. 2001.[4] On April 20. the same is GRANTED. shall henceforth be the petitioners legitimate child and legal heir. her 111 .: May an illegitimate child. filed a petition [1] to adopt his minor illegitimate child Stephanie Nathy Astorga Garcia. [2] that her mother is Gemma Astorga Garcia. petitioner. (3) the middle name or initial is a part of the name of a person.

whether he may be legitimate or illegitimate. or a widow. as her middle name. What the law does not prohibit. In fact. i. to distinguish him from other individuals. (5) permitting Stephanie to use the middle name Garcia (her mothers surname) avoids the stigma of her illegitimacy. agrees with petitioner that Stephanie should be permitted to use. The name of an individual has two parts: (1) the given or proper name and (2) the surname or family name. [8] It is both of personal as well as public interest that every person must have a name. A married woman may use: (1) Her maiden first name and surname and add her husband's surname. 369. thus: Art. Articles 364 to 380 of the Civil Code provides the substantive rules which regulate the use of surname [10] of an individual whatever may be his status in life. and.right to bear a proper name should not be violated. 365. The surname or family name is that which identifies the family to which he belongs and is continued from parent to child.[7] We find merit in the petition. through the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG). it is necessary to preserve and maintain Stephanies filiation with her natural mother because under Article 189 of the Family Code. Art. there is no law expressly prohibiting Stephanie to use the surname of her natural mother as her middle name. which is ordinarily the surname of the mother. Second. Legitimate and legitimated children shall principally use the surname of the father. The given name may be freely selected by the parents for the child. The given or proper name is that which is given to the individual at birth or at baptism. Thus. but the surname to which the child is entitled is fixed by law. her relationship or proof of that relationship with her natural mother should be maintained. Children conceived before the decree annulling a voidable marriage shall principally use the surname of the father.[9] Thus. will be before the surname of the mother. Last. xxx Art. if any. as the label or appellation which he bears for the convenience of the world at large addressing him. or in speaking of or dealing with him. Art. or 112 . the Family Law Committees agreed that the initial or surname of the mother should immediately precede the surname of the father so that the second name. it is customary for every Filipino to have a middle name. This custom has been recognized by the Civil Code and Family Code. to prevent any confusion and needless hardship in the future. a married woman or a previously married woman. also. she remains to be an intestate heir of the latter. An adopted child shall bear the surname of the adopter. It is defined as the word or combination of words by which a person is distinguished from other individuals and. the surname of her natural mother for the following reasons: First. The Republic. a man's name is the designation by which he is known and called in the community in which he lives and is best known.e. Use Of Surname Is Fixed By Law For all practical and legal purposes. an adopted child.. 370. 364. it allows. (6) her continued use of Garcia as her middle name is not opposed by either the Catindig or Garcia families.

enumerating the legal effects of adoption.(2) Her maiden first name and her husband's surname or (3) Her husband's full name. quoted above. she shall resume her maiden name and surname. the adopted shall be deemed to be a legitimate child of the adopters and both shall acquire the reciprocal rights and obligations arising from the relationship of parent and child. Art. and so on. Notably. in which case. she may choose to continue employing her former husband's surname. 371. Art. otherwise known asAn Act Allowing Illegitimate Children To Use The Surname Of Their Father. Art. Article 365 of the Civil Code merely provides that an adopted child shall bear the surname of the adopter. the wife shall continue using her name and surname employed before the legal separation. In case of identity of names and surnames between ascendants and descendants. In case of annulment of marriage. unless: (1) The court decrees otherwise. When legal separation has been granted. In case of identity of names and surnames. the younger person shall be obliged to use such additional name or surname as will avoid confusion. 372. is silent as to what middle name a child may use. 373. However. in accordance with Article 370. Art. is likewise silent on the matter. Article 189 of the Family Code. If she is the innocent spouse. such as Mrs. and the wife is the guilty party. 375. there is no law regulating the use of a middle name. xxx Law Is Silent As To The Use Of Middle Name As correctly submitted by both parties. 9255. Art. Grandsons and other direct male descendants shall either: (1) Add a middle name or the mother's surname. The middle name or the mothers surname is only considered in Article 375(1). or (2) She or the former husband is married again to another person. she may resume her maiden name and surname. the law is likewise silent as to what middle name an adoptee may use. Even Article 176 [11] of the Family Code. A widow may use the deceased husband's surname as though he were still living. 374. III. Also. the word Junior can be used only by a son. (2) Add the Roman numerals II. xxx 113 . thus: "(1) For civil purposes. as amended by Republic Act No. but prefixing a word indicating that she is his wife. the middle name or the mothers surname shall be added. in case there is identity of names and surnames between ascendants and descendants. including the right of the adopted to use the surname of the adopters.

[12] (Emphasis supplied) In the case of an adopted child. [13] Again. as correctly pointed out by the OSG. Justice Jose Gutierrez Davids family name is Gutierrez and his mothers surname is David but they all call him Justice David. will be before the surname of the mother. xxx Justice Puno suggested that they agree in principle that in the Chapter on the Use of Surnames. if he wants to. which reads: Legitimate and legitimated children shall principally use the surname of the father. thus Justice Caguioa commented that there is a difference between the use by the wife of the surname and that of the child because the fathers surname indicates the family to which he belongs. if any. Enrile. Prof. Prof. xxx Justice Puno remarked that there is logic in the simplification suggested by Justice Caguioa that the surname of the father should always be last because there are so many traditions like the American tradition where they like to use their second given name and the Latin tradition. the child may also use the surname of the mother. Balane stated that they take note of this for inclusion in the Chapter on Use of Surnames since in the proposed Article (10) they are just enumerating the rights of legitimate children so that the details can be covered in the appropriate chapter. Baviera remarked that Justice Caguioas point is covered by the present Article 364. it is silent whether he can use a middle name. they should say that initial or surname of the mother should immediately precede the surname of the father so that the second name. the members of the Civil Code and Family Law Committees that drafted the Family Code recognized the Filipino custom of adding the surname of the childs mother as his middle name. is for the adoptee to bear the surname of the adopter. What it only expressly allows. the members approved the suggestion that the initial or surname of the mother should immediately precede the surname of the father. for which reason he would insist on the use of the fathers surname by the child but that. which is also followed by the Chinese wherein they even include the Clan name. how will his name be written? Justice Caguioa replied that it is up to him but that his point is that it should be mandatory that the child uses the surname of the father and permissive in the case of the surname of the mother. Justice Puno pointed out that many names change through no choice of the person himself precisely because of this misunderstanding. Justice Puno posed the question: If the child chooses to use the surname of the mother. He then cited the following example: Alfonso Ponce Enriles correct surname is Ponce since the mothers surname is Enrile but everybody calls him Atty. the law provides that the adopted shall bear the surname of the adopters. upon issuance of the decree of adoption. [14] The Underlying Intent of Adoption Is In Favor of the Adopted Child 114 . as a matter of right and obligation. Justice Caguioa suggested that the proposed Article (12) be modified to the effect that it shall be mandatory on the child to use the surname of the father but he may use the surname of the mother by way of an initial or a middle name. In the Minutes of the Joint Meeting of the Civil Code and Family Law Committees. The Committee approved the suggestion. Prof. Balane added that this is really the Filipino way.However.

every reasonable intendment should be sustained to promote and fulfill these noble and compassionate objectives of the law. It is to be noted that Article 189(3) of the Family Code and Section 18 [24]. it follows that Stephanie is entitled to all the rights provided by law to a legitimate child without discrimination of any kind. In fact. whether related or not to the adopter.[28] Hence. indeed. when the Philippines. records show that Stephanie and her mother are living together in the house built by petitioner for them at 390 Tumana. Stephanie can well assert or claim her hereditary rights from her natural mother in the future. otherwise known as the Domestic Adoption Act of 1998. It will strengthen the determination of the courts to avoid an injustice which may apparently be authorized by some way of interpreting the law. 115 . This is consistent with the intention of the members of the Civil Code and Family Law Committees as earlier discussed. Bulacan. Stephanie is closely attached to both her mother and father.[18] Republic Act No. a proceeding in rem which creates between two persons a relationship similar to that which results from legitimate paternity and filiation. Additionally. 10 of the New Civil Code provides that: In case of doubt in the interpretation or application of laws. Hence. they are one normal happy family. should be liberally construed to carry out the beneficent purposes of adoption. to allow Stephanie to use her mothers surname as her middle name will not only sustain her continued loving relationship with her mother but will also eliminate the stigma of her illegitimacy. Petitioner provides for all their needs. is necessary so that it may tip the scales in favor of right and justice when the law is doubtful or obscure. being humane and salutary. Indeed. [20] One of the effects of adoption is that the adopted is deemed to be a legitimate child of the adopter for all intents and purposes pursuant to Article 189[21] of the Family Code and Section 17[22]Article V of RA 8552. it is a Filipino custom that the initial or surname of the mother should immediately precede the surname of the father.[15] It is a juridical act. but also as an act which endows the child with a legitimate status. including the right to bear the surname of her father and her mother. [16] The modern trend is to consider adoption not merely as an act to establish a relationship of paternity and filiation. since there is no law prohibiting an illegitimate child adopted by her natural father. to use. Article V of RA 8552 (law on adoption) provide that the adoptee remains an intestate heir of his/her biological parent. as middle name her mothers surname. 8552. Liberal Construction of Adoption Statutes In Favor Of Adoption It is a settled rule that adoption statutes. we find no reason why she should not be allowed to do so. and that its underlying intent is geared to favor the adopted child. according to the Code Commission. San Jose.[26] hence. possess in general.[17] This was.[25] The interests and welfare of the adopted child are of primary and paramount consideration. as aptly stated by both parties. She calls them Mama and Papa. This provision. like Stephanie. confirmed in 1989.[23] Being a legitimate child by virtue of her adoption. Stephanies continued use of her mothers surname (Garcia) as her middle name will maintain her maternal lineage.Adoption is defined as the process of making a child. as a State Party to the Convention of the Rights of the Child initiated by the United Nations. Art. as discussed above. Moreover. accepted the principle that adoption is impressed with social and moral responsibility.[27] Lastly. it is presumed that the lawmaking body intended right and justice to prevail. Hence. the rights accorded to a legitimate child. Baliuag.[19] secures these rights and privileges for the adopted.

77826 which reversed the Decision [2]of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Tarlac City..x DECISION CALLEJO... 1987. petitioners brother...... and Amelia Ramos. she lives alone in her own home in Guam.AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ.. June 27.. 1990... Branch 63 in Civil Case No... Respondent. YNARES-SANTIAGO. the petition is GRANTED. 2002. a citizen of the United States of America (USA). Chairperson.versus . 2733 granting the Petition for Adoption of the petitioner herein.[6] The minors are the natural children of Manuel Ramos. re-married there and now has two children by her second marriage and no longer communicated with her children by Manuel Ramos nor with her inlaws from the time she left up to the institution of the adoption. [7] the children were left to their paternal grandmother. 1989... Maria Taruc Ramos.. C... Present PANGANIBAN.. has children of her own who are already married.. .R.. alleged in her petition that when Manuel died on May 19.... who was born on September 7.. JJ.. The Antecedents On February 4. SR.. the minors are being financially supported by the petitioner and her children. as petitioner...J.... gainfully employed and have their respective families. Let the corresponding entry of her correct and complete name be entered in the decree of adoption. USA... J. SO ORDERED. and relatives abroad... No. CV No... and works as a 116 .[4] Elma Dizon Ramos.R. petitioner desires to adopt the children. where she acquired citizenship. CALLEJO. SR.: Assailed in this petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court is the Decision [1] of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. as Maria passed away on November 23. 1986. 164948 Petitioner. The assailed Decision is partly MODIFIED in the sense that Stephanie should be allowed to use her mothers surname GARCIA as her middle name... DIWATA RAMOS LANDINGIN G. filed a petition [3] for the adoption of minors Elaine Dizon Ramos who was born on August 31. went to Italy.. Amelia....[5] and Eugene Dizon Ramos who was born on August 5. and CHICO-NAZARIO. she is qualified to adopt as shown by the fact that she is a 57-year-old widow. Promulgated: REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES. Landingin.. their biological mother. 2006 x..... the minors have given their written consent [8] to the adoption.WHEREFORE.. 2000.. of Filipino parentage and a resident of Guam. USA.. Diwata Ramos Landingin.

who earns substantial income. guidance and support they need. her children gave their written consent[9] to the adoption of the minors. She also presented Elaine Ramos. the eldest of the adoptees. to testify on the written consent executed by her and her siblings. after due hearing. [10] On March 5. guidance and support to ensure their protection and well being. 117 . all surnamed Landingin.[16] On May 24. Petitioner prayed that. 2002. Dennis and Ricfel Branitley.[14] The petitioner testified in her behalf. USA in the future. 2. An Affidavit of Consent was executed by the mother which is hereto attached. Mariano Ramos. A joint Affidavit of consent is hereto attached. Minors surviving parent. with the following recommendation: In view of the foregoing. the mother has voluntarily consented to their adoption by the paternal aunt. as proof of said consent. [15] The petitioner marked in evidence the Affidavit of Consent purportedly executed by her children Ann. As young adolescents they really need parental love. as amended. and ordering that the minor childrens name follow the family name of petitioner. Petitioner prays for such other reliefs. and notarized by a notary public in Guam. [11] The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) entered its appearance[12] but deputized the City Prosecutor of Tarlac to appear in its behalf. the court ordered the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to conduct a case study as mandated by Article 34 of Presidential Decree No. USA. submitted a Child Study Report. Diwata Landingin this is in view of her inability to provide the parental care. eligible for adoption because of the following reasons: 1. just and equitable under the premises. Errol. and to submit a report thereon not later than April 4. judgment be rendered allowing the adoption of the minor children Elaine Dizon Ramos. Elma & Eugene all surnamed Ramos. [13] Since her petition was unopposed. it is most respectfully prayed to this Honorable Court that after publication and hearing. Elma Dizon Ramos. 2002. care. 2002. Petitioners brother. judgment be rendered in her favor. 603. She came back to the Philippines to spend time with the minors. undersigned finds minors Elaine. Social Welfare Officer II of the DSWD. The minors developed close attachment to the petitioners and they regarded her as second parent. and Eugene Dizon Ramos by the petitioner. Elizabeth Pagbilao.restaurant server. petitioner was allowed to present her evidence ex parte. Tarlac. The minors are present under the care of a temporary guardian who has also family to look after. as follows: WHEREFORE. Field Office III. the date set for the initial hearing of the petition. The three minors subject for adoption have also expressed their willingness to be adopted and joins the petitioners in Guam. signified his willingness and commitment to support the minors while in petitioners custody. 3.

failed to present any documentary evidence to prove that Amelia assents to the adoption. The mother of minors was consulted about the adoption plan and after weighing the benefits of adoption to her children. This is to enable her appear for the personal interview concerning the adoption of her children. petitioner failed to present Pagbilao as witness and offer in evidence the voluntary consent of Amelia Ramos to the adoption. they have asked a cousin who has a family to stay with minors and act as their temporary guardian. Ramos be adopted by their maternal aunt Diwata Landingin. likewise. this May 2002 for 3 weeks vacation. The paternal relatives including the petitioner who attended the wake of their mother were very much concerned about the well-being of the three minors.[17] Pagbilao narrated what transpired during her interview.In view of the foregoing. She also finds petitioners in a better position to provide a secured and bright future to her children. it is hereby respectfully recommended that minors Elaine D. She realized that her children need parental love. The plan for the adoption of minors by their paternal aunt Diwata Landingin was conceived after the death of their paternal grandmother and guardian. she believes her children will be in good hands. petitioner. guidance and support which she could not provide as she already has a second family & residing in Italy. as follows: The mother of minors came home together with her son John Mario. she voluntarily consented. Ramos and Eugene D. [18] However. Elma D. Knowing also that the petitioners & her children have been supporting her children up to the present and truly care for them. Trial custody is hereby further recommended to be dispensed with considering that they are close relatives and that close attachments was already developed between the petitioner and the 3 minors. While preparing for their adoption. 118 . Ramos.

USA and was not authenticated or acknowledged before a Philippine consular office. the court. 2002. 2004. Trial custody is dispensed with considering that parent-children relationship has long been established between the children and the adoptive parents. Eugene Dizon Ramos be freed from all legal obligations obedience and maintenance from their natural parents and that they be declared for all legal intents and purposes the children of Diwata Ramos Landingin. finding merit in the petition for adoption.[19] The OSG appealed[20] the decision to the Court of Appeals on December 2. The dispositive portion reads: WHEREFORE. 2004. the CA rendered a decision [22] reversing the ruling of the RTC. III THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN GRANTING THE PETITION FOR ADOPTION DESPITE PETITIONERS FAILURE TO ESTABLISH THAT SHE IS IN A POSITION TO SUPPORT THE PROPOSED ADOPTEES. minors Elaine Dizon Ramos. On April 29. Let a copy of this decision be furnished the Local Civil Registrar of Tarlac. 2733 is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. 2004.[25] 119 . the childrens natural mother. she was not stable enough to support the children. it is hereby ordered that henceforth. which the CA denied in its Resolution dated August 12. II THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN GRANTING THE PETITION FOR ADOPTION DESPITE THE LACK OF THE WRITTEN CONSENT OF THE PETITIONERS CHILDREN AS REQUIRED BY LAW. premises considered. The dispositive portion of the CA decision reads: WHEREFORE. SO ORDERED. Proc. the appealed decision dated November 25. the affidavit of consent of the petitioners children could not also be admitted in evidence as the same was executed in Guam. and although petitioner has a job. It held that petitioner failed to adduce in evidence the voluntary consent of Amelia Ramos. the OSG raised the following arguments: I THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN GRANTING THE PETITION FOR ADOPTION DESPITE THE LACK OF CONSENT OF THE PROPOSED ADOPTEES BIOLOGICAL MOTHER. No. SO ORDERED. 2002. Moreover. Let the surnames of the children be changed from Dizon-Ramos to Ramos-Landingin. In its brief[21] for the oppositorappellant. Tarlac City in Spec.On November 23. Elma Dizon Ramos. rendered a decision granting said petition.[23] Petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration [24] on May 21. Branch 63. 2002 of the Regional Trial Court. Tarlac for him to effect the corresponding changes/amendment in the birth certificates of the above-mentioned minors.

120 . assigning the following errors: 1. (b) whether or not the affidavit of consent purportedly executed by the petitioner-adopters children sufficiently complies with the law. Amelia Ramos. 2004. and (c) whether or not petitioner is financially capable of supporting the adoptees. THAT THE HONORABLE LOWER COURT HAS OVERLOOKED AND MISAPPLIED SOME FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES WHICH ARE OF WEIGHT AND IMPORTANCE AND WHICH IF CONSIDERED WOULD HAVE AFFECTED THE RESULT OF THE CASE. filed the instant petition for review on certiorari[26] on September 7. [27] The issues raised by the parties in their pleadings are the following: (a) whether the petitioner is entitled to adopt the minors without the written consent of their biological mother. thus. 2.Petitioner. THAT THE HONORABLE LOWER COURT ERRED IN CONCLUDING THAT THE PETITIONER-APPELLEE IS NOT FINANCIALLY CAPABLE TO SUPPORT THE THREE CHILDREN.

if any.[28] that adoption statutes.After being properly counseled and informed of his/her right to give or withhold his/her approval of the adoption. being humane and salutary. should be understood in its proper context and perspective. Every reasonable intendment should thus be sustained to promote and fulfill these noble and compassionate objectives of the law.[32] 121 . with due regard to the natural rights of the parents over the child. hold the interest and welfare of the child to be of paramount consideration and are designed to provide homes. ever mindful that the paramount consideration is the overall benefit and interest of the adopted child. 9.[29] However. or the proper government instrumentality which has legal custody of the child. Whose Consent is Necessary to the Adoption. the written consent of the following to the adoption is hereby required: (a) The adoptee.[30] the Court also ruled that the liberality with which this Court treats matters leading to adoption insofar as it carries out the beneficent purposes of the law to ensure the rights and privileges of the adopted child arising therefrom. of the person adopting or to be adopted. The general requirement of consent and notice to the natural parents is intended to protect the natural parental relationship from unwarranted interference by interlopers. ten (10) years of age or over. provides: Sec. in Cang v. (e) The spouse. 8552. It has been the policy of the Court to adhere to the liberal concept. otherwise known as the Domestic Adoption Act of 1998. if known. Thus. of the adopter. (c) The legitimate and adopted sons/daughters. The Courts position should not be misconstrued or misinterpreted as to extend to inferences beyond the contemplation of law and jurisprudence. as stated in Malkinson v. if any. [31] Section 9 of Republic Act No. parental care and education for unfortunate. needy or orphaned children and give them the protection of society and family in the person of the adopter as well as to allow childless couples or persons to experience the joys of parenthood and give them legally a child in the person of the adopted for the manifestation of their natural parental instincts. and to insure the opportunity to safeguard the best interests of the child in the manner of the proposed adoption. if any. Court of Appeals. (b) The biological parent(s) of the child. the discretion to approve adoption proceedings is not to be anchored solely on best interests of the child but likewise. Agrava. if ten (10) years of age or over. of the adopter(s) and adoptee.The Courts Ruling The petition is denied for lack of merit. (d) The illegitimate sons/daughters. . or the legal guardian. ten (10) years of age or over. if living with said adopter and the latters souse.

122 . petitioner failed to submit the written consent of Amelia Ramos to the adoption. Indeed. If said Amelia Ramos was in the Philippines and Pagbilao was able to interview her. John Mario in May 2002. Pagbilao declared that she was able to interview Amelia Ramos who arrived in the Philippines with her son.Clearly. We note that in her Report. Neither did the petitioner bother to present Amelia Ramos as witness in support of the petition. it is incredible that the latter would not require Amelia Ramos to execute a Written Consent to the adoption of her minor children. the written consent of the biological parents is indispensable for the validity of a decree of adoption. the natural right of a parent to his child requires that his consent must be obtained before his parental rights and duties may be terminated and re-established in adoptive parents. In this case.

as claimed by petitioner. When she filed her petition with the trial court. who provided for the childrens financial needs. [34] Merely permitting the child to remain for a time undisturbed in the care of others is not such an abandonment. including petitioner. when the petition for adoption was pending with the RTC that Amelia and her child by her second marriage were on vacation in the Philippines. If. Section 9 thereof provides that if the written consent of the biological parents cannot be obtained. the biological mother. abandons the child. Petitioner further contends that it was by twist of fate that after 12 years. the written consent of the legal guardian of the minors will suffice. sir. sir. care. argues that the written consent of the biological mother is no longer necessary because when Amelias husband died in 1990. [35] To dispense with the requirement of consent. the parent. sir. and neglects to lend support and maintenance. Ordinarily. was able to meet her. Q How about with her children? A None. and during the meeting. the abandonment must be shown to have existed at the time of adoption. The children were then left to the guidance and care of their paternal grandmother. 1990. love. [36] In this case. she left for Italy and never came back.Petitioner. Q At the time when Amelia Ramos left for Italy. Amelia intimated to the social worker that she conformed to the adoption of her three children by the petitioner. Pagbilao. in effect. thus have adduced the written consent of their legal guardian. Rep. abandonment by a parent to justify the adoption of his child without his consent. Petitioners contention must be rejected. was that she was already married with another man. If a parent withholds presence. Petitioners testimony on that matter follows: Q Where is the mother of these three children now? A She left for Italy on November 20. It is the paternal relatives. Q Do you know what place in Italy did she reside? A I do not know. petitioner relied solely on her testimony and that of Elaine Ramos to prove her claim that Amelia Ramos had abandoned her children. the opportunity to display filial affection. 8552 was already in effect. Act No. sir. 123 . Q Did you receive any news about Amelia Ramos? A What I know. Hence. that the biological mother of the minors had indeed abandoned them. [33] The term means neglect and refusal to perform the filial and legal obligations of love and support. was there an instance where she communicated with the family? A None. sir. is a conduct which evinces a settled purpose to forego all parental duties. nonetheless. had effectively abandoned the children. the DSWD social worker. Amelia. she should.

