You are on page 1of 17

G.R. No. L-27952 February 15, 1982 TOTAL.............................................................. P512,976.

Administratrix, petitioner-appellee,
MARCELLE D. VDA. DE RAMIREZ, ET AL., oppositors, JORGE and ROBERTO RAMIREZ, legatees, oppositors-
appellants. Deuda al Banco de las Islas Filipinas, garan-

The main issue in this appeal is the manner of partitioning the testate estate of Jose Eugenio Ramirez tizada con prenda de las acciones de La Carlota ......... P 5,000,00
among the principal beneficiaries, namely: his widow Marcelle Demoron de Ramirez; his two
grandnephews Roberto and Jorge Ramirez; and his companion Wanda de Wrobleski. VALOR LIQUIDO........................................... P507,976.97

The task is not trouble-free because the widow Marcelle is a French who lives in Paris, while the The testamentary dispositions are as follows:
companion Wanda is an Austrian who lives in Spain. Moreover, the testator provided for substitutions.

A.En nuda propiedad, a D. Roberto y D. Jorge Ramirez, ambas menores de edad, residentes en Manila,
Jose Eugenio Ramirez, a Filipino national, died in Spain on December 11, 1964, with only his widow as I.F., calle 'Alright, No. 1818, Malate, hijos de su sobrino D. Jose Ma. Ramirez, con sustitucion vulgar a favor
compulsory heir. His will was admitted to probate by the Court of First Instance of Manila, Branch X, on de sus respectivos descendientes, y, en su defecto, con sustitucion vulgar reciprocal entre ambos.
July 27, 1965. Maria Luisa Palacios was appointed administratrix of the estate. In due time she submitted
an inventory of the estate as follows:
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
INVENTARIO querido padre del otorgante y por ser aquellos continuadores del apellido Ramirez,

Una sexta parte (1/6) proindiviso de un te B.Y en usufructo a saber:

rreno, con sus mejoras y edificaciones, situadoen 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.
la Escolta, Manila............................................................. P500,000.00 Wanda de Wrobleski, de Palma de Mallorca, Son Rapina Avenida de los Reyes 13,

Una sexta parte (1/6) proindiviso de dos b.Y en cuanto a las dos terceras partes restantes, a favor de la nombrada Da. Wanda de Nrobleski con
sustitucion vulgar v fideicomisaria a saber:
parcelas de terreno situadas en Antipolo, Rizal................... 658.34
En cuanto a la mitad de dichas dos terceras partes, a favor de D. Juan Pablo Jankowski, de Son Rapina
Palma de Mallorca; y encuanto a la mitad restante, a favor de su sobrino, D. Horace V. Ramirez, San Luis
Cuatrocientos noventa y uno (491) acciones
Building, Florida St. Ermita, Manila, I.F.

de la 'Central Azucarera de la Carlota a P17.00

A pesar de las sustituciones fideiconiisarias precedentemente ordinadas, las usufiructuarias nombradas
conjuntamente con los nudo propietarios, podran en cualquier memento vender a tercero los bienes
por accion ................................................................................8,347.00 objeto delegado, sin intervencion alguna de los titulares fideicomisaarios.

Diez mil ochocientos seize (10,806) acciones 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
de la 'Central Luzon Milling Co.', disuelta y en
propriedad." Furthermore, one third (1/3) of the free portion is charged with the widow's usufruct and the
remaining two-thirds (2/3) with a usufruct in favor of Wanda.
liquidacion a P0.15 por accion ..............................................1,620.90
Jorge and Roberto opposed the project of partition on the grounds: (a) that the provisions for vulgar
Cuenta de Ahorros en el Philippine Trust substitution in favor of Wanda de Wrobleski with respect to the widow's usufruct and in favor of Juan
Pablo Jankowski and Horacio V. Ramirez, with respect to Wanda's usufruct are invalid because the first
Co.............................................................................................. 2,350.73 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 It will be noted that the testator provided for a vulgar substitution in respect of the legacies of Roberto and
Philippines in favor of Wanda Wrobleski, who is an alien, violates Section 5, Article III of the Philippine Jorge Ramirez, the appellants, thus: con sustitucion vulgar a favor de sus respectivos descendientes, y, en
Constitution; and that (d) the proposed partition of the testator's interest in the Santa Cruz (Escolta) su defecto, con substitution vulgar reciprocal entre ambos.
Building between the widow Marcelle and the appellants, violates the testator's express win to give this
property to them Nonetheless, the lower court approved the project of partition in its order dated May 3,
The appellants do not question the legality of the substitution so provided. The appellants question the
1967. It is this order which Jorge and Roberto have appealed to this Court.
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
1. The widow's legitime. We have ruled above, the widow is not entitled to any usufruct.

The appellant's do not question the legality of giving Marcelle one-half of the estate in full ownership. They The appellants also question the sustitucion vulgar y fideicomisaria in connection with Wanda's usufruct
admit that the testator's dispositions impaired his widow's legitime. Indeed, under Art. 900 of the Civil over two thirds of the estate in favor of Juan Pablo Jankowski and Horace v. Ramirez.
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
They allege that the substitution in its vulgar aspect as void because Wanda survived the testator or stated
which he could impose no burden, encumbrance, condition or substitution of any kind whatsoever. (Art.
differently because she did not predecease the testator. But dying before the testator is not the only case
904, par. 2, Civil Code.)
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.
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
As regards the substitution in its fideicommissary aspect, the appellants are correct in their claim that it is
usufruct in her favor of one-third of the estate. The court a quo erred for Marcelle who is entitled to
void for the following reasons:
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 testator's intention for as stated above his dispositions even impaired her legitime (a) The substitutes (Juan Pablo Jankowski and Horace V. Ramirez) are not related to Wanda, the heir
and tended to favor Wanda. 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."
2. The substitutions.
What is meant by "one degree" from the first heir is explained by Tolentino as follows:
It may be useful to recall that "Substitution is the appoint- judgment 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 Scaevola Maura, and Traviesas construe "degree" as designation, substitution, or transmission. The
several kinds of substitutions, namely: simple or common, brief or compendious, reciprocal, and Supreme Court of Spain has decidedly adopted this construction. From this point of view, there can be only
fideicommissary (Art. 858, Civil Code.) According to Tolentino, "Although the Code enumerates four classes, one tranmission or substitution, and the substitute need not be related to the first heir. Manresa, Morell
there are really only two principal classes of substitutions: the simple and the fideicommissary. The others and Sanchez Roman, however, construe the word "degree" as generation, and the present Code has
are merely variations of these two." (111 Civil Code, p. 185 [1973].) 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.
The simple or vulgar is that provided in Art. 859 of the Civil Code which reads:

From this, it follows that the fideicommissary can only be either a child or a parent of the first heir. These
ART. 859. The testator may designate one or more persons to substitute the heir or heirs instituted in case
are the only relatives who are one generation or degree from the fiduciary (Op. cit., pp. 193-194.)
such heir or heirs should die before him, or should not wish, or should be incapacitated to accept the
(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
A simple substitution, without a statement of the cases to which it refers, shall comprise the three
establishment of a fideicommissary substitution when he permits the properties subject of the usufruct to
mentioned in the preceding paragraph, unless the testator has otherwise provided.
be sold upon mutual agreement of the usufructuaries and the naked owners." (Brief, p. 26.)

The fideicommissary substitution is described in the Civil Code as follows:

3. The usufruct of Wanda.

ART. 863. A fideicommissary substitution by virtue of which the fiduciary or first heir instituted is entrusted
The appellants claim that the usufruct over real properties of the estate in favor of Wanda is void because
with the obligation to preserve and to transmit to a second heir the whole or part of inheritance, shall be
it violates the constitutional prohibition against the acquisition of lands by aliens.
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. The 1935 Constitution which is controlling provides as follows:
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.

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the estate of Jose Eugenio Ramirez is hereby ordered distributed as follows:

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.

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

G.R. No. 113725 June 29, 2000 of his testament, to Maria Marlina Coscolluela y Belleza on the month of December
JOHNNY S. RABADILLA,1 petitioner, of each year.

