SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED Agapay vs. Palang G.R. No. 116668. July 28, 1997.* ERLINDA A. AGAPAY, petitioner, vs. CARLINA (CORNELIA) V.

PALANG and HERMINIA P. DELA CRUZ, respondents. Family Code; Husband and Wife; Cohabitation; Co -Ownership; Under Article 148 of the Family Code, only the properties acquired by both of the parties through their actual joint contribution of money, property or industry shall be owned by them in common in proportion to their respective contributions. The sale of the riceland on May 17, 1973, was made in favor of Miguel and Erlinda. The provision of law applicable here is Article 148 of the Family Code providing for cases of cohabitation when a man and a woman who are not capacitated to marry each other live exclusively with each other as husband and wife without the benefit of marriage or under a void marriage. While Miguel and Erlinda contracted marriage on July 15, 1973, said union was patently void because the earlier marriage of Miguel and Carlina was still subsisting and unaffected by the latter s de facto separation. Under Article 148, only the properties acquired by both of the parties through their actual joint contribution of money, property or industry shall be owned by them in common in proportion to their respe ctive contributions. It must be stressed that actual contribution is required by this provision, in contrast to Article 147 which states that efforts in the care and maintenance of the family and household, are regarded as contributions to the acquisition of common property by one who has no salary or income or work

or industry. If the actual contribution of the party is not proved, there will be no co-ownership and no presumption of equal shares. Same; Same; Same; Same; Considering the youthfulness of the woman, she being only twenty years of age then, while the man she cohabited with was already sixty-four and a pensioner of the U.S. Government, it is unrealistic to conclude that in 1973 she contributed P3,750.00 as her share in the purchase price of a parcel of land, there being no proof of the same. In the case at bar, Erlinda tried to establish by her testimony that she is engaged in the business of buy and sell and had a sari-sari store but failed to persuade us that she actually contributed money to buy the subject riceland. Worth noting is the fact that on the date of conveyance, May 17, 1973, petitioner was only around twenty years of age and Miguel Palang was already sixty-four and a pensioner of the U.S. Government. Considering her youthfulness, it is unrealistic to conclude that in 1973 she contributed P3,750.00 as her share in the purchase price of subject property, there being no proof of the same. Same; Same; Same; Same; Where a woman who cohabited with a married man fails to prove that she contributed money to the purchase price of a riceland, there is no basis to justify her coownership over the same the riceland should revert to the conjugal partnership property of the man and his lawful wife. Since petitioner failed to prove that she contributed money to the purchase price of the riceland in Binalonan, Pangasinan, we find no basis to justify her co-ownership with Miguel over the

same. Consequently, the riceland should, as correctly held by the Court of Appeals, revert to the conjugal partner ship property of the deceased Miguel and private respondent CarlinaPalang. Same; Same; Same; Separation of Property; Compromise Agreements; Separation of property between spouses during the marriage shall not take place except by judicial order or, without judicial conferment, when there is an express stipulation in the marriage settlement; Where the judgment which resulted from the parties compromise was not specifically and expressly for separation of property, the same should not be so inferred as judicial confirmation of separation of property. Furthermore, it is immaterial that Miguel and Carlina previously agreed to donate their conjugal property in favor of their daughter Herminia in 1975. The trial court erred in holding that the decision adopting their compromise agreement in effect partakes the nature of judicial confirmation of the separation of property between spouses and the termination of the conjugal partnership. Separation of property between spouses during the marriage shall not take place except by judicial order or without judicial conferment when there is an express stipulation in the marriage settlements. The judgment which resulted from the parties compromise was not specifically and expressly for separation of property and should not be so inferred. Same; Same; Same; Donations; The prohibition against donations between spouses applies to donations between persons living together as husband and wife without a valid marriage. With respect to the house and lot, Erlinda allegedly

bought the same for P20,000.00 on September 23, 1975 when she was only 22 years old. The testimony of the notary public who prepared the deed of conveyance for the property reveals the falsehood of this claim. Atty. ConstantinoSagun testified that Miguel Palang provided the money for the purchase price and directed that Erlinda s name alone be placed as the vendee. The transaction was properly a donation made by Miguel to Erlinda, but one which was clearly void and inexistent by express provision of law because it was made between persons guilty of adultery or concubinage at the time of the donation, under Article 739 of the Civil Code. Moreover, Article 87 of the Family Code expressly provides that the prohibition against donations between spouses now applies to donations between persons living together as husband and wife without a valid marriage, for otherwise, the condition of those who incurred guilt would turn out to be better than those in legal union. Same; Same; Same; Parent and Child; Illegitimate Children; Filiation; Succession; Probate Proceedings; Questions as to who are the heirs of the decedent, proof of filiation of illegitimate children and the determination of the estate of the latter and claims thereto should be ventilated in the proper probate court or in a special proceeding instituted for the purpose and cannot be adjudicated in an ordinary civil action for recovery of ownership and possession. The second issue concerning Kristopher Palang s status and claim as an illegitimate son and heir to Miguel s estate is here resolved in favor of respondent court s correct assessment that the trial court erred in making pronouncements regarding Kristopher s heirship and filiation

inasmuch as questions as to who are the heirs of the decedent, proof of filiation of illegitimate children and the determination of the estate of the latter and claims thereto should be ventilated in the proper probate court or in a special proceeding instituted for the purpose and cannot be adjudicated in the instant ordinary civil action which is for recovery of ownership and possession. Same; Same; Same; Same; Actions; Pleadings and Practice; Parties; Guardians; A minor who has not been impleaded is not a party to the case and neither can his mother be called guardian ad litem. As regards the third issue, petitioner contends that Kristopher Palang should be considered as party-defendant in the case at bar following the trial court s decision which expressly found that Kristopher had not been impleaded as party defendant but theorized that he had submitted to the court s jurisdiction through his mother/guardian ad litem. The trial court erred gravely. Kristopher, not having been impleaded, was, therefore, not a party to the case at bar. His mother, Erlinda, cannot be called his guardian ad litem for he was not involved in the case at bar. Petitioner adds that there is no need for Kristopher to file another action to prove that he is the illegitimate son of Miguel, in order to avoid multiplicity of suits. Petitioner s grave error has been discussed in the preceding paragraph where the need for probate proceedings to resolve the settlement of Miguel s estate and Kristopher s successional rights has been pointed out.

PETITION for review on certiorari of a decision of the Court of Appeals. The facts are stated in the opinion of the Court. Simplicio M. Sevilleja for petitioner. Ray L. Basbas and Fe Fernandez-Bautista for private respondents. ROMERO, J.: Before us is a petition for review of the decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 24199 entitled ErlindaAgapay v. Carlina (Cornelia) Palang and Herminia P. Dela Cruz dated June 22, 1994 involving the ownership of two parcels of land acquired during the cohabitation of petitioner and private respondent s legitimate spouse. Miguel Palang contracted his first marriage on July 16, 1949 when he took private respondent Carlina (or Cornelia) Vallesterol as a wife at the Pozorrubio Roman Catholic Church in Pangasinan. A few months after the wedding, in October 1949, he left to work in Hawaii. Miguel and Carlina s only child, HerminiaPalang, was born on May 12, 1950. Miguel returned in 1954 for a year. His next visit to the Philippines was in 1964 and during the entire duration of his year-long sojourn he stayed in Zambales with his brother, not in Pangasinan with his wife and child. The trial court found evidence that as early as 1957, Miguel had attempted to divorce Carlina in Hawaii.1 When he returned for good in 1972, he refused to live with private respondents, but stayed alone in a house in Pozorrubio, Pangasinan.

On July 15, 1973, the then sixty -three-year-old Miguel contracted his second marriage with nineteen-year-old ErlindaAgapay, herein petitioner.2 Two months earlier, on May 17, 1973, Miguel and Erlinda, as evidenced by the Deed of Sale, jointly purchased a parcel of agricultural land located at San Felipe, Binalonan, Pangasinan with an area of 10,080 square meters. Consequently, Transfer Certificate of Title No. 101736 covering said rice land was issued in their names. A house and lot in Binalonan, Pangasinan was likewise purchased on September 23, 1975, allegedly by Erlinda as the sole vendee. TCT No. 143120 covering said property was later issued in her name. On October 30, 1975, Miguel and Cornelia Pa lang executed a Deed of Donation as a form of compromise agreement to settle and end a case filed by the latter.3 The parties therein agreed to donate their conjugal property consisting of six parcels of land to their only child, Herminia Palang.4 Miguel and Erlinda s cohabitation produced a son, Kristopher A. Palang, born on December 6, 1977. In 1979, Miguel and Erlinda were convicted of Concubinage upon Carlina s complaint.5 Two years later, on February 15, 1981, Miguel died. On July 11, 1981, CarlinaPal ang and her daughter HerminiaPalang de la Cruz, herein private respondents, instituted the case at bar, an action for recovery of ownership and possession with damages against petitioner before the Regional Trial Court in Urdaneta, Pangasinan (Civil Case No. U-

4265). Private respondents sought to get back the riceland and the house and lot both located at Binalonan, Pangasinan allegedly purchased by Miguel during his cohabitation with petitioner. Petitioner, as defendant below, contended that while the riceland covered by TCT No. 101736 is registered in their names (Miguel and Erlinda), she had already given her half of the property to their son Kristopher Palang. She added that the house and lot covered by TCT No. 143120 is her sole property, having bought the same with her own money. Erlinda added that Carlina is precluded from claiming aforesaid properties since the latter had already donated their conjugal estate to Herminia. After trial on the merits, the lower court rendered its decision on June 30, 1989 dismissing the complaint after declaring that there was little evidence to prove that the subject properties pertained to the conjugal property of Carlina and Miguel Palang. The lower court went on to provide for the intestate shares of the parties, particularly of Kristopher Palang, Miguel s illegitimate son. The dispositive portion of the decision reads: WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered 1) Dismissing the complaint, with costs against plaintiffs; 2) Confirming the ownership of defendant ErlindaAgapay of the residential lot located at Poblacion, Binalonan, Pangasinan, as evidenced by TCT No. 143120, Lot 290 -B including the old house standing therein;

the appealed decision is hereby REVERSED and another one entered: 1. the one-half (1/2) of the agricultural land situated at Balisa. San Felipe. Miguel Palang and CarlinaVallesterolPalang. Ordering defendant-appellee to vacate and deliver the properties in question to herein plaintiffs-appellants. within 15 days after this decision becomes final and executory. a quitclaim forever renouncing any claims to annul/reduce the donation to HerminiaPalang de la Cruz of all conjugal properties of her parents. U4625 before the trial court and in CA-G. in not finding that there is sufficient pleading and evidence that Kristoffer A. 2. dated October 30. Palang as Miguel Palang s illegitimate son and thus entitled to inherit from Miguel s estate. this petition. Declaring plaintiffs-appellants the owners of the properties in question. No pronouncement as to costs. the first in favor of Miguel Palang and ErlindaAgapay and the second. Petitioner assails the validity of the deeds of conveyance over the same parcels of land.080 square meters and as evidenced by TCT No. according to petitioner. No. 4) Adjudicating to Kristopher Palang as his inheritance from his deceased father. provided that the former (Kristopher) executes. 143120 and 101736 and to issue in lieu thereof another certificate of title in the name of plaintiffs-appellants. Petitioner claims that the Court of Appeals erred in not sustaining the validity of two deeds of absolute sale covering the riceland and the house and lot. The Court of Appeals rendered its decision on July 22. Ordering the Register of Deeds of Pangasinan to cancel Transfer Certificate of Title Nos. the Court denies the petition and affirms the questioned decision of the Court of Appeals. 7 Hence. Pangasinan. 101736. were valid. Pangasinan. Miguel Palang. 1975. Binalonan. otherwise. consisting of 10. Third. 101736 in the name of Miguel Palang. San Felipe. Second. 6 On appeal. respondent court reversed the trial court s decision. 3. Binalonan. Palang should be considered as party-defendant in Civil Case No.8 After studying the merits of the instant case. the estate of deceased Miguel Palang will have to be settled in another separate action.3) Confirming the ownership of one-half (1/2) portion of that piece of agricultural land situated at Balisa. PREMISES CONSIDERED. Lot 1123 -A to ErlindaAgapay.R. respondent court erred. . respectively. as well as the pertinent provisions of law and jurisprudence. 24199. petitioner contends that respondent appellate court erred in not declaring Kristopher A. 1994 with the following dispositive portion: WHEREFORE. SO ORDERED. Palang or Christopher A. 5) No pronouncement as to damages and attorney s fees. The first and principal issue is the ownership of the two pieces of property subject of this action. Corazon Ilomin and the spouses Cespedes. under TCT No. There is no dispute that the transfers of ownership from the original owners of the riceland and the house and lot. in favor of ErlindaAgapay alone.

