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G.R. No.

L-68053 May 7, 1990


LAURA ALVAREZ, FLORA ALVAREZ and RAYMUNDO
ALVAREZ, petitioners, vs.!E !ONORA"LE
#NERMED#AE A$ELLAE %OUR and &E'U' YANE',
E'EL#A YANE', ANON#O YANE', RO'AR#O YANE',
and #LUM#NADO YANE', respondents.
FERNAN, C.J.:
This is a petition for review on certiorari seeking the reversal
of: (a) the decision of the Fourth Civil Cases Division of the
Intermediate ppellate Court dated ugust !", "#$! in C%
&.'. C( )o. *++,+ entitled -.esus /anes et al. v. Dr.
'odolfo 0iason et al.- affirming the decision dated .ul1 $,
"#23 of the Court of First Instance of )egros 4ccidental
insofar as it ordered the petitioners to pa1 5ointl1 and
severall1 the private respondents the sum of 6,7,777.77
representing the actual value of 8ots )os. 22!% and 22!%9
of the cadastral surve1 of :urcia, )egros 4ccidental and
reversing the su;5ect decision insofar as it awarded the
sums of 6,,777.77, 6*,777.77 and 6,,777.77 as actual
damages, moral damages and attorne1<s fees, respectivel1
and (;) the resolution of said appellate court dated :a1 !7,
"#$3, den1ing the motion for reconsideration of its decision.
The real properties involved are two parcels of land
identified as 8ot 22!% and 8ot 22!%9 which were originall1
known as 8ot 22! of the cadastral surve1 of :urcia, )egros
4ccidental. 8ot 22!, with an area of "*+,*3# s=uare meters,
was registered in the name of the heirs of niceto /anes
under 4riginal Certificate of Title )o. '4%3$*$ ($$73) issued
on 4cto;er #, "#"2 ;1 the 'egister of Deeds of 4ccidental
)egros (>?h. ).
niceto /anes was survived ;1 his children, 'ufino, Felipe
and Teodora. @erein private respondents, >stelita, Iluminado
and .esus, are the children of 'ufino who died in "#+, while
the other private respondents, ntonio and 'osario /anes,
are children of Felipe. Teodora was survived ;1 her child,
.ovita (.ovito) li;.
1
It is not clear wh1 the latter is not
included as a part1 in this case.
niceto left his children 8ots 22! and $,!. Teodora
cultivated onl1 three hectares of 8ot $,! as she could not
attend to the other portions of the two lots which had a total
area of around twent1%four hectares. The record does not
show whether the children of Felipe also cultivated some
portions of the lots ;ut it is esta;lished that 'ufino and his
children left the province to settle in other places as a result
of the out;reak of Aorld Aar II. ccording to >stelita, from
the -.apanese time up to peace time-, the1 did not visit the
parcels of land in =uestion ;ut -after li;eration-, when her
;rother went there to get their share of the sugar produced
therein, he was informed that Fortunato 0antiago,
Fuente;ella (6uentevella) and lvareB were in possession of
8ot 22!.
(
It is on record that on :a1 "#, "#!$, Fortunato D. 0antiago
was issued Transfer Certificate of Title )o. 'F ,+#3 (,#2#2)
covering 8ot 22!% with an area of !2,$"$ s=uare meters.
3
TCT )o. 'F ,+#3 descri;es 8ot 22!% as a portion of 8ot
22! of the cadastral surve1 of :urcia and as originall1
registered under 4CT )o. $$73.
The ;igger portion of 8ot 22! with an area of ""$,$!" s=uare
meters was also registered in the name of Fortunato D.
0antiago on 0eptem;er +, "#!$ Cnder TCT )o. 'T%,+#*
(,$"#, ).
)
0aid transfer certificate of title also contains a
certification to the effect that 8ot 22!%9 was originall1
registered under 4CT )o. $$73.
4n :a1 !7, "#**, 0antiago sold 8ots 22!% and 22!%9 to
:onico 9. Fuente;ella, .r. in consideration of the sum of
62,777.77.
5
Conse=uentl1, on Fe;ruar1 ,7, "#*+, TCT )os.
T%"#,#" and T%"#,#, were issued in Fuente;ella<s name.
6
fter Fuente;ella<s death and during the settlement of his
estate, the administratri? thereof (rsenia '. (da. de
Fuente;ella, his wife) filed in 0pecial 6roceedings )o. 3!2!
in the Court of First Instance of )egros 4ccidental, a motion
re=uesting authorit1 to sell 8ots 22!% and 22!%9.
7
91 virtue
of a court order granting said motion,
8
on :arch ,3, "#*$,
rsenia (da. de Fuente;ella sold said lots for 6+,777.77 to
'osendo lvareB.
9
@ence, on pril ", "#*$ TCT )os. T%
,!"+* and T%,!"++ covering 8ots 22!% and 22!%9 were
respectivel1 issued to 'osendo lvareB.
10
Two 1ears later or on :a1 ,+, "#+7, Teodora /anes and the
children of her ;rother 'ufino, namel1, >stelita, Iluminado
and .esus, filed in the Court of First Instance of )egros
4ccidental a complaint against Fortunato 0antiago, rsenia
(da. de Fuente;ella, lvareB and the 'egister of Deeds of
)egros 4ccidental for the -return- of the ownership and
possession of 8ots 22! and $,!. The1 also pra1ed that an
accounting of the produce of the land from "#33 up to the
filing of the complaint ;e made ;1 the defendants, that after
court approval of said accounting, the share or mone1
e=uivalent due the plaintiffs ;e delivered to them, and that
defendants ;e ordered to pa1 plaintiffs 6*77.77 as damages
in the form of attorne1<s fees.
11
During the pendenc1 in court of said case or on )ovem;er
"!, "#+", lvareB sold 8ots 22!%, 22!%9 and another lot for
6,*,777.77 to Dr. 'odolfo 0iason.
1(
ccordingl1, TCT )os.
!7#"# and !7#,7 were issued to 0iason,
13
who thereafter,
declared the two lots in his name for assessment purposes.
1)
:eanwhile, on )ovem;er +, "#+,, .esus /anes, in his own
;ehalf and in ;ehalf of the other plaintiffs, and assisted ;1
their counsel, filed a manifestation in Civil Case )o. *7,,
stating that the therein plaintiffs -renounce, forfeit and
=uitclaims (sic) an1 claim, monetar1 or otherwise, against
the defendant rsenia (da. de Fuente;ella in connection
with the a;ove%entitled case.-
15
4n 4cto;er "", "#+!, a decision was rendered ;1 the Court
of First Instance of )egros 4ccidental in Civil Case )o.
*7,,, the dispositive portion of which reads:
A@>'>F4'>, 5udgment is rendered, ordering the
defendant 'osendo lvareB to reconve1 to the plaintiffs lots
)os. 22! and $,! of the Cadastral 0urve1 of :urcia, )egros
4ccidental, now covered ;1 Transfer Certificates of Title
)os. T%,!"+* and T%,!"++ in the name of said defendant,
and thereafter to deliver the possession of said lots to the
plaintiffs. )o special pronouncement as to costs.
04 4'D>'>D.
16
It will ;e noted that the a;ove%mentioned manifestation of
.esus /anes was not mentioned in the aforesaid decision.
@owever, e?ecution of said decision proved unsuccessful
with respect to 8ot 22!. In his return of service dated
4cto;er ,7, "#+*, the sheriff stated that he discovered that
8ot 22! had ;een su;divided into 8ots 22!% and 22!%9D
that the1 were -in the name- of 'odolfo 0iason who had
purchased them from lvareB, and that 8ot 22! could not ;e
delivered to the plaintiffs as 0iason was -not a part1 per writ
of e?ecution.-
17
The e?ecution of the decision in Civil Case )o. *7,, having
met a hindrance, herein private respondents (the /aneses)
filed on .ul1 !", "#+*, in the Court of First Instance of
)egros 4ccidental a petition for the issuance of a new
certificate of title and for a declaration of nullit1 of TCT )os.
T%,!"+* and T%,!"++ issued to 'osendo lvareB.
18
Thereafter, the court re=uired 'odolfo 0iason to produce the
certificates of title covering 8ots 22! and $,!.
>?pectedl1, 0iason filed a manifestation stating that he
purchased 8ots 22!%, 22!%9 and +*$, not 8ots 22! and
$,!, -in good faith and for a valua;le consideration without
an1 knowledge of an1 lien or encum;rances against said
properties-D that the decision in the cadastral proceeding
19
could not ;e enforced against him as he was not a part1
theretoD and that the decision in Civil Case )o. *7,, could
neither ;e enforced against him not onl1 ;ecause he was
not a part1%litigant therein ;ut also ;ecause it had long
;ecome final and e?ecutor1.
(0
Finding said manifestation to
;e well%founded, the cadastral court, in its order of
0eptem;er 3, "#+*, nullified its previous order re=uiring
0iason to surrender the certificates of title mentioned
therein.
(1
In "#+$, the /aneses filed an ex-parte motion for the
issuance of an alias writ of e?ecution in Civil Case )o. *7,,.
0iason opposed it.
((
In its order of 0eptem;er ,$, "#+$ in
Civil Case )o. *7,,, the lower court, noting that the
/aneses had instituted another action for the recover1 of the
land in =uestion, ruled that at the 5udgment therein could not
;e enforced against 0iason as he was not a part1 in the
case.
(3
The action filed ;1 the /aneses on Fe;ruar1 ,", "#+$ was
for recover1 of real propert1 with damages.
()
)amed
defendants therein were Dr. 'odolfo 0iason, 8aura lvareB,
Flora lvareB, 'a1mundo lvareB and the 'egister of Deeds
of )egros 4ccidental. The /aneses pra1ed for the
cancellation of TCT )os. T%"#,#" and "#,#, issued to
0iason (sic) for ;eing null and voidD the issuance of a new
certificate of title in the name of the /aneses -in accordance
with the sheriffs return of service dated 4cto;er ,7, "#+*D-
0iason<s deliver1 of possession of 8ot 22! to the /anesesD
and if, deliver1 thereof could not ;e effected, or, if the
issuance of a new title could not ;e made, that the lvareB
and 0iason 5ointl1 and severall1 pa1 the /aneses the sum of
63*,777.77. The1 also pra1ed that 0iason render an
accounting of the fruits of 8ot 22! from )ovem;er "!, "#+"
until the filing of the complaintD and that the defendants
5ointl1 and severall1 pa1 the /aneses moral damages of
6,7,777.77 and e?emplar1 damages of 6"7,777.77 plus
attorne1<s fees of 63, 777.77.
(5
In his answer to the complaint, 0iason alleged that the
validit1 of his titles to 8ots 22!% and 22!%9, having ;een
passed upon ;1 the court in its order of 0eptem;er 3, "#+*,
had ;ecome res judicata and the /aneses were estopped
from =uestioning said order.