[37] Elaine. Background Information about the Minors Being Sought for Adoption: xxxx As the eldest she tries her best to be a role model to her younger siblings. sir. she died in Nov. Their mother also sends financial support but very minimal. Q Did you come to know whether she has children by her second marriage? A Yes. thus: Q Where is your mother now? A In Italy. sir. her in-laws which include the petitioner had continued providing support for them. sir.[40] xxxx In their 5 years of married life. However. the Home Study Report of the DSWD Social Worker also stated the following: IV. the eldest of the minors. works and has fun with them. Her parents are also in need of financial help as they are 124 . testified.Q From whom did you learn that? A From others who came from Italy. However being ashamed of just depending on the support of her husbands relatives. Q At the time when your mother left for Italy. sir. The petitioner. cousin of their deceased father now serves as their guardian. she decided to work abroad. She helps them in their lessons. Background of the Case: xxxx Since the mother left for Italy. sir. did your mother communicate with you? A No. even during the time that they were still living with their natural parents. In serious problems she already consult (sic) her mother and petitioner-aunt. After the death of her husband. Q How old were you when your mother left for Italy in 1990? A Two years old. they begot 3 children. Q When did your mother left for Italy? A After my father died. Amelia recalled that they had a happy and comfortable life. minors siblings had been under the care and custody of their maternal grandmother. 2001 and an uncle.[39] xxxx V. together with her children and other relatives abroad have been supporting the minor children financially.[38] However. she got two kids. herein minors. She also encourages openness on their problems and concerns and provides petty counseling. sir.

000-P15.000 a month through her parents who share minimal amount of P3. Let it be emphasized. she entrusted her 3 children to the care & custody of her mother-in-law who returned home for good. She was merely impelled to leave the country by financial constraints. The petitioner and other paternal relatives are continuously providing support for most of the needs & education of minors up to present. for. 2002 in Guam. even while abroad. They became live-in partners since 1995 and have a son John Mario who is now 2 years old. she had not intended to abandon her children. and that the latter will not miss her guidance and counsel if they are given to an adopting parent. More proof has to be adduced that Amelia has emotionally abandoned the children. Section 34. 2103. Amelia claimed that Mr. The three of them are considered Italian residents. as claimed by Elaine herself. Mere identification of documents and the markings thereof as exhibits do not confer any evidentiary weight on documents unless formally offered. however she died on November 2000.undergoing maintenance medication.[41] Thus. failed to prove. and that the same shall then be vested on the adopter. Tayag is planning to file an annulment of his marriage and his wife is amenable to it. Amelia continues to send financial support to the children. Likewise. nevertheless. [42] It would thus be against the spirit of the law if financial consideration were to be the paramount consideration in deciding whether to deprive a person of parental authority over his/her children. Rule 132 of the Rules of Court provides that the Court shall consider no evidence which has not been formally offered. a married man from Tarlac. likewise. that the adoption of the minors herein will have the effect of severing all legal ties between the biological mother. she consulted her mother. The joint written consent of petitioners children [45] was notarized on January 16. [46] which states: 125 .000-P5. the authenticity of which she. it is the best interest of the child that takes precedence in adoption. When she left for Italy in November 1990. Her parents mortgaged their farm land which she used in going to Italy and worked as domestic helper. for serious personal problems. [44] Petitioner failed to offer in evidence Pagbilaos Report and of the Joint Affidavit of Consent purportedly executed by her children. Yet. He is providing his legitimate family regular support. or to permanently sever their mother-child relationship. the same is merely a scrap of paper barren of probative weight. she did not surrender or relinquish entirely her motherly obligations of rearing the children to her now deceased mother-in-law. when Amelia left for Italy. USA.Unless and until admitted by the court in evidence for the purpose or purposes for which such document is offered.[43] Again. The offer of evidence is necessary because it is the duty of the Court to rest its findings of fact and its judgment only and strictly upon the evidence offered by the parties. and the adoptees. Amelia. Amelia. for it to be treated by the Rules of Court in the same way as a document notarized in this country it needs to comply with Section 2 of Act No. though in minimal amounts as compared to what her affluent in-laws provide.000 a month to his (sic) children. The purpose for which the evidence is offered must be specified. Amelia also sends financial support ranging from P10. she met Jun Tayag. While working in Italy.

acting within the country or place to which he is accredited. vice-consul. states that it is the adopter who should be in a position to provide support in keeping with the means of the family. in the instant case. the same can at best be treated by the Rules as a private document whose authenticity must be proved either by anyone who saw the document executed or written. if he is by law required to keep a seal. if any. or (2) a notary public or officer duly authorized by law of the country to take acknowledgments of instruments or documents in the place where the act is done. his certificate shall so state. Her children and siblings have likewise committed themselves to provide financial backing should the need arise. minister. consul. a house. 126 . the same is inadmissible in evidence.000. In reversing the ruling of the RTC. charg de affaires. and that his signature and seal. has savings.Section 2. acting within the country or place to which he is accredited. [47] Since. or consular agent of the Republic of the Philippines. consul. the certificate of the notary public or the officer taking the acknowledgment shall be authenticated by an ambassador. minister. or by evidence of the genuineness of the signature or handwriting of the makers. The law. secretary of legation. support and commitment of her children and her siblings. In case the acknowledgment is made before a notary public or an officer mentioned in subdivision (2) of the preceding paragraph. or consular agent of the Republic of the Philippines. [48] Petitioner contradicts this by claiming that she is financially capable as she has worked in Guam for 14 years. no further proof was introduced by petitioner to authenticate the written consent of her legitimate children. An instrument or document acknowledged and authenticated in a foreign country shall be considered authentic if the acknowledgment and authentication are made in accordance with the following requirements: (a) The acknowledgment shall be made before (1) an ambassador. and acknowledged that the same is his free act and deed. and currently earns $5. again in its comment. The officer making the authentication shall certify under his official seal that the person who took the acknowledgment was at the time duly authorized to act as notary public or that he was duly exercising the functions of the office by virtue of which he assumed to act. Accordingly. it appears that she will rely on the financial backing of her children and siblings in order to support the minor adoptees.00 a month. As the alleged written consent of petitioners legitimate children did not comply with the afore-cited law. vice-consul. charg d affaires. The OSG. and that he is the same person who executed it. are genuine. The certificate shall be under his official seal. secretary of legation. the CA ruled that petitioner was not stable enough to support the children and is only relying on the financial backing. and that as such he had authority under the law to take acknowledgment of instruments or documents in the place where the acknowledgment was taken.15 an hour with tips of not less than $1. banks on the statement in the Home Study Report that petitioner has limited income. (b) The person taking the acknowledgment shall certify that the person acknowledging the instrument or document is known to him. and if not. however.

Moreover. Petitioners main intention in adopting the children is to bring the latter to Guam. According to the Adoption Home Study Report [49] forwarded by the Department of Public Health & Social Services of the Government of Guam to the DSWD. in 1971. While petitioner claims that she has the financial support and backing of her children and siblings. Indeed. vs. Given these limited facts. At the tender age of two. again sustains the ruling of the CA on this issue. love and support of the couple who treated the child like their own. the OSG is correct in stating that the ability to support the adoptees is personal to the adopter. At the time of the filing of the petition. the petition is hereby DENIED. ISABELITA S. Finally. Petitioner likewise knows that the limited income might be a hindrance to the adoption proceedings. petitioner is not prevented from filing a new petition for adoption of the herein minors. earning $5. the couple decided to file a petition for adoption. USA. respondent. premises considered.Since the primary consideration in adoption is the best interest of the child. as adoption only creates a legal relation between the former and the latter. She has a house at Quitugua Subdivision in Yigo.000 a month. petitioner was 57 years old. therefore. as the latter are already adults. employed on a part-time basis as a waitress. LAHOM). LAHOM.: The bliss of marriage and family would be to most less than complete without children. DECISION VITUG. JOSE MELVIN SIBULO (previously referred to as DR. it is indeed doubtful whether petitioner will be able to sufficiently handle the financial aspect of rearing the three children in the US. Diosdado Lahom and Isabelita Lahom to take into their care Isabelitas nephew Jose Melvin Sibulo and to bring him up as their own. and she is rather of age. Dr. Lahom fancied on legally adopting Jose Melvin. have individual lives and families. petitioner is no longer supporting her legitimate children. In any case. and Mrs. Jose Melvin enjoyed the warmth. MELVIN S.15 an hour and tips of around $1. On 05 May 1972. an order granting the petition 127 . J. it follows that the financial capacity of prospective parents should also be carefully evaluated and considered. but the same is still being amortized. She only has a part-time job. in keeping with the means of the family. the adopter should be in a position to support the would-be adopted child or children. there are legal infirmities that militate against reversing the ruling of the CA. WHEREFORE. the records do not prove nor support petitioners allegation that her siblings and her children are financially able and that they are willing to support the minors herein. Guam. While the Court recognizes that petitioner has only the best of intentions for her nieces and nephew. petitioner. The realization could have likely prodded the spouses Dr. The Court. for years. Certainly.

xxxxxxxxx 10. hence this petition for revocation. in December of 1999. rendering the decree of adoption. has been negated for which reason there is no more basis for its existence. the Civil Registrar of Naga City changed the name Jose Melvin Sibulo to Jose Melvin Lahom. Republic Act (R. specifically on 22 March 1998. the adoption may be rescinded on any of the following grounds committed by the adopter(s): (a) repeated physical and verbal maltreatment by the adopter(s) despite having undergone counseling. but respondent all the more remained callous and utterly indifferent towards petitioner which is not expected of a son. [1] Prior to the institution of the case. That in view of respondents insensible attitude resulting in a strained and uncomfortable relationship between him and petitioner. for all legal purposes. of Naga City. however with his further request upon petitioner to give to charity whatever properties or interest may pertain to respondent in the future. with the assistance of the Department if a minor or if over eighteen (18) years of age but is incapacitated. Upon petition of the adoptee.) No. 16. to the frustrations of petitioner particularly her husband until the latter died. Grounds for Rescission of Adoption. clearly shown by his recent filing of Civil Case No. Section 19 of Article VI of R. the latter has suffered wounded feelings. Lahom commenced a petition to rescind the decree of adoption before the Regional Trial Court (RTC). and living alone in this city with only her household helps to attend to her. 19. That herein respondent has recently been jealous of petitioners nephews and nieces whenever they would find time to visit her. also known as the Domestic Adoption Act. That respondent continued using his surname Sibulo to the utter disregard of the feelings of herein petitioner. The new statute deleted from the law the right of adopters to rescind a decree of adoption. In keeping with the court order. That x x x despite the proddings and pleadings of said spouses. (c) sexual assault or violence. thereby totally eroding her love and affection towards respondent. and even before his death he had made known his desire to revoke respondents adoption. but was prevented by petitioners supplication. That for the last three or four years. A sad turn of events came many years later. Sibulo. No. has yearned for the care and show of concern from a son. That herein petitioner being a widow. as guardian/counsel.A. 128 . went into effect. he is Jose Melvin M. the medical check-up of petitioner in Manila became more frequent in view of a leg ailment. or (d) abandonment and failure to comply with parental obligations. Branch 22. xxxxxxxxx 13. considering respondent to be the child of petitioner. respondent refused to change his surname from Sibulo to Lahom. knowing that after all respondents only motive to his adoption is his expectancy of his alleged rights over the properties of herein petitioner and her late husband. In her petition. 8552 now reads: SEC. and those were the times when petitioner would need most the care and support from a love one. 14. 15. 8552. but respondent remained indifferent and would only come to Naga to see her once a year. Sibulo originally issued in 1978 until the present. respondent alleging that they were only motivated by their desire for some material benefits from petitioner. Eventually.A. Mrs. 99-4463 for partition against petitioner. (b) attempt on the life of the adoptee. she averred 7. and in all his dealings and activities in connection with his practice of his profession.was issued that made all the more intense than before the feeling of affection of the spouses for Melvin. and his records with the Professional Regulation Commission showed his name as Jose Melvin M.

et al. was to find its way to the archipelago.A.(emphasis supplied) Jose Melvin moved for the dismissal of the petition. On the matter of no cause of action. Conformably. Belarmino. admitting the facts alleged.A. the Court could render a valid judgment in accordance with the prayer of said complaint (De Jesus. 365). the test on the sufficiency of the facts alleged in the complaint. In the affirmative. et al. petitioner raises the following questions. viz: 1. Rule 100 Revised Rules of Court) WHEREFORE.M. hence. shall not be subject to rescission by the adopter(s). Section 5(c) of R. Article VI of R. like Greece. In ancient times. Petitioner however. 99-11-07 SC. contending principally (a) that the trial court had no jurisdiction over the case and (b) that the petitioner had no cause of action in view of the aforequoted provisions of R. has the adopters action prescribed? A brief background on the law and its origins could provide some insights on the subject. the adopter(s) may disinherit the adoptee for causes provided in Article 919 of the Civil Code. on the face of the petition. 8552 deleted the right of an adopter to rescind an adoption earlier granted under the Family Code. the United Nations 129 .Adoption. Assuming for the sake of argument. had already prescribed. However. is whether or not. in an effort to preserve inheritance within the family. No. May the subject adoption. insists that her right to rescind long acquired under the provisions of the Family Code should be respected. the Geneva Declaration of Rights of the Child of 1924 and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948. France. it appears clear that the legal grounds for the petition have been discovered and known to petitioner for more than five (5) years. the action if any.. 1999.A. There was hardly any mention about the rights of the adopted. [4] Via a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the 1997 Rules of Court. [9] In the early part of the century just passed. decreed on 05 May 1972. In 1989. Section 19. being in the best interest of the child. [11] were written instruments that would also protect and safeguard the rights of adopted children. the trial court held thusly: On the issue of jurisdiction over the subject matter of the suit. [7] It was only much later when adoption was given an impetus in law and still later when the welfare of the child became a paramount concern.e. that petitioner is entitled to rescind the adoption of respondent granted on May 5. still be revoked or rescinded by an adopter after the effectivity of R. The Civil Code of the Philippines[12] of 1950 on adoption. unlike most countries in Europe. i. [10] followed by the United Nations Declarations of the Rights of the Child. (Sec. 8552. No. subsequently. 5..A.[14]gave immediate statutory acknowledgment to the rights of the adopted. Admittedly. later modified by the Child and Youth Welfare Code [13] and then by the Family Code of the Philippines. 95 Phil. neither allowed nor recognized adoption. dated 28 April 2000. to cases where the ground for rescission of the adoption vested under the regime of then Article 348 [2] of the Civil Code and Article 192[3] of the Family Code. No. that the proscription in R. No. made the interests of the child an overriding consideration. 8552 should not retroactively apply.A. by way of opposition. having been designated Family Court in A. indeed there is lack of cause of action. the rights of children invited universal attention. the petition is ordered dismissed. Petitioner asseverated. 8552? 2. In an order. [8] Spain itself which previously disfavored adoption ultimately relented and accepted the Roman law concept of adoption which. the Romans undertook adoption to assure male heirs in the family. prior to the filing of the instant petition on December 1. Spain and England. in view of the foregoing consideration. 8369 confers jurisdiction to this Court. [6]Countries. The Americans came and introduced their own ideas on adoption which. No. said right should have been exercised within the period allowed by the Rules. From the averments in the petition. vs. No. [5] The continuity of the adopters family was the primary purpose of adoption and all matters relating to it basically focused on the rights of the adopter. 1972.

initiated the Convention of the Rights of the Child. The Philippines, a State Party to the Convention, accepted the principle
that adoption was impressed with social and moral responsibility, and that its underlying intent was geared to favor the
adopted child. R.A. No. 8552 secured these rights and privileges for the adopted. Most importantly, it affirmed the
legitimate status of the adopted child, not only in his new family but also in the society as well. The new law withdrew the
right of an adopter to rescind the adoption decree and gave to the adopted child the sole right to sever the legal ties
created by adoption.
Petitioner, however, would insist that R.A. No. 8552 should not adversely affect her right to annul the adoption
decree, nor deprive the trial court of its jurisdiction to hear the case, both being vested under the Civil Code and the
Family Code, the laws then in force.
The concept of vested right is a consequence of the constitutional guaranty of due process [15] that expresses
a present fixed interest which in right reason and natural justice is protected against arbitrary state action; [16] 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.[17]Rights are considered vested when the right to enjoyment is a present interest, [18] absolute,
unconditional, and perfect[19] or fixed and irrefutable.
In Republic vs. Court of Appeals,[20] a petition to adopt Jason Condat was filed by Zenaida C. Bobiles on 02 February
1988 when the Child and Youth Welfare Code (Presidential Decree No. 603) allowed an adoption to be sought
by either spouse or both of them. After the trial court had rendered its decision and while the case was still pending on
appeal, the Family Code of the Philippines (Executive Order No. 209), mandating joint adoption by the husband and
wife, took effect. Petitioner Republic argued that the case should be dismissed for having been filed by Mrs. Bobiles alone
and without being joined by the husband. The Court concluded that the jurisdiction of the court is determined by the
statute in force at the time of the commencement of the action. The petition to adopt Jason, having been filed
with the court at the time when P.D. No. 603 was still in effect, the right of Mrs. Bobiles to file the petition, without
being joined by her husband, according to the Court had become vested. In Republic vs. Miller,[21] spouses Claude and
Jumrus Miller, both aliens, sought to adopt Michael Madayag. On 29 July 1988, the couple filed a petition to formalize
Michaels adoption having theretofore been taken into their care. At the time the action was commenced, P.D. No. 603
allowed aliens to adopt. After the decree of adoption and while on appeal before the Court of Appeals, the Family Code
was enacted into law on 08 August 1988 disqualifying aliens from adopting Filipino children. The Republic then prayed for
the withdrawal of the adoption decree. In discarding the argument posed by the Republic, the Supreme Court ruled
that the controversy should be resolved in the light of the law governing at the time the petition was filed.
It was months after the effectivity of R.A. No. 8552 that herein petitioner filed an action to revoke the decree of
adoption granted in 1975. By then, the new law,[22] had already abrogated and repealed the right of an adopter under the
Civil Code and the Family Code to rescind a decree of adoption. Consistently with its earlier pronouncements, the Court
should now hold that the action for rescission of the adoption decree, having been initiated by petitioner after R.A. No.
8552 had come into force, no longer could be pursued.
Interestingly, even before the passage of the statute, an action to set aside the adoption is subject to the fiveyear bar
rule under Rule 100[23] of the Rules of Court and that the adopter would lose the right to revoke the adoption decree after
the lapse of that period. The exercise of the right within a prescriptive period is a condition that could not fulfill the
requirements of a vested right entitled to protection. It must also be acknowledged that a person has no vested right in
statutory privileges.[24] While adoption has often been referred to in the context of a right, the privilege to adopt is itself not
naturally innate or fundamental but rather a right merely created by statute. [25] It is a privilege that is governed by the
states determination on what it may deem to be for the best interest and welfare of the child. [26] Matters relating to
adoption, including the withdrawal of the right of an adopter to nullify the adoption decree, are subject to regulation by the
State.[27]Concomitantly, a right of action given by statute may be taken away at anytime before it has been exercised. [28]
While R.A. No. 8552 has unqualifiedly withdrawn from an adopter a consequential right to rescind the adoption
decree even in cases where the adoption might clearly turn out to be undesirable, it remains, nevertheless, the bounden
duty of the Court to apply the law. Dura lex sed lex would be the hackneyed truism that those caught in the law have to

130

live with. It is still noteworthy, however, that an adopter, while barred from severing the legal ties of adoption, can always
for valid reasons cause the forfeiture of certain benefits otherwise accruing to an undeserving child. For instance, upon
the grounds recognized by law, an adopter may deny to an adopted child his legitime and, by a will and testament, may
freely exclude him from having a share in the disposable portion of his estate.
WHEREFORE, the assailed judgment of the court a quo is AFFIRMED. No costs.
SO ORDERED.

EDWARD V. LACSON, G.R. No. 150644
Petitioner,
Present:
PUNO, J., Chairperson,
- versus - SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ,
CORONA,
AZCUNA, and
GARCIA, JJ.
MAOWEE DABAN LACSON
and MAONAA DABAN Promulgated:
LACSON, represented by their
mother and guardian ad-litem,
LEA DABAN LACSON, August 28, 2006
Respondents.
x-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------x

DECISION

GARCIA, J.:

Petitioner Edward V. Lacson, father of the respondent sisters Maowee Daban Lacson and Maonaa Daban Lacson and
husband of their mother and guardian ad-litem, Lea Daban Lacson, has come to this Court via this petition for review
under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court to seek the reversal and setting aside of the Decision[1] dated July 13, 2001 of the
Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CV No. 60203, as reiterated in its Resolution [2] of October 18, 2001 denying his motion
for reconsideration.

From the petition and its annexes, the respondents reply thereto, and other pleadings, the Court gathers the following
facts:

131

The sisters Maowee Daban Lacson and Maonaa Daban Lacson are legitimate daughters of petitioner Edward V. Lacson
and his wife, Lea Daban Lacson. Maowee was born on December 4, 1974, while Maonaa, a little less than a year later.
Not long after the birth of Maonaa, petitioner left the conjugal home in Molo, Iloilo City, virtually forcing mother and children
to seek, apparently for financial reason, shelter somewhere else. For a month, they stayed with Leas mother-in-law, Alicia
Lacson, then with her (Leas) mother and then with her brother Noel Daban. After some time, they rented an apartment
only to return later to the house of Leas mother. As the trial court aptly observed, the sisters and their mother, from 1976
to 1994, or for a period of eighteen (18) years, shuttled from one dwelling place to another not their own.

It appears that from the start of their estrangement, Lea did not badger her husband Edward for support, relying
initially on his commitment memorialized in a note datedDecember 10, 1975 to give support to his daughters. As things
turned out, however, Edward reneged on his promise of support, despite Leas efforts towards having him fulfill the same.
Lea would admit, though, that Edward occasionally gave their children meager amounts for school expenses. Through the
years and up to the middle part of 1992, Edwards mother, Alicia Lacson, also gave small amounts to help in the schooling
of Maowee and Maonaa, both of whom eventually took up nursing at St. Pauls College in Iloilo City. In the early part of
1995 when Lea, in behalf of her two daughters, filed a complaint against Edward for support before the Regional Trial
Court of Iloilo City, Branch 33, Maowee was about to graduate.

In that complaint dated January 30, 1995, as amended,[3] docketed as Civil Case No. 22185, Maowee and Maonaa, thru
their mother, averred that their father Edward, despite being gainfully employed and owning several pieces of valuable
lands, has not provided them support since 1976. They also alleged that, owing to years of Edwards failure and neglect,
their mother had, from time to time, borrowed money from her brother Noel Daban. As she would later testify, Lea had
received from Noel, by way of a loan, as much as P400,000.00 toP600,000.00.

In his Answer, Edward alleged giving to Maowee and Maonaa sufficient sum to meet their needs. He explained, however,
that his lack of regular income and the unproductivity of the land he inherited, not his neglect, accounted for his failure at
times to give regular support. He also blamed financial constraint for his inability to provide the P12,000.00 monthly
allowance prayed for in the complaint.