This is a petition for review of the decision of the Court of Appeals,3 dated December 23, 1993, in CA-G.R.
I command, in this my addition (Codicil) that the Lot No. 1392, in the event that the
No. CV-35555, which set aside the decision of Branch 52 of the Regional Trial Court in Bacolod City, and
one to whom I have left and bequeathed, and his heir shall later sell, lease, mortgage
ordered the defendants-appellees (including herein petitioner), as heirs of Dr. Jorge Rabadilla, to reconvey
this said Lot, the buyer, lessee, mortgagee, shall have also the obligation to respect
title over Lot No. 1392, together with its fruits and interests, to the estate of Aleja Belleza.
and deliver yearly ONE HUNDRED (100) piculs of sugar to Maria Marlina Coscolluela
y Belleza, on each month of December, SEVENTY FIVE (75) piculs of Export and
The antecedent facts are as follows: TWENTY FIVE (25) piculs of Domestic, until Maria Marlina shall die, lastly should the
buyer, lessee or the mortgagee of this lot, not have respected my command in this
my addition (Codicil), Maria Marlina Coscolluela y Belleza, shall immediately seize
In a Codicil appended to the Last Will and Testament of testatrix Aleja Belleza, Dr. Jorge Rabadilla,
this Lot No. 1392 from my heir and the latter's heirs, and shall turn it over to my near
predecessor-in-interest of the herein petitioner, Johnny S. Rabadilla, was instituted as a devisee of 511,
desendants, (sic) and the latter shall then have the obligation to give the ONE
855 square meters of that parcel of land surveyed as Lot No. 1392 of the Bacolod Cadastre. The said Codicil,
HUNDRED (100) piculs of sugar until Maria Marlina shall die. I further command in
which was duly probated and admitted in Special Proceedings No. 4046 before the then Court of First
this my addition (Codicil) that my heir and his heirs of this Lot No. 1392, that they
Instance of Negros Occidental, contained the following provisions:
will obey and follow that should they decide to sell, lease, mortgage, they cannot
negotiate with others than my near descendants and my sister."4
Pursuant to the same Codicil, Lot No. 1392 was transferred to the deceased, Dr. Jorge Rabadilla, and
I give, leave and bequeath the following property owned by me to Dr. Jorge Transfer Certificate of Title No. 44498 thereto issued in his name.
Rabadilla resident of 141 P. Villanueva, Pasay City:
Dr. Jorge Rabadilla died in 1983 and was survived by his wife Rufina and children Johnny (petitioner),
(a) Lot No. 1392 of the Bacolod Cadastre, covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. Aurora, Ofelia and Zenaida, all surnamed Rabadilla.
RT-4002 (10942), which is registered in my name according to the records of the
Register of Deeds of Negros Occidental.
On August 21, 1989, Maria Marlena Coscolluela y Belleza Villacarlos brought a complaint, docketed as Civil
Case No. 5588, before Branch 52 of the Regional Trial Court in Bacolod City, against the above-mentioned
(b) That should Jorge Rabadilla die ahead of me, the aforementioned property and heirs of Dr. Jorge Rabadilla, to enforce the provisions of subject Codicil. The Complaint alleged that the
the rights which I shall set forth hereinbelow, shall be inherited and acknowledged defendant-heirs violated the conditions of the Codicil, in that:
by the children and spouse of Jorge Rabadilla.
1. Lot No. 1392 was mortgaged to the Philippine National Bank and the Republic Planters Bank in disregard
xxx of the testatrix's specific instruction to sell, lease, or mortgage only to the near descendants and sister of
the testatrix.
2. Defendant-heirs failed to comply with their obligation to deliver one hundred (100) piculs of sugar (75
(a)....It is also my command, in this my addition (Codicil), that should I die and Jorge piculs export sugar and 25 piculs domestic sugar) to plaintiff Maria Marlena Coscolluela y Belleza from
Rabadilla shall have already received the ownership of the said Lot No. 1392 of the sugar crop years 1985 up to the filing of the complaint as mandated by the Codicil, despite repeated
Bacolod Cadastre, covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. RT-4002 (10942), and demands for compliance.
also at the time that the lease of Balbinito G. Guanzon of the said lot shall expire,
Jorge Rabadilla shall have the obligation until he dies, every year to give to Maria 3. The banks failed to comply with the 6th paragraph of the Codicil which provided that in case of the sale,
Marlina Coscolluela y Belleza, Seventy (75) (sic) piculs of Export sugar and Twenty lease, or mortgage of the property, the buyer, lessee, or mortgagee shall likewise have the obligation to
Five (25) piculs of Domestic sugar, until the said Maria Marlina Coscolluela y Belleza deliver 100 piculs of sugar per crop year to herein private respondent.
The plaintiff then prayed that judgment be rendered ordering defendant-heirs to reconvey/return-Lot No.
FIFTH 1392 to the surviving heirs of the late Aleja Belleza, the cancellation of TCT No. 44498 in the name of the
deceased, Dr. Jorge Rabadilla, and the issuance of a new certificate of title in the names of the surviving
(a) Should Jorge Rabadilla die, his heir to whom he shall give Lot No. 1392 of the heirs of the late Aleja Belleza.
Bacolod Cadastre, covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. RT-4002 (10492), shall
have the obligation to still give yearly, the sugar as specified in the Fourth paragraph
On February 26, 1990, the defendant-heirs were declared in default but on March 28, 1990 the Order of opined that plaintiff may initiate the intestate proceedings, if only to establish the heirs of Jorge Rabadilla
Default was lifted, with respect to defendant Johnny S. Rabadilla, who filed his Answer, accordingly. and in order to give full meaning and semblance to her claim under the Codicil.

During the pre-trial, the parties admitted that: In the light of the aforegoing findings, the Complaint being prematurely filed is DISMISSED without
On November 15, 1998, the plaintiff (private respondent) and a certain Alan Azurin, son-in-law of the
herein petitioner who was lessee of the property and acting as attorney-in-fact of defendant-heirs, arrived SO ORDERED."6
at an amicable settlement and entered into a Memorandum of Agreement on the obligation to deliver one
hundred piculs of sugar, to the following effect:
On appeal by plaintiff, the First Division of the Court of Appeals reversed the decision of the trial court;
ratiocinating and ordering thus:
"That for crop year 1988-89, the annuity mentioned in Entry No. 49074 of TCT No. 44489 will be delivered
not later than January of 1989, more specifically, to wit:
"Therefore, the evidence on record having established plaintiff-appellant's right to receive 100 piculs of
sugar annually out of the produce of Lot No. 1392; defendants-appellee's obligation under Aleja Belleza's
75 piculs of 'A' sugar, and 25 piculs of 'B' sugar, or then existing in any of our names, Mary Rose Rabadilla y codicil, as heirs of the modal heir, Jorge Rabadilla, to deliver such amount of sugar to plaintiff-appellant;
Azurin or Alan Azurin, during December of each sugar crop year, in Azucar Sugar Central; and, this is defendants-appellee's admitted non-compliance with said obligation since 1985; and, the punitive
considered compliance of the annuity as mentioned, and in the same manner will compliance of the consequences enjoined by both the codicil and the Civil Code, of seizure of Lot No. 1392 and its reversion
annuity be in the next succeeding crop years. to the estate of Aleja Belleza in case of such non-compliance, this Court deems it proper to order the
reconveyance of title over Lot No. 1392 from the estates of Jorge Rabadilla to the estate of Aleja Belleza.
However, plaintiff-appellant must institute separate proceedings to re-open Aleja Belleza's estate, secure
That the annuity above stated for crop year 1985-86, 1986-87, and 1987-88, will be complied in cash
the appointment of an administrator, and distribute Lot No. 1392 to Aleja Belleza's legal heirs in order to
equivalent of the number of piculs as mentioned therein and which is as herein agreed upon, taking into
enforce her right, reserved to her by the codicil, to receive her legacy of 100 piculs of sugar per year out of
consideration the composite price of sugar during each sugar crop year, which is in the total amount of
the produce of Lot No. 1392 until she dies.

Accordingly, the decision appealed from is SET ASIDE and another one entered ordering
That the above-mentioned amount will be paid or delivered on a staggered cash installment, payable on or
defendants-appellees, as heirs of Jorge Rabadilla, to reconvey title over Lot No. 1392, together with its
before the end of December of every sugar crop year, to wit:
fruits and interests, to the estate of Aleja Belleza.

For 1985-86, TWENTY SIX THOUSAND TWO HUNDRED FIFTY (P26,250.00) Pesos, payable on or before
December of crop year 1988-89;

Dissatisfied with the aforesaid disposition by the Court of Appeals, petitioner found his way to this
For 1986-87, TWENTY SIX THOUSAND TWO HUNDRED FIFTY (P26,250.00) Pesos, payable on or before
Court via the present petition, contending that the Court of Appeals erred in ordering the reversion of Lot
December of crop year 1989-90;
1392 to the estate of the testatrix Aleja Belleza on the basis of paragraph 6 of the Codicil, and in ruling that
the testamentary institution of Dr. Jorge Rabadilla is a modal institution within the purview of Article 882
For 1987-88, TWENTY SIX THOUSAND TWO HUNDRED FIFTY (P26,250.00) Pesos, payable on or before of the New Civil Code.
December of crop year 1990-91; and
The petition is not impressed with merit.
For 1988-89, TWENTY SIX THOUSAND TWO HUNDRED FIFTY (P26,250.00) Pesos, payable on or before
December of crop year 1991-92."5
Petitioner contends that the Court of Appeals erred in resolving the appeal in accordance with Article 882
of the New Civil Code on modal institutions and in deviating from the sole issue raised which is the absence
However, there was no compliance with the aforesaid Memorandum of Agreement except for a partial or prematurity of the cause of action. Petitioner maintains that Article 882 does not find application as
delivery of 50.80 piculs of sugar corresponding to sugar crop year 1988 -1989. there was no modal institution and the testatrix intended a mere simple substitution - i.e. the instituted
heir, Dr. Jorge Rabadilla, was to be substituted by the testatrix's "near descendants" should the obligation
On July 22, 1991, the Regional Trial Court came out with a decision, dismissing the complaint and disposing to deliver the fruits to herein private respondent be not complied with. And since the testatrix died single
as follows: and without issue, there can be no valid substitution and such testamentary provision cannot be given any