(6
4n their part, the lvareB
stated in their answer that the /aneses< cause of action had
;een -;arred ;1 res judicata, statute of limitation and
estoppel.-
(7
In its decision of .ul1 $, "#23, the lower court found that
'odolfo 0iason, who purchased the properties in =uestion
thru an agent as he was then in :e?ico pursuing further
medical studies, was a ;u1er in good faith for a valua;le
consideration. lthough the /aneses were negligent in their
failure to place a notice of lis pendens -;efore the 'egister
of Deeds of )egros 4ccidental in order to protect their rights
over the propert1 in =uestion- in Civil Case )o. *7,,, e=uit1
demanded that the1 recover the actual value of the land
;ecause the sale thereof e?ecuted ;etween lvareB and
0iason was without court approval.
(8
The dispositive
portion of the decision states:
I) (I>A 4F T@> F4'>&4I)& C4)0ID>'TI4),
5udgment is here;1 rendered in the following manner:
. The case against the defendant Dr. 'odolfo 0iason and
the 'egister of Deeds are (sic) here;1 dismmissed,
9. The defendants, 8aura, Flora and 'a1mundo, all
surnamed lvareB ;eing the legitimate children of the
deceased 'osendo lvareB are here;1 ordered to pa1 5ointl1
and severall1 the plaintiffs the sum of 6,7,777.77
representing the actual value of 8ots )os. 22!% and 22!%9
of :urcia Cadastre, )egros 4ccidentalD the sum of
6,,777.77 as actual damages suffered ;1 the plaintiffD the
sum of 6*,777.77 representing moral damages and the sum
of 6,.777 as attorne1<s fees, all with legal rate of interest
from date of the filing of this complaint up to final pa1ment.
C. The cross%claim filed ;1 the defendant Dr. 'odolfo 0iason
against the defendants, 8aura, Flora and 'a1mundo, all
surnamed lvareB is here;1 dismissed.
D. Defendants, 8aura, Flora and 'a1mundo, all surnamed
lvareB are here;1 ordered to pa1 the costs of this suit.
04 4'D>'>D.
(9
The lvareB appealed to the then Intermediate ppellate
Court which in its decision of ugust !", "#$!
30
affirmed
the lower court<s decision -insofar as it ordered defendants%
appellants to pa1 5ointl1 and severall1 the plaintiffs%appellees
the sum of 6,7,777.77 representing the actual value of 8ots
)os. 22!% and 22!%9 of the cadastral surve1 of :urcia,
)egros 4ccidental, and is reversed insofar as it awarded the
sums of 6,,777.77, 6*,777.77 and 6,,777.77 as actual
damages, moral damages and attorne1<s fees, respectivel1.-
31
The dispositive portion of said decision reads:
A@>'>F4'>, the decision appealed from is affirmed
insofar as it ordered defendants%appellants to pa1 5ointl1 and
severall1 the plaintiffs% appellees the sum of 6,7,777.77
representing the actual value of 8ots )os. 22!% and 22!%9
of the cadastral surve1 of :urcia, )egros 4ccidental, and is
reversed insofar as it awarded the sums of 6,,777.77,
6*,777.77 and 6,,777.77 as actual damages, moral
damages and attorne1<s fees, respectivel1. )o costs.
04 4'D>'>D.
3(
Finding no cogent reason to grant appellants motion for
reconsideration, said appellate court denied the same.
@ence, the instant petition. ln their memorandum petitioners
raised the following issues:
". Ahethere or not the defense of prescription and estoppel
had ;een timel1 and properl1 invoked and raised ;1 the
petitioners in the lower court.
,. Ahether or not the cause andEor causes of action of the
private respondents, if ever there are an1, as alleged in their
complaint dated Fe;ruar1 ,", "#+$ which has ;een
docketed in the trial court as Civil Case )o. $323 supra, are
forever ;arred ;1 statute of limitation andEor prescription of
action and estoppel.
!. Ahether or not the late 'osendo lvareB, a defendant in
Civil Case )o. *7,,, supra and father of the petitioners
;ecome a priv1 andEor part1 to the waiver (>?hi;it 3%
defendant 0iason) in Civil Case )o. $323, supra where the
private respondents had un=ualifiedl1 and a;solutel1
waived, renounced and =uitclaimed all their alleged rights
and interests, if ever there is an1, on 8ots )os. 22!% and
22!%9 of :urcia Cadastre as appearing in their written
manifestation dated )ovem;er +, "#+, (>?hi;its -3- 0iason)
which had not ;een controverted or even impliedl1 or
indirectl1 denied ;1 them.
3. Ahether or not the lia;ilit1 or lia;ilities of 'osendo lvareB
arising from the sale of 8ots )os. 22!% and 22!%9 of :urcia
Cadastre to Dr. 'odolfo 0iason, if ever there is an1, could ;e
legall1 passed or transmitted ;1 operations (sic) of law to the
petitioners without violation of law and due process .
33
The petition is devoid of merit.
s correctl1 ruled ;1 the Court of ppeals, it is powerless
and for that matter so is the 0upreme Court, to review the
decision in Civil Case )o. *7,, ordering lvareB to reconve1
the lots in dispute to herein private respondents. 0aid
decision had long ;ecome final and e?ecutor1 and with the
possi;le e?ception of Dr. 0iason, who was not a part1 to said
case, the decision in Civil Case )o. *7,, is the law of the
case ;etween the parties thereto. It ended when lvareB or
his heirs failed to appeal the decision against them.
3)
Thus, it is a?iomatic that when a right or fact has ;een
5udiciall1 tried and determined ;1 a court of competent
5urisdiction, so long as it remains unreversed, it should ;e
conclusive upon the parties and those in privit1 with them in
law or estate.
35
s consistentl1 ruled ;1 this Court, ever1
litigation must come to an end. ccess to the court is
guaranteed. 9ut there must ;e a limit to it. 4nce a litigant<s
right has ;een ad5udicated in a valid final 5udgment of a
competent court, he should not ;e granted an un;ridled
license to return for another tr1. The prevailing part1 should
not ;e harassed ;1 su;se=uent suits. For, if endless
litigation were to ;e allowed, unscrupulous litigations will
multipl1 in num;er to the detriment of the administration of
5ustice.
36
There is no dispute that the rights of the /aneses to the
properties in =uestion have ;een finall1 ad5udicated in Civil
Case )o. *7,,. s found ;1 the lower court, from the
uncontroverted evidence presented, the /aneses have ;een
illegall1 deprived of ownership and possession of the lots in
=uestion.
37
In fact, Civil Case )o. $323 now under review,
arose from the failure to e?ecute Civil Case )o. *7,,, as
su;5ect lots can no longer ;e reconve1ed to private
respondents /aneses, the same having ;een sold during the
pendenc1 of the case ;1 the petitioners< father to Dr. 0iason
who did not know a;out the controvers1, there ;eing no lis
pendens annotated on the titles. @ence, it was also settled
;e1ond =uestion that Dr. 0iason is a purchaser in good faith.
Cnder the circumstances, the trial court did not annul the
sale e?ecuted ;1 lvareB in favor of Dr. 0iason on )ovem;er
"", "#+" ;ut in fact sustained it. The trial court ordered the
heirs of 'osendo lvareB who lost in Civil Case )o. *7,, to
pa1 the plaintiffs (private respondents herein) the amount of
6,7,777.77 representing the actual value of the su;divided
lots in dispute. It did not order defendant 0iason to pa1 said
amount.
38
s to the propriet1 of the present case, it has long ;een
esta;lished that the sole remed1 of the landowner whose
propert1 has ;een wrongfull1 or erroneousl1 registered in
another<s name is to ;ring an ordinar1 action in the ordinar1
court of 5ustice for reconve1ance or, if the propert1 has
passed into the hands of an innocent purchaser for value,
for damages.
39
-It is one thing to protect an innocent third
part1D it is entirel1 a different matter and one devoid of
5ustification if deceit would ;e rewarded ;1 allowing the
perpetrator to en5o1 the fruits of his nefarious decided s
clearl1 revealed ;1 the undeviating line of decisions coming
from this Court, such an undesira;le eventualit1 is precisel1
sought to ;e guarded against.-
)0
The issue on the right to the properties in litigation having
;een finall1 ad5udicated in Civil Case )o. *7,, in favor of
private respondents, it cannot now ;e reopened in the
instant case on the prete?t that the defenses of prescription
and estoppel have not ;een properl1 considered ;1 the
lower court. 6etitioners could have appealed in the former
case ;ut the1 did not. The1 have therefore foreclosed their
rights, if an1, and the1 cannot now ;e heard to complain in
another case in order to defeat the enforcement of a
5udgment which has longing ;ecome final and e?ecutor1.
6etitioners further contend that the lia;ilit1 arising from the
sale of 8ots )o. 22!% and 22!%9 made ;1 'osendo lvareB
to Dr. 'odolfo 0iason should ;e the sole lia;ilit1 of the late
'osendo lvareB or of his estate, after his death.
0uch contention is untena;le for it overlooks the doctrine
o;taining in this 5urisdiction on the general transmissi;ilit1 of
the rights and o;ligations of the deceased to his legitimate
children and heirs. Thus, the pertinent provisions of the Civil
Code state:
rt. 223. 0uccession is a mode of ac=uisition ;1 virtue of
which the propert1, rights and o;ligations to the e?tent of the
value of the inheritance, of a person are transmitted through
his death to another or others either ;1 his will or ;1
operation of law.
rt. 22+. The inheritance includes all the propert1, rights and
o;ligations of a person which are not e?tinguished ;1 his
death.
rt. "!"". Contract stake effect onl1 ;etween the parties,
their assigns and heirs e?cept in case where the rights and
o;ligations arising from the contract are not transmissi;le ;1
their nature, or ;1 stipulation or ;1 provision of law. The heir
is not lia;le ;e1ond the value of the propert1 received from
the decedent.
s e?plained ;1 this Court through ssociate .ustice ..9.8.
'e1es in the case of Estate of Hemady vs. Luzon Surety
Co., Inc.
)1
The ;inding effect of contracts upon the heirs of the
deceased part1 is not altered ;1 the provision of our 'ules of
Court that mone1 de;ts of a deceased must ;e li=uidated
and paid from his estate ;efore the residue is distri;uted
among said heirs ('ule $#). The reason is that whatever
pa1ment is thus made from the state is ultimatel1 a pa1ment
;1 the heirs or distri;utees, since the amount of the paid
claim in fact diminishes or reduces the shares that the heirs
would have ;een entitled to receive.
Cnder our law, therefore. the general rule is that a part1<s
contractual rights and o;ligations are transmissi;le to the
successors.
The rule is a conse=uence of the progressive
-depersonaliBation- of patrimonial rights and duties that, as
o;served ;1 (ictorio 6olacco has characteriBed the histor1
of these institutions. From the 'oman concept of a relation
from person to person, the o;ligation has evolved into a
relation from patrimon1 to patrimon1 with the persons
occup1ing onl1 a representative position, ;arring those rare
cases where the o;ligation is strictl1 personal, i.e., is
contracted intuitu personae, in consideration of its
performance ;1 a specific person and ;1 no other.
??? ??? ???
6etitioners ;eing the heirs of the late 'osendo lvareB, the1
cannot escape the legal conse=uences of their father<s
transaction, which gave rise to the present claim for
damages. That petitioners did not inherit the propert1
involved herein is of no moment ;ecause ;1 legal fiction, the
monetar1 e=uivalent thereof devolved into the mass of their
father<s hereditar1 estate, and we have ruled that the
hereditar1 assets are alwa1s lia;le in their totalit1 for the
pa1ment of the de;ts of the estate.
