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Cornelia Matabuena v. Petronila Cervantes (1971)  Dec. 20, 1915 – J.C.

Graham Los Baños sold automobile to Henry
Appeal from a decision of CFI Sorsogon Harding for P2,800.00.
 Jan. 16, 1915 – Henry gave automobile to wife. Repaired & repainted
FACTS: at the Luneta Garage amounting to P900.00.
 Feb 1956: Felix Matabuena executed a Deed of Donation inter vivos of  Luneta Garage – agent of Smith Bell & Co., solicited of Mrs. Harding,
a parcel of land in favor of defendant, Petronila w/c the latter insurance of said automobile. Garage manager Mr. Server, experienced
accepted, during the time of their common-law relationship. automobile mechanic testified that automobile costs about P3,000.00,
 March 1962: Donor and donee were married. this was the price agreed upon by both parties. Mrs. Harding was
 Sept 1962: Felix Matabuena died intestate. Appellant Cornelia, being charged sum of P150.00 / 5% of P3,000.00 estimated value. Among
the only sister and nearest collateral relative of the deceased executed the terms of the insurance was that in cases of loss or damage of any
an affidavit of self-adjudication and had the land declared in her name. cause, the insurance company will indemnify insured up to agreed
She also paid the estate & inheritance taxes from then. (in short, amount of P3,000.00 or value of car.
feeling rightful owner na siya. She brings this case to court.  March 24, 1916 – automobile was totally destroyed by fire. Iron parts
 Lower Court: Ruled in favor of widow noting that donation was made were sold by Smith Bell however, no amount was tendered to Harding
at a time before defendant was married to donor. until such time that court was opened for trial. Harding furnished
Smith Bell w/ proof of her loss & interest & she likewise performed all
ISSUE: conditions under said policy. However, Smith Bell did not pay. They
WON ban on donations between sps during marriage applies to common- claim that Mrs. Harding falsified the value & ownership of the
law relationships automobile.
 Lower Court – decided in favor of Harding
HELD: Decision reversed. Donation declared void. Case remanded to lower
court for its appropriate disposition re rights of both as pro indiviso heirs. ISSUE/S AND RATIO:
1. WON Mr. Diehl’s testimony should be excluded. – Not important.
RATIO: Policy considerations of the most exigent character as well as the It merely showed alleged actual value of the automobile. This evidence
dictates of morality require that the same prohibition should apply to a is irrelevant.
common-law relationship even if Art 133 CC only expressly pertains to 2. WON donation/Mr. Harding’s act of giving the automobile to his
donations between sps during marriage. The policy of the law is clear and wife is void. – NO
must be applied and that is “to prohibit donations in favor of the other a. defendant claims that gift is void under CC Art. 1334 w/c states
consort and his descendants because of fear of undue and improper that “All gifts between spouses during the marriage shall be void.
pressure and influence upon the donor.” This policy embodies a deeply- Moderate gifts w/c the spouses bestow on each other on festive
rooted notion of what is just and what is right and will not be nullified by days of the family are not included in the rule. Thus, they claim
such an irregular relationship. What is within the spirit of the law is as that she has no interest in the issuance of the policy.
much a part of it as what is written. b. In Cook vs. McMicking, the SC held that parties who have no
relation to the property owners at the time of transfer or those
Note: Pls see annotation on p.290 of case for added info re donations. who do not have any interest in the properties involved, cannot
challenge the validity of the transfer.
HARDING vs. COMMERCIAL UNION ASSURANCE COMPANY [August c. Burden of proof that the gift doesn’t fall under the exception
10, 1918) (moderate gifts) falls on defendant who raised this as a defense. A
Action to recover damages car may be a moderate gift depending on the circumstances of the
Plaintiff: Mrs. Henry Harding & husband, residents of Manila parties. Such info is not disclosed by the records.
Defendant: Commercial Union Assurance Company, Great Britain company, 3. WON value of automobile was falsified. – NO.
w/agent Smith, Bell & Co, a Philippine corporation a. There’s even proof that it cost more than the amount mentioned.