Worth noting is the fact that on the date of conveyance.S. are regarded as contributions to the acquisition of common property by one who has no salary or income or work or industry.11 there being no proof of the same. May 17. Proof of the precise date when they commenced their adulterous cohabitation not having been adduced. Government. Petitioner now claims that the riceland was bought two months before Miguel and Erlinda actually cohabited. was made in favor of Miguel and Erlinda. Consequently. The provision of l aw applicable here is Article 148 of the Family Code providing for cases of cohabitation when a man and a woman who are not capacitated to marry each other live exclusively with each other as husband and wife without the benefit of marriage or under a void marriage.The sale of the riceland on May 17. 1973. property or industry shall be owned by them in common in proportion to their respective contributions. it is immaterial that Miguel and Carlina previously agreed to donate their conjugal property in favor of their daughter Herminia in 1975. only the properties acquired by both of the parties through their actual joint contribution of money. The trial court erred in holding that the decision adopting their compromise agreement in effect partakes the nature of judicial confirmation of the separation of . 1973. Considering her youthfulness. In any case. Since petitioner failed to prove that she contributed money to the purchase price of the riceland in Binalonan. we find no basis to justify her co-ownership with Miguel over the same. the rules of coownership would still apply and proof of actual contribution would still be essential.00 as her share in the purchase price of subject property. said union was patently void because the earlier marriage of Miguel and Carlina was still subsisting and unaffected by the latter s de facto separation. said added assertion was intended to exclude their case from the operation of Article 148 of the Family Code.9 In the case at bar. even assuming that the subject property was bought before cohabitation. petitioner was only around twenty years of age and Miguel Palang was already sixty-four and a pensioner of the U. as correctly held by the Court of Appeals. 1973. Furthermore. it is unrealistic to conclude that in 1973 she contributed P3. in contrast to Article 147 which states that efforts in the care and maintenance of the family and household. the riceland should. we cannot state definitively that the riceland was purchased even before they started living together.750. there will be no co ownership and no presumption of equal shares. If the actual contribution of the party is not proved. It must be stressed that actual contribution is required by this provision. Erlinda tried to establish by her testimony that she is engaged in the business of buy and sell and had a sari sari store10 but failed to persuade us that she actually contributed money to buy the subject riceland. In the nature of an afterthought. revert to the conjugal partnership property of the deceased Miguel and private respondent CarlinaPalang. While Miguel and Erlinda contracted marriage on July 15. Under Article 148. Pangasi-nan.

His mother. With respect to the house and lot. not having been impleaded. under Article 739 of the Civil Code. 12 Separation of property between spouses during the marriage shall not take place except by judicial order or without judicial conferment when there is an express stipulation in the marriage settlements.18 The trial court erred gravely. JJ. Moreover. 17 As regards the third issue. cannot be called his guardian ad litem for he was not involved in the case at bar.14 The transaction was properly a donation made by Miguel to Erlinda. therefore. in order to avoid multiplicity of suits.16 The second issue concerning Kristopher Palang s status and claim as an illegitimate son and heir to Miguel s estate is here resolved in favor of respondent court s correct assessment that the trial court erred in making pronouncements regarding Kristopher s heirship and filiation inasmuch as questions as to who are the heirs of the decedent. The testimony of the notary public who prepared the deed of conveyance for the property reveals the falsehood of this claim. WHEREFORE.13 The judgment which resulted from the parties compromisewas not specifically and expressly for separation of property and should not be so inferred. petitioner contends that Kristopher Palang should be considered as party-defendant in the case at bar following the trial court s decision which expressly found that Kristopher had not been impleaded as party defendant but theorized that he had submitted to the court s jurisdiction through his mother/guardian ad litem. The questioned decision of the Court of Appeals is AFFIRMED. not a party to the case at bar. the condition of those who incurred guilt would turn out to be better than those in legal union.00 on September 23. Regalado (Chairman).19 Petitioner s grave error has been discussed in the preceding paragraph where the need for probate proceedings to resolve the settlement of Miguel s estate and Kristopher s successional rights has been pointed out. Puno and Mendoza. .. Costs against petitioner. Erlinda. Erlinda all egedly bought the same for P20.15 for otherwise.property between spouses and the termination of the conjugal partnership. Kristopher. the instant petition is hereby DENIED. 1975 when she was only 22 years old. but one which was clearly void and inexistent by express provision of law because it was made between persons guilty of adultery or concubinage at the time of the donation. Atty. concur.000. ConstantinoSagun testified that M iguel Palang provided the money for the purchase price and directed that Erlinda s name alone be placed as the vendee. Article 87 of the Family Code expressly provides that the prohibition against donations between spouses now applies to donations between persons living together as husband and wife without a valid marriage. was. proof of filiation of illegitimate children and the determination of the estate of the latter and claims thereto should be ventilated in the proper probate court or in a special proceeding instituted for the purpose and cannot be adjudicated in the instant ordinary civil action which is for recovery of ownership and possession. Petitioner adds that there is no need for Kristopher to file another action to prove that he is the illegitimate son of Miguel. SO ORDERED.

12 On the other hand.. (Ilano vs. petitioner. Francisco asked his niece Leticia Bellosillo. then a widow. 437A located at the corner of Calle Santa Rosa (now Balintawak Street) and Calle Rosario (now Rizal Avenue) in Dipolog City. Zamboanga del Norte in Civil Case No. Petition denied. Court of Appeals. Jr. 1980. Dipolog City. DE BATOCAEL. 230 SCRA 242 [1994])Failure to present relatives who could have negated petitioner s testimony that she had been acknowledged by them as the eldest daughter of the deceased gives rise to the presumption that their testimonies would be detrimental to the respondents had they been presented as witnesses. Notes. An unrecognized spurious child has no rights from his parents or to their estate. 232 SCRA 745 [1994]) o0o [Agapay vs. 1916.8 and petitioner CirilaArcaba.Torres. Court of Appeals. She denied they ever had sexual intercourse. TABANCURA. COMILLE. TABANCURA. executed a deed of extrajudicial partition with waiver of rights. Francisco and his mother-in-law. (Alberto vs.13 CIRILA ARCABA.4 After the death of Zosima on October 3. respondents..5 On June 27. SEIGFREDO C. Bran ch 10. to take care of his house. Francisco Comille and his wife ZosimaMontallana became the registered owners of Lot No. LUZELLI C. as well as the store inside.10 while Erlinda Tabancura.: Petitioner CirilaArcaba seeks review on certiorari of the decision1 of the Court of Appeals. BERNADETTE A. Cirila said she was a mere helper who could enter the master's bedroom only when the old man asked her to and that Francisco in any case was too old for her. J.9 Conflicting testimonies were offered as to the nature of the relationship between Cirila and Francisco. RAUL A. J. 4593. . The total area of the lot was 418 square meters. and ABNER A. On leave. claimed that the latter had told her that Cirila was his mistress. Comille in her favor and its subsequent resolution3 denying reconsideration. BELEN C.6 Having no children to take care of him after his retirement. MENDOZA. Zamboanga del Norte. Leticia Bellosillo said Francisco and Cirila were lovers since they slept in the same room. DORIS C. Luzviminda Paghacian. Judgment affirmed. ERLINDA TABANCURA VDA.11 another niece of Francisco. vs. COMILLE. Palang. 1956. which affirmed with modification the decision2 of the Regional Trial Court.7 the latter's cousin. Francisco registered the lot in his name with the Registry of Deeds. COMILLE. in which the latter waived her share consisting of one-fourth (1/4) of the property to Francisco. TABANCURA. TABANCURA. 276 SCRA 340(1997)] The facts are as follows: On January 16. declaring as void a deed of donation inter vivos executed by the late Francisco T. Juliana BustalinoMontallana.

between the spouses during the marriage shall be void.20 On October 4. Francisco executed an instrument denominated "Deed of Donation Inter Vivos. consisting of 150 square meters. to Cirila. On February 25. the trial court rendered judgment in favor of respondents.105.15 and that his health eventually deteriorated and he became bedridden. direct or indirect. Sr. only Cirila was left to take care of Francisco.00. Respondents. 1991. except moderate gifts which the spouses may give each other on the occasion of any family rejoicing. a few months before his death. Vic T.00 and an assessed value of P28.550.17 He did not pay Cirila a regular cash wage as a househelper . In 1993." in which he ceded a portion of Lot 437 -A. respondents filed a complaint against petitioner 'for declaration of nullity of a deed of donation inter vivos. alleged that Cirila was the common-law wife of Francisco and the donation inter vivos made by Francisco in her favor is void under Article 87 of the Family Code. Comille" written in black ink. Francisco died without any children." The documents were (1) an application for a business permit to operate as real estate lessor. 1993. Lacaya. Francisco left the larger portion of 268 square meters in his name. holding the donation void under this provision of the Family Code.24 The dispositive portion of the trial court's decision states: . who are the decedent's nephews and nieces and his heirs by intestate succession.23 and (3) the death certificate of the decedent with the signature "Cirila A. together with his house. recovery of possession. who accepted the donation in the same instrument.16 ErlindaTabancura testified that Francisco's sole source of income consisted of rentals from his lot near the public streets. which provides: Every donation or grant of gratuitous advantage.14 Cirila testified that she was a 34-year old widow while Francisco was a 75-year old widower when she began working for the latter. and damages. 1991. though he provided her f amily with food and lodging. 1999.22 (2) a sanitary permit to operate as real estate lessor with a health certificate showing the signature "CirilaComille" in black ink. The prohibition shall also apply to persons living together as husband and wife without a valid marriage. The deed stated that the donation was being made in consideration of "the faithful services [CirilaArcaba] had rendered over the past ten (10) years. the lot which Cirila received from Francisco had a market value of P57. with a carbon copy of the signature "Cirila Comille". 1991." The deed was notarized by Atty.It appears that when Leticia and Luzviminda were married.21 On February 18. The trial court reached this conclusion based on the testimony of ErlindaTabancura and certain documents bearing the signature of one "CirilaComille. dated January 8.18 On January 24. that he could still walk with her assistance at that time.19 and later registered by Cirila as its absolute owner .

and finally 3. (b) when the inference made is manifestly mistaken.WHEREFORE. The general rule is that only questions of law may be raised in a petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. 577. (Bunyi v. (3) a pleading in another civil case mentioning payment of rentals to Cirila as Francisco's commonlaw wife. and unduly breaks the chain of circumstances detailed by the totality of the evidence. id. surmises.26 The issue in this case is whether the Court of Appeals correctly applied Art. which rendered on June 19. Page No. 604) (b) The Court of Appeals erred in shifting the burden of evidence from the plaintiff to defendant.000. subject only to certain exceptions: (a) when the conclusion is a finding grounded entirely on speculations. cited in Quiason. 1993 ed. As already stated. 7. Book No. 3. Series of 1991 in the Notarial Register of Notary Public Vic T. Philippine Courts and their J urisdictions. conjecture or possibility. 20 SCRA 908. CA. Lacaya (Annex " A " to the Complaint) null and void. 2000 the decision subject of this appeal. Declaring the Deed of Donation Inter Vivos executed by the late Francisco Comille recorded as Doc. or . Gutierrez. its findings being predicated on totally incompetent or hearsay evidence. and grounded on mere speculation. After a review of the records. No. Erlinda. 2. we rule in the affirmative. and Liguez v.) (c) The Court of Appeals decided the case in away probably not in accord with law or with the applicable jurisprudence in Rodriguez v. absurd. Ordering the defendant to pay attorney's fees in the sum of P10. (Salazar v.. SO ORDERED. in view of the foregoing. Petitioner assigns the following errors as having been committed by the Court of Appeals: (a) The judgment of the Court of Appeals that petitioner was the common-law wife of the late Francisco Comille is not correct and is a reversible error because it is based on a misapprehension of facts. Its conclusion was based on (1) the testimonies of Leticia. 102 Phil. 584. V. the appeals court denied reconsideration. judgment is rendered: 1. and Cirila. 33 SCRA 243 and other cases. 39 SCRA 504. (2) the copies of documents purportedly showing Cirila's use of Francisco's surname. Quiason. 87 of the Family Code to the circumstances of th is case. Ordering the defendant to deliver possession of the house and lot subject of the deed unto the plaintiffs withi n thirty (30) days after finality of this decision. or conjectures. and (4) the fact that Cirila did not receive a regular cash wage.25 Petitioner appealed to the Court of Appeals. Reyes. Rodriguez.00. p.