)(
It must, however, ;e made clear that petitioners are lia;le
onl1 to the e?tent of the value of their inheritance. Aith this
clarification and considering petitioners< admission that there
are other properties left ;1 the deceased which are sufficient
to cover the amount ad5udged in favor of private
respondents, we see no cogent reason to distur; the
findings and conclusions of the Court of ppeals.
A@>'>F4'>, su;5ect to the clarification herein a;ove
stated, the assailed decision of the Court of ppeals is
here;1 FFI':>D. Costs against petitioners.
04 4'D>'>D.
,. G.R. No. 770(9 A*+*,- 30, 1990
"#ENVEN#DO, E'EL#A, MA%AR#O, LU#', ADELA#DE,
ENR#.U#A and %LAUD#O, a// ,*0na12d, GEVERO,
petitioners, vs.#NERMED#AE A$$ELLAE %OUR and
DEL MONE DEVELO$MEN %OR$ORA#ON,
respondents.
$ARA', J.:
This is a petition for review on certiorari of the :arch ,7,
"#$$ decision
1
of the then Intermediate ppellate Court
(now Court of ppeals) in C%&' C( )o. +#,+3, entitled Del
:onte Development Corporation vs. >nri=ue ;a;a, et al.,
etc. affirming the decision
(
of the then Court of First
Instance (now 'egional Trial Court) of :isamis 4riental
declaring the plaintiff corporation as the true and a;solute
owner of that portion of 8ot 32+ of the Caga1an Cadastre,
particularl1 8ot )o. ,32+%D of the su;division plan (8'C)
6sd%$73*7, containing an area of 0even Thousand >ight
@undred 0event1 >ight (2,$2$) s=uare meters more or less.
s found ;1 the ppellate Court, the facts are as follows:
The parcel of land under litigation is 8ot )o. ,32+ of the
0u;division 6lan 6sd%!2!+* containing an area of ,7,""#
s=uare meters and situated at &usa, Caga1an de 4ro Cit1.
0aid lot was ac=uired ;1 purchase from the late 8uis
8ancero on 0eptem;er "*, "#+3 as per Deed of ;solute
0ale e?ecuted in favor of plaintiff and ;1 virtue of which
Transfer Certificate of Title )o. 3!,7 was issued to plaintiff
(D>8C4' for ;revit1). 8uis 8ancero, in turn ac=uired the
same parcel from 'icardo &evero on Fe;ruar1 *, "#*, per
deed of sale e?ecuted ;1 'icardo &evero which was dul1
annotated as entr1 )o. "",$ at the ;ack of 4riginal
Certificate of Title )o. 2+"7 covering the mother lot identified
as 8ot )o. ,32+ in the names of Teodorica 9a;angha F "E,
share and her children: :ariaD 'estituto, >lena, 'icardo,
>usta=uio and Crsula, all surnamed surnamed &evero, "E,
undivided share of the whole area containing 3$,",, s=uare
meters.
Teodorica 9a;angha died long ;efore Aorld Aar II and was
survived ;1 her si? children aforementioned. The heirs of
Teodorica 9a;angha on 4cto;er "2,"#++ e?ecuted an
>?tra%.udicial 0ettlement and 6artition of the estate of
Teodorica 9a;angha, consisting of two lots, among them
was lot ,32+. 91 virtue of the e?tra%5udicial settlement and
partition e?ecuted ;1 the said heirs of Teodorica 9a;angha,
8ot ,32+% to 8ot ,32+%I, inclusive, under su;division plan
(8'C) 6sd%$73*7 dul1 approved ;1 the 8and 'egistration
Commission, 8ot ,32+%D, among others, was ad5udicated to
'icardo &evero who was then alive at the time of e?tra%
5udicial settlement and partition in "#++. 6laintiff (private
respondent herein) filed an action with the CFI (now 'TC) of
:isamis 4riental to =uiet title andEor annul the partition
made ;1 the heirs of Teodorica 9a;angha insofar as the
same pre5udices the land which it ac=uired a portion of lot
,32+.
6laintiff now seeks to =uiet title andEor annul the partition
made ;1 the heirs of Teodorica 9a;angha insofar as the
same pre5udices the land which it ac=uired, a portion of 8ot
,32+. 6laintiff proved that ;efore purchasing 8ot ,32+% it
first investigated and checked the title of 8uis 8ancero and
found the same to ;e intact in the office of the 'egister of
Deeds of Caga1an de 4ro Cit1. The same with the
su;division plan (>?h. -9-), the corresponding technical
description (>?h. -6-) and the Deed of 0ale e?ecuted ;1
'icardo &evero F all of which were found to ;e
un=uestiona;le. 91 reason of all these, plaintiff claims to
have ;ought the land in good faith and for value, occup1ing
the land since the sale and taking over from 8ancero<s
possession until :a1 "#+#, when the defendants ;adas
forci;l1 entered the propert1. (ollo, p. ,!)
fter trial the court a !uo on .ul1 "$, "#22 rendered
5udgment, the dispositive portion of which reads as follows:
A@>'>F4'>, premises considered, 5udgment is here;1
rendered declaring the plaintiff corporation as the true and
a;solute owner of that portion of 8ot )o. ,32+ of the
Caga1an Cadastre, particularl1 8ot )o. ,32+%D of the
su;division plan (8'C) 6sd%$73*7, containing an area of
0>(>) T@4C0)D >I&@T @C)D'>D 0>(>)T/ >I&@T
(2,$2$) s=uare meters, more or less. The other portions of
8ot )o. ,32+ are here;1 ad5udicated as follows:
8ot )o. ,32+ G 9 G to the heirs of >lena &everoD
8ot )o. ,32+ G C G to the heirs of 'estituto &everoD
8ot )o. ,32+ G > G to the defendant spouses >nri=ue C.
Torres and Francisca =uinoD
8ot )o. ,32+ G F G to the defendant spouses >duard
'umohr and >milia :erida 'umohf D
8ot )os. ,32+%@, ,32+%I and ,32+ F & F to defendant
spouses >nri=ue ;ada and 8ilia lvareB ;ada.
)o ad5udication can ;e made with respect to 8ot )o. ,32+%
considering that the said lot is the su;5ect of a civil case
;etween the @eirs of :aria &evero on one hand and the
spouses Daniel 9orkingkito and Crsula &evero on the other
hand, which case is now pending appeal ;efore the Court of
ppeals. )o pronouncement as to costs,
04 4'D>'>D. (Decision, 'ecord on ppeal, p. ,7!D ollo,
pp. ,"%,,)
From said decision, defendant heirs of 'icardo &evero
(petitioners herein) appealed to the IC (now Court of
ppeals) which su;se=uentl1, on :arch ,7, "#$+, affirmed
the decision appealed from.
6etitioners, on :arch !", "#$+, filed a motion for
reconsideration (ollo, p. ,$) ;ut was denied on pril ,",
"#$+.
@ence, the present petition.
This petition is devoid of merit.
9asicall1, the issues to ;e resolved in the instant case are:
") whether or not the deed of sale e?ecuted ;1 'icardo
&evero to 8uis 8ancero is validD ,) in the affirmative, whether
or not the "E, share of interest of Teodorica 9a;angha in one
of the litigated lots, lot no. ,32+ under 4CT )o. 2+"7 is
included in the deed of saleD and !) whether or not the
private respondents< action is ;arred ;1 laches.
6etitioners maintain that the deed of sale is entirel1 invalid
citing alleged flaws thereto, such as that: ") the signature of
'icardo was forged without his knowledge of such factD ,)
8ancero had recogniBed the fatal defect of the "#*, deed of
sale when he signed the document in "#+$ entitled
-0ettlement to void the 8itigation-D !) 'icardo<s children
remained in the propert1 notwithstanding the sale to
8anceroD 3) the designated 8ot )o. is ,327 instead of the
correct num;er ;eing 8ot )o. ,32+D *) the deed of sale
included the share of >usta=uio &evero without his
authorit1D +) T.C.T. )o. ""$! of 8ancero segregated the area
of ,7,""# s=uare meters from the ;igger area (4CT )o.
2+"+) without the consent of the other co%ownersD 2)
8ancero caused the "#*, 0u;division surve1 without the
consent of the &everos< to ;ring a;out the segregation of the
,7,""# s=uare meters lot from the mother lot ,32+ which
;rought a;out the issuance of his title T%""$! and to
D>8C4'<s title T3!,7, ;oth of which were illegall1 issuedD
and $) the area sold as per document is ,7,+3# s=uare
meters whereas the segregated area covered ;1 TCT )o. T%
""$! of 8ancero turned out to ;e ,7,""# s=uare meters
(6etitioners :emorandum, pp. +,%2$).
s to petitioners< claim that the signature of 'icardo in the
"#*, deed of sale in favor of 8ancero was forged without
'icardo<s knowledge of such fact (ollo, p. 2") it will ;e
o;served that the deed of sale in =uestion was e?ecuted
with all the legal formalities of a pu;lic document. The "#*,
deed was dul1 acknowledged ;1 ;oth parties ;efore the
notar1 pu;lic, 1et petitioners did not ;other to re;ut the legal
presumption of the regularit1 of the notariBed document (D1
v. 0aca1, "+* 0C' 32! H"#$$I)D )uguid v. C.., &.'. )o.
223,!, :arch "!, "#$#). In fact it has long ;een settled that
a pu;lic document e?ecuted and attested through the
intervention of the notar1 pu;lic is evidence of the facts in
clear, une=uivocal manner therein e?pressed. It has the
presumption of regularit1 and to contradict all these,
evidence must ;e clear, convincing and more than merel1
preponderant ('e;uleda v. I..C., "** 0C' *,7%*,"
H"#$2I). Forger1 cannot ;e presumed, it must ;e proven
(0iasat v. IC, )o. +2$$#, 4cto;er "7, "#$*). 8ikewise,
petitioners allegation of a;sence of consideration of the
deed was not su;stantiated. Cnder rt. "!*3 of the Civil
Code, consideration is presumed unless the contrar1 is
proven.
s to petitioners< contention that 8ancero had recogniBed the
fatal defect of the "#*, deed when he signed the document
in "#+$ entitled -0ettlement to void 8itigation- (ollo, p.
2"), it is a ;asic rule of evidence that the right of a part1
cannot ;e pre5udiced ;1 an act, declaration, or omission of
another (0ec. ,$. 'ule "!7, 'ules of Court). This particular
rule is em;odied in the ma?im "res inter alios acta alteri
nocere non de#et.- Cnder 0ection !", 'ule "!7, 'ules of
Court -where one derives title to propert1 from another, the
act, declaration, or omission of the latter, while holding the
title, in relation to the propert1 is evidence against the
former.- It is however stressed that the admission of the
former owner of a propert1 must have ;een made while he
was the owner thereof in order that such admission ma1 ;e
;inding upon the present owner (Cit1 of :anila v. del
'osario, * 6hil. ,,2 H"#7*ID :edel v. vecilla, "* 6hil. 3+*
H"#"7I). @ence, 8anceros< declaration or acts of e?ecuting
the "#+$ document have no ;inding effect on D>8C4', the
ownership of the land having passed to D>8C4' in "#+3.
