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Banawa vs.


FACTS: Spouses Doroteo Banawa and Juliana Mendoza took care of Maria Mirano, Juliana’s niece, since
Maria is 9 years old and treated her the same way as they treated the co-appellant Gliceria Abrenica,
their legally adopted child. On May 5, 1921, the spouses bought a parcel of land situated at Brgy. Iba,
Taal, Batangas from Placido Punzalan and registered the said parcel of land in the name of Maria,
because the said spouses wanted something for Maria after their death.

On July 31, 1949, after a lingering illness, Maria Mirano died. At the time of her death she left only as her
nearest relatives the herein plaintiffs-appellees, namely Primitiva, who is a surviving sister, and Gregoria,
Juana and Marciano, all surnamed Mirano, who are children of the deceased’s brother.

The Miranos filed a case in court against the Banawas with regards to the possession of the Iba property
as legal heirs of Maria. The court ruled in favor of the Miranos. The Banawas appealed to the Court of
Appeals stating that they are entitled to the land in question by virtue of Section 5, Rule 100 of the Old
Rules of Court, the pertinent portion of which reads:

In case of the death of the child, his parents and relatives by nature, and not by adoption, shall be his
legal heirs, except as to property received or inherited by the adopted child from either of his parents by
adoption, which shall become the property of the latter or their legitimate relatives who shall participate
in the order established by the Civil Code for intestate estates.

The defendant spouses died during the pendency of the case at the Court of Appeals and were
substituted by their legally adopted child Gliceria Abrenica and her husband Casiano Amponin. The Court
of Appeals affirmed the decision of the lower court. The Appellants filed at the Supreme Court a petition
for review by certiorari of the decision of the Court of Appeals regarding its ruling that Sec. 5, Rule 100 of
the Old Rules of Court does not apply in the instant case because Maria Mirano was not legally adopted.

ISSUE: Whether or not extrajudicial adoption is within the ambit of the provision?

HELD: The Supreme Court said no. It is very clear in the rule involved that specifically provides for the
case of the judicially adopted child and does not include extrajudicial adoption. It is an elementary rule
in statutory construction that when the language of the law is clear and unequivocal, the law must be
taken to mean exactly what it says.