"WHEREFORE, in the light of the aforegoing findings, the Court finds that the action is prematurely filed as
no cause of action against the defendants has as yet arose in favor of plaintiff. While there maybe the The petitioner theorizes further that there can be no valid substitution for the reason that the substituted
non-performance of the command as mandated exaction from them simply because they are the children heirs are not definite, as the substituted heirs are merely referred to as "near descendants" without a
of Jorge Rabadilla, the title holder/owner of the lot in question, does not warrant the filing of the present definite identity or reference as to who are the "near descendants" and therefore, under Articles 8438 and
complaint. The remedy at bar must fall. Incidentally, being in the category as creditor of the left estate, it is 8459 of the New Civil Code, the substitution should be deemed as not written.
The contentions of petitioner are untenable. Contrary to his supposition that the Court of Appeals deviated Neither is there a fideicommissary substitution here and on this point, petitioner is correct. In a
from the issue posed before it, which was the propriety of the dismissal of the complaint on the ground of fideicommissary substitution, the first heir is strictly mandated to preserve the property and to
prematurity of cause of action, there was no such deviation. The Court of Appeals found that the private transmit the same later to the second heir.15 In the case under consideration, the instituted heir is in fact
respondent had a cause of action against the petitioner. The disquisition made on modal institution was, allowed under the Codicil to alienate the property provided the negotiation is with the near descendants
precisely, to stress that the private respondent had a legally demandable right against the petitioner or the sister of the testatrix. Thus, a very important element of a fideicommissary substitution is lacking;
pursuant to subject Codicil; on which issue the Court of Appeals ruled in accordance with law. the obligation clearly imposing upon the first heir the preservation of the property and its transmission to
the second heir. "Without this obligation to preserve clearly imposed by the testator in his will, there is no
fideicommissary substitution."16 Also, the near descendants' right to inherit from the testatrix is not
It is a general rule under the law on succession that successional rights are transmitted from the moment
definite. The property will only pass to them should Dr. Jorge Rabadilla or his heirs not fulfill the obligation
of death of the decedent10 and compulsory heirs are called to succeed by operation of law. The legitimate
to deliver part of the usufruct to private respondent.
children and descendants, in relation to their legitimate parents, and the widow or widower, are
compulsory heirs.11 Thus, the petitioner, his mother and sisters, as compulsory heirs of the instituted heir,
Dr. Jorge Rabadilla, succeeded the latter by operation of law, without need of further proceedings, and the Another important element of a fideicommissary substitution is also missing here. Under Article 863, the
successional rights were transmitted to them from the moment of death of the decedent, Dr. Jorge second heir or the fideicommissary to whom the property is transmitted must not be beyond one degree
Rabadilla. from the first heir or the fiduciary. A fideicommissary substitution is therefore, void if the first heir is not
related by first degree to the second heir.17 In the case under scrutiny, the near descendants are not at all
related to the instituted heir, Dr. Jorge Rabadilla.
Under Article 776 of the New Civil Code, inheritance includes all the property, rights and obligations of a
person, not extinguished by his death. Conformably, whatever rights Dr. Jorge Rabadilla had by virtue of
subject Codicil were transmitted to his forced heirs, at the time of his death. And since obligations not The Court of Appeals erred not in ruling that the institution of Dr. Jorge Rabadilla under subject Codicil is in
extinguished by death also form part of the estate of the decedent; corollarily, the obligations imposed by the nature of a modal institution and therefore, Article 882 of the New Civil Code is the provision of law in
the Codicil on the deceased Dr. Jorge Rabadilla, were likewise transmitted to his compulsory heirs upon his point. Articles 882 and 883 of the New Civil Code provide:
Art. 882. The statement of the object of the institution or the application of the property left by the
In the said Codicil, testatrix Aleja Belleza devised Lot No. 1392 to Dr. Jorge Rabadilla, subject to the testator, or the charge imposed on him, shall not be considered as a condition unless it appears that such
condition that the usufruct thereof would be delivered to the herein private respondent every year. Upon was his intention.
the death of Dr. Jorge Rabadilla, his compulsory heirs succeeded to his rights and title over the said
property, and they also assumed his (decedent's) obligation to deliver the fruits of the lot involved to
That which has been left in this manner may be claimed at once provided that the instituted heir or his
herein private respondent. Such obligation of the instituted heir reciprocally corresponds to the right of
heirs give security for compliance with the wishes of the testator and for the return of anything he or they
private respondent over the usufruct, the fulfillment or performance of which is now being demanded by
may receive, together with its fruits and interests, if he or they should disregard this obligation.
the latter through the institution of the case at bar. Therefore, private respondent has a cause of action
against petitioner and the trial court erred in dismissing the complaint below.
Art. 883. When without the fault of the heir, an institution referred to in the preceding article cannot take
effect in the exact manner stated by the testator, it shall be complied with in a manner most analogous to
Petitioner also theorizes that Article 882 of the New Civil Code on modal institutions is not applicable
and in conformity with his wishes.
because what the testatrix intended was a substitution - Dr. Jorge Rabadilla was to be substituted by the
testatrix's near descendants should there be noncompliance with the obligation to deliver the piculs of
sugar to private respondent. The institution of an heir in the manner prescribed in Article 882 is what is known in the law of succession
as an institucion sub modo or a modal institution. In a modal institution, the testator states (1) the object
of the institution, (2) the purpose or application of the property left by the testator, or (3) the charge
Again, the contention is without merit.
imposed by the testator upon the heir.18 A "mode" imposes an obligation upon the heir or legatee but it
does not affect the efficacy of his rights to the succession.19 On the other hand, in a conditional
Substitution is the designation by the testator of a person or persons to take the place of the heir or heirs testamentary disposition, the condition must happen or be fulfilled in order for the heir to be entitled to
first instituted. Under substitutions in general, the testator may either (1) provide for the designation of succeed the testator. The condition suspends but does not obligate; and the mode obligates but does not
another heir to whom the property shall pass in case the original heir should die before him/her, renounce suspend.20 To some extent, it is similar to a resolutory condition.21
the inheritance or be incapacitated to inherit, as in a simple substitution,12 or (2) leave his/her property to
one person with the express charge that it be transmitted subsequently to another or others, as in a
From the provisions of the Codicil litigated upon, it can be gleaned unerringly that the testatrix intended
fideicommissary substitution.13 The Codicil sued upon contemplates neither of the two.
that subject property be inherited by Dr. Jorge Rabadilla. It is likewise clearly worded that the testatrix
imposed an obligation on the said instituted heir and his successors-in-interest to deliver one hundred
In simple substitutions, the second heir takes the inheritance in default of the first heir by reason of piculs of sugar to the herein private respondent, Marlena Coscolluela Belleza, during the lifetime of the
incapacity, predecease or renunciation.14 In the case under consideration, the provisions of subject Codicil latter. However, the testatrix did not make Dr. Jorge Rabadilla's inheritance and the effectivity of his
do not provide that should Dr. Jorge Rabadilla default due to predecease, incapacity or renunciation, the institution as a devisee, dependent on the performance of the said obligation. It is clear, though, that
testatrix's near descendants would substitute him. What the Codicil provides is that, should Dr. Jorge should the obligation be not complied with, the property shall be turned over to the testatrix's near
Rabadilla or his heirs not fulfill the conditions imposed in the Codicil, the property referred to shall be descendants. The manner of institution of Dr. Jorge Rabadilla under subject Codicil is evidently modal in
seized and turned over to the testatrix's near descendants. nature because it imposes a charge upon the instituted heir without, however, affecting the efficacy of
such institution.
Then too, since testamentary dispositions are generally acts of liberality, an obligation imposed upon the
heir should not be considered a condition unless it clearly appears from the Will itself that such was the
intention of the testator. In case of doubt, the institution should be considered as modal and not

Neither is there tenability in the other contention of petitioner that the private respondent has only a right
of usufruct but not the right to seize the property itself from the instituted heir because the right to seize
was expressly limited to violations by the buyer, lessee or mortgagee.

In the interpretation of Wills, when an uncertainty arises on the face of the Will, as to the application of
any of its provisions, the testator's intention is to be ascertained from the words of the Will, taking into
consideration the circumstances under which it was made.23 Such construction as will sustain and uphold
the Will in all its parts must be adopted.24

Subject Codicil provides that the instituted heir is under obligation to deliver One Hundred (100) piculs of
sugar yearly to Marlena Belleza Coscuella. Such obligation is imposed on the instituted heir, Dr. Jorge
Rabadilla, his heirs, and their buyer, lessee, or mortgagee should they sell, lease, mortgage or otherwise
negotiate the property involved. The Codicil further provides that in the event that the obligation to deliver
the sugar is not respected, Marlena Belleza Coscuella shall seize the property and turn it over to the
testatrix's near descendants. The non-performance of the said obligation is thus with the sanction of
seizure of the property and reversion thereof to the testatrix's near descendants. Since the said obligation
is clearly imposed by the testatrix, not only on the instituted heir but also on his successors-in-interest, the
sanction imposed by the testatrix in case of non-fulfillment of said obligation should equally apply to the
instituted heir and his successors-in-interest.