132

or 18 years. 1997 judgment finding for the plaintiff sisters. following an elaborate formula set forth therein.000.00 per month. the RTC rendered on June 26. 1996. the trial court granted the sisters Maowee and Maonaa support pendente lite at P12.As applied for and after due hearing. as represented by their mother. In that judgment. of support in arrears. subject to the schedule of payment and other conditions set forth in the courts corresponding order of May 13. The fallo of the trial courts decision[5] reads: 133 .[4] Following trial. the trial court. ordered their defendant father Edward to pay them a specific sum which represented 216 months.

in the herein assailed Decision dated July 13. Therefrom.00) PESOS from which amount shall be deducted ONE HUNDRED TWENTY-FOUR (P124. 22185 is hereby AFFIRMED.WHEREFORE.000. 2001. Edward moved for reconsideration. 60203. 134 .R. Double costs against the defendant appellant [Edward Lacson]. XXX WHEN IT AFFIRMED THE GRANT OF SUPPORT IN ARREARS FROM 1976 TO 1994. Edwards present recourse on his submission that the CA erred - I. No. SO ORDERED.00) PESOS as attorneys fees.[7] Hence. 2) Ordering defendant to pay TWENTY THOUSAND (P20. judgment is hereby rendered: 1) Ordering defendant to compensate plaintiffs support in arrears in the amount of TWO MILLION FOUR HUNDRED NINETY-SIX THOUSAND (P2. CV. XXX IN AFFIRMING THE ALLEGED ADVANCES OF SUPPORT BY RESPONDENTS UNCLE NOEL DABAN. IV. III. but his motion was denied by the appellate court in its equally assailed Resolution of October 18.000. the present appeal is hereby DISMISSED and the appealed Decision in Civil Case No. XXX IN AFFIRMING THE AWARD OF SUPPORT EVEN IF PETITIONER IS NOT FINANCIALLY CAPABLE OF PROVIDING THE SAME TO RESPONDENTS. 496. 2001. Eventually. II. and 3) Pay costs.) In time.00) PESOS that which they received from defendant for two years and that which they received by way of support pendent lite. the CA.[6] dismissed Edwards appeal. Edward appealed to the CA whereat his recourse was docketed as CA-G. (Words in bracket added. disposing as follows. XXX WHEN IT ORDERED PETITIONER TO PROVIDE SUPPORT TO XXX RESPONDENTS EVEN IF PETITIONERS OBLIGATION TO PROVIDE SUPPORT HAD ALREADY BEEN COMPLETELY SATISFIED BY THE PROCEEDS OF THE SALE OF HIS EXCLUSIVE PROPERTY WHICH WERE ALL APPROPRIATED BY THE RESPONDENTS.000. premises considered. WHEREFORE. SO ORDERED.

e.[8] (Words in bracket and underscoring added. [petitioner] complied with his obligation for only two (2) years. the [respondents] herein but failing. plaintiffs mother asked extrajudicially for her childrens support since 1976. Asking one to comply with his obligation to support owing to the urgency of the situation is no less a demand because it came by way of a request or a plea. To be sure. Petitioners above posture has little to commend itself. from 1976 to 1994. xxx xxx xxx Last December 10. Nonetheless. what with the fact that even their mother (his wife) found it difficult during the period material to get in touch with him. demand having been made by the respondents. To petitioner. what would pass as a demand was. his obligation to pay under the aforequoted provision starts from the filing of Civil Case No.) 135 . when she went to her mothers house. For another. It may be that Lea made no extrajudicial demand in the sense of a formal written demand in terms and in the imperious tenor commonly used by legal advocates in a demand letter. the trial court found that a demand to sustain an award of support in arrears had been made in this case and said so in its decision. petitioner could not plausibly expect any of the sisters during their tender years to go through the motion of demanding support from him.. however. It is his threshold submission. As it were. thus: From 1976. the requisite demand for support appears to have been made sometime in 1975. . 22185 in 1995. 1975. 1975. that he should not be made to pay support in arrears. but it shall not be paid except from the date of judicial or extrajudicial demand. For one. to provide support to both respondents. it conveniently glossed over the fact that he veritably abandoned the respondent sisters even before the elder of the two could celebrate her second birthday. [respondents] mother now and then went to their [paternal] grandmothers house by their father and asked for support. as father.The petition lacks merit. definitely made. i. no previous extrajudicial. since only from that moment can it be said that an effective demand for support was made upon him. For twenty-one years that they needed support. Maowee and Maonaa. let alone judicial. this notwithstanding their fathers commitment for this purpose which the latter embodied in a note dated December 10. He invokes the following provision of the Family Code to complete his point: Article 203 The obligation to give support shall be demandable from the time the person who has a right to receive the same needs it for maintenance. however. [petitioner] committed self for the support of his children. Petitioner admits being obliged.

Noel Daban. formulating the same in the following wise: We could not confer judicial approval upon [petitioners] posture of trying to evade his responsibility to give support to his daughters simply because their mother did not make a formal demand therefor from him. is generally limited to correction of errors of law. compelling reasons demand a review of the factual conclusions drawn from such evidence. dwelling. whatever is necessary to keep a person alive. Lest it be overlooked. The trial court thus correctly ruled that [petitioners] obligation to pay support in arrears should commence from 1976. Noteworthy also is the fact that petitioner. only gave Maowee and Maonaa token amounts for schooling when support comprises everything indispensable for sustenance. factual findings of the CA are accorded respect. turn to their uncle (Noel Daban) for their sustenance and education when petitioner failed to give the same. Noel Daban.[9] (Words in bracket added). the jurisdiction of the Court in a petition for review. indeed lent his sister Lea money to support her children. Suffice it to state in that regard that. petitioners lament on the matter is a veritable call for review of factual determinations of the two courts below. if not finality. the respondents appeared to have stayed longest with their uncle. Logically.The appellate court made a parallel finding on the demand angle. an extrajudicial demand for support had been made on the petitioner as evidenced by the December 10. the sisters would. as earlier indicated. Said note [stating that he will sustain his two daughters Maowee and Maonaa] also stated as requested by their mother thus practically confirming the fact of such demand having been made by [respondents] mother. Since such failure has been established. Petitioners second specification of error touches on the CAs affirmatory holding that respondents uncle. It need not. as did the trial court and the CA. Again.[10] Not one of the well-recognized exceptions to this rule on conclusiveness of factual findings appear to obtain in this case. detain us long. [Petitioners] insistence on requiring a formal demand from his wife is truly pointless. clothing. thru their mother. of their close relatives. from 1976 to 1994. accordingly. As a matter of long and sound appellate practice. in the face of his acknowledgment of and commitment to comply with such obligation through a note in his own handwriting. Accordingly. as basis for an award of support in arrears. medical attendance and education. in short. as here. that Noel Daban who. 1975 note adverted to. a failing which stretched from their pre-schooling days to their college years. The Court finds no adequate reason to disturb the factual determination of the CA confirmatory of that of the trial court respecting the demand Lea made on the petitioner to secure support for the respondents. [11] except when. had reasons to help. [12] or. the Court cannot grant the petitioners plea for a review of the CAs findings bearing on the actuality that. Complementing that postulate is the rule that the Court is not bound to analyze and weigh all over again the evidence already considered in the proceedings below. it is not amiss to deduce. owing to consideration of kinship. advanced the money for their support. 136 . save for the most compelling and cogent reasons.

For firstly. Petitioners above submission is flawed by the premises holding it together. contextually. Pressing on. Mention may also be made that. there is also no reason to disturb the absolute figures arrived at by the two courts below. the resulting juridical relationship between the petitioner and Noel Daban is a quasi-contract. and the trial court before it. appearing as they do to be reasonable and proper. considering that they fixed such amount based on the varying needs of the respondents during the years included in the computation and to the financial resources of the petitioner. We refer to the sale by Lea of half of what petitioner claims to be his exclusive or capital property.[15] 137 . 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. as the CA aptly observed. As a matter of law. it assumes as a fact that what was sold for P5 Million was indeed his exclusive property. as proved by the evidence adduced below. any third person may furnish support to the needy individual. As the petitioner would have this Court believe. with right of reimbursement from the person obliged to give support.Pursuant to Article 207 of the Family Code. As for the amount of support in arrears. as in fact [respondents] mother asserts that she and [petitioner] had separately sold their respective shares on said property. he alleged that the amount thus received from the sale is more than enough to fully satisfy thus release him from complying with. to consider a transaction that transpired after the trial court had rendered judgment. Noel Daban can rightfully exact reimbursement from the petitioner. [14] Petitioner closes his petition by urging the Court. assuming ex gratia argumenti his obligation to pay support in arrears. Arbitrariness respecting the determination of the final numbers cannot plausibly be laid on the doorsteps of the CA. Lea and the respondent sisters appropriated the P5 Million proceeds of the sale for themselves. But.[13] an equitable principle enjoining one from unjustly enriching himself at the expense of another. as it did the CA earlier.the underlying judgment for support. there is no showing whether the property subject of the transaction mentioned by [the petitioner] is a conjugal property or [his] exclusive property. The provision reads: When the person obliged to support another unjustly refuses or fails to give support when urgently needed by the latter.

unlike any good father of a family.. LIM.versus . The Facts 138 . LIM. No. October 30. Candice Grace and Mariano III. the respondent sisters were not party to the sale aforementioned.: The Case For review[1] is the Decision[2] of the Court of Appeals.** JJ.R. J. the instant petition is DENIED and the appealed CA decision and resolution are AFFIRMED. and MARIANO Promulgated: S. ordering petitioners Prudencio and Filomena Lim (petitioners) to provide legal support to respondentsCheryl. for herself and on behalf of her minor children LESTER EDWARD S. LIM.* CHICO-NAZARIO. Petitioner.Secondly. CANDICE GRACE S.x DECISION CARPIO. has been remiss in his duty to provide respondents with support practically all throughout their growing years. WHEREFORE. Lester Edward. J.PERALTA. MA. and ABAD. 163209 FILOMENA LIM. . that part of the proceeds of the sale went to them and may be set off for what petitioner owes them by way of support in arrears is unacceptable. LIM. dated 28 April 2003. At bottom. Present: CARPIO. Respondents. therefore. QUISUMBING. CHERYL S. being at best gratuitous and self-serving. This disposition is thus nothing more than a belated measure to right a wrong done the herein respondents who are no less petitioners daughters. Petitioners suggestion. Chairperson. 2009 x --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------. the sisters have been deprived by a neglectful father of the basic necessities in life as if it is their fault to have been born. III. SPOUSES PRUDENCIO and G. all surnamed Lim (respondents). Petitioners.

while denying reconsideration. Edwards family business. Branch 140 (trial court) for support. Petitioners argued that while Edwards income is insufficient.000 monthly support to respondents. respondent Cheryl S. together with Edwards ailing grandmother. Edward.[6] Petitioners appealed to the Court of Appeals assailing. Edward and their children resided at the house of petitioners in Forbes Park. for herself and her children. Lim (Cheryl) married Edward Lim (Edward). their liability to support respondents.000 and petitioners the balance of P34. after a violent confrontation with Edward whom she caught with the in-house midwife of Chua Giak in what the trial court described a very compromising situation. Chua Giak and her husband Mariano Lim (Mariano). Cheryl bore Edward three children.In 1979. Makati City. which provided him with a monthly salary of P6. among others.[7] The Ruling of the Court of Appeals 139 . the law itself sanctions its effects by providing that legal support should be in keeping with the financial capacity of the family under Article 194 of the Civil Code. the trial court rendered judgment ordering Edward and petitioners to jointly provide P40.000 pendente lite. On 14 October 1990. Cheryl had no steady source of income.[4] The Ruling of the Trial Court On 31 January 1996. questioning their liability. Cheryl. The trial court ordered Edward to provide monthly support of P6. shouldered the family expenses. The trial court. bringing the children with her (then all minors).000. son of petitioners. as amended by Executive Order No. Candice Grace and Mariano III. Cheryl abandoned the Forbes Park residence. Chua Giak and Mariano (defendants) in the Regional Trial Court of Makati City. 209 (The Family Code of the Philippines).000 subject to Chua Giaks subsidiary liability. clarified that petitioners and Chua Giak were held jointly liable with Edward because of the latters inability x x x to give sufficient support x x x. respondents Lester Edward.[3] Cheryl. sued petitioners.[5] The defendants sought reconsideration. with Edward shoulderingP6.

Relying on provisions [11] found in Title IX of the Civil Code. on Parental Authority. as amended. Article 200 paragraph (3) of the Family Code clearly provides that should the person obliged to give support does not have sufficient means to satisfy all claims. The Issue The issue is whether petitioners are concurrently liable with Edward to provide support to respondents. liable with him to support respondents. Cheryl 140 . we modify the appealed judgment by limiting petitioners liability to the amount of monthly support needed by respondents Lester Edward. Candice Grace and Mariano III only. the obligation to support is imposed first upon the shoulders of the closer relatives and only in their default is the obligation moved to the next nearer relatives and so on. The Ruling of the Court We rule in the affirmative. Petitioners Liable to Provide Support but only to their Grandchildren By statutory[9] and jurisprudential mandate. Hence. conceivably either by its termination[12] or suspension[13] during the childrens minority. Petitioners themselves admit as much they limit their petition to the narrow question of when their liability is triggered. On the issue material to this appeal. Parents and their legitimate children are obliged to mutually support one another and this obligation extends down to the legitimate grandchildren and great grandchildren. However. the other persons enumerated in Article 199 in its order shall provide the necessary support. not if they are liable. the stronger the tie that binds them. This is because the closer the relationship of the relatives.[10] the liability of ascendants to provide legal support to their descendants is beyond cavil. whether there is basis to hold petitioners. as Edwards parents. this petition. that is. In connection with this provision. petitioners theorize that their liability is activated only upon default of parental authority. the Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court. the Court of Appeals held: The law on support under Article 195 of the Family Code is clear on this matter. Thus. Because at the time respondents sued for support.[8] Petitioners sought reconsideration but the Court of Appeals denied their motion in the Resolution dated 12 April 2004.In its Decision dated 28 April 2003.

Neither the text of the law nor the teaching of jurisprudence supports this severe constriction of the scope of familial obligation to give support. passing to ascendants only upon its termination or suspension. . This is so because we have to follow the order of support under Art. 199.000 a month. following the ordering in Article 199. x x x[18] (Emphasis supplied. Also. the governing text are the relevant provisions in Title VIII of the Civil Code. In the first place. neither is there any evidence to prove that petitioner. while parental authority under Title IX (and the correlative parental rights) pertains to parents. We agree with this view.and Edward exercised parental authority over their children. then all school-bound. xxxx There is no showing that private respondent is without means to support his son. as amended. as the paternal grandmother. and thus subscribe to petitioners theory. [17] the same obligation arising from spousal and general familial ties ideally lasts during the obligee's lifetime. although the obligation to provide support arising from parental authority ends upon the emancipation of the child. [15] they differ in other concerns including the duration of the obligation and its concurrence among relatives of differing degrees. the obligation to provide legal support passes on to ascendants not only upon default of the parents but also for the latters inability to provide sufficient support. internal citations omitted) Here. is insufficient to meet respondents basic needs. As we observed in another case raising the ancillary issue of an ascendants obligation to give support in light of the fathers sufficient means: Professor Pineda is of the view that grandchildren cannot demand support directly from their grandparents if they have parents (ascendants of nearest degree) who are capable of supporting them. P6. This inability of Edward and Cheryl to sufficiently provide for their children shifts a portion of their obligation to the ascendants in the nearest degree. It is also undisputed that the amount of support Edward is able to give to respondents. both in the paternal (petitioners) and maternal[19] lines. To hold otherwise. [14] petitioners submit that the obligation to support the latters offspring ends with them. on Support. there is no question that Cheryl is unable to discharge her obligation to provide sufficient legal support to her children. While both areas share a common ground in that parental authority encompasses the obligation to provide legal support. is to sanction the anomalous scenario of tolerating extreme material deprivation of children because of parental inability to give adequate support even if ascendants one degree removed are more than able to fill the void. [16] Thus. 141 . was willing to voluntarily provide for her grandson's legal support. not the provisions in Title IX on Parental Authority.

and its Resolution dated 12 April 2004 with the MODIFICATIONthat petitioners Prudencio and Filomena Lim are liable to provide 142 . Here. precluding its application. her steadfast insistence on its occurrence amounts to a moralimpediment bringing the case within the ambit of the exception clause of Article 204. it will also force Cheryl to return to the house which. dated 28 April 2003. (Emphasis supplied) is subject to its exception clause. only respondents Lester Edward. Cheryls right to receive support from the Lim family extends only to her husband Edward. arising from their marital bond.[21] Petitioners Precluded from Availing of the Alternative Option Under Article 204 of the Civil Code. as Amended As an alternative proposition. petitioners wish to avail of the option in Article 204 of the Civil Code. [20] Unfortunately. we are constrained to remand the case to the trial court for this limited purpose. as amended. is the scene of her husbands infidelity. The application of Article 204 which provides that The person obliged to give support shall have the option to fulfill the obligation either by paying the allowance fixed. Granting petitioners the option in Article 204 will secure to the grandchildren a well-provided future. As petitionersgrandchildren by blood. We AFFIRM the Decision of the Court of Appeals. Thus. or by receiving and maintaining in the family dwelling the person who has a right to receive support. The option is unavailable to petitioners. Cheryls charge against Edward for concubinage did not prosper for insufficient evidence. WHEREFORE. petitioners partial concurrent obligation extends only to their descendants as this word is commonly understood to refer to relatives. Cheryls share from the amount of monthly support the trial court awarded cannot be determined from the records. we DENY the petition. for her. and pray that they be allowed to fulfill their obligation by maintaining respondents at petitioners Makati residence. Candice Grace and Mariano III belong to this category. the persons entitled to receive support are petitioners grandchildren and daughterin-law. by blood of lower degree.However. as indeed. however. The latter alternative cannot be availed of in case there is a moral or legal obstacle thereto. Indeed. While not rising to the level of a legal obstacle.

DECISION VELASCO. they eventually separated and. 2006 in Civil Case No. For his part. from the start. Cebu City. Beckett commenced criminal charges against Eltesa. entitled Geoffrey Beckett v.P. A. custody. The Antecedent Facts Geoffrey Beckett (Beckett or Complainant). 2001. Branch 24. 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. No. while pending before that court. 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. 11-3692-RTJ) GEOFFREY BECKETT. SO ORDERED. far from ideal. rendered judgment3 based on a compromise agreement in which Eltesa and Beckett agreed and undertook. the latter's welfare is paramount. Jr. Branch 24. Complainant. Candice Grace and Mariano III. (Geoffrey.. Jr. Jr. otherwise known as the Violence against Women and Children Act. In his Complaint-Affidavit. Both cases ended in the sala of Judge Olegario Sarmiento. Jr. CEB -32254. SARMIENTO.support only to respondents Lester Edward. according to him. in this case. Geoffrey Beckett. with gross ignorance of the law. education and property of the children. of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Cebu City. all surnamed Lim.: In all questions relating to the care. They 143 . In fact.I. 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. was previously married to Eltesa Densing Beckett (Eltesa). OCA I. vs. J. In 2006. No. Branch 140. worse still. 1 x xx The Case This case arose from a complaint filed by Geoffrey Beckett charging Judge Olegario R. Eltesa Densing Beckett. RTJ-12-2326 January 30. Respondent. a Filipina. they sued each other. JR. Sarmiento. on September 25. moral and intellectual development. (RA) 7610. to cause the dismissal of all pending civil and criminal cases each may have filed against the other.M. an Australian national. The couple’s initial legal battle ended when Judge Sarmiento. one of which was for adultery.2 Beckett alleged that their union was. 2013 (Formerly A. followed by a suit for the declaration of nullity of their marriage. for further proceedings consistent with this ruling. Eltesa filed a case against Beckett for violation of Republic Act No. Proc. Since. JR. manifest partiality and dereliction and neglect of duty allegedly committed in relation to Sp. CEB-32254. 18182-CEB. (respondent or Judge Sarmiento).M.. among others.). Regional Trial Court. JUDGE OLEGARIO R. No. Out of the marriage was born on June 29. We REMAND the case to the Regional Trial Court of Makati City. docketed as Civil Case No.

he cared and provided well for Geoffrey.. Beckett also alleged that while waiting for the March 15. directing inter alia the following: (1) Eltesa to return Geoffrey. with him. 2011 Order. 4 this petition was again raffled to the sala of Judge Sarmiento. Judge Sarmiento. and which they (respondent and Eltesa) persisted on using despite requests that they communicate in English or Filipino. Several hearings on the case were postponed because of the belated submission by the DSWD of the case study report requested by respondent judge. Jr. To this partial motion.. respondent is liable for (1) gross ignorance of the law for granting Eltesa provisional custody over Geoffrey Jr. later redocketed as A. OCA IPI No. And because Geoffrey remained in the meantime in the custody of Eltesa. so Beckett alleged. a period of five (5) days to file his comment/opposition. according to him. shouting and crying. This notwithstanding. 18182-CEB for the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus. Judge Sarmiento issued an Order5. But instead of enforcing said order and/or waiting for Beckett’s comment. a dialect which neither the former nor his counsel understood. enter Judge Sarmiento’s chambers. Beckett sought the immediate implementation of the said March 1. and at the same time directing the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to conduct a social case study on the child. Proc. 2001. Beckett further relates that. the father. Jr. 2011 Order.’s outburst. Eltesa moved for reconsideration of the court’s March 1. As with his three other children from previous relationships. then nine (9) years old. Geoffrey. was a total stranger. 144 . It is upon the foregoing factual backdrop that Beckett has instituted the instant complaint. during this March 30 proceeding. Then. the yearly Christmas visits continued. his habit of conversing with Eltesa in the local dialect and for adjourning a hearing while he was conferring with his counsel in private. 2011. or in the March 30. Jr. Beckett left for Australia.. dated March 1. 18182-CEB. in open court. Moreover. provided she return the child on January 9. 2011. issued another order giving Eltesa provisional custody over Geoffrey. RTJ-12-2326. 2011 hearing. and was granted. on the main contention that Judge Sarmiento can no longer grant provisional custody to Eltesa in light of the adverted judgment on compromise agreement. As argued. to Beckett. Docketed as Sp. Jr. In 2007. No. he saw one Helen Sy. purportedly a close friend of Eltesa. For some reason. praying that it be set aside insofar as it directed her to return the custody of Geoffrey. during the conference itself.categorically agreed too that Beckett shall have full and permanent custody over Geoffrey.RTJ. to Beckett did not materialize. remained with Eltesa. prompting Beckett to file a petition against Eltesa for violation of RA 7610.M. then five (5) years old. Jr. Jr. Jr. Beckett obtained a divorce from Eltesa in Australia. 2011 setting. 2011 conference on the application for habeas corpus. 2011. Additionally. as agreed upon. Jr. Beckett requested. the proceedings had already been adjourned. during the March 1. respondent judge conversed with Eltesa in Cebuano. Weeks later. Beckett consented to have Geoffrey. such as but not limited to allowing one Helen Sy to enter his chambers before the March 15. and (2) partiality by committing acts of serious misconduct and irregularities in the performance of official duties. Jr. subject to the visitorial rights of Eltesa. displayed inside the courtroom hysterical conduct. to Beckett. Despite Geoffrey Jr. January 9 came and went but Geoffrey. No. Jr. Also. Beckett moved for the reconsideration of the judge’s March 15. docketed as A. Beckett predicates his charge of dereliction and neglect of duty on respondent’s alleged failure to resolve his motion for reconsideration of the March 15. and (2) Beckett to bring the child in the pre-trial conference set for March 15. not wanting to let go of Eltesa and acting as though. taking Geoffrey. 2011 order giving provisional custody of his child to his mother. Thereafter. they would come and see Eltesa in Cebu every Christmas. Proc. the turnover of Geoffrey. stay with Eltesa even after the holidays. As his motion for reconsideration had remained unresolved as of June 13. Beckett’s lawyer then asked that he be allowed to confer in private with his client for a few minutes but when they returned to the courtroom. 2011 Order. In the 2010 visit. 11-3692.M. he. Beckett later applied in Sp. Beckett filed on that day an urgent motion to resolve. No. 2011 pre-trial conference to start.