It is very possible that the two consummated their relationship.29 In this jurisdiction. thereby holding themselves out to the public as such. of course. their public conduct indicated that theirs was not just a relationship of caregiver and patient. Similarly.35 These documents show that Cirila saw herself as Francisco's common-law wife. especially when one of the parties is already old and may no longer be interested in sex. Tan.31 or the existence of legitimate children.27 It appearing that the Court of Appeals based its findings on evidence presented by both parties. in the answer filed by Francisco's lessees in "ErlindaTabancura. (e) when the findings of fact are conflicting. if properly considered. these are an application for a business permit to operate as a real estate lessor. means more than sexual intercourse. they are merely meretricious. but also having repeated sexual intercourse. At the very least. Aside from ErlindaTabancura's testimony that her uncle told her that Cirila was his mistress. there are other indications that Cirila and Francisco were common-law spouses. et al. Secret meetings or nights clandestinely spent together. At the very least." Finally.30 a conviction of concubinage.34 and the death certificate of Francisco. (f) when the Court of Appeals.4719 (for collection of rentals). (g) when the findings of the Court of Appeals are contrary to those of the trial court. but that of exclusive partners akin to husband and wife. do not constitute such kind of cohabitation. GraciaAdriaticoSy and Antonio Sy. SeigfredoTabancura presented documents apparently signed by Cirila using the surname "Comille. this Court has considered as sufficient proof of common-law relationship the stipulations between the parties." RTC Civil Case No. (d) when the judgment is based on a misapprehension of facts. since Cirila gave Francisco therapeutic massage and Leticia said they slept in the same bedroom. would justify a different conclusion. (c) where there is grave abuse of discretion. (h) when the findings of fact are conclusions without citation of specific evidence on which they are based. these lessees referred to Cirila as "the common-law spouse of Francisco.33 a sanitary permit to operate as real estate lessor with a health certificate. otherwise. and G) when the Court of Appeals manifestly overlooked certain relevant facts not disputed by the parties and which. even if often repeated. the general rule should apply. in making its findings. vs. went beyond the issues of the case and the same are contrary to the admissions of both appellant and appellee.28 we held that the term "cohabitation" or "living together as husband and wife" means not only residing under one roof. (i) when the finding of fact of the Court of Appeals is premised on the supposed absence of evidence but is contradicted by the evidence on record. Cohabitation. cohabitation is public assumption by a man and a woman of the marital relation. she would not have used his last name. and dwelling together as man and wife. the fact that Cirila did not demand from Francisco a regular cash wage is an indication that she was not .32 Was Cirila Francisco's employee or his common-law wife? Cirila admitted that she and Francisco resided under one roof for a long time. In Bitangcor v." As previously stated.impossible.

s suffering of a stroke on March 25. in the matter of the . petitioner TeodoroJardeleza. filed a petition (Annex A ) before the R. Buena. Bellosillo. She was. Branch 25. Quisumbing. November 29. petitioners. Ernesto Jardeleza.. The facts. but Francisco's common law spouse. where it was docketed as Special Proceeding No. 109557. UY and GILDA L. J. Jardeleza. FIRST DIVISION [G. on June 6. Human reason would thus lead to the conclusion that she was Francisco's common law spouse..36 It is difficult to believe that she stayed with Francisco and served him out of pure beneficence.simply a caregiver-employee. their daughter and son in law.R. Branch 32[3] and declaring void the special proceedings instituted therein by petitioners to authorize petitioner Gilda L. 4689. as found by the Court of Appeals. respondents. The controversy came about as a result of Dr. 1991.: The case is an appeal via certiorari from the decision[1] of the Court of Appeals and its resolution denying reconsideration[2] reversing that of the Regional Trial Court. Sr. business and medical expenses of her incapacitated husband. for the ostensible purpose of financial need in the personal.T. Jr. Ernesto Jardeleza. and sister and brother-in-law. Sr. after all. is the father of herein respondent TeodoroJardeleza and husband of herein private respondent Gilda Jardeleza. JARDELEZA.. De Leon. Sr.nêt WHEREFORE. are as follows: This case is a dispute between Teodoro L. Said Ernesto Jardeleza. vs. which left him comatose and bereft of any motor or mental faculties. DECISION PARDO. 2000] JOSE UY and his Spouse GLENDA J. to dispose of their conjugal property in favor of co-petitioners. 87 of the Family Code.1âwphi1.C. Iloilo. SO ORDERED. the decision of the Court of Appeals affirming the decision of the trial court is hereby AFFIRMED. Respondents having proven by a preponderance of evidence that Cirila and Francisco lived together as husband and wife without a valid marriage. 1991. the spouses Jose Uy and Glenda Jardeleza (herein petitioners) on the other hand. JJ. entitled to a regular cash wage under the law. Upon learning that one piece of real property belonging to the senior Jardeleza spouses was about to be sold. Jardeleza. the inescapable conclusion is that the donation made by Francisco in favor of Cirila is void under Art. COURT OF APPEALS and TEODORO L. of Iloilo City. against his mother Gilda L. No. with the approval of the court. Jardeleza (herein respondent) on the one hand. JARDELEZA. concur. in view of the comatose condition of her husband.

Jardeleza herself filed a petition docketed as Special Proceeding NO. Sr. one of Ernesto Jardeleza.C. 1991. be negotiated. she prayed for authorization from the court to sell said property. 47337. Sr. and Dr. particularly Lot No. Therein. namely Ernesto Jardeleza. 1991. and in order to prevent the loss and dissipation of the Jardelezas real and personal assets. The said court then disposed as follows: .C. She also alleged that her husband s medical treatment and hospitalization expenses were piling up. Jardeleza averred the physical and mental incapacity of her husband. 4291 and the improvements thereon was necessary to defray the mounting expenses for treatment and Hospitalization. 4691 to be sufficient in form and substance. she urgently needed to sell one piece of real property. Sr. and that the sale of Lot No. Sr. Ernesto Jardeleza. 4291 and all the improvements thereon. 4691. and Glenda JardelezaUy.T. The scheduled hearing of the petition proceeded. Rolando Padilla. She signified to the court her desire to assume sole powers of administration of their conjugal properties. who was then confined for intensive medical care and treatment at the Iloilo Doctor s Hospital. Ernesto Jardeleza. accumulating to several hundred thousands of pesos already. Sr. For this. No. her two children. was truly incapacitated to participate in the administration of the conjugal properties. A few days later. there was a need for a court-appointed guardian to administer said properties. Sr. It was prayed therein that Letters of Guardianship be issued in favor of herein private respondent Gilda LedesmaJardeleza. wife of Dr. Proc. attended by therein petitioner Gilda Jardeleza. and setting the hearing thereof for June 20. and authorization to sell the same (Annex B ). Branch 32 of the RTC of Iloilo City rendered its Decision (Annex D ). of Iloilo City issued an Order (Annex C ) finding the petition in Spec. or on June 13. and that the proceedings thereon are governed by the rules on summary proceedings sanctioned under Article 253 of the same Code x xx.. Sr. On that same day. Ernesto Jardeleza. her counsel. mortgaged or otherwise alienated to third persons. before Branch 32 of the R. s attending physicians. assumption of sole powers of administration of conjugal properties. The following day. 1991. Ernesto Jardeleza. the petitioner Gilda L. 1991. Iloilo City.T. specifically Lot No. June 20.C. June 14. Jr. regarding the declaration of incapacity of Ernesto Jardeleza. Thus. It was further prayed that in the meantime. prevent him from competently administering his properties. respondent Gilda L. finding that it was convinced that Ernesto Jardeleza. of Iloilo City. and covered by T. located along Bonifacio Drive. 4291 and its improvements. no property of Dr.T. Branch 32 of the R. Jardeleza was pursuant to Article 124 of the Family Code..guardianship of Dr. No. The said court also made the pronouncement that the petition filed by Gilda L. The petitioner averred therein that the present physical and mental incapacity of Dr.

1991. 2) authorizing petitioner Gilda L. Proc. there was still a failure to comply with the basic requirements thereof. Sr. 4691 should be consolidated with Spec. but that he had been informed that it would be sold for much less. He then restated his position that Spec. No. to be incapacitated and unable to participate in the administration of conjugal properties. 1991. He further alleged that under the New Civil Code. Sr.WHEREFORE. and authority to sell the conjugal properties was essentially a petition for guardianship of the person and properties of Ernesto Jardeleza. Case No. Jardeleza to assume sole powers of administration of their conjugal properties. Proc. assumption of sole powers of administration. and Gilda L. He alleged that the market value of the property would be around Twelve to Fifteen Million Pesos. It should follow the rules governing special proceedings in the Revised Rules of Court which require procedural due process. 4291 and the improvements thereon supposedly to pay the accumulated financial obligations arising from Ernesto Jardeleza. and that these rights cannot be impaired or prejudiced without his consent. herein petitioner TeodoroJardeleza filed a motion for reconsideration of the judgment in Spec. Neither can he be deprived of his share in the conjugal properties through mere summary proceedings. s hospitalization. the Court hereby renders judgment as follows: 1) declaring Ernesto Jardeleza. it cannot be prosecuted in accordance with the provisions on summary proceedings set out in Article 253 of the Family Code. Ernesto Jardeleza. Sr. On June 24. particularly the need for notice and a hearing on the merits. petitioner s husband. No. and 3) authorizing aforesaid petitioner to sell Lot No.. As such. said petitioner being unaware and not knowing that a decision has already been rendered on the case by public respondent. On the other hand. situated in Iloilo City and covered by TCT No. even if Gilda Jardeleza s petition can be prosecuted by summary proceedings. 4691. Jardeleza and the buildings standing thereof. 4291 of the Cadastral Survey of Iloilo. No. 1991. 47337 issued in the names of Ernesto Jardeleza. On July 3. had acquired vested rights as a conjugal partner. Sr. Proc. 4691 and a motion for cons olidation of the two cases (Annex F ). He propounded the argument that the petition for declaration of incapacity. No. Sr. He also pointed out that the building thereon which houses the Jardeleza Clinic is a monument to Ernesto Jardeleza . 4691 a defective one. TeodoroJardeleza also questioned the propriety of the sale of Lot No. there being factual and legal bases to the petition dated June 13. Proc. herein petitioner TeodoroJardeleza filed his Opposition to the proceedings before Branch 32 in Spec. 4689 which was filed earlier and pending before Branch 25. SO ORDERED. Proc. making the decision in Spec.

and the opposition to the Motion for Reconsideration. He reiterated his contention that summary proceedings was irregularly applied. he argued that were one spouse is comatose without motor and mental faculties. No. as evidenced by a Deed Absolute Sale dated July 8. including its supplements. Sr. the Motion for Reconsideration. He mentioned that apart from sufficient cash. he would have given his consent to the sale. Ma. as well as its supplements filed by oppositor . argued TeodoroJardeleza. Sr. Gilda Jardeleza disposed by absolute sale Lot No. No. Jardeleza. Presiding Judge of Branch 32. 1991. 4691 a supplement to his motion for reconsideration (Annex G ). and (3) the motion does not allege that had Ernesto Jardeleza. He also noted that the provisions on summary proceedings found in Chapter 2 of the Family Code comes under the heading on Separation in Fact Between Husband and Wife which contemplates of a situation where both spouses are of disposing mind. labor and service to his fellowmen. Proc. of this . While the motion for reconsideration was pending.00). enjoys certain privileges at the said hospital which allows him to pay on installment basis. 4691 had in the meantime formally inhibited herself from further acting in this case (Annex I ). del Rosario-Benedicto. The said court ruled that: After a careful and thorough perusal of the decision. del Rosario-Benedicto of Branch 32 of the respondent Court. 111. s industry. that her Honor. Teodoro L. Jardeleza. dated June 20. been competent. Ernesto Jardeleza. who had penned the decision in Spec. for Eight Million Pesos (P8. 1991. this Court is of the opinion and so holds. On December 19. On August 12. 1991. Furthermore. Sr. 4291 and all its improvements to her daughter. s attending physicians are his own sons who do not charge anything for their professional services. Thus. Glenda JardelezaUy. the said court issued an Order (Annex M ) denying herein petitioner s motion for reconsideration and approving respondent Jardeleza s motion for approval of the deed of absolute sale.Sr. Amelita K. through counsel. filed by petitioner. 1991. Moreover. the said provisions cannot be made to apply. then conjugal partnership had other liquid assets to pay off all f inancial obligations. Hence.000. On July 4. Judge Amelita K.000. through counsel. The case was then reraffled to Branch 28 of the said court. 1991 executed between them (p. Under date of July 23. the said property has a lot of sentimental value to his family. 1991 TeodoroJardeleza filed his Opposition to the motion for approval of the deed of sale on the grounds that: (1) the motion was prematurely filed and should be held in abeyance until the final resolution of the petition. Besides. two of Ernesto Jardeleza Sr. (2) the motion does not allege nor prove the justifications for the sale. TeodoroJardeleza filed in Spe c. Gilda Jardeleza filed an urgent ex-parte motion for approval of the deed of absolute sale. Proc. Rollo). owned stocks of Iloilo Doctors Hospital which can be off -set against the cost of medical and hospital bills.