 1913 – Levy Hermanos, Studebaker automobile Manila agent, sold (purchase price of P2,800.00 + P900.00 for repairs & repainting is
automobile no. 1063 to John Carson for P3,200.00 more than stated amount of P3,000.00)
 Oct. 14, 1914 – Carson sold car to Henry Harding for P1,500.00 b. Unfair to hold it void simply because outlay represented was made
 Nov. 19, 1914 – Mr. Harding sold car to J. Brannigan of Los Baños, by Mr. Harding & not his wife, to whom he had given his old
Laguna for P2,000.00 vehicle.
c. Value did not actually come from Mrs. Harding. In fact, she only
acted upon information given her by her husband and by Mr.
Server, the manager of Luneta Garage w/c is an agent of Smith
Bell. There was even an examiner who inspected the automobile
before policy was issued.
d. In Union Insurance Company vs. Wilkinson, the SC held that
it is normal for insurance agencies to rely on their agents to deal
with their clients that these clients often do not know anything
about the company or its officers. But despite this set-up the
company will still be responsible to the clients for acts of its agents
will be construed as acts of the principal/company itself. Same
ruling in Rowley vs. Empire Ins. Co. which held that Though risk
in policies technically proceeds from insured, it will still be
regarded as act of insurers.
e. Value = market price if offered for sale. In insurance policies,
assured can only estimate such value. It’s enough that the assured
carries out terms of the contract and observed good faith in doing
his duties/obligations.
f. Insurance law (Act No. 2427), Sec. 163 states that effect of
valuation in policy of fire insurance is similar to policy of marine
insurance (Sec. 149) w/c states that valuation is conclusive if
insured had an insurable interest & was not guilty of fraud
HOLDING: Commercial Union Assurance Company is bound by their
contract w/Mrs. Harding. She had an insurable interest and she did not use
employ fraud in procuring the insurance. Lower Court affirmed.
Onas vs. Javillo [March 20, 1934] WON the partition that was approved by the lower court is valid. NO
Appeal from an order of the COFI of Capiz Was based on the erroneous assumption that the properties of the second
marriage were produced by the properties of the first marriage.
Facts:
 Crispulo Javillo died intestate on May 18, 1927. His first marriage to Luis Lim, administrator, v. Isabel Garcia, widow of Hilario Lim
Ramona Levis was blessed with 5 children. His second marriage with (1907)
Rosario Onas was blessed with 4 children. Appeal from a judgment of CFI Zamboanga
 First marriage they acquired 11 parcels of land. Second Marriage
acquired 20 parcels of land. FACTS:
 Partition was made on the claim that the properties of the second  1903: Hilario Lim died intestate leaving a widow and 9 children.
marriage were products of the first marriage.  RTC: Inventory prepared by the administrator showed entire estate of
 Rosario Onas was opposing the partition that was made by the the deceased to be conjugal property except
administrator of the estate of her husand. She alleges the following 1) H&Lot in Zamboanga
errors: 2) Sum of P10,000.00
o All the properties acquired during the second marriage were 3) P700 sum paid for a certain lot but was later sold
acquired with the properties of the first marriage. 4) Not included in the inventory were 3 parcels of land presumed to be
o The trial court erred in approving the partition dated September part of widow’s paraphernal/ separate estate.
9, 1931, notwithstanding that the same did not include all  Administrator and children contend that none of the said property
properties of the deceased. should be treated as conjugal because Hilario Lim brought to the
marriage property more than double the amount of the intestate estate
Issues: while defendant widow brought nothing at the time of the marriage or
thereafter. (ouch!)