in granting Geoffrey. Saycon. Mere suspicion that a judge is biased is not enough. it becomes more than a mere contract binding upon the parties. The OCA. be in the care and custody of the mother. DWSD. noting that the complainant has failed to adduce substantial evidence to overcome the presumption of regularity in the performance of judicial duties. respondent judge violated a basic and fundamental principle of res judicata. 18182-CEB. No. Jr. thus. The inculpatory portions of the OCA’s evaluation report pertinently read: x x x A compromise agreement that is intended to resolve a matter already under litigation is normally called a judicial compromise. to the herein complainant is unequivocal. respondent judge averred that. Jr. x x x It has the force of and effect of any other judgment. a compromise agreement that has been made and duly approved by the court attains the effect and authority of res judicata x x x. however. In the Agenda Report dated March 8. 2011 Order denying Beckett’s said motion for reconsideration was based on that Social Case Study Report 6 of Social Welfare Officer Clavel Saycon. x x x Thus. to Australia. by substantial evidence. as sought by complainant. and (3) he never wanted to stay with complainant whom he feared and who once locked him in his room without food. the complainant bears the onus of establishing.In his answer in response to the 1st Indorsement dated July 14. Attached to the letter-answer are the case study reports submitted by the DSWD regional office. 2012. Duhaylungsod.7 who elicited from Geoffrey. 2011 Order pending submission of the Social Case Study Report. not to be aware of it constitutes gross ignorance thereof. this Office finds the same not supported by substantial evidence. As an added observation. particularly describing his order granting Eltesa provisional custody as proper.9 145 . respondent judge stated that Beckett did not cry "Bias" when he (respondent) approved the compromise agreement in Civil Case CEB 32254 and when he later urged Beckett to commence habeas corpus proceedings. Hence. Anent the charge of Manifest Partiality. inhibited himself from further hearing SP Proc. both strongly recommended that custody over Geoffrey. judges are expected to have more than just a modicum of acquaintance with the statutes and procedural rules. He closed with a statement that he issued his assailed Orders in good faith and that he had.Region VII. he deferred action on Beckett’s motion for reconsideration of the court’s March 15. which granted and transferred permanent custody of Geoffrey. the OCA regards the complaint meritorious insofar as the charges for gross ignorance of the law is concerned given that respondent judge issued his March 15. per his Order of March 30. In this regard. Moreover. In administrative proceedings. one of which was prepared by psychologist Christine V. xxxx The pertinent portion of the judgment on Compromise Agreement x x x. Obra and Dr. When the law is elementary. be given to Eltesa. Jr. the averments in his complaint. a psychiatrist. Jr. In their respective reports. Jr. the following information: that (1) complainant always leaves him to the care of his older half-brother or his father’s girlfriends. After all.8 The OCA. who recommended that Geoffrey. the respondent judge is guilty of gross ignorance of the law. (2) he was at one time sent out of the house by one of complainant’s girlfriends and he had to stay in the garage alone. Once it is stamped with judicial imprimatur. Dr. effectively recommends the dismissal of the charge of manifest partiality and other offenses for want of sufficient substantiation. while the June 21. Jr. 2011 of the Office of the Court of Administrator (OCA). respondent judge denied complainant’s allegations of partiality and of being biased against the latter. Bare allegations of partiality will not suffice in the absence of clear showing that will overcome the presumption that the judge dispensed justice without fear or favor. Complainant failed to present substantial evidence to show the alleged partiality and ignorance of respondent judge. 2011. the same order even allowed complainant to bring with him Geoffrey. Thus.’s custody to his mother in an Order issued on 15 March 2011 on a mere Motion for Partial Reconsideration. Respondent judge also denied knowing one Helen Sy adverted to in the basic complaint and explained in some detail why he spoke at one instance to Eltesa in Cebuano. 2011 Order granting provisional custody in favor of Eltesa despite the existence of the judicial compromise. recommended that respondent judge be adjudged liable for gross ignorance of the law and fined with stern warning.

the foremost consideration is always the welfare and best interest of the child.The Court also notes that. Not to know the law as basic. respondent judge cannot be held guilty of the charges hurled by the complainant against him for the reason that absent a finding of strong reasons to rule otherwise. The OCA’s recommendation for the dismissal of the complaint insofar as it charges respondent judge with manifest partiality and dereliction and neglect of duties is well-taken. such that sticking to the agreed arrangement would no longer be to the latter’s best interest. Jr. He states in this regard that respondent judge. 2011 Order. the judicial act/s complained of should be corrupt or inspired by an intention to violate the law or persistent disregard of well-known legal precepts. the well-settled rule is that no child under seven (7) years of age shall be separated from the mother. did not disregard the res judicata rule.11 Complainant has charged respondent judge with gross ignorance of the law. 2011 Order issued amidst the persistent plea of the child not to be returned to his father." the simple reason being that the situation of the parents and even of the child can change. respondent judge had acted on his motion for reconsideration of the contentious March 15. the child’s choice as to which of his parents he prefers to be under custody shall be respected. especially an RTC judge. granted. The Decision adverted to refers to the judgment on compromise agreement. the preference of a child over 7 years of age as to 146 . Jr. the matter of custody. Convention on the Rights of the Child which provides that "in all actions concerning children. almost elementary. Moreover. 2011 Order. or acting in disregard of established rule of law as if he were not aware of the same constitutes gross ignorance whence no one is excused. whether undertaken by public or private social welfare institutions. contrary to complainant’s pretense. to borrow from Espiritu v. The Court cannot presume partiality and serious misconduct and irregularities based on circumstances alleged in the complaint. then.N. 2006 which constitutes res judicata or a bar to him to pass upon the issue of Geoffrey. Now to another point. The Court cannot go along with complainant’s above posture. a judgment involving the custody of a minor child cannot be accorded the force and effect of res judicata. 15 Finally. for serious misconduct to obtain. is that respondent judge exhibited fidelity to jurisprudential command to accord primacy to the welfare and interest of a minor child." And as aptly observed in a separate opinion in Dacasin v. Court of Appeals. The Issue The remaining issue then boils down to whether or not respondent Judge Sarmiento is guilty of gross ignorance of the law. As it were. in arbitrary defiance of his own Decision of September 25. administrative authorities or legislative bodies. 2011 order granting Eltesa custody of Geoffrey.14 And if already over 7 years of age. 13 a custody agreement can never be regarded as "permanent and unbending. The more appropriate description of the legal situation engendered by the March 15. in Perez v. in favor of his mother. In disputes concerning post-separation custody over a minor. courts of law." 17 In the light of the foregoing. despite the adverted compromise agreement. as reflected in no less than the U. to Eltesa.12 "is not permanent and unalterable and can always be re-examined and adjusted. Court of Appeals.16 We held that in custody cases. provisional custody over Geoffrey. Respondent judge. as the Rules of Court. the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration. In a very real sense. Dacasin. Jr. unless the court finds compelling reasons to order otherwise. Eltesa. The Court’s Ruling Gross ignorance of the law on the part of a judge presupposes an appalling lack of familiarity with simple rules of law or procedures and well-established jurisprudence which tends to erode the public trust in the competence and fairness of the court which he personifies.10 Nothing in the records tends to suggest that respondent judge was actuated by malice or corrupt motives in issuing his disputed March 15. Jr’s. custody. unless the parent chosen proves to be unfit. via his March 15. in granting provisional custody over Geoffrey.

custody. with whom he wanted to stay. x x x As Rosalind and Reginald Espiritu in Espiritu. ORLANDO B. he dd (sic) not fear his mom. which respondent judge. Jr. is not. JR. Chairperson. the benefit. For clearly. the matter of custody can always be re-examined and adjusted x x x.. Sa mommy niya. However. 2011 Order. x x x they keep fighting. to wit: x x x In so far as Geoffrey. even if previously granted by a competent court in favor of a parent. being with his mother is the one (sic) he is looking to (sic) and aspires. he fear (sic) his dad. the welfare.. to reiterate.22 xxxx Meanwhile. 147 . "Sa Daddy niya.. being with his father’s custody is something that he is afraid of and something he does not want to happen again. excerpts from which are hereunder quoted.19 Geoffrey. he was very much capable of deciding. . Moreover. the complaint is hereby DISMISSED.whom he desired to live with shall be respected. CARPIO.. No.1âwphi1 If the parent who was given custody suffers a future character change and becomes unfit. Jr. MARIE ANTONETTE ABIGAIL C. and ROSARIO C. chose to live with his mother for a reason. absent any evidence to the contrary. permanent. Geoffrey."23 With these. they'll get angry with (sic) me . provisionally granted through the issuance of the disputed March 15. 18 We ruled that: x x x The matter of custody is not permanent and unalterable. respondent judge rectified an error previously made when he handed out the Judgment on Compromise Agreement in 2006.).R. and the good of the child must be determined as of the time that either parent is chosen to be the custodian. CARPIO MORALES.’s account of experience. In Espiritu. premises considered.versus - G. expressed peculiarities. SALIENTES. 21 xxxx x x x He locked me in the room. at the time when he persistently refused to be turned over to his father.20 xxxx x x x Being in the custody of his mother is something (sic) he feel (sic) secure and protected and this is manifested in the child’s craving for his mother’s 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. As such. J. Jr. To be sure. Jr. consistent with the promotion of the best interest of the child. Petitioners. was already over 7 years of age. In fact. based on his past experiences. I'm scared with (sic) Daddy.. SALIENTES. in issuing the disputed Order.. TINGA. and VELASCO. Ms. 162734 Present: QUISUMBING. the best interests. Daddy and his girlfriend . Noteworthy too are the results of the interviews which were reflected in the three reports previously mentioned. WHEREFORE. He always leave (sic) me. Barbo (the caregiver or yaya of Geoffrey. JJ.. We see no reason to sustain the charge against respondent judge for gross ignorance of the law. SALIENTES.

the trial court issued the following order: Upon verified Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus by Petitioners. petitioners Orlando B..[3] docketed as Special Proceedings No.LORAN S... Salientes are hereby directed to produce and bring before this Court the body of minor Lorenzo Emmanuel Salientes Abanilla on January 31. the Respondents Marie Antonette Abigail C. Thereafter.. 2004 denying reconsideration.... August 29. On January 23.. Loran S. REGIONAL TRIAL COURT....[4] Petitioners moved for reconsideration which the court denied. who is directed to immediately make a return. 2003 Order of the trial court holding that its January 23. Abanilla in his personal capacity and as the representative of his son. JR.. he was prevented from seeing his son. which dismissed the petition for certiorari against the orders of the Regional Trial Court in Special Proceedings No.MUNTINLUPA CITY. he alone left the house of the Salientes. 2003 at 1:00 oclock in the afternoon and to show cause why the said child should not be discharged from restraint. Likewise assailed is the Court of Appeals Resolution[2] dated March 19.: The instant petition assails the Decision[1] dated November 10. Salientes and Rosario C.R. HONORABLE JUDGE PEDRO SABUNDAYO. Salientes. private respondent suggested to his wife that they transfer to their own house. 2003 Order did not award the custody of the 2-year-old child to any one but was simply the standard order issued for the production of restrained persons. The facts of the case are as follows: Private respondent Loran S.D. Salientes and Rosario C... 03-004 before the Regional Trial Court of Muntinlupa City.. ABANILLA.... Due to in-laws problems.. filed a Petition for Habeas Corpus and Custody.-x DECISION QUISUMBING. 2003 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. Consequently... BRANCH Promulgated: 203... but Marie Antonette refused.. Abanilla.... Salientes are the parents of the minor Lorenzo Emmanuel S.. but the same was dismissed on November 10. Orlando B.... 2003...D.. SP No.. Respondents... SO ORDERED.. Later. J. Let this Writ be served by the Sheriff or any authorized representative of this Court.. The appellate court held that the trial court was still about to conduct a full inquiry. 2006 x.. petitioners filed a petition for certiorari with the Court of Appeals.... 2003.... 03-004.. Abanilla and petitioner Marie Antonette Abigail C. The appellate court affirmed the February 24. Salientes.D.. 75680... They lived with MarieAntonettes parents. So. in 148 .

the petition is hereby DISMISSED for lack of merit. The Court of Appeals erred in not pronouncing that the respondent judge gravely abused his discretion in issuing a writ of habeas corpus which clearly is not warranted considering that there is no unlawful restraint by the mother and considering further that the law presumes the fitness of the mother. The assailed orders are clearly void. the proper remedy for private respondent was simply an action for custody. Petitioners posit that even assuming that there were compelling reasons. has the right of custody of the minor. [6] Plainly put. 4. which provides that no child under seven years of age shall be separated from the mother unless the court finds compelling reasons to order otherwise. petitioners interposed this appeal by certiorari anchored on the following grounds: 1. 2003? Petitioners contend that the order is contrary to Article 213 [7] of the Family Code. SO ORDERED. 149 . They maintain that herein respondent Loran had the burden of showing any compelling reason but failed to present even a prima facie proof thereof. The assailed orders. 3. the Sombong vs. The Court of Appeals failed to consider that the private respondent failed to present prima facie proof of any compelling reason of the unfitness of the petitioner-mother. 6. The Court of Appeals failed to see that the New Rules on Custody SUFFICES AS REMEDY. the issue is: Did the Court of Appeals err when it dismissed the petition for certiorari against the trial courts orders dated January 23. There was no need for the mother to show cause and explain the custody of her very own child.Petitioners assert that habeas corpus is unavailable against the mother who. Hence. Contrary to the Court of Appeals decision. but not habeas corpus. Contrary to the Court of Appeals decision. 2.[5] Petitioners moved for reconsideration. They insist there was no illegal or involuntary restraint of the minor by his own mother.a summary proceeding. which was denied on March 19. summary proceeding does violence to the tenderyears-rule 5. under the law. resolutions and decisions of the lower court and the Court of Appeals are clearly void. The Court of Appeals erred in not pronouncing the respondent judge gravely abused his discretion. 2003 and February 24. CA case supports rather than negates the position of the petitioners. thereby negating any notion of such mother illegally restraining or confining her very own son of tender years. on the cause of the minors detention and the matter of his custody. 2004. The Court of Appeals ruled thus: WHEREFORE. amounting to lack or in excess of jurisdiction in issuing an order for the petitionermother to first show cause why her own three-year old child in her custody should not be discharged from a so-called restraint despite no evidence at all of restraint and no evidence of compelling reasons of maternal unfitness to deprive the petitioner-mother of her minor son of tender years. The petition is not even sufficient in substance to warrant the writ.

It does not address the first part. should have custody of their son and not the maternal grandparents. they would have done so on the dates specified in the January 23. respondent Loran and petitioner Marie Antonette have joint parental authority over their son and consequently joint custody. he and petitioner Marie Antonette have shared custody and parental authority over their son. the assailed January 23. Further. Section 1[8] of the Rules of Court. In the absence of a judicial grant of custody to one parent. He avers that the instant petition is merely filed for delay.[11] Hence. for had petitioners really intended to bring the child before the court in accordance with the new rules on custody of minors. Habeas corpus may be resorted to in cases where rightful custody is withheld from a person entitled thereto. private respondents cause of action is the deprivation of his right to see his child as alleged in his petition. He alleges that at times when petitioner Marie Antonette is out of the country as required of her job as an international flight stewardess. the remedy of habeas corpus is available to him. which was still pending before it. which pertains to his right as the father to see his son. In the present case. [9] Under Article 211[10] of the Family Code. both parents are still entitled to the custody of their child. he. 2003 and the February 24. The assailed order was an interlocutory order precedent to the trial courts full inquiry into the issue of custody. In the present case. Private respondent maintains that. Under Rule 41.Private respondent counters that petitioners argument based on Article 213 of the Family Code applies only to the second part of his petition regarding the custody of his son. He asserts that the writ of habeas corpus is available against any person who restrains the minors right to see his father and vice versa. the father. the issue of custody has yet to be adjudicated by the court. As correctly pointed out by the Court of Appeals. 2003 Order of the trial court did not grant custody of the minor to any of the parties but merely directed petitioners to produce the minor in court and explain why they are restraining his liberty. 150 . an interlocutory order is not appealable but the aggrieved party may file an appropriate special action under Rule 65. The aggrieved party must show that the court gravely abused its discretion in issuing the interlocutory order. it is incumbent upon petitioners to show that the trial court gravely abused its discretion in issuing the order. although the couple is separated de facto. under the law. 2003 orders of the trial court.

the Court of Appeals properly dismissed the petition for certiorariagainst the said orders of the trial court. the court shall issue an order requiring the respondent (herein petitioners) to present the minor before the court. This was exactly what the court did. JJ. 2009 x--------------------------------------------------x DECISION 151 . DEL CASTILLO. G. among others. Antipolo City. the childs welfare is the supreme consideration. 2003.R. Petitioners can raise it as a counter argument for private respondents petition for custody. the petition is DENIED.M. The Decision dated November 10. it bears stressing that the order did not grant custody of the minor to any of the parties but merely directed petitioners to produce the minor in court and explain why private respondent is prevented from seeing his child. NOEL B. 75680 areAFFIRMED. Nothing in the said provision disallows a father from seeing or visiting his child under seven years of age.versus - HON. Chairperson.* BRION. SANTOS. CARPIO. his welfare shall be the paramount consideration. 2003 and February 24. RUTH C. Costs against petitioners. But it is not a basis for preventing the father to see his own child. the trial court did not err in issuing the orders dated January 23.[13] Again. Branch 72.Presiding Judge of Regional Trial Court. and ABAD.R. Article 213 of the Family Code deals with the judicial adjudication of custody and serves as a guideline for the proper award of custody by the court. The Child and Youth Welfare Code[12] unequivocally provides that in all questions regarding the care and custody. This is in line with the directive in Section 9[14] of A. SP No. WHEREFORE.In a petition for habeas corpus. 2004 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. of the child. 166682 Present: . Hence. J. Respondents.. In sum. Moreover. Promulgated: November 27. andANTONIO and ROSITA GALLARDO. LEONARDO-DE CASTRO. No. Petitioner. BAGTAS. 2003 and the Resolution dated March 19. 03-04-04-SC[15] that within fifteen days after the filing of the answer or the expiration of the period to file answer.

77751. Bagtas at Neneth A. Gallardo (Maricel). In its Order[7] dated 10 July 2002. The petition challenges the 11 June 2004 Decision[2] and 5 January 2005 Resolution[3] of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. Gallardo (Maryl Joy). Gallardo 18 taong gulang ay kusang ipinagkaloob ang aking anak sa pagkadalaga sa mag-asawang Noel B. Maricel went to Negros Occidental and left Maryl Joy in the custody of Bagtas and Sioson. Judicial Region 4. Kaya mula sa araw na ito ay wala na akong karapatan sa aking anak. In April 2002. Gallardo (Spouses Gallardo) are the parents of Maricel S. Maricel became pregnant and gave birth to Maryl Joy S. Unable to settle the matter. Branch 72. Maricel ran away to live with her boyfriend. the Spouses Gallardo filed with the RTC a petition [6] for habeas corpus. 02-1128. Antipolo City. Corazon. Two weeks after graduating from high school in April 2000. Maricels boyfriend left her. Barangay Sta. Bagtas (Bagtas) and Lydia B. Maricel returned to her parents.: The Case This is a petition[1] for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. Antipolo City. Bagtas and Sioson refused. Sioson (Sioson) at Ma. On the same day. She stated: Ako po si Maricel S. J. in Special Proceeding Case No. Sila ang tatayo bilang magulang ng aking anak. the RTC issued a writ of habeas[8] corpus directing the deputy sheriff to produce Maryl Joy before it and to summon Bagtas and Sioson to explain why they were withholding the custody of Maryl Joy. The Court of Appeals affirmed the 9 December 2002 [4] and 21 April 2003 Orders of the Regional Trial Court (RTC). The Facts Antonio and Rosita S.CARPIO. Maricel relinquished her rights over Maryl Joy to Bagtas and his wife. In February 2002. In a letter[5] dated 5 February 2001. Cruz. 152 .R. Unirock. the Spouses Gallardo tried to obtain the custody of Maryl Joy from Bagtas and Sioson. Bagtas sa kadahilanan pong itinakwil ako ng sarili kong mga magulang at hindi ko po kayang buhayin at dahil po sa tinakbuhan ako ng aking boyfriend kaya wala na pong ibang paraan para ako makabangon o makapagsimula ng panibagong buhay kaya para mabigyan ng magandang buhay ang aking anak inisip ko po na ito na ang pinaka madaling paraan para po sa pagbabago ng aking buhay. Maricel ran away again and lived with Noel B. SP No.

The RTC stated: In this petition. fined them P500. of the Rules of Court. 2. that the child can be brought by the respondents to Valenzuela but should be returned to the petitioners on Friday morning. the complaint may be dismissed upon motion of the defendant or upon the courts own motion. the RTC stated: In todays hearing. that they be directed to explain why they violated the RTCs 13 September 2002 Order. and ordered them to produce Maryl Joy before the trial court. On 29 September 2002. The RTCs Ruling In its Order[13] dated 9 December 2002. for no justifiable cause. Gallardo before this court to be turned over to herein petitioners who are the maternal [grandparents] of said minor. Bagtas and Sioson learned that Rosita S. and that they be cited in contempt. Rule 17. Saturday and Sunday. the plaintiff fails x x x to comply with x x x any order of the court. Section 3 states that If. Since the person subject of the petition has already produced [sic] to this court and has been turned over to the petitioners. In its Order[12] dated 15 October 2002. that the child should be returned to the respondents by the petitioners on Sunday at 8:00 oclock in the evening subject to visitorial rights of the petitioners anytime of the day. The above agreement shall take effect today and parties are ordered to comply strictly with the said agreement under pain of contempt in case of violation thereof. Bagtas and Sioson claimed that the Spouses Gallardo failed to comply with the RTCs 13 September 2002 Order. Bagtas and Sioson prayed that the Spouses Gallardo be directed to produce Maryl Joy before the RTC. that the child should be placed in custody of the petitioners on Friday. In their motion[10] dated 30 September 2002. In its Order[9] dated 13 September 2002. the issue on the petition for habeas corpus is now moot and academic without prejudice to the filing of the proper action to determine as to the rightful custody over the minor child. both parties appeared with their respective counsels and have agreed on the following: 1. the RTC dismissed the action for having become moot. the RTC cited the Spouses Gallardo in contempt. Gallardo brought Maryl Joy to Samar. Bagtas and Sioson prayed that the Spouses Gallardos action be dismissed pursuant to Section 3. 153 . Bagtas and Sioson entered into a compromise agreement. and 3. In their motion[11] to dismiss dated 11 October 2002. the prayer of the petitioners is to produce the person of Meryl [sic] Joy S.The Spouses Gallardo.

In view thereof, x x x the Motion to Dismiss is hereby granted but without prejudice on the petitioners to file proper action
for custody of the minor. (Emphasis supplied)

In their motion[14] for reconsideration dated 27 December 2002, Bagtas and Sioson alleged that the ground for the
dismissal of the action was erroneous. The action should have been dismissed pursuant to Section 3, Rule 17, of the
Rules of Court. They prayed that Maryl Joy be returned to them to preserve the status quo ante. Bagtas and Sioson
stated:

5. Thus, the Honorable Court very clearly issued a conflicting Order because It has cited the
[Spouses Gallardo] in contempt of court for violating the previous September 13, 2002 Order that the
child should be returned to the respondents in the evening of September 29, 2002 (Sunday), and yet
the Honorable Court has dismissed the petition for being moot and academic. This is in effect giving
premium to the act of the petitioners of not turning over the child to respondents on September 29,
2002. Likewise, this is tantamount to rewarding them for not producing the child in court in violation of
the aforesaid September 13, 2002 Order;
6. Moreover, the Honorable Court has issued an unreasonable Order by stating that the dismissal
of the instant case is without prejudice to the filing of the proper action for custody of the minor by the
petitioners. Why would the petitioners still file the proper action for custody if they now have the
custody of the minor?
P R AY E R
WHEREFORE, premises considered, it is most respectfully prayed that the December 9, 2002
Order of the Honorable Court be partially reconsidered so that the dismissal of the case will not be based
on the ground of being moot and academic but based on failure to comply with the September 13, 2002
pursuant [sic] to Section 3, Rule 17 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure and that petitioners be
consequently directed to return the person subject of the petition to the respondents to preserve the status
quo ante.

