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RODRIGUEZ vs Revalan 65 PHIL 63

Hilarion, Jr. and Enrico ORENDAIN, represented by


Fe D. ORENDAIN, petitioners, vs.
Trusteeship of the Estate of Doa Margarita RODRIGUEZ, respondent.
G.R. No. 168660, June 30, 2009

FACTS:

On July 19, 1960, the decedent, Doa Margarita Rodriguez, died in Manila, leaving a last will and testament. The
will was admitted to probate. At the time of her death, the decedent left no compulsory or forced heirs and,
consequently, was completely free to dispose of her properties, without regard to legitimes, as provided in her will.
Some of Doa Margarita Rodriguezs testamentary dispositions contemplated the creation of a trust to manage the
properties and the income from her properties for distribution to beneficiaries specified in the will.

Thus, the following pertinent items in the will paint the desire of the decedent:
1. Clause 2 instructed the creation of trust;
2. Clause 3 instructed that the remaining income from specified properties, after the necessary deductions for
expenses, including the estate tax, be deposited in a fund with a bank;
3. Clause 10 enumerated the properties to be placed in trust for perpetual administration (pangasiwaan sa habang
panahon);
4. Clauses 11 and 12 directed how the income from the properties ought to be divided among, and distributed to the
different beneficiaries; and
5. Clause 24 instructed the administrators to provide medical support to certain beneficiaries, to be deducted from the
fund deposits in the bank mentioned in Clauses 2 and 3.

Almost four decades later, herein petitioners Hilarion, Jr. and Enrico Orendain, heirs of Hilarion Orendain, Sr.
who was mentioned in Clause 24 of the decedents will, moved to dissolve the trust on the decedents estate, which
they argued had been in existence for more than twenty years, in violation of Articles 867 and 870 of the Civil Code.

The trustees argued that the trust instituted may be perpetual citing the case of Palad, et al. v. Governor of
Quezon Province where the trust holding the two estate of one Luis Palad was allowed to exist even after the lapse of
twenty years.

ISSUE:
1. Whether or not a trust may be perpetual.
2. Whether or not the named trustees may be considered as heirs to the estate.
RULING:
The general rule remains that upon the expiration of the twenty-year allowable period, the estate may be
disposed of under Article 870 of the New Civil Code, which regards as void any disposition of the testator declaring all
or part of the estate inalienable for more than 20 years.
The Palad Case is not violative of such provision of the law by the trust constituted by Luis Palad because the
will of the testator does not interdict the alienation of the parcels devised. The will merely directs that the income of
said two parcels be utilized for the establishment, maintenance and operation of the high school.

Said Article 870 was designed to give more impetus to the socialization of the ownership of property and to
prevent the perpetuation of large holdings which give rise to agrarian troubles. The trust involved in the Palad case
covers only two lots, which have not been shown to be a large landholding. And the income derived therefrom is
being devoted to a public and social purpose the education of the youth of the land. The use of said parcels
therefore is in a sense socialized.

In the present case, however, there is a different situation as the testatrix specifically prohibited the alienation or
mortgage of her properties which were definitely more than the two (2) properties, unlike in the Palad case. The
herein testatrixs large landholdings cannot be subjected indefinitely to a trust because the ownership thereof would
then effectively remain with her even in the afterlife.

Apparent from the decedents last will and testament is the creation of a trust on a specific set of properties and the
income accruing therefrom. Nowhere in the will can it be ascertained that the decedent intended any of the trusts
designated beneficiaries to inherit these properties. Therefore, the probate court must admit the case to determine
the properties to be subject to intestate succession as well as the nearest relative of the deceased that may inherit
the said properties under the perpetual trust.

---------------------

G.R. No. L-23002 July 31, 1967

CONCEPCION FELIX VDA. DE RODRIGUEZ, plaintiff-appellant,


vs.
GERONIMO RODRIGUEZ., ET AL., defendants-appellees.

Ozaeta, Gibbs and Ozaeta for plaintiff-appellant.


Sycip, Salazar, Luna and Associates and Carolina C. Grio-Aquino for defendants-appellees.

REYES, J.B.L., J.:

This is an appeal by Concepcion Felix Vda. de Rodriguez from the decision of the Court of First Instance of Bulacan
in Civil Case No. 2565, which she commenced on May 28, 1962, to secure declaration, of nullity of two contracts
executed on January 24, 1934 and for recovery of certain properties.

The facts of this case may be briefly stated as follows:

Concepcion Felix, widow of the late Don Felipe Calderon and with whom she had one living child, Concepcion
Calderon, contracted a second marriage on June 20, 1929, with Domingo Rodriguez, widower with four children by a
previous marriage, named Geronimo, Esmeragdo, Jose and Mauricio, all surnamed Rodriguez. There was no issue
in this second marriage.

Prior to her marriage to Rodriguez, Concepcion Felix was the registered owner of 2 fishponds located in the barrio of
Babagad, municipality of Bulacan, Bulacan province. with a total area of 557,711 square meters covered by OCT
Nos. 605 and 807. Under date of January 24, 1934, Concepcion Felix appeared to have executed a deed of sale
conveying ownership of the aforesaid properties to her daughter, Concepcion Calderon, for the sum of P2,500.00,
which the latter in turn appeared to have transferred to her mother and stepfather by means of a document dated
January 27, 1934. Both deeds, notarized by Notary Public Jose D. Mendoza, were registered in the office of the
Register of Deeds of Bulacan on January 29, 1934, as a consequence of which, the original titles were cancelled and
TCT Nos. 13815 and 13816 were issued in the names of the spouses Domingo Rodriguez and Concepcion Felix.

On March 6, 1953, Domingo Rodriguez died intestate, survived by the widow, Concepcion Felix, his children
Geronimo Esmeragdo and Mauricio and grandchildren Oscar, Juan and Ana, surnamed Rodriguez, children of a son,
Jose, who had predeceased him.

On March 16, 1953, the above-named widow, children and grandchildren of the deceased entered into an extra-
judicial settlement of his (Domingo's) estate, consisting of one-half of the properties allegedly belonging to the
conjugal partnership. Among the properties listed as conjugal were the two parcels of land in Bulacan, Bulacan,
which, together with another piece of property, were divided among the heirs in this manner:

WHEREAS, the parties have furthermore agreed that the fishpond covered by TCT Nos. 13815, 13816 and
24109 of the Office of the Register of Deeds of Bulacan, containing an area of 557,971 sq. m., which is
likewise the conjugal property of the deceased and his surviving spouse; 1/2 of the same or 278,985.5 sq.
m. belongs to said Concepcion Felix Vda. de Rodriguez, as her share in the conjugal property; and 3/4 of
the remaining half or 209,239.125 sq. m. are transferred in full ownership to Geronimo Rodriguez,
Esmeragdo Rodriguez and Mauricio Rodriguez, share and share alike, while the other 1/4 or 69,746.375 sq.
m. of the said remaining half goes in equal shares to Oscar Rodriguez, Juan Rodriguez and Ana Rodriguez.

As a result of this partition, TCT Nos. 13815 and 13816 were cancelled and TCT Nos. T-11431 and T-14432 were
issued in the names of the said heirs of the deceased.
On March 23, 1953, in a power of attorney executed by the children and grandchildren of Domingo Rodriguez,
Concepcion Felix Vda. de Rodriguez was named their attorney in-fact, authorized to manage their shares in the
fishponds (Exh. 4).

On July 2, 1954, the heirs ended their co-ownership by executing a deed of partition, dividing and segregating their
respective shares in the properties, pursuant to a consolidation and subdivision plan (PCS-3702), in accordance with
which, Concepcion Felix Vda. de Rodriguez obtained TCT No. T-12910, for the portion pertaining to her (Exh. L),
while TCT No. T-12911 was issued to the other heirs, for their shares. This latter title was subsequently replaced by
TCT No. 16660 (Exh. M).

On October 12, 1954, the Rodriguez children executed another document granting unto the widow lifetime usufruct
over one-third of the fishpond which they received as hereditary share in the estate of Domingo Rodriguez, which
grant was accepted by Concepcion Felix Vda. de Rodriguez.

Then, in a contract dated December 15, 1961, the widow appeared to have leased from the Rodriguez children and
grandchildren the fishpond (covered by TCT No. 16660) for a period of 5 years commencing August 16, 1962, for an
annual rental of P7,161.37 (Exh. 5). 1wph1.t

At about this time, it seemed that the relationship between the widow and her stepchildren had turned for the worse.
Thus, when she failed to deliver to them the balance of the earnings of the fishponds, in the amount of P3,000.00, her
stepchildren endorsed the matter to their lawyer who, on May 16, 1962, sent a letter of demand to the widow for
payment thereof. On, May 28, 1962, Concepcion Felix Vda. de Rodriguez filed the present action in the Court of First
Instance of Manila naming as defendants, Geronimo Rodriguez, Esmeragdo Rodriguez, Oscar Rodriguez,
Concepcion Bautista Vda. de Rodriguez, as guardian of the minors Juan and Ana Rodriguez, and Antonio Diaz de
Rivera and Renato Diaz de Rivera, as guardians of the minors Maria Ana, Mercedes, Margarita, Mauricio, Jr. and
Domingo (Children of Mauricio Rodriguez who had also died).

The action to declare null and void the deeds of transfer of plaintiff's properties to the conjugal partnership was based
on the alleged employment or exercise by plaintiff's deceased husband of force and pressure on her; that the
conveyances of the properties from plaintiff to her daughter and then to the conjugal partnership of plaintiff and her
husband are both without consideration; that plaintiff participated in the extrajudicial settlement of estate (of the
deceased Domingo Rodriguez) and in other subsequent deeds or instruments involving the properties in dispute, on
the false assumption that the said properties had become conjugal by reason of the execution of the deeds of transfer
in 1934; that laboring under the same false assumption, plaintiff delivered to defendants, as income of the properties
from 1956 to 1961, the total amount of P56,976.58. As alternative cause of action, she contended that she would
claim for her share, as surviving widow, of 1/5 of the properties in controversy, should such properties be adjudged as
belonging to the conjugal partnership. Thus, plaintiff prayed that the deeds of transfer mentioned in the complaint be
declared fictitious and simulated; that the "Extrajudicial Settlement of Estate" be also declared null and void; that TCT
No. 16660 of the Registry of Deeds of Bulacan be cancelled and another one be issued in the name of plaintiff,
Concepcion Felix Vda. de Felix; that defendants be ordered to pay plaintiff the sum of P56,976.58, with legal interest
thereon from the date of the filing of the complaint, and for appropriate relief in connection with her alternative cause
of action.

In their separate answers, defendants not only denied the material allegations of the complaint, but also set up as
affirmative defenses lack of cause of action, prescription, estoppel and laches. As counterclaim, they asked for
payment by the plaintiff of the unpaid balance of the earnings of the land up to August 15, 1962 in the sum of
P3,000.00, for attorney's fees and expenses of litigation.

On October 5, 1963, judgment was rendered for the defendants. In upholding the validity of the contracts, the court
found that although the two documents, Exhibits A and B, were executed for the purpose of converting plaintiff's
separate properties into conjugal assets of the marriage with Domingo Rodriguez, the consent of the parties thereto
was voluntary, contrary to the allegations of plaintiff and her witness. The court also ruled that having taken part in the
questioned transactions, plaintiff was not the proper party to plead lack of consideration to avoid the transfers; that
contracts without consideration are not inexistent, but are only voidable, following the ruling in the case
of Concepcion vs. Sta. Ana (87 Phil. 787); that there was ratification or confirmation by the plaintiff of the transfer of
her property, by her execution (with the other heirs) of the extrajudicial settlement of estate; that being a voluntary
party to the contracts, Exhibits A and B, plaintiff cannot recover the properties she gave thereunder. Plaintiff's
alternative cause of action was also rejected on the ground that action for rescission of the deed of extrajudicial
settlement should have been filed within 4 years from its execution (on March 16, 1953).
From the decision of the Court of First Instance, plaintiff duly appealed to this Court, insisting that the conveyances in
issue were obtained through duress, and were inexistent, being simulated and without consideration.

We agree with the trial Court that the evidence is not convincing that the contracts of transfer from Concepcion Felix
to her daughter, and from the latter to her mother and stepfather were executed through violence or intimidation. The
charge is predicated solely upon the improbable and biased testimony of appellant's daughter, Concepcion C.
Martelino, whom the trial court, refused to believe, considering that her version of violence and harassment was
contradicted by Bartolome Gualberto who had lived with the Rodriguez spouses from 1917 to 1953, and by the
improbability of Rodriguez threatening his stepdaughter in front of the Notary Public who ratified her signature.
Furthermore, as pointed out by the appealed decision, the charge of duress should be treated with caution
considering that Rodriguez had already died when the suit was brought, for duress, like fraud, is not to be lightly paid
at the door of men already dead. (Cf. Prevost vs. Gratz, 6 Wheat. [U.S.] 481, 498; Sinco vs. Longa, 51 Phil. 507).

What is more decisive is that duress being merely a vice or defect of consent, an action based upon it must be
brought within four years after it has ceased;1 and the present action was instituted only in 1962, twenty eight (28)
years after the intimidation is claimed to have occurred, and no less than nine (9) years after the supposed culprit
died (1953). On top of it, appellant entered into a series of subsequent transactions with appellees that confirmed the
contracts that she now tries to set aside. Therefore, this cause of action is clearly barred.

Appellant's main stand in attacking the conveyances in question is that they are simulated or fictitious, and inexistent
for lack of consideration. We shall examine each purported defect separately.

The charge of simulation is untenable, for the characteristic of simulation is the fact that the apparent contract is not
really desired or intended to produce legal effects or in way alter the juridical situation of the parties. Thus, where a
person, in order to place his property beyond the reach of his creditors, simulates a transfer of it to another, he does
not really intend to divest himself of his title and control of the property; hence, the deed of transfer is but a sham. But
appellant contends that the sale by her to her daughter, and the subsequent sale by the latter to appellant and her
husband, the late Domingo Rodriguez, were done for the purpose of converting the property from paraphernal to
conjugal, thereby vesting a half interest in Rodriguez, and evading the prohibition against donations from one spouse
to another during coverture (Civil Code of 1889, Art. 1334). If this is true, then the appellant and her daughter must
have intended the two conveyance to be real and effective; for appellant could not intend to keep the ownership of
the fishponds and at the same time vest half of them in her husband. The two contracts of sale then could not have
been simulated, but were real and intended to be fully operative, being the means to achieve the result desired.

Nor does the intention of the parties to circumvent by these contracts the law against donations between spouses
make them simulated ones.

Ferrara, in his classic book, "La Simulacion de los Negocios Juridicos" (Sp. trans, 1926), pp. 95, 105, clearly explains
the difference between simulated transactions and transactions in fraudem legis:

Otra figura que debe distinguirse de la simulacion es el fraus legis. Tambien aqui se da una gran confusion
que persiste aun en la jurisprudencia, apegada tenazmente a antiguos errores. Se debe a Bahr el haber
defendido con vigor la antitesis teorica que existe entre negocio fingido y negocio fraudulento y haber
atacado la doctrina comun que hacia una mescolanza con los dos conceptos.

Se confunde dice (2) , el negocio in fraudem legis con el negocio simulado; aunque la naturaleza de
ambos sea totalmente diversa. El negocio fraudulento no es, en absolute, un negocio aparente. Es
perfectamente serio: se quiere realmente. Es mas, se quiere tal como se ha realizado, con todas las
consecuencias que correspondent a la forma juridica elegida. Muchas veces, estas consecuencias con
incomodas para una u otra de las partes, aunque serian mucho mas incomodas las consecuencias que
lievaria consigo el acto prohibido.

xxx xxx xxx

El resultado de las precedentes investigaciones es el siguiente el negocio simulado quiere producir una
apariencia; el negocio fraudulente, una realidad; los negocios simulados son ficticios, no queridos; los
negocios in fraudem son serios, reales, y realizados en tal forma por las partes para consequir un resultado
prohibido: la simulacion nunca es un medio para eludir la ley sino para ocultar su violation. La transgresion
del contenido verbal e inmediato de la norma se encubre bajo el manto de un negocio licito, lo cual no altera
el caracter del contra legem agere. Tan verdad es, que si se ha redactado una contra-escritura que
documentary y declara la verdadera naturaleza del negocio realizado, no queda mas que aplicar pura y
simplementela prohibicion.

Tambien el fraude quiere perjudicar la ley, pero emplea para ello medios diversos y sigue distintos caminus.
No oculta el acto exterior, sino que lo deja claro y visible, tratando de huir sesgadamente de la aplicacion de
la ley merced a una artistica y sabia combinacion de varios medios juridicos no reprobados.

Appellant invokes our decision in Vasquez vs. Porta, 98 Phil. 490, but to no purpose. The mortgage and foreclosure
sale involved in that case were typical simulations merely apparent but not really intended to produce legal effects, as
approved by the Court's finding that the alleged creditor and buyer at the foreclosure sale "Porta himself ostensibly
acknowledged by his inertia in allowing the doctor (alleged mortgagor debtor) to exercise dominical power thereon
without any protest on his part." (cas. cit., p. 495). Not only this, but the mortgagor's wife, when her husband died,
"found among his papers Porta's cancellation of the mortgage in his favor and the draft of the complaint for
foreclosure." Plainly, the precedent cited is here inapplicable.

Were the two conveyances from appellant to her daughter and from the latter to the spouses Rodriguez void ab
initio or inexistent for lack of consideration? We do not find them to be so. In the first transaction, the price of
P2,500.00 is recited in the deed itself (Exh. A); in the second (Exh. B), the consideration set forth is P3,000.00. Now,
Article 1274 of the Civil Code of 1889 (in force when the deeds were executed) provided that

In onerous contracts the cause is understood to be, for each contracting party, the prestation or promise of a
thing or service by the other. (emphasis supplied.)

Since in each conveyance the buyer became obligated to pay a definite price in money, such undertaking constituted
in themselves actual causa or consideration for the conveyance of the fishponds. That the prices were not paid
(assuming ad arguendo that Concepcion Martelino's testimony, to this effect is true) does not make the sales
inexistent for want of causa. As ruled in Enriquez de la Cavada vs. Diaz, 37 Phil. 982, "the consideration (causa)
need not pass from one (party) to the other at the time the contract is entered into x x x . The consideration need not
be paid at the time of the promise. The one promise is a consideration for the other."

What would invalidate the conveyances now under scrutiny is the fact that they were resorted to in order to
circumvent the legal prohibition against donations between spouses contained in Article 1334, paragraph 1, of the
Civil Code of 1889, then prevailing. That illegal purpose tainted the contracts, for as held by the Spanish Tribunal
Supreme in its decision of 2 April 1941.

ha de ser reputado ineficaz, por exigencias includibles del caracter social y moral del Derecho, todo contrato
que persiga un fin ilicito o immoral, sea cualquiera el medio empleado por los contratantes para lograr esa
finalidad, no justificada por un interes digno de ser socialmente protegido.

The illicit purpose then becomes illegal causa within the terms of the old Civil Code, for as declared by the same
Spanish Court in its decision of 14 December 1940

toda vez que lo que caracteriza fundamentalmente la ilicitud de la causa es la lesion de un interos general
juridica 6 moral.

a ruling reiterated in the decision of 2 April 1941 when the Court ruled:

El concepto de la causa ilicita, tal como la desenvuelve y aplica con gran amplitud y flexibilidad la doctrina
moderna, permite cobijar, no solo las convenciones ilicitas por razon de su objeto o de su motivo ... sino
tambien multiples convenciones que no encerrando en si ningun elemento de directa antijuricidad son
ilicitas por el matiz immoral que reviste la operation en su conjunto x x x .