Jardeleza. Jardeleza.[7] Hence. authorized Gilda L. [4] On December 9. by and between Gilda L. 47337 issued in the names of Ernesto Jardeleza. 1991. is hereby denied for lack of merit. rendering him comatose. Sr. in rendering her decision dated June 20. on March 29. the Motion for Reconsideration of oppositor Teodoro L. Glenda Jardeleza. Jardeleza to sell Lot No. Sr. was unable to take care of himself and manage the conjugal property due to illness that had rendered .[5] On December 29.. The Court of Appeals ruled that in the condition of Dr. 1991. 4291 of the Cadastral Survey of Iloilo.[6] however. Sr. to her co-petitioners. subject of the petition. 1993. finding no cogent and compelling reason to disturb the decision. with the approval of the court in a summary proceedings. her own daughter and son-in-law. the Urgent Ex-Parte Motion for Approval of Deed of Absolute Sale dated July 23. executed and notarized on July 8. covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. through counsel. Because Dr. as vendee.. and Gilda L. belongs to the conjugal partnership of the spouses Ernesto and Gilda Jardeleza. 1991. without motor and mental faculties. which was also declared void. in relation to Article 124. worth more than twelve million pesos. for the amount of eight million pesos. the Court of Appeals promulgated its decision reversing the appealed decision and ordering the trial court to dismiss the special proceedings to approve the deed of sale. which among others. has properly observed the procedure embodied under Article 253. as correctly stated by petitioner. the Court of Appeals denied the motion. SO ORDERED. Jardeleza and the building standing thereon. and Ma. who are both still alive. petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration. Sr. the procedural rules on summary proceedings in relation to Article 124 of the Family Code are not applicable. Jardeleza does not have the personality to oppose the instant petition considering that the property or properties. this appeal. Also. is hereby granted and the deed of absolute sale. In view thereof. through counsel. Jardeleza. a cerebrovascular accident. as vendor. Jardeleza as the wife of Ernesto Jardeleza. is hereby approved. 1991.Court. who suffered a stroke. that oppositor Teodor L. and could not manage their conjugal partnership property may assume sole powers of administration of the conjugal property under Article 124 of the Family Code and dispose of a parcel of land with its improvements. filed by petitioner.[8] The issue raised is whether petitioner Gilda L. of the Family Code. is directed to register the sale and issue the corresponding transfer certificate of title to the vendee. and the Register of Deeds of Iloilo City. Considering the validity of the decision dated June 20. 1992. Ernesto Jardeleza. 1992.

or separated in fact or has abandoned the other or consent is withheld or cannot be obtained. cerebrovascular accident. Such rules do not apply to cases where the non consenting spouse is incapacitated or incompetent to give consent. The administration and enjoyment of the conjugal partnership property shall belong to both spouses jointly. (165a). 1964 Revised Rules of Court. the trial . a victim of stroke. petitioner earlier had filed such a petition for judicial guardianship. a spouse who desires to sell real property as such administrator of the conjugal property must observe the procedure for the sale of the ward s estate required of judicial guardians under Rule 95. Indeed. not the summary judicial proceedings under the Family Code. Section 1. Even assuming that the rules of summary judicial proceedings under the Family Code may apply to the wife's administration of the conjugal property. Article 124 of the Family Code provides as follows: ART. In the absence of such authority or consent. In this case. the proper remedy is a judicial guardianship proceedings under Rule 93 of the 1964 Revised Rules of Court. 124. In regular manner. the trial court did not comply with the procedure under the Revised Rules of Court. Indeed. and may be perfected as a binding contract upon the acceptance by the other spouse or authorization by the court before the offer is withdrawn by either or both offerors. the proper remedy was the appointment of a judicial guardian of the person or estate or both of such incompetent. These powers do not include the powers of disposition or encumbrance which must have the authority of the court or the written consent of the other spouse. However. subject to recourse to the court by the wife for a proper remedy which must be availed of within five years from the date of the contract implementing such decision. In the event that one spouse is incapacitated or otherwise unable to participate in the administration of the conjugal properties.[10] Consequently. In the case at bar. In case of disagreement. the law provides that the wife who assumes sole powers of administration has the same powers and duties as a guardian under the Rules of Court. the rules on summary judicial proceedings under the Family Code govern the proceedings under Article 124 of the Family Code. The situation contemplated is one where the spouse is absent. and with a diagnosis of brain stem infarct. without motor and mental faculties. the disposition or encumbrance shall be void. under Rule 93.him comatose. the husband s decision shall prevail. the trial court found that the subject spouse "is an incompetent" who was in comatose or semi-comatose condition. 1964 Revised Rules of Court.[9] In such case. the other spouse may assume sole powers of administration. the transaction shall be construed as a continuing offer on th e part of the consenting spouse and the third person.

court did not even observe the requirements of the summary judicial proceedings under the Family Code. the trial court did not serve notice of the petition to the incapacitated spouse. Judgments. as a result. JJ. noting this. C. After all. concur. Technicality should not prevail over considerations of substantive justice. respondents. Thus.J. (Chairman). The drafting of the decision was indeed not exactly careful. SP No. Davide. Court of Appeals G. SO ORDERED. the decision rendered by the trial court is void for lack of due process. should have taken immediate steps for the rectification of the omission so that the ruling expressed in the text of the decision could have been embodied in the decretal portion. it did not require him to show cause why the petition should not be granted. a party is deprived of the opportunity of being heard. Failure of petitioner s counsel to seek rectification.. R.R. in toto.We have said time and again that where there is an ambiguity caused by an omission or mistake in the dispositive portion of the decision. Omission or mistake in dispositive portion of decision.. No. Costs against petitioners. the Court AFFIRMS the decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. or by resisting such decision in any action or proceeding where it is invoked. Such alertness could have avoided this litigation on a purely technical issue. the Court may resort to the pleadings . The doctrine consistently adhered to by this Court is that a denial of due process suffices to cast on the official act taken by whatever branch of the government the impress of nullity.[11] A decision rendered without due process is void ab initio and may be attacked directly or collaterally. Puno. 82606. vs. Hence. the technicality invoked in this case should not be allowed to prevail over considerations of substantive justice.. [14] WHEREFORE. [13] A void decision may be assailed or impugned at any time either directly or collaterally. In doing so. and Ynares Santiago. Kapunan.[12] A decision is void for lack of due process if. Jr. the technical defect is not insuperable. petitioner. SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED Partosa-Jo vs. Nevertheless. we agree with the Court of Appeals that absent an opportunity to be heard.* PRIMA PARTOSA-JO. December 18. The dispositive portion of the decision in question was incomplete insofar as it carried no ruling on the complaint for judicial separation of conjugal property although it was extensively discussed in the body of the decision. by means of a separate action. The petitioner s counsel. this Court may clarify such ambiguity by an amendment even after the judgment has become final. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS and HO HANG (WITH ALIASES JOSE JO AND CONSING). 1992. 26936.

There must be absolute cessation of marital relations. Abandonment and failure to comply with family obligations. The private respondent has not established any just cause for his refusal to comply with his obligations to hi s wife as a dutiful husband. 1988. The fact that she was not accepted by Jo demonstrates all too clearly that he had no intention of resuming their conjugal relationship. which states that a spouse is deemed to have abandoned the other when he or she has left the conjugal dwelling without any intention of returning. Same. in which actions. the petitioner may also invoke the second ground allowed by Article 128. he even denied being married to her. on the assumption that they were acquired during coverture and so belong to the spouses half and half. coupled with the refusal by the private respondent to give support to the petitioner. followed by prolonged absence without just cause. the private respondent had already rejected the petitioner. Moreover. Abandonment implies a departure by one spouse with the avowed intent never to return. whom he denied admission to their conjugal home in Dumaguete City when she returned from Zamboanguita. Court of Appeals: The greater weight of authority is inclined to the view that an appellate court. and not according to the law prevailing at the time of rendition of the appealed judgment. Family Code. Apart from refusing to admit his lawful wife to their conjugal home in Dumaguete City. It was his refusal to provide for the petitioner and their daughter that prompted her to file the actions against him for support and later for separation of the conjugal property. The order of judicial separation of the properties in question is based on the finding of both the trial and respondent courts that the private respondent is indeed their real owner. It is these properties that should now be divided between him and the petitioner. significantly. The record shows that as early as 1942. The physical separation of the parties. with the intention of perpetual separation. In addition. there has been an intermediate change in the law which renders such judgment erroneous at the time the case was finally disposed of on appeal. for the fact is that he has failed without just cause to comply with his obligations to the family as husband or parent. sufficed to constitute abandonment as a ground for the judicial separation of their conjugal property. Same.filed by the parties and the findings of fact and the conclusions of law expressed in the text or body of the decision. Judicial separation of conjugal property. The amendments introduced in the Family Code are applicable to the case before us although they became effective only on August 3. As the . the private respondent r efused to give financial support to the petitioner. Same. by statute. and without in the meantime providing in the least for one s family although able to do so. Domestic relations. This idea is clearly expressed in the above-quoted provision. As we held in Ramirez vs. in reviewing a judgment on appeal. beginning 1968 until the final determination by this Court of the action for support in 1988. Jo has freely admitted to cohabiting with other women and siring many children by them. The court will therefore reverse a judgment which was correct at the time it was originally rendered where. will dispose of a question according to the law prevailing at the time of such disposition. duties and rights.

and to give to the plaintiff the amount of P40.1 The complaint for judicial separation of conjugal property was dismissed for lack of a cause of action and on the ground that separation by agreement was not covered by Article 178 of the Civil Code. in view of all the foregoing arguments and considerations. this court hereby holds that the plaintiff Prima Partosa was legally married to Jose Jo alias Ho Hang. the dispositive portion of which read: WHEREFORE. and. in addition to an earlier action for support. in the Regional Trial Court of Negros Oriental. the herein petitioner. alias Consing. therefore. where we also affirmed the legality of the marriage between Jose and Prima and the obligation of the former to support her and her daughter. The two cases were consolidated and tried jointly. Jr.000.000. The facts are stated in the opinion of the Court. As will be noticed.00 in the concept of attorney s fees. Jo elevated the decision to the Court of Appeals. admits to having cohabited with three women and fathered fifteen children. 1988. Lee. docketed as Civil Case No.00 to the plaintiff Prima Partosa. In 1980. Leo B.private respondent is a Chinese citizen.: The herein private respondent. When their motions for reconsideration were denied. which affirmed the ruling of the trial court in the complaint for support. Antonio Ramas-Uypitching for private respondent. 1983. rendered an extensive decision. . Diocos for petitioner. The private respondents s petition for review on certiorari was dismissed for tardiness in our resolution dated February 17. there was a definite disposition of the complaint for support but none of the complaint for judicial separation of conjugal property. Branch 35. PETITION to review the decision of the Court of Appeals. 51. also against him and docketed asCivil Case No. the petitioner filed a complaint against Jo for judicial separation of conjugal property. to be paid on or before the 5th day of every month. claims to be his legal wife by whom he begot a daughter. Negros Oriental where she may live separately from the defendant being entitled under the law to separate maintenance being the innocent spouse and to pay the amount of P19. is entitled to support as the lawfully wedded wife and the defendant is hereby ordered to give a monthly support of P500. Monina Jo. 36.00 to the plai ntiff by way of support inarrears and to pay the plaintiff the amount of P3. Jose Jo. Judge German G. OnNovember 29.00 for the construction of the house in Zambeanguita. both parties came to this Court for relief. the division must include such properties properly belonging to the conjugal partnership as may have been registered in the name of other persons in violation of the AntiDummy Law.200. The other two women and their respective offspring are not parties to this case. J. CRUZ. The first of these women.

and b) no such separation was decreed by the trial court in the dispositive portion of its decision. It is here submitted that the Court of Appeals erred in holding that: a) the judicial separation of conjugal property sought was not allowed under Articles 175. The petitioner should have called the attention of the trial court to the omission so that the proper rectification could be made on time. As the decretal portion clearly made no disposition of Civil Case No. Such alertness could have avoided this litigation on a purely technical issue. 51. noting this. the petitioner argues that a disposition of that case was nonetheless made in the penultimate paragraph of the decision reading as follows: It is. While admitting that no mention was made of Civil Case No. that case should be considered impliedly dismissed. The dispositive portion of the decision in question was incomplete insofar as it carried no ruling on the complaint for judicial separation of conjugal property although it was extensively discussed in the body of the decision. Not having done so. 51 in the dispositive portion of the decision of the tr ial court. the defendant in this case.This petition deals only with the complaint for judicia l separation of conjugal property. the technicality invoked in this case should not be allowed to prevail over considerations of substantive justice.2 In doing so.3 . The petitioner s counsel. which can no longer be corrected at this late hour. particularly since the order embodied in that paragraph was in her favor. this Court may clarify such ambiguity by an amendment even after the judgment has become final. third paragraph of the Civil Code. she is now concluded by the said decision. the Court may resort to the pleadings filed by the parties and the findings of fact and the conclusions of law expressed in the text or body of the decision. should have taken immediate steps for the rectification of the omission so that the ruling expressed in the text of the decision could have been embodied in the decretal portion. The petitioner says she believed this to be disposition enough and so did not feel it was necessary for her to appeal. 178 and 191 of the Civil Code. therefore. which is subject of separate proceedings as enunciated herein. hereby ordered that all properties in question are considered properties of Jose Jo. subject to separation of property under Article 178. It was only when the respondent court observed that there was no dispositive portion regarding that case and so ordered its dismissal that she found it necessary to come to this Court for relief. The private respondent contends that the decision of the trial court can no longer be reviewed at this time because it has long since become final and executory. We have said time and again that where there is an ambiguity caused by an omission or mistake in the dispositive portion of the decision. The drafting of the decision was indeed not exactly careful. We deal first with the second ground. The petitioner has a point. After all. Nevertheless. the technical defect is not insuperable.

we hereby make such modification. The respondent court relied mainly on the testimony of the petitioner. except that: x x x (3) If the husband has abandoned the wife without just cause for at least one year. which reads: Art. 178. who declared under oath that she left Dumaguete City. holding that the petitioner and the private respondent were legally married and that the properties mentioned by the petitioner were acquired by Jo during their marriage although they were registered in the name of an apparent dummy. It held that an agreement to live separately without just cause was void under Article 221 of the Civil Code and co uld not sustain any claim of abandonment by the aggrieved spouse. If a spouse without just cause abandons the other or fails to comply with his or her obligations to the family. The petitioner invokes Article 178 (3) of the Civil Code. this arrangement was repudiated and ended in 1942. 51. she may petition the court for a receivership. shall not affect the conjugal partnership. for judicial separation of property.The trial court made definite findings on the complaint for judicial separation of conjugal property. In the interest of substantive justice. where she and Jo were living together because that was our agreement. 128. Its conclusion was that the only remedy available to the petitioner was legal separation under Article 175 of the Civil Code. . The above-quoted provision has been superseded by Article 128 of the Family Code. when she returned to him at Dumaguete City and he refused to accept her. The petitioner contends that the respondent court has misinterpreted Articles 175. 178 and 191 of the Civil Code. or administration by her of the conjugal partnership property or separation of property. and to expedite these proceedings. The separation in fact between husband and wife without judicial approval. They never agreed to separate permanently. 51 and thus upholding mere form over substance. or for authority to be the sole administrator of the conjugal partnership properly. which states: Art. the aggrieved spouse may petition the court for receivership.4 by virtue of which the conjugal partnership of property would b e terminated. And now to the merits of Civil Case No. There is no question therefore that the penultimate paragraph of the decision of the trial court was a ruling based upon such findings and so should have been embodied in the dispositive portion. T he respondent court should have made the necessary modification instead of dismissing Civil Case No. The Court of Appeals dismissed the complaint on the ground that the separation of the parties was due to their agreement and not because of abandonment. And even if they did. She submits that the agreement between her and the private respondent was for her to temporarily live with her parents during the initial period of her pregnancy and for him to visit and support her. subject to such precautionary conditions as the court may impose.