Similarly unsustainable is petitioner's submission that by virtue of the amicable settlement, the said
obligation imposed by the Codicil has been assumed by the lessee, and whatever obligation petitioner had
become the obligation of the lessee; that petitioner is deemed to have made a substantial and constructive
compliance of his obligation through the consummated settlement between the lessee and the private
respondent, and having consummated a settlement with the petitioner, the recourse of the private
respondent is the fulfillment of the obligation under the amicable settlement and not the seizure of subject

Suffice it to state that a Will is a personal, solemn, revocable and free act by which a person disposes of his
property, to take effect after his death.25 Since the Will expresses the manner in which a person intends
how his properties be disposed, the wishes and desires of the testator must be strictly followed. Thus, a
Will cannot be the subject of a compromise agreement which would thereby defeat the very purpose of
making a Will.

WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DISMISSED and the decision of the Court of Appeals, dated December
23, 1993, in CA-G.R. No. CV-35555 AFFIRMED. No pronouncement as to costs

G.R. No. L-48627 February 19, 1943 The trial court noted that the testator, who was a lawyer, did not use the word
"relatives" in the clause in question. We do not need to decide here whether, had the
TESTATE ESTATE OF VICENTE SINGSON PABLO, deceased. ROSALIA ROSARIO VDA. testator used the word "relatives," the nieces would be excluded. The authorities
DE SINGSON,petitioner-appellee, differ on the interpretation of article 751. Some hold that under said article the
vs. nephews and nieces inherit by representation together with the brothers and sisters
JOSEFINA F. VDA. DE LIM, oppositor-appellee, of the testator, as in legal succession; while others. Manresa among them, hold that
EMILIA FLORENTINO, ET AL., oppositors-appellees, said article excludes nephews and nieces when brothers and sisters survive. We think
EVARISTO SINGSON, ET AL., oppositors-appellants. the testator, by referring to "all who are entitled thereto," instead of referring to his
"relatives," precisely meant to avoid the uncertainty of the interpretation of article
M.H. de Joya and Evaristo Singson for appellants. 751 and to indicate his wish that the residue of his estate be distributed in equal
Teofilo Mendoza and Vicente Paz for appellees. parts to all who would have been entitled to inherit from him had he dies intestate.

OZAETA, J.: The order appealed from is affirmed, with costs. So ordered.

Don Vicente Singson Pablo, a lawyer of Vigan, Ilocos Sur, died on April 15, 1938,
without any descendant or ascendant, his nearest surviving relatives being his widow
Doa Rosalia Rosario, four brothers, and four nieces, the children of a deceased sister.
He left a will which was duly probated, clause 8 of which reads as follows:

Octavo. Orderno y mando que todos mis bienes no dispuestos de otro modo en
este testamento, se distribuiran en partes iguales a todos los que tienen derecho a

The widow, as administratrix, presented a project of partition in which the properties

not disposed of in the will were adjudicated to the four brothers and the four nieces
of the deceased "in the proportion provided in paragraph 8 of the will." The brothers,
appellants herein, objected to the project of partition insofar as it includes the nieces
of the deceased, on the ground that under clause 8 of the will, in relation to article
751 of the Civil Code, they were not entitled to any share. The nieces also objected to
the project of partition, alleging that certain other specified properties had been
omitted therefrom, which formed part of the properties not disposed of and which
under clause 8 of the will "should be distributed in equal parts to all who are entitled
thereto." The trial court sustained the contention of the nieces (appellees herein) and
ordered the administratrix "to amend the project of partition so as to include therein
the said properties and that all of those not disposed of in the will be adjudicated in
equal parts to the brothers and nieces of the deceased."

The only question raised in this appeal is the interpretation of clause 8 of the will
above quoted. Said clause provides that "all of my properties not disposed of
otherwise in this testament shall be distributed in equal parts to all who are entitled
thereto." In this connection appellants invoke article 751 of the Civil Code, which
provides that "a disposition made in general terms in favor of the testator's relatives
shall be understood as made in favor of those nearest in degree."
G.R. No. L-40789 February 27, 1987 Art. 981. Should children of the deceased and descendants of other children who are dead, survive, the
INTESTATE ESTATE OF PETRA V. ROSALES, IRENEA C. ROSALES, petitioner, former shall inherit in their own right, and the latter by right of representation.
Art. 982. The grandchildren and other descendants shag inherit by right of representation, and if any one
ROSALES, respondents.
of them should have died, leaving several heirs, the portion pertaining to him shall be divided among the
latter in equal portions.
In this Petition for Review of two (2) Orders of the Court of First Instance of Cebu the question raised is
whether the widow whose husband predeceased his mother can inherit from the latter, her mother-in-law.
Art. 999. When the widow or widower survives with legitimate children or their descendants and
illegitimate children or their descendants, whether legitimate or illegitimate, such widow or widower shall
It appears from the record of the case that on February 26, 1971, Mrs. Petra V. Rosales, a resident of Cebu be entitled to the same share as that of a legitimate child.
City, died intestate. She was survived by her husband Fortunate T. Rosales and their two (2) children
Magna Rosales Acebes and Antonio Rosales. Another child, Carterio Rosales, predeceased her, leaving
There is no provision in the Civil Code which states that a widow (surviving spouse) is an intestate heir of
behind a child, Macikequerox Rosales, and his widow Irenea C. Rosales, the herein petitioner. The estate of
her mother-in-law. The entire Code is devoid of any provision which entitles her to inherit from her
the dismissed has an estimated gross value of about Thirty Thousand Pesos (P30,000.00).
mother-in- law either by her own right or by the right of representation. The provisions of the Code which
relate to the order of intestate succession (Articles 978 to 1014) enumerate with meticulous exactitude the
On July 10, 1971, Magna Rosales Acebes instituted the proceedings for the settlement of the estate of the intestate heirs of a decedent, with the State as the final intestate heir. The conspicuous absence of a
deceased in the Court of First Instance of Cebu. The case was docketed as Special Proceedings No. 3204-R. provision which makes a daughter-in-law an intestate heir of the deceased all the more confirms Our
Thereafter, the trial court appointed Magna Rosales Acebes administratrix of the said estate. observation. If the legislature intended to make the surviving spouse an intestate heir of the parent-in-law,
it would have so provided in the Code.
In the course of the intestate proceedings, the trial court issued an Order dated June 16, 1972 declaring
the following in individuals the legal heirs of the deceased and prescribing their respective share of the Petitioner argues that she is a compulsory heir in accordance with the provisions of Article 887 of the Civil
estate Code which provides that:

Fortunata T. Rosales (husband), 1/4; Magna R. Acebes (daughter), 1/4; Macikequerox Rosales, 1/4; and Art. 887. The following are compulsory heirs:
Antonio Rosales son, 1/4.
(1) Legitimate children and descendants, with respect to their legitimate parents and ascendants;
This declaration was reiterated by the trial court in its Order I dated February 4, 1975.
(2) In default of the foregoing, legitimate parents and ascendants, with respect to their legitimate children
These Orders notwithstanding, Irenea Rosales insisted in getting a share of the estate in her capacity as the and descendants;
surviving spouse of the late Carterio Rosales, son of the deceased, claiming that she is a compulsory heir of
her mother-in-law together with her son, Macikequerox Rosales.
(3) The widow or widower;

Thus, Irenea Rosales sought the reconsideration of the aforementioned Orders. The trial court denied her
(4) Acknowledged natural children, and natural children by legal fiction;
plea. Hence this petition.

(5) Other illegitimate children referred to in article 287;

In sum, the petitioner poses two (2) questions for Our resolution petition. First is a widow (surviving
spouse) an intestate heir of her mother-in-law? Second are the Orders of the trial court which excluded
the widow from getting a share of the estate in question final as against the said widow? Compulsory heirs mentioned in Nos. 3, 4 and 5 are not excluded by those in Nos. 1 and 2; neither do they
exclude one another.
Our answer to the first question is in the negative.
In all cases of illegitimate children, their filiation must be duly proved.
Intestate or legal heirs are classified into two (2) groups, namely, those who inherit by their own right, and
those who inherit by the right of representation. 1 Restated, an intestate heir can only inherit either by his The father or mother of illegitimate children of the three classes mentioned, shall inherit from them in the
own right, as in the order of intestate succession provided for in the Civil Code, 2 or by the right of manner and to the extent established by this Code.
representation provided for in Article 981 of the same law. The relevant provisions of the Civil Code are:
The aforesaid provision of law 3 refers to the estate of the deceased spouse in which case the surviving
Art. 980. The children of the deceased shall always inherit from him in their own right, dividing the spouse (widow or widower) is a compulsory heir. It does not apply to the estate of a parent-in-law.
inheritance in equal shares.
Indeed, the surviving spouse is considered a third person as regards the estate of the parent-in-law. We
had occasion to make this observation in Lachenal v. Salas, 4 to Wit:

We hold that the title to the fishing boat should be determined in Civil Case No. 3597 (not in the intestate
proceeding) because it affects the lessee thereof, Lope L. Leoncio, the decedent's son-in-law, who,
although married to his daughter or compulsory heir, is nevertheless a third person with respect to his
estate. ... (Emphasis supplied).