In its Order[15] dated 21 April 2003, the RTC denied the motion for reconsideration. The RTC held that the sole purpose of
the petition for habeas corpus was the production of Maryl Joy and that the Spouses Gallardo exercised substitute
parental authority over Maryl Joy. The RTC stated that:
The allegations in the Petition show that the sole purpose for the filing of the Petition is to
cause the production before the Court of the person of minor Meryl [sic] Joy S. Gallardo, not a
determination of the legality or illegality of respondents custody of the child, petitioners being
aware of the fact that the child was left by their (petitioners) daughter to [sic] the custody of the
respondents, as stated in par. no. 10 of the Petition.
The instant Petition is therefore, essentially not a petition for Habeas Corpus as contemplated in Rule 102, Revised Rules
of Court which is resorted to in all cases of illegal confinement by which any person is deprived of his liberty (Cruz vs. CA,
322 SCRA 518), but is resorted to also where the rightful custody of any person is withheld from the person entitled
thereto as contemplated in Rule 102, Revised Rules of Court. In order that the special remedy of Habeas Corpus maybe
[sic] invoked, it is necessary that there should be an actual and effective restraint or deprivation of liberty. A nominal or
moral restraint is not sufficient (Gonzales vs. Viola, et al., 61 Phil 824).

154

Since therefore, the purpose of the instant Petition has already been served, as the child has been produced and
delivered to the petitioners, the instant Petition logically has become moot and academic.Petitioners are, under
the law (Art. 214, Family Code), authorized to exercise substitute parental authority over the child in case of
death, absence or unsuitability of the parents, the entitlement to the legal custody of the child being necessarily
included therein to make possible and/or enable the petitioners to discharge their duties as substitute parents.
There is no inconsistency between the Order dated December 9, 2002 sought to be reconsidered, and the Order dated
October 15, 2002, as the latter was issued pursuant to an incident, an interlocutory matter, that is, the failure of the
petitioners to comply with the agreement reached between the parties in open court on September 13, 2002. The said
Order dated October 15, 2002 is not a resolution of the case in the main, as it did not terminate the case. The Order dated
December 9, 2002, on the other hand, terminated the case, and considering that the dismissal of the case was
unqualified, the same amounted to an adjudication on the merits pursuant to Sec. 3, Rule 17 of the Revised Rules of
Court Procedure, therefore, the agreement earlier entered by and between the herein parties is deemed
terminated. (Emphasis supplied)

Bagtas filed with the Court of Appeals a petition [16] for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court. Bagtas
alleged that (1) the RTC erred when it ruled that the sole purpose of the 1 August 2002 petition was the production of
Maryl Joy before the trial court, (2) the RTC erred when it ruled that the petition was essentially not a petition for Habeas
Corpus as contemplated in Rule 102, (3) the RTC erred when it ruled that there must be actual and effective deprivation of
liberty, (4) the RTC erred when it ruled that the action had become moot, (5) the RTC erred when it ruled that the Spouses
Gallardo had substitute parental authority over Maryl Joy, and (6) the RTC erred when it ruled that there was no
inconsistency between the 15 October and 9 December 2002 Orders.
The Court of Appeals Ruling
In its Decision dated 11 June 2004, the Court of Appeals dismissed the petition and affirmed the 9 December 2002 and 23
April 2003 Orders of the RTC. The Court of Appeals held that:
In the second part of [Section 1, Rule 102, of the Rules of Court], x x x habeas corpus may be resorted to
in cases where the rightful custody of any person is withheld from the person entitled thereto.Accordingly,
the writ of habeas corpus is the proper remedy to enable herein private respondents to regain the custody
of their minor grand daughter Maryl Joy who was admittedly left by her natural mother in the care of
petitioner and Lydia Sioson.
Significantly, in custody cases involving minors, the question of illegal or involuntary restraint is not the underlying
rationale for the availability of the writ of habeas corpus as a remedy; rather, the writ is prosecuted for the purpose of
determining the right of custody of a child. By dismissing the petition a quo, the trial court in effect upheld private
respondents right of custody over the minor involved as against that of petitioner.
While it cannot be gainsaid that private respondents obtained initial custody of the minor in violation of a
valid court order, we nonetheless sustain the judgment a quo dismissing the petition and validating such
rightful custody over Maryl Joy. This is because private respondents are the grandparents of Maryl Joy,
hence, lawfully authorized to exercise substitute parental authority over her in the absence of her
parents.What is more, in awarding custody to private respondents, the best welfare of the child was taken
into consideration inasmuch as, per report of the Court Social Worker, the implementation of the parties
agreement would cause more psychological damage and traumatic experience to Maryl Joy. To our mind,
therefore, the violation of a court order pales in significance when considered alongside the best interest
of the minor whose welfare requires that she be in the custody of her grandparents rather than
petitioners. x x x

155

Under the factual and legal milieux of the case, there is no question that as grandparents of the minor,
Maryl Joy, private respondents have a far superior right of custody over her than petitioner. [17]

The Issues
In his petition dated 1 February 2005, Bagtas raised as issues that:
THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED AND GRAVELY ABUSED ITS DISCRETION IN NOT FINDING THAT
TRIAL COURT COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OF
JURISDICTION IN FINDING THAT THE ALLEGATION IN THE PETITION FOR HABEAS CORPUS
SHOW THAT THE SOLE PURPOSE FOR THE FILING THEREOF IS TO CAUSE THE PRODUCTION
BEFORE THE COURT OF THE PERSON IN WHOSE FAVOR IT WAS FILED.
THE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED AND ABUSED ITS DISCRETION IN NOT FINDING THAT THE TRIAL
COURT GRAVELY ABUSED ITS DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OF JURISDICTION IN RULING THAT WITH THE
DELIVERY OF THE CHILD FOR WHOM THE PETITION WAS FILED, THE PETITION FOR HABEAS CORPUS HAS
BECOME MOOT AND ACADEMIC.

The Courts Ruling

The Court of Appeals erred when it affirmed the RTCs 9 December 2002 and 21 April 2003 Orders. In its Orders, the RTC
ruled that, since the sole purpose of the petition for habeas corpus was the production of Maryl Joy before the trial court,
the action became moot when Maryl Joy was produced. The Court disagrees.
Section 1, Rule 102, of the Rules of Court states that the writ of habeas corpus shall extend to all cases where the rightful
custody of any person is withheld from the persons entitled thereto. In cases involving minors, the purpose of a petition for
habeas corpus is not limited to the production of the child before the court. The main purpose of the petition for habeas
corpus is to determine who has the rightful custody over the child. In Tijing v. Court of Appeals,[18] the Court held that:
The writ of habeas corpus extends to all cases of illegal confinement or detention by which any person is
deprived of his liberty, or by which the rightful custody of any person is withheld from the person entitled
thereto. Thus, it is the proper legal remedy to enable parents to regain the custody of a minor child even if
the latter be in the custody of a third person of his own free will. It may even be said that in custody cases
involving minors, the question of illegal and involuntary restraint of liberty is not the underlying rationale
for the availability of the writ as a remedy. Rather, it is prosecuted for the purpose of determining the
right of custody over a child. (Emphasis supplied)

The RTC erred when it hastily dismissed the action for having become moot after Maryl Joy was produced before the trial
court. It should have conducted a trial to determine who had the rightful custody over Maryl Joy. In dismissing the action,

156

the RTC, in effect, granted the petition for habeas corpus and awarded the custody of Maryl Joy to the Spouses Gallardo
without sufficient basis. In Laxamana v. Laxamana,[19] the Court held that:
Mindful of the nature of the case at bar, the court a quo should have conducted a
trial notwithstanding the agreement of the parties to submit the case for resolution on the basis, inter alia,
of the psychiatric report of Dr. Teresito. Thus, petitioner is not estopped from questioning the
absence of a trial considering that said psychiatric report, which was the courts primary basis in
awarding custody to respondent, is insufficient to justify the decision. The fundamental policy of the
State to promote and protect the welfare of children shall not be disregarded by mere technicality in
resolving disputes which involve the family and the youth. (Emphasis supplied)

Article 214 of the Civil Code states that in case of absence or unsuitability of the parents, substitute parental authority
shall be exercised by the surviving grandparent. Article 216 states that in default of parents or a judicially appointed
guardian, the surviving grandparent shall exercise substitute parental authority over the child. Accordingly, in its 21 April
2003 Order, the RTC held that:
Petitioners are, under the law (Art. 214, Family Code), authorized to exercise substitute parental authority
over the child in case of death, absence or unsuitability of the parents, the entitlement to the legal custody
of the child being necessarily included therein to make possible and/or enable the petitioners to discharge
their duties as substitute parents.[20]

In its 11 June 2004 Decision, the Court of Appeals held that:
While it cannot be gainsaid that private respondents obtained initial custody of the minor in violation of a
valid court order, we nonetheless sustain the judgment a quo dismissing the petition and validating such
rightful custody over Maryl Joy. This is because private respondents are the grandparents of Maryl Joy,
hence, lawfully authorized to exercise substitute parental authority over her in the absence of her parents.
[21]

In determining who has the rightful custody over a child, the childs welfare is the most important consideration. The court
is not bound by any legal right of a person over the child. InSombong v. Court of Appeals,[22] the Court held that:
The controversy does not involve the question of personal freedom, because an infant is presumed to be
in the custody of someone until he attains majority age. In passing on the writ in a child custody case, the
court deals with a matter of an equitable nature. Not bound by any mere legal right of parent or
guardian, the court gives his or her claim to the custody of the child due weight as a claim
founded on human nature and considered generally equitable and just. Therefore, these cases are
decided, not on the legal right of the petitioner to be relieved from unlawful imprisonment or detention, as
in the case of adults, but on the courts view of the best interests of those whose welfare requires that they
be in custody of one person or another. Hence, the court is not bound to deliver a child into the
custody of any claimant or of any person, but should, in the consideration of the facts, leave it in
such custody as its welfare at the time appears to require. In short, the childs welfare is the
supreme consideration.
Considering that the childs welfare is an all-important factor in custody cases, the Child and Youth Welfare Code
unequivocally provides that in all questions regarding the care and custody, among others, of the child, his welfare

157

shall be the paramount consideration. In the same vein, the Family Code authorizes the courts to, if the welfare of
the child so demands, deprive the parents concerned of parental authority over the child or adopt such measures
as may be proper under the circumstances. (Emphasis supplied)
In Sombong,[23] the Court laid down three requisites in petitions for habeas corpus involving minors: (1) the petitioner has a
right of custody over the minor, (2) the respondent is withholding the rightful custody over the minor, and (3) the best
interest of the minor demands that he or she be in the custody of the petitioner. In the present case, these requisites are
not clearly established because the RTC hastily dismissed the action and awarded the custody of Maryl Joy to the
Spouses Gallardo without conducting any trial.
The proceedings before the RTC leave so much to be desired. While a remand of the case would mean further delay,
Maryl Joys best interest demands that proper proceedings be conducted to determine the fitness of the Spouses Gallardo
to take care of her.
WHEREFORE, the Court REMANDS the case to the Regional Trial Court, Judicial Region 4, Branch 72, Antipolo City, for
the purpose of receiving evidence to determine the fitness of the Spouses Antonio and Rosita S. Gallardo to have custody
of Maryl Joy Gallardo.

SO ORDERED.

BONIFACIA P. VANCIL, petitioner, vs. HELEN G. BELMES, respondent.
DECISION
SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ, J.:
Petition for review on certiorari of the Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 45650, In the Matter of
Guardianship of Minors Valerie Vancil and Vincent Vancil Bonifacia P. Vancil, Petitioner-Appellee, vs. Helen G. Belmes,
Oppositor-Appellant, promulgated on July 29, 1997, and its Resolution dated December 18, 1997 denying the motion for
reconsideration of the said Decision.
The facts of the case as summarized by the Court of Appeals in its Decision are:
Petitioner, Bonifacia Vancil, is the mother of Reeder C. Vancil, a Navy serviceman of the United States of America who
died in the said country on December 22, 1986. During his lifetime, Reeder had two (2) children named Valerie and
Vincent by his common-law wife, Helen G. Belmes.
Sometime in May of 1987, Bonifacia Vancil commenced before the Regional Trial Court of Cebu City a guardianship
proceedings over the persons and properties of minors Valerie and Vincent docketed as Special Proceedings No. 1618CEB. At the time, Valerie was only 6 years old while Vincent was a 2-year old child. It is claimed in the petition that the
minors are residents of Cebu City, Philippines and have an estate consisting of proceeds from their fathers death pension
benefits with a probable value of P100,000.00.
Finding sufficiency in form and in substance, the case was set for hearing after a 3-consecutive-weekly publications with
the Sunstar Daily.
On July 15, 1987, petitioner, Bonifacia Vancil was appointed legal and judicial guardian over the persons and estate of
Valerie Vancil and Vincent Vancil Jr.

158

On August 13, 1987, the natural mother of the minors, Helen Belmes, submitted an opposition to the subject guardianship
proceedings asseverating that she had already filed a similar petition for guardianship under Special Proceedings No.
2819 before the Regional Trial Court of Pagadian City.
Thereafter, on June 27, 1988, Helen Belmes followed her opposition with a motion for the Removal of Guardian and
Appointment of a New One, asserting that she is the natural mother in actual custody of and exercising parental authority
over the subject minors at Maralag, Dumingag, Zamboanga del Sur where they are permanently residing; that the petition
was filed under an improper venue; and that at the time the petition was filed Bonifacia Vancil was a resident of 140
Hurliman Court, Canon City, Colorado, U.S.A. being a naturalized American citizen.
On October 12, 1988, after due proceedings, the trial court rejected and denied Belmes motion to remove and/or to
disqualify Bonifacia as guardian of Valerie and Vincent Jr. and instead ordered petitioner Bonifacia Vancil to enter the
office and perform her duties as such guardian upon the posting of a bond of P50,000.00. The subsequent attempt for a
reconsideration was likewise dismissed in an Order dated November 24, 1988. [1]
On appeal, the Court of Appeals rendered its assailed Decision reversing the RTC order of October 12, 1988 and
dismissing Special Proceedings No. 1618-CEB.
The Court of Appeals held:
Stress should likewise be made that our Civil Code considers parents, the father, or in the absence, the mother, as natural
guardian of her minor children. The law on parental authority under the Civil Code or P.D. 603 and now the New Family
Code, (Article 225 of the Family Code) ascribe to the same legal pronouncements. Section 7 of Rule 93 of the Revised
Rules of Court confirms the designation of the parents as ipso facto guardian of their minor children without need of a
court appointment and only for good reason may another person be named. Ironically, for the petitioner, there is nothing
on record of any reason at all why Helen Belmes, the biological mother, should be deprived of her legal rights as natural
guardian of her minor children. To give away such privilege from Helen would be an abdication and grave violation of the
very basic fundamental tenets in civil law and the constitution on family solidarity.[2]
On March 10, 1998, Bonifacia Vancil filed with this Court the present petition, raising the following legal points:
1. The Court of Appeals gravely erred in ruling that the preferential right of a parent to be appointed guardian over the
persons and estate of the minors is absolute, contrary to existing jurisprudence.
2. The Court of Appeals gravely erred in ruling that Oppositor Helen G. Belmes, the biological mother, should be
appointed the guardian of the minors despite the undisputed proof that under her custody, her daughter minor Valerie
Vancil was raped seven times by Oppositors live-in partner.
3. The respondent (sic) Court of Appeals gravely erred when it disqualified petitioner Bonifacia P. Vancil to be
appointed as judicial guardian over the persons and estate of subject minors despite the fact that she has all the
qualifications and none of the disqualifications as judicial guardian, merely on the basis of her U.S. citizenship which
is clearly not a statutory requirement to become guardian.
At the outset, let it be stressed that in her Manifestation/Motion, dated September 15, 1998, respondent Helen
Belmes stated that her daughter Valerie turned eighteen on September 2, 1998 as shown by her Birth Certificate.
[3]
Respondent thus prayed that this case be dismissed with respect to Valerie, she being no longer a proper subject of
guardianship proceedings. The said Manifestation/Motion was noted by this Court in its Resolution dated November 11,
1998.
Considering that Valerie is already of major age, this petition has become moot with respect to her. Thus, only the
first and third legal points raised by petitioner should be resolved.

159

To be sure.[5] this Court ruled: The law vests on the father and mother joint parental authority over the persons of their common children. absence or unsuitability may substitute parental authority be exercised by the surviving grandparent. We agree with the ruling of the Court of Appeals that respondent. Obviously. It bears stressing that she is an American citizen and a resident of Colorado. she admitted the difficulty of discharging the duties of a guardian by an expatriate. vs. will give her a second thought of staying here. Even assuming that respondent is unfit as guardian of minor Vincent. In case of disagreement. xxx. CBU-16884 [6] filed by one Danilo R.[4] this Court held: Of considerable importance is the rule long accepted by the courts that the right of parents to the custody of their minor children is one of the natural rights incident to parenthood. This ruling finds support in Article 211 of the Family Code which provides: Art. In fact. Besides. In case of death. 211. as the surviving grandparent. Petitioner. Court of Appeals. Indeed. Indeed. 214. Only in case of the parents death. respondent has the corresponding natural and legal right to his custody. can exercise substitute parental authority only in case of death. substitute parental authority shall be exercised by the surviving grandparent. Deen. we observe that respondents allegation that petitioner has not set foot in the Philippines since 1987 has not been controverted by her. Branch 6. Considering that respondent is very much alive and has exercised continuously parental authority over Vincent. Petitioner. Cebu City in Criminal Case No. petitioner has to prove. Petitioner merely insists that respondent is morally unfit as guardian of Valerie considering that her (respondents) live-in partner raped Valerie several times. in her petition. the parent present shall continue exercising parental authority. But Valerie. her coming back to this country just to fulfill the duties of a guardian to Vincent for only two years is not certain. a right supported by law and sound public policy. In Santos. thus: Art. being the natural mother of the minor.The basic issue for our resolution is who between the mother and grandmother of minor Vincent should be his guardian. The right is an inherent one. In Sagala-Eslao vs. however. respondents unsuitability. which is not created by the state or decisions of the courts. Moreover. has not proffered convincing evidence showing that respondent is not suited to be the guardian of Vincent. Sr. being the natural mother of minor Vincent. Petitioners claim to be the guardian of said minor can only be realized by way of substitute parental authority pursuant to Article 214 of the Family Code. but derives from the nature of the parental relationship. petitioners old age and her conviction of libel by the Regional Trial Court. xxx. the fathers decision shall prevail. absence or unsuitability of the parents. in asserting her right to be the minors guardian. still petitioner cannot qualify as a substitute guardian. The father and the mother shall jointly exercise parental authority over the persons of their common children. is no longer a subject of this guardianship proceeding. has the preferential right over that of petitioner to be his guardian. absence or unsuitability of respondent. 160 . unless there is a judicial order to the contrary. being now of major age. like her. she will not be able to perform the responsibilities and obligations required of a guardian. she will merely delegate those duties to someone else who may not also qualify as a guardian. Petitioner contends that she is more qualified as guardian of Vincent. In case of absence or death of either parent. Court of Appeals.

. 182353 Present: CARPIO. Petitioners. and ROSALINDA TABUGO. ABAD. who has attained the age of majority. RODOLFO S. wards of the estate.: This petition for review on certiorari seeks to set aside the Decision[1] of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G. JOSEPHS COLLEGE. SR. notwithstanding the fact that there are no statutory requirements upon this question. In Guerrero vs. SFIC. 161 .R. WHEREFORE. Branch 221. will find much difficulty in complying with this duty by appointing administrators and guardians who are not personally subject to their jurisdiction. in Civil Case No. the courts. ST.versus - JAYSON MIRANDA. Respondent. etc. Teran. 68367.. will no longer be under the guardianship of respondent Helen Belmes. Q-95-22889.[7] this Court held: Doa Maria Muoz y Gomez was. represented by his father. 2010 x------------------------------------------------------------------------------------x DECISION NACHURA. and MENDOZA. this Court has held that courts should not appoint persons as guardians who are not within the jurisdiction of our courts for they will find it difficult to protect the wards. CV No. Notwithstanding that there is no statutory requirement. However. Quezon City. Costs against petitioner. NACHURA. JOSEPHINI AMBATALI. Chairperson. JJ. G. . charged with the responsibilities of protecting the estates of deceased persons. PERALTA. J. the appealed Decision is hereby AFFIRMED. SO ORDERED. which affirmed in toto the decision[2] of the Regional Trial Court (RTC). J.Significantly. as above indicated. the courts should not consent to the appointment of persons as administrators and guardians who are not personally subject to the jurisdiction of our courts here. No. MIRANDA. There is nothing in the law which requires the courts to appoint residents only as administrators or guardians. Promulgated: June 29. with modification in the sense that Valerie.R. removed upon the theory that her appointment was void because she did not reside in the Philippine Islands.

a small particle hitting one of [Jaysons] eyes. however. At the hospital. the class to which [respondent Jayson Val Miranda] belonged was conducting a science experiment about fusion of sulphur powder and iron fillings under the tutelage of [petitioner] Rosalinda Tabugo. the latter cried and apologized to his teacher for violating her instructions not to look into the test tube until the compound had cooled off. On November 17. the class to which [Jayson] belong[s] was conducting a science experiment under the guidance and supervision of Tabugo.00. as required in the written procedure for the experiment and as repeatedly explained by the teacher. [Jayson]. Josephini Ambatali. had to rush back home for which she spent P36. 1994 to December 26. follow: On November 17. The adviser of [Jaysons] class is x x x Estefania Abdan.000.The facts. the class science teacher. including attorneys fees. the compound in the test tube spurted out and several particles of which hit [Jaysons] eye and the different parts of the bodies of some of his group mates. who was the assistant leader of one of the class groups. 1994. Thus. In the middle of the experiment. for which he had to undergo surgery and had to spend for his medication. 1994. Sr. should likewise compensate [Jayson] for litigation expenses. in the amount of at least P40. violated such instructions and took a magnifying glass and looked at the compound. and Tabugo] alleged that [Jayson] was a grade six pupil of SJC in the school year 1994-1995. [Jayson] and his classmates were given strict instructions to follow the written procedure for the experiment and not to look into the test tube until the heated compound had cooled off. checked the result of the experiment by looking into the test tube with magnifying glass. as found by the CA. SFIC. Tabugo left her class while it was doing the experiment without having adequately secured it from any untoward incident or occurrence. Lukes Medical Center for treatment. who was working abroad. Hence. Upon filing of this case [in] the lower court. At that instance. [Jayson]. As a result thereof.00 for her fares and had to forego her salary from November 23. which at that moment spurted out of the test tube. she being the subject teacher and employee of [petitioner] SJC. Upon learning of the incident and because of the need for finances. at about 1:30 in the afternoon.070. therefore. they should be held liable for moral damages. 162 . The test tube was being held by one of his group mates who moved it close and towards the eye of [Jayson]. Jayson was rushed by the school employees to the school clinic and thereafter transferred to St. mental anguish and wounded feelings as a result of his injury due to [petitioners] fault and failure to exercise the degree of care and diligence incumbent upon each one of them. when Tabago visited [Jayson]. too. without waiting for the heated compound to cool off. about fusion of sulphur powder and iron fillings by combining these elements in a test tube and heating the same. at around 1:30 in the afternoon inside St. [Jaysons] eyes were chemically burned. 1994. Then. Before the science experiment was conducted. [petitioners SJC. [Jayson] was constrained to file the complaint for damages. [Jayson] and his parents suffered sleepless nights. particularly his left eye. [Petitioners]. [Jaysons] wound had not completely healed and still had to undergo another surgery. On the other hand. [Jayson] sent a demand letter to [petitioners] for the payment of his medical expenses as well as other expenses incidental thereto. which the latter failed to heed. Joseph Colleges [SJCs] premises. a person of sufficient age and discretion and completely capable of understanding the English language and the instructions of his teacher. [Jaysons] mother. Also.