In addition.6 This idea is clearly expressed in the above-quoted provision. Abandonment by a spouse of the other without just cause. the private respondent refused to give financial support to the petitioner. The physical separation of the parties. Jo has freely admitted to cohabiting with other women and siring many children by them. the private respondent had already rejected the petitioner. The record shows that as early as 1942. Under this provision. 135. The spouse who has left the conjugal dwelling for a period of three months or has failed within the same period to give any information as to his or her whereabouts shall be prima facie presumed to have no intention of returning to the conjugal dwelling. whom he denied admission to their conjugal home in Dumaguete City when she returned from Zamboanguita. A spouse is deemed to have abandoned the other when he or she has left the conjugal dwelling without any intention of returning. duties and rights. Apart from refusing to admit his lawful wife to their conjugal home in Dumaguete City.The fact that she was not accepted by Jo demonstrates all too clearly that he had no intention of resuming their conjugal relationship. It was his refusal to provide for the petitioner and their daughter that prompted her to file the actions against him for support and later for separation of the conjugal property. Moreover. providing as follows: Art. the petitioner may also invoke the second ground allowed by Article 128. followed by prolonged absence without just cause. coupled with the refusal by the private respondent to give support to the petitioner. which states that a spouse is deemed to have abandoned the other when he or she has left the conjugal dwelling without any intention of returning. even if said spouse does not leave the other spouse.The obligations to the family mentioned in the preceding paragraph refer to marital.5 There must be absolute cessation of marital relations. Abandonment implies a departure by one spouse with the avowed intent never to return. Any of the following shall be considered sufficient cause for judicial separation of property: xxx . beginning 1968 until the final determination by this Court of the action for support in 1988. The private respondent has not established any just cause for his refusal to comply with his obligations to his wife as a dutiful husband. significantly. in which actions. sufficed to constitute abandonment as a ground for the judicial separation of their conjugal property. Failure of one spouse to comply with his or her obligations to the family without just cause. the aggrieved spouse may petition for judicial separation on either of these grounds: 1. with the intention of perpetual separation. for the fact is that he has failed without just cause to comply with his obligations to the family as husband or parent. and without in the meantime providing in the least for one s family although able to do so. and 2. he even denied being married to her. Their separation thus falls also squarely under Article 135 of the Family Code. parental or property relations.

Legal presumption that all property of the marriage belongs to the conjugal partnership absent any proof that it is the exclusive property of either spouse (Toda. and the conjugal property of the petitioner and the private respondent is hereby ordered divided between them. decision modified. The court will therefore reverse a judgment which was correct at the time it was originally rendered where. vs. SO ORDERED. 1988. The order of judicial separation of the properties in question is based on the finding of both the trial and respondent courts that the private respondent is indeed their real owner.. th e spouses have been separated in fact for at least one year and reconciliation is highly improbable. AUGUSTO YULO. the petition is GRANTED and the assailed decision of the respondent court is MODIFIED. share and share alike. Griño-Aquino and Bellosillo. LILY YULO (doing business under the name and style of A & L INDUSTRIES). Civil Case No. Court of Appeals.(6) That at the time of the petition.THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS. This division shall be implemented by the trial court after determination of all the properties pertaining to the said conjugal partnership. and not according to the law prevailing at the time of rendition of the appealed judgment. by statute. Note. the petitioner herein. Court of Appeals:7 The greater weight of authority is inclined to the view that an appellate court. No. Jr. As the private respondent is a Chinese Citizen. L-61464 May 28. there has been an intermediate change in the law which renders such judgment erroneous at the time the case was finally disposed of on appeal. . As we held in Rami rez vs. The past has caught up with the private respondent. concur. The amendments introduced in the Family Code are applicable to the case before us although they became effective only on August 3. including those that may have been illegally registered in the name of other persons. JJ.R. 1988 BA FINANCE CORPORATION. Court of Appeals. petitioner. he must now make an accounting to his lawful wife of the properties he denied her despite his promise to her of his eternal love and care. Padilla. in reviewing a judgment on appeal. WHEREFORE. 183 SCRA 71 [Partosa-Jo vs. It is these properties that should now be divided between him and the petitioner. on the assumption that they were acquired during coverture and so belong to the spouses half and half. After his extramarital flings and a succession of illegitimate children. will dispose of a question according to the law prevailing at the time of such disposition. 51 is hereby decided in favor of the plaintiff. the division must include such properties properly belonging to the conjugal partnership as may have been registered in the name of other persons in violation of the Anti-Dummy Law. Petition granted. 216 SCRA 692(1992)] Republic of the PhilippinesSUPREME COURTManila THIRD DIVISION G. vs. respondents.

This was likewise granted by the court. About two months prior to the loan.: This is a petition for review seeking to set aside the decision of the Court of Appeals which affirmed the decision of the then Court of First Instance of Manila. On October 7. 1975. respondent Lily Yulo. J. It also prayed for the issuance of a writ of attatchment alleging that the said spouses were guilty of fraud in contracting the debt upon which the action was brought and that the fraud consisted of the spouses' inducing the petitioner to enter into a contract with them by executing a Deed of Assignment in favor of the petitioner. titles and interests over a construction contract executed by and between the spouses and A. without the knowledge or consent of the petitioner. collect and receive in trust for the petitioner all payments made upon the construction contract and shall remit to the petitioner all collections therefrom. alleging that the properties attached by the sheriff were not sufficient to secure the satisfaction of any judgment that may be recovered by it in the case. Apparently not contented with the order. dismissing the complaint instituted by the petitioner and ordering it to pay damages on the basis of the private respondent's counterclaim. in truth.50 when. that her signature in the special power of attorney was forged because she had never authorized Augusto Yulo in . Augusto Yulo had already left Lily Yulo and their children and had abandoned their conjugal home. however. without compensation or costs.00 3. 732. the petitioner filed its amended complaint against the spouses Augusto and Lily Yulo on the basis of the promissory note.GUTIERREZ. the said spouses failed and refuse to remit the collections and instead. 1975. Soriano Corporation on June 19. 1974 for a consideration of P615. misappropriated the proceeds for their own use and benefit. purportedly authorizing Augusto Yulo to procure the loan and sign the promissory note. The trial court issued the writ of attachment prayed for thereby enabling the petitioner to attach the properties of A & L Industries. Respondent Yulo presented an alleged special power of attorney executed by his wife. When the obligation became due and demandable. alleging that although Augusta Yulo and she are husband and wife. the former had abandoned her and their children five (5) months before the filing of the complaint. private respondent Augusto Yulo secured a loan from the petitioner in the amount of P591. JR. the spouses did not have any intention of remitting the proceeds of the said construction contract to the petitioner because despite the provisions in the Deed of Assignment that the spouses shall. Private respondent Lily Yulo filed her answer with counterclaim. On July 1.59 as evidenced by a promissory note he signed in his own behalf and as representative of the A & L Industries.. the petitioner filed another motion for the examination of attachment debtor. Augusto Yulo failed to pay the same. t hat they were already separated when the promissory note was executed. who manages A & L Industries and under whose name the said business is registered. assigning all their rights.

Crispin Ordoña. Atty.000. Hearing of Nov.000. 1976).00 as exemplary damages. This document marked as Exhibit B-1.any capacity to transact any business for and in behalf of A & L Industries. In resolving the question of whether or not the trial court erred in holding that the signature of respondent Lily Yulo in the special power of attorney was forged. The same were already signed by the supposed parties and their supposed witnesses at the time they were brought to him for ratification. The glaring admission by the Notary Public that he failed to state in the acknowledgment portion of Exhibit B -1 that the appellee Lily Yulo acknowledged the said document to be her own voluntary act and deed. 26. when this was presented to you by that common friend.00 as unrealized profits. The petitioner appealed. and to pay the costs. Additionally. June Enriquez. Yes. admitted in open court that the parties in the subject documents did not sign their signatures in his presence.00. P300. the latter closed its business and was taken over by the new owner. and who i s also an instrumental witness in said Exhibit B-1.00 to P150.000. he could not recognize or tell which of the two . sir. sir.00 as and for attorney's fees. We quote from the records the pertinent testimony of Atty. all typewritten. that she never got a single centavo from the proceeds of the loan mentioned in the promissory note.00 as actual damages. (TSN pp. the Notary Public admitted that. and that as a result of the illegal attachment of her properties.000. thus: Q.. In this document marked as Exhibit B although it appears here that this is an acknowledgment. you have not stated here that the principal actually acknowledged this document to be her voluntary act and deed? A This in one of those things that escaped my attention. Q And the parties had already affixed their signatures in this document? A.000. Ordoña. which is owned by her as a single proprietor. Actually I have not gone over the second page. the trial court rendered judgment dismissing the petitioner's complaint against the private respondent Lily Yulo and A & L Industries and ordering the petitioner to pay the respondent Lily Yulo P660.000.? A. P30. After hearing. while June Enriquez is admittedly a mutual friend of his and the defendant Augusta Yulo. the Notary Public.000. it was already accomplished.00 and the attorney's fees which were reduced from P30. 13-14. which constituted the assets of the A & L Industries. I believed it was in order I signed it. the Court of Appeals said: The crucial issue to be determined is whether or not the signatures of the appellee Lily Yulo in Exhibits B and B -1 are forged. The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court's decision except for the exemplary damages which it reduced from P300. Yes. is a very strong and commanding circumstance to show that she did not appear personally before the said Notary Public and did not sign the document.000. it was already typewritten. Q. P500.00 to P20.

to back up her claim of forgery of her signature in Exhibit B-1. he attended the 297th Annual Conference of the American Society of Questioned Docurnent Examiners held at Seattle. in his comparison of the signatures appearing in the genuine specimen signatures of the said appellee and with those appearing in the questioned document (Exhibit B-1). and likewise conducted an observation of the present and modern trends of crime laboratories in the West Coast. as a representative of the Philippines. and governmental agencies of the Government. the appellee Lily Yulo. in our mind. as compared to the pretended signature of the appellee appearing in Exhibits B. substantial portions of which relate to actual court cases. and not her genuine signature. the expert witness categorically recited and specified in open court what he observed to be about twelve (12) glaring and material significant differences.000 documents. found in the standard or genuine signatures of the appellee which were lifted and obtained in the official files of the government. such as the Bureau of Internal Revenue on her income tax returns. Furthermore. To qualify him as a handwriting expert. Crispin Ordoña. we have likewise seen the supposed notable differences. Atty. to further his experience along this line. and who is also a Document Examiner of the same Command's Crime Laboratory at Fort Bonifacio. the Notary Public before whom the questioned document was supposedly ratified and acknowledged. both at the National Bureau of Investigation Academy and National Bureau of Investigation Questioned Document Laboratory. in the disputed document in question (Exh . B-1). deserve great respect and are seldom disturbed on appeal by appellate tribunals. demeanor and deportment of a particular witness while he is testifying in court. and. were all forgeries.S. up to his appointment as Document Examiner in June. in 1971.. 1975. Indeed. In concluding that the signatures of the appellee Lily Yulo.signatures appearing therein. Metro Manila. His experience as an examiner of questioned and disputed documents. as requested by the different courts. respectively. is quite impressive. It is also noteworthy to mention that the appellant did not even bother to conduct a . since it is in the best and peculiar advantage of determining and observing the conduct. administrative. he declared that he underwent extensive and actual studies and examination of disputed or questioned document. B-1. from July 1964. presented in court a handwriting expert witness in the person of Police Captain YakalGiron of the Integrated National Police Training Command. and the records are bare of any circumstance of weight. which the trial court had overlooked and which if duly considered.A. U. an opportunity not enjoyed by the appellate courts who merely have to rely on the recorded proceedings which transpired in the court below. that he likewise had conducted actual tests and examination of about 100. as the issue is one of credibility of a witness. may radically affect the outcome of the case. On the other hand. in August 1971. Washington. was the signature of this June Enriquez. the findings and conclusions of the trial court before whom said witness.