By the same token, the provision of Article 999 of the Civil Code aforecited does not support petitioner's
claim. A careful examination of the said Article confirms that the estate contemplated therein is the estate
of the deceased spouse. The estate which is the subject matter of the intestate estate proceedings in this
case is that of the deceased Petra V. Rosales, the mother-in-law of the petitioner. It is from the estate of
Petra V. Rosales that Macikequerox Rosales draws a share of the inheritance by the right of representation
as provided by Article 981 of the Code.

The essence and nature of the right of representation is explained by Articles 970 and 971 of the Civil
Code, viz

Art. 970. Representation is a right created by fiction of law, by virtue of which the representative is raised
to the place and the degree of the person represented, and acquires the rights which the latter would have
if he were living or if he could have inherited.

Art. 971. The representative is called to the succession by the law and not by the person represented. The
representative does not succeed the person represented but the one whom the person represented would
have succeeded. (Emphasis supplied.)

Article 971 explicitly declares that Macikequerox Rosales is called to succession by law because of his blood
relationship. He does not succeed his father, Carterio Rosales (the person represented) who predeceased
his grandmother, Petra Rosales, but the latter whom his father would have succeeded. Petitioner cannot
assert the same right of representation as she has no filiation by blood with her mother-in-law.

Petitioner however contends that at the time of the death of her husband Carterio Rosales he had an
inchoate or contingent right to the properties of Petra Rosales as compulsory heir. Be that as it may, said
right of her husband was extinguished by his death that is why it is their son Macikequerox Rosales who
succeeded from Petra Rosales by right of representation. He did not succeed from his deceased father,
Carterio Rosales.

On the basis of the foregoing observations and conclusions, We find it unnecessary to pass upon the
second question posed by the petitioner.

Accordingly, it is Our considered opinion, and We so hold, that a surviving spouse is not an intestate heir of
his or her parent-in-law.

WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the Petition is hereby DENIED for lack of merit, with costs against
the petitioner. Let this case be remanded to the trial-court for further proceedings.

G.R. No. L-30977 January 31, 1972 Although the defendant below, the herein respondent Eufemio S. Eufemio, filed counterclaims, he did not
CARMEN LAPUZ SY, represented by her substitute MACARIO LAPUZ, petitioner-appellant, pursue them after the court below dismissed the case. He acquiesced in the dismissal of said counterclaims
vs. by praying for the affirmance of the order that dismissed not only the petition for legal separation but also
EUFEMIO S. EUFEMIO alias EUFEMIO SY UY, respondent-appellee. his counterclaim to declare the Eufemio-Lapuz marriage to be null and void ab initio.

Petition, filed after the effectivity of Republic Act 5440, for review by certiorari of an order, dated 29 July But petitioner Carmen O. Lapuz Sy (through her self-assumed substitute for the lower court did not act
1969, of the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court of Manila, in its Civil Case No. 20387, dismissing said on the motion for substitution) stated the principal issue to be as follows:
case for legal separation on the ground that the death of the therein plaintiff, Carmen O. Lapuz Sy, which
occurred during the pendency of the case, abated the cause of action as well as the action itself. The
When an action for legal separation is converted by the counterclaim into one for a declaration of nullity of
dismissal order was issued over the objection of Macario Lapuz, the heir of the deceased plaintiff (and
a marriage, does the death of a party abate the proceedings?
petitioner herein) who sought to substitute the deceased and to have the case prosecuted to final
The issue as framed by petitioner injects into it a supposed conversion of a legal separation suit to one for
declaration of nullity of a marriage, which is without basis, for even petitioner asserted that "the
On 18 August 1953, Carmen O. Lapuz Sy filed a petition for legal separation against Eufemio S. Eufemio,
respondent has acquiesced to the dismissal of his counterclaim" (Petitioner's Brief, page 22). Not only this.
alleging, in the main, that they were married civilly on 21 September 1934 and canonically on 30
The petition for legal separation and the counterclaim to declare the nullity of the self same marriage can
September 1934; that they had lived together as husband and wife continuously until 1943 when her
stand independent and separate adjudication. They are not inseparable nor was the action for legal
husband abandoned her; that they had no child; that they acquired properties during their marriage; and
separation converted into one for a declaration of nullity by the counterclaim, for legal separation
that she discovered her husband cohabiting with a Chinese woman named Go Hiok at 1319 Sisa Street,
pre-supposes a valid marriage, while the petition for nullity has a voidable marriage as a pre-condition.
Manila, on or about March 1949. She prayed for the issuance of a decree of legal separation, which, among
others, would order that the defendant Eufemio S. Eufemio should be deprived of his share of the conjugal
partnership profits. The first real issue in this case is: Does the death of the plaintiff before final decree, in an action for legal
separation, abate the action? If it does, will abatement also apply if the action involves property rights? .
In his second amended answer to the petition, herein respondent Eufemio S. Eufemio alleged affirmative
and special defenses, and, along with several other claims involving money and other properties, An action for legal separation which involves nothing more than the bed-and-board separation of the
counter-claimed for the declaration of nullity ab initio of his marriage with Carmen O. Lapuz Sy, on the spouses (there being no absolute divorce in this jurisdiction) is purely personal. The Civil Code of the
ground of his prior and subsisting marriage, celebrated according to Chinese law and customs, with one Go Philippines recognizes this in its Article 100, by allowing only the innocent spouse (and no one else) to
Hiok, alias Ngo Hiok. claim legal separation; and in its Article 108, by providing that the spouses can, by their reconciliation, stop
or abate the proceedings and even rescind a decree of legal separation already rendered. Being personal in
character, it follows that the death of one party to the action causes the death of the action itself actio
Issues having been joined, trial proceeded and the parties adduced their respective evidence. But before
personalis moritur cum persona.
the trial could be completed (the respondent was already scheduled to present surrebuttal evidence on 9
and 18 June 1969), petitioner Carmen O. Lapuz Sy died in a vehicular accident on 31 May 1969. Counsel for
petitioner duly notified the court of her death. ... When one of the spouses is dead, there is no need for divorce, because the marriage is dissolved. The
heirs cannot even continue the suit, if the death of the spouse takes place during the course of the suit
(Article 244, Section 3). The action is absolutely dead (Cass., July 27, 1871, D. 71. 1. 81; Cass. req., May 8,
On 9 June 1969, respondent Eufemio moved to dismiss the "petition for legal separation"1 on two (2)
1933, D. H. 1933, 332.")4 .
grounds, namely: that the petition for legal separation was filed beyond the one-year period provided for
in Article 102 of the Civil Code; and that the death of Carmen abated the action for legal separation.
Marriage is a personal relation or status, created under the sanction of law, and an action for divorce is a
proceeding brought for the purpose of effecting a dissolution of that relation. The action is one of a
On 26 June 1969, counsel for deceased petitioner moved to substitute the deceased Carmen by her father,
personal nature. In the absence of a statute to the contrary, the death of one of the parties to such action
Macario Lapuz. Counsel for Eufemio opposed the motion.
abates the action, for the reason that death has settled the question of separation beyond all controversy
and deprived the court of jurisdiction, both over the persons of the parties to the action and of the
On 29 July 1969, the court issued the order under review, dismissing the case.2 In the body of the order, subject-matter of the action itself. For this reason the courts are almost unanimous in holding that the
the court stated that the motion to dismiss and the motion for substitution had to be resolved on the death of either party to a divorce proceeding, before final decree, abates the action. 1 Corpus Juris, 208;
question of whether or not the plaintiff's cause of action has survived, which the court resolved in the Wren v. Moss, 2 Gilman, 72; Danforth v. Danforth, 111 Ill. 236; Matter of Grandall, 196 N.Y. 127, 89 N.E.
negative. Petitioner's moved to reconsider but the motion was denied on 15 September 1969. 578; 134 Am St. Rep. 830; 17 Ann. Cas. 874; Wilcon v. Wilson, 73 Mich, 620, 41 N.W. 817; Strickland v.
Strickland, 80 Ark. 452, 97 S. W. 659; McCurley v. McCurley, 60 Md. 185, 45 Am. Rep. 717; Begbie v. Begbie,
128 Cal. 155, 60 Pac. 667, 49 L.R.A. 141. 5
After first securing an extension of time to file a petition for review of the order of dismissal issued by the
juvenile and domestic relations court, the petitioner filed the present petition on 14 October 1969. The
same was given due course and answer thereto was filed by respondent, who prayed for the affirmance of The same rule is true of causes of action and suits for separation and maintenance (Johnson vs. Bates, Ark.
the said order.3 101 SW 412; 1 Corpus Juris 208).
A review of the resulting changes in property relations between spouses shows that they are solely the action, no decree can be forthcoming, death producing a more radical and definitive separation; and the
effect of the decree of legal separation; hence, they can not survive the death of the plaintiff if it occurs expected consequential rights and claims would necessarily remain unborn.
prior to the decree. On the point, Article 106 of the Civil Code provides: .
As to the petition of respondent-appellee Eufemio for a declaration of nullity ab initio of his marriage to
Art. 106. The decree of legal separation shall have the following effects: Carmen Lapuz, it is apparent that such action became moot and academic upon the death of the latter,
and there could be no further interest in continuing the same after her demise, that automatically
dissolved the questioned union. Any property rights acquired by either party as a result of Article 144 of
(1) The spouses shall be entitled to live separately from each other, but the marriage bonds shall not be
the Civil Code of the Philippines 6 could be resolved and determined in a proper action for partition by
severed; .
either the appellee or by the heirs of the appellant.