6etitioners< claim that the1 remained in the propert1,
notwithstanding the alleged sale ;1 'icardo to 8ancero
(ollo, p. 2") involves a =uestion of fact alread1 raised and
passed upon ;1 ;oth the trial and appellate courts. 0aid the
Court of ppeals:
Contrar1 to the allegations of the appellants, the trial court
found that 8uis 8ancero had taken possession of the land
upon proper investigation ;1 plaintiff the latter learned that it
was indeed 8uis 8ancero who was the owner and possessor
of 8ot ,32+ D. . . . (Decision, C.., p. +).
s a finding of fact, it is ;inding upon this Court (De &ola%
0ison v. :analo, $ 0C' *#* H"#+!ID &aduco vs. C.., "3
0C' ,$, H"#+*ID 'amos v. 6epsi%Cola, "# 0C' ,$#
H"#+2ID Tan v. C.., ,7 0C' *3 H"#+2ID 'amireB Tel. Co. v.
9ank of merica, !! 0C' 2!2 H"#27ID 8ucero v. 8oot, ,*
0C' +$2 H"#+$ID &uerrero v. C.., "3, 0C' "!7 H"#$+I).
0uffice it to sa1 that the other flaws claimed ;1 the
petitioners which allegedl1 invalidated the "#*, deed of sale
have not ;een raised ;efore the trial court nor ;efore the
appellate court. It is settled 5urisprudence that an issue
which was neither averred in the complaint nor raised during
the trial in the court ;elow cannot ;e raised for the first time
on appeal as it would ;e offensive to the ;asic rules of fair
pla1, 5ustice and due process. (:atienBo v. 0ervidad, "72
0C' ,2+ H"#$"ID Dela 0anta v. C.., "37 0C' 33 H"#$*ID
Dihiansan v. C.., "*2 0C' 3!3 H"#$2ID nchuelo v. IC,
"32 0C' 3!3 H"#$2ID Dulos 'ealt1 and Development
Corporation v. C.., "*2 0C' H"#$$ID Jamos v. IC, &.'.
)o. 2$,$,, .ul1 *, "#$#).
6etitioners aver that the "E, share of interest of Teodorica
(mother of 'icardo) in 8ot ,32+ under 4CT )o. 2+"7 was
not included in the deed of sale as it was intended to limit
solel1 to 'icardos< proportionate share out of the undivided
"E, of the area pertaining to the si? (+) ;rothers and sisters
listed in the Title and that the Deed did not include the share
of 'icardo, as inheritance from Teodorica, ;ecause the Deed
did not recite that she was deceased at the time it was
e?ecuted (ollo, pp. +2%+$).
The hereditar1 share in a decedents< estate is transmitted or
vested immediatel1 from the moment of the death of the
-causante- or predecessor in interest (Civil Code of the
6hilippines, rt. 222), and there is no legal ;ar to a
successor (with re=uisite contracting capacit1) disposing of
his hereditar1 share immediatel1 after such death, even if
the actual e?tent of such share is not determined until the
su;se=uent li=uidation of the estate (De 9or5a v. (da. de
9or5a, 3+ 0C' *22 H"#2,I).
Teodorica 9a;angha died long ;efore Aorld Aar II, hence,
the rights to the succession were transmitted from the
moment of her death. It is therefore incorrect to state that it
was onl1 in "#++, the date of e?tra5udicial partition, when
'icardo received his share in the lot as inheritance from his
mother Teodorica. Thus, when 'icardo sold his share over
lot ,32+ that share which he inherited from Teodorica was
also included unless e?pressl1 e?cluded in the deed of sale.
6etitioners contend that 'icardo<s share from Teodorica was
e?cluded in the sale considering that a paragraph of the
aforementioned deed refers merel1 to the shares of 'icardo
and >usta=uio (ollo, p. +2%+$).
It is well settled that laws and contracts shall ;e so
construed as to harmoniBe and give effect to the different
provisions thereof ('eparations Commission v. )orthern
8ines, Inc., !3 0C' ,7! H"#27I), to ascertain the meaning
of the provisions of a contract, its entiret1 must ;e taken into
account ('uiB v. 0heriff of :anila, !3 0C' $! H"#27I). The
interpretation insisted upon ;1 the petitioners, ;1 citing onl1
one paragraph of the deed of sale, would not onl1 create
contradictions ;ut also, render meaningless and set at
naught the entire provisions thereof.
6etitioners claim that D>8C4'<s action is ;arred ;1 laches
considering that the petitioners have remained in the actual,
open, uninterrupted and adverse possession thereof until at
present (ollo, p. "2).
n instrument notariBed ;1 a notar1 pu;lic as in the case at
;ar is a pu;lic instrument (>acnio v. 9aens, * 6hil. 23,). The
e?ecution of a pu;lic instrument is e=uivalent to the deliver1
of the thing (rt. "3#$, "st 6ar., Civil Code) and is deemed
legal deliver1. @ence, its e?ecution was considered a
sufficient deliver1 of the propert1 (9uencamino v. (iceo, "!
6hil. #2D H"#7+ID 6uato v. :endoBa, +3 6hil. 3*2 H"#!2ID (da.
de 0armiento v. 8esaca, "7$ 6hil. #77 H"#+7ID 6hil.
0u;ur;an Development Corp. v. uditor &en., +! 0C' !#2
("#2*I).
9esides, the propert1 sold is a registered land. It is the act of
registration that transfers the ownership of the land sold.
(&0I0 v. C.., &.'. )o. 3,,2$, .anuar1 ,7, "#$#). If the
propert1 is a registered land, the purchaser in good, faith
has a right to rel1 on the certificate of title and is under no
dut1 to go ;ehind it to look for flaws (:allorca v. De
4campo, )o. 8%,+$*,, :arch ,*, "#27D Cnchuan v. C..,
"+" 0C' 2"7 H"#$$ID )uguid v. C%&.'. )o. 223,2, :arch
"!, "#$#).
Cnder the esta;lished principles of land registration law, the
person dealing with registered land ma1 generall1 rel1 on
the correctness of its certificate of title and the law will in no
wa1 o;lige him to go ;ehind the certificate to determine the
condition of the propert1 (Tiongco v. de la :erced, 8%,33+,
.ul1 ,*, "#23D 8opeB vs. C., &.'. )o. 3#2!#, .anuar1 ,7,
"#$#D Davao &rains Inc. vs. IC, "2" 0C' +", H"#$#I).
This notwithstanding, D>8C4' did more than that. It did not
onl1 rel1 on the certificate of title. The Court of ppeals
found that it had first investigated and checked the title
(T.C.T. )o. T%""$!) in the name of 8uis 8ancero. It likewise
in=uired into the 0u;division 6lan, the corresponding
technical description and the deed of sale e?ecuted ;1
'icardo &evero in favor of 8uis 8ancero and found
ever1thing in order. It even went to the premises and found
8uis 8ancero to ;e in possession of the land to the e?clusion
of an1 other person. D>8C4' had therefore acted in good
faith in purchasing the land in =uestion.
Conse=uentl1, D>8C4'<s action is not ;arred ;1 laches.
The main issues having ;een disposed of, discussion of the
other issues appear unnecessar1.
6'>:I0>0 C4)0ID>'>D, the instant petition is here;1
DI0:I00>D and the decision of the Court of ppeals is
here;1 FFI':>D.
04 4'D>'>D.
!. G.R. No. 89783 F230*a0y 19, 199(
MAR#ANO ". LO%'#N, &UL#AN &. LO%'#N, &O'E ".
LO%'#N, AUREA ". LO%'#N, MA#LDE L. %ORDERO,
'ALVADOR ". LO%'#N and MANUEL V. DEL RO'AR#O,
petitioners, vs.!E !ON. %OUR OF A$$EAL', &O'E
&AU%#AN, FLOREN#NO &AU%#AN, MER%EDE'
&AU%#AN AR"OLEDA, !E#R' OF &O'EF#NA &. "OR&A,
!E#R' OF EDUARDO &AU%#AN and !E#R' OF V#%ENE
&AU%#AN, respondents.
$ytona La% &ffice and Si!uia La% &ffices for petitioners.
'a#ella, Sangil ( $ssociates for private respondents.

NARVA'A, C.J.:
'eversal of the decision of the Court of ppeals in C%&.'.
)o. C(%"""$+ F affirming with modification the 5udgment of
the 'egional Trial Court of l;a1 in favor of the plaintiffs in
Civil Case )o. 2"*, entitled -.ose .aucian, et al. v. :ariano
9. 8ocsin, et al.,- an action for recover1 of real propert1 with
damages F is sought. in these proceedings initiated ;1
petition for review on certiorari in accordance with 'ule 3* of
the 'ules of Court.
The petition was initiall1 denied due course and dismissed
;1 this Court. It was however reinstated upon a second
motion for reconsideration filed ;1 the petitioners, and the
respondents were re=uired to comment thereon. The petition
was thereafter given due course and the parties were
directed to su;mit their memorandums. These, together with
the evidence, having ;een carefull1 considered, the Court
now decides the case.
First, the facts as the Court sees them in light of the
evidence on record:
The late &etulio 8ocsin had three children named :ariano,
.ulian and :agdalena, all surnamed 8ocsin. @e owned
e?tensive residential and agricultural properties in the
provinces of l;a1 and 0orsogon. fter his death, his estate
was divided among his three (!) children as follows:
(a) the coconut lands of some 277 hectares in 9ual, 6ilar,
0orsogon, were ad5udicated to his daughter, :agdalena
8ocsinD
(;) "7+ hectares of coconut lands were given to .ulian
8ocsin, father of the petitioners .ulian, :ariano, .ose,
0alvador, :atilde, and urea, all surnamed 8ocsinD
(c) more than fort1 (37) hectares of coconut lands in
9ogtong, eighteen ("$) hectares of riceland in Daraga, and
the residential lots in Daraga, l;a1 and in 8egaBpi Cit1 went
to his son :ariano, which :ariano ;rought into his marriage
to Catalina .aucian in "#7$. Catalina, for her part, ;rought
into the marriage untitled properties which she had inherited
from her parents, 9al;ino .aucian and 0imona nson.
These were augmented ;1 other properties ac=uired ;1 the
spouses in the course of their union,
1
which however was
not ;lessed with children.
>ventuall1, the properties of :ariano and Catalina were
;rought under the Torrens 01stem. Those that :ariano
inherited from his father, &etulio 8ocsin, were surve1ed
cadastrall1 and registered in the name of -:ariano 8ocsin,
married to Catalina .aucian.<<
(
:ariano 8ocsin e?ecuted a 8ast Aill and Testament
instituting his wife, Catalina, as the sole and universal heir of
all his properties.
3
The will was drawn up ;1 his wife<s
nephew and trusted legal adviser, ttorne1 0alvador
8ora1es. ttorne1 8ora1es disclosed that the spouses ;eing
childless, the1 had agreed that their properties, after ;oth of
them shall have died should revert to their respective sides
of the famil1, i.e., :ariano<s properties would go to his
-8ocsin relatives- (i.e., ;rothers and sisters or nephews and
nieces), and those of Catalina to her -.aucian relatives.-
)
Don :ariano 8ocsin died of cancer on 0eptem;er "3, "#3$
after a lingering illness. In due time, his will was pro;ated in
0pecial 6roceedings )o. "!$, CFI of l;a1 without an1
opposition from ;oth sides of the famil1. s directed in his
will, DoKa Catalina was appointed e?ecutri? of his estate.