B -1) were forged. we find no factual basis to disagree. showing that said business is a single proprietorship. but also by the following findings: Continuing and elaborating further on the appellant's mala fide actuations in securing the writ of attachment. Prescinding from the foregoing facts. as appearing in par. neither did the appellant present another handwriting expert. by the Caloocan City Mayor's Office showing compliance by said single proprietorship company with the City Ordinance governing business establishments. the appellate court held that these contentions are without merit because there is strong preponderant evidence to show that A & L Industries belongs exclusively to respondent Lily Yulo. there would have been no necessity for the Special Power of Attorney if he is a part owner of said single proprietorship. thus the enforcement of the Chattel Mortgage against the property of A & L Industries exclusively . and that the registered owner thereof is only Lily Yulo. With regard to the award of damages. Capt. is tangible proof that Augusto Yulo has no inter est whatsoever in the A & L Industries. namely: a) The Certificate of Registration of A & L Industries. are Augusto Yulo. the same can be made answerable to the obligation because the said properties form part of the conjugal partnership of the spouses Yulo. 28 -30. Hence. 1 thereof. the lower court stated as follows: Plaintiff not satisfied with the instant case where an order for attachment has already been issued and enforced. we subscribe fully to the lower court's observations that the signatures of the appellee Lily Yulo in the questioned document (Exh. and c) The Special Power of Attorney itself. issued by the Bureau of Commerce. on the strength of the same Promissory Note (Exhibit"A"). at least to counter-act or balance the appellee's handwriting expert. doing business under the style of A & L Industries (should be A & L Glass Industries Corporation). (pp. otherwise. assuming but without admitting its due execution.cross-examination of the handwriting expert witness. b) The Mayor's Permit issued in favor of A & L Industries. Giron. as mortgagor and BA Finance Corporation as mortgagee. A minute examination of Exhibit "4" will show that the contracting parties thereto. the Court of Appeals affirmed the findings of the trial court that there was bad faith on the part of the petitioner as to entitle the private respondent to damages as shown not only by the fact that the petitioner did not present the Deed of Assignment or the construction agreement or any evidence whatsoever to support its claim of fraud on the part of the private respondent and to justify the issuance of a preliminary attachment. filed a foreclosure proceedings before the Office of the Sheriff of Caloocan (Exhibit"6") foreclosing the remaining properties found inside the premises formerly occupied by the A & L Industries. utilizing the Deed of Chattel Mortgage (Exhibit "4"). Rollo) As to the petitioner's contention that even if the signature of Lily Yulo was forged or even if the attached properties were her exclusive property.

Rule 132 of t he Rules of Court which states in part that evidence of handwriting by comparison may be made "with writings admitted or treated as genuine by the party against whom the evidence is offered. especially with the appellant. although aware that Lily Yulo had already denied participation in the execution of Exhibits "A" and "B". The first issue deals with the appellate court's affirmance of the trial court's findings that the signature of the private respondent on the Special Power of Attorney was forged. did not even bother to demand the production of at least the duplicate original of the Special Power of Attorney (Exhibit B) and merely contended himself with a mere xerox copy thereof. (Ibid. Exhibit A. the Court of Appeals disregarded the direct mandate of Section 23.Yet." and that there is no evidence on record which proves or tends to prove the genuineness of the standards used. The records show that the signatures which were used as "standards" for comparison with the alleged signature of the private respondent in the Special Power of Attorney were those from the latter's residence certificates in the years 1973. pp. . Plaintiff tried to enforce as it did enforce its claim into two different modes a single obligation. 33-34. Aware that defendant Lily Yulo. or proved to be genuine to the satisfaction of the judge. Yulo appears to be without any factual or legal basis whatsoever. (pp. may likewise be distressed on the fact that its officer Mr. Exhibit "4" and the Promissory Note. neither did he require a more specific authority from the A & L Industries to contract the loan in question. Rollo) Concerning the actual damages.<äre||anº 1àw> Indeed. According to the petitioner. seeking annulment of the Promissory Note. immediately after the day it filed a Motion for the Issuance of an Alias Writ of Preliminary Attachment . express or implied. to the thinking of the court. 1976 before this court. the petitioner raises three issues. are sufficient to prove and establish the element of bad faith and malice on the part of plaintiff which may warrant the award of damages in favor of defendant Lily Yulo. no authority. the Plaintiff still filed a Motion for the Issuance of a Writ of Attachment dated February 6. inspite of the knowledge and the filing of this Motion to Suspend Proceedings. the very basis of the plaintiff in filing this complaint. 102-103). The chattel mortgage.. These incidents and actions taken by plaintiff. the existence of evident bad faith on the appellant's part in proceeding against the appellee Lily Yulo in the present case. 1974 . filed a Motion to Suspend Proceedings by virtue of a complaint she filed with the C ourt of First Instance of Caloocan. the appellate court ruled that the petitioner should have presented evidence to disprove or rebut the private respondent's claim but it remained quiet and chose not to disturb the testimony and the evidence presented by the private respondent to prove her claim.owned by Lily T. has been delegated or granted to August Yulo to contract a loan. since from the very content and recitals of the disputed document. . Abraham Co. In this petition for certiorari. plaintiff even filed a Motion for Examin ation of the Attachment Debtor. There is no merit in this contention. To add insult to injury. are based on one and the same obligation.

In the course of his cross-examination. it was held: When a writing is offered as a standard of comparison it is for the presiding judge to decide whether it is the handwriting of the party to be charged. In Cesar v. 113 Mass.. as matter of law. A forger always strives to master some similarities. 648. 2 N. 494): We believe the true rule deduced from the authorities to be that the genuineness of a "standard" writing may be established (1) by the admission of the person sought to be charged with the disputed writing made at or for the purposes of the trial or by his testimony. Not only were the signatures in the foregoing documents admitted by the private respondent as hers but most of the said documents were used by the private respondent in her transactions with the government. Perry.and 1975. it is presumed that this property forms part of the conjugal partnership of the spouses Augusto and Lily Yulo and thus. or that it has been adopted and acted upon by him his business transactions or other concerns. Furthermore. Unless his finding is founded upon error of law. v. 2 v. 588. Sandiganbayan(134 SCRA 105. her income tax returns for the years 1973 and 1975 and from a document on long bond paper dated May 18. 276. 274. In the case of Taylor-Wharton Iron & Steel Co. The second issue raised by the petitioner is that while it is true that A & L Industries is a single proprietorship and the registered owner thereof is private respondent Lily Yulo. NBI expert Tabayoyong admitted that he saw the differences between the exemplars used and the questioned signatures but he dismissed the differences because he did not consider them fundamental. the judge found such signatures to be sufficient as standards. (2) by witnesses who saw the standards written or to whom or in whose hearing the person sought to be charged acknowledged the writing thereof. something which the appellate court also took into account. 856). Nuñez v. 1977. 590. We rule that significant differences are more fundamental than a few similarities.) We cannot find any error on the part of the trial judge in using the above documents as standards and also in giving credence to the expert witness presented by the private respondent whose testimony the petitioner failed to rebut and whose credibility it likewise failed to impeach. 855. As was held in the case of Plymouth Saving & Loan Assn." (Costelo v. Maniwang pointed to other significant divergences and distinctive characteristics between the sample signatures and the signatures on the questioned checks in his report which the court's Presiding Justice kept mentioning during Maniwang's testimony.E. Therefore. But more important is the fact that the unrebutted handwriting expert's testimony noted twelve (12) glaring and material differences in the alleged signature of the private respondent in the Special Power of Attorney as compared with the specimen signatures.E. could . No.. insufficient to justify the finding. the said proprietorship was established during the marriage and its assets were also acquired during the same.. we ruled: Mr. or upon evidence which is. 139 Mass. 132). Crowell. Earnshaw (156 N. Kassing (125 NE 488. this court will not revise it upon exceptions. (3) by evidence showing that the reputed writer of the standard has acquiesced in or recognized the same.

which may redound to the benefit of the conjugal partnership. As we have ruled in Luzon Surety Co. when no proof is presented that Vicente Garcia in acting as surety or guarantor received consideration therefore. 124 SCRA 161. rule that the petitioner cannot enforce the obligation contracted by Augusto Yulo against his conjugal properties with respondent Lily Yulo. the obligation which the petitioner is seeking to enforce against the conjugal property managed by the private respondent Lily Yulo was undoubtedly contracted by Augusto Yulo for his own benefit because at the time he incurred the obligation he had already abandoned his family and had left their conjugal home. profession or business with the honest belief that he is doing right for the benefit of the family. it follows that the writ of attachment cannot issue against the said properties. pp. v. the obligation contracted by the husband must have redounded to the benefit of the conjugal partnership under Article 161 of the Civil Code." There must be the requisite showing then of some advantage which clearly accrued to the welfare of the spouses. However. We. for the said property to be held liable. xxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxx In the most categorical language. 163 of the new Civil Code. That is still another provision indicative of the solicitude and tender regard that the law manifests for the family as a unit. as such administrator the only obligations incurred by the husband that are chargeable against the conjugal property are those incurred in the legitimate pursuit of his career. its welfare uppermost in the minds of the codifiers and legislators.be held liable for the obligations contracted by Augusto Yulo. he made it appear that he was duly authorized by his wife in behalf of A & L Industries. There is no dispute that A & L Industries was established during the marriage of Augusta and Lily Yulo and therefore the same is presumed conjugal and the fact that it was registered in the name of only one of the spouses does not destroy its conjugal nature (See Mendoza v. Clearly. Reyes. Such inference is more emphatic in this case. to procure such loan from the petitioner. Worse. Inc. . However. it would negate the plain object of the additional requirement in the present Civil Code that a debt contracted by the husband to bind a conjugal partnership must redound to its benefit.(Ibid. Its interest is paramount. therefore. There is none in this case.. a conjugal partnership under that provision is liable only for such "debts and obligations contracted by the husband for the benefit of the conjugal partnership. 46-47). Thus. This is not true in the case at bar for we believe that the husband in acting as guarantor or surety for another in an indemnity agreement as that involved in this case did not act for the benefit of the conjugal partnership. 165). to make A & L Industries liable now for the said loan would be unjust and contrary to the express provision of the Civil Code. as administrator of the partnership. xxxxxxxxx Moreover. In the present case. 115-117): As explained in the decision now under review: "It is true that the husband is the administrator of the conjugal property pursuant to the provisions of Art. De Gracia (30 SCRA 111.

. They are. 4 of Rule 59. Under the second..59 was borrowed from the bank. 5 Wakefield. (7 C. 847). .J. is entitled to recover only the actual damages sustained by him by reason of the attachment. The steps which were taken by the petitioner to ensure the security of its claim were premised. but merely provides an action for recovery upon the bond. where the attachment is maliciously sued out.. Respondent Lily Yulo has manifested before this Court that she . still under custodialegis and thus. the assailed decision should have included a declaration as to who is entitled to the attached properties and that assuming arguendo that the attachment was erroneous. In the case of Lazatin v.S. therefore.. based on the undertaking therein made and not upon the liability arising from a tortuous act. Twaño (2 SCRA 842. does not prescribed the remedies available to the attachment defendant in case of a wrongful attachment. The question before us. etc. 84 SE 362. Moreover. 48.003.. on the firm belief that the properties involved could be made answerable for the unpaid obligation due it. the third issue assails the award of actual damages according to the petitioner. was the court justified in ordering the petitioner to pay for the value of the attached properties instead of ordering the return of the said properties to the private respondent Yulo ? Both the trial and appellate courts found that there was bad faith on the part of the petitioner in securing the writ of attachment. find that the petitioner is liable only for actual damages and not for exemplary damages and attorney's fees. the attachment defendant.. this failure cannot be equated with bad faith or malicious intent. Mahoney. where malice is not essential. It should be observed that Sec. 135 NC 73. Under the first. 168 NC 237. both the lower court and the appellate court overlooked the fact that the properties referred to are still subject to a levy on attachment. Revised Rules of Court). which is tantamout to saying that the plaintiff is not entitled to attachment because the requirements of entitling him to the writ are wanting. like the malicious suing out of an attachment. We do not think so. we ruled: xxxxxxxxx . We. if the private respondent is entitled only to actual damages. for instance.Finally. or that the plaintiff has a sufficient security other than the property attached. therefore. 47 SE 234). Section 4. 664)" (p. Although the petitioner failed to prove the ground relied upon for the issuance of the writ of attachment. the plaintiff has no cause of action. is whether the attachment of the properties of A & L Industries was wrongful so as to entitle the petitioner to actual damages only or whether the said attachment was made in bad faith and with malice to warrant the award of other kinds of damages. Rule 57. business or feed (Tyler v. Francisco. the lower court should have ordered the sheriff to return to the private respondent the attached properties instead of condemning the petitioner to pay the value thereof by way of actual damages. thus. the damages recoverable may include a compensation for every injury to his credit. "An attachment may be said to be wrongful when. Pittsburg etc. or that there is no true ground therefore. There is no question that a loan in the amount of P591.