Unfortunately for herein appellant, in contracts invalidated by illegal subject matter or illegal causa, Articles 1305 and
1306 of the Civil Code then in force apply rigorously the rule in pari delicto non oritur action, denying all recovery to
the guilty parties inter se. And appellant is clearly as guilty as her husband in the attempt to evade the legal
interdiction of Article 1334 of the Code, already cited. Wherefore, her present action to reivindicate the, conveyed
properties was correctly repulsed by the Court below.
Art. 1306. If the act which constitutes the illicit consideration is neither a crime nor a misdemeanor, the
following rules shall be observed:

1. When both parties are guilty, neither of them can recover what he may have given by virtue of the
contract, or enforce the performance of the undertaking of the other party;

xxx xxx xxx

That Article 1306 applies to cases where the nullity arises from the illegality of the consideration or the purpose of the
contract was expressly recognized by this Supreme Court in Gustilo vs. Maravilla, 48 Phil. 449-450.2

Finally, it cannot be denied that plaintiff-appellant had knowledge of the nullity of the contract for the transfer of her
properties in 1934, because she was even a party thereto. And yet, her present action was filed only on May 28, 1962
and after the breaking up of friendly relations between her and defendants-appellees. Appellant's inaction to enforce
her right, for 28 years, cannot be justified by the lame excuse that she assumed that the transfer was valid.
Knowledge of the effect of that transaction would have been obtained by the exercise of diligence. Ignorance which is
the effect of inexcusable negligence, it has been said, is no excuse for laches. (Go Chi Gun, etc., et al. vs. Co Cho, et
al., G.R. No. L-5208, Feb. 28, 1955). Even assuming for the sake of argument that appellant held her peace, during
the lifetime of her husband, out of legitimate fear for her life, there is no justification for her future to bring the proper
action after his death in 1953. Instead, she entered into a series of agreements with herein appellees, the children of
her husband by a prior marriage, of partition, usufruct and lease of their share in the fishponds, transactions that
necessarily assumed that Rodriguez had acquired one-half of the litigated fishponds. In the circumstances,
appellant's cause has become a stale demand and her conduct placed her in estoppel to question the Validity of the
transfer of her properties. (Manila, et al. vs. Galvan, et al., G.R. No. L-23507, May 24, 1967; Perez vs. Herranz, 7
Phil. 695-696).

In view of the foregoing, the decision appealed from is affirmed. Costs against appellant Concepcion Felix Vda. de
Rodriguez. So ordered.

Makalintal, Bengzon, J.P., Zaldivar, Sanchez, Castro, Angeles and Fernando, JJ., concur.
Concepcion, C.J. and Dizon, J., are on leave.

Delos Santos vs dela Cruz

Gertrudes De Los SANTOS, plaintiff-appellee, vs.


Maximo De La CRUZ, defendant-appellant.
G.R. No. L-29192, February 22, 1971

FACTS:

Pelagia de la Cruz died intestate and without issue. She had a niece named Marciana who is the mother of
herein defendant, Maximo. Gertrudes, who is Pelagias grandniece, and several co-heirs including Maximo, entered
into an Extrajudicial Partition Agreement purposely for the distribution of Pelagias estate. They agreed to adjudicate
three (3) lots to Maximo, in addition to his share, on condition that the latter would undertake the development and
subdivision of the estate which was the subject matter of the agreement. Due to Maximos failure to comply with his
obligation, Gertrudes filed a complaint for specific performance. In Maximos answer, he stated that Gertrudes had no
cause of action against him because the said agreement was void with respect to her, for the reason that she was not
an heir of Pelagia and was included in the agreement by mistake. The lower court held that Maximo, being a party to
the extrajudicial partition agreement, was estopped from raising in issue the right of the plaintiff to inherit from
Pelagia, hence, he must abide by the terms of the agreement. Maximo filed a Motion for New Trial but was denied.
Hence, this appeal.

ISSUE:

Whether or not, Gertrudes de los Santos, a grandniece of the decedent, is an heir of the latter.

RULING:
Plaintiff-appellee being a mere grandniece of Pelagia de la Cruz, could not inherit from the latter by right of
representation.

Article 972. The right of representation takes place in the direct descending line, but never in the
ascending.

In the collateral line, it takes place only in favor of the children of brothers or sisters, whether they be of
the full or half blood.

Much less could plaintiff-appelle inherit in her own right.

Article 962. In every inheritance, the relative nearest in degree excludes the more distant ones, saving
the right of representation when it properly takes place.

In the present case, the relatives nearest in degree to Pelagia de la Cruz are her nephews and nieces, one of
whom is defendant-appellant. Necessarily, plaintiff-appellee, a grandniece is excluded by law from the inheritance.

3. Bicomong vs Alcanza 80 SCRA 421

FACTS: Maura Bagsic died intestate without an issue and her husband and all her
ascendants had died ahead of her. The heirs of the half blood brothers and sisters claim
the estate left by Maura, their half-sister. However, the heirs of Felipa, a full blood sister
of Maura, claims that Maura predeceased Felipa thus Mauras estate passes on to
Felipa.

ISSUE: WON Felipa will acquire the estate of Felipa?

HELD: NO. The collateral relatives will succeed to the entire estate of the deceased in
the absence of defendants, ascendants, illegitimate children, or a surviving spouse. This
is provided in Article 1003 of the New Civil Code. Thus the surviving collateral relatives
will succeed, namely the daughter of her sister of full blood and the ten (10) children of
her brother and two (2) sisters of half blood in accordance with the provision of Art. 975
of the New Civil Code. By virtue of said provision, the aforementioned nephews and
nieces are entitled to inherit in their own right. Furthremore, the contention of the
appellant that Maura Bagsic should be succeeded by Felipa Bagsic, her sister of full
blood, is unmeritorious and erroneous since Felipa predeceased her sister Maura
Bagsic.

================
BICOMONG VS ALMANZA

The heirs of the half blood brothers and sisters claim the estate left by a half-sister Maura who died with no issue.
The heirs of Felipa, a full blood sister of Maura, claims that Maura predeceased Felipa thus Mauras estate passes on to Felipa.
Court held that Felipa died ahead of Maura.

Held:

The Court held that the provisions of Art. 975, 1006 and 1008 of the New Civil Code are applicable to the admitted facts of the case
at bar. These Articles provide:

Art. 975. When children of one or more brothers or sisters of the deceased survive, they shall inherit from the latter by representation,
if they survive with their uncles or aunts. But if they alone survive, they shall inherit in equal portions. (927)
Art. 1006. Should brothers and sisters of the full blood survive together with brothers and sisters of the half blood, the former shall be
entitled to a share double that of the latter.

Art. 1008. Children of brothers and sisters of the half-blood shall succeed per capita or per stirpes, in accordance with the rules laid down
for brothers and sisters of the full blood.

==============

G.R. No. L-37365 November 29, 1977

GAUDENCIO BICOMONG, et al., plaintiffs-appellees,


vs.
GERONIMO ALMANZA, et al., defendant. FLORENTINO CARTENA, defendant-appellant.

Antonio E. Lacsam & Cesar A. Azucena, Jr. for appellant.

Ricardo A. Fabros, Jr. for appellees.

GUERRERO, J.:

This is an appeal certified to this Court by the Court of Appeals 1 in accordance with the provisions of Sec. 17,
paragraph (4) of the Judiciary Act of 1948, as amended, since the only issue raised is the correct
application of the law and jurisprudence on the matter which is purely a legal question.

The following findings of fact by the Court of First Instance of Laguna and San Pablo City in Civil Case No. SP-265,
and adopted by the Court of Appeals, show that:

Simeon Bagsic was married to Sisenanda Barcenas on June 8, 1859 (Exh. "D") Of this marriage
there were born three children namely: Perpetua Bagsic (Exhibit G), Igmedia Bagsic (Exhibit F),
and Ignacio Bagsic (Exhibit H). Sisenanda Barcenas died ahead of her husband Simeon Bagsic.

On June 3, 1885, Simeon Bagsic remarried Silvestra Glorioso (Exhibit "E"). Of this second
marriage were born two children, Felipa Bagsic (Exhibit J) and Maura Bagsic (Exhibit I). Simeon
Bagsic died sometime in 1901. Silvestra Glorioso also died.

Ignacio Bagsic died on April 18, 1939 (Exhibit C) leaving the plaintiff Francisca Bagsic as his only
heir. Igmedia Bagsic also died on August 19, 1944 (Exhibit B) survived by the plaintiffs Dionisio
Tolentino, Maria Tolentino and Petra Tolentino.

Perpetua Bagsic died on July 1, 1945 (Exhibit A). Surviving her are her heirs, the plaintiffs
Gaudencio Bicomong, Felicidad Bicomong, Salome Bicomong, and Gervacio Bicomong.

Of the children of the second marriage, Maura Bagsic died also on April 14, 1952 leaving no heir as
her husband died ahead of her. Felipa Bagsic, the other daughter of the second Geronimo
Almanza and her daughter Cristeta Almanza. But five (5) months before the present suit was filed
or on July 23, 1959, Cristeta Almanza died leaving behind her husband, the defendant herein
Engracio Manese (Exhibit 1-Manese) and her father Geronimo Almanza.

(Rollo,
pp. 2-3)
The subject matter of the complaint in Civil Case No. SP-265 concerns the one-half undivided share of Maura Bagsic
in the following described five (5) parcels of land which she inherited from her deceased mother, Silvestra Glorioso, to
wit:

A. A parcel of land in Bo. San Ignacio, City of San Pablo, planted with 38 fruit bearing coconut
trees, with an area of 1,077, sq. m. Bounded on the N. by German Garingan; on the E. by Juan
Aliagas; on the S. by Bernardino Alina; and on the W. by Feliciana Glorioso Covered by Tax No.
12713 for the year 1948 in the name of Silvestra Glorioso, now Tax No. 31232, assessed at
P170.00 in the name of defendant Geronimo Almanza;

B. A parcel of land, also situated in Bo. San Ignacio, City of San Pablo, planted with fruit bearing
coconut trees, with an area of 9,455 sq. m. Bounded on the N. by Paulino Gajuco; on the E. by
Felisa Gavino and German Garigan; on the S. by Esteban Calayag; and on the W. by Laureano
Ambion, Covered by Tax No. 12714 for the year 1948 in the name of defendant Geronimo
Almanza;

C. A parcel of land situated in same Bo. San Ignacio, City of San Pablo, planted with 376 fruit
bearing coconut trees and having an area of 11,739 sq. m. Bounded on the N. by Jacinto Alvero,
Anacleto Glorioso and Bernardino Alma; on the E. by Bernardino Alma; on the S. by Rosendo
Banaad, Jacinto Alvero and Casayan River; and on the W. by Anacleto Glorioso Covered by Tax
No. 12715 for the year 1948 in the name of Silvestra Glorioso, now Tax No. 31234, assessed at
P2,720.00 in the name of defendant Geronimo Almanza;

D. A residential lot, situated at P. Alcantara Street, Int., City of San Pablo, with an area of 153, sq.
m. Bounded on the N. by heirs of Pedro Calampiano; on the E. by Petronilo Cartago; on the S. by
Ignacio Yerro; and on the W. by Melecio Cabrera. Covered by Tax No. 17653 for the year 1948 in
the name of Silvestra Glorioso, now Tax No. 21452, assessed at P610.00 in the name of Cristeta
Almanza; and

E. A parcel of coconut land, situated at Bo. Buenavista, Candelaria, Quezon, planted with 300
coconut trees fruit bearing. Area - 24,990 sq. m. Bounded on the N. (Ilaya) by heirs of Pedro de
Gala on the E. by Julian Garcia; on the S. (Ibaba) by Julian Garcia, and on the W. by Taguan River.
Covered by Tax No. 21452, assessed at P910.00.

(Record
on
Appeal,
pp. 4-6)

Three sets of plaintiffs filed the complaint on December 1, 1959, namely: (a) the Bicomongs, children of Perpetua
Bagsic; (b) the Tolentinos, children of Igmedia Bagsic; and (c) Francisco Bagsic, daughter of Ignacio Bagsic, in the
Court of First Instance of Laguna and San Pablo City against the defendants Geronimo Almanza and Engracio
Menese for the recovery of their lawful shares in the properties left by Maura Bagsic.

After the death of Maura Bagsic, the above-described properties passed on to Cristela Almanza who took charge of
the administration of the same. Thereupon, the plaintiffs approached her and requested for the partition of their aunt's
properties. However, they were prevailed upon by Cristeta Almanza not to divide the properties yet as the expenses
for the last illness and burial of Maura Bagsic had not yet been paid. Having agreed to defer the partition of the same,
the plaintiffs brought out the subject again sometime in 1959 only. This time Cristeta Almanza acceded to the request
as the debts, accordingly, had already been paid. Unfortunately, she died without the division of the properties having
been effected, thereby leaving the possession and administration of the same to the defendants.

After trial, the court rendered judgment, the dispositive portion of which reads:

WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the plaintiffs who are hereby declared to be
entitled to ten twenty-fourth (10/24) share on the five parcels of land in dispute. The defendant
Engracio Manese and the heirs of the deceased Geronimo Almanza, who are represented in the
instant case by the administrator Florentino Cartena, are hereby required to pay the plaintiffs from
July 23, 1959 the sum of P625.00 per annum until the ten-twenty fourth (10/24) share on the five
parcels of land are delivered to the plaintiffs, with legal interest from the time this decision shall
have become final.

With costs against the defendants.

SO ORDERED.

City of San Pablo, September 21, 1962.

(SGD)
JOSE G.
BAUTIS
TA

J
u
d
g
e

Record
on
Appeal,
p. 47

From the aforesaid decision of the trial court, Florentino Cartena, the substitute defendant for Geronimo Almanza,
appealed to the Court of Appeals. The other defendant, Engracio Manese, did not appeal and execution was issued
with respect to the parcels of land in his possession, that is, those described under Letters D and E in the complaint.
Hence, the subject matter of the case on appeal was limited to the one-half undivided portion of only three of the five
parcels of land described under letters A, B and C in the complaint which defendant Cartena admitted to be only in
his possession. 2

On appeal, defendant-appellant Cartena contends that the provisions of Arts. 995, 1006 and 1008 of the
New Civil Code, applied by the trial court in allowing plaintiffs-appellees to succeed to the properties left
by Maura Bagsic were not the applicable provisions. He asserts that in the course of the trial of the case
in the lower court, plaintiffs requested defendants to admit that Felipa Bagsic, the sole sister of full blood
of Maura Bagsic, died on May 9. 1955. Since Maura Bagsic died on April 14, 1952, Felipa succeeded to
Maura's estate. In support thereof, he cites Art. 1004 of the New Civil Code which provides that "should
the only survivors be brothers and sisters of the full blood, they shall inherit in equal shares," and he
concludes with the rule that the relatives nearest in degree excludes the more distant ones. (Art. 962,
New Civil Code)

On the other hand, plaintiffs-appellees claim that the date of death of Felipa Bagsic was not raised as an issue in the
trial court. It was even the subject of stipulation of the parties as clearly shown in the transcript of the stenographic
notes that Felipa Bagsic died on May 9. 1945. 3

The Court of Appeals ruled that the facts of the case have been duly established in the trial court and that
the only issue left for determination is a purely legal question involving the correct application of the law
and jurisprudence on the matter, hence the appellate court certified this case to Us.

We hold that the provisions of Art. 975, 1006 and 1008 of the New Civil Code are applicable to the admitted facts of
the case at bar. These Articles provide:

Art. 975. When children of one or more brothers or sisters of tile deceased survive, they shall
inherit from the latter by representation, if they survive with their uncles or aunts. But if they alone
survive, they shall inherit in equal portions."
Art. 1006. Should brothers and sisters of the full blood survive together with brothers and sisters of
the half blood, the former shall be entitled to a share double that of the latter.

Art. 1008. Children of brothers and sisters of the half blood shall succeed per capita or per stirpes,
in accordance with the rules laid down for brothers and sisters of the full blood.

In the absence of defendants, ascendants, illegitimate children, or a surviving spouse, Article 1003 of the New Civil
Code provides that collateral relatives shall succeed to the entire estate of the deceased. It appearing that Maura
Bagsic died intestate without an issue, and her husband and all her ascendants had died ahead of her, she is
succeeded by the surviving collateral relatives, namely the daughter of her sister of full blood and the ten (10)
children of her brother and two (2) sisters of half blood in accordance with the provision of Art. 975 of the New Civil
Code.

By virtue of said provision, the aforementioned nephews and nieces are entitled to inherit in their own right.
In Abellana-Bacayo vs. Ferraris-Borromeo, L-19382, August 31, I965, 14 SCRA 986, this Court held that "nephews
and nieces alone do not inherit by right of representation (that is per stirpes) unless concurring with brothers or sisters
of the deceased."

Under the same provision, Art. 975, which makes no qualification as to whether the nephews or nieces are on the
maternal or paternal line and without preference as to whether their relationship to the deceased is by whole or half
blood, the sole niece of whole blood of the deceased does not exclude the ten nephews and n of half blood. The only
difference in their right of succession is provided in Art. 1008, NCC in relation to Article 1006 of the New Civil Code
(supra), which provisions, in effect, entitle the sole niece of full blood to a share double that of the nephews and
nieces of half blood. Such distinction between whole and half blood relationships with the deceased has been
recognized in Dionisia Padura, et al. vs. Melanie Baldovino, et al., No. L-11960, December 27, 1958, 104 Phil. 1065
(unreported) and in Alviar vs. Alviar, No. L-22402, June 30, 1969, 28 SCRA 610).

The contention of the appellant that Maura Bagsic should be succeeded by Felipa Bagsic, her sister of full blood, to
the exclusion of the nephews and nieces of half blood citing Art. 1004, NCC is unmeritorious and erroneous for it is
based on an erroneous factual assumption, that is, that Felipa Bagsic died in 1955, which as indicated here before, is
not true as she died on May 9, 1945, thus she predeceased her sister Maura Bagsic.

We find the judgment of the trial court to be in consonance with law and jurisprudence.

ACCORDINGLY, the judgment of the trial court is hereby affirmed. No costs.

Abellana Becayo vs Ferarez


ABELLANA-BACAYO VS FERRARIS-BORROMEO

The sole issue to be resolved in this case is: Who should inherit the intestate estate of a deceased person when he or she is
survived only by collateral relatives, to wit an aunt and the children of a brother who predeceased him or her? Otherwise, will
the aunt concur with the children of the decedent's brother in the inheritance or will the former be excluded by the latter?

HELD:

Under our laws of succession, a decedent's uncles and aunts may not succeed ab intestato so long as nephews and nieces of the
decedent survive and are willing and qualified to succeed.

ART. 1009. Should there be neither brothers nor sister nor children of brothers or sisters, the other collateral relatives shall succeed to the
estate.

The latter shall succeed without distinction of lines or preferenceamong them by reason of relationship by the whole blood.

=============

BACAYO VS BORROMEO
The deceased Melodia Ferraris left no surviving direct descendant, ascendant, or spouse, but was survived only by collateral
relatives, namely: an aunt who is a half-sister of her father and by her nieces and nephew, who were the children of her only brother
of full blood.
These two classes of heirs claim to be the nearest intestate heirs and seek to participate in the estate of said Melodia Ferraris.

Issue:

Who should inherit the intestate estate of a deceased person when he or she is survived only by collateral relatives, to wit an aunt
and the children of a brother who predeceased him or her?

Held:

The Court held and so rule, that under the laws of succession, a decedent's uncles and aunts may not succeed ab intestato
so long as nephews and nieces of the decedent survive and are willing and qualified to succeed.
The trial court was correct when it held that, in case of intestacy, nephews and nieces of the de cujus exclude all other
collaterals (aunts and uncles, first cousins, etc.) from the succession. This is readily apparent from articles 1001, 1004, 1005,
and 1009 of the Civil Code of the Philippines.
Under the last article (1009), the absence of brothers, sisters, nephews and nieces of the decedent is a precondition to the
other collaterals (uncles, cousins, etc.) being called to the succession.

===============

In Re Summary Settlement of the Estate of Melodia Ferraris


Filomena ABELLANA DE BACAYO, petitioner-appellant, vs.
Gaudencia FERRARIS, et al., oppositors-appellants.
G.R. No. L-19382, August 31, 1965

FACTS:

Melodia Ferraris left properties in Cebu City consisting of 1/3 share in the estate of her aunt Rosa Ferraris. Ten
years have elapsed since the last time she was known to be alive, she was declared presumptively dead for
purposes of opening her succession and distribute her estate among heirs. Hence, a petition for the summary
settlement of her estate was filed. Melodia left no surviving descendant, ascendant or spouse, but was survived only
by collateral relatives: 1) an aunt and half-sister of decedents father; and 2) her nieces and nephews who were
children of Melodias only brother of full blood who predeceased her. In the settlement proceeding, Filomena Abellana
de Bacayo, who is the decedents half-sister, was excluded as an heir pursuant to a resolution issued by the lower
court. A motion for reconsideration was denied hence this action.