@er law1er in the pro;ate proceeding was ttorne1 8ora1es.
In the inventor1 of her hus;and<s estate
5
which she
su;mitted to the pro;ate court for approval,
6
Catalina
declared that -all items mentioned from )os. " to !! are the
private properties of the deceased and form part of his
capital at the time of the marriage with the surviving spouse,
while items )os. !3 to 3, are con5ugal.-
7
mong her own and Don :ariano<s relatives, DoKa Catalina
was closest to her nephew, ttorne1 0alvador 8ora1es, her
nieces, >lena .aucian, :aria 8ora1es%Cornelio and :aria
4l;es%(elasco, and the hus;ands of the last two: @ostilio
Cornelio and Fernando (elasco. 8 @er trust in @ostilio
Cornelio was such that she made him custodian of all the
titles of her propertiesD and ;efore she disposed of an1 of
them, she unfailingl1 consulted her law1er%nephew, ttorne1
0alvador 8ora1es. It was tt1. 8ora1es who prepared the
legal documents and, more often than not, the witnesses to
the transactions were her niece >lena .aucian, :aria
8ora1es%Cornelio, :aria 4l;es%(elasco, or their hus;ands.
@er niece, >lena .aucian, was her life%long companion in her
house.
Don :ariano relied on DoKa Catalina to carr1 out the terms
of their compact, hence, nine (#) 1ears after his death, as if
in o;edience to his voice from the grave, and full1 cogniBant
that she was also advancing in 1ears, DoKa Catalina ;egan
transferring, ;1 sale, donation or assignment, Don :ariano<s
as well as her own, properties to their respective nephews
and nieces. 0he made the following sales and donation of
properties which she had received from her hus;and<s
estate, to his 8ocsin nephews and nieces:
E)HI*I+ ,$+E -$+IC.L$S $E$/S0.'. -ICE
1I+2ESSES
,! .an. ,+, "#*2 Deed of ;solute 0ale in #+, 6 3$"favor of
:ariano 8ocsin
"%.'8 pr. 2, "#++ Deed of 0ale in favor of 3!7,,7! 6
,7,777.ose '. 8ocsin
"%..8 :ar. ,,, "#+2 Deed of 0ale in favor of *,777 6 ",777
@ostilio Cornello.ulian 8ocsin (8ot ,7,7) @elen :. .aucian
" )ov. ,#, "#23 Deed of Donation in ,+,*7#favor urea
8ocsin,:atilde 8. Corderoand 0alvador 8ocsin
, Fe;. 3, "#2* Deed of Donation in !3,73*favor urea
8ocsin,:atilde 8. Corderoand 0alvador 8ocsin
! 0ept. #, "#2* Deed of Donation in (8ot ,7*#)favor urea
8ocsin,:atilde 8. Corderoand 0alvador 8ocsin
3 .ul1 "*, "#23 Deed of ;solute 0ale in ",3,3 @ostilio
Corneliofavor of urea 9. 8ocsin Fernando (elasco
* .ul1 "*, "#23 Deed of ;solute 0ale in ",3*+ 6 *,2*7
@ostilio Corneliofavor of urea 9. 8ocsin >lena .aucian
+ .ul1 "*, "#23 Deed of ;solute 0ale in ",,!2 6 *,2,7 %
ditto %favor of urea 9. 8ocsin
2 .ul1 "*, "#23 Deed of ;solute 0ale in ",373 6 3,7*7 %
ditto %favor of urea 9. 8ocsin
"* )ov. ,+, "#2* Deed of 0ale in favor of ,+" 6 3,#!7 % ditto
%urea 8ocsin
"+ 4ct. "2, "#2* Deed of 0ale in favor of *!! 6 ,,777
Delfina nsonurea 8ocsin :. ca;ado
"2 )ov. ,+, "#2* Deed of 0ale in favor of !2! 6 ",777
8eonor 0atuitourea 8ocsin :ariano 9. 8ocsin
"# 0ept. ", "#2* Conditional Donation in ","!7 6 !,777 %
ditto %favor of :ariano 8ocsin
"%:('. Dec. ,#, "#2, Deed of 'econve1ance ",*""7.++ 6
",777 Delfina nsonin favor of :anuel (. del (8ot ,"**)
ntonio Illegi;le'osario whose maternalgrandfather was
&etulio8ocsin
,%:('. .une !7, "#2! Deed of 'econve1ance !"#.!3 6
*77 ntonio Illegi;lein favor of :anuel (. del (8ot ,"**)
0alvador )ical'osario ;ut the rentalsfrom ;igger portion of
8ot ,"** leased to Filoil'efiner1 were assigned to:aria
.aucian 8ora1esCornelio
4f her own properties, DoKa Catalina conve1ed the following
to her own nephews and nieces and others:
E)HI*I+ ,$+E -$+IC.L$S $E$/S0.'. -ICE
,%..8 .ul1 "+, "#+3 Deed of 0ale in favor *,777 6 ",777
(icente .aucian (lot ,7,7)(+,$,* s=m. whenresurve1ed)
,3 Fe;. ",, "#2! Deed of ;solute 0ale "77 6 ",777in favor
of Francisco :.:a=uiniana
,+ .ul1 "*, "#2! Deed of ;solute 0ale in "!7 6 ",!77favor
of Francisco:a=uiniana
,2 :a1 !, "#2! Deed of ;solute 0ale in "77 6 ",777favor
of Ireneo :amia
,$ :a1 !, "#2! Deed of ;solute 0ale in 2* 6 2*7favor of
Lenaida 9uiBa
,# :a1 !, "#2! Deed of ;solute 0ale in "*7 6 ",*77favor
of Felisa :or5ella
!7 pr. !, "#2! Deed of ;solute 0ale in !" 6 ",777favor of
Inocentes :otocinos
!" Fe;. ",, "#2! Deed of ;solute 0ale in "*7 6 ",*77favor
of Casimiro :ondevil
!, :ar. ", "#2! Deed of ;solute 0ale in "", 6 ",,77favor
of .uan 0a;alla
,* Dec. ,$, "#2! Deed of ;solute 0ale in ,*7 6 ,,*77of
'ogelio :articio
DoKa Catalina died on .ul1 +, "#22.
Four 1ears ;efore her death, she had made a will on
4cto;er ,,, "#2! affirming and ratif1ing the transfers she
had made during her lifetime in favor of her hus;and<s, and
her own, relatives. fter the reading of her will, all the
relatives agreed that there was no need to su;mit it to the
court for pro;ate ;ecause the properties devised to them
under the will had alread1 ;een conve1ed to them ;1 the
deceased when she was still alive, e?cept some legacies
which the e?ecutor of her will or estate, ttorne1 0alvador
8ora1es, proceeded to distri;ute.
In "#$#, or si? (+) 1ears after DoKa Catalina<s demise, some
of her .aucian nephews and nieces who had alread1
received their legacies and hereditar1 shares from her
estate, filed action in the 'egional Trial Court of 8egaspi Cit1
(9ranch (III, Civil Case )o. 2"*,) to recover the properties
which she had conve1ed to the 8ocsins during her lifetime,
alleging that the conve1ances were inofficious, without
consideration, and intended solel1 to circumvent the laws on
succession. Those who were closest to DoKa Catalina did
not 5oin the action.
fter the trial, 5udgment was rendered on .ul1 $, l#$* in
favor of the plaintiffs (.aucian), and against the 8ocsin
defendants, the dispositive part of which reads:
A@>'>F4'>, this Court renders 5udgment for the plaintiffs
and against the defendants:
(") declaring the, plaintiffs, e?cept the heirs of .osefina ..
9or5a and >duardo .aucian, who withdrew, the rightful heirs
and entitled to the entire estate, in e=ual portions, of
Catalina .aucian (da. de 8ocsin, ;eing the nearest collateral
heirs ;1 right of representation of .uan and &regorio, ;oth
surnamed .aucian, and full%;lood ;rothers of CatalinaD
(,) declaring the deeds of sale, donations, reconve1ance
and e?change and all other instruments conve1ing an1 part
of the estate of Catalina .. (da. de 8ocsin including, ;ut not
limited to those in the inventor1 of known properties (nne?
9 of the complaint) as null and void a#-initioD
(!) ordering the 'egister of Deeds of l;a1 andEor 8egaBpi
Cit1 to cancel all certificates of title and other transfers of the
real properties, su;5ect of this case, in the name of
defendants, and derivatives therefrom, and issue new ones
to the plaintiffsD
(3) ordering the defendants, 5ointl1 and severall1, to
reconve1 ownership and possession of all such properties to
the plaintiffs, together with all muniments of title properl1
endorsed and delivered, and all the fruits and incomes
received ;1 the defendants from the estate of Catalina, with
legal interest from the filing of this actionD and where
reconve1ance and deliver1 cannot ;e effected for reasons
that might have intervened and prevent the same,
defendants shall pa1 for the value of such properties, fruits
and incomes received ;1 them, also with legal interest from
the filing, of this case
(*) ordering each of the defendants to pa1 the plaintiffs the
amount of 6!7,777.77 as e?emplar1 damagesD and the
further sum of 6,7,777.77 each as moral damagesD and
(+) ordering the defendants to pa1 the plaintiffs attorne1<s
fees and litigation e?penses, in the amount of 6!7,777.77
without pre5udice to an1 contract ;etween plaintiffs and
counsel.
Costs against the defendants.
9
The 8ocsins appealed to the Court of ppeals (C%&.'. )o.
C(%"""$+) which rendered its now appealed 5udgment on
:arch "3, "#$#, affirming the trial court<s decision.
The petition has merit and should ;e granted.
The trial court and the Court of ppeals erred in declaring
the private respondents, nephews and nieces of DoKa
Catalina .. (da. de 8ocsin, entitled to inherit the properties
which she had alread1 disposed of more than ten ("7) 1ears
;efore her death. For those properties did not form part of
her hereditar1 estate, i.e., -the propert1 and transmissi;le
rights and o;ligations existing at t3e time of 4t3e decedent5s6
deat3 and those which have accrued thereto since the
opening of the succession.-
10
The rights to a person<s
succession are transmitted from the moment of his death,
and do not vest in his heirs until such time.
11
6ropert1
which DoKa Catalina had transferred or conve1ed to other
persons during her lifetime no longer formed part of her
estate at the time of her death to which her heirs ma1 la1
claim. @ad she died intestate, onl1 the propert1 that
remained in her estate at the time of her death devolved to
her legal heirsD and even if those transfers were, one and all,
treated as donations, the right arising under certain
circumstances to impugn and compel the reduction or
revocation of a decedent<s gifts inter vivos does not inure to
the respondents since neither the1 nor the donees are
compulsor1 (or forced) heirs.