). Inc. if there are any remaining attached properties. We cannot. Respondent Court correctly ruled that the trial court cannot. P150. The trial court cannot in the guise of deciding the Third-party claim reverse its final decision. even when the decision sought to be executed had already become final. Sadang. From that time she has become a mere employee of the new owner of the premises.00. Inc.000. however.00 for attorney's fees.00 actual damages representing unrealized profits.00 representing unrealized profits because this amount was not proved or justified before the trial court. In turn. The judgment is therefore set aside insofar as it holds the petitioner liable for P500. Bidin and Cortes JJ. the appellate Court held. the attached properties. the decision of the Court of Appeals is hereby SET ASIDE and the petitioner is ordered to pay the private respondent Lily Yulo the amount of SIX HUNDRED SIXTY THOUSAND PESOS (P660. in the amount of P660. SO ORDERED. Court of Appeals G.000. She has grave doubts as to the running condition of the attached machineries and equipments considering that the attachment was effected way back in 1975. reverse its final decision. The respondent Court has no authority to modify or vary the terms and conditions of a final and executory judgment (Vda. Feliciano.000. vs.000. sustain the award of P500.000.. Execution. 1996. 88). concur. respondents. vs. COURT OF APPEALS and ALEJO M. The remaining properties subject of the attachment are ordered released in favor of the petitioner. A. Courts. deem it just and equitable to allow private respondent Lily Yulo to recover actual damages based on the value of the attached properties as proven in the trial court. therefore. The private respondent failed to present reports on the average actual profits earned by her business and other evidence of profitability which are necessary to prove her claim for the said amount (See G. The basis of the alleged unearned profits is too speculative and conjectural to show actual damages for a future period. Yaptinchay.000.* JOHNSON & JOHNSON (PHILS. and we quote: We see in these stark contradictions an attempt by the respondent Court to reverse itself. Machineries.00 for exemplary damages and P20.00) as actual damages.). 126 SCRA 78. SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED Johnson & Johnson (Phils.. benefit to the family. Fernan (Chairman). de Nabong vs.R. September 23. in the guise of deciding the third-party claim.no longer desires the return of the attached properties since the said attachment caused her to close down the business. INC. WHEREFORE. should be released in favor of the petitioner. As stated earlier. 167 SCRA 232) and this attempt to thwart the rules cannot be allowed to . We. they should be permanently released to herein petitioner. Judgment. v. She states as a matter of fact that the petitioner has already caused the sale of the machineries for fear that they might be destroyed due to prolonged litigation. Commenting on the trial court s very patent aboutface on the issues of consent of the husband. VINLUAN. 102692. No. and the husband s liability for obligations contracted by his wife. petitioner.

Balais. Same. Same. Even if the respondent Court feels that it needed to reverse its findings to correct itself. Same. Same. judgments of courts should become final and irrevocable at some definite date fixed by law. the trial court s order cannot be said to be merely clarificatory in nature. Petitioner s arguments notwithstanding. and to dissuade parties from trifling with court processes. Same. public policy and sound practice demand that at the risk of occasional errors. Vinluan solely liable. Public policy and sound practice demand that at the risk of occasional errors. has become the law of the case between the parties upon attaining finality (Balais vs. Th e respondent Court has no choice but to order the execution of the final decision according to what is ordained and decreed in the dispositive portion of the decision (National Steel Corp. judgments of court should become final and irrevocable at some definite date fixed by law. The settled rule is that a judgment which has acquired finality becomes immutable and unalterable. it being essential to the effective and efficient administration of justice that once a judgment has become final. Thus. There is no ambiguity at all in the decision. And this is better observed if the court executing the judgment would refrain from creating further controversy by effectively . This rule applies with more force in the case of the deciding judge who has limited prerogative during execution of the judgment. A judgment which has acquired finality becomes immutable and unalterable. This is meant to preserve the stability of decisions rendered by the courts. In such a case. holding that doubtful or ambiguous judgments are to have a reasonable intendment to do justice and avoid wrong. the decision. Court of Appeals. the winning party be not. without any recourse provided against her husband. Delos Angeles. for it categorically declared defendant Delilah A. the case of Republic vs.pass. Same. a judgment shall be read in connection with the entire record and construed accordingly. for. Same. Same. 158 SCRA 37). Any error in the decision which has not been considered in a timely motion for reconsideration or appeal cannot be impugned when such error becomes apparent only during execution. Hence. Same. deprived of the fruits of the verdict. constituted as they are to put an end to controversies. One who has submitted his case to a regular court necessarily commits himself to abide by whatever decision the court may render. courts must guard against any scheme calculated to bring about that result. Furthermore. it is proper to consider the pleadings and the evidence. through a mere subterfuge. (Italics supplied). vs. does not apply here. NLRC. 165 SCRA 452). and hence may no longer be modified in any respect except only to correct clerical errors or mistakes. and hence may no longer be modified in any respect except only to correct clerical errors or mistakes all the issues between the parties being deemed resolved and laid to rest. (w)here there is an ambiguity. The trial court s order cannot be said to be merely clarificatory in nature. As was later held in Filinvest Credit Corporation vs. whether erroneous or not. courts should frown upon any attempt to prolong them. We take this occasion to reiterate the ruling of this Court in an early case that litigations must end and terminate sometime and somewhere.

no longer be reviewed. Same. be executed upon conjugal property.R. it goes into the merits of the case. become inviolable. Same. Final judgments may no longer be reviewed or in any way modified directly or indirectly by a higher court not even by the Supreme Court much less by any other official. Nogales Law Office for respondent Vinluan. PETITION for review on certiorari of a decision of the Court of Appeals. Same. as well as the notices of levy issued by the Provincial Sheriff of Rizal dated February 8. much less by any other official. for the action is not in obedience to the mandate of the writ. They may. No matter how just the intention of the trial cour t. over the objection of the husband? These are the main questions raised in the instant petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court w hich seeks nullification of the Decision1 in CA-G. Holding the conjugal partnership liable in the order after the finality of the decision is evidently not just correcting a mere clerical error. Same. Same. A sheriff is not authorized to attach or levy on property not belonging to the judgment debtor. SP No. in Civil Case No. impervious to modification. the instant petition is hereby GRANTED.modifying and altering the dispositive portion of the decision. thus further delaying the satisfaction of the judgment. No costs. Branch 137.: May a husband be held liable for the debts of his wife which were incurred without his consent and which did not benefit the conjugal partnership? May a judgment declaring a wife solely liable. or without. If he does so. The sheriff maybe liable for enforcing execution on property belonging to a third party. PANGANIBAN. The facts are stated in the opinion of the Court. too. are hereby declared null and void and set aside. it cannot legally reverse what has already been settled. It is a rule firmly established in our jurisprudence that a sheriff is not authorized to attach or levy on property not belonging to the judgment debtor. We have elsewhere ruled that should judgments of lower courts which may normally be subject to review by higher tribunals become final and executory before. exhaustion of all recourse of appeal. in view of all the foregoing. J. Ginete for petitioner. The Facts . A sheriff has no authority to attach the property of any person under execution except that of the judgment debtor.2 the dispositive portion of which reads: WHEREFORE. they. 1989 and October 4. then. the writ of execution affords him no justification. branch or department of Government. 1989. 4186. Same. not even by the Supreme Court. Adorlito B. And this is prohibited by the rules and jurisprudence. A sheriff even incur s liability if he wrongfully levies upon the property of a third person. 1989 of the Regional Trial Court of Makati. branch or department of Government. or in any way modified directly or indirectly. by a higher court. and the orders dated July 24. 19178 of the Court of Appeals.

as she was also engaged in the business of retailing Johnson products. judgment is hereby rendered sentencing the defendant DELILAH A.). Incorporated (hereinafter referred to as the corporation) is engaged in the manufacturing and selling of various cosmetics.00 as attorney s fees. among others. despite the accommodations given by the plaintiff-respondent corporation by granting several extensions to the defendant spouses to settle the obligation. whether direct or indirect. health. and to pay the costs. and body care products. 1983 against defendant spouses Vinluan.40. owner of Vinluan Enterprises. It was only on January 5. it was docketed as Civil Case No. and her husband Capt.000. Delilah Vinluan. In arriving at the sole liability of defendant Delilah A. for collection of a sum of money wit h damages. Inc.4 The respondent appellate Court found the antecedent facts. 1983 that the defendants made a partial payment of Five Thousand (P5.. The defendants. as well as medical drugs. Filed before the respondent Regional Trial Court of Makati.). After trial on the merits.000. Vinluan. 1985. the checks given in payment of the obligation bounced and were dishonored for having been drawn against insufficient funds. Vinluan (the private respondent before us). (i)n fact. Branch 137. Several demands thereafter for payment were to no avoid. the acts performed. however. the trial court found after meticulous scrutiny and careful evaluation of the evidence on record that there was no privity of contract.880.89. between plaintiff and defendant-husband regarding the obligations incurred by defendant-wife. Alejo M. by defendant-husband. with damages. the respondent court rendered its Decision (Annex C ). When presented on their respective due dates.00) Pesos.880. Vinluan. the sum of P242. 4186 and tried in the Regional Trial Court of Makati. Defendants counterclaim is hereby dismissed for lack of sufficient merit. According to the trial court. Branch 137.This case was initiated in the trial court by a complaint3 filed by petitioner against spouses Delilah A. and the statements made. under the name and style of Vinluan Enterprises. to be as follows:5 The plaintiff-respondent Johnson & Johnson (Phils. purchased products of the plaintiff-respondent corporation. for which she issued seven (7) Philippine Banking Corporation checks of varying amounts and due dates. the defendant. VINLUAN to pay plaintiff Johnson & Johnson (Phils.482. thus incurred an obligation of Two Hundred Thirty -Five Thousand Eight Hundred Eighty Pesos and Eighty-Nine (P235. the dispositive portion of which reads: WHEREFORE. and the sum of P30. On several occasions in the year 1982. which was docketed as Civil Case No. thereby reducing their principal obligation to P230. for collection of the principal obligation plus interest. the plaintiff-respondent corporation was constrained to file a complaint (Annex A ) on June 8. When no further payments we re made to settle the obligation despite repeated demands. . 4186. on February 5.89) Centavos. with interest and penalty charges at the rate of 2% per month from 30 January 1983 until fully paid.

or in any of his letters to. However. petitioner corporation filed a motion dated February 14. coupled by . her husband (herein private respondent) filed a third-party claim10 seeking the lifting of the levy on the conjugal properties.000. As expected. the court a quo held that private respondent could not legally be held liable for the obligations contracted by the wife.and from which plaintiff derived the notion that said defendant is a co-owner of VINLUAN ENTERPRISES. Private respondent moved on July 1. the court a quo ruled t hat:12 Since AlejoVinluan did not seek the intervention of the Court to air his objections in his wife s engaging in business. Thus. the two notices of levy on execution9 issued on February 8. Citing the last sentence of Article 11711 of the Civil Code. that the conjugal partnership never derived any benefit therefrom. and denying the third -party claim and the motion to quash the levy on execution. 7 The trial court further held that the defendant spouses had sufficiently established that the defendant wife was sole owner of the business venture. 6 The trial court also found that private respondent never intimated in his conversations or meetings with. Subsequently. In sum. took place after the obligations involved in this action had bee n incurred or contracted by the defendant-wife. the court below issued a writ of execution8 on February 3. and that the same closed due to continued losses. to the plaintiff and to plaintiff s counsel x xx. petitioner that he was a co-owner of VINLUAN ENTERPRISES.00. or that it was incurred for the benefit of the family. much less did he represent himself as such coowner. 1989. The next day. a comment and/or opposition dated March 6. 1989. petitioner opposed the motion. common sense and our inborn mores of conduct dictate that a husband must give aid and comfort to his distressed wife. the trial court issued t he first assailed Order fixing the value of the levied personal properties at P300. xx x. but also the real and personal properties of the conjugal partnership of the spouses Vinluan. albeit without the husband s knowledge or consent. directing the Provincial Sheriff of Rizal to execute the judgment on the properties of the defendant-wife. followed by another third-party claim reiterating the same demand with threat of possible lawsuit. When private respondent personally negotiated with petitioner and proposed a settlement of the subject obligations. 1989 asking the court to fix the value of the properties levied upon by the sheriff. 1989 covered not only her exclusive or paraphernal properties. On July 24. 1989 to quash the levy on execution on the ground that the notices of levy on execution did not conform to the final decision of the court and to the writ of execution. In response to the third-party claims of private respondent. 1989 was filed by petitioner. these actuations were not to be considered as admission of coownership of VINLUAN ENTERPRISES for (a)fter all. as there was no allegation in the complaint that said obligations were incurred by defendant-wife with her husband s consent.