wrote SJC a letter demanding that it should shoulder all the medical expenses of [Jayson] that had been incurred and will be incurred further arising from the accident caused by the science experiment.000. Rodolfo S.000. the assailed decision of the RTC of Quezon City. After trial.After the treatment. as previously adverted to.00 as mitigated moral damages. [3] Since SJC did not accede to the demand.338.[5] Undaunted. on Jaysons behalf.36 from the P77. petitioners appealed` by certiorari to this Court. [Jaysons] father. [Jayson] is ordered to reimburse [petitioner] St. [Jayson] was pronounced ready for discharge and an eye test showed that his vision had not been impaired or affected. to wit: WHEREFORE. judgment is hereby rendered in favor of [Jayson] and against [petitioners]. 1994. Jaysons father. 3. adamant that the CA grievously erred. However. thus: WHEREFORE. requested SJC to advance the amount of P26. Branch 221 dated September 6. SJC acceded to the request. On December 6. sued petitioners for damages. explained that the school cannot accede to the demand because the accident occurred by reason of [Jaysons] failure to comply with the written procedure for the experiment and his teachers repeated warnings and instruction that no student must face.25 as actual damages. 2.00 as reasonable attorneys fees.338.176. the parents of [Jayson]. represented by Sr. In a letter dated December 14. the RTC rendered judgment. However. To pay the costs of suit. This Court orders and holds the [petitioners] joint[ly] and solidarily liable to pay [Jayson] the following amount: 1.36 representing the advances given to pay [Jaysons] initial hospital expenses or in the alternative to deduct said amount of P26.[4] Aggrieved. much less look into. the counsel for SJC. SFIC. To pay [Jayson] the sum of P50. through counsel.176. in view of the foregoing. To pay [Jayson] the amount of P77. petitioners appealed to the CA. To pay [Jayson] the sum of P30. 4. Rodolfo. SO ORDERED.25 actual damages herein awarded by way of legal compensation. thus: 163 . In order to avoid additional hospital charges due to the delay in [Jaysons] discharge. Joseph College the amount of P26.176. however. the opening of the test tube until the heated compound has cooled.35 representing [Jaysons] hospital bill until his wife could arrive from abroad and pay back the money. the CA affirmed in toto the ruling of the RTC. 1994. 2000 is hereby AFFIRMED IN TOTO. premises considered. Josephini Ambatali. Miranda. Costs against [petitioners].

absurd or impossible. (6) the findings of fact are conclusions without mention of the specific evidence on which they are based. [7] A review of such findings by this Court is not warranted except for highly meritorious circumstances when: (1) the findings of a trial court are grounded entirely on speculation.[8] None of the foregoing exceptions which would warrant a reversal of the assailed decision obtains in this instance. are accorded the highest degree of respect and are considered conclusive between the parties. (4) the findings of the appellate court go beyond the issues of the case. THE LOWER COURT GRIEVOUSLY ERRED IN DENYING THE PETITIONERS COUNTERCLAIM.[6] We find no reason to depart from the uniform rulings of the lower courts that petitioners were negligent since they all failed to exercise the required reasonable care. THE COURT OF APPEALS GRIEVOUSLY ERRED IN NOT FINDING THAT THE PROXIMATE CAUSE OF JAYSONS INJURY WAS HIS OWN ACT OF LOOKING AT THE HEATED TEST TUBE BEFORE THE COMPOUND HAD COOLED IN COMPLETE DISREGARD OF INSTRUCTIONS GIVEN PRIOR TO THE EXPERIMENT. Marys Academy v. V. surmises or conjectures. (3) there is grave abuse of discretion in the appreciation of facts. if properly considered. Jurisprudence dictates that factual findings of the trial court. petitioners maintain that the proximate cause of Jaysons injury was his own negligence in disregarding the instructions given by Tabugo prior to the experiment and peeking into the test tube. Marys Academy from liability for the untimely death of its student during a school sanctioned activity.I. Carpitanos[9] which absolved St. IV. will justify a different conclusion. prudence. Yet. (2) a lower courts inference from its factual findings is manifestly mistaken. THE COURT OF APPEALS GRIEVOUSLY ERRED IN AFFIRMING THE AWARD OF ATTORNEYS FEES TO [JAYSON]. II. Petitioners invoke our ruling in St. THE COURT OF APPEALS GRIEVOUSLY ERRED IN AFFIRMING THE AWARD OF ACTUAL DAMAGES DESPITE THE ABSENCE OF PROOF TO SUPPORT THE SAME. 164 . (5) there is a misappreciation of facts. declaring that the negligence of petitioner St. or fail to notice certain relevant facts which. especially when affirmed by the appellate court. VI. III. THE COURT OF APPEALS FAILED TO APPRECIATE THAT. MARYS COLLEGE V. caution and foresight to prevent or avoid injuries to the students. or are contradicted by evidence on record. THE LOWER COURT GRIEVOUSLY ERRED IN AWARDING MORAL DAMAGES TO [JAYSON]. WILLIAM CARPITANOS. are premised on the absence of evidence. x x x JAYSONS CONTRIBUTORY NEGLIGENCE OF PEEKING INTO THE TEST TUBE WAS IN FACT THE PROXIMATE CAUSE OF HIS INJURY FOR WHICH THE PETITIONERS SHOULD NOT BE HELD LIABLE. IN LIGHT OF THE RULING IN THE CASE OF ST. Marys Academy was only a remote cause of the accident.

was presented to establish that [petitioner] Tabugo was inside the classroom for the whole duration of the experiment. We find that the immediate cause of the accident was not the negligence of [Jayson] when he curiously looked into the test tube when the chemicals suddenly exploded which caused his injury. however. The negligent acts of the other individual [petitioners] were done within the scope of their assigned tasks. The assailed Decision of the CA quotes with favor the RTC decision. thus: In this case. It was unnatural in the ordinary course of events that [Jayson] was brought to the school clinic for immediate treatment not by [petitioner] subject teacher Rosalinda Tabugo but by somebody else. however. these [petitioners] were remiss in their responsibilities and lacking in the degree of vigilance expected of them. prudence. the lower courts conclusions are borne out by the records of this case. [Petitioners] could have prevented the mishap if they exercised a higher degree of care. The court a quo correctly ruled that: All of the [petitioners] are equally at fault and are liable for negligence because all of them are responsible for exercising the required reasonable care.We are not convinced. Contrary to petitioners assertions. Joseph College will not exculpate it from liability because it has been shown that it was guilty of inexcusable laxity in the supervision of its teachers (despite an apparent rigid screening 165 . No evidence. xxxx The defense of due diligence of a good father of a family raised by [petitioner] St. Estefania Abdan is equally at fault as the subject adviser or teacher in charge because she exercised control and supervision over [petitioner] Tabugo and the students themselves. It was her obligation to insure that nothing would go wrong and that the science experiment would be conducted safely and without any harm or injury to the students. Josephini Ambatali is likewise culpable under the doctrine of command responsibility because the other individual [petitioners] were under her direct control and supervision. The Court is inclined to believe that [petitioner] subject teacher Tabugo was not inside the classroom at the time the accident happened. Based on the facts presented before this Court. but the sudden and unexpected explosion of the chemicals independent of any intervening cause. [petitioners] failed to show that the negligence of [Jayson] was the proximate cause of the latters injury. The individual [petitioners] are persons charged with the teaching and vigilance over their students as well as the supervision and ensuring of their well-being. [Petitioner] Sr. The Court. caution and foresight to prevent or avoid injuries to the students. The Court is also perplexed why none of the other students (who were eyewitnesses to the incident) testified in Court to corroborate the story of the [petitioners]. caution and foresight. independent of any intervening cause. Both courts correctly concluded that the immediate and proximate cause of the accident which caused injury to Jayson was the sudden and unexpected explosion of the chemicals. understands that these other students cannot testify for [Jayson] because [Jayson] is no longer enrolled in said school and testifying for [Jayson] would incur the ire of school authorities. [Petitioner] subject teacher Rosalinda Tabugo was inside the classroom when the class undertook the science experiment although [Jayson] insisted that said [petitioner] left the classroom.

Article 218 of the Family Code. Ordinarily. The fact that there has never been any accident in the past during the conduct of science experiments is not a justification to be complacent in just preserving the status quo and do away with creative foresight to install safety measures to protect the students. Authority and responsibility shall apply to all authorized activities whether inside or outside the premises of the school. not to look into the heated test tube before the compound had cooled off.process for hiring) and in the maintenance of what should have been a safe and secured environment for conducting dangerous experiments. at the start of the experiment. 166 . in relation to Article 2180 of the Civil Code. its administrators and teachers. More importantly. or the individual. caution and foresight incumbent upon the school. we are hard pressed to disturb the findings of the RTC. which the CA affirmed. Petitioners were negligent by failing to exercise the higher degree of care. petitioners make much of the fact that Tabugo specifically instructed her students. although an educational institution may be held liable under the principle of RESPONDENT SUPERIOR. thus: Art. We disagree. Nonetheless. As found by both lower courts. instruction or custody. schools should provide protective gears and devices to shield students from expected risks and anticipated dangers. 218. Petitioners would allocate all liability and place all blame for the accident on a twelve (12)-year-old student. entity or institution. the proximate cause of Jaysons injury was the concurrent failure of petitioners to prevent the foreseeable mishap that occurred during the conduct of the science experiment. The school.[10] Under the foregoing circumstances. direct and immediate and not conditioned upon the insolvency of or prior recourse against the negligent employee. entity or institution engaged in child care shall have special parental authority and responsibility over the minor child while under their supervision. Schools should not simply install safety reminders and distribute safety instructional manuals. bestows special parental authority on the following persons with the corresponding obligation. including Jayson. It has also been held that the liability of the employer for the [tortuous] acts or negligence of its employees is primary and solidary. [Petitioner] school is still liable for the wrongful acts of the teachers and employees because it had full information on the nature of dangerous science experiments but did not take affirmative steps to avert damage and injury to students. its administrators and teachers. herein respondent Jayson. the liability of teachers does not extend to the school or university itself.

2. Petitioner school did not provide protective gears and devices. Petitioners negligence and failure to exercise the requisite degree of care and caution is demonstrated by the following: 1. when the accident involving Jayson occurred. Petitioner school did not install safety measures to protect the students who conduct experiments in class. in driving the jeep. Petitioner school did not take affirmative steps to avert damage and injury to its students although it had full information on the nature of dangerous science experiments conducted by the students during class. In any event. or the reckless driving of James Daniel II. We held. but also for those of persons for whom one is responsible. specifically goggles. Petitioner Tabugo was not inside the classroom the whole time her class conducted the experiment. St. xxxx Lastly. In that case.Art. and 4. petitioners cannot simply deflect their negligence and liability by insisting that petitioner Tabugo gave specific instructions to her science class not to look directly into the heated compound. respondents thereat admitted the documentary exhibits establishing that the cause of the accident was a mechanical defect and not the recklessness of the minor. respondents did not present any evidence to show that the proximate cause of the accident was the negligence of the school authorities. so long as they remain in their custody. Moreover. the size of the classfifty (50) students conducting the experiment is difficult to monitor. 167 . to shield students from expected risks and dangers. x x x. James Daniel II. Neither does our ruling in St. Marys is not in point. The obligation imposed by Article 2176 is demandable not only for ones own acts or omissions. 2180. teachers or heads of establishments of arts and trades shall be liable for damages caused by their pupils and students or apprentices. Marys preclude their liability in this case. specifically. Unfortunately for petitioners. thus: Significantly. 3.

Hence. we likewise affirm the lower courts award of actual and moral damages. The denial of petitioners counterclaim is also in order. its officials and teachers. WHEREFORE. However. G. [12] As regards the contributory negligence of Jayson. 2012 168 . and grant of attorneys fees. for petitioner [St. he should not be entitled to recover damages in full but must likewise bear the consequences of his own negligence. there must be a finding that the act or omission considered as negligent was the proximate cause of the injury caused because the negligence must have a causal connection to the accident. [Jayson] is partly responsible for his own injury. CV No. liability for the accident. its administrators and teachers. should be held liable only for the damages actually caused by their negligence. He was driving the vehicle and he allowed James Daniel II. to drive the jeep at the time of the accident. [Petitioners]. As we have held in St. Marys Academy] to be liable. the petition is DENIED. ultimately. The Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. Marys.[11] In marked contrast.R. there was no evidence that petitioner school allowed the minor James Daniel II to drive the jeep of respondent Vivencio Villanueva. No. 68367 is AFFIRMED. we see no need to disturb the lower courts identical rulings thereon: As earlier discussed. must be pinned on the minors parents primarily. hence. there intervened the negligence of the minors parents or the detachment of the steering wheel guide of the jeep.Further. therefore. Between the remote cause and the injury. Costs against petitioners. This neglect in preventing a foreseeable injury and damage equates to neglect in exercising the utmost degree of diligence required of schools. grandson of respondent Vivencio Villanueva. [13] Lastly. The negligence on the part of [petitioner] Tabugo in not making sure that the science experiment was correctly conducted was the proximate cause or reason why the heated compound exploded and injured not only [Jayson] but his classmates as well. 187512 June 13. and. both the lower courts similarly concluded that the mishap which happened during the science experiment was foreseeable by the school. given our foregoing ruling. a minor.R. SO ORDERED. It was Ched Villanueva. Marys Academy was only a remote cause of the accident. who had possession and control of the jeep. was the proximate cause of the damage and injury to Jayson. the proximate cause of [Jaysons] injury was the explosion of the heated compound independent of any efficient intervening cause. The negligence of petitioner St. whether caused by the negligence of the minor driver or mechanical detachment of the steering wheel guide of the jeep.

3 the CA ruled that a petition for declaration of presumptive death under Rule 41 of the Family Code is a summary proceeding.REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES. The two eventually got married at the Manila City Hall on 3 March 1993. Yolanda claimed that from that time. However. She argued that her Petition for Declaration of Presumptive Death. 4 Hence. On 7 February 2005. petitioner Republic of the Philippines. in an Order dated 29 June 2007. On 10 March 2005. Petitioner filed a Notice of Appeal to elevate the case to the CA. Yolanda filed a Petition to have Cyrus declared presumptively dead. vs. Their marriage resulted in the birth of their son. After nine (9) years of waiting. The Petition was raffled to Presiding Judge Avelino Demetria of RTC Branch 85. Bermudez-Lorino. Petitioner moved for reconsideration. was a summary judicial proceeding. the RTC denied the motion. filed a Motion for Reconsideration of this Decision. Lipa City. not appealable. but its motion was likewise denied by the CA in a Resolution dated 3 April 2009. J. to no avail. DECISION SERENO. Sometime in May 1994. In its 23 January 2009 Resolution. YOLANDA CADACIO GRANADA. the RTC rendered a Decision declaring Cyrus as presumptively dead. Proc. Thus. Yolanda filed a Motion to Dismiss on the ground that the CA had no jurisdiction over the appeal. she had not received any communication from her husband. Petitioner. 2002-0530. represented by the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG). judgment thereon is immediately final and executory upon notice to the parties. Citing Republic v. thus. Her brother testified that he had asked the relatives of Cyrus regarding the latter’s whereabouts. based on Article 41 of the Family Code. In May 1991. and was docketed as Sp. Whether the CA seriously erred in dismissing the Petition on the ground that the Decision of the RTC in a summary proceeding for the declaration of presumptive death is immediately final and executory upon notice to the parties and. hence. is not subject to ordinary appeal 169 . Cyrus went to Taiwan to seek employment. the present Rule 45 Petition.: This is a Rule 45 Petition seeking the reversal of the Resolutions dated 23 January 2009 1 and 3 April 20092issued by the Court of Appeals (CA). Respondent. an electronics company in Paranaque where both were then working. which affirmed the grant by the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of the Petition for Declaration of Presumptive Death of the absent spouse of respondent. Cyborg Dean Cadacio Granada. when Sumida Electric Philippines closed down. No. the appellate court granted Yolanda’s Motion to Dismiss on the ground of lack of jurisdiction. notwithstanding efforts to locate him. Section 2(a) of the Rules of Court. in which the judgment is immediately final and executory and. 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. respondent Yolanda Cadacio Granada (Yolanda) met Cyrus Granada (Cyrus) at Sumida Electric Philippines. presumably under Rule 41. Issues 1.

The foregoing rules in Chapters 2 and 3 hereof shall likewise govern summary proceedings filed under Articles 41. Title XI of the Family Code is entitled "Summary Judicial Proceedings in the Family Law. 41. the procedural rules in this Title shall apply in all cases provided for in this Code requiring summary court proceedings. Hence. 73. Taken together. A marriage contracted by any person during the subsistence of a previous marriage shall be null and void. 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.5 the appellate court noted that a petition for declaration of presumptive death for the purpose of remarriage is a summary judicial proceeding under the Family Code. 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. Citing Republic v. xxx xxx xxx Art. insofar as they are applicable. Article 253 of the Family Code reads: ART.2. Such cases shall be decided in an expeditious manner without regard to technical rules. 247 and 253 of the Family Code provide that since a petition for declaration of presumptive death is a summary proceeding." Subsumed thereunder are Articles 238 and 247. Article 41 of the Family Code provides: Art. the judgment of the court therein shall be immediately final and executory. (Underscoring supplied. Further. The decision is therefore not subject to ordinary appeal. by express provision of Article 247 of the same Code. 253. which provide: Art. 238. and the attempt to question it through a Notice of Appeal is unavailing. The judgment of the court shall be immediately final and executory. 247. 238. an absence of only two years shall be sufficient. Further. 69. Bermudez-Lorino. the CA dismissed the Petition assailing the RTC’s grant of the Petition for Declaration of Presumptive Death of the absent spouse under Article 41 of the Family Code. 170 . the RTC Decision therein is immediately final and executory upon notice to the parties. On whether the CA seriously erred in dismissing the Petition on the ground that the Decision of the RTC in a summary proceeding for the declaration of presumptive death is immediately final and executory upon notice to the parties and.) Clearly. Articles 41. 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. 124 and 217. hence. Whether the CA seriously erred in affirming the RTC’s grant of the Petition for Declaration of Presumptive Death under Article 41 of the Family Code based on the evidence that respondent presented Our Ruling 1. 51. is not subject to ordinary appeal In the assailed Resolution dated 23 January 2009. Until modified by the Supreme Court. We affirm the CA ruling. 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. 96. unless before the celebration of the subsequent marriage. without prejudice to the effect of reappearance of the absent spouse.

Bermudez-Lorino. was immediately final and executory upon notice to the parties. not a petition for review under Rule 45. As observed by the CA. Jomoc superseded our ruling in Republic v. there is no reglementary period within which to perfect an appeal. petitioner was not required to file a record on appeal when it appealed the RTC Decision to the CA. In reversing the CA. the RTC granted respondent’s Petition for Declaration of Presumptive Death of her absent husband for the purpose of remarriage. Section 1(m). It was erroneous for the OSG to file a notice of appeal. precisely because judgments rendered thereunder. under Title XI: SUMMARY JUDICIAL PROCEEDINGS IN THE FAMILY LAW. are "immediately final and executory. who concurred in the result reached by the Court in Republic v." xxx xxx xxx But. Article 238 of the Family Code. and for the RTC to give due course thereto. the Supreme Court in Jomoc did not expound on the characteristics of a summary proceeding under the Family Code. Family Code. if only to set the records straight and for the future guidance of the bench and the bar. refine our previous decisions thereon. Justice (later Chief Justice) Artemio Panganiban. The CA affirmed the RTC ruling. Jomoc. establishes the rules that govern summary court proceedings in the Family Code: ART. the Court in Bermudez-Lorino expressly stated that its ruling on the impropriety of an ordinary appeal as a vehicle for questioning the trial court’s Decision in a summary proceeding for declaration of presumptive death under Article 41 of the Family Code was intended "to set the records straight and for the future guidance of the bench and the bar. Considering that this action was not a special proceeding. under the Rules of Court. expressly falls under the category of special proceedings. the procedural rules in this Title shall apply in all cases provided for in this Code requiring summary court proceedings. this Court settled the rule regarding appeal of judgments rendered in summary proceedings under the Family Code when it ruled in Republic v.In Republic v. the Republic argues that Bermudez-Lorino has been superseded by the subsequent Decision of the Court in Republic v. The Court of Appeals acquired no jurisdiction over the case. by express provision of Section 247. a petition for declaration of presumptive death under Article 41 of the Family Code is a summary proceeding.6 the Republic likewise appealed the CA’s affirmation of the RTC’s grant of respondent’s Petition for Declaration of Presumptive Death of her absent spouse. 238. The trial court disapproved the Notice of Appeal on the ground that. additionally opined that what the OSG should have filed was a petition for certiorari under Rule 65. let it be stated that the RTC’s decision dated November 7.7 issued a few months later. as provided for by Article 238 of the same Code. Such cases shall be decided in an expeditious manner without regard to technical rules. In contrast. We do not agree with the Republic’s argument that Republic v. 2001. rather than a special proceeding under Rule 72 of the Rules of Court. this Court clarified that while an action for declaration of death or absence under Rule 72. Tango: 9 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. 8 a record on appeal is required to be filed when appealing special proceedings cases. to wit: In Summary Judicial Proceedings under the Family Code. In the present case. petitioner’s action was a summary proceeding based on Article 41 of the Family Code. Bermudez-Lorino." At any rate. 171 . supra. Until modified by the Supreme Court. Since its purpose was to enable her to contract a subsequent valid marriage. In Jomoc. BermudezLorino. four years after Jomoc. The Court therein held that it was an error for the Republic to file a Notice of Appeal when the latter elevated the matter to the CA. Petitioner Republic appealed the RTC Decision by filing a Notice of Appeal. and should have dismissed the appeal outright on that ground.

