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GUZMAN-CUREG September 6, 2017


G.R. No. L-30977 January 31, 1972
CARMEN LAPUZ SY, represented by her substitute MACARIO LAPUZ,
petitioner-appellant, vs. EU FEMIO S. EUFEMIO alias EUFEMIO SY UY,
Jose W. Diokno for petitioner-appellant.
D. G. Eufemio for respondent-appellee.


Carmen Lapuz-Sy filed a petition for legal separation against Eufemio Eufemio on
August 1953. They were married civilly on September 21, 1934 and canonically after
nine days. They had lived together as husband and wife continuously without any
children until 1943 when her husband abandoned her. They acquired properties
during their marriage. Petitioner then discovered that her husband cohabited with a
Chinese woman named Go Hiok on or about 1949. She prayed for the issuance of a
decree of legal separation, which among others, would order that the defendant
Eufemio should be deprived of his share of the conjugal partnership profits.

Eufemio counterclaimed for the declaration of nullity of his marriage with Lapuz-Sy
on the ground of his prior and subsisting marriage with Go Hiok. Trial proceeded
and the parties adduced their respective evidence. However, before the trial could
be completed, respondent already scheduled to present surrebuttal evidence,
petitioner died in a vehicular accident on May 1969. Her counsel duly notified the
court of her death. Eufemio moved to dismiss the petition for legal separation on
June 1969 on the grounds that the said petition was filed beyond the one-year period
provided in Article 102 of the Civil Code and that the death of Carmen abated the
action for legal separation. Petitioner’s counsel moved to substitute the deceased
Carmen by her father, Macario Lapuz.

ISSUE: Whether the death of the plaintiff, before final decree in an action for legal
separation, abate the action and will it also apply if the action involved property

HELD: An action for legal separation is abated by the death of the plaintiff,
even if property rights are involved. These rights are mere effects of decree of
separation, their source being the decree itself; without the decree such rights do not
come into existence, so that before the finality of a decree, these claims are merely
rights in expectation. If death supervenes during the pendency of the action, no
decree can be forthcoming, death producing a more radical and definitive

. that automatically dissolved the questioned union. and the expected consequential rights and claims would necessarily remain unborn. GUZMAN-CUREG September 6. Any property rights acquired by either party as a result of Article 144 of the Civil Code of the Philippines 6 could be resolved and determined in a proper action for partition by either the appellee or by the heirs of the appellant. The petition of Eufemio for declaration of nullity is moot and academic and there could be no further interest in continuing the same after her demise. 2017 JD 3-4 SUCCESSION ATTY. QUERUBEN GARCIA separation.MA. FLORINA G.