6. 7. 1986 ed. Nolledo. Petitioner s motion for reconsideration of the abovequoted first order (on the ground that it directly contravened the decision itself which had already become final and executory) was denied via the second contested Order dated October 4.. 122.). 1985 ed. Article 172 of the New Civil Code categorically declares that The wife cannot bind the conjugal partnership without the husband s consent. ed. pp. 122 of the Family Code which partly provides that Art. 175. As such. Art. As afore-discussed. xxx x xx x xx. The payment of personal debts contracted by the husband or the wife before or during the marriage shall not be charged to the conjugal partnership except insofar as they redounded to the benefit of the family. 89. Vitug. 5). 174. 6-10. 1978 ed. U. even his own capital may be liable. Withal. Moreover. italics supplied). expressly or impliedly. the conjugal property is subsidiarily liable. is not applicable in that This Code (Family Code) shall have retroactive effect insofar as it does not prejudice or impair vested or acquired rights in accordance with the Civil Code or other laws (Art. 1989.N. pp. said code is not a propos (sic). 1986 ed. had the business Delilah Vinluan engaged in been a success.P. AlejoVinluan s consent theret o became evident. Even granting arguendo that the same is befitting. except in the cases provided by law. Plaintiff (petitioner herein).. J. the conjugal partnership must bear the indebtedness and losses (1 Paras 464. 1978 ed. Law Complex. movant defendant failed to realize that although Delilah Vinluan suffered losses in her legitimate business. and as such. There is a wide-embracing oversight when movantdefendant asserted that to hold the conjugal partnership property liable for the indebtedness incurred solely by his wife would in effect modify the Decision dated 5 Feb 1985 which is now final and executory. p. 1984.. 1981 ed. p.. having acquired a vested right prior to the effectivity of the Family Code. Art. p. Commercial Law Reviewer. the paraphernal and conjugal property may still be held liable but not his capital (1 Paras 363.). Bar Review Materials in Commercial Law. . all profits would have been considered conjugal. as fully explained in the Order dated 24 July 1989. The consent of the husband is indeed vital in determining what properties shall b e subsidiarily liable in the event the paraphernal properties of Delilah Vinluan should turn out to be insufficient to cover the judgment debt. Code of Commerce). the experience she has gained redounded to the benefit of the family. 6. 172 of the New Civil Code is not in point. it is therefore but fair that the risks of the business should be borne by the conjugal partnership (Miravite.. Commercial Law Reviewer. 255.the fact that he made several representations for the settlement of his wife account. Granting arguendo that AlejoVinluan did not give his consent. Family Code. Answers to Bar Questions In Commercial law. where the trial court ruled:13 The Court finds untenable movant -defendant s assertion that Art. together with the conjugal and paraphernal property (1 Paras 363.

the trial court nonetheless did not exclude private respondent but passed upon the issue of such coownership to determine whether he may be held liable in the same manner as his wife. which conclusion ( exoneration ) only exempted his capital from the adjudged liability. 2. 1985 exonorating (sic) defendant husband. petitioner pleads that the trial court s . The Court s Ruling Petitioner contends15 that the purpose of impleading private respondent as co-defendant in petitioner s complaint was to bind not only the d efendant-spouses conjugal partnership but also private respondent s capital. whether same is proper or not. Whether or not the subsequent order of the honorable trial court dated July 24. to wit:14 1. Inasmuch as it appeared from the allegations in the complaint that private respondent may be a co-owner of VinluanEnteprises. These issues shall be ruled upon together. The pivotal issues in this case may be re-stated thus: whether or not the order of the trial court denying private respondent s third-party claim and motion to quash levy on execution in effect amended the dispositive portion of the trial court s decision which had long become final and executory. 1989 and October 4. and denied herein petitioner s subsequent motion for reconsideration. The Issues Petitioner raised the following issues of law for consideration of this Court. Thus. Also. petitioner reasons that the enforcement of the decision against the conjugal property is merely compliance with law. private respondent herein. Petitioner insists that the trial court in its decision merely made a finding that the private respondent husband was not a co-owner of the business venture of his wife. and if so. The trial court resolved that it was not necessary that private respondent (as husband) be joined as party-defendant in the suit below.17 Additionally. 1989 is a reversal of its own original decision as found out by the honorable public respondent. The respondent Court upheld the private respondent in its now-assailed Decision. charging the trial court with grave abuse of discretion for effectively reversing its own final judgment. Whether or not the decision of the honorable trial court dated February 5. petitioner is now before us seeking review under Rule 45. contrary to the findings of the respondent Court. Petitioner further argues that nowhere in the trial court s decision can there be found any pronouncement absolving the conjugal property from liability. and that this Court in a long line of cases16 held that a judgment is not confined to what appears upon the face of the decision but also those necessarily included therein or necessary thereto. the private respondent elevated the matter to the respondent appellate Court. from the obligation contracted by the wife in the pursuit of her business also absolves the conjugal partnership from liability.As indicated above. but not the conjugal properties of the spouses.

The respondent Court has no authority to modify or vary the terms and conditions of a final and executory judgment (Vda. De los Angeles. cannot be held liable. the New Civil Code provides that the debts and obligations contracted by the husband (or the wife) must be for the benefit of the conjugal partnership (Article 161. and the husband s liability for obligations contracted by his wife. only the defendant wife and her paraphernal property can be held liable. reverse its final decision. 167 SCRA 232) and this attempt to thwart the rules cannot be allowed to pass. Even if the respondent Court feels that it needed to reverse its findings to correct itself. But in order to b ind the conjugal partnership and its properties. Sadang. has become the law of the case between the parties upon attaining finality (Balais vs. As authority. Since the power of the court in execution of judgments extends only to . having already declared that the defendant-husband cannot be held legally liable for his wife s obligations. de Nabong vs. the conjugal partnership. neither did the obligation incurred by the defendant wife redound to the benefit of the family. the decision. in the guise of deciding the third -party claim. in order to bind the conjugal partnership. as well as the defendant husband. vs. even when the decision sought to be executed had already become final. and that the husband must consent to his wife s engaging in business (Article 117). As originally decreed by the Court. the conjugal properties of the defendant-spouses became the object of the levy. NLRC. and we quote:19 We see in these stark contradictions an attempt by the respondent Court to reverse itself.18 Petitioner s contentions are devoid of merit. along with the respondent Court s original findings. Perhaps. the appellate Court held. had already become final and indisputable. par. Thus. when it was later discovered that the defendant Delilah Vinluan did not have sufficient property of her own to settle the obligation. 165 SCRA 452). The respondent Court already found that the defendant husband did not give his consent. Balais.order did not modify its final and executory decision but only clarified an ambiguity in the decision as to what properties are liable. The respondent Court has no choice but to order the execution of the final decision according to what is ordained and decreed in the dispositive portion of the decision (National Steel Corp. we see a belated effort on the part of the respondent Court to reverse itself by declaring that the obligations incurred by the defendant wife redounded to the benefit of the family and that the defendant husband had given his consent. Respondent Court correctly ruled that the trial court cannot. The dispositive portion of the decision charges the defendant Delilah Vinluan alone to pay the plaintiff corporation. benefit to the family. Commenting on the trial court s very patent about-face on the issues of consent of the husband. 158 SCRA 37). Hence. whether erroneous or not. this cannot be done because the decision. 1). it cites Republic vs. As We stated earlier.

for it categorically declared defendant Delilah A. does not apply here. Petitioner s arguments notwithstanding. (Italics supplied). a judgment shall be read in connection with the entire record and construed accordingly.22 (w)here there is an ambiguity. 166 SCRA 608). the trial court s order cannot be said to be merely clarificatory in nature. Thus. the court cannot on the pretext of determining the validity of the third-party claim and the motion to quash levy on execution alter the scope of the dispositive portion of the decision sought to be imple mented. and to dissuade parties from trifling with court processes. The settled rule is that a judgment which has acquired finality becomes immutable and unalterable. doing business under the name and style of VINLUAN ENTERPRISES is one of the various customers of the plaintiff s products (Cf. hence. Plaintiff s Pre -Trial Brief).20 This is meant to preserve the stability of decisions rendered by the courts. the case of Republic vs. without an y recourse provided against her husband. But the text of the trial court s decision points to no other person liable but Delilah Vinluan. Court of Appeals. In such a case. with co-defendant. Any error in the decision which has not been considered in a timely motion for reconsideration or appeal cannot be impugned when such error becomes apparent only during execution. This rule applies with more force in the case of the deciding judge who has limited prerogative during execution of the judgment. There is no ambiguity at all in the decision. 23 Further. thus .properties unquestionably belonging to the judgment debtor alone (Republic vs. Delos Angeles. Vinluan solely liable. the conjugal properties and the capital of the defendant husband cannot be levied upon. plaintiff implicitly averred that defendant Delilah Vinluan. Thus. it is an admitted fact that the subject obligations had partially been paid by the defendant-wife herself. Enriquez. together. that Delilah Vinluan x xx purchased different Johnson products x xx. the trial judge can do nothing about the errors in the ratiocination of the decision or even alter the dispositive portion by mere order issued subsequent to the finality of the decision. the body of the decision of the trial court expressly exempted private respondent from liability by categorically ruling that the defendant-husband cannot. One who has submitted his case to a regular court necessarily commits himself to abide by whatever decision the court may render. What is more. there can be no ambiguity to speak of in the decision. and hence may no longer be modified in any respect except only to correct clerical errors or mistakes all the issues between the parties being deemed resolved and laid to rest.21 holding that doubtful or ambiguous judgments are to have a reasonable intendment to do justice and avoid wrong. it is proper to consider the pleadings and the evidence. 1. legally be held liable for the obligations contracted by the wife. The issues having been laid to rest. And even more clearly. P. For as correctly held by herein public respondent. aside from ordering the enforcement of the dispositive portion of the decision. As was later held in Filinvest Credit Corporation vs. the trial court expounded:24 xxx. and in fact made a rather lengthy discussion on the exemption from liability of the conjugal partnership.

id.). and. but which checks upon presentment to the Bank were dishonored for the reason Draw Against Insufficient Funds (Cf. it cannot legally reverse what has already been settled. (Cf. become inviolable. Complaint). And this is prohibited by the rules and jurisprudence. . much less by any other official. it goes into the merits of the case.). No matter how just the intention of the trial court. And this is better observed if the court executing the judgment would refrain from creating further controversy by effectively modifying and altering the dispositive portion of the decision. The judgment may no longer be modified in any respect. We take this occasion to reiterate the ruling of this Court in an early case25 that litigations must end and terminate sometime and somewhere. thus further delaying the satisfaction of the judgment. even if the modification is meant to correct what is perceived to be an erroneous conclusion of fact or law. or in any way modified directly or indirectly. We have elsewhere ruled that should judgments of lower courts which may normally be subject to review by higher tribunals become final and executory before. Holding the conjugal partnership liable in the order after the finality of the decision is evidently not just correcting a mere clerical error. where the judgment is void. through a mere subterfuge. of course. by a higher court. par. that defendant sent a letter to the company where she alleged that payment cannot be made because they are victims of some bad practices in the trade and that they are working on some means to settle their accounts and all that they ask is time to settle. not even by the Supreme Court. Furthermore. they. the winning party be not. it thereby becomes immutable and unalterable. too. impervious to modification. Vinluan appealed to the company and also represented that she be given an opportunity to settle the accountability (Cf. it being essential to the effective and efficient administration of justice that once a judgment has become final.). courts should frown upon any attempt to prolong them. par. par. public policy and sound practice demand that at the risk of occasional errors.incurring an obligation of P235. exhaustion of all recourse of appeal. The only recognized exceptions are the correction of clerical errors or the making of so-called nunc pro tunc entries which cause no prejudice to any party. that defendant Delilah Vinluan tried to pay (her) obligations x xx when she issued Philippine Banking Checks x xx. courts must guard against any scheme calculated to bring about that result. judgments of courts should become final and irrevocable at some definite date fixed by law. VI. Hence. id. branch or department of Government. and regardless of whether the modification is attempted to be made by the Court rendering it or by the highest Court of land. par. V. They may. defendant Delilah A. id. constituted as they are to put an end to controversies. or without.880. VI. then. deprived of the fruits of the verdict. for. that x x xx. no longer be reviewed. 26 x x x (N)othing is more settled in the law than that when a final judgment becomes executory.89 (Cf. III.

It is a rule firmly established in our jurisprudence that a sheriff is not authorized to attach or levy on property not belonging to the judgment debtor. and the Decision of the respondent Court is AFFIRMED. 164 SCRA 160). (a)ny amendment or alteration which substantially affects a final and executory judgment is null and void for lack of jurisdiction. the writ of execution affords him no justification. 167 SCRA 674). concur. (Air France vs. SO ORDERED. in levying on the properties that did not exclusively belong to the judgment debtor.29 A sheriff even incurs liability if he wrongfully levies upon the property of a third person. 245 SCRA 485 [1995]) o0o [Johnson & Johnson (Phils.31 If he does so. Cruz. 27 The respondent Court also commented on the sheriff s actuations as follows:28 Furthermore. the notices of levy failed to conform to the decree of the decision. Court of Appeals. Note. including the entire proceedings held for that purpose. It is well-settled that the power of the court in the execution of judgments extends only to properties unquestionably belonging to the judgment debtor. Hence.30 A sheriff has no authority to attach the property of any person under execution except that of the judgment debtor. CA.. vs. judgment affirmed. in view of the foregoing considerations. Inc. 262 SCRA 298(1996)] . Court of Appeals.Furthermore. and are. JJ. WHEREFORE. Melo and Francisco.. Chairman). Jr. for the action is not in obedience to the mandate of the writ. Petition denied. Davide. it is the duty of the sheriff to ensure that only that portion of the decision ordained and decreed in the dispositive part should be the subject of the execution (Cunanan vs.. Costs against petitioner. There was no mention even of conjugal properties.). the herein petition is hereby DENIED. therefore. irregular and contrary to the Rules (Canlas vs.J. The sheriff maybe liable for enforcing execution on property belonging to a third party. The writ of execution itself states that only the properties of the defendant wife were to be levied upon. Narvasa (C.

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