ISSUE:

Who should inherit the intestate estate of a deceased person when he or she is survived only by collateral
relatives, to wit an aunt and the children of a brother who predeceased him? Or will the aunt concur with the children
of the decedents brother or will the former be excluded by the latter.

RULING:

As an aunt of the deceased she is as far distant as the nephews from the decedent (three degrees) since in the
collateral line to which both kinds of relatives belong, degrees are counted by first ascending to the common ancestor
and descending to the heir (Art. 966, Civil Code). Appellant is likewise right in her contention that nephews and
nieces alone do not inherit by right of representation unless concurring with brothers or sisters of the deceased, as
provided expressly by Art. 975.

Nevertheless, the trial court was correct when it held that, in case of intestacy, nephews and nieces exclude all
other collaterals (aunts and uncles, first cousins, etc.) from the succession. This is readily apparent from articles
1001, 1004, 1005, and 1009 of the Civil Code.

5. Ramirez vs Bautista G.R. No. L-5075 December 1, 1909


Ramirez v. Bautista
G.R. No. L-5075 December 1, 1909

FACTS:

Moises Ramirez, who died intestate, was married twice. In his first marriage, he had five (5) children,
named Rosa, Carmen, Francisco, Mauricia, and Ignacia. Under his second marriage, he had three (3)
children namely Cirila, Isabel, and Serapio, of whom Isabel alone survives. His wives predeceased him
and at the time of his death he left two fish ponds.

The children of the first marriage sold the two fish ponds, to Simeon Bautista and Raymundo Duran for
P1,100.00. The only surviving child of the second marriage, Isabel, was not a party to said sale. A case was
filed by the administrator of the intestate estate to have the sale declared null and void and the fish ponds
restored to the intestate estate of Moises.

ISSUE: Whether or not the sale was valid.

RULING: Yes. It was determined by the Court that the status of the two fish ponds was of community of
property. The fishponds were acquired during the first marriage. Therefore the conjugal gains on property
should have applied.

1. When two or more heirs appear at the opening of a testamentary succession, or during the progress of
the settlement of an intestate estate, and each turns out to be an owner pro indiviso of the inheritance, by
reason of the share he may be entitled to receive, a community of property then exists between
the participants as long as the estate remains undivided and nothing more tangible can be imagined than
this necessary community, which arose at the moment when the coheirs assumed the entire
representation of the person of the deceased with respect to all of his property, rights, and actions,
both active and passive.

2. Every co-owner shall have full ownership of his part and in the fruits and benefits derived there from,
and he therefore may alienate, assign, or mortgage it, and even substitute another person in its
enjoyment, unless personal rights are in question. But the effect of the alienation or mortgage, with regard
to the co-owners, shall be limited to the share which may be awarded him in the division on the
dissolution of the community.

Applying the said rules, the death of the mother vested in the children of the first marriage their mothers
half share. The death of Moises entitled his eight children to a share each in the fishponds. Therefore,
Isabella, being the lone survivor of her siblings, was entitled to a 3/16 share of the total property.

The Court held that Rosa, Carmen, Francisco, Mauricia, and Ignacia Ramirez could have lawfully
alienated their respective shares in the joint ownership of the two parcels of land. The sale to
the defendants, Simeon Bautista and Raymundo Duran was the sale of 13/16 of the said two properties
and could not have been void. It was the sale of the 3/16 which belonged to Isabela alone which was void.

Simeon Bautista and Raymundo Duran succeed to the vendors should have been validly subrogated in the
joint ownership of the two fish ponds sold and that the shares that redounded to them were the same that
were owned by the vendors, which was, 13/16 of the two properties.

========================
[G.R. No. L-27952. February 15, 1982.]

TESTATE ESTATE OF JOSE EUGENIO RAMIREZ, MARIA LUISA PALACIOS, Administratrix, Petitioner-Appellee, v.
MARCELLE D. VDA. DE RAMIREZ, ET AL., oppositors, JORGE and ROBERTO RAMIREZ, Legatees, Oppositors-Appellants.
Ignacio R. Ortigas for Appellee.

Messrs. Luna, Parugganan, Sison & Ongsiako for oppositor-appellants.

Messrs. Gamboa & Hofilea for movant.

Messrs. Quasha, Asperilla, Zafra, Tayag & Archeta for oppositor M. Vda. de Ramirez.

SYNOPSIS

Jose Eugenio Ramirez, a Filipino national, died in Spain with only his widow as compulsory heir. His will was admitted to probate by
the Court of First Instance of Manila, Branch X. The administratrix of the estate submitted a project of partition giving one part of
the estate to the widow "en pleno dominio in satisfaction of her legitime while the other part of the "free portion" to his two
grandnephews Roberto and Jorge Ramirez, as the oppositors-appellants. Furthermore, one third of the free portion is charged with
the widows usufruct and the remaining two thirds (2/3) with a usufruct in favor of Wanda Wrobleski. Jorge and Roberto Ramirez
opposed the project of partition as well as the substitutions provided by the testator as to the usufructs of the widow and of Wanda.
Nonetheless, the lower court approved the project of partition in its order dated May 3, 1967. Jorge and Roberto appealed.

The Supreme Court upheld the vulgar substitution of Wandas usufruct despite her having survived the testator as said substitution
under Art 859 of the Civil Code includes not only death but also refusal or incapacity to accept the inheritance but disallowed the
fideicommissary aspect of the same as the substitutes are not related to the heir as required by Art. 863 of the said Code. The
Court further ruled that: (a) the widow who is entitled to one-half of the estate "en pleno dominio" as her legitime is not entitled to
the one third usufruct over the free portion, hence the question on its substitution has become moot and (b) that a usufruct in favor
of an alien, albeit a real right does not vest title to the land in the usufructuary and therefore not contrary to the Constitution.

Order modified.

SYLLABUS

1. CIVIL LAW; TESTIMENTARY SUCCESSION; WILLS; WHEN LEGITIME IS MORE THAN TESTATORS DISPOSITION; EFFECT. The
widow who is entitled to one-half of the estate "en pleno dominio" as her legitime which is more than what she is given under the
will is not entitled to the one third usufruct over the free portions which is an additional share in the estate that will run counter to
the testators intention.

2. ID.: ID.; ID.; SUBSTITUTION; DEFINITION. "Substitution is the appointment of another heir so that he may enter into the
inheritance in default of the heir originally instituted" (Art. 857, Civil Code).

3. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; KINDS. There are several kinds of substitutions, namely: simple or common, brief or compendious,
reciprocal, and fideicommissary (Art. 858, Civil Code). According to Tolentino, Although the Code enumerates four classes, there
are really two principal classes of substitutions: the simple and the fideicommissary. The others are merely variations of these two.
(III Civil Code, p.185 [1973]). The simple or vulgar is that provided in Art. 859 of the Civil Code while the fideicommissary
substitution is described in Art. 863 of the same Code.

4. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; VULGAR SUBSTITUTION; COVERAGE. Vulgar substitution is valid although the heir survived the testator or
stated differently did not predecease the testator because dying before the testator is not the only case for vulgar substitution. It
also includes refusal or incapacity to accept the inheritance as provided in Art. 859 of the Civil Code.

5. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; FIDEICOMMISSARY SUBSTITUTION; DEGREE OF RELATIONSHIP REQUIRED; NOT PRESENT IN CASE AT BAR.
Art. 863 of the Civil Code validates a fideicommissary substitution "provided such substitution does not go beyond one degree
from the heir originally instituted. Hence in the case at bar, appellants are correct in their claim that the substitution is void
because the substitutes are not related to the heir originally instituted.

6. ID.; ID.; ID.; I D.; MEANING OF "ONE DEGREE" EXPLAINED. "Scaevola, Maura, and Traviesas construe degree as
designation, substitution, or transmission. The Supreme Court of Spain has decidedly adopted this construction. From this point of
view, there can be only one transmission or substitution, and the substitute need not be related to the first heir. Manresa, Morell,
and Sanchez Roman however, construe the word degree as generation, and the present Code providing that the substitution shall
not go beyond one degree from the heir originally instituted. The Code thus clearly indicates that the second heir must be related
to and be one generation from the first heir. From this, it follows that the fideicommissary can only be either a child or a parent of
the first heir. These are the only relatives who are one generation or degree from the fiduciary." (Tolentino, I I I Civil Code pp. 193-
194 [1973]).

7. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; FIDEICOMMISSARY SUBSTITUTION; OBLIGATION OF FIDUCIARY TO DELIVER THE INHERITANCE TO THE
SECOND HEIR. Fideicommissary substitution is void where there is no absolute duty imposed on the first heir to transmit the
usufruct to the substitutes as required by Arts. 865 and 857 of the Civil Code but in fact, the appellee admits "that the testator
contradicts the establishment of a fideicommissary substitution when he permits the properties subject of the usufruct to be sold
upon mutual agreement of the usufructuaries and the naked owners." cralaw vi rtua 1aw lib rary

8. CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; DECLARATION OF PRINCIPLES; PROHIBITION AGAINST ACQUISITION OF LANDS BY ALIENS; DOES NOT
COVER USUFRUCT. Notwithstanding the opinion that the Constitutional provision which enables aliens to acquire private lands
does not extend to testamentary succession for otherwise the prohibition will be for naught and meaningless, the usufruct in favor
of an alien is upheld, because the same, albeit a real right, does not vest title to land in the usufructuary and it is the vesting of title
to land in favor of aliens which is proscribed by the Constitution.

DECISION

ABAD SANTOS, J.:

The main issue in this appeal is the manner of partitioning the testate estate of Jose Eugenio Ramirez among the principal
beneficiaries, namely: his widow Marcelle Demoron de Ramirez; his two grandnephews Roberto and Jorge Ramirez; and his
companion Wanda de Wrobleski.

The task is not trouble-free because the widow Marcelle is a French who lives in Paris, while the companion Wanda is an Austrian
who lives in Spain. Moreover, the testator provided for substitutions. chanrobles lawlib rary : re dnad

Jose Eugenio Ramirez, a Filipino national, died in Spain on December 11, 1964, with only his widow as compulsory heir. His will was
admitted to probate by the Court of First Instance of Manila, Branch X, on July 27, 1965. Maria Luisa Palacios was appointed
administratrix of the estate. In due time she submitted an inventory of the estate as follows: jg c:cha nrob les.com. ph

"INVENTARIO

Una sexta parte (1/6) pro-indivisa de un terreno,

con su mejoras y edificaciones, situado en la

Escolta, Manila P500,000.00

Una sexta parte (1/6) pro-indivisa de dos parcelas

de terreno situadas en Antipolo, Rizal 658.34

Cuatrocientos noventa y un (491) acciones de la Central

Azucarera de la Carlota a P17.00 por accion 8,347.00

Diez mil ochocientos seiz (10,806) acciones de la

Central Luzon Milling Co., disuelta y en liquidacion,

a P0.15 por accion 1,620.90

Cuenta de Ahorros en el Philippine Trust Co. 2,350.73

TOTAL P512,976.97

MENOS: c hanro b1es vi rt ual 1aw li bra ry

Deuda al Banco de las Islas Pilipinas, garantizada

con prenda de las acciones de La Carlota P5,000.00

VALOR LIQUIDO P507,976.97"

The testamentary dispositions are as follows: jgc:c han robles. com.ph

"A. En nuda propiedad, a D. Roberto y D. Jorge Ramirez, ambos menores de edad, residentes en Manila, I. F., calle Wright, No.
1818, Malate, hijos de su sobrino D. Jose Ma. Ramirez, con sustitucion vulgar a favor de sus respectivos descendientes, y, en su
defecto, con sustitucion vulgar reciproca entre ambos.

"El precedente legado en nuda propiedad de la participacion indivisa de la finca Santa-Cruz Building, lo ordena el testador a favor
de los legatarios nombrados, en atencion a que dicha propiedad fue creacion del querido padre del otorgante y por ser aquellos
continuadores del apellido Ramirez.

"B. Y en usufructo a saber:

a. En cuanto a una tercera parte, a favor de la esposa del testador, Da. Marcelle Ramirez, domiciliada en IE PECO, calle del
General Gallieni, No. 33, Seine, Francia, con sustitucion vulgar u fideicomisaria a favor de Da. Wanda de Wrobleski, de Palma de
Mallorca, Son Rapia, Avenida de los Reyes 13,
b. Y en cuanto a las dos terceras partes restantes, a favor de la nombrado Da. Wanda de Wrobleski, con sustitucion vulgar y
fideicomisaria, a saber:

"En cuanto a la mitad de dichas dos terceras partes, a favor de D. Juan Pablo Jankowski, de Son Rapia, Palma de Mallorca; y en
cuanto a la mitad restante, a favor de su sobrino, D. Horace V. Ramirez, San Luis Building, Florida St. Ermita, Manila, I.F.

"A pesar de las sustituciones fideicomisarias precedentemente ordinadas, las usufructuarias nombradas conjuntamente con los
nudo propietarios, podran en cualquier momento vender a tercero los bienes objeto delegado, sin intervencion alguna de los
titulares fideicomisarios." c ralaw vi rtua1aw l ibra ry

On June 23, 1966, the administratrix submitted a project of partition as follows: the property of the deceased is to be divided into
two parts. One part shall go to the widow "en pleno dominio" in satisfaction of her legitime; the other part or "free portion" shall go
to Jorge and Roberto Ramirez "en nuda propriedad." Furthermore, one third (1/3) of the free portion is charged with the widows
usufruct and the remaining two-third (2/3) with a usufruct in favor of Wanda.

Jorge and Roberto opposed the project of partition on the grounds: (a) that the provisions for vulgar substitution in favor of Wanda
de Wrobleski with respect to the widows usufruct and in favor of Juan Pablo Jankowski and Horacio V. Ramirez, with respect to
Wandas usufruct are invalid because of the first heirs (Marcelle and Wanda) survived the testator; (b) that the provisions for
fideicommissary substitutions are also invalid because the first heirs are not related to the second heirs or substitutes within the
first degree, as provided in Article 863 of the Civil Code; (c) that the grant of a usufruct over real property in the Philippines in
favor of Wanda de Wrobleski, who is an alien, violates Section 5, Article XIII of the Philippine Constitution; and that (d) the
proposed partition of the testators interest in the Santa Cruz (Escolta) Building between the widow Marcelle, and the appellants,
violates the testators express will to give this property to them. Nonetheless, the lower court approved the project of partition in its
order dated May 3, 1967. It is this order which Jorge and Roberto have appealed to this Court.

1. The widows legitime.

The appellants do not question the legality of giving Marcelle one-half of the estate in full ownership. They admit that the testators
dispositions impaired his widows legitime. Indeed, under Art. 900 of the Civil Code "If the only survivor is the widow or widower,
she or he shall be entitled to one-half of the hereditary estate." And since Marcelle alone survived the deceased, she is entitled to
one-half of his estate over which he could impose no burden, encumbrance, condition or substitution of any kind whatsoever. (Art.
904, par. 2, Civil Code).
chan rob les vi rtual lawlib rary

It is the one-third usufruct over the free portion which the appellants question and justifiably so. It appears that the court a quo
approved the usufruct in favor of Marcelle because the testament provides for a usufruct in her favor of one-third of the estate. The
court a quo erred for Marcelle who is entitled to one-half of the estate "en pleno dominio" as her legitime and which is more than
what she is given under the will is not entitled to have any additional share in the estate. To give Marcelle more than her legitime
will run counter to the testators intention for as stated above his dispositions even impaired her legitime and tended to favor
Wanda.

2. The substitutions.

It may be useful to recall that "Substitution is the appointment of another heir so that he may enter into the inheritance in default
of the heir originally instituted." (Art. 857, Civil Code.) And that there are several kinds of substitutions, namely: simple or
common, brief or compendious, reciprocal, and fideicommissary. (Art. 858, Civil Code.) According to Tolentino, "Although the Code
enumerates four classes, there are really only two principal classes of substitutions: the simple and the fideicommissary. The others
are merely variations of these two." (III Civil Code, p. 185 [1973]).

The simple or vulgar is that provided in Art. 859 of the Civil Code which reads: jgc:c hanro bles. com.ph

"ART. 859. The testator may designate one or more persons to substitute the heir or heirs instituted in case such heir or heirs
should die before him, or should not wish, or should be incapacitated to accept the inheritance.

"A simple substitution, without a statement of the cases to which it refers, shall comprise the three mentioned in the preceding
paragraph, unless the testator has otherwise provided." cra law virtua1aw li bra ry

The fideicommissary substitution is described in the Civil Code as follows: jgc: chan roble s.com.p h

"ART. 863. A fideicommissary substitution by virtue of which the fiduciary or first heir instituted is entrusted with the obligation to
preserve and to transmit to a second heir the whole or part of inheritance, shall be valid and shall take effect, provided such
substitution does not go beyond one degree from the heir originally instituted, and provided further that the fiduciary or first heir
and the second heir are living at time of the death of the testator." cralaw vi rtua 1 aw libra ry

It will be noted that the testator provided for a vulgar substitution in respect of the legacies of Roberto and Jorge Ramirez, the
appellants, thus: "con sustitucion vulgar a favor de sus respectivos descendientes, y, en su defecto, con substitucion vulgar
reciproca entre ambos." The appellants do not question the legality of the substitution so provided.

The appellants question the "sustitucion vulgar y fideicomisaria a favor de Da. Wanda de Wrobleski" in connection with the one-
third usufruct over the estate given to the widow Marcelle. However, this question has become moot because as We have ruled
above, the widow is not entitled to any usufruct.

The appellants also question the "sustitucion vulgar y fideicomisaria" in connection with Wandas usufruct over two-thirds of the
estate in favor of Juan Pablo Jankowski and Horace V. Ramirez.

They allege that the substitution in its vulgar aspect is void because Wanda survived the testator or stated differently because she
did not predecease the testator. But dying before the testator is not the only case for vulgar substitution for it also includes refusal
or incapacity to accept the inheritance as provided in Art. 859 of the Civil Code, supra. Hence, the vulgar substitution is valid.

As regards the substitution in its fideicommissary aspect, the appellants are correct in their claim that it is void for the following
reasons: chan rob1e s virtual 1aw l ibra ry

(a) The substitutes (Juan Pablo Jankowski and Horace V. Ramirez) are not related to Wanda, the heir originally instituted. Art. 863
of the Civil Code validates a fideicommissary substitution "provided such substitution does not go beyond one degree from the heir
originally instituted." c ralaw vi rtua 1aw lib rary

What is meant by "one degree" from the first heir is explained by Tolentino as follows: jg c:chan rob les.com. ph

"Scaevola, Maura, and Traviesas construe degree as designation, substitution, or transmission. The Supreme Court of Spain has
decidedly adopted this construction. From this point of view, there can be only one transmission or substitution, and the substitute
need not be related to the first heir. Manresa, Morell, and Sanchez Roman, however, construe the word degree as generation, and
the present Code has obviously followed this interpretation, by providing that the substitution shall not go beyond one degree from
the heir originally instituted. The Code thus clearly indicates that the second heir must be related to and be one generation from
the first heir.

"From this, it follows that the fideicommissary can only be either a child or a parent of the first heir. These are the only relatives
who are one generation or degree from the fiduciary." (Op. cit., pp. 193-194.).

(b) There is no absolute duty imposed on Wanda to transmit the usufruct to the substitutes as required by Arts. 865 and 867 of the
Civil Code. In fact, the appellee admits "that the testator contradicts the establishment of a fideicommissary substitution when he
permits the properties subject of the usufruct to be sold upon mutual agreement of the usufructuaries and the naked owners."
(Brief, p. 26).

3. The usufruct of Wanda.

The appellants claim that the usufruct over real properties of the estate in favor of Wanda is void because it violates the
constitutional prohibition against the acquisition of lands by aliens.

The 1935 Constitution which is controlling provides as follows: jg c:chan roble s.com.p h

"SEC. 5. Save in cases of hereditary succession, no private agricultural land shall be transferred or assigned except to individuals,
corporations, or associations qualified to acquire or hold lands of the public domain in the Philippines." (Art. XIII.).

The court a quo upheld the validity of the usufruct given to Wanda on the ground that the Constitution covers not only succession
by operation of law but also testamentary succession. We are of the opinion that the Constitutional provision which enables aliens
to acquire private lands does not extend to testamentary succession for otherwise the prohibition will be for naught and
meaningless. Any alien would be able to circumvent the prohibition by paying money to a Philippine landowner in exchange for a
devise of a piece of land.