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. (Emphasis supplied.)
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. 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. To
be sure, even if the Court's original jurisdiction to issue a writ of certiorari is concurrent with the RTCs and the Court of
Appeals in certain cases, such concurrence does not sanction an unrestricted freedom of choice of court forum. 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.
Evidently then, the CA did not commit any error in dismissing the Republic’s Notice of Appeal on the ground that the RTC
judgment on the Petition for Declaration of Presumptive Death of respondent’s spouse was immediately final and
executory and, hence, not subject to ordinary appeal.
2. On whether the CA seriously erred in affirming the RTC’s grant of the Petition for Declaration of Presumptive Death
under Article 41 of the Family Code based on the evidence that respondent had presented
Petitioner also assails the RTC’s 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,10 United States v. Biasbas11 and Republic v. Court of Appeals and Alegro12 as authorities on the subject.
In Nolasco, petitioner Republic sought the reversal of the CA’s affirmation of the RTC’s grant of respondent’s 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. 13 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 "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:

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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, 14 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
RTC’s 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.
The spouse present is, thus, burdened to prove that his spouse has been absent and that he has a well-founded belief
that the absent spouse is already dead before the present spouse may contract a subsequent marriage. The law does not
define what is meant by a well-grounded belief. Cuello Callon writes that "es menester que su creencia sea firme se funde
en motivos racionales."
Belief is a state of the mind or condition prompting the doing of an overt act.1âwphi1 It may be proved by direct evidence
or circumstantial evidence which may tend, even in a slight degree, to elucidate the inquiry or assist to a determination
probably founded in truth. Any fact or circumstance relating to the character, habits, conditions, attachments, prosperity
and objects of life which usually control the conduct of men, and are the motives of their actions, was, so far as it tends to
explain or characterize their disappearance or throw light on their intentions, competence [sic] evidence on the ultimate
question of his death.
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. (Footnotes omitted, underscoring supplied.)
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. While her brother Diosdado Cadacio testified to having inquired about the
whereabouts of Cyrus from the latter’s relatives, these relatives were not presented to corroborate Diosdado’s testimony.
In short, respondent was allegedly not diligent in her search for her husband. Petitioner argues that if she were, she would
have sought information from the Taiwanese Consular Office or assistance from other government agencies in Taiwan or

173

the Philippines. She could have also utilized mass media for this end, but she did not. Worse, she failed to explain these
omissions.
The Republic’s 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." 15
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the assailed Resolutions of the Court of Appeals dated 23 January 2009 and 3 April
2009 in CA-G.R. CV No. 90165 are AFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. 174689

October 22, 2007

ROMMEL JACINTO DANTES SILVERIO, petitioner,
vs.
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondent.
DECISION
CORONA, J.:
When God created man, He made him in the likeness of God; He created them male and female. (Genesis 5:1-2)
Amihan gazed upon the bamboo reed planted by Bathala and she heard voices coming from inside the bamboo.
"Oh North Wind! North Wind! Please let us out!," the voices said. She pecked the reed once, then twice. All of a
sudden, the bamboo cracked and slit open. Out came two human beings; one was a male and the other was a
female. Amihan named the man "Malakas" (Strong) and the woman "Maganda" (Beautiful). (The Legend of
Malakas and Maganda)
When is a man a man and when is a woman a woman? In particular, does the law recognize the changes made by a
physician using scalpel, drugs and counseling with regard to a person’s sex? May a person successfully petition for a
change of name and sex appearing in the birth certificate to reflect the result of a sex reassignment surgery?
On November 26, 2002, petitioner Rommel Jacinto Dantes Silverio filed a petition for the change of his first name and sex
in his birth certificate in the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 8. The petition, docketed as SP Case No. 02-105207,
impleaded the civil registrar of Manila as respondent.
Petitioner alleged in his petition that he was born in the City of Manila to the spouses Melecio Petines Silverio and Anita
Aquino Dantes on April 4, 1962. His name was registered as "Rommel Jacinto Dantes Silverio" in his certificate of live
birth (birth certificate). His sex was registered as "male."
He further alleged that he is a male transsexual, that is, "anatomically male but feels, thinks and acts as a female" and
that he had always identified himself with girls since childhood. 1 Feeling trapped in a man’s body, he consulted several

174

From then on. who issued a medical certificate attesting that he (petitioner) had in fact undergone the procedure. the Court of Appeals granted the Republic’s petition. He underwent psychological examination. He also presented Dr. petitioner testified for himself. Marcelino Reysio-Cruz.doctors in the United States. 02-105207. the trial court rendered a decision 4 in favor of petitioner. Likewise. through the [OSG] has not seen fit to interpose any [o]pposition. a plastic and reconstruction surgeon in the Philippines. On February 23. specifically for petitioner’s first name from "Rommel Jacinto" to MELY and petitioner’s gender from "Male" to FEMALE. who has always felt. With his sexual [re-assignment]. Finally." An order setting the case for initial hearing was published in the People’s Journal Tonight. 175 . Thailand. thought and acted like a woman. 2003. Edel.6 It alleged that there is no law allowing the change of entries in the birth certificate by reason of sex alteration. WHEREFORE. injury [or] prejudice will be caused to anybody or the community in granting the petition. On the contrary. and his American fiancé. 3 Copies of the order were sent to the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) and the civil registrar of Manila. Jr. the [c]ourt believes that no harm. granting the petition would bring the much-awaited happiness on the part of the petitioner and her [fiancé] and the realization of their dreams. The [c]ourt rules in the affirmative. Richard P. a newspaper of general circulation in Metro Manila. jurisdictional requirements were established. No opposition to the petition was made. On June 4. Jr. filed a petition for certiorari in the Court of Appeals. 5 On August 18. thru the OSG. His attempts to transform himself to a "woman" culminated on January 27. 2006. During trial.. for three consecutive weeks. 2001 when he underwent sex reassignment surgery2 in Bangkok." and his sex from "male" to "female. There is no law allowing the change of either name or sex in the certificate of birth on the ground of sex reassignment through surgery. this petition. petitioner lived as a female and was in fact engaged to be married. The sole issue here is whether or not petitioner is entitled to the relief asked for. Reysio-Cruz. hormone treatment and breast augmentation. petitioner. Even the State. the Republic of the Philippines (Republic). the Court of Appeals7 rendered a decision8 in favor of the Republic. as witnesses. Its relevant portions read: Petitioner filed the present petition not to evade any law or judgment or any infraction thereof or for any unlawful motive but solely for the purpose of making his birth records compatible with his present sex. 2003. set aside the decision of the trial court and ordered the dismissal of SP Case No. judgment is hereby rendered GRANTING the petition and ordering the Civil Registrar of Manila to change the entries appearing in the Certificate of Birth of [p]etitioner.9 Hence. the [c]ourt is of the opinion that granting the petition would be more in consonance with the principles of justice and equity. Petitioner moved for reconsideration but it was denied. Thus. It ruled that the trial court’s decision lacked legal basis. now possesses the physique of a female. Firstly. Petitioner’s misfortune to be trapped in a man’s body is not his own doing and should not be in any way taken against him. On the scheduled initial hearing. He then sought to have his name in his birth certificate changed from "Rommel Jacinto" to "Mely. no evidence was presented to show any cause or ground to deny the present petition despite due notice and publication thereof. He was thereafter examined by Dr.

16 form17 and procedure. (2) The new first name or nickname has been habitually and continuously used by the petitioner and he has been publicly known by that first name or nickname in the community. – The petition for change of first name or nickname may be allowed in any of the following cases: (1) The petitioner finds the first name or nickname to be ridiculous. 11 A change of name is a privilege. 10 The petition lacks merit. – No entry in a civil register shall be changed or corrected without a judicial order. RA 9048 now governs the change of first name. Grounds for Change of First Name or Nickname. jurisdiction over applications for change of first name is now primarily lodged with the aforementioned administrative officers.14 It vests the power and authority to entertain petitions for change of first name to the city or municipal civil registrar or consul general concerned.12 Petitions for change of name are controlled by statutes. (emphasis supplied) Petitioner believes that after having acquired the physical features of a female. Article 376 of the Civil Code provides: ART. In sum. A Person’s First Name Cannot Be Changed On the Ground of Sex Reassignment Petitioner invoked his sex reassignment as the ground for his petition for change of name and sex. In particular. This Civil Code provision was amended by RA 9048 (Clerical Error Law). he became entitled to the civil registry changes sought. until and unless an administrative petition for change of name is first filed and subsequently denied. tainted with dishonor or extremely difficult to write or pronounce. not a right. except for clerical or typographical errors and change of first name or nickname which can be corrected or changed by the concerned city or municipal civil registrar or consul general in accordance with the provisions of this Act and its implementing rules and regulations. 376. 13 In this connection. We disagree. the remedy and the proceedings regulating change of first name are primarily administrative in nature. As found by the trial court: Petitioner filed the present petition not to evade any law or judgment or any infraction thereof or for any unlawful motive but solely for the purpose of making his birth records compatible with his present sex. not judicial. RA 9048 likewise provides the grounds for which change of first name may be allowed: SECTION 4.Petitioner essentially claims that the change of his name and sex in his birth certificate is allowed under Articles 407 to 413 of the Civil Code. 15 It likewise lays down the corresponding venue. The intent and effect of the law is to exclude the change of first name from the coverage of Rules 103 (Change of Name) and 108 (Cancellation or Correction of Entries in the Civil Registry) of the Rules of Court. Rules 103 and 108 of the Rules of Court and RA 9048. Section 1 of RA 9048 provides: SECTION 1. Authority to Correct Clerical or Typographical Error and Change of First Name or Nickname. therefore. The State has an interest in the names borne by individuals and entities for purposes of identification. Under the law. or 176 . No person can change his name or surname without judicial authority.

412.23 Section 2(c) of RA 9048 defines what a "clerical or typographical error" is: SECTION 2. No Law Allows The Change of Entry In The Birth Certificate As To Sex On the Ground of Sex Reassignment The determination of a person’s sex appearing in his birth certificate is a legal issue and the court must look to the statutes. – As used in this Act. age. he failed to show. It is a substantial change for which the applicable procedure is Rule 108 of the Rules of Court. Article 412 of the Civil Code provides: ART.19 In addition. any prejudice that he might suffer as a result of using his true and official name. More importantly. He intended to make his first name compatible with the sex he thought he transformed himself into through surgery. 177 . However. the following terms shall mean: xxx xxx xxx (3) "Clerical or typographical error" refers to a mistake committed in the performance of clerical work in writing. No entry in the civil register shall be changed or corrected without a judicial order. RA 9048 removed from the ambit of Rule 108 of the Rules of Court the correction of such errors. Together with Article 376 of the Civil Code.18 RA 9048 does not sanction a change of first name on the ground of sex reassignment. It was also filed in the wrong venue as the proper venue was in the Office of the Civil Registrar of Manila where his birth certificate is kept. and can be corrected or changed only by reference to other existing record or records: Provided. changing petitioner’s first name for his declared purpose may only create grave complications in the civil registry and the public interest.21 In this connection.22 Rule 108 now applies only to substantial changes and corrections in entries in the civil register. that provided under RA 9048. For all these reasons. Rather than avoiding confusion. that is. a change of name does not alter one’s legal capacity or civil status. however. it had no merit since the use of his true and official name does not prejudice him at all. assuming it could be legally done. In effect. the petition in the trial court in so far as it prayed for the change of petitioner’s first name was not within that court’s primary jurisdiction as the petition should have been filed with the local civil registrar concerned. Before a person can legally change his given name. the Court of Appeals correctly dismissed petitioner’s petition in so far as the change of his first name was concerned. Petitioner’s basis in praying for the change of his first name was his sex reassignment.20 In this case. he must show that he will be prejudiced by the use of his true and official name. In sum. copying. The correction or change of such matters can now be made through administrative proceedings and without the need for a judicial order. That no correction must involve the change of nationality.(3) The change will avoid confusion. a correction in the civil registry involving the change of sex is not a mere clerical or typographical error. which is visible to the eyes or obvious to the understanding. this provision was amended by RA 9048 in so far as clerical or typographical errors are involved. status or sex of the petitioner. such as misspelled name or misspelled place of birth or the like. transcribing or typing an entry in the civil register that is harmless and innocuous. (emphasis supplied) Under RA 9048. he must present proper or reasonable cause or any compelling reason justifying such change. It was an improper remedy because the proper remedy was administrative. or even allege. Definition of Terms.

marriage. 28 (emphasis supplied) A person’s sex is an essential factor in marriage and family relations. capacity to have rights in general. In this connection. status and nationality of a person. were all correct. annulments of marriage. (4) legal separations. marriages. Article 413 of the Civil Code provides: ART. and its various aspects. sex reassignment is not among those acts or events mentioned in Article 407.25 However. In contrast. adoptions. (7) legitimations. judicial determination of filiation and changes of name). (15) voluntary emancipation of a minor. the sum total of capacities and incapacities) of a person in view of his age. nationality and his family membership. or his being married or not. civil interdiction. events or factual errors contemplated under Article 407 of the Civil Code include even those that occur after birth. It is a part of a person’s legal capacity and civil status. The comprehensive term status… include such matters as the beginning and end of legal personality. (8) adoptions. Acts. acknowledgments of illegitimate children and naturalization). "Status" refers to the circumstances affecting the legal situation (that is. events and judicial decrees concerning the civil status of persons shall be recorded in the civil register. To correct simply means "to make or set aright. (6) judgments declaring marriages void from the beginning. (11) loss. These acts. The following shall be entered in the civil register: (1) Births. (2) marriages. more or less permanent in nature. Their effects are expressly sanctioned by the laws. naturalization." 26 The birth certificate of petitioner contained no error. Section 5 of Act 3753 (the Civil Register Law) provides: 178 . 407. All entries therein. including those corresponding to his first name and sex. Neither is it recognized nor even mentioned by any law. adoption. such as birth. divorce. family relations. such as his being legitimate or illegitimate. events and judicial decrees produce legal consequences that touch upon the legal capacity. (14) judicial determination of filiation. All other matters pertaining to the registration of civil status shall be governed by special laws. (3) deaths. (9) acknowledgments of natural children. or (12) recovery of citizenship. No correction is necessary. not ordinarily terminable at his own will. legitimation. events (such as births.The entries envisaged in Article 412 of the Civil Code and correctable under Rule 108 of the Rules of Court are those provided in Articles 407 and 408 of the Civil Code:24 ART. ART. (13) civil interdiction. and sometimes even succession. (10) naturalization. naturalization and deaths) and judicial decrees (such as legal separations. (5) annulments of marriage. 408. declarations of nullity of marriages. 27 The status of a person in law includes all his personal qualities and relations. 413. and (16) changes of name. Moreover. This is fatal to petitioner’s cause. Article 407 of the Civil Code authorizes the entry in the civil registry of certain acts (such as legitimations. The acts. no reasonable interpretation of the provision can justify the conclusion that it covers the correction on the ground of sex reassignment. emancipation. expressly or impliedly. to remove the faults or error from" while to change means "to replace something with something else of the same kind or with something that serves as a substitute. loss or recovery of citizenship. But there is no such special law in the Philippines governing sex reassignment and its effects.

one of the most sacred social institutions." 33 Female is "the sex that produces ova or bears young"34 and male is "the sex that has organs to produce spermatozoa for fertilizing ova. marriage. a birth certificate is a historical record of the facts as they existed at the time of birth. the declaration of either parent of the newborn child. Registration and certification of births. 41 among others.31 When words are not defined in a statute they are to be given their common and ordinary meaning in the absence of a contrary legislative intent. In such declaration. the person above mentioned shall certify to the following facts: (a) date and hour of birth. (e) place where the infant was born. Such declaration shall be exempt from documentary stamp tax and shall be sent to the local civil registrar not later than thirty days after the birth. in default thereof." 35 Thus. The changes sought by petitioner will have serious and wide-ranging legal and public policy consequences. Furthermore. This is wrong. 179 . visually done by the birth attendant (the physician or midwife) by examining the genitals of the infant. However. even the trial court itself found that the petition was but petitioner’s first step towards his eventual marriage to his male fiancé. the words "male" and "female" in everyday understanding do not include persons who have undergone sex reassignment. – The declaration of the physician or midwife in attendance at the birth or. no law authorizes the change of entry as to sex in the civil registry for that reason." "male" and "female" as used in the Civil Register Law and laws concerning the civil registry (and even all other laws) should therefore be understood in their common and ordinary usage. It believed that allowing the petition would cause no harm. xxx xxx xxx (emphasis supplied) Under the Civil Register Law. is a special contract of permanent union between a man and a woman. there is no legal basis for his petition for the correction or change of the entries in his birth certificate. the sex of a person is determined at birth.29 Thus. if not attended by error. 39 certain felonies under the Revised Penal Code40 and the presumption of survivorship in case of calamities under Rule 131 of the Rules of Court. by the physician or midwife in attendance at the birth or by either parent of the newborn child. Neither May Entries in the Birth Certificate As to First Name or Sex Be Changed on the Ground of Equity The trial court opined that its grant of the petition was in consonance with the principles of justice and equity. "words that are employed in a statute which had at the time a well-known meaning are presumed to have been used in that sense unless the context compels to the contrary." For these reasons. It will allow the union of a man with another man who has undergone sex reassignment (a male-tofemale post-operative transsexual). in case the father is not known. injury or prejudice to anyone.38 To grant the changes sought by petitioner will substantially reconfigure and greatly alter the laws on marriage and family relations. and (f) such other data as may be required in the regulations to be issued. (b) sex and nationality of infant. shall be sufficient for the registration of a birth in the civil register. Thus. (c) names. (d) civil status of parents. Second. These laws underscore the public policy in relation to women which could be substantially affected if petitioner’s petition were to be granted.30is immutable. First. In this connection. sex is defined as "the sum of peculiarities of structure and function that distinguish a male from a female"32 or "the distinction between male and female. there being no legislative intent to the contrary." 36 Since the statutory language of the Civil Register Law was enacted in the early 1900s and remains unchanged. citizenship and religion of parents or. The words "sex.37 One of its essential requisites is the legal capacity of the contracting parties who must be a male and a female. 5.SEC. it cannot be argued that the term "sex" as used then is something alterable through surgery or something that allows a post-operative male-to-female transsexual to be included in the category "female. Considering that there is no law legally recognizing sex reassignment. while petitioner may have succeeded in altering his body and appearance through the intervention of modern surgery. the determination of a person’s sex made at the time of his or her birth. there are various laws which apply particularly to women such as the provisions of the Labor Code on employment of women. of the mother alone.

.. JR. not by the courts.: 180 ." However. Respondent.. where they may be filed.. VELASCO. the remedies petitioner seeks involve questions of public policy to be addressed solely by the legislature.. In our system of government. J.. REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES. WHEREFORE. J...... However..-x DECISION QUISUMBING. life is indeed an ordeal. not to make or amend it. Congress... 2008 x..It is true that Article 9 of the Civil Code mandates that "[n]o judge or court shall decline to render judgment by reason of the silence. However. Promulgated: September 12.. TINGA... what proof must be presented and what procedures shall be observed. If the legislature intends to confer on a person who has undergone sex reassignment the privilege to change his name and sex to conform with his reassigned sex...versus - JENNIFER B. obscurity or insufficiency of the law. CAGANDAHAN. G. contentment and [the] realization of their dreams. QUISUMBING.. to determine what guidelines should govern the recognition of the effects of sex reassignment... Petitioner.. it is not a license for courts to engage in judicial legislation..R. The Court cannot enact a law where no law exists.. JJ. The Court recognizes that there are people whose preferences and orientation do not fit neatly into the commonly recognized parameters of social convention and that.. should it choose to do so.. or on anything else. 166676 Present: .. what grounds may be invoked. No.. the petition is hereby DENIED." No argument about that. To reiterate.. at least for them. Costs against petitioner.... The need for legislative guidelines becomes particularly important in this case where the claims asserted are statute-based... the statutes define who may file petitions for change of first name and for correction or change of entries in the civil registry.. The duty of the courts is to apply or interpret the law.. CARPIO MORALES.. It can only apply or interpret the written word of its co-equal branch of government..... it is for the legislature. It might be theoretically possible for this Court to write a protocol on when a person may be recognized as having successfully changed his sex.. SO ORDERED.... this Court has no authority to fashion a law on that matter.. Petitioner pleads that "[t]he unfortunates are also entitled to a life of happiness.. Chairperson.. and BRION.. it has to enact legislation laying down the guidelines in turn governing the conferment of that privilege.

The facts are as follows. Sionzon issued a medical certificate stating that respondents condition is known as CAH. He testified that this condition is very rare. and that she has no monthly period. 2003. She further alleged that she was diagnosed to have clitoral hyperthropy in her early years and at age six. The RTC granted respondents petition in a Decision dated January 12. respondent testified and presented the testimony of Dr. underwent an ultrasound where it was discovered that she has small ovaries. 1981 and was registered as a female in the Certificate of Live Birth but while growing up. Dr. Branch 33 of Siniloan. Laguna. Thus. she prayed that her birth certificate be corrected such that her gender be changed from female to male and her first name be changed from Jennifer to Jeff. which granted the Petition for Correction of Entries in Birth Certificate filed by Jennifer B. Petitioner has adequately presented to the Court very clear and convincing proofs for the granting of his petition. and the gender change would be advantageous to her. On December 11. 2005 which reads: The Court is convinced that petitioner has satisfactorily shown that he is entitled to the reliefs prayed [for]. her female organs did not develop normally and she has two sex organs female and male. The petition was published in a newspaper of general circulation for three (3) consecutive weeks and was posted in conspicuous places by the sheriff of the court.This is a petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court raising purely questions of law and seeking a reversal of the Decision[1] dated January 12. He further testified that respondents condition is permanent and recommended the change of gender because respondent has made up her mind. that respondents uterus is not fully developed because of lack of female hormones. adjusted to her chosen role as male. The Solicitor General entered his appearance and authorized the Assistant Provincial Prosecutor to appear in his behalf. Laguna. Michael Sionzon of the Department of Psychiatry. He explained that genetically respondent is female but because her body secretes male hormones. 2005 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC). tests revealed that her ovarian structures had minimized. respondent Jennifer Cagandahan filed a Petition for Correction of Entries in Birth Certificate[2] before the RTC. University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital. To prove her claim. It was medically proven that petitioners body produces male hormones. she has become a male person. she alleged that she was born on January 13. she developed secondary male characteristics and was diagnosed to have Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (CAH) which is a condition where persons thus afflicted possess both male and female characteristics. She then alleged that for all interests and appearances as well as in mind and emotion. and first 181 . Branch 33 of Siniloan. Cagandahan and ordered the following changes of entries in Cagandahans birth certificate: (1) the name Jennifer Cagandahan changed to Jeff Cagandahan and (2) gender from female to male. In her petition. she has stopped growing and she has no breast or menstrual development. At age thirteen.

. respondents petition before the court a quo did not implead the local civil registrar. and her name from Jennifer to Jeff. CONGENITAL ADRENAL HYPERPLASIA DOES NOT MAKE HER A MALE. He is a normal person and wants to be acknowledged and identified as a male. Rule 108 of the Rules of Court.e. baptismal certificate. i. [6] The OSG argues that Rule 108 does not allow change of sex or gender in the birth certificate and respondents claimed medical condition known as CAH does not make her a male. voters registry. the issue is whether the trial court erred in ordering the correction of entries in the birth certificate of respondent to change her sex or gender. and other pertinent records are hereby amended to conform with the foregoing corrected data. He has chosen to be male.[4] Simply stated. WHILE RESPONDENTS MEDICAL CONDITION. premises considered. the Civil Register of Pakil. on the ground of her medical condition known as CAH. The issues raised by petitioner are: THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN GRANTING THE PETITION CONSIDERING THAT: I. It is likewise ordered that petitioners school records. Rule 103 of the Rules of Court.[5] The OSG further contends respondents petition is fatally defective since it failed to state that respondent is a bona fide resident of the province where the petition was filed for at least three (3) years prior to the date of such filing as mandated under Section 2(b). under Rules 103 and 108 of the Rules of Court.[3] Thus. Laguna is hereby ordered to make the following corrections in the birth [c]ertificate of Jennifer Cagandahan upon payment of the prescribed fees: a) By changing the name from Jennifer Cagandahan to JEFF CAGANDAHAN.[7] 182 . WHEREFORE. THE REQUIREMENTS OF RULES 103 AND 108 OF THE RULES OF COURT HAVE NOT BEEN COMPLIED WITH. CORRECTION OF ENTRY UNDER RULE 108 DOES NOT ALLOW CHANGE OF SEX OR GENDER IN THE BIRTH CERTIFICATE. from female to male. and b) By changing the gender from female to MALE. SO ORDERED. this petition by the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) seeking a reversal of the abovementioned ruling. II. The OSG contends that the petition below is fatally defective for non-compliance with Rules 103 and 108 of the Rules of Court because while the local civil registrar is an indispensable party in a petition for cancellation or correction of entries under Section 3. AND.his body as well as his action and feelings are that of a male.

who shall forthwith enter the same in the civil register. shall fix a date and place for the hearing thereof. 183 . Judgment. SEC. Hearing. [or. to the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court].[8] respondent is actually a male person and hence his birth certificate has to be corrected to reflect his true sex/gender. Order for hearing. Venue. or some other person on his behalf. Service of judgment. A petition for change of name shall be signed and verified by the person desiring his name changed. 5. Contents of petition. Upon satisfactory proof in open court on the date fixed in the order that such order has been published as directed and that the allegations of the petition are true. Laguna was not formally named a party in the Petition for Correction of Birth Certificate. the Order to publish on December 16. SEC. (c) The name asked for.On the other hand. 4. SEC.[9] change of sex or gender is allowed under Rule 108. SEC. by an order reciting the purpose of the petition. Judgments or orders rendered in connection with this rule shall be furnished the civil registrar of the municipality or city where the court issuing the same is situated. and shall set forth: (a) That the petitioner has been a bona fide resident of the province where the petition is filed for at least three (3) years prior to the date of such filing. in the City of Manila. A person desiring to change his name shall present the petition to the Regional Trial Court of the province in which he resides. orders or processes in the course of the proceedings. 3. as the court shall deem best. Any interested person may appear at the hearing and oppose the petition. the court. [10] and respondent substantially complied with the requirements of Rules 103 and 108 of the Rules of Court. 2003 and all pleadings. adjudge that such name be changed in accordance with the prayer of the petition. SEC. The Solicitor General or the proper provincial or city fiscal shall appear on behalf of the Government of the Republic. If the petition filed is sufficient in form and substance. 2. 6. [11] Rules 103 and 108 of the Rules of Court provide: Rule 103 CHANGE OF NAME SECTION 1. and shall direct that a copy of the order be published before the hearing at least once a week for three (3) successive weeks in some newspaper of general circulation published in the province. nonetheless the Local Civil Registrar was furnished a copy of the Petition. The date set for the hearing shall not be within thirty (30) days prior to an election nor within four (4) months after the last publication of the notice. respondent counters that although the Local Civil Registrar of Pakil. (b) The cause for which the change of the petitioner's name is sought. if proper and reasonable cause appears for changing the name of the petitioner. the court shall.