1(
There is thus no ;asis for assuming an intention on the part
of DoKa Catalina, in transferring the properties she had
received from her late hus;and to his nephews and nieces,
an intent to circumvent the law in violation of the private
respondents< rights to her succession. 0aid respondents are
not her compulsor1 heirs, and it is not pretended that she
had an1 such, hence there were no legitimes that could
conceiva;l1 ;e impaired ;1 an1 transfer of her propert1
during her lifetime. ll that the respondents had was an
expectancy that in nowise restricted her freedom to dispose
of even her entire estate su;5ect onl1 to the limitation set
forth in rt. 2*7, Civil Code which, even if it were ;reached,
the respondents ma1 not invoke:
rt. 2*7. The donation ma1 comprehend all the present
propert1 of the donor or part thereof, provided he reserves,
in full ownership or in usufruct, sufficient means for the
support of himself, and of all relatives who, at the time of the
acceptance of the donation, are ;1 law entitled to ;e
supported ;1 the donor. Aithout such reservation, the
donation shall ;e reduced on petition of an1 person affected.
(+!3a)
The lower court capitaliBed on the fact that DoKa Catalina
was alread1 #7 1ears old when she died on .ul1 +, "#22. It
insinuated that ;ecause of her advanced 1ears she ma1
have ;een imposed upon, or undul1 influenced and morall1
pressured ;1 her hus;and<s nephews and nieces (the
petitioners) to transfer to them the properties which she had
inherited from Don :ariano<s estate. The records do not
support that con5ecture.
For as earl1 as 789:, or twent1%eight (,$) 1ears ;efore her
death, DoKa Catalina had alread1 ;egun transferring to her
8ocsin nephews and nieces the properties which she
received from Don :ariano. 0he sold a #+,%s=.m. lot on
.anuar1 ,+, "#*2 to his nephew and namesake :ariano
8ocsin II.
13
4n pril 2, "#++, or "# 1ears ;efore she passed
awa1, she also sold a 3! hectare land to another 8ocsin
nephew, .ose '. 8ocsin.
1)
The ne?t 1ear, or on :arch ,,,
"#+2, she sold a *,777%s=.m. portion of 8ot ,7,7 to .ulian
8ocsin.
15
4n :arch ,2, "#+2, 8ot ,7,7
16
was partitioned ;1 and
among DoKa Catalina, .ulian 8ocsin, (icente .aucian and
gapito 8orete.
17
t least (icente .aucian, among the other
respondents in this case, is estopped from assailing the
genuineness and due e?ecution of the sale of portions of 8ot
,7,7 to himself, .ulian 8ocsin, and gapito 8orete, and the
partition agreement that he ((icente) concluded with the
other co%owners of 8ot ,7,7.
mong DoKa, Catalina<s last transactions ;efore she died in
"#22 were the sales of propert1 which she made in favor of
urea 8ocsin and :ariano 8ocsin in "#2*.
18
There is not the slightest suggestion in the record that DoKa
Catalina was mentall1 incompetent when she made those
dispositions. Indeed, how can an1 such suggestion ;e made
in light of the fact that even as she was transferring
properties to the 8ocsins, she was also contemporaneousl1
disposing of her other properties in favor of the .auciansM
0he sold to her nephew, (icente .aucian, on .ul1 "+, "#+3
(," 1ears ;efore her death) one%half (or *,777 s=.m.) of 8ot
,7,7. Three 1ears later, or on :arch ,,, "#+2, she sold
another *777 s=.m. of the same lot to .ulian 8ocsin.
19
From "#2, to "#2! she made several other transfers of her
properties to her relatives and other persons, namel1:
Francisco :a=uiniana, Ireneo :amia, Lenaida 9uiBa, FeliBa
:or5ella, Inocentes :otocinos, Casimiro :ondevil, .uan
0a;alla and 'ogelio :articio.
(0
)one of those transactions
was impugned ;1 the private respondents.
In "#2*, or two 1ears ;efore her death, DoKa Catalina sold
some lots not onl1 to Don :ariano<s niece, urea 8ocsin,
and his nephew, :ariano 8ocsinII,
(1
;ut also to her niece,
:ercedes .aucian r;oleda.
((
If she was competent to
make that conve1ance to :ercedes, how can there ;e an1
dou;t that she was e=uall1 competent to transfer her other
pieces of propert1 to urea and :ariano IIM
The trial court<s ;elief that Don :ariano 8ocsin ;e=ueathed
his entire estate to his wife, from a -consciousness of its real
origin- which carries the implication that said estate
consisted of properties which his wife had inherited from her
parents, flies in the teeth of DoKa Catalina<s admission in her
inventor1 of that estate, that -items " to !! are the private
properties of the deceased (Don :ariano) and forms (sic)
part of his capital at the time of the marriage with the
surviving spouse, while items !3 to 3, are conjugal
properties, ac=uired during the marriage.- 0he would have
known ;etter than an1one else whether the listing included
an1 of her paraphernal propert1 so it is safe to assume that
none was in fact included. The inventor1 was signed ;1 her
under oath, and was approved ;1 the pro;ate court in
0pecial 6roceeding )o. "!$ of the Court of First Instance of
l;a1. It was prepared with the assistance of her own
nephew and counsel, tt1. 0alvador 8ora1es, who surel1
would not have prepared a false inventor1 that would have
;een pre5udicial to his aunt<s interest and to his own, since
he stood to inherit from her eventuall1.
This Court finds no reason to dis;elieve ttorne1 8ora1es<
testimon1 that ;efore Don :ariano died, he and his wife
(DoKa Catalina), ;eing childless, had agreed that their
respective properties should eventuall1 revert to their
respective lineal relatives. s the trusted legal adviser of the
spouses and a full%;lood nephew of DoKa Catalina, he would
not have spun a tale out of thin air that would also pre5udice
his own interest.
8ittle significance, it seems, has ;een attached to the fact
that among DoKa Catalina<s nephews and nieces, those
closest to her: (a) her law1er%nephew ttorne1 0alvador
8ora1esD (;) her niece and companion >lena .aucian: (c) her
nieces :aria 4l;es%(elasco and :aria 8ora1es%Cornelio
and their respective hus;ands, Fernando (elasco and
@ostilio Cornelio, did not join t3e suit to annul and undo the
dispositions of propert1 which she made in favor of the
8ocsins, although it would have ;een to their advantage to
do so. Their desistance persuasivel1 demonstrates that
DoKa Catalina acted as a completel1 free agent when she
made the conve1ances in favor of the petitioners. In fact,
considering their closeness to DoKa Catalina it would have
;een well%nigh impossi;le for the petitioners to emplo1
-fraud, undue pressure, and su;tle manipulations- on her to
make her sell or donate her properties to them. DoKa
Catalina<s niece, >lena .aucian, daughter of her ;rother,
>duardo .aucian, lived with her in her house. @er nephew%
in%law, @ostilio Cornelio, was the custodian of the titles of her
properties. The sales and donations which she signed in
favor of the petitioners were prepared ;1 her trusted legal
adviser and nephew, ttorne1 0alvador 8ora1es. The (")
deed of donation dated )ovem;er "#, "#23
(3
in favor of
urea 8ocsin, (,) another deed of donation dated Fe;ruar1
3, "#2*
()
in favor of :atilde Cordero, and (!) still another
deed dated 0eptem;er #, "#2*
(5
in favor of 0alvador
8ora1es, were all witnessed ;1 @ostilio Cornelio (who is
married to DoKa Catalina<s niece, :aria 8ora1es) and
Fernando (elasco who is married to another niece, :aria
4l;es.
(6
The sales which she made in favor of urea
8ocsin on .ul1 "*, "#23
(7
were witnessed ;1 @ostilio
Cornelio and >lena .aucian. &iven those circumstances,
said transactions could not have ;een an1thing ;ut free and
voluntar1 acts on her part.
part from the foregoing considerations, the trial court and
the Court of ppeals erred in not dismissing this action for
annulment and reconve1ance on the ground of prescription.
Commenced decades after the transactions had ;een
consummated, and si? (+) 1ears after DoKa Catalina<s death,
it prescri;ed four (3) 1ears after the su;5ect transactions
were recorded in the 'egistr1 of 6ropert1,
(8
whether
considered an action ;ased on fraud, or one to redress an
in5ur1 to the rights of the plaintiffs. The private respondents
ma1 not feign ignorance of said transactions ;ecause the
registration of the deeds was constructive notice thereof to
them and the whole world.
(9
A@>'>F4'>, the petition for review is granted. The
decision dated :arch "3, "#$# of the Court of ppeals in
C%&.'. C( )o. """$+ is '>(>'0>D and 0>T 0ID>. The
private respondents< complaint for annulment of contracts
and reconve1ance of properties in Civil Case )o. 2"*, of
the 'egional Trial Court, 9ranch (III of 8egaBpi Cit1, is
DI0:I00>D, with costs against the private respondents,
plaintiffs therein.
04 4'D>'>D.
3. FI'0T DI(I0I4)
4G.R. No. 1(5835. &*/y 30, 19985
NAAL#A %AR$ENA O$ULEN%#A, petitioner, vs. %OUR
OF A$$EAL', ALAD#N '#MUNDA% and
M#GUEL OL#VAN, respondents.
D E % # ' # O N
$ANGAN#"AN, J.
Is a contract to sell a real propert1 involved in testate
proceedings valid and ;inding without the approval of the
pro;ate courtM
'-a-212n- o6 -72 %a,2
This is the main =uestion raised in this petition for
review ;efore us, assailing the DecisionH"I of the Court of
ppealsH,I in C%&' C( )o. 3"##3 promulgated on
Fe;ruar1 +, "##+ and its 'esolutionH!I dated .ul1 "#, "##+.
The challenged Decision disposed as follows:
NA@>'>F4'>, premises considered, the order of the lower
court dismissing the complaint is 0>T 0ID> and 5udgment
is here;1 rendered declaring the C4)T'CT T4 0>88
e?ecuted ;1 appellee in favor of appellants as valid and
;inding, su;5ect to the result of the administration
proceedings of the testate >state of Demetrio Carpena.
04 4'D>'>D.O H3I
6etitionerPs :otion for 'econsideration was denied in
the challenged 'esolution.H*I
72 Fa8-,
The antecedent facts, as succinctl1 narrated ;1
'espondent Court of ppeals are:
NIn a complaint for specific performance filed with the court a
=uo Hherein private respondentsI ladin 0imundac and
:iguel 4liven alleged that Hherein petitionerI )atalia
Carpena 4pulencia e?ecuted in their favor a NC4)T'CT
T4 0>88O 8ot ,",* of the 0ta. 'osa >state, consisting of
,!,2++ s=uare meters located in 0ta. 'osa, 8aguna at
6"*7.77 per s=uare meterD that plaintiffs paid a
downpa1ment of 6!77,777.77 ;ut defendant, despite
demands, failed to compl1 with her o;ligations under the
contract. H6rivate respondentsI therefore pra1ed that
HpetitionerI ;e ordered to perform her contractual o;ligations
and to further pa1 damages, attorne1Ps fee and litigation
e?penses.
In her traverse, HpetitionerI admitted the e?ecution of the
contract in favor of plaintiffs and receipt of 6!77,777.77 as
downpa1ment. @owever, she put forward the following
affirmative defenses: that the propert1 su;5ect of the contract
formed part of the >state of Demetrio Carpena (petitionerPs
father), in respect of which a petition for pro;ate was filed
with the 'egional Trial Court, 9ranch ,3, 9iKan, 8agunaD that
at the time the contract was e?ecuted, the parties were
aware of the pendenc1 of the pro;ate proceedingD that the
contract to sell was not approved ;1 the pro;ate courtD that
realiBing the nullit1 of the contract HpetitionerI had offered to
return the downpa1ment received from Hprivate
respondentsI, ;ut the latter refused to accept itD that Hprivate
respondentsI further failed to provide funds for the tenant
who demanded 6"*7,77.77 in pa1ment of his tenanc1 rights
on the landD that HpetitionerI had chosen to rescind the
contract.
t the pre%trial conference the parties stipulated on HsicI the
following facts:
". That on Fe;ruar1 !, "#$#, Hprivate respondentsI
and HpetitionerI entered into a contract to sell involving a
parcel of land situated in 0ta. 'osa, 8aguna, otherwise
known as 8ot )o. ,",* of the 0ta. 'osa >state.
,. That the price or consideration of the said sell HsicI
is 6"*7.77 per s=uare metersD
!. That the amount of 6!77,777.77 had alread1 ;een
received ;1 HpetitionerID
3. That the parties have knowledge that the propert1
su;5ect of the contract to sell is su;5ect of the pro;ate
proceedingsD
*. That HasI of this time, the pro;ate Court has not 1et
issued an order either approving or den1ing the said sale.
(p. !, appealed 4rder of 0eptem;er "*, "##,, pp. "7#%"",,
record).
H6rivate respondentsI su;mitted their evidence in support of
the material allegations of the complaint. In addition to
testimonies of witnesses, Hprivate respondentsI presented
the following documentar1 evidences: (") Contract to 0ell
(>?h )D (,) machine cop1 of the last will and testament of
Demetrio Carpena (defendantPs father) to show that the
propert1 sold ;1 defendant was one of those devised to her
in said will (>?h 9)D (!) receipts signed ;1 defendant for the
downpa1ment in the total amount of 6!77,777.77 (>?hs C, D
Q >)D and (3) demand letters sent to defendant (>?hs F Q &).
It appears that HpetitionerI, instead of su;mitting her
evidence, filed a Demurrer to >vidence. In essence,
defendant maintained that the contract to sell was null and
void for want of approval ;1 the pro;ate court. 0he further
argued that the contract was su;5ect to a suspensive
condition, which was the pro;ate of the will of defendantPs
father Demetrio Carpena. n 4pposition was filed ;1
Hprivate respondentsI. It appears further that in an 4rder
dated Decem;er "*, "##, the court a =uo granted the
demurrer to evidence and dismissed the complaint. It
5ustified its action in dismissing the complaint in the following
manner:
It is noteworth1 that when the contract to sell was
consummated, no petition was filed in the Court with notice
to the heirs of the time and place of hearing, to show that the
sale is necessar1 and ;eneficial. sale of properties of an
estate as ;eneficial to the interested parties must compl1
with the re=uisites provided ;1 law, (0ec. 2, 'ule $#, 'ules
of Court) which are mandator1, and without them, the
authorit1 to sell, the sale itself, and the order approving it,
would ;e null and void a; initio. (rcilla vs. David, 22 6hil.
2"$, &a;riel, et al., vs. >ncarnacion, et al., 8%+2!+, :a1 3,
"#*3D 9onaga vs. 0oler, , 6hil. 2**) 9esides, it is a?iomatic
that where the estate of a deceased person is alread1 the
su;5ect of a testate or intestate proceeding, the administrator
cannot enter into an1 transaction involving it without prior
approval of the pro;ate Court. (>state of 4;ave, vs. 'e1es,
",! 0C' 2+2).
s held ;1 the 0upreme Court, a decedentPs representative
(administrator) is not estopped from =uestioning the validit1
of his own void deed purporting to conve1 land. (9ona vs.
0oler, , 6hil, 2**). In the case at ;ar, the Hpetitioner,I
realiBing the illegalit1 of the transactionH,I has interposed the
nullit1 of the contract as her defense, there ;eing no
approval from the pro;ate Court, and, in good faith offers to
return the mone1 she received from the Hprivate
respondentsI. Certainl1, the administratri? is not estopHpedI
from doing so and the action to declare the ine?istence of
contracts do not prescri;e. This is what precipitated the
filing of HpetitionerPsI demurrer to evidence.OH+I
The trial courtPs order of dismissal was elevated to
the Court of ppeals ;1 private respondents who alleged:
N". The lower court erred in concluding that the contract to
sell is null and void, there ;eing no approval of the pro;ate
court.
,. The lower court erred in concluding that HpetitionerI in
good faith offers to return the mone1 to Hprivate
respondentsI.
!. The lower court erred in concluding that HpetitionerI is
not under estoppel to =uestion the validit1 of the contract to
sell.
3. The lower court erred in not ruling on the consideration
of the contract to sell which is tantamount to plain un5ust
enrichment of HpetitionerI at the e?pense of Hprivate
respondentsI.OH2I
$*3/98 R2,:ond2n-;, R*/9n+
Declaring the Contract to 0ell valid, su;5ect to the
outcome of the testate proceedings on Demetrio CarpenaPs
estate, the appellate court set aside the trial courtPs
dismissal of the complaint and correctl1 ruled as follows:
NIt is apparent from the appealed order that the lower court
treated the contract to sell e?ecuted ;1 appellee as one
made ;1 the administratri? of the >state of Demetrio
Carpena for the ;enefit of the estate. @ence, its main
reason for voiding the contract in =uestion was the a;sence
of the pro;ate courtPs approval. 6resuma;l1, what the lower
court had in mind was the sale of the estate or part thereof
made ;1 the administrator for the ;enefit of the estate, as
authoriBed under 'ule $# of the 'evised 'ules of Court,
which re=uires the approval of the pro;ate court upon
application therefor with notice to the heirs, devisees and
legatees.
@owever, as adverted to ;1 appellants in their ;rief, the
contract to sell in =uestion is not covered ;1 'ule $# of the
'evised 'ules of Court since it was made ;1 appellee in her
capacit1 as an heir, of a propert1 that was devised to her
under the will sought to ;e pro;ated. Thus, while the
document inadvertentl1 stated that appellee e?ecuted the
contract in her capacit1 as Ne?ecutri? and administratri?O of
the estate, a cursor1 reading of the entire te?t of the contract
would unerringl1 show that what she undertook to sell to
appellants was one of the Nother properties given to her ;1
her late father,O and more importantl1, it was not made for
the ;enefit of the estate ;ut for her own needs. To illustrate
this point, it is apropos to refer to the pream;ular or
preliminar1 portion of the document, which reads:
A@>'>0, the 0>88>' is the lawful owner of a certain
parcel of land, which is more particularl1 descri;ed as
follows:
? ? ? ? ? ?
? ? ?
? ? ? ? ? ?
? ? ?
? ? ? ? ? ?
? ? ?
A@>'>0, the 0>88>' suffers difficulties in her living and
has forced to offer the sale of the a;ove%descri;ed propert1,
Nwhich propert1 was onl1 one among the other properties
given to her ;1 her late father,O to an1one who can wait for
complete clearance of the court on the 8ast Aill Testament
of her father.
A@>'>0, the 0>88>' in order to meet her need of cash,
has offered for sale the said propert1 at 4)> @C)D'>D
FIFT/ 6>040 ("*7.77) 6hilippine Currenc1, per s=uare
meter unto the 9C/>'0, and with this offer, the latter has
accepted to ;u1 andEor purchase the same, less the area for
the road and other easements indicated at the ;ack of
Transfer Certificate of Title )o. ,",* dul1 confirmed after the
surve1 to ;e conducted ;1 the 9C/>'Ps 8icensed &eodetic
>ngineer, and whatever area HisI left. (>mphasis added).
To emphasiBe, it is evident from the foregoing clauses of the
contract that appellee sold 8ot ,",* not in her capacit1 as
e?ecutri? of the will or administratri? of the estate of her
father, ;ut as an heir and more importantl1 as owner of said
lot which, along with other properties, was devised to her
under the will sought to ;e pro;ated. That ;eing so, the
re=uisites stipulated in 'ule $# of the 'evised 'ules of
Court which refer to a sale made ;1 the administrator for the
;enefit of the estate do not appl1.
? ? ? ? ? ?
? ? ?
It is noteworth1 that in a :anifestation filed with this court ;1
appellants, which is not controverted ;1 appellee, it is
mentioned that the last will and testament of Demetrio
Carpena was approved in a final 5udgment rendered in
0pecial 6roceeding )o. 9%#2# ;1 the 'egional Trial Court,
9ranch ,3 9inan, 8aguna. 9ut of course such approval
does not terminate the proceedingHsI since the settlement of
the estate will ensue. 0uch proceedings will consist, among
others, in the issuance ;1 the court of a notice to creditors
('ule $+), hearing of mone1 claims and pa1ment of ta?es
and estate de;ts ('ule $$) and distri;ution of the residue to
the heirs or persons entitled thereto ('ule #7). In effect, the
final e?ecution of the deed of sale itself upon appellantsP
pa1ment of the ;alance of the purchase price will have to
wait for the settlement or termination of the administration
proceedings of the >state of Demetrio Carpena. Cnder the
foregoing premises, what the trial court should have done
with the complaint was not to dismiss it ;ut to simpl1 put on
hold further proceedings until such time that the estate or its
residue will ;e distri;uted in accordance with the approved
will.
The rule is that when a demurrer to the evidence is granted
;1 the trial court ;ut reversed on appeal, defendant loses
the right to adduce his evidence. In such a case, the
appellate court will decide the controvers1 on the ;asis of
plaintiffPs evidence. In the case at ;ench, while we find the
contract to sell valid and ;inding ;etween the parties, we
cannot as 1et order appellee to perform her o;ligations
under the contract ;ecause the result of the administration
proceedings of the testate >state of Demetrio Carpena has
to ;e awaited. @ence, we shall confine our ad5udication to
merel1 declaring the validit1 of the =uestioned Contract to
0ell.O
@ence, this appeal.H$I
72 #,,*2
6etitioner raises onl1 one issue:
NAhether or not the Contract to 0ell dated 7!
Fe;ruar1 "#$# e?ecuted ;1 the HpIetitioner and
HpIrivate HrIespondentHsI without the re=uisite pro;ate
court approval is valid.O
72 %o*0-;, R*/9n+
The petition has no merit.
Contract to Sell Valid
In a nutshell, petitioner contends that Nwhere the
estate of the deceased person is alread1 the su;5ect of a
testate or intestate proceeding, the administrator cannot
enter into an1 transaction involving it without prior approval
of the 6ro;ate Court.OH#I 0he maintains that the Contract to
0ell is void ;ecause it was not approved ;1 the pro;ate
court, as re=uired ;1 0ection 2, 'ule $# of the 'ules of
Court:
N0>C. 2. egulations for granting aut3ority to sell, mortgage,
or ot3er%ise encum#er estate. G The court having
5urisdiction of the estate of the deceased ma1 authoriBe the
e?ecutor or administrator to sell, mortgage, or otherwise
encum;er real estate, in cases provided ;1 these rules and
when it appears necessar1 or ;eneficial, under the following
regulations:
???O
Insisting that the a;ove rule should appl1 to this case,
petitioner argues that the stipulations in the Contract to 0ell
re=uire her to act in her capacit1 as an e?ecutri? or
administratri?. 0he avers that her o;ligation to e5ect tenants
pertains to the administratri? or e?ecutri?, the estate ;eing
the landlord of the said tenants.H"7I 8ikewise demonstrating
that she entered into the contract in her capacit1 as e?ecutor
is the stipulation that she must effect the conversion of
su;5ect land from irrigated rice land to residential land and
secure the necessar1 clearances from government offices.
6etitioner alleges that these o;ligations can ;e undertaken
onl1 ;1 an e?ecutor or administrator of an estate, and not ;1
an heir.H""I
The Court is not persuaded. s correctl1 ruled ;1 the
Court of ppeals, 0ection 2 of 'ule $# of the 'ules of Court
is not applica;le, ;ecause petitioner entered into the
Contract to 0ell in her capacit1 as an heiress, not as an
e?ecutri? or administratri? of the estate. In the contract, she
represented herself as the Nlawful ownerO and seller of the
su;5ect parcel of land.H",I 0he also e?plained the reason for
the sale to ;e Ndifficulties in her livingO conditions and
conse=uent Nneed of cash.OH"!I These representations
clearl1 evince that she was not acting on ;ehalf of the estate
under pro;ate when she entered into the Contract to 0ell.
ccordingl1, the 5urisprudence cited ;1 petitioner has no
application to the instant case.
Ae emphasiBe that hereditar1 rights are vested in the
heir or heirs from the moment of the decedentPs death.H"3I
6etitioner, therefore, ;ecame the owner of her hereditar1
share the moment her father died. Thus, the lack of 5udicial
approval does not invalidate the Contract to 0ell, ;ecause
the petitioner has the su;stantive right to sell the whole or a
part of her share in the estate of her late father.H"*I Thus, in
;a<osalem vs. afols,H"+I the Court resolved an identical
issue under the old Civil Code and held:
Nrticle 337 of the Civil Code provides that Rthe possession
of hereditar1 propert1 is deemed to ;e transmitted to the heir
without interruption from the instant of the death of the
decedent, in case the inheritance ;e accepted.P nd
:anresa with reason states that upon the death of a
person, each of his heirs R;ecomes the undivided owner of
the whole estate left with respect to the part or portion which
might ;e ad5udicated to him, a communit1 of ownership
;eing thus formed among the coowners of the estate while it
remains undivided.P ??? nd according to article !## of the
Civil Code, ever1 part owner ma1 assign or mortgage his
part in the common propert1, and the effect of such
assignment or mortgage shall ;e limited to the portion which
ma1 ;e allotted him in the partition upon the dissolution of
the communit1. @ence, where some of the heirs, without the
concurrence of the others, sold a propert1 left ;1 their
deceased father, this Court, speaking thru its then Chief
.ustice Ca1etano rellano, said that the sale was valid, ;ut
that the effect thereof was limited to the share which ma1 ;e
allotted to the vendors upon the partition of the estate.O
Administration of the Estate Not Prejudiced by the
Contract to Sell
6etitioner further contends that NHtIo sanction the sale
at this stage would ;ring a;out a partial distri;ution of the
decedentPs estate pending the final termination of the testate
proceedings.OH"2I This ;ecomes all the more significant in
the light of the trial courtPs finding, as stated in its 4rder
dated ugust ,7, "##2, that Nthe legitime of one of the heirs
has ;een impaired.OH"$I
6etitionerPs contention is not convincing. The
Contract to 0ell stipulates that petitionerPs offer to sell is
contingent on the Ncomplete clearance of the court on the
8ast Aill Testament of her father.OH"#I Conse=uentl1,
although the Contract to 0ell was perfected ;etween the
petitioner and private respondents during the pendenc1 of
the pro;ate proceedings, the consummation of the sale or
the transfer of ownership over the parcel of land to the
private respondents is su;5ect to the full pa1ment of the
purchase price and to the termination and outcome of the
testate proceedings. Therefore, there is no ;asis for
petitionerPs apprehension that the Contract to 0ell ma1 result
in a premature partition and distri;ution of the properties of
the estate. Indeed, it is settled that Nthe sale made ;1 an
heir of his share in an inheritance, su;5ect to the pending
administration, in no wise stands in the wa1 of such
administration.OH,7I
Estoppel
Finall1, petitioner is estopped from ;acking out of her
representations in her valid Contract to 0ell with private
respondents, from whom she had alread1 received
6!77,777 as initial pa1ment of the purchase price.
6etitioner ma1 not renege on her own acts and
representations, to the pre5udice of the private respondents
who have relied on them.H,"I .urisprudence teaches us that
neither the law nor the courts will e?tricate a part1 from an
unwise or undesira;le contract he or she entered into with all
the re=uired formalities and with full awareness of its
conse=uences.H,,I
<!EREFORE, the petition is here;1 ,E2IE, and
the assailed Decision of the Court of ppeals $==I'E,.
Costs against petitioner.
'O ORDERED.
*. G.R. No. 1(633) No=21320 (3, (001
EM#L#O EMNA%E, petitioner, vs.%OUR OF A$$EAL',
E'AE OF V#%ENE A"ANAO, '!ER<#N A"ANAO,
V#%ENE <#LL#AM A"ANAO, &ANEE A"ANAO
DE$O'OY, V#%ENA MAY A"ANAO VARELA, RO'ELA
A"ANAO and V#N%EN A"ANAO, respondents.
YNARE'-'AN#AGO, J.:
6etitioner >milio >mnace, (icente Ta;anao and .acinto
Divinagracia were partners in a ;usiness concern known as
:a. )elma Fishing Industr1. 0ometime in .anuar1 of "#$+,
the1 decided to dissolve their partnership and e?ecuted an
agreement of partition and distri;ution of the partnership
properties among them, conse=uent to .acinto
Divinagracia<s withdrawal from the partnership.
"
mong the
assets to ;e distri;uted were five (*) fishing ;oats, si? (+)
vehicles, two (,) parcels of land located at 0to. )iKo and
Talisa1, )egros 4ccidental, and cash deposits in the local
;ranches of the 9ank of the 6hilippine Islands and
6rudential 9ank.
Throughout the e?istence of the partnership, and even after
(icente Ta;anao<s untimel1 demise in "##3, petitioner failed
to su;mit to Ta;anao<s heirs an1 statement of assets and
lia;ilities of the partnership, and to render an accounting of
the partnership<s finances. 6etitioner also reneged on his
promise to turn over to Ta;anao<s heirs the deceased<s "E!
share in the total assets of the partnership, amounting to
6!7,777,777.77, or the sum of 6"7,777,777.77, despite
formal demand for pa1ment thereof.
,
Conse=uentl1, Ta;anao< s heirs, respondents herein, filed
against petitioner an action for accounting, pa1ment of
shares, division of assets and damages.
!
In their complaint,
respondents pra1ed as follows:
". Defendant ;e ordered to render the proper accounting of
all the assets and lia;ilities of the partnership at ;arD and
,. fter due notice and hearing defendant ;e ordered to
pa1EremitEdeliverEsurrenderE1ield to the plaintiffs the
following:
. )o less than 4ne Third ("E!) of the assets, properties,
dividends, cash, land(s), fishing vessels, trucks, motor
vehicles, and other forms and su;stance of treasures which
;elong andEor should ;elong, had accrued andEor must
accrue to the partnershipD
9. )o less than Two @undred Thousand 6esos
(6,77,777.77) as moral damagesD
C. ttorne1<s fees e=uivalent to Thirt1 6ercent (!7S) of the
entire shareEamountEaward which the @onora;le Court ma1
resolve the plaintiffs as entitled to plus 6",777.77 for ever1
appearance in court.
3
6etitioner filed a motion to dismiss the complaint on the
grounds of improper venue, lack of 5urisdiction over the
nature of the action or suit, and lack of capacit1 of the estate
of Ta;anao to sue.
*
4n ugust !7, "##3, the trial court
denied the motion to dismiss. It held that venue was properl1
laid ;ecause, while realties were involved, the action was
directed against a particular person on the ;asis of his
personal lia;ilit1D hence, the action is not onl1 a personal
action ;ut also an action in personam. s regards
petitioner<s argument of lack of 5urisdiction over the action
;ecause the prescri;ed docket fee was not paid considering
the huge amount involved in the claim, the trial court noted
that a re=uest for accounting was made in order that the
e?act value of the partnership ma1 ;e ascertained and, thus,
the correct docket fee ma1 ;e paid. Finall1, the trial court
held that the heirs of Ta;anao had aright to sue in their own
names, in view of the provision of rticle 222 of the Civil
Code, which states that the rights to the succession are
transmitted from the moment of the death of the decedent.
+
The following da1, respondents filed an amended
complaint,
2
incorporating the additional pra1er that petitioner
;e ordered to -sell all (the partnership<s) assets and
thereafter pa1EremitEdeliverEsurrenderE1ield to the plaintiffs-
their corresponding share in the proceeds thereof. In due
time, petitioner filed a manifestation and motion to dismiss,
$
arguing that the trial court did not ac=uire 5urisdiction over
the case due to the plaintiffs< failure to pa1 the proper docket
fees. Further, in a supplement to his motion to dismiss,
#
petitioner also raised prescription as an additional ground
warranting the outright dismissal of the complaint.
4n .une "*, "##*, the trial court issued an 4rder,
"7
den1ing
the motion to dismiss inasmuch as the grounds raised
therein were ;asicall1 the same as the earlier motion to
dismiss which has ;een denied. nent the issue of
prescription, the trial court ruled that prescription ;egins to
run onl1 upon the dissolution of the partnership when the
final accounting is done. @ence, prescription has not set in
the a;sence of a final accounting. :oreover, an action
;ased on a written contract prescri;es in ten 1ears from the
time the right of action accrues.
6etitioner filed a petition for certiorari ;efore the Court of
ppeals,
""
raising the following issues:
I. Ahether or not respondent .udge acted without
5urisdiction or with grave a;use of discretion in taking
cogniBance of a case despite the failure to pa1 the re=uired
docket feeD
II. Ahether or not respondent .udge acted without
5urisdiction or with grave a;use of discretion in insisting to tr1
the case which involve (sic) a parcel of land situated outside
of its territorial 5urisdictionD
III. Ahether or not respondent .udge acted without
5urisdiction or with grave a;use of discretion in allowing the
estate of the deceased to appear as part1 plaintiff, when
there is no intestate case and filed ;1 one who was never
appointed ;1 the court as administratri? of the estatesD and
I(. Ahether or not respondent .udge acted without
5urisdiction or with grave a;use of discretion in not
dismissing the case on the ground of prescription.
4n ugust $, "##+, the Court of ppeals rendered the
assailed decision,
",
dismissing the petition for certiorari,
upon a finding that no grave a;use of discretion amounting
to lack or e?cess of 5urisdiction was committed ;1 the trial
court in issuing the =uestioned orders den1ing petitioner<s
motions to dismiss.
)ot satisfied, petitioner filed the instant petition for review,
raising the same issues resolved ;1 the Court of ppeals,
namel1:
I. Failure to pa1 the