This opinion notwithstanding, We uphold the usufruct in favor of Wanda because a usufruct, albeit a real right, does not vest title to
the land in the usufructuary and it is the vesting of title to land in favor of aliens which is proscribed by the Constitution. c ralawna d

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the estate of Jose Eugenio Ramirez is hereby ordered distributed as follows: c hanrob1es vi rt ual 1aw li bra ry

One-half (1/2) thereof to his widow as her legitime;

One-half (1/2) thereof which is the free portion to Roberto and Jorge Ramirez in naked ownership and the usufruct to Wanda de
Wrobleski with a simple substitution in favor of Juan Pablo Jankowski and Horace V. Ramirez.

The distribution herein ordered supersedes that of the court a quo. No special pronouncement as to costs.

SO ORDERED.

6. Soliman vs icdang

G.R. No. L-15924 May 31, 1961

UDE SOLIMAN (BAGOBA), plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
ICDANG (BAGOBO) and YO-ON (BAGOBA), defendants-appellants.

Primitivo Diaz for plaintiff-appellee.


Villafuerte and Lopez for defendants-appellants.
CONCEPCION, J.:

Appeal, taken by defendants Icdang and Yo-on, Bagobos, from a decision of the Court of First Instance of Davao.
Although the record on appeal was, as requested by appellants, originally certified to the Court of Appeals, the same
subsequently forwarded the case to us, there being no dispute about the main facts and only questions of law being
raised in the appeal.

Defendants Icdang and Yo-on are husband and wife. Sometime in 1940, their son Adolfo lcdang married plaintiff Ude
Soliman. On September 18, 1941, the Director of Lands approved a homestead application filed by Adolfo Icdang
prior thereto, on a date not stated in the record, covering two (2) parcels of land situated in Kudalian, Davao City, and
more particularly described in the complaint herein. Presently, war broke out and Davao was occupied by the
Japanese. Sometime in 1944, Adolfo Icdang was arrested by the Japanese and, soon, thereafter, he was considered
dead, for nothing was heard about him since then. Being childless and, hence, alone, plaintiff who, up to that time,
and since shortly after her wedding, had been living on said land left the same and rejoined her parents, in Sirib
District of Guianga, Davao City, where she established her residence. On March 18, 1954, after defraying the cost of
survey and other incidental expenses, she managed to have a patent and Original Certificate of Title No. U-549,
covering the aforementioned land, issued in the name of the heirs of Adolfo Icdang. Meanwhile according to
plaintiff's evidence or since she left the land in 1944, defendants stayed therein and received the fruits or products
thereof, although defendants maintain that they had been in possession of the land even before the marriage of their
son to plaintiff herein. Alleging that defendants had refused, upon demand, to deliver the land to her, one half of
which she claims to be her share of her conjugal partnership with the deceased, plaintiff began, on March 1, 1956,
the present action, for the partition of said property and an accounting of the products thereof, as well as for
damages, attorney's fees and costs.

In their answer, defendants admitted some allegations of the complaint and denied other allegations thereof, and
alleged as special defense that, as early as 1933, defendant Icdang was the possessor of, and had filed Home stead
Application No. 511582 covering Lot No. 2699, which, defendants aver, is the subject of the complaint; that they had
continuously lived in said land and fully cultivated the same; that, after entrusting to one Landawe the task of securing
the corresponding patent, they found subsequently that a patent had been issued in favor of the heirs of Adolfo
Icdang and that neither the latter nor plaintiff had ever lived or stayed in the land in question or introduced any
improvement thereof. Defendants prayed, therefore, that the Solicitor General be ordered to investigate how plaintiff
had fraudulently succeeded in obtaining the patent and said Original Certificate of Title No. P-549, with a view to
cancelling both, and that plaintiff be sentenced to pay damages, attorney's fees, and costs.

During the hearing of the case, in the lower court, for the reception of evidence, both parties agreed upon
indication of His Honor, the trial Judge to submit the case for decision on one single issue, namely: Who are the
heirs of Adolfo Icdang? In due course, thereafter, the lower court rendered judgment: (1) holding that the land in
dispute belonged to the conjugal partnership of Adolfo Icdang and Ude Soliman and that one-half pro-indiviso of said
land, with the buildings and improvements existing thereon, is plaintiff's exclusive property, and the other half that of
the defendants; (2) ordering the defendant's within ninety (90) days from the promulgation of the judgment
(September 30, 1957) to render accounts of the products of the abaca plantation on the land, from 1946 up to the
destruction of said plantation, as well as of the corn and palay produced in the land, from 1946 up to the presentation
of said accounts; and (3) sentencing the defendants, jointly and severally, to pay to plaintiff: (a) P10.00 a month, for
the use of the portion of the land belonging to her, from September 30, 1957 up to the delivery of said portion to
plaintiff; (b) P350.00, representing one-half () of the expenses incurred by plaintiff to secure the title of said land,
with interest on said amount, at the rate of 6% per annum, from the filing of the complaint; (c) one-half () of the
amounts paid by her as real estate tax from 1946; (d) P1,000.00 as attorney's fees; and (d) the costs.

Hence, this appeal by defendants, who maintain that the decision appealed from is erroneous because the parties
had, in effect, agreed that the land in dispute belongs to the heirs of Adolfo Icdang and the only issue submitted for
determination by the lower court was the identity of said heirs; because, in holding that the land formed part of the
conjugal partnership of Adolfo lcdang and plaintiff herein, and that the latter is the sole owner of one-half pro-
indiviso of said land, the lower court had implicitly declared that plaintiff had acquired her aforementioned ownership,
not by succession, or as heir of the deceased, but of her own right, and, accordingly, that the heirs of Adolfo Icdang
own only one-half of said land, in contravention of the aforementioned agreement of the parties, beyond the issue
submitted for decision and, therefore, beyond the jurisdiction of the lower court and contrary to the tenor of the
original certificate of title above mentioned issued in favor of the heirs of Adolfo Icdang which, according to the
very lower court, is incontrovertible.
We agree with the defendants that said finding of the lower court is untenable. In addition to the reasons adduced by
the defendants, we should bear in mind that, although Adolfo Icdang was married to plaintiff when he filed the
homestead application, "an applicant may be said to have acquired a vested right over a homestead only by the
presentation of the final proof and its approval by the Director of Lands." (Ingaran v. Ramelo, L-10471, March 30,
1960; Balboa v. Farrales, 51 Phil. 498; Republic v. Diamon, L-7813, October 31, 1955.) In the case at bar, the final
proof appears to have been presented to, and approved by, the Director of Lands, in 1954, or several years after the
death of Adolfo Icdang and the dissolution of his conjugal partnership with plaintiff herein. Hence, the land in question
could not have formed part of the assets of said partnership. It belonged to the heirs of Adolfo lcdang, pursuant to
section 105 of Commonwealth Act No. 141, reading:

If at any time the applicant or grantee shall die before the issuance of the patent or the final grant of the
land, or during the life of the lease, or while the applicant or grantee still has obligations pending towards the
Government, in accordance with this Act, he shall be succeeded in his rights and obligations with respect to
the land applied for or granted or leased under this Act by his heirs in law, who shall be entitled to have
issued to them the patent or final concession if they show that they have complied with the requirements
therefor, and who shall be subrogated in all his rights and obligations for the purposes of this Act.

It is worthy of notice that, under the Public Land Act of 1903 (Act No. 926, section 3), "in the event of the death of an
applicant prior to the issuance of a patent, his widow shall be entitled to have a patent for the land applied for issue to
her upon showing that she has consummated the requirements of law for homesteading the lands", and that only in
case the deceased applicant leaves no widow shall his interest in the land descend and the patent issue to his legal
heirs. Incorporated substantially in section 103 of the Public Land Act of 1919 (Act No. 2874), this policy was
changed by Act No. 3517, pursuant to which the deceased shall be succeeded no longer by his widow, but "by his
heirs in law, who shall be entitled to have issued to them the patent . . . if they show that they have complied with the
requirements therefor". And this is, in effect, the rule maintained in the above quoted section 105 of Commonwealth
Act No. 141.

It is apparent from the foregoing that the present law had advisedly abolished the right of the widow of a deceased
homestead applicant to secure, under the old law, a patent in her own name; that, even under the old law, she could
not obtain such patent, except "upon showing that she had consummated the requirements of law for homesteading";
that, under the law now in force, the patent shall issue to the "heirs in law" of the deceased, not to his widow, if the
former "show that they have complied with the requirements therefor"; and that the issuance of the patent and of the
corresponding certificate of title, in the case at bar, in favor of the "heirs of the late Adolfo Icdang", shows that the
Director of Lands had found that the aforementioned requirements were complied with, not by plaintiff herein
despite the fact that it was she who urged the issuance of said patent and defrayed the expenses necessary therefor
but by the heirs of the deceased.

Indeed, said finding was the most plausible one, for war broke out and the occupation of Davao by the enemy began
barely three (3) months after the approval of the homestead application; Adolfo Icdang was taken by the enemy in
1944 and presumably killed by them; immediately thereafter, plaintiff abandoned the land and stayed with her parents
in another part of Davao; and defendants remained or took possession of the land and cultivated it. Under these
circumstances, it is most probable that the requirements of Commonwealth Act No. 141 relative to the cultivation of
homesteads were complied with, not by Adolfo Icdang, or by his widow, but by herein defendants. At any rate, the
latter, like plaintiff herein, are heirs of the deceased.

It is clear, therefore, that the land in dispute belongs to the heirs of Adolfo Icdang, not to the conjugal partnership
aforementioned. Now, then, who are such heirs? Defendants' claim that, since Adolfo Icdang had left no
descendants, they, as his legitimate parents, are his sole heirs, to the exclusion of his widow, relying evidently upon
Article 935 of the Civil Code of Spain, the law in force at the time of the death of the decedent, which provides:

In default of legitimate children and descendants of the deceased, his ascendants shall inherit from him, to
the exclusion of collaterals.

Said Article 935 should be read, however, in relation to Article 836 of the same Code, which provides that, "if the
testator leaves no descendant, but does leave ascendants, the surviving spouse shall be entitled to a third of the
estate in usufruct". Hence, defendants herein, as parents of Adolfo Icdang, inherit the land in question, share and
share alike, but one-third of the share of each (representing one-sixth of the land) shall be subject to said usufruct of
plaintiff herein.
Accordingly, the decision appealed from should be, as it is hereby, modified, in the sense that the property in dispute
belongs, not to the conjugal partnership of plaintiff and Adolfo Icdang, but to the heirs of the latter; that said heirs are
plaintiff Ude Soliman, as widow of the deceased, and defendants Icdang and Yo-on (both Bagobos), as his surviving
parents; that the share of Icdang shall be three-sixths (3/6) of said land, one-third (1/3) of which share (or one-sixth
[1/6] of the land) shall be subject to the usufruct of Ude Soliman; that the share of Yo-on shall be the remaining three-
sixths (3/16) of said land, one-third (1/3) of which share (or one-sixth [1/6] of the land) shall, similarly, be subject to
the usufruct of Ude Soliman; that the share of Ude Soliman, shall consist of a usufruct over two-sixths (2/6) of the
land, to be exercised, as above stated, over one-third (1/3) of the share of Icdang and that of Yo-on; and that plaintiff
shall be entitled to recover from the defendants the value of one-third (1/3) of the net produce of the land, in addition
to five-sixths (5/6) of the expenses incurred by her to secure the homestead patent and the certificate of title, and of
the sums paid by her as real estate taxes. In all other respects, said decision is hereby affirmed.

WHEREFORE, let the record of this case be remanded to the lower court for further proceedings, pursuant to Rule 71
of the Rules of Court, not inconsistent with this decision, without special pronouncement as to the costs of this
instance. It is so ordered.

7. Gonzales vs CA 298 SCRA 324

Gonzales v. CA
G.R. No. L-37453 May 25, 1979
Guerrero, J. (Ponente)

Facts:
1. Petitioner Rizalina Gonzales and Lutgarda Santiago (Private respondent) are the nieces of the deceased
Isabel Gabriel who died a widow. A will was thereafter submitted to probate. The said will was
typewritten, in Tagalog and appeared to have been executed in April 1961 or two months prior to the
death of Isabel. It consisted of 5 pages including the attestation and acknowledgment, with the signature
of testatrix on page 4 and the left margin of all the pages.

2. Lutgarda was named as the universal heir and executor. The petitioner opposed the probate.

3. The lower court denied the probate on the ground that the will was not executed and attested in
accordance with law on the issue of the competency and credibility of the witnesses.

Issue: Whether or not the credibility of the subscribing witnesses is material to the validity of a will

RULING: No. The law requires only that witnesses posses the qualifications under Art. 820 (NCC) and
none of the disqualifications of Art. 802. There is no requirement that they are of good standing or
reputation in the community, for trustworthiness, honesty and uprightness in order that his testimony is
believed and accepted in court. For the testimony to be credible, it is not mandatory that evidence be
established on record that the witnesses have good standing in the the community. Competency is
distinguished from credibility, the former being determined by Art. 820 while the latter does not require
evidence of such good standing. Credibility depends on the convincing weight of his testimony in court.

============

Gonzales v. CA (GR No. 106028; May 9, 2001)


FACTS:
Petitioner Lilia Y. Gonzales received two Orders from the Regional Office of the Department of Agrarian Reform

(DAR) issued pursuant to the operation land transfer program of the government under Presidential Decree (PD) No.

27. Petitioner was directed to surrender the titles to her land and to submit the other requirements of the respondent

Land Bank of the Philippines, while the said bank was ordered to pay the petitioner compensation for the two parcels

of land.

The petitioner filed a Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition with Temporary Restraining Order with the Court of

Appeals to restrain the enforcement and to annul the said two Orders of the DAR Regional Director on the ground of

lack or excess of jurisdiction, alleging that the petitioner never filed a land transfer claim and was not notified of nor

heard in the execution of the final survey plans and the valuation of her land.

The CA rendered a decision denying due course to, and dismissing the petition for failure of the petitioners to exhaust

administrative remedies.

Hence this petition.

ISSUE: W/N the petition for certiorari and prohibition filed with the Court of Appeals comes within the exceptions to

the rule on exhaustion of administrative remedies


HELD: NO. The thrust of the rule on exhaustion of administrative remedies is that the courts must allow the

administrative agencies to carry out their functions and discharge their responsibilities within the specialized areas of

their respective competence. It is presumed that an administrative agency, if afforded an opportunity to pass upon a

matter, will decide the same correctly, or correct any previous error committed in its forum. Furthermore, reasons of

law, comity and convenience prevent the courts from entertaining cases proper for determination by administrative

agencies. Hence, premature resort to the courts necessarily becomes fatal to the cause of action of the petitioner.

After a careful perusal of the records, we find the doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies to be applicable in

this case.

The assailed orders involving parcels of land situated in Naga, Pototan, Iloilo were issued by the Regional Director of

DAR Region VI Office in Iloilo City. A Regional Director is the head of a DAR Regional Office which, under the

Administrative Code of 1987, is responsible for supporting the field units and supervising program implementation of

the Department within the region. The function of the DAR Regional Office includes [implementing] laws, policies,

plans, rules and regulations of the Department in the regional area. A similar function is delegated to the DAR

Regional Offices under Executive Order No. 129-A. With such a broad function and responsibility, it may be

reasonably concluded that the issuance of the assailed orders pursuant to the operation land transfer and tenant

emancipation program of the government is within the authority and jurisdiction of the DAR Regional
Director. However, questions as to the propriety of the issuance could have still been raised before the proper
administrative forum. Instead of going directly to the Court of Appeals on certiorari, the petitioner should have sought
redress in the DARAB, and the latters officials should have been

given an opportunity to review the matter and resolve the controversy.

------------

Gonzales v. Court of Appeals


G.R. No. 117740, October 30, 1998

FACTS:

On 18 April1972, petitioners Carolina Abad Gonzales, Dolores de Mesa Abad and Cesar de Mesa Tioseco
sought the settlement of the intestate estate of their brother, Ricardo de Mesa Abad. In their petition,
petitioners claimed that they were the only heirs of their brother as he had allegedly died a bachelor,
leaving no descendants or ascendants, whether legitimate or illegitimate. Petitioners amended their
petition by alleging that the real properties listed as belonging to the decedent were actually only
administered by him and that the true owner was their late mother, Lucila de Mesa.

The trial court appointed Cesar de Mesa Tioseco as administrator of the intestate estate of Ricardo de
Mesa Abad. Petitioners executed an extrajudicial settlement of the estate of their late mother Lucila de
Mesa in their favor.

On 07 July 1972, private respondents Honoria Empaynado, Cecilia Abad Empaynado, and Marian Abad
Empaynado filed a motion to set aside proceedings. In their motion, they alleged that Honoria
Empaynado had been the common-law wife of Ricardo Abad for twenty-seven (27) years before his death,
or from 1943 to 1971, and that during this period, their union had produced two (2) children, Cecilia Abad
Empaynado and Marian Abad Empaynado. They also disclosed the existence of Rosemarie Abad, a child
allegedly fathered by Ricardo Abad with another woman, Dolores Saracho. As the law awards the entire
estate to the surviving children to the exclusion of collateral relatives, they charged petitioners with
eliberately concealing the existence of said children in order to deprive the latter of their rights to the
estate of Ricardo Abad.

ISSUE:

Whether or not the three (3) children were entitled to inherit

RULING:

Yes. Evidence presented by private respondents overwhelmingly proved that they are the acknowledged
natural children of Ricardo Abad. They were able to prove that he stated in his individual income tax
returns as his legitimate dependent children, Cecilia, Marian and Rosemarie Abad. He insured his
daughters on a 20 year endowment plan. He opened a trust fund account for his daughters.

Finding that private respondents are the illegitimate children of Ricardo Abad, petitioners should have
been precluded from inheriting the estate of their brother on the basis of the following Civil Code
provisions:

Art. 988. In the absence of legitimate descendants or ascendants, the


illegitimate children shall succeed to the entire estate of the deceased.
Art. 1003. If there are no illegitimate children, or a surviving spouse, the
collateral relatives shall succeed to the entire estate of the deceased in
accordance with the following articles

Petitioners contested the filiation of the children by submitting that the husband of Honoria Empaynado,
Jose Libunao, was still alive when Cecilia and Marian Abad were born. It was undisputed that prior to her
relationship with Ricardo Abad, Honoria Empaynado was married to Jose Libunao. But while private
respondents claim that Jose Libunao died in 1943, petitioners claim that the latter died sometime in 1971.

The evidence presented by petitioners to prove that Jose Libunao died in 1971 was inconclusive. The
evidence presented was an enrolment formwherein there was failure to indicate that Jose was deceased.
Such proof did not necessarily prove that said parent was still living during the time the form was
being accomplished. The records of Loyola Memorial Park also showed that a certain Jose Bautista
Libunao was indeed buried there in 1971. Such person was different from the husband whose full name
was Jose Santos Libunao.

===========

G.R. No. 117740 October 30, 1998

CAROLINA ABAD GONZALES, petitioner,


vs.
COURT OF APPEALS, HONORIA EMPAYNADO, CECILIA H. ABAD, MARIAN H. ABAD and ROSEMARIE S.
ABAD, respondents.

ROMERO, J.:

Before us is a petition for certiorari to annul the decision of the Court of Appeals dated October 19, 1994, finding
private respondents as the heirs of Ricardo de Mesa Abad as well as annulling petitioners' extra-judicial partition of
the decedent's estate.

The facts are as follows:

On April 18, 1972, petitioners Carolina Abad Gonzales, Dolores de Mesa Abad and Cesar de Mesa Tioseco sought
the settlement of the intestate estate of their brother, Ricardo de Mesa Abad, before the then Court of First Instance
of Manila. In their petition, docketed as Special Proceedings No. 86792, petitioners claimed that they were the only
heirs of Ricardo de Mesa Abad, as the latter allegedly died a bachelor, leaving no descendants or ascendants,
whether legitimate or illegitimate. On May 9, 1972, petitioners amended their petition by alleging that the real
properties covered by TCT Nos. 13530, 53671, and 64021, listed therein as belonging to the decedent, were actually
only administered by the latter, the true owner being their late mother, Lucila de Mesa. On June 16, 1972, the trial
court appointed Cesar de Mesa Tioseco as administrator of the intestate estate of Ricardo de Mesa Abad.

