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Case Digest – Saligumba v.

Palanog (573 SCRA 8) Palanog were present along with counsel for the adverse
Facts: party Atty. Millares who hasn’t withdrawn his
On February 28, 1977 Spouses Palanog filed a appearance yet. This led to another resetting of the trial to
complaint for quieting of title with damages against the Oct. 25, 1984. Another order was again sent to Mrs.
Spouses Saligumba, before the RTC in Kalibo, Aklan. In Saligumba which was again returned to the court with the
their complaint the Palanog’s allege that they have been in annotation Party in Manila. The said scheduled trial was
actual, open, adverse and continuous possession as again reset to January 25, 1985 because of the failure of the
owners for more than 50 years of a parcel of land located adverse party to appear. The court now sent an order to
in Solido, Nabas, Aklan. They further alleged that the Ernesto Saligumba, Jr. at COA, PNB, Manila.
spouses Saligumba prevented them from entering and On Jan. 25, 1985 despite Atty. Millares’ motion for
residing on the subject premises and had destroyed the postponement the court proceeded with the trial and
barbed wires enclosing the land, thus they pray that they scheduled on June 3, 4, and 5 the presentation of evidences
be declared the true and rightful owners of the property. of the spouses Saligumba. However on 3 June 1985, only
During the pre-trial of the case Atty. Millares the spouses Palanogs and counsel appeared and upon motion
lawyer of the spouses Saligumba verbally asked the court of the spouses Palanog, spouses Saligumba were deemed
to delimit the said property. In consideration of the said to have waived the presentation of their evidence. On 3
motion the court appointed the Deputy Sheriff of Aklan, August 1987 after more than two years the court
Mr. Rizalino Go to delimit the property. During the considered the case submitted for decision and on Aug. 7
process the spouses Palanog and Saligumba and the son of the same year the court issued its decision in favour of
of the Saligumba’s (Ernesto Saligumba) were present. The the Palanog’s. On May of 1997 the Palanog’s asked for a
result of the said delimitation was presented before the writ of execution from the court which was denied
court and the spouses Palanog were given 10 days to because of the lapse of five years since the issuance of the
amend their complaint to conform to the report. On June decision. On May 9 of the same year Palanog filed for a
1, 1984 during the hearing only the spouses Palanog revival of judgement and she impleaded the heirs of the
appeared before the court leading to its resetting to Aug. spouses Saligumba in her complaint. The heirs opposed
15, 1984 in addition to that the court ordered spouses the same saying that the judgement is not binding on the
Saligumba to secure the services of another counsel heirs and that since there is no substitution during the trial
considering the appointment of Atty. Millares to the wherein the spouses Saligumba died during the pendency
MCTC as a judge. However the said order returned to the of the case. The RTC however still ruled in favour of the
court with the annotations “Party-Deceased” and “Party Palanog’s which led us to our present case.
in Manila.” On the set hearing date again only the Spouses
Issue: appearance from the records, thus any of his action as
Whether or not the RTC-Branch 3 Decision of 7 Attorney of record is in representation of his client. The
August 1987 in Civil Case No. 2570 is null and void since heirs were also notified of the orders of the court through
there was no proper substitution of the deceased spouses the order sent to Ernesto Saligumba, Jr.
Saligumba despite the trial court’s knowledge that the WHEREFORE, we DENY the petition. We AFFIRM
deceased spouses Saligumba were no longer represented the Decision dated 24 May 2000 of the Regional Trial
by counsel? Court, Branch 5, Kalibo, Aklan in Civil Case No. 5288.
Costs against petitioners.
Ruling:
No, the said decision was not null and void since SO ORDERED.
the action was a quieting of title which according to
Section 1, Rule 87 is not extinguished when a party dies
for when a party dies the same still survives and is binding
to the heirs of the deceased party. With that being the case
Section 17 must now be taken into consideration wherein
it is provided that “…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…”. It must however be remembered that the
opposing counsel Atty. Millares failed to properly notify
the court of the death of the spouses Saligumba. For the
annotation which was attached to the orders sent by court
cannot qualify as a proper notice. Therefore the court
cannot now be faulted by the heirs for negligence because
it was never properly notified of the death of the spouses
Saligumba until this action for revival of judgement.
The heirs cannot also now say that they were not
properly represented by counsel during the said
proceedings because Atty. Millares never withdrew his