Rule 108 provides that the civil registrar and all persons who have or claim any interest which would be affected thereby shall be made parties to the proceedings. SEC. by an order. Expediting proceedings.Rule 108 CANCELLATION OR CORRECTION OF ENTRIES IN THE CIVIL REGISTRY SECTION 1. Notice and publication. He is an indispensable party without whom no final determination of the case can be had. (g) legitimations. The OSG argues that the petition below is fatally defective for non-compliance with Rules 103 and 108 of the Rules of Court because respondents petition did not implead the local civil registrar. 6. and (o) changes of name. and may also grant preliminary injunction for the preservation of the rights of the parties pending such proceedings. 4. 184 . Order. The court in which the proceedings is brought may make orders expediting the proceedings. SEC. 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. SEC. loss or recovery of citizenship. fix the time and place for the hearing of the same. the following entries in the civil register may be cancelled or corrected: (a) births. a certified copy of the judgment shall be served upon the civil registrar concerned who shall annotate the same in his record. Any person interested in any act. Upon good and valid grounds. Parties. the court shall. may file a verified petition for the cancellation or correction of any entry relating thereto. within fifteen (15) days from notice of the petition. (j) naturalization. Opposition. (m) judicial determination of filiation. the court may either dismiss the petition or issue an order granting the cancellation or correction prayed for. with the Regional Trial Court of the province where the corresponding civil registry is located. the same shall be considered as falling much too short of the requirements of the rules. (n) voluntary emancipation of a minor. Upon the filing of the petition. Likewise. 2. the civil registrar and all persons who have or claim any interest which would be affected thereby shall be made parties to the proceeding. Section 3. [14] Respondent. (e) judgments of annulments of marriage. (d) legal separations. 3. Entries subject to cancellation or correction. 7. (h) adoptions. event. or from the last date of publication of such notice. (k) election. 5. the local civil registrar is required to be made a party in a proceeding for the correction of name in the civil registry. Who may file petition. file his opposition thereto. (f) judgments declaring marriages void from the beginning. (l) civil interdiction. [13] The corresponding petition should also implead as respondents the civil registrar and all other persons who may have or may claim to have any interest that would be affected thereby. (i) acknowledgments of natural children. SEC. order or decree concerning the civil status of persons which has been recorded in the civil register. The civil registrar and any person having or claiming any interest under the entry whose cancellation or correction is sought may. (b) marriages. SEC. In either case. (c) deaths. and cause reasonable notice thereof to be given to the persons named in the petition. After hearing. [12] Unless all possible indispensable parties were duly notified of the proceedings. When cancellation or correction of an entry in the civil register is sought.

uterus and fallopian tubes.[18] Under Rep. In this connection.however. events or factual errors contemplated under Article 407 of the Civil Code include even those that occur after birth. The acts. Rep. The correction or change of such matters can now be made through administrative proceedings and without the need for a judicial order. During the twentieth century. such as deepening of the voice. or (12) recovery of citizenship. speedy and inexpensive disposition of the matters brought before it. No entry in a civil register shall be changed or corrected without a judicial order.000 children are born with CAH. We agree that there is substantial compliance with Rule 108 when respondent furnished a copy of the petition to the local civil registrar. Acts.[15] Rule 1 of the Rules of Court which states that courts shall construe the Rules liberally to promote their objectives of securing to the parties a just.000 to 18. 9048 [17] in so far as clerical or typographical errors are involved. Rule 108 now applies only to substantial changes and corrections in entries in the civil register. (3) deaths. (8) adoptions. It is a substantial change for which the applicable procedure is Rule 108 of the Rules of Court. Together with Article 376[16] of the Civil Code. invokes Section 6. with this condition produces too much androgen. (2) normal internal structures of the female reproductive tract such as the ovaries. 9048. an ambiguous genitalia often appearing more male than female. Article 412 of the Civil Code provides: ART. facial hair. as the child grows older. (13) civil interdiction. a correction in the civil registry involving the change of sex is not a mere clerical or typographical error. (7) legitimations. The following shall be entered in the civil register: (1) Births. [22] The term is now of 185 . A person. (4) legal separations. ART. medicine adopted the term intersexuality to apply to human beings who cannot be classified as either male or female. (2) marriages. (5) annulments of marriage. CAH is one of many conditions[21] that involve intersex anatomy. 407. (6) judgments declaring marriages void from the beginning. (15) voluntary emancipation of a minor. 412. [19] The entries envisaged in Article 412 of the Civil Code and correctable under Rule 108 of the Rules of Court are those provided in Articles 407 and 408 of the Civil Code: ART. This condition causes the early or inappropriate appearance of male characteristics. and failure to menstruate at puberty. Act No. (10) naturalization.[20] Respondent undisputedly has CAH. some features start to appear male. The determination of a persons sex appearing in his birth certificate is a legal issue and the court must look to the statutes. a male hormone. About 1 in 10. (11) loss. In effect. like respondent. A newborn who has XX chromosomes coupled with CAH usually has a (1) swollen clitoris with the urethral opening at the base. and (16) changes of name. (14) judicial determination of filiation. (9) acknowledgments of natural children. events and judicial decrees concerning the civil status of persons shall be recorded in the civil register. 9048 removed from the ambit of Rule 108 of the Rules of Court the correction of such errors. 408. Act No. this provision was amended by Republic Act No.

genitalia. then a change in the subjects birth certificate entry is in order. we are of the view that where the person is biologically or naturally intersex the determining factor in his gender classification would be what the individual. Respondent here has simply let nature take its course and has not taken unnatural steps to arrest or interfere with what he was born with. It has been suggested that there is some middle ground between the sexes. nature endowed respondent with a mixed (neither consistently and categorically female nor consistently and categorically male) composition. However. [26] to force his body into the categorical mold of a 186 . But if we determine. if we determine respondent to be a female. According to Wikipedia. In deciding this case. Biologically. respondent has ambiguous genitalia and the phenotypic features of a male.widespread use. an intersex individual is considered as suffering from a disorder which is almost always recommended to be treated. [25] The current state of Philippine statutes apparently compels that a person be classified either as a male or as a female. like taking lifelong medication. with good reason thinks of his/her sex. respondents body system naturally produces high levels of male hormones (androgen). a no-mans land for those individuals who are neither truly male nor truly female. whether by surgery and/or by taking lifetime medication in order to mold the individual as neatly as possible into the category of either male or female. Respondent could have undergone treatment and taken steps. like respondent. he has already ordered his life to that of a male. intersexuality is the state of a living thing of a gonochoristic species whose sex chromosomes. intersex individuals have been expected to conform to either a male or female gender role. some intersex people with ambiguous external genitalia have had their genitalia surgically modified to resemble either male or female genitals. Intersex individuals are treated in different ways by different cultures. It is at maturity that the gender of such persons. having reached the age of majority. In the instant case. Respondent has female (XX) chromosomes. like respondent. An organism with intersex may have biological characteristics of both male and female sexes. Ultimately.[24] More commonly. And accordingly. In most societies. is fixed. and/or secondary sex characteristics are determined to be neither exclusively male nor female. As a result. Respondent here thinks of himself as a male and considering that his body produces high levels of male hormones (androgen) there is preponderant biological support for considering him as being male. then there is no basis for a change in the birth certificate entry for gender. but this Court is not controlled by mere appearances when nature itself fundamentally negates such rigid classification. based on medical testimony and scientific development showing the respondent to be other than female. we consider the compassionate calls for recognition of the various degrees of intersex as variations which should not be subject to outright denial. [23] Since the rise of modern medical science in Western societies. Sexual development in cases of intersex persons makes the gender classification at birth inconclusive.

DEL CASTILLO. No pronouncement as to costs. In the absence of evidence that respondent is an incompetent [27] and in the absence of evidence to show that classifying respondent as a male will harm other members of society who are equally entitled to protection under the law. and PEREZ. G.female but he did not. 169202 Petitioner. and (2) how an individual deals with what nature has handed out. to be exercised in the light of the reasons adduced and the consequences that will follow. [28] The trial courts grant of respondents change of name from Jennifer to Jeff implies a change of a feminine name to a masculine name. MARIA VIRGINIA V.R.BRION. In so ruling we do no more than give respect to (1) the diversity of nature. REMO. Chairperson.. -versus. Neither will the Court force respondent to undergo treatment and to take medication in order to fit the mold of a female. In other words. Nature has instead taken its due course in respondents development to reveal more fully his male characteristics. the Republics petition is DENIED. Thus. 187 . JJ. Branch 33 of Siniloan. ABAD. this Court has held that a change of name is not a matter of right but of judicial discretion. the Court affirms as valid and justified the respondents position and his personal judgment of being a male. The Court will not consider respondent as having erred in not choosing to undergo treatment in order to become or remain as a female. Present: CARPIO. As for respondents change of name under Rule 103. 2005 of the Regional Trial Court. the Court will not dictate on respondent concerning a matter so innately private as ones sexuality and lifestyle preferences. we find merit in respondents change of name. He chose not to do so. J. In the absence of a law on the matter. much less on whether or not to undergo medical treatment to reverse the male tendency due to CAH. to him should belong the primordial choice of what courses of action to take along the path of his sexual development and maturation. We cannot but respect how respondent deals with his unordinary state and thus help make his life easier. To him belongs the human right to the pursuit of happiness and of health. No. Life is already difficult for the ordinary person. Such a change will conform with the change of the entry in his birth certificate from female to male. Respondent is the one who has to live with his intersex anatomy. is AFFIRMED. Considering the consequence that respondents change of name merely recognizes his preferred gender. The Decision dated January 12. WHEREFORE. we respect respondents congenital condition and his mature decision to be a male. as society commonly currently knows this gender of the human species. Laguna. considering the unique circumstances in this case.

denied the request.: The Case Before the Court is a petition for review [1] of the 27 May 2005 Decision [2] and 2 August 2005 Resolution [3] of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. through Assistant Secretary Belen F. [5] On 15 November 2000. applied for the renewal of her passport with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) office in Chicago. and Remo as her middle name. Remo who is applying for renewal of her passport using her maiden name.R. divorce and death of the husband. The Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the Office of the President. the following entries appear in her passport: Rallonza as her surname. that is. petitioner filed an appeal with the Office of the President. Use of maiden name is allowed in passport application only if the married name has not been used in previous application. 188 . Maria Virginia V. Petitioner being married to Francisco R. only in cases of annulment of marriage.. which in turn affirmed the decision of the Secretary of Foreign Affairs denying petitioners request to revert to the use of her maiden name in her replacement passport. Remos case does not meet any of these conditions. The Facts Petitioner Maria Virginia V.THE HONORABLE SECRETARY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS. The Implementing Rules and Regulations for Philippine Passport Act of 1996 clearly defines the conditions when a woman applicant may revert to her maiden name. Prior to the expiry of the validity of her passport.A. [4] (Emphasis supplied) Petitioners motion for reconsideration of the above-letter resolution was denied in a letter dated 13 October 2000. petitioner. J. whose marriage still subsists. This Office is cognizant of the provision in the law that it is not obligatory for a married woman to use her husbands name. Manuel Joseph R. stating thus: This has reference to your letter dated 17 August 2000 regarding one Ms. Ms. Remo is a married Filipino citizen whose Philippine passport was then expiring on 27 October 2000. Rallonza. Illinois. March 5. SP No. wrote then Secretary of Foreign Affairs Domingo Siason expressing a similar request. Anota. On 28 August 2000. the DFA. with a request to revert to her maiden name and surname in the replacement passport. Petitioners request having been denied. Promulgated: Respondent. Bretana III.S. U. Atty. Maria Virginia as her given name. 87710. representing petitioner. 2010 x-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------x DECISION CARPIO.

it should yield to RA 8239. 001-A-9344 are hereby AFFIRMED. according to the Court of Appeals. premises considered. and the resolution dated July 27. the Office of the President denied the motion for reconsideration. the petition is DENIED. respondent was justified in refusing the request of petitioner to revert to her maiden name in the replacement passport.[8] Petitioner moved for reconsideration which the Court of Appeals denied in its Resolution dated 2 August 2005.On 27 July 2004.P. [10] The Court of Appeals held that for passport application and issuance purposes. despite the subsistence of her marriage. who originally used her husbands surname in her expired passport. 8239 (RA 8239) or the Philippine Passport Act of 1996 offers no leeway for any other interpretation than that only in case of divorce. The Court of Appeals Ruling The Court of Appeals found no conflict between Article 370 of the Civil Code [9] and Section 5(d) of RA 8239. Case No. On 28 October 2004. RA 8239 limits the instances when a married woman applicant may exercise the option to revert to the use of her maiden name such as in a case of a divorce decree. Hence. this petition. Since the Civil Code is a general law. In its Decision of 27 May 2005. 2004 of the Office of the President in O. SO ORDERED. The Ruling of the Court The petition lacks merit. annulment or declaration of nullity of marriage. the Court of Appeals denied the petition and affirmed the ruling of the Office of the President. 189 . can revert to the use of her maiden name in the replacement passport. petitioner cannot simply revert to her maiden name in the replacement passport after she had adopted her husbands surname in her old passport. annulment. The Issue The sole issue in this case is whether petitioner. 2004. or declaration [of nullity] of marriage may a married woman revert to her maiden name for passport purposes. [7] Petitioner filed with the Court of Appeals a petition for review under Rule 43 of the Rules of Civil Procedure. the latter will control the former regardless of the respective dates of passage. the Office of the President dismissed the appeal [6] and ruled that Section 5(d) of Republic Act No. Hence. Since there was no showing that petitioner's marriage to Francisco Rallonza has been annulled. The dispositive portion of the Court of Appeals decision reads: WHEREFORE. declared void or a divorce decree has been granted to them. and the order dated October 28. The Office of the President further held that in case of conflict between a general and special law.

she does not change her name but only her civil status. BUT PREFIXING A WORD INDICATING THAT SHE IS HIS WIFE. Article 370 of the Civil Code provides: ART. requested to resume her maiden name in the replacement passport arguing that no law prohibits her from using her maiden name. she need not apply and/or seek judicial authority to use her husbands name by prefixing the word Mrs. This has been settled in the case of Yasin v. Another point. the Court explained that: When a woman marries a man. 725. [14] In the present case. A married woman may use: (1) HER MAIDEN FIRST NAME AND SURNAME AND ADD HER HUSBANDS SURNAME. to use the surname of the husband in any of the ways provided by Article 370 of the Civil Code. OR (2) HER MAIDEN FIRST NAME AND HER HUSBAND'S SURNAME. Unlike inYasin. However. Yasin did not involve a request to resume ones maiden name in a replacement passport. 370. petitioner. SUCH AS MRS. OR (3) HER HUSBANDS FULL NAME. Civil Code. this interpretation is in consonance with the principle that surnames indicate descent. Civil Code). Honorable Judge Sharia District Court. when the marriage ties or vinculum no longer exists as in the case of death of the husband or divorce as authorized by the Muslim Code. but not a duty. We agree with petitioner that the use of the word may in the above provision indicates that the use of the husbands surname by the wife is permissive rather than obligatory. the widow or divorcee need not seek judicial confirmation of the change in her civil status in order to revert to her maiden name as use of her former husbands is optional and not obligatory for her (Tolentino. p. Civil Code). Similarly. a married woman has an option. 190 . Neither was she required to secure judicial authority to use the surname of her husband after the marriage as no law requires it. 370. before her husbands full name or by adding her husbands surname to her maiden first name. Petitioner cites Yasin as the applicable precedent. (Emphasis supplied) Clearly. but a petition to resume ones maiden name in view of the dissolution of ones marriage.[11] In Yasin. Yasin is not squarely in point with this case. The law grants her such right (Art. and after marriage of her former husband to another woman.[13] She is therefore allowed to use not only any of the three names provided in Article 370. 373. whose marriage is still subsisting and who opted to use her husbands surname in her old passport. She is not prohibited from continuously using her maiden name once she is married because when a woman marries.[12] petitioner therein filed with the Sharia District Court a Petition to resume the use of maiden name in view of the dissolution of her marriage by divorce under the Code of Muslim Personal Laws of the Philippines. she did not change her but only her civil status.Title XIII of the Civil Code governs the use of surnames. In the case of a married woman. which involved a Muslim divorcee whose former husband is already married to another woman. but also her maiden name upon marriage. Art.. When petitioner married her husband. 1983 ed. In ruling in favor of petitioner therein. petitioners marriage remains subsisting. Further.

Article 12 of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA 8239 provides: The passport can be amended only in the following cases: A) AMENDMENT OF WOMANS NAME DUE TO MARRIAGE. If she chooses to adopt her husbands surname in her new passport. a married woman may either adopt her husbands surname or continuously use her maiden name. DOES NOT PROHIBIT A MARRIED WOMAN FROM USING HER MAIDEN NAME IN HER PASSPORT. COURT DECREE OF SEPARATION. IN RECOGNITION OF THIS RIGHT. PETITIONER IS MISTAKEN. ANNULMENT OF MARRIAGE OR DIVORCE INITIATED BY A FOREIGN SPOUSE. 5.The law governing passport issuance is RA 8239 and the applicable provision in this case is Section 5(d). she may still do so. These instances are death of husband. placing her case outside of the purview of Section 5(d) of RA 8239 (as to the instances when a married woman may revert to the use of her maiden name). the DFA additionally requires the submission of an authenticated copy of the marriage certificate. IN FACT. Section 1. [15] This prohibition. if she prefers to continue using her maiden name. [17] 191 . SUCH AN APPLICANT IS NOT REQUIRED TO ADOPT HER HUSBAND'S SURNAME. thus. Otherwise.[16] In the case of renewal of passport. she may not resume her maiden name in the replacement passport. which states: Sec. Significantly. Requirements for the Issuance of Passport. SEPARATED. THE DFA ALLOWS A MARRIED WOMAN WHO APPLIES FOR A PASSPORT FOR THE FIRST TIME TO USE HER MAIDEN NAME. THAT IN CASE OF A DIVORCE DECREE. operates as an implied repeal of Article 370 of the Civil Code. A COPY OF THE CERTIFICATE OF MARRIAGE. divorce decree. THE WOMAN APPLICANT MAY REVERT TO THE USE OF HER MAIDEN NAME: PROVIDED. B) AMENDMENT OF WOMANS NAME DUE TO DEATH OF SPOUSE. X X X (EMPHASIS SUPPLIED) The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG). OR C) CHANGE OF SURNAME OF A CHILD WHO IS LEGITIMATED BY VIRTUE OF A SUBSEQUENT MARRIAGE OF HIS PARENTS. No passport shall be issued to an applicant unless the Secretary or his duly authorized representative is satisfied that the applicant is a Filipino citizen who has complied with the following requirements: x x x (D) IN CASE OF A WOMAN WHO IS MARRIED. annulment or nullity of marriage. conflicts with and. on behalf of the Secretary of Foreign Affairs. DIVORCE OR ANNULMENT OR CERTIFICATE OF DEATH OF THE DECEASED SPOUSE DULY ISSUED AND AUTHENTICATED BY THE OFFICE OF THE CIVIL REGISTRAR GENERAL: PROVIDED. ANNULMENT OR DECLARATION OF MARRIAGE AS VOID. DIVORCED OR WIDOWED OR WHOSE MARRIAGE HAS BEEN ANNULLED OR DECLARED BY COURT AS VOID. THE CONFLICT BETWEEN ARTICLE 370 OF THE CIVIL CODE AND SECTION 5(D) OF RA 8239 IS MORE IMAGINED THAN REAL. The DFA will not prohibit her from continuously using her maiden name. argues that the highlighted proviso in Section 5(d) of RA 8239 limits the instances when a married woman may be allowed to revert to the use of her maiden name in her passport. RA 8239. FURTHER. Since petitioners marriage to her husband subsists. INCLUDING ITS IMPLEMENTING RULES AND REGULATIONS. THAT SUCH DIVORCE IS RECOGNIZED UNDER EXISTING LAWS OF THE PHILIPPINES. according to petitioner.

(3) ANNULMENT.HOWEVER. A MARRIED WOMAN'S REVERSION TO THE USE OF HER MAIDEN NAME MUST BE BASED ONLY ON THE SEVERANCE OF THE MARRIAGE.[20] For a law to operate to repeal another law. THE STATE IS ALSO MANDATED TO PROTECT AND MAINTAIN THE INTEGRITY AND CREDIBILITY OF THE PASSPORT AND TRAVEL DOCUMENTS PROCEEDING FROM IT[23] AS A PHILIPPINE PASSPORT REMAINS AT ALL TIMES THE PROPERTY OF THE GOVERNMENT. T he apparently conflicting provisions of a law or two laws should be harmonized as much as possible. EXCEPT IN THE CASES ENUMERATED IN SECTION 5(D) OF RA 8239. The former must be so repugnant as to be irreconcilable with the latter act. Thus. Well-entrenched is the rule that an implied repeal is disfavored. The Court notes that petitioner would not have encountered any problems in the replacement passport had she opted to continuously and consistently use her maiden name from the moment she was married and from the time she first applied for a Philippine passport. which is considered superior to all other official documents. THE ACQUISITION OF A PHILIPPINE PASSPORT IS A PRIVILEGE. such as petitioner. definitely nothing prevents her in the future from requesting to revert to the use of her husbands surname. in her previous passport application. so that each shall be effective. OR (4) NULLITY OF MARRIAGE. the two laws must actually be inconsistent. THE PROVISIONS OF RA 8239 WHICH IS A SPECIAL LAW SPECIFICALLY DEALING WITH PASSPORT ISSUANCE MUST PREVAIL OVER THE PROVISIONS OF TITLE XIII OF THE CIVIL CODE WHICH IS THE GENERAL LAW ON THE USE OF SURNAMES.[18] THUS: [I]t is a familiar rule of statutory construction that to the extent of any necessary repugnancy between a general and a special law or provision. A BASIC TENET IN STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION IS THAT A SPECIAL LAW PREVAILS OVER A GENERAL LAW. petitioners theory of implied repeal must fail. petitioner consciously chose to use her husbands surname before. OTHERWISE STATED. If we allow petitioners present request. whose marriage subsists. Such unjustified changes in one's name and identity in a passport. However. ONCE A MARRIED WOMAN OPTED TO ADOPT HER HUSBANDS SURNAME IN HER PASSPORT. SINCE PETITIONERS MARRIAGE TO HER HUSBAND SUBSISTS. THE 192 . [21] This petitioner failed to establish. EVEN ASSUMING RA 8239 CONFLICTS WITH THE CIVIL CODE. the latter will control the former without regard to the respective dates of passage. THE LAW RECOGNIZES THE PASSPORT APPLICANTS CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO TRAVEL.[19] Moreover. for passport issuance purposes. and now desires to resume her maiden name. undue confusion and inconsistency in the records of passport holders will arise. [22] cannot be countenanced. SHE MAY NOT REVERT TO THE USE OF HER MAIDEN NAME. may not change her family name at will. a married woman. SHE MAY NOT RESUME HER MAIDEN NAME IN THE REPLACEMENT PASSPORT. HOWEVER. (2) DIVORCE. Otherwise. THESE INSTANCES ARE: (1) DEATH OF HUSBAND.

87710. SP No. we DENY the petition.R. It is issued by the Philippine government to its citizens requesting other governments to allow its holder to pass safely and freely. including the denial of unreasonable and whimsical requests for amendments such as in the instant case. it is within respondents competence to regulate any amendments intended to be made therein. [25] WHEREFORE. [24] As the OSG correctly pointed out: [T]he issuance of passports is impressed with public interest.HOLDER IS MERELY A POSSESSOR OF THE PASSPORT AS LONG AS IT IS VALID AND THE SAME MAY NOT BE SURRENDERED TO ANY PERSON OR ENTITY OTHER THAN THE GOVERNMENT OR ITS REPRESENTATIVE. x x x Viewed in the light of the foregoing. 193 . to give him/her aid and protection. and in case of need. SO ORDERED. A passport is an official document of identity and nationality issued to a person intending to travel or sojourn in foreign countries. We AFFIRM the 27 May 2005 Decision and 2 August 2005 Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.