(2) The conjugal partnership of gains or the absolute conjugal community of property shall be dissolved
In fact, even if the bigamous marriage had not been void ab initio but only voidable under Article 83,
and liquidated, but the offending spouse shall have no right to any share of the profits earned by the
paragraph 2, of the Civil Code, because the second marriage had been contracted with the first wife having
partnership or community, without prejudice to the provisions of article 176;
been an absentee for seven consecutive years, or when she had been generally believed dead, still the
action for annulment became extinguished as soon as one of the three persons involved had died, as
(3) The custody of the minor children shall be awarded to the innocent spouse, unless otherwise directed provided in Article 87, paragraph 2, of the Code, requiring that the action for annulment should be brought
by the court in the interest of said minors, for whom said court may appoint a guardian; during the lifetime of any one of the parties involved. And furthermore, the liquidation of any conjugal
partnership that might have resulted from such voidable marriage must be carried out "in the testate or
(4) The offending spouse shall be disqualified from inheriting from the innocent spouse by intestate intestate proceedings of the deceased spouse", as expressly provided in Section 2 of the Revised Rule 73,
succession. Moreover, provisions in favor of the offending spouse made in the will of the innocent one and not in the annulment proceeding.
shall be revoked by operation of law.
ACCORDINGLY, the appealed judgment of the Manila Court of Juvenile and Domestic Relations is hereby
From this article it is apparent that the right to the dissolution of the conjugal partnership of gains (or of affirmed. No special pronouncement as to costs.
the absolute community of property), the loss of right by the offending spouse to any share of the profits
earned by the partnership or community, or his disqualification to inherit by intestacy from the innocent
spouse as well as the revocation of testamentary provisions in favor of the offending spouse made by the
innocent one, are all rights and disabilities that, by the very terms of the Civil Code article, are vested
exclusively in the persons of the spouses; and by their nature and intent, such claims and disabilities are
difficult to conceive as assignable or transmissible. Hence, a claim to said rights is not a claim that "is not
thereby extinguished" after a party dies, under Section 17, Rule 3, of the Rules of Court, to warrant
continuation of the action through a substitute of the deceased party.

Sec. 17. Death of party. After a party dies and the claim is not thereby extinguished, the court shall order,
upon proper notice, the legal representative of the deceased to appear and to be substituted for the
deceased, within a period of thirty (30) days, or within such time as may be granted...

The same result flows from a consideration of the enumeration of the actions that survive for or against
administrators in Section 1, Rule 87, of the Revised Rules of Court:

SECTION 1. Actions which may and which may not be brought against executor or administrator. No action
upon a claim for the recovery of money or debt or interest thereon shall be commenced against the
executor or administrator; but actions to recover real or personal property, or an interest therein, from the
estate, or to enforce a lien thereon, and actions to recover damages for an injury to person or property,
real or personal, may be commenced against him.

Neither actions for legal separation or for annulment of marriage can be deemed fairly included in the

A further reason why an action for legal separation is abated by the death of the plaintiff, even if property
rights are involved, is that these rights are mere effects of decree of separation, their source being the
decree itself; without the decree such rights do not come into existence, so that before the finality of a
decree, these claims are merely rights in expectation. If death supervenes during the pendency of the
G.R. No. 82233 March 22, 1990 the tricycle that was damaged in the incident. Appellants had the burden of proof of such fact, and they
JOSE BARITUA and EDGAR BITANCOR, petitioners, did establish such fact in their testimony . . . 11 Anent the funeral expenses, "(T)he expenses for the funeral
vs. were likewise shouldered by the appellants (the private respondents). This was never contradicted by the
HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, NICOLAS NACARIO and VICTORIA RONDA NACARIO, respondents. appellees (petitioners). . . . Payment (for these) were made by the appellants, therefore, the
reimbursement must accrue in their favor. 12
This petition for review on certiorari assails as erroneous and contrary to existing relevant laws and
applicable jurisprudence the decision 1 of the Court of Appeals dated December 11, 1987 which reversed Consequently, the respondent appellate court ordered the petitioners to pay the private respondents
and set aside that of the Regional Trial Court, Branch XXXII, at Pili, Camarines Sur. 2 The challenged decision P10,000.00 for the damage of the tricycle, P5,000.00 for "complete" funeral services, P450.00 for cemetery
adjudged the petitioners liable to the private respondents in the total amount of P20,505.00 and for costs. lot, P55.00 for oracion adulto, and P5,000.00 for attorney's fees. 13 The petitioners moved for
a reconsideration of the appellate court's decision 14 but their motion was denied. 15 Hence, this petition.
The facts are as follows:
The issue here is whether or not the respondent appellate court erred in holding that the petitioners are
still liable to pay the private respondents the aggregate amount of P20,505.00 despite the agreement of
In the evening of November 7, 1979, the tricycle then being driven by Bienvenido Nacario along the
extrajudicial settlement between the petitioners and the victim's compulsory heirs.
national highway at Barangay San Cayetano, in Baao, Camarines Sur, figured in an accident with JB Bus No.
80 driven by petitioner Edgar Bitancor and owned and operated by petitioner Jose Baritua. 3 As a result of
that accident Bienvenido and his passenger died 4 and the tricycle was damaged. 5 No criminal case arising The petition is meritorious.
from the incident was ever instituted. 6
Obligations are extinguished by various modes among them being by payment. Article 1231 of the Civil
Subsequently, on March 27, 1980, as a consequence of the extra-judicial settlement of the matter Code of the Philippines provides:
negotiated by the petitioners and the bus insurer Philippine First Insurance Company, Incorporated
(PFICI for brevity) Bienvenido Nacario's widow, Alicia Baracena Vda. de Nacario, received P18,500.00. In
Art. 1231. Obligations are extinguished:
consideration of the amount she received, Alicia executed on March 27, 1980 a "Release of Claim" in favor
of the petitioners and PFICI, releasing and forever discharging them from all actions, claims, and demands
arising from the accident which resulted in her husband's death and the damage to the tricycle which the (1) By payment or performance;
deceased was then driving. Alicia likewise executed an affidavit of desistance in which she formally
manifested her lack of interest in instituting any case, either civil or criminal, against the petitioners. 7 (2) By the loss of the thing due;

On September 2, 1981, or about one year and ten months from the date of the accident on November 7, (3) By the condonation or remission of the debt;
1979, the private respondents, who are the parents of Bienvenido Nacario, filed a complaint for damages
against the petitioners with the then Court of First Instance of Camarines Sur. 8 In their complaint, the
private respondents alleged that during the vigil for their deceased son, the petitioners through their (4) By the confusion or merger of the rights of creditor and debtor;
representatives promised them (the private respondents) that as extra-judicial settlement, they shall be
indemnified for the death of their son, for the funeral expenses incurred by reason thereof, and for the (5) By compensation;
damage for the tricycle the purchase price of which they (the private respondents) only loaned to the
victim. The petitioners, however, reneged on their promise and instead negotiated and settled their
obligations with the long-estranged wife of their late son. The Nacario spouses prayed that the defendants, (6) By novation.
petitioners herein, be ordered to indemnify them in the amount of P25,000.00 for the death of their son
Bienvenido, P10,000.00 for the damaged tricycle, P25,000.00 for compensatory and exemplary damages, (Emphasis ours.)
P5,000.00 for attorney's fees, and for moral damages. 9
There is no denying that the petitioners had paid their obligation petition arising from the accident that
After trial, the court a quo dismissed the complaint, holding that the payment by the defendants (herein occurred on November 7, 1979. The only question now is whether or not Alicia, the spouse and the one
petitioners) to the widow and her child, who are the preferred heirs and successors-in-interest of the who received the petitioners' payment, is entitled to it.
deceased Bienvenido to the exclusion of his parents, the plaintiffs (herein private respondents),
extinguished any claim against the defendants (petitioners). 10
Article 1240 of the Civil Code of the Philippines enumerates the persons to whom payment to extinguish
an obligation should be made.
The parents appealed to the Court of Appeals which reversed the judgment of the trial court. The appellate
court ruled that the release executed by Alicia Baracena Vda. de Nacario did not discharge the liability of
Art 1240. Payment shall be made to the person in whose favor the obligation has been constituted, or his
the petitioners because the case was instituted by the private respondents in their own capacity and not as
successor in interest, or any person authorized to receive it.
"heirs, representatives, successors, and assigns" of Alicia; and Alicia could not have validly waived the
damages being prayed for (by the private respondents) since she was not the one who suffered these
damages arising from the death of their son. Furthermore, the appellate court said that the petitioners Certainly there can be no question that Alicia and her son with the deceased are the successors in interest
"failed to rebut the testimony of the appellants (private respondents) that they were the ones who bought referred to in law as the persons authorized to receive payment. The Civil Code states:
Article 887. The following are compulsory heirs:

1. Legitimate children and descendants, with respect to their legitimate parents and ascendants;

2. In default of the foregoing, legitimate parents and ascendants with respect to their legitimate children
and decendants;

3. The widow or widower;

4. Acknowledged natural children and natural children by legal fiction;

5. Other illegitimate children referred to in Article 287.

Compulsory heirs mentioned in Nos. 3, 4 and 5 are not excluded by those in Nos. 1 and 2. Neither do they
exclude one another. (Emphasis ours.)

Article 985. In default of legitimate children and descendants of the deceased, his parents and ascendants
shall inherit from him, to the exclusion of collateral relatives.

(Emphasis ours.)

It is patently clear that the parents of the deceased succeed only when the latter dies without a legitimate
descendant. On the other hand, the surviving spouse concurs with all classes of heirs. As it has been
established that Bienvenido was married to Alicia and that they begot a child, the private respondents are
not successors-in-interest of Bienvenido; they are not compulsory heirs. The petitioners therefore acted
correctly in settling their obligation with Alicia as the widow of Bienvenido and as the natural guardian of
their lone child. This is so even if Alicia had been estranged from Bienvenido. Mere estrangement is not a
legal ground for the disqualification of a surviving spouse as an heir of the deceased spouse.

Neither could the private respondents, as alleged creditors of Bienvenido, seek relief and compensation
from the petitioners. While it may be true that the private respondents loaned to Bienvenido the purchase
price of the damaged tricycle and shouldered the expenses for his funeral, the said purchase price and
expenses are but money claims against the estate of their deceased son. 16 These money claims are not the
liabilities of the petitioners who, as we have said, had been released by the agreement of the extra-judicial
settlement they concluded with Alicia Baracena Vda. de Nacario, the victim's widow and heir, as well as the
natural guardian of their child, her co-heir. As a matter of fact, she executed a "Release Of Claim" in favor
of the petitioners.

WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED; the decision of the Court of Appeals is REVERSED and SET ASIDE
and the decision of the Regional Trial Court is hereby REINSTATED. Costs against the private respondents.

G.R. No. 118449 February 11, 1998 by Rafael during his lifetime. 12 Ramon stated that herein petitioner is one of Rafael's children "by right of
LAURO G. VIZCONDE, petitioner, representation as the widower of deceased legitimate daughter of Estrellita." 13
In a consolidated Order, dated November 9, 1993, the RTC appointed Ramon as the guardian of Salud and
NICOLAS, respondents.
Ricardo while Teresita, in turn, was appointed as the Special Administratrix of Rafael's estate. The court's
Order did not include petitioner in the slate of Rafael's heirs. 14 Neither was the Paraaque property listed
Petitioner Lauro G. Vizconde and his wife Estrellita Nicolas-Vizconde had two in its list of properties to be included in the estate. 15 Subsequently, the RTC in an Order dated January 5,
children, viz., Carmela and Jennifer. Petitioner's wife, Estrellita, is one of the five siblings of 1994, removed Ramon as Salud and Ricardo's guardian for Selling his ward's property without the court's
spouses Rafael Nicolas and Salud Gonzales-Nicolas. The other children of Rafael and Salud knowledge and permission. 16
are Antonio Nicolas; Ramon Nicolas; Teresita Nicolas de Leon, and RicardoNicolas, an incompetent.
Antonio predeceased his parents and is now survived by his widow, Zenaida, and their four children.
Sometime on January 13, 1994, the RTC released an Order giving petitioner "ten (10) days . . . within which
to file any appropriate petition or motion related to the pending petition insofar as the case is concerned
On May 22, 1979, Estrellita purchased from Rafael a parcel of land with an area of 10,110 sq. m. located at and to file any opposition to any pending motion that has been filed by both the counsels for Ramon
Valenzuela, Bulacan (hereafter Valenzuela property) covered by TCT No. (T-36734) 13206 for One Hundred Nicolas and Teresita de Leon." In response, petitioner filed a Manifestation, dated January 19, 1994,
Thirty Five Thousand Pesos (P135,000.00), evidenced by a "Lubusang Bilihan ng Bahagi ng Lupa na stressing that he was neither a compulsory heir nor an intestate heir of Rafael and he has no interest to
Nasasakupan ng Titulo TCT No. T-36734".1 In view thereof, TCT No. V-554 covering the Valenzuela participate in the proceedings. The RTC noted said Manifestation in its Order dated February 2,
property was issued to Estrellita. 2 On March 30, 1990, Estrellita sold the Valenzuela property to Amelia 1994. 17Despite the Manifestation, Ramon, through a motion dated February 14, 1994, moved to include
Lim and Maria Natividad Balictar Chiu for Three Million, Four Hundred Five Thousand, Six Hundred Twelve petitioner in the intestate estate proceeding and asked that the Paraaque property, as well as the car and
Pesos (P3,405,612.00).3 In June of the same year, Estrellita bought from Premier Homes, Inc., a parcel of the balance of the proceeds of the sale of the Valenzuela property, be collated. 18 Acting on Ramon's
land with improvements situated at Vinzon St., BF Homes, Paraaque (hereafter Paraaque property) motion, the trial court on March 10, 1994 granted the same in an Order which pertinently reads as follows:
using a portion of the proceeds of sale of the Valenzuela property. The remaining amount of the proceeds
was used in buying a car while the balance was deposited in a bank.
xxx xxx xxx

The following year an unfortunate event in petitioner's life occurred. Estrellita and her two daughters,
On the Motion To Include Lauro G. Vizconde In Intestate proceedings in instant case and considering the
Carmela and Jennifer, were killed on June 30, 1991, an incident popularly known as the "Vizconde
comment on his Manifestation, the same is hereby granted.19
Massacre". The findings of the investigation conducted by the NBI reveal that Estrellita died ahead of her
daughters.4 Accordingly, Carmela, Jennifer and herein petitioner succeeded Estrellita and, with the
subsequent death of Carmela and Jennifer, petitioner was left as the sole heir of his daughters. xxx xxx xxx
Nevertheless, petitioner entered into an "Extra-Judicial Settlement of the Estate of Deceased Estrellita
Nicolas-Vizconde With Waiver of Shares", 5 with Rafael and Salud, Estrellita's parents. The extra-judicial Petitioner filed its motion for reconsideration of the aforesaid Order which Ramon opposed. 20 On August
settlement provided for the division of the properties of Estrellita and her two daughters between 12, 1994, the RTC rendered an Order denying petitioner's motion for reconsideration. It provides:
petitioner and spouses Rafael and Salud. The properties include bank deposits, a car and the Paraaque
property. The total value of the deposits deducting the funeral and other related expenses in the burial of
Estrellita, Carmela and Jennifer, amounts to Three Million Pesos (P3,000,000.00).6 The settlement gave xxx xxx xxx
fifty percent (50%) of the total amount of the bank deposits of Estrellita and her daughters to Rafael,
except Savings Account No. 104-111211-0 under the name of Jennifer which involves a token amount. The The centerpoint of oppositor-applicant's argument is that spouses Vizconde were then financially incapable
other fifty percent (50%) was allotted to petitioner. The Paraaque property and the car and were also of having purchased or acquired for a valuable consideration the property at Valenzuela from the deceased
given to petitioner with Rafael and Salud waiving all their "claims, rights, ownership and participation as Rafael Nicolas. Admittedly, the spouses Vizconde were then living with the deceased Rafael Nicolas in the
heirs" 7 in the said properties. latter's ancestral home. In fact, as the argument further goes, said spouses were dependent for support on
the deceased Rafael Nicolas. And, Lauro Vizconde left for the United States in, de-facto separation, from
On November 18, 1992, Rafael died. To settle Rafael's estate, Teresita instituted an intestate estate the family for sometime and returned to the Philippines only after the occurrence of violent deaths of
proceeding8 docketed as Sp. Proc. No. C-1679, with Branch 120 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Estrellita and her two daughters.
Caloocan City listing as heirs Salud, Ramon, Ricardo, and the wife (Zenaida) and children of Antonio.
Teresita prayed to be appointed Special Administratrix of Rafael's estate. Additionally, she sought to be To dispute the contention that the spouses Vizconde were financially incapable to buy the property from
appointed as guardian ad litem of Salud, now senile, and Ricardo, her incompetent brother Herein private the late Rafael Nicolas, Lauro Vizconde claims that they have been engaged in business venture such as taxi
respondent Ramon filed an opposition9 dated March 24, 1993, praying to be appointed instead as Salud business, canteen concessions and garment manufacturing.However, no competent evidence has been
and Ricardo's guardian. Barely three weeks passed, Ramon filed another opposition 10 alleging, among submitted to indubitably support the business undertakings adverted to.
others, that Estrellita was given the Valenzuela property by Rafael which she sold for not less than Six
Million Pesos (P6,000,000.00) before her gruesome murder. Ramon pleaded for the court's intervention
"to determine the legality and validity of the intervivos distribution made by deceased Rafael to his In fine, there is no sufficient evidence to show that the acquisition of the property from Rafael Nicolas was
children," 11Estrellita included. On May 12, 1993, Ramon filed his own petition, docketed as Sp. Proc. No. for a valuable consideration.
C-1699, entitled "In The Matter Of The Guardianship Of Salud G. Nicolas and Ricardo G. Nicolas" and
averred that their legitime should come from the collation of all the properties distributed to his children
Accordingly, the transfer of the property at Valenzuela in favor of Estrellita by her father was gratuitous Art. 887. The following are compulsory heirs:
and the subject property in Paraaque which was purchased out of the proceeds of the said transfer of the
property by the deceased Rafael Nicolas in favor of Estrellita, is subject to collation.
(1) Legitimate children and descendants, with respect to their legitimate parents and ascendants;

WHEREFORE, the motion for reconsideration is hereby DENIED. 21 (Emphasis added)

(2) In default of the following, legitimate parents and ascendants, with respect to their legitimate children
and ascendants;
Petitioner filed a petition for certiorari and prohibition with respondent Court of Appeals. In its decision of
December 14, 1994, respondent Court of Appeals 22 denied the petition stressing that the RTC correctly
(3) The widow or widower;
adjudicated the question on the title of the Valenzuela property as "the jurisdiction of the probate court
extends to matters incidental and collateral to the exercise of its recognized powers in handling the
settlement of the estate of the deceased (Cf.: Sec. 1, Rule 90, Revised Rules of Court)." 23 Dissatisfied, (4) Acknowledged natural children, and natural children by legal fiction;
petitioner filed the instant petition for review on certiorari. Finding prima faciemerit, the Court on
December 4, 1995, gave due course to the petition and required the parties to submit their respective (5) Other illegitimate children referred to in article 287.

Compulsory heirs mentioned in Nos. 3, 4 and 5 are not excluded by those in Nos. 1 and 2; neither do they
The core issue hinges on the validity of the probate court's Order, which respondent Court of Appeals exclude one another.
sustained, nullifying the transfer of the Valenzuela property from Rafael to Estrellita and declaring the
Paraaque property as subject to collation.
In all cases of illegitimate children, their filiation must be duly proved.

The appeal is well taken.

The father or mother of illegitimate children of the three classes mentioned, shall inherit from them in the
manner and to the extent established by this Code.
Basic principles of collation need to be emphasized at the outset. Article 1061 of the Civil Code speaks of
collation. It states:
With respect to Rafael's estate, therefore, petitioner who was not even shown to be a creditor of Rafael is
considered a third person or a stranger. 29 As such, petitioner may not be dragged into the intestate estate
Art. 1061. Every compulsory heir, who succeeds with other compulsory heirs, must bring into the mass of proceeding. Neither may he be permitted or allowed to intervene as he has no personality or interest in
the estate any property or right which he may have received from the decedent, during the lifetime of the the said proceeding, 30 which petitioner correctly argued in his manifestation. 31
latter, by way of donation, or any other gratuitous title, in order that it may be computed in the
determination of the legitime of each heir, and in the account of the partition.
Second: As a rule, the probate court may pass upon and determine the title or ownership of a property
which may or may not be included in the estate proceedings. 32 Such determination is provisional in
Collation is the act by virtue of which descendants or other forced heirs who intervene in the division of character and is subject to final decision in a separate action to resolve title. 33 In the case at bench,
the inheritance of an ascendant bring into the common mass, the property which they received from him, however, we note that the probate court went beyond the scope of its jurisdiction when it proceeded to
so that the division may be made according to law and the will of the testator. 24 Collation is only required determine the validity of the sale of the Valenzuela property between Rafael and Estrellita and ruled that
of compulsory heirs succeeding with other compulsory heirs and involves property or rights received by the transfer of the subject property between the concerned parties was gratuitous. The interpretation of
donation or gratuitous title during the lifetime of the decedent. 25 The purpose is to attain equality among the deed and the true intent of the contracting parties, as well as the presence or absence of consideration,
the compulsory heirs in so far as possible for it is presumed that the intention of the testator or are matters outside the probate court's jurisdiction. These issues should be ventilated in an appropriate
predecessor in interest making a donation or gratuitous transfer to a forced heir is to give him something action. We reiterate:
in advance on account of his share in the estate, and that the predecessor's will is to treat all his heirs
equally, in the absence of any expression to the contrary. 26 Collation does not impose any lien on the
property or the subject matter of collationable donation. What is brought to collation is not the property . . . we are of the opinion and so hold, that a court which takes cognizance of testate or intestate
donated itself, but rather the value of such property at the time it was donated, 27 the rationale being that proceedings has power and jurisdiction to determine whether or not the properties included therein or
the donation is a real alienation which conveys ownership upon its acceptance, hence any increase in value excluded therefrom belong prima facie to the deceased, although such a determination is not final or
or any deterioration or loss thereof is for the account of the heir or donee. 28 ultimate in nature, and without prejudice to the right of the interested parties, in a proper action, to raise
the question bearing on the ownership or existence of the right or credit.34

The attendant facts herein do not make a case of collation. We find that the probate court, as well as
respondent Court of Appeals, committed reversible errors. Third: The order of the probate court subjecting the Paraaque property to collation is premature. Records
indicate that the intestate estate proceedings is still in its initiatory stage. We find nothing herein to
indicate that the legitime of any of Rafael's heirs has been impaired to warrant collation. We thus advert to
First: The probate court erred in ordering the inclusion of petitioner in the intestate estate proceeding. our ruling in Udarbe v. Jurado, 59 Phil. 11, 13-14, to wit:
Petitioner, a son-in-law of Rafael, is not one of Rafael's compulsory heirs. Article 887 of the Civil Code is
clear on this point:
We are of the opinion that this contention is untenable. In accordance with the provisions of article
1035 35 of the Civil Code, it was the duty of the plaintiffs to allege and prove that the donations received by
the defendants were inofficious in whole or in part and prejudiced the legitime or hereditary portion to
which they are entitled. In the absence of evidence to that effect, the collation sought is untenable for lack
of ground or basis therefor.

Fourth: Even on the assumption that collation is appropriate in this case the probate court, nonetheless,
made a reversible error in ordering collation of the Paraaque property. We note that what was
transferred to Estrellita, by way of deed of sale, is the Valenzuela property. The Paraaque property which
Estrellita acquired by using the proceeds of the sale of the Valenzuela property does not become
collationable simply by reason thereof. Indeed, collation of the Paraaque property has no statutory
basis. 36 The order of the probate court presupposes that the Paraaque property was gratuitously
conveyed by Rafael to Estrellita. Records indicate, however, that the Paraaque property was conveyed for
and in consideration of P900,000.00, 37 by Premier Homes, Inc., to Estrellita. Rafael, the decedent, has no
participation therein, and petitioner who inherited and is now the present owner of the Paraaque
property is not one of Rafael's heirs. Thus, the probate court's order of collation against petitioner is
unwarranted for the obligation to collate is lodged with Estrellita, the heir, and not to herein petitioner
who does not have any interest in Rafael's estate. As it stands, collation of the Paraaque property is
improper for, to repeat, collation covers only properties gratuitously given by the decedent during his
lifetime to his compulsory heirs which fact does not obtain anent the transfer of the Paraaque property.
Moreover, Rafael, in a public instrument, voluntarily and willfully waived any "claims, rights, ownership
and participation as heir" 38 in the Paraaque property.

Fifth: Finally, it is futile for the probate court to ascertain whether or not the Valenzuela property may be
brought to collation. Estrellita, it should be stressed, died ahead of Rafael. In fact, it was Rafael who
inherited from Estrellita an amount more than the value of the Valenzuela property. 39 Hence, even
assuming that the Valenzuela property may be collated collation may not be allowed as the value of the
Valenzuela property has long been returned to the estate of Rafael. Therefore, any determination by the
probate court on the matter serves no valid and binding purpose.

WHEREFORE, the decision of the Court of Appeals appealed from is hereby REVERSED AND SET ASIDE.