Meanwhile, on May 2, 1972, petitioners executed an extrajudicial settlement of the estate of their late mother Lucila
de Mesa, copying therein the technical descriptions of the lots covered by TCT Nos. 13530, 53671, and 64021. By
virtue thereof, the Register of Deeds cancelled the above-mentioned TCTs in the name of Ricardo Abad and issued,
in lieu thereof, TCT No. 108482 in the name of Dolores de Mesa Abad, TCT No. 108483 in the name of Cesar de
Mesa Tioseco and TCT No. 108484 in the name of Carolina Abad Gonzales. The three promptly executed real estate
mortgages over the real properties in favor of Mrs. Josefina Viola, the wife of their counsel, Escolastico Viola.

On July 7, 1972, private respondents Honoria Empaynado, Cecilia Abad Empaynado, and Marian Abad Empaynado
filed a motion to set aside proceedings and for leave to file opposition in Special Proceedings No. 86792. In their
motion, they alleged that Honoria Empaynado had been the common-law wife of Ricardo Abad for twenty-seven
years before his death, or from 1943 to 1971, and that during this period, their union had produced two children,
Cecilia Abad Empaynado and Marian Abad Empaynado. Private respondents also disclosed the existence of
Rosemarie Abad, a child allegedly fathered by Ricardo Abad with another woman, Dolores Saracho. As the law
awards the entire estate to the surviving children to the exclusion of collateral relatives, private respondents charged
petitioners with deliberately concealing the existence of said three children in other to deprive the latter of their rights
to the estate of Ricardo Abad.

On July 24, 1972, private respondents filed a motion to withdraw their first motion and, in lieu thereof, filed a motion
for reconsideration praying that Cecilia Abad be appointed administrator instead of Cesar Tioseco. The trial court
denied private respondents' motion to remove Cesar Tioseco as administrator, but allowed them to appear in the
proceedings to establish their right as alleged heirs of Ricardo Abad.

Private respondents later discovered that petitioners had managed to cancel TCT Nos. 13530, 53671, and 64021
through the stratagem of extra-judicially partitioning their mother's estate. Accordingly, on October 4, 1973, private
respondents filed a motion to annul the extra-judicial partition executed by petitioners, as well as TCT Nos. 108482,
108483, and 108484, the Torrens titles issued in substitution of TCT Nos. 13530, 53671, and 64021 and the real
estate mortgages constituted by the latter on said properties.

After due trial, the lower court, on November 2, 1973, rendered the following judgment:

WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered as follows:

(1) Declaring Cecilia E. Abad, Marian E. Abad and Rosemarie S. Abad


acknowledged natural children of the deceased Ricardo M. Abad;

(2) Declaring said acknowledged natural children, namely: Cecilia E. Abad,


Marian E. Abad, and Rosemarie S. Abad the only surviving legal heirs of the
deceased Ricardo M. Abad and as such entitled to succeed to the entire estate
of said deceased, subject to the rights of Honoria Empaynado, if any, as co-
owner of any of the property of said estate that may have been acquired thru her
joint efforts with the deceased during the period they lived together as husband
and wife;

(3) Denying the petition of decedent's collateral relatives, namely: Dolores M.


Abad, Cesar M. Tioseco and Carolina M. Abad to be declared as heirs and
excluding them from participating in the administration and settlement of the
estate of Ricardo Abad;

(4) Appointing Honoria Empaynado as the administratrix in this intestacy with a


bond of THIRTY THOUSAND (P30,000.00) PESOS; and

(5) Ordering Cesar Tioseco to surrender to the new administratrix all property or
properties, monies and such papers that came into his possession by virtue of
his appointment as administrator, which appointment is hereby revoked. 1

The trial court, likewise, found in favor of private respondents with respect to the latter's motion for annulment of
certain documents. On November 19, 1974, it rendered the following judgment:

WHEREFORE, this Court finds oppositors' Motion for Annulment, dated October 4, 1973 to be
meritorious and accordingly

1. Declares that the six (6) parcels of land described in TCT Nos. 13530, 53671
and 64021, all registered in the name of Ricardo Abad, as replaced by TCT No.
108482 in the name of Dolores de Mesa Abad, TCT No. 108483 in the name of
Cesar de Mesa Tioseco and TCT No. 108484 in the name of Carolina de Mesa
Abad-Gonzales, and the residential house situated at 2432 Opalo Street, San
Andres Subdivision, Manila, to be the properties of the late Ricardo Abad;
2. Declares the deed of Extra Judicial Settlement of the Estate of the Deceased
Lucila de Mesa, executed on May 2, 1972 (Doc. No. 445, Page No. 86, Book No.
VII, Series of 1972 of the notarial book of Faustino S. Cruz) by petitioners and
Carolina de Mesa Abad-Gonzales, to be inexistent and void from the beginning;

3. Declares as null and void the cancellation of TCT Nos. 13530, 53671 and
64021 and issuance in lieu thereof, of TCT Nos. 108482, 108483 and 108484;

4. Orders the Register of Deeds of Manila to cancel TCT No. 108482 of Dolores
de Mesa Abad; TCT No. 108483 of Cesar de Mesa Tioseco; and TCT No.
108484 of Carolina de Mesa Abad-Gonzales and in lieu thereof, restore and/or
issue the corresponding certificate of title in the name of Ricardo Abad;

5. Declares as inexistent and void from the beginning the three (3) real estate
mortgages executed on July 7, 1972 executed by (a) petitioner Dolores de Mesa
Abad, identified as Doc. No. 145, Page No. 30, Book No. XX, Series of 1972, (b)
petitioner Cesar de Mesa Tioseco, identified as Doc. No. 146, Page 31, Book No.
XX, Series of 1972; and (c) Carolina de Mesa Abad-Gonzales, identified as Doe.
No. 144, Page No. 30, Book No. XX, Series of 1972, all of the notarial book of
Ricardo P. Yap of Manila, in favor of Mrs. Josefina C. Viola, and orders the
Register of Deeds of Manila to cancel the registration or annotation thereof from
the back of the torrens title of Ricardo Abad; and

6. Orders Atty. Escolastico R. Viola and his law associate and wife, Josefina C.
Viola, to surrender to the new administratrix, Honoria Empaynado, TCT Nos.
108482, 108483, and 108484 within five (5) days from receipt hereof.

SO ORDERED. 2

Petitioners' motion for reconsideration of the November 2, 1973 decision was denied by the trial court. Their notice of
appeal was likewise denied on the ground that the same had been filed out of time. Because of this ruling, petitioners,
instituted certiorari and mandamus proceedings with the Court of Appeals, docketed there as C.A.-G.R. No. SP-
03268-R. On November 2, 1974, the appellate court granted petitioners' petition and ordered the lower court to give
due course to the latter's appeal. The trial court, however, again dismissed petitioners' appeal on the ground that their
record on appeal was filed out of time.

Likewise, on January 4, 1975, petitioners filed their notice of appeal of the November 19, 1974 ruling of the trial court.
On March 21, 1975, this appeal was similarly denied on the ground that it had been filed out of time.

Due to the dismissal of their two appeals, petitioners again instituted certiorari and mandamus proceedings with the
Court of Appeals, docketed therein as C.A.-G.R. No. SP-04352. The appellate court affirmed the dismissal of the two
appeals, prompting petitioners to appeal to the Supreme Court. On July 9, 1985, this Court directed the trial court to
give due course to petitioners' appeal from the order of November 2, 1973 declaring private respondents heirs of the
deceased Ricardo Abad, and the order dated November 19, 1974, annulling certain documents pertaining to the
intestate estate of deceased.

The two appeals were accordingly elevated by the trial court to the appellate court. On October 19, 1994, the Court of
Appeals rendered judgment as follows:

WHEREFORE, all the foregoing considered, the instant appeal is DENIED for lack of merit. The
orders of the court a quo in SP No. 86792, to wit:

1. Order dated November 2, 1973, declaring in substance that Cecilia, Marian


and Rosemarie, all surnamed Abad as the acknowledged natural children and
the only surviving heirs of the deceased Ricardo Abad;

2. Order dated November 19, 1974, declaring in substance that the six (6)
parcels of land described in TCT Nos. 13530, 53671 and 64021 are the
properties of Ricardo Abad; that the extra-judicial partition of the estate of the
deceased Lucila de Mesa executed on May 2, 1972 is inexistent and void from
the beginning, the cancellation of the aforementioned TCTs is null and void; the
Register of Deeds be ordered to restore and/or issue the corresponding
Certificates of Title in the name of Ricardo Abad; and

3. Order dated March 21, 1975 denying the appeal of Dolores de Mesa Abad and
Cesar de Mesa Tioseco from the latter Order, for being filed out of time, are all
AFFIRMED in toto. With costs against petitioner-appellants.

SO ORDERED. 3

Petitioners now seek to annul the foregoing judgment on the following grounds:

I. THE COURT OF APPEALS AND THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN


HOLDING THAT RESPONDENTS CECILIA E. ABAD, MARIAN E. ABAD AND
ROSEMARIE S. ABAD ARE THE ACKNOWLEDGED NATURAL CHILDREN OF
THE DECEASED RICARDO DE MESA ABAD.

II. PETITIONERS ARE ENTITLED TO THE SUBJECT ESTATE WHETHER THE


SAME IS OWNED BY THE DECEASED RICARDO DE MESA ABAD OR BY
LUCILA DE MESA, THE MOTHER OF PETITIONERS AND RICARDO DE
MESA ABAD.

We are not persuaded.

Petitioners, in contesting Cecilia, Marian and Rosemarie Abad's filiation, submit the startling theory that the husband
of Honoria Empaynado, Jose Libunao, was still alive when Cecilia and Marian Abad were born in 1948 and 1954,
respectively.

It is undisputed that prior to her relationship with Ricardo Abad, Honoria Empaynado was married to Jose Libunao,
their union having produced three children, Angelita, Cesar, and Maria Nina, prior to the birth of Cecilia and Marian.
But while private respondents claim that Jose Libunao died in 1943, petitioners claim that the latter died sometime in
1971.

The date of Jose Libunao's death is important, for if he was still alive in 1971, and given that he was legally married to
Honoria Empaynado, the presumption would be that Cecilia and Marian are not Ricardo Abad's children with the
latter, but of Jose Libunao and Honoria Empaynado. Article 256, the applicable provision of the Civil Code, provides:

Art. 256. The child shall be presumed legitimate, although the mother may have declared against
its legitimacy or may have been sentenced as an adulteress. 4

To bolster their theory, petitioners presented in evidence the application for enrolment at Mapua Institute of
Technology of Angelita Libunao, accomplished in 1956, which states:

Father's Name: Jose Libunao

Occupation: engineer (mining)

Mother's Name: Honoria Empaynado 5

as well as Cesar Libunao's 1958 application for enrolment at the Mapua Institute of Technology, which
states:

Father's Name: Jose Libunao


Occupation: none

Mother's Name: Honoria Empaynado 6

Petitioners claim that had Jose Libunao been dead during the time when said applications were accomplished, the
enrolment forms of his children would have stated so. These not being the case, they conclude that Jose Libunao
must have still been alive in 1956 and 1958.

Additionally, petitioners presented the joint affidavit of Juan Quiambao and Alejandro Ramos stating that to their
7

knowledge Jose Libunao had died in 1971, leaving as his widow, Honoria Empaynado, and that the former
had been interred at the Loyola Memorial Park.

Lastly, petitioners presented the affidavit of Dr. Pedro Arenas, Ricardo Abad's physician, declaring that in
8

1935, he had examined Ricardo Abad and found him to be infected with gonorrhea, and that the latter had
become sterile as a consequence thereof.

With these pieces of evidence, petitioners claim that Cecilia and Marian Abad are not the illegitimate children
of Ricardo Abad, but rather the legitimate children of the spouses Jose Libunao and Honoria Empaynado.

At the outset, it must be noted that petitioners are disputing the veracity of the trial court's finding of facts. It
is a fundamental and settled rule that factual findings of the trial court, adopted and confirmed by the Court
of Appeals, are final and conclusive and may not be reviewed on appeal. Petitioners, however, argue that
9

factual findings of the Court of Appeals are not binding on this Court when there appears in the record of the
case some fact or circumstance of weight and influence which has been overlooked, or the significance of
which has been misinterpreted, that if considered, would affect the result of the case. 10

This Court finds no justifiable reason to apply this exception to the case at bar.

First, the evidence presented by petitioners to prove that Jose Libunao died in 1971 are, to say the least, far
from conclusive. Failure to indicate on an enrolment form that one's parent is "deceased" is not necessarily
proof that said parent was still living during the time said form was being accomplished. Furthermore, the
joint affidavit of Juan Quiambao and Alejandro Ramos as to the supposed death of Jose Libunao in 1971 is
not competent evidence to prove the latter's death at that time, being merely secondary evidence thereof.
Jose Libunao's death certificate would have been the best evidence as to when the latter died. Petitioners
have, however, inexplicably failed to present the same, although there is no showing that said death
certificate has been lost or destroyed as to be unavailable as proof of Jose Libunao's death. More telling,
while the records of Loyola Memorial Park show that a certain Jose Bautista Libunao was indeed buried
there in 1971, this person appears to be different from Honoria Empaynado's first husband, the latter's name
being Jose Santos Libunao. Even the name of the wife is different. Jose Bautista Libunao's wife is listed as
Josefa Reyes while the wife of Jose Santos Libunao was Honoria Empaynado.

As to Dr. Arenas' affidavit, the same was objected to by private respondents as being privileged
communication under Section 24 (c), Rule 130 of the Rules of Court. The rule on confidential
11

communications between physician and patient requires that: a) the action in which the advice or treatment
given or any information is to be used is a civil case; b) the relation of physician and patient existed between
the person claiming the privilege or his legal representative and the physician; c) the advice or treatment
given by him or any information was acquired by the physician while professionally attending the patient; d)
the information was necessary for the performance of his professional duty; and e) the disclosure of the
information would tend to blacken the reputation of the patient. 12

Petitioners do not dispute that the affidavit meets the first four requisites. They assert, however, that the
finding as to Ricardo Abad's "sterility" does not blacken the character of the deceased. Petitioners
conveniently forget that Ricardo Abad's "sterility" arose when the latter contracted gonorrhea, a fact which
most assuredly blackens his reputation. In fact, given that society holds virility at a premium, sterility alone,
without the attendant embarrassment of contracting a sexually-transmitted disease, would be sufficient to
blacken the reputation of any patient. We thus hold the affidavit inadmissible in evidence. And the same
remains inadmissible in evidence, notwithstanding the death of Ricardo Abad. As stated by the trial court:
In the case of Westover vs. Aetna Life Insurance Company, 99 N.Y. 59, it was pointed out
that: "The privilege of secrecy is not abolished or terminated because of death as stated in
established precedents. It is an established rule that the purpose of the law would be
thwarted and the policy intended to be promoted thereby would be defeated, if death
removed the seal of secrecy, from the communications and disclosures which a patient
should make to his physician. After one has gone to his grave, the living are not permitted
to impair his name and disgrace his memory by dragging to light communications and
disclosures made under the seal of the statute.

Given the above disquisition, it is clearly apparent that petitioners have failed to establish their claim by the
quantum of evidence required by law. On the other hand, the evidence presented by private respondents
overwhelmingly prove that they are the acknowledged natural children of Ricardo Abad. We quote with
approval the trial court's decision, thus:

In his individual statements of income and assets for the calendar years 1958 and 1970, and
in all his individual income tax returns for the years 1964, 1965, 1967, 1968, 1969 and 1970,
he has declared therein as his legitimate wife, Honoria Empaynado; and as his legitimate
dependent children, Cecilia, Marian (except in Exh. 12) and Rosemarie Abad (Exhs. 12 to 19;
TSN, February 26, 1973, pp. 33-44).

xxx xxx xxx

In December 1959, Ricardo Abad insured his daughters Cecilia, then eleven (11) years old,
and Marian, then (5) years old, on [a] twenty (20) year-endowment plan with the Insular Life
Assurance Co., Ltd. and paid for their premiums (Exh. 34 and 34-A; 34-B to C; 35, 35-A to D;
TSN, February 27, 1973, pp. 7-20).

In 1966, he and his daughter Cecilia Abad opened a trust fund account of P100,000,00 with
the People's Bank and Trust Company which was renewed until (sic) 1971, payable to either
of them in the event of death (Exhs. 36-A; 36-E). On January 5, 1971, Ricardo Abad opened a
trust fund of P100,000.00 with the same bank, payable to his daughter Marian (Exh. 37-A).
On January 4, 1971, Ricardo Abad and his sister Dolores Abad had (sic) agreed to stipulate
in their PBTC Trust Agreement that the 9% income of their P100,000.00 trust fund shall (sic)
be paid monthly to the account reserved for Cecilia, under PBTC Savings Account No.
49053 in the name of Ricardo Abad and/or Cecilia Abad (Exh. 38) where the income of the
trust fund intended for Cecilia was also deposited monthly (TSN, February 27, 1973, pp. 21-
36). Ricardo Abad had also deposited (money) with the Monte de Piedad and Savings Bank
in the name of his daughter Marian, represented by him, as father, under Savings Account
17348 which has (sic) a balance of P34,812.28 as of June 30, 1972. (Exh. 60-B). . .

With the finding that private respondents are the illegitimate children of Ricardo Abad, petitioners are
precluded from inheriting the estate of their brother. The applicable provisions are:

Art. 988. In the absence of legitimate descendants or ascendants, the illegitimate children
shall succeed to the entire estate of the deceased.

Art. 1003. If there are no . . . illegitimate children, or a surviving spouse, the collateral
relatives shall succeed to the entire estate of the deceased in accordance with the following
articles. (Emphasis supplied).

As to petitioners' claim that the properties m the name of Ricardo Abad actually belong to their mother Lucila
de Mesa, both the trial court and the appellate court ruled that the evidence presented by private
respondents proved that said properties in truth belong to Ricardo Abad. As stated earlier, the findings of
fact by the trial court are entitled to great weight and should not be disturbed on appeal, it being in a better
position to examine the real evidence, as well as to observe the demeanor of the witnesses while testifying in
the case. In fact, petitioners seem to accept this conclusion, their contention being that they are entitled to
13

the subject estate whether the same is owned by Ricardo Abad or by Lucila de Mesa.
Digressing from the main issue, in its decision dated October 19, 1994, the Court of Appeals affirmed the trial
court's order dated March 21, 1975 denying the appeal of Dolores de Mesa Abad and Cesar de Mesa Tioseco
on the ground that the same was filed out of time. This affirmance is erroneous, for on July 9, 1985, this
Court had already ruled that the same was not filed out of time. Well-settled is the dictum that the rulings of
the Supreme Court are binding upon and may not be reversed by a lower court.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant petition is hereby DENIED. The decision of the Court of
Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 30184 dated October 19, 1994 is AFFIRMED with the MODIFICATION that the
affirmance of the Order dated March 21, 1975 denying the appeal of Dolores de Mesa Abad and Cesar de
Mesa Tioseco for being filed out of time is SET ASIDE. Costs against petitioners.

SO ORDERED.

CORPUZ VS CORPUZ
CORPUS VS CORPUS

Teodoro R. Yangco was the son of Luis Rafael Yangco and Ramona Arguelles;
Teodoro is an acknowledged natural child but not legitimate;
Yangco had no forced heirs. At the time of his death, his nearest relatives were:

1. a half-brother and half-sister (Luis and Paz)


2. children of a half-brother Pablo
3. Juanita, daughter of half-brother Jose

Tomas Corpus, legitimate son, is the sole heir of Juanita Corpus.

Issue:

Whether Tomas can inherit from Teodoro?

Held:

The children of Ramona Arguelles and Tomas Corpus are presumed to be legitimate.
A marriage is presumed to have taken place between Ramona and Tomas.
Semper praesumitur pro matrimonio. It is disputably presumption "That a man and a woman deporting themselves as
husband and wife have entered into a lawful contract of marriage";
"that a child born in lawful wedlock, there being no divorce, absolute or from bed and board, is legitimate", and "that things
have happened according to the ordinary course of nature and the ordinary habits of life" (Sec. 5[z], [bb] and cc Rule 131, Rules of
Court).
Therefore, Teodoro is an illegitimate son while Jose is a legitimate son; Juanita is a legitimate daughter and Tomas is a legitimate
son of Juanita;
Article 992 of the Civil Code provides that "an illegitimate child (Teodoro) has no right to inherit ab intestato from the
legitimate children (Jose) and relatives (Juanita) of his father or mother; nor shall such children (Jose) or relatives
(Juanita) inherit in the same manner from the illegitimate child (Teodoro)".
If Jose cannot inherit from Teodoro, Tomas who is a grandson of Jose cannot also inherit from Teodoro;

9. PASCUAL VS PASCUAL-BAUTISTA 207 SCRA 561


PASCUAL VS PASCUAL-BAUTISTA

Petitioners are natural children of their father who is a full blood brother of the decedent.
Petitioners contend that they are not illegitimate children for according to them illegitimate children under the law only covers
spurious children but not acknowledged natural children;
The Court held: Clearly the term "illegitimate" refers to both natural and spurious.
An illegitimate child has no right to inherit ab intestato from the legitimate children and relatives of his father (Article 992, Civil Code
of the Philippines);

=============

Pascual vs. Pascual [G.R. No. 84240. March 25, 1992] 15AUG
Ponente: PARAS, J.
FACTS:
Don Andres Pascual died intestate (on October 12, 1973) without any issue, legitimate, acknowledged
natural, adopted or spurious children. Petitioners Olivia and Hermes both surnamed Pascual are the
acknowledged natural children of the late Eligio Pascual, the latter being the full blood brother of the
decedent Don Andres Pascual. Petitioners filed their Motion to Reiterate Hereditary Rights and the
Memorandum in Support of Motion to reiterate Hereditary Rights. the Regional Trial Court, presided over
by Judge Manuel S. Padolina issued an order, the dispositive portion of which resolved to deny this
motion reiterating their hereditary rights. Their motion for reconsideration was also denied. Petitioners
appealed their case to the Court of Appeals, but like the ruling of CA, their motion for reconsideration was
also dismissed. In this petition for review on certiorari, petitioners contend that they do not fall squarely
within the purview of Article 992 of the Civil Code of the Philippines, can be interpreted to exclude
recognized (and acknowledged) natural children as their illegitimacy is not due to the subsistence of a
prior marriage when such children were under conception.
ISSUE:
Whether or not Article 992 of the Civil Code of the Philippines, can be interpreted to exclude recognized
natural children from the inheritance of the deceased.

HELD:
NO. Petition is devoid of merit.

RATIO:
The issue in the case at bar, had already been laid to rest in Diaz v. IAC, where this Court ruled that
under Art.992 of the Civil Code, there exists a barrier or iron curtain in that it prohibits absolutely a
succession ab intestado between the illegitimate child and the legitimate children and relatives of the
father or mother of said legitimate child.
[T]he interpretation of the law desired by the petitioner may be more humane but it is also an elementary
rule in statutory construction that when the words and phrases of the statute are clear and unequivocal,
their meaning must be determined from the language employed and the statute must be taken to mean
exactly what is says.

Eligio Pascual is a legitimate child but petitioners are his illegitimate children and the term illegitimate
refers to both natural and spurious. It may be said that the law may be harsh but that is the law (DURA
LEX SED LEX).

MANUEL VS FERRER

Manuel v. Ferrer
G.R. No. 117246, August 21, 1995

FACTS:
The petitioners in this case were the legitimate children of spouses Antonio Manuel and Beatriz Guiling.
During his marriage with Beatriz, Antonio had an extra-marital affair with Ursula Bautista, from which
Juan Manuel was born. Juan Manuel, the illegitimate son of Antonio, married Esperanza Gamba. In
consideration of the marriage, a donation propter nuptias over a parcel of land was registered in his name.
He would later buy two parcels and register the same under his name. The couple were not blessed with
a child of their own. Their desire to have one impelled the spouses to take private respondent Modesta
Manuel-Baltazar into their fold and so raised her as their own daughter.

On 03 June 1980, Juan Manuel executed in favor of Estanislao Manuel a Deed of Sale Con Pacto de Retro
over a one-half (1/2) portion of his land. Juan Manuel died intestate on 21 February 1990. Two years later,
or on 04 February 1992, Esperanza Gamba also passed away.

On 05 March 1992, a month after the death of Esperanza, Modesta executed an Affidavit of Self-
Adjudication claiming for herself the three parcels of land Modesta executed in favor of her co-respondent
Estanislao Manuel a Deed of Renunciation and Quitclaim over the unredeemed one-half (1/2) portion of
the land that was sold to the latter by Juan Manuel under the 1980 Deed of Sale Con Pacto de Retro.
These acts of Modesta apparently did not sit well with petitioners. In a complaint filed before the Regional
Trial Court, the petitioners sought the declaration of nullity of the instruments.

ISSUE:

Whether or not petitioners had the legal personality to contest the actions of Modesta.

RULING:

No. Petitioners, not being the real parties-in-interest in the case, had neither the standing nor the cause
of action to initiate the complaint.

Although inn her answer to the complaint, Modesta admitted that she was not an intestate heir of Juan
Manuel because she was adopted without the benefit of formal or judicial adoption and therefore was
neither a compulsory nor a legal heir, the court still reiterated the following rules:

a. where the illegitimate child had half-brothers who were legitimate, the latter had no right to the
formers inheritance

b. the legitimate collateral relatives of the mother cannot succeed from her illegitimate child

c. a natural child cannot represent his natural father in the succession to the estate of the legitimate
grandparent

d. the natural daughter cannot succeed to the estate of her deceased uncle who is a legitimate brother of
her natural father

e. an illegitimate child has no right to inherit ab intestato from the legitimate children and relatives of his
father

===============

G.R. No. 117246 August 21, 1995

BENIGNO MANUEL, LIBERATO MANUEL, LORENZO MANUEL, PLACIDA MANUEL, MADRONA MANUEL,
ESPERANZA MANUEL, AGAPITA MANUEL, BASILISA MANUEL, EMILIA MANUEL and NUMERIANA
MANUEL, petitioners,
vs.
HON. NICODEMO T. FERRER, Presiding Judge, Regional Trial Court, Branch 37, Lingayen, Pangasinan,
MODESTA BALTAZAR and ESTANISLAOA MANUEL, respondents.

VITUG, J.:

The property involved in this petition for review on certiorari is the inheritance left by an illegitimate child who died
intestate without any surviving descendant or ascendant.

Petitioners, the legitimate children of spouses Antonio Manuel and Beatriz Guiling, initiated this suit. During his
marriage with Beatriz, Antonio had an extra-marital affair with one Ursula Bautista. From this relationship, Juan
Manuel was born. Several years passed before Antonio Manuel, his wife Beatriz, and his mistress Ursula finally
crossed the bar on, respectively, 06 August 1960, 05 February 1981 and 04 November 1976.

Juan Manuel, the illegitimate son of Antonio, married Esperanza Gamba. In consideration of the marriage, a
donation propter nuptias over a parcel of land, with an area of 2,700 square meters, covered by Original Certificate of
Title ("OCT") No. P-20594 was executed in favor of Juan Manuel by Laurenciana Manuel. Two other parcels of land,
covered by OCT P-19902 and Transfer Certificate of Title ("TCT") No. 41134, were later bought by Juan and
registered in his name. The couple were not blessed with a child of their own. Their desire to have one impelled the
spouses to take private respondent Modesta Manuel-Baltazar into their fold and so raised her as their own
"daughter".

On 03 June 1980, Juan Manuel executed in favor of Estanislaoa Manuel a Deed of Sale Con Pacto de Retro (with a
10-year period of redemption) over a one-half (1/2) portion of his land covered by TCT No. 41134. Juan Manuel died
intestate on 21 February 1990. Two years later, or on 04 February 1992, Esperanza Gamba also passed away.

On 05 March 1992, a month after the death of Esperanza, Modesta executed an Affidavit of Self-Adjudication
claiming for herself the three parcels of land covered by OCT P-20594, OCT P-19902 and TCT No. 41134 (all still in
the name of Juan Manuel). Following the registration of the document of adjudication with the Office of the Register of
Deeds, the three titles
(OCT P-20594, OCT P-19902 and TCT No. 41134) in the name of Juan Manuel were canceled and new titles, TCT
No. 184223, TCT No. 184224 and TCT No. 184225, were issued in the name of Modesta Manuel-Baltazar. On 19
October 1992, Modesta executed in favor of her co-respondent Estanislaoa Manuel a Deed of Renunciation and
Quitclaim over the unredeemed one-half (1/2) portion of the land (now covered by TCT No. 184225) that was sold to
the latter by Juan Manuel under the 1980 Deed of Sale Con Pacto de Retro. These acts of Modesta apparently did
not sit well with petitioners. In a complaint filed before the Regional Trial Court of Lingayen, Pangasinan, the
petitioners sought the declaration of nullity of the aforesaid instruments.

The case, there being no material dispute on the facts, was submitted to the court a quo for summary judgment.

The trial court, in its now assailed 15th August 1994 decision, dismissed the complaint holding that petitioners, not
being heirs ab intestato of their illegitimate brother Juan Manuel, were not the real parties-in-interest to institute the
suit. Petitioners were also ordered to jointly and severally (solidarily) pay
(a) respondent Modesta Manuel-Baltazar the sum of P5,000.00 for moral damages, P5,000.00 for exemplary
damages, P5,000.00 for attorney's fees and P500.00 for litigation expenses and (b) Estanislaoa Manuel the sum of
P5,000.00 for moral damages, P5,000.00 for exemplary damages and P500.00 for attorney's fees.

Petitioners' motion for reconsideration was denied by the trial court.

The petition before us raises the following contentions: That

1. THE LOWER COURT (HAS) FAILED TO CONSIDER THE LAST PARAGRAPH OF ARTICLE 994 OF
THE NEW CIVIL CODE, AS THE CONTROLLING LAW APPLICABLE BY VIRTUE OF THE ADMITTED
FACTS, AND NOT ARTICLE 992 OF THE SAME CODE.
2. THE LOWER COURT, IN NOT ANNULLING ALL THE ACTS OF, AND VOIDING ALL DOCUMENTS
EXECUTED BY, RESPONDENT MODESTA BALTAZAR, WHO ARROGATED UNTO HERSELF THE
RIGHTS OF AN HEIR TO THE ESTATE OF DECEDENT JUAN MANUEL, (HAS) VIRTUALLY GRANTED
SAID RESPONDENT THE STATUS OF AN HEIR MANIFESTLY CONTRARY TO LAW, MORALS AND
PUBLIC POLICY.

3. TO ENFORCE ONE'S RIGHT WHEN THEY ARE VIOLATED IS NEVER A LEGAL WRONG. 1

Petitioners argue that they are the legal heirs over one-half of Juan's intestate estate (while the other half would
pertain to Juan's surviving spouse) under the provision of the last paragraph of Article 994 of the Civil Code, providing
thusly:

Art. 994. In default of the father or mother, an illegitimate child shall be succeeded by his or her surviving
spouse, who shall be entitled to the entire estate.

If the widow or widower should survive with brothers and sisters, nephews and nieces, she or he shall inherit
one-half of the estate, and the latter the other half. (Emphasis supplied)

Respondents, in turn, submit that Article 994 should be read in conjunction with Article 992 of the Civil Code, which
reads:

Art. 992. An illegitimate child has no right to inherit ab intestato from the legitimate children and relatives of
his father or mother; nor shall such children or relative inherit in the same manner from the illegitimate child.
(Emphasis supplied)

Article 992, a basic postulate, enunciates what is so commonly referred to in the rules on succession as the "principle
of absolute separation between the legitimate family and the illegitimate family." The doctrine rejects succession ab
intestato in the collateral line between legitimate relatives, on the one hand, and illegitimate relatives, on other hand,
although it does not totally disavow such succession in the direct line. Since the rule is predicated on the presumed
will of the decedent, it has no application, however, on testamentary dispositions.

This "barrier" between the members of the legitimate and illegitimate family in intestacy is explained by a noted
civilist. His thesis:
2

What is meant by the law when it speaks of brothers and sisters, nephews and nieces, as legal or intestate
heirs of an illegitimate child? It must be noted that under Art. 992 of the Code, there is a barrier dividing
members of the illegitimate family from members of the legitimate family. It is clear that by virtue of this
barrier, the legitimate brothers and sisters as well as the children, whether legitimate or illegitimate, of such
brothers and sisters, cannot inherit from the illegitimate child. Consequently, when the law speaks
of "brothers and sisters, nephews and nieces" as legal heirs of an illegitimate child, it refers to illegitimate
brothers and sisters as well as to the children, whether legitimate or illegitimate, of such brothers and sisters.
(Emphasis supplied)

The Court, too, has had occasions to explain this "iron curtain", firstly, in the early case of Grey v. Fabie and, then, in
3

the relatively recent cases of Diaz v. Intermediate Appellate Court and De la Puerta v. Court of Appeals. In Diaz, we
4 5

have said:

Article 992 of the New Civil Code . . . prohibits absolutely a succession ab intestato between the illegitimate
child and the legitimate children and relatives of the father or mother of said legitimate child. They may have
a natural tie of blood, but this is not recognized by law for the purposes of Article 992. Between the
legitimate family and the illegitimate family there is presumed to be an intervening antagonism and
incompatibility. The illegitimate child is disgracefully looked down upon by the legitimate family; the
legitimate family is, in turn, hated by the illegitimate child; the latter considers the privileged condition of the
former, and the resources of which it is thereby deprived; the former, in turn, sees in the illegitimate child
nothing but the product of sin, palpable evidence of a blemish broken in life; the law does no more than
recognize this truth, by avoiding further grounds of resentment.
The rule in Article 992 has consistently been applied by the Court in several other cases. Thus, it has ruled that
where the illegitimate child had
half-brothers who were legitimate, the latter had no right to the former's inheritance; that the legitimate collateral
6

relatives of the mother cannot succeed from her illegitimate child; that a natural child cannot represent his natural
7

father in the succession to the estate of the legitimate grandparent; that the natural daughter cannot succeed to the
8

estate of her deceased uncle who is a legitimate brother of her natural father; and that an illegitimate child has no
9

right to inherit ab intestato from the legitimate children and relatives of his father. Indeed, the law on succession is
10

animated by a uniform general intent, and thus no part should be rendered inoperative by, but must always be
11

construed in relation to, any other part as to produce a harmonious whole. 12

In passing, we might, in easy graphic presentation, collate the order of preference and concurrence in intestacy
expressed in Article 978 through
Article 1014, inclusive, of the Civil Code; viz.:

Order of Preference Order of Concurrence


(a) Legitimate Children and (a) Legitimate Children and
Descendants Descendants, Illegitimate
Children and Descendants,
and Surviving Spouse
(b) Legitimate Parents and (b) Legitimate Parents and
Ascendants Ascendants Illegitimate
Children and Descendants,
and Surviving Spouse
(c) Illegitimate Children and (c) Illegitimate Children and
Descendants (in the absence Descendants and Surviving
of ICDs and LPAs, the Spouse
Illegitimate Parents)
(d) Surviving Spouse (d) Surviving Spouse and
Illegitimate Parents
(e) Brothers and Sisters/ (e) Brothers and Sisters/
Nephews and Nephews and Nieces
Nieces and Surviving Spouse
(f) Other Collateral Relatives (f) Alone
(within the fifth civil degree)
(g) State (g) Alone

In her answer to the complaint, Modesta candidly admitted that she herself is not an intestate heir of Juan
Manuel. She is right. A ward (ampon), without the benefit of formal (judicial) adoption, is neither a
compulsory nor a legal heir. 13

We must hold, nevertheless, that the complaint of petitioners seeking the nullity of the Affidavit of Self-
Adjudication executed by Modesta, the three (3) TCT's issued to her favor, as well as the Deed of
Renunciation and Quitclaim in favor of Estanislaoa Manuel, was properly dismissed by the trial court.
Petitioners, not being the real "parties-in-interest" in the case, had neither the standing nor the cause of
14

action to initiate the complaint.

The Court, however, sees no sufficient reason to sustain the award of amounts for moral and exemplary
damages, attorney's fees and litigation expenses. An adverse result of a suit in law does not mean that its
advocacy is necessarily so wrongful as to justify an assessment of damages against the actor. 15
WHEREFORE, the appealed decision of the Regional Trial Court of Pangasinan (Branch 37) is AFFIRMED,
except insofar as it has awarded moral and exemplary damages, as well as attorney's fees and litigation
expenses, in favor of private respondents, which portion is hereby DELETED. No special pronouncement on
costs.

SO ORDERED.

11. ANURAN VS AQUINO 38 PHIL 29

FACTS: Upon the death of Ambrosio Aquino, to whose estate the property described in the complaint belongs,
Ana Aquino, acting in collusion with the administrator fraudulently represented to the court that Ambrosio Aquino had
died intestate and left no heirs other than her, Ana Aquino. Ana Aquino is the natural child of a sister of Ambrosio
Aquino. But the truth was that Ambrosio Aquinos heir was his widow, Florencia Anuran.When Florencia this, she
moved that the order be set aside, and that she be declared the sole heir of the deceased

ISSUE: WON Florencia Anuran is entitled to the estate of his husband, Ambrosio Aquino.

HELD: YES. Articles 943 and 952 of the Civil Code provides:

A natural or legitimized child has no right to succeed ab intestate the legitimate children and relatives of the father or
mother who has acknowledged it; nor shall such children or relatives inherit from the natural or legitimated child.

In the absence of brothers or sisters and of nephews, children, whether of the whole blood or not, of the same
surviving spouse, if not separated by a final decree of divorce, shall succeed to the entire estate of the deceased.

===================

G.R. No. L-12397 April 2, 1918

FLORENCIA ANURAN, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
ANA AQUINO and RUFINA ORTIZ, administratrices of the intestate estate of Quiteria Ortiz, defendants.
ANA AQUINO, appellant.

Luciano de la Rosa for appellant.


Perfecto Salas for appellee.

CARSON, J.:

The evidence of record in this case clearly discloses that the plaintiff, Florencia Anuran, is the widow of Ambrosio
Aquino, deceased, to whose estate the property described in the complaint belongs; that the defendant, Ana Aquino,
is the natural child of a sister of Ambrosio Aquino, deceased, that on the death of Ambrosio Aquino, deceased; one
Norberto Capia was appointed administrator of his intestate estate, at the instance of Ana Aquino, acting collusion
with the administrator fraudulently represented to the court that Ambrosio Aquino, had died intestate, leaving no heirs
other than Ana Aquino, a daughter of his deceased sister; that at the time when these representations were made,
both Ana Aquino and the administrator well knew that the plaintiff, Florencia Anuran, was the surviving spouse of
Ambrosio Aquino, deceased, and that Ana Aquino was not a legitimate but a natural daughter of the deceased sister
of Ambrosio Aquino; that, without notice to the widow, Ana Aquino, acting in collusion with the administrator
appointed at her instance, fraudulently procured the entry of an order in the administration proceedings dated March
12, 1912, authorizing and approving the delivery by the administrator of all property of the estate to the alleged sole
heir, Ana Aquino, the defendant in this suit, and that the motion of the administrator on which this order was based
was supported by the affidavit of Ana Aquino, setting forth the false and misleading statement of the alleged facts as
hereinbefore indicated.

The widow, who was not a party of record in the administration proceedings, did not discover that this order had been
entered until about the 14th day of February, 1914, when she promptly entered her appearance in the administration
proceedings and moved that the order be set aside, and that she be declared the sole heir of the deceased, who, as
she alleged, had died without leaving either ascendants, or descendants, or collateral relatives entitled to share in the
estate. The court declined to entertain this motion on the ground that the alleged fraudulent order had been entered
more than six months prior to the date of the motion, so that under the provisions of section 113 of the Code of Civil
Procedure, he had no jurisdiction to entertain the motion to set it aside.

Thereafter the widow promptly instituted this separate action, wherein the trial court after declaring the order null and
void, in that it had been procured by fraudulent collusion in favor of the plaintiff and against the defendant Ana Aquino
for the possession of the lands and other property turned over to the latter by the administrator, and for damages for
their detention.

The facts upon which the trial judge based his judgment are fully sustained by the evidence of record, and clearly
entitle the plaintiff to the relief granted her.

The only ruling upon the facts by the trial judge as to which there is any real question at this time is his finding that the
defendant, Ana Aquino, is a natural and not a legitimate daughter of a deceased sister of Ambrosio Aquino. This fact
was supported by oral evidence, corroborated by certified copies of the entries in the records made at the time of the
issuance of her birth and marriage certificate, both of which disclose that she is the natural daughter of her mother by
an unknown father. In the absence of any showing to the contrary this evidence is amply sufficient to sustain the
finding that she is a natural and not a legitimate daughter of her mother.

In the light of these facts, there is not and cannot be any substantial question as to the right of the widow to take the
estate of her deceased husband as his sole heir under the provisions of articles 943 and 952 of the Civil Code. These
articles are as follows:

A natural or legitimized child has no right to succeed ab intestate the legitimate children and relatives of the
father or mother who has acknowledged it; nor shall such children or relatives inherit from the natural or
legitimated child.

In the absence of brothers or sisters and of nephews, children, whether of the whole blood or not, of the
same surviving spouse, if not separated by a final decree of divorce, shall succeed to the entire estate of the
deceased.

We are not much impressed by the various formal and procedural objections urged by the appellant to the
proceedings had in the court below.

There can be no question as to the right of any person adversely affected by a judgment to maintain an action to
enjoin its enforcement and to have it declared a nullity on the ground of fraud and collusion practiced in the very
matter of obtaining the judgment when such fraud is extrinsic or collateral to the matters involved in the issues raised
at the trial which resulted in such judgment; and fraudulent collusion between an administrator and a third person
resulting in an order or judgment whereby an interested person is unjustly deprived of his rights in or to the estate
under administration, has always been recognized as a sufficient ground for the grant of relief from the order or
judgment thus fraudulently procured. (23 Cyc., 1022, 1025, 1027, and numerous case there cited.)

As to the claim that the question of title to a part of the property described in the complaint is res adjudicata, it is only
necessary to indicate that in the present case the plaintiff bases her right to this property upon her statutory right to
inherit the estate of her husband (article 952, Civil Code), whereas the judgment relied upon in support of the plea
of res adjudicata, was merely judicial declaration that a part of this property belonged to the estate of the deceased
husband of the plaintiff, and that this part of the estate was not, as plaintiff then contended, her separate property. In
the present action plaintiff wholly abandons her contentions in the former proceedings, and claims title by inheritance
from her husband, accepting and relying upon the former ruling whereby the land then in question was judicially
declared to a part of his estate.
As to the contention of the appellant touching the prescription of this action, it is a sufficient answer to say that the
evidence clearly discloses that it was instituted promptly and without unreasonable delay after the discovery of the
fraud perpetrated by the defendant, acting in collusion of the fraud administrator, and within less than three years
from the date of the entry of the order. Section 43 of the Code of Civil Procedure provides that "An action for relief on
the ground of fraud" must be brought within four years after the right of action accrues, "but the right of action in such
cases shall not be deemed to have accrued until the discovery of the fraud."

Appellant contends that the legality and validity of the order entered in the administration proceedings is res
adjudicata, plaintiff's motion to have it vacated on the ground of fraud having been denied and no appeal having been
taken from the order denying the motion. It appears, however, that the motion to dismiss was denied on the ground
that under the provisions of section 113 of the Code of Civil Procedure, the court had no jurisdiction to grant relief
from the order upon a motion in the original proceedings, submitted more than "six months after the order was taken."
If that application for relief was properly denied on the grounds indicated, the dismissal of the motion cannot be relied
upon to sustain a contention that the question of the validity and legality of the original order is res adjudicata. It
becomes important, therefore, to determine the question as to the power of the courts in this jurisdiction to grant relief
from the effect of judgments and orders upon motion entered in the proceedings wherein such judgments or orders
are entered when the ground of the motion is alleged fraud in their procurement.

In the case of Arnedo vs. Llorente and Liongson (18 Phil. Rep., 257) we held that in this jurisdiction, wherein there is
no term system of court sessions as that system is understood in England and the United States, the courts have
inherent plenary power over their own judgments until they become final in the sense that they are unappealable and
subject to execution as of right at the instance of the prevailing party; but that thereafter no court has inherent power
to alter, amend or vacate such a judgment in order to correct errors of law or fact, other than mere clerical errors or
defects as a result of which the judgment as entered fails to set forth the judgment which was actually rendered.

This ruling is substantially identical with the prevailing rule in most English and American jurisdictions, except only as
to the duration of the period within which the courts retain their plenary control in the premises, which in those
jurisdictions closes with the end of the term at which the judgment is rendered.

At the common law there were some apparent exceptions to the universality of this rule and more or less modified by
statute, these apparent exceptions have been carried into most American jurisdiction, and in part, at least have been
incorporated into our own judiciary system, which was substantially modelled upon English and American prototypes.
Speaking broadly, these apparent exceptions were limited to cases wherein judgments were vacated on the ground
that they were void because of lack of jurisdiction or irregularity in their entry apparent on the face of the record, or
because vitiated by fraud. In addition to the apparent exceptions of this kind limited to cases wherein the court
exercised its inherent power to vacate void judgments, the authority of the courts over regular judgments has been
extended in a number of specified cases by statutory provisions such as those contained in section 113 our Code of
Civil Procedure, which was borrowed directly from the California Code (section 473.)

That article is as follows:

Upon such terms as may be just the court may relieve a party or his legal representative from a judgment,
order, or other proceeding taken against him through his mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable
neglect: Provided, That application therefor be made within a reasonable time, but in no case exceeding six
months after such judgment, order, or proceedings was taken.

As a result of these statutory innovations in the common law rule a great variety of practice has arisen in the various
states in the matter of the vacation of judgments.

As is said by Freeman in his work on judgments: "The practice in the different states is, in many respects, so
conflicting that few rules can be laid down as universally applicable."

A somewhat extended examination of the test book authorities and of the cases cited by them in support of the
discussion of the varying practice in different American jurisdictions, under varying provisions of procedural statutes,
satisfies us that American precedents furnish an uncertain guide, and should be deemed to be merely persuasive
authority at best.

In California, from whose procedural code section 113 of our Code was adopted, the courts have gone farther,
perhaps, then elsewhere, in holding that, except as otherwise expressly provided by statute, their jurisdiction to set
aside alleged void judgments on motion is exhausted at the close of the term; (Black on Judgments, par. 306;
Freeman on Judgments, pars. 86, 93 and 98 and cases there cited, including People vs. Harrison , 84 Cal., 607) so
that, while the process continues to be subject to the control of the court, a judgment cannot be vacated on any
account, unless it appears on the face of the judgment roll to be a nullity for lack of jurisdiction, such a judgment
being held to be "a dead limb on the judicial tree, which should be lopped of" or wholly disregarded as the
circumstances require.

We are of opinion that the reasons which led the California courts to its conclusions in this regard apply with equal, if
not greater, force in this jurisdiction.

Our Code, in addition to the relief by motion from judgment, orders or other proceedings taken against a party
through his mistake, inadvertence, surprise or excusable neglect when application is made therefor within six months
from the taking of such judgment or orders, which is provided in section 113, furnishes a special summary remedy by
original petition to the Supreme Court (section 513) whereby a party aggrieved by a default judgment who has been
deprived of a hearing by fraud, accident, mistake or excusable negligence, may have such default judgment
summarily set aside if application is made within sixty days after he first learns of the rendition of such judgment.

The remedies thus provided were evidently intended to include and do in fact include every case wherein the courts
should be permitted to open up cases after judgments have been entered and become final, other than the
exceptional case of the judgment which appears on the face of the record (or more accurately speaking the "Book of
Final Records" or Judgment Roll sec. 387, Code of Civil Procedure) to have been entered without jurisdiction, and is
therefore a nullity which may be "stricken down or wholly disregarded" as the circumstances require, and vacated or
set aside by the court wherein it was entered upon the attention of the court being directed by motion or otherwise to
the fact that it is void for lack of jurisdiction in the court to enter it. Every consideration of expediency and justice is
opposed to the uncontrolled exercise of discretion by the courts in opening up cases after judgments entered therein
have become final, and our statutes having undertaken to regulate the practice and having furnished adequate
remedies whereby the courts can grant relief of this kind in appropriate cases, no attempt to extend the authority of
the courts beyond the prescribed limits should be tolerated. Strict adherence to the code provisions in this regard will
avoid much of the confusion and embarrassment to which both the litigants and the courts have been exposed as a
result of the laxity and uncertainty which appears to have prevailed in some jurisdictions in this regard. The interests
of the individual, as well as of the community, demand there should be definite end of every litigation; and nothing
could be more impolitic than to leave it to the discretion of every court to revise and review and reconsider its
judgments without limit. (Arnedo vs. Llorente and Liongson, supra.)

Of course what has been said must be understood as directed to the practice of reopening cases and vacating and
setting aside judgments on motion, or by the courts themselves of their own volition, after such judgments have
become final. This form of relief is wholly distinct from the relief which may and should be granted in separate
proceedings instituted to enjoin a party from enforcing a judgment which he has obtained when it would be "against
conscience to permit to do so," and for such other further and additional relief as may be just under all the
circumstances.

The enjoining of a judgment at law is a purely equitable remedy, but as has been well said:

. . . It is not necessary for its exercise that the tribunal should be distinctively and individually organized as a
chancery court. This power is habitually brought into play in those states where, for want of separate equity
courts, the law courts apply equitable remedies. And even under the codes, where law and equity are fused,
equitable jurisdiction, equitable proceedings, and equitable remedies are not abolished, although
metamorphosed as to their external appearance. . . . (Black on Judgments, par. 360.)

And further:

. . . Judgments are not reversed or vacated in equity. Adjudications at law are not overhauled or
reexamined. It is to the party himself that the energies of the court of equity are directed, and its remedial
power is exercised by putting restraint upon his usual liberty of following up his judgment by the
appropriateprocess for its collection. Equity therefore acts on the person, not the proceeding; and while it will
enjoin the enforcement of a judgment, in proper cases, it will not interfere with the judgment itself. . . . (Par.
368, supra.)

And again:
Fraud has always been reckoned among the special abhorrences of equity, and fraud is one of the grounds
upon which application is most frequently made to equity for relief or redress. It is well settled that equity will
enjoin a party from enforcing a judgment which he has obtained by means of fraud. "Fraud will vitiate a
judgment, and a court of equity may declare it a nullity. Equity has so great an abhorrence of fraud that it will
set aside its own decrees if founded thereupon." . . . (Par. 368, supra.)

This form of relief is expressly recognized in the Code of Civil Procedure in section 43, which provides for a
prescription period of four years for actions "for relief on the ground of fraud," the right of action in such cases "not to
be deemed to have accrued until the discovery of the fraud."

From what has been said it follows that the probate court properly declined to assume jurisdiction to vacate or set
aside its final order turning over the property to the defendant in this case, on the ground of fraud in its procurement,
the motion therefor not having been submitted during the six months' period prescribed in article 113 of the Code
within judgment or orders may be vacated or set aside on motion; and it further follows, that the court having no
jurisdiction to entertain such a motion, its dismissal is no bar to a separate action for relief on the ground of fraud, and
defendant's plea of res adjudicata was properly overruled.

We conclude that the judgment entered in the court below should be affirmed, with the costs of this instance against
the appellant. So ordered.

PASION VS PASION

13. PADURA VS BALDOVINO 104 SCRA 1065

Facts: Agustin Padura contracted two marriages during his lifetime. The second marriage was with Benita Garing;
Their union produced two children named Fortunato Padura and Candelaria Padura. Agustin Padura leaving a last
will and testament wherein he bequeathed his properties among his children, Manuel, Candelaria and Fortunato, and
his surviving spouse, Benita Garing. This was duly probated. Fortunato Padura died unmarried, intestate and without
any issue. The parcels of land were inherited by his mother, Benita. he applied for and later was issued a Torrens
Certificate of Title in her name, but subject to the condition that the properties were reservable in favor of relatives
within the third degree belonging to the line from which said property came. Candelaria Padura died leaving as her
only heirs, her four legitimate children, the appellants Baldovino. Upon the death of Benita Garing (the reservista),
and appellees took possession of the reservable properties.

Issue: a case of reserva troncal, where the only reservatarios (reservees) surviving the reservista, and belonging to
the line of origin, are nephews of the descendant (prepositus), but some are nephews of the half blood and the others
are nephews of the whole blood, should the reserved properties be apportioned among them equally, or should the
nephews of the whole blood take a share twice as large as that of the nephews of the half blood?

Held: the reservatarios who are nephews of the whole blood are declared entitled to a share twice as large as that
of the nephews of the half-blood. Proximity of degree and right of representation are basic principles of ordinary
intestate succession; so is the rule that whole blood brothers and nephews are entitled to a share double that of
brothers and nephews of half-blood. If in determining the rights of the reservatarios inter se, proximity of degree and
the right of representation of nephews are made to apply, the rule of double share for immediate collaterals of the
whole blood should be likewise operative

==============

PADURA vs. BALDOVINO


G.R. No. L-11960, December 27, 1958
FACTS:

In an order, the Court of First Instance of Laguna in Special Proceedings declared all the reservees, without
distinction, co-owners pro indiviso in equal shares of the parcels of land subject matter of the suit.

RULING:

The appealed order was reversed and set aside. The reservatarios who are nephews of the full blood are
declared entitled to a share twice as large as that of the nephews of the half-blood. Records are remanded to the
court below for further proceedings.

===============

DIONISIA PADURA, ET AL. ,


PETITIONERS-APPELLEES, VERSUS
MELANIA BALDOVINO, ET AL.,
OPPOSITORS-APPELLANTS
DECISION
REYES, J.B.L., J.:
Appeal on a pure question of law from an order of the Court of First Instance of Laguna in its Special Proceedings
No. 4551.

The facts are simple and undisputed. Agustin Padura contracted two marriages during his lifetime. With his first wife,
Gervacia Landig, he had one child whom they named Manuel Padura, and with his second, Benita Garing; he had
two children named Fortunato Padura and Candelaria Padura.

Agustin Padura died on April 26, 1908, leaving a last will and testament, duly probated in Special Proceedings No,
664 of the Court of First Instance of Laguna, wherein he bequeathed his properties among his children, Manuel,
Candelaria and Fortunato, and his surviving spouse, Benita Garing. Under the probate proceedings, Fortunate was
adjudicated four parcels of land covered under Decree No. 25960 issued In Land Registration Case No. 86 G. L. R.
O. No. 10818, object of this appeal.

Fortunato Padura died unmarried on May 28, 1908, without having executed a will; and not having any issue, the said
parcels of land were inherited exclusively by her mother, Benita Garing. She applied for and later was issued a
Torrens Certificate of Title in her name, but subject to the condition that the properties were reservable in favor of
relatives within the third degree belonging to the line from which said property came, in accordance with the
applicable provision of law, under a decree of the court dated August 25, 1916, in Land Registration Case No. G. L.
R. O. No. 10818.

On August 26, 1934, Candelaria Padura died leaving as her only heirs, her four legitimate children, the appellants
herein, Cristeta, Melania, Anicia and Pablo, all surnamed Baldovino, Six years later, on October 6, 1940, Manuel
Padura also died. Surviving him are his legitimate children, Dionisia, Felisa, Flora, Gornelio, Francisco, Juana, and
Severino, all surnamed Padura, the appellees herein.

Upon the death of Benita Garing (the reservista), on October 15, 1952, appellants and appellees took possession of
the reservable properties. In a resolution, dated August 1, 1953, of the Court of First Instance of Laguna in Special
Proceedings No. 4551, the legitimate children of the deceased Manuel Padura and Candelaria Baldovino were
declared to be the rightful reservees, and as such, entitled to the reservable properties (the original reserveess
Candelaria Padura and Manuel Padura, having predeceased the reservista). The instant petition, dated October 22,
1956, filed by appellants Baldovino seeks to have these properties partitioned, such that one-half of the same be
adjudicated to them, and the other half to the appellees, allegedly on the basis that they inherit by right of
representation from their respective parents, the original reservees. To this petition, appellees filed their opposition,
maintaining that they should all (the eleven reservees) be deemed as inheriting in their own right, under which, they
claim, each should have an equal share.

Based on the foregoing finding of facts, the lower court rendered judgment declaring all the reservees (without
distinction) co-owners, pro-indiviso, equal shares of the parcels of land subject matter of the suit.

The issue in this appeal may be formulated as follows: In a case of reserva troncal, where the
only reservatarios (reservees) surviving the reservista, and belonging to the line of origin, are nephews of the
descendant (prepositus), but some are nephews of the half blood and the others are nephews of the whole blood,
should the reserved properties be apportioned among them equally, or should the nephews of the whole blood take a
share twice as large as that of the nephews of the half blood?

The appellants contend that notwithstanding the reservable character of the property under Art, 891 of the new Civil
Code (Art. 811 of the Code of 1889) the reservatarios nephews of the whole blood are entitled to a share twice as
large as that of the others, in conformity with Arts, 1006, 1008 of the Civil Code of the Philippines (Arts. 949 and 951
of the Code of 1889) on intestate succession.

Art. 1006. Should brothers and sisters of the full blood survive together with brothers and sisters of the half blood, the former
shall be entitled to a share double that of the latter.(949)n

Art. 1008. Children of brothers and sisters of the half blood shall succeed per capita or per stripes, in accordance with the rules
laid down for brothers and sisters of the full blood, (951)

The case is one of first impression and has divided the Spanish commentators on the subject. After mature
reflection, we have concluded that the position of the appellants is correct. The reserva troncal is a special rule
designed primarily to assure the return of the reservable property to the third degree relatives belonging to the line
from which the property originally came, and avoid its being dissipated into and by the relatives of the inheriting
ascendant (reservista). To this end, the Code provides:

Art. 891. The ascendant who inherits from his descendant any property which the latter may have acquired by gratuitous title
from another ascendant, or a brother or sister, is obliged to reserve such property as he may have acquired by operation of law for
the benefit of relatives who are within the third degree and who belong to the line from which said property came. (811)

It is well known that the reserva troncal had no direct precedent in the law of Castile. The President of the Spanish
Code Commission, D. Manuel Alonso Martinez, explained the motives for the formulation of the reserva troncal in the
Civil Code of 1889 in his book El Codigo Civil en sus relaciones con las Legislaciones Forales (Madrid, 1884, Vol. 1,
pp. 226-228, 233-235) in the following words:

La base cuarta, ms de estar en pugna con la legislacion espaola, es una desviacion del antiguo derecho romano y del
moderno derecho europeo, perfectamente conformes ambos con el tradicional sistema de Castilla. En qu se fund, pues, la
Comision para semejante novedad? Que razones pudieron moverla establecer la sucesion lineal, separndose del cuce secular?

Lo dir en breves frases. Hay un case, no del todo raro, que subleva el sentimiento de cuantos lo imaginan lo ven: el hijo
mayor de un magnate sucede su padre en la mitad Integra de pingues mayorazgos, tocando sus hermanos un lote modestisimo
en la division de la herencia paterna; aquel hijo se casa y fallece al poco tiempo dejando un tierno vstago; la viuda, todavia
jven, contrae segundas bodas y tiene la desdicha de perder al hijo del primer matrimonio heredando toda su fortuna con
exclusion de la madre y los hermanos de su primer marido. No hay para qu decir que, si hay descendientes del segundo
matrimonio, ellos se trasmite en su dia la hereticia. Por donde resulta el irritante espectculo de que los vstagos directos del
magnate viven en la estrechez y tal vez en la miseria, mientras gozan de su rico patrimonio personas extraas su familia y que,
por un rden natural, la son profundamente antipticas. Esta hiptesis se puede realizar y se realize, aunque por lo general en
menor escala, entre propietarios, banqueros industriales. labradores y comerciantes, sin necesidad de vinculaciones ni titulos
nobiliarios.
Pues bien, la mayoria de la Comision se preocup vivamente de esto, considerando el principio de familia como superior al del
afecto presumible del difunto. A esta impresion obedecia la propuesta del Sr. Garcia Goyena, para que los ascendientes se les
diera su legitima tan slo en usufructo: en idntica razon se apoyaba el Sr. Franco para pedir con insistencia se declarase que, si
un ascendiente tenia hecha una donacion su descendiente, bien fuese al contraer matrinionio bien con cualquiera otro motivo,
y muriese el donatario sin sucesion, volvieran los bienes donados al donante, sin perjuicio de la legitima que pudiera
corresponderle en su calidad de ascendiente. La Comision no se atrevi a ir tan all como estos dos Sres. Vocales; pero, para
eludir las consecuencias que las veces produce el principio de la proximidad del parentesco y que he puesto de relieve poco h,
proclam, no sin vacilar, la doctrina de la sucesion lineal. (pp.226-227)

Y este fu el temperamento que, por indicacion mia, adopt la Comision Codificadora, norabrando una Sub-comision que
redactara las bases que habia de sujetarse esta especie de reversion de los bienes inmuebles al tronco de donde procedan, lo
mismo en la sucesion testamentaria que en la intestada, sin perjuicio del derecho sacratisimo de los padres al disfrute de la
herencia de sus hijos malogrados prematuramente.

Dicha Subcomision, compuesta de los Sres. Durn y Bs y Franco como defensores del rgimen f oral, y de los Sres. Manresa y
Garcia Goyena en representacion de la legislacion castellana, sometieron la deliberacion de la Comision Codificadora la
proposicion siguiente:

El ascendiente que heredare de su descendiente bienes que este hubiese adquirido por titulo lucrativo de_ otro ascendiente de
un hermano, se halla obligado reservar los que hubiese adquirido por ministerio de la ley en favor de los parientes del difunto
que se hallaran comprendidos dentro del tercer grado y que lo sean por la parte de donde proceden los bienes.

No voy discutir ahora si esta frmula es ms mnos feliz, y si debe aprobarse tal cual est redactada si h menester de
enmienda adicion. Aplazo este examen para cuando trate de la sucesion intestada, la cual tiene mayor aplicacion. Por el
momento me limito reconocer. primero: que con esta base desaparece el peligro de que bienes poseidos secularmente por una
familia pasen bruscamente y titulo gratuito manos extraas por el azar de los enlaces y de muertes prematuras; segundo: que
sin negar que sea una novedad esta base del derecho de Castllla, tiene en rigor en su abono la autoridad de los Cdigos ms
niveladores y el ejemplo de las naciones ms democrticas de Europe, si no en la extension en que lo presenta la Comision
Codificadora, lo mnos en el principio generador de la reforma. (pp.233-235)

The stated purpose o the reserva is accomplished once property has devolved to the specified relatives of the line of
origin. But from this time on, there is no further occasion for its application. In the relations between
one reservatario and another of the same degree, there is no call for applying Art. 891 any longer; wherefore, the
respective share of each in the reversionary property should be governed by the ordinary rules of intestate
succession. In this spirit the jurisprudence of this Court and that of Spain has resolved that upon the death of the
ascendant reservista, the reservable property should pass, not to all the reservatorios as a class, but only to those
nearest in degree to the descendant (prepositus) , excluding those reservatarios of more remote degree (Florentine
vs. Florentine, 40 Phil. 489-490; T. S. 8 Nov. 1894; Dir. Gen. de los Registros, Resol. 20 March 1905). And within the
third degree of relationship from the descendant (prepositus), the right of representation operates in favor of nephews
(Florentino vs. Florentino, supra).

Following the order prescribed by law in legitimate succession, when there are re1atives of the descendant within the third
degree, the right of the nearest relative, called reservatario, over the property which the reservista(person holding it subject to
reservation) should return to him, excludes that of the one more remote. The right of representation cannot be alleged when the
one claiming same as a reservatario of the reservable property is not among the relatives within the third degree belonging to the
line from which such property came, inasmuch as the right granted by the Civil Code in Article 811 is in the highest degree
personal and for the exclusive benefit of designated persons who are within the third degree of the person from whom the
reservable property came. Therefore, relatives of the fourth and the succeeding degrees can never be considered as reservatarios,
since the law does not recognize them as such.

In spite of what has been said relative to the right of representation on the part of one alleging his right as reservatario who is not
within the third degree of relationship, nevertheless there is right of representation on the part of reservatarios who are within the
third degree mentioned by law, as in the case of nephews of the deceased person from whom the reservable property came. x x
x. (Florentino vs. Florentino, 40 Phil. 480, 489-490) (Emphasis supplied) (see also Nieva and Alacala vs. Alcala and de
Ocampo, 41 Phil. 915)
Proximity of degree and right of representation are basic principles of ordinary intestate succession; so is the rule that
whole blood brothers and nephews are entitled to a share double that of brothers and nephews of half-blood. If in
determining the rights of the reservatarios inter se, proximity of degree and the right of representation of nephews are
made to apply, the rule of double share for immediate collaterals of the whole blood should be likewise operative.

In other words, the reserva troncal merely determines the group of relatives (reservatarios) to whom the property
should be returned; but within that group, the individual right to the property should be decided by the applicable rules
of ordinary intestate succession, since Art. 891 does not specify otherwise. This conclusion is strengthened by the
circumstance that the reserva being an exceptional case, its application should be limited to what is strictly needed to
accomplish the purpose of the law. As expressed by Manresa in his Commentaries (Vol. 6, 6th Ed., p. 250):

crendose un verdadero estado excepcipnal del derecho, no debe ampliarse, sino ms bien restringirse, el alcance del precepto,
manteniendo la excepcin mientras fuere necesaria y estuviese realmente contenida en la disposicion, y aplicando las reglas
generales y fundamentals del Cdigo en materia de sucesin, en aquellos extremos no resueltos de un raodo expreso, y que
quedan fuera de la propia esfera de accin de la reserva que se crea.

The restrictive interpretation is the more imperative in view of the new Civil Codes hostility to
successional reservas and reversions, as exemplified by the suppression of the reserve viudal and the reversion
legal of the Code of 1889 (Arts. 812 and 968-980).

There is a third point that deserves consideration. Even during the reservistaslifetime, the reservatarios, who are the
ultimate acquirers of the property, can already assert the right to prevent the reservista from doing anything that might
frustrate their reversionary right: and for this purpose they can compel the annotation of their right in the Registry of
Property even while the reservista is alive (Ley Hipotecaria de Ultramar, Arts. 168, 199; Edroso vs. Sablan, 25 Phil.
295). This right is incompatible with the mere expectancy that corresponds to the natural heirs of the reservista. It is
likewise clear that the reservable property is no part of the estate of the reservista, who may not dispose of them by
will, so long as there are reservatarios existing (Arroyo vs. Gerona, 58 Phil. 237). The latter, therefore, do not inherit
from the reservist, but from the descendant prepositus, of whom the reservatarios are the heirs mortis causa, subject
to the condition that they must survive the reservista. (Sanchez Roman, Vol. VI, Torao 2, p. 286; Manresa,
Commentaries, Vol. 6, 6th Ed., pp. 274, 310) Had the nephews of whole and half-blood succeeded
the prepositus directly, those of full-blood would undoubtedly receive a double share compared to those of the half-
blood (Arts. 1008 and 1006, jam cit.) Why then should the latter receive equal shares simply because the
transmission of the property was delayed by the interregnum of the reserva? The decedent (causante) the heirs and
their relationship being the same, there is no cogent reason why the hereditary portions should vary.

It should be stated, in justice to the trial court, that its opinion is supported by distinguished commentators of the Civil
Code of 1889, among them Sanchez Romn (Estudios, Vol. 65 Tomo 2, p. 1008) and Mucius Scaevola (Cdigo Civil,
Vol 14, p. 342). The reason given by these authors is that the reservatarios are called by law to take the reservable
property because they belong to the line of origin; and not because of their relationship. But the argument, if logically
pursued, would lead to the conclusion that the property should pass to any and all the reservatarios, as a class, and
in equal shares, regardless of lines and degrees. In truth, such is the thesis of Scaevola, that later became known as
the theory of reserva integral (14 Scaevola, Cod. Civ. p. 332 et seq.). But, as we have seen, the Supreme Courts of
Spain and of the Philippines have rejected that view, and consider that the reservable property should be succeeded
by the reservatario who is nearest in degree, according to the basic rules of intestacy. The refutation of the trial
courts position is found in the following, passage of Manresas Commentaries (Vol. 6, 7th Ed., p. 346):

A esto se objeta que el derecho consignado en el articulo 811 es un derecho propio que nace de la mera calidad de pariente; no
un derecho que se adquiere por sucesin. Ciertamente, el derecho se concede a los parientes lineales dentro del tercer grado; pero
se les concede con motivo de la muerte de un descendiente y en la sucesin de este. Ellos suceden por la procedencia especial de
los bienes despus de ser stos disfrutados por el ascendiente; pero suceden a titulo lucrativo y por causa de muerte y ministerio
de la ley, lo cual es dificil poderlo negar. Hasta podrlan estimarse esos parientes legitimarios o herederos forzosos, como el
mismo autor reconoce en otro lugar de su obra. De modo que este argumento no es convincente.

All told, our considered opinion is that reason and policy favor keeping to a minimum the alterations introduced by
the reserva in the basic rules of succession mortis causa.
WHEREFORE, the appealed order of November 5, 1956 is reversed and set aside, and the reservatarios who are
nephews of the whole blood are declared entitled to a share twice as large as that of the nephews of the half-blood.
Let the records be remanded to the court below for further proceedings in accordance with this decision.

So Ordered.

FABIA VS UGARTE

15. DIAZ VS PAMUTi GR 66574

FACTS:

ISSUE:

HELD:

===================

G.R. No. L-66574

ANSELMA DIAZ, guardian of VICTOR, RODRIGO, ANSELMINA and MIGUEL, all surnamed SANTERO,
petitioners, and FELIXBERTA PACURSA guardian of FEDERICO SANTERO, et al.,
vs.
INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT and FELISA PAMUTI JARDIN, respondents.

Ambrosia Padilla, Mempin & Reyes Law Offices for petitioners.


Pedro S. Sarino for respondent F.P. Jardin.

PARAS, J.:

Private respondent filed a Petition dated January 23, 1976 with the Court of First Instance of Cavite in Sp. Proc. Case
No. B-21, "In The Matter of the Intestate Estate of the late Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero," praying among other
things, that the corresponding letters of Administration be issued in her favor and that she be appointed as special
Administratrix of the properties of the deceased Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero.

It is undisputed: 1) that Felisa Pamuti Jardin is a niece of Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero who together with Felisa's
mother Juliana were the only legitimate children of the spouses Felipe Pamuti and Petronila Asuncion; 2) that Juliana
married Simon Jardin and out of their union were born Felisa Pamuti and another child who died during infancy; 3)
that Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero is the widow of Pascual Santero and the mother of Pablo Santero; 4) that Pablo
Santero was the only legitimate son of his parents Pascual Santero and Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero; 5) that
Pascual Santero died in 1970; Pablo Santero in 1973 and Simona Santero in 1976; 6) that Pablo Santero, at the time
of his death was survived by his mother Simona Santero and his six minor natural children to wit: four minor children
with Anselma Diaz and two minor children with Felixberta Pacursa.

Judge Jose Raval in his Orders dated December 1, 1976 and December 9, 1976 declared Felisa Pamuti Jardin as
1 2

the sole legitimate heir of Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero.

Before the trial court, there were 4 interrelated cases filed to wit:
a) Sp. Proc. No. B-4 is the Petition for the Letters of Administration of the intestate Estate of Pablo
Santero;

b) Sp. Proc. No. B-5 is the Petition for the Letters of Administration of the Intestate Estate of Pascual
Santero;

c) Sp. Proc. No. B-7 is the Petition for Guardianship over the properties of an Incompetent Person,
Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero;

d) Sp. Proc. No. B-21 is the Petition for Settlement of the Intestate Estate of Simona Pamuti Vda. de
Santero.

Felisa Jardin upon her Motion to Intervene in Sp. Proceedings Nos. B-4 and B-5, was allowed to intervene in the
intestate estates of Pablo Santero and Pascual Santero by Order of the Court dated August 24, 1977.

Petitioner Anselma Diaz, as guardian of her minor children, filed her "Opposition and Motion to Exclude Felisa Pamuti
Jardin dated March 13, 1980, from further taking part or intervening in the settlement of the intestate estate of Simona
Pamuti Vda. de Santero, as well as in the intestate estate of Pascual Santero and Pablo Santero.

Felixberta Pacursa guardian for her minor children, filed thru counsel, her Manifestation of March 14, 1980 adopting
the Opposition and Motion to Exclude Felisa Pamuti, filed by Anselma Diaz.

On May 20, 1980, Judge Ildefonso M. Bleza issued an order excluding Felisa Jardin "from further taking part or
intervening in the settlement of the intestate estate of Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero, as well as in the intestate
estates of Pascual Santero and Pablo Santero and declared her to be, not an heir of the deceased Simona Pamuti
Vda. de Santero." 3

After her Motion for Reconsideration was denied by the trial court in its order dated November 1, 1980, Felisa P.
Jardin filed her appeal to the Intermediate Appellate Court in CA-G.R. No. 69814-R. A decision was rendered by the
4

Intermediate Appellate Court on December 14, 1983 (reversing the decision of the trial court) the dispositive portion
of which reads

WHEREFORE, finding the Order appealed from not consistent with the facts and law applicable, the same is
hereby set aside and another one entered sustaining the Orders of December 1 and 9, 1976 declaring the
petitioner as the sole heir of Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero and ordering oppositors-appellees not to
interfere in the proceeding for the declaration of heirship in the estate of Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero.

Costs against the oppositors-appellees.

The Motion for Reconsideration filed by oppositors-appellees (petitioners herein) was denied by the same respondent
court in its order dated February 17, 1984 hence, the present petition for Review with the following:

ASSIGNMENT OF ERRORS

I. The Decision erred in ignoring the right to intestate succession of petitioners grandchildren Santero as
direct descending line (Art. 978) and/or natural/"illegitimate children" (Art. 988) and prefering a niece, who is
a collateral relative (Art. 1003);

II. The Decision erred in denying the right of representation of the natural grandchildren Santero to represent
their father Pablo Santero in the succession to the intestate estate of their
grandmother SimonaPamuti Vda. de Santero (Art. 982);

III. The Decision erred in mistaking the intestate estate of the grandmother Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero
as the estate of "legitimate child or relative" of Pablo Santero, her son and father of the petitioners'
grandchildren Santero;
IV. The Decision erred in ruling that petitioner-appellant Felisa P. Jardin who is a niece and therefore
a collateral relative of Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero excludes the natural children of her son Pablo
Santero, who are her direct descendants and/or grand children;

V. The Decision erred in applying Art. 992, when Arts. 988, 989 and 990 are the applicable provisions of law
on intestate succession; and

VI. The Decision erred in considering the orders of December 1 and December 9, 1976 which are
provisional and interlocutory as final and executory.

The real issue in this case may be briefly stated as follows who are the legal heirs of Simona Pamuti Vda. de
Santero her niece Felisa Pamuti Jardin or her grandchildren (the natural children of Pablo Santero)?

The dispute at bar refers only to the intestate estate of Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero and the issue here is whether
oppositors-appellees (petitioners herein) as illegitimate children of Pablo Santero could inherit from Simona Pamuti
Vda. de Santero, by right of representation of their father Pablo Santero who is a legitimate child of Simona Pamuti
Vda, de Santero.

Now then what is the appropriate law on the matter? Petitioners contend in their pleadings that Art. 990 of the New
Civil Code is the applicable law on the case. They contend that said provision of the New Civil Code modifies the rule
in Article 941 (Old Civil Code) and recognizes the right of representation (Art. 970) to descendants, whether
legitimate or illegitimate and that Art. 941, Spanish Civil Code denied illegitimate children the right to represent their
deceased parents and inherit from their deceased grandparents, but that Rule was expressly changed and/or
amended by Art. 990 New Civil Code which expressly grants the illegitimate children the right to represent their
deceased father (Pablo Santero) in the estate of their grandmother Simona Pamuti)." 5

Petitioners' contention holds no water. Since the heridatary conflict refers solely to the intestate estate of Simona
Pamuti Vda. de Santero, who is the legitimate mother of Pablo Santero, the applicable law is the provision of Art. 992
of the Civil Code which reads as follows:

ART. 992. An illegitimate child has no right to inherit ab intestato from the legitimate children and relatives of
his father or mother; nor shall such children or relatives inherit in the same manner from the illegitimate
child. (943a)

Pablo Santero is a legitimate child, he is not an illegitimate child. On the other hand, the oppositors (petitioners
herein) are the illegitimate children of Pablo Santero.

Article 992 of the New Civil Code provides a barrier or iron curtain in that it prohibits absolutely a succession ab
intestato between the illegitimate child and the legitimate children and relatives of the father or mother of said
legitimate child. They may have a natural tie of blood, but this is not recognized by law for the purposes of Art. 992,
Between the legitimate family and the illegitimate family there is presumed to be an intervening antagonism and
incompatibility. The illegitimate child is disgracefully looked down upon by the legitimate family; the family is in turn,
hated by the illegitimate child; the latter considers the privileged condition of the former, and the resources of which it
is thereby deprived; the former, in turn, sees in the illegitimate child nothing but the product of sin, palpable evidence
of a blemish broken in life; the law does no more than recognize this truth, by avoiding further grounds of
resentment. 6

Thus, petitioners herein cannot represent their father Pablo Santero in the succession of the letter to the intestate
estate of his legitimate mother Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero, because of the barrier provided for under Art. 992 of
the New Civil Code.

In answer to the erroneous contention of petitioners that Article 941 of the Spanish Civil Code is changed by Article
990 of the New Civil Code, We are reproducing herewith the Reflections of the Illustrious Hon. Justice Jose B.L.
Reyes which also finds full support from other civilists, to wit:

In the Spanish Civil Code of 1889 the right of representation was admitted only within the legitimate family;
so much so that Article 943 of that Code prescribed that an illegitimate child can riot inherit ab intestato from
the legitimate children and relatives of his father and mother. The Civil Code of the Philippines apparently
adhered to this principle since it reproduced Article 943 of the Spanish Code in its own Art. 992, but with fine
inconsistency, in subsequent articles (990, 995 and 998) our Code allows the hereditary portion of the
illegitimate child to pass to his own descendants, whether legitimate or illegitimate. So that while Art. 992
prevents the illegitimate issue of a legitimate child from representing him in the intestate succession of the
grandparent, the illegitimates of an illegitimate child can now do so. This difference being indefensible and
unwarranted, in the future revision of the Civil Code we shall have to make a choice and decide either that
the illegitimate issue enjoys in all cases the right of representation, in which case Art. 992 must be
suppressed; or contrariwise maintain said article and modify Articles 995 and 998. The first solution would
be more in accord with an enlightened attitude vis-a-vis illegitimate children. (Reflections on the Reform of
Hereditary Succession, JOURNAL of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, First Quater, 1976, Volume 4,
Number 1, pp. 40-41).

It is therefore clear from Article 992 of the New Civil Code that the phrase "legitimate children and relatives of his
father or mother" includes Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero as the word "relative" includes all the kindred of the
person spoken of. The record shows that from the commencement of this case the only parties who claimed to be
7

the legitimate heirs of the late Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero are Felisa Pamuti Jardin and the six minor natural or
illegitimate children of Pablo Santero. Since petitioners herein are barred by the provisions of Article 992, the
respondent Intermediate Appellate Court did not commit any error in holding Felisa Pamuti-Jardin to be the sole
legitimate heir to the intestate estate of the late Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero.

Lastly, petitioners claim that the respondent Intermediate Appellate Court erred in ruling that the Orders of the Court a
quo dated December 1, 1976 and December 9, 1976 are final and executory. Such contention is without merit. The
Hon. Judge Jose Raval in his order dated December 1, 1976 held that the oppositors (petitioners herein) are not
entitled to intervene and hence not allowed to intervene in the proceedings for the declaration of the heirship in the
intestate estate of Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero. Subsequently, Judge Jose Raval issued an order, dated
December 9, 1976, which declared Felisa Pamuti-Jardin to be the sole legitimate heir of Simona Pamuti. The said
Orders were never made the subjects of either a motion for reconsideration or a perfected appeal. Hence, said orders
which long became final and executory are already removed from the power of jurisdiction of the lower court to
decide anew. The only power retained by the lower court, after a judgment has become final and executory is to order
its execution. The respondent Court did not err therefore in ruling that the Order of the Court a quo dated May 30,
1980 excluding Felisa Pamuti Jardin as intestate heir of the deceased Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero "is clearly a
total reversal of an Order which has become final and executory, hence null and void. "

WHEREFORE, this petition is hereby DISMISSED, and the assailed decision is hereby AFFIRMED.

SO ORDERED.