WON the community partnership shall continue to exist between the
surviving spouse and the heirs of the deceased husband or wife. NO ISSUE:
WON the above claim is tenable
 When the marriage is dissolved, the cause that brought about the
community ceases, for the principles of an ordinary partnership are not HELD: Judgment affirmed.
applicable to this community, which is governed by special rules. RATIO: No, unless evidence will be provided to establish otherwise. Art
 Provisions of law governing the subject should cease to have any effect 1407 CC holds:
for community of property is admissible and proper in so far as it All the estate of the married couple will be considered as conjugal
conforms to unity of life, to the mutual affection between husband and partnership property (bienes gananciales – repeat after me...) unless
wife, and serves as a recompense for the care of preserving and and until it is proven that it is a part of the separate estate of the H
increasing the property; all of which terminates by the death of one of or W.
the partners.
 Community terminates when the marriage is dissolved or annulled or Sps Virgilio & Michelle Castro v. Romeo Miat (2003)
when during the marriage and agreement is entered into to divide the Petition for review on certiorari of a decision of CA
conjugal property. The conjugal partnership exists as long as the
spouses are united. FACTS:
 Sps Moises & Concordia Miat bought 2 parcels of land during their
WON the properties of the second marriage can be claimed as products of marriage in the ff locations:
the properties of the first marriage. NO 1) Parañaque: 132 sq. m. – w/c Moises wanted to be his alone
 Whatever is acquired by the surviving spouse on the dissolution of the 2) Paco, Mla: 70 sq. m., bought on installment basis – w/c was for their 2
partnership by death or presumption of death whether the acquisition sons, Romeo & Alexander
be made by his or her lucrative title, it forms a part of his or her own
capital, in which the other consort, or his or her heirs, can claim no  The agreement re the partition of the Paco property was manifested in
share. the ff events:
a) even before death of Concordia admitted that he knew Romeo was in possession of the title & Romeo
b) reiterated at her deathbed then insisted that he is the owner of the property.
c) after Moises’s return from Dubai, UAE, again reiterated in front of the A purchaser in good faith is one who buys property and pays a full and fair
Miat extended family members and attested to by formal document price for it at the time of the purchase or before any notice of some other
(Sinumpaang Salaysay) person’s claim or interest in it. He must be wary and should investigate
d) letters of Moises to sons the rights of those in possession of the real property. W/o such inquiry,
the buyer can hardly be regarded as buyer in good faith. (Republic v. De
 Dec 1984: Moises paid the balance of the Paco property in full from Guzman)
Fraval Realty, Inc. but secured the title in his name as a widower.
Romeo asserted his right and demanded for the owner’s duplicate of the
Paco property w/c was given to him.
 April 1988: After Romeo along w/ Alexander & his wife lived in the
property, the couple decided to leave the house and agreed to sell
Alexander’s share to Romeo. Romeo gave him partial payment of
P6,000.00.
 Feb 1988: Romeo learned from his godmother that the latter placed a
downpayment of P30K for the Paco property in favor of her son Virgilio.
 Dec 1988: Romeo & Virgilio Castro went to MTC to discuss status of the
Paco property. It was later sold to him by virtue of a Deed of Sale for
P95K.
 Romeo filed an action to nullify such sale and to compel Moises & ro
Alexander to execute a deed of conveyance or assignment of the Paco
property to him upon his payment of the balance of the agreed price.
 RTC declared sale of Moises-Virgilio as valid. CA ruled in favor of
Romeo and nullified deed of sale.

ISSUES:
1) WON Paco property is conjugal or capital
2) WON there was a valid oral partitions of that land
3) WON sps Castro were buyers in good faith

HELD: CA decision affirmed. Costs against petitioners.
RATIO:
1) Clearly conjugal. Paco property acquired by onerous title during the
marriage out of the common fund. Art 153 of the New CC:
The ff are conjugal partnership property:
a. Those acquired by onerous title during the marriage at
the expense of the common fund, ….
2) YES! See manifestations cited above.
No law requires partition among heirs to be in writing and be registered in
order to be valid Moreover, the partition of inherited property need not be
embodied in a public document. The requirement in Art 1358 CC is only for
convenience; non-compliance w/ which does not affect the validity or
enforceability of the acts of the parties as among themselves. (Pada-Kilario
v. CA)
3) No, as manifested in the fact that they brought Moises to the Judge in
MTC to find out if Romeo had a right over the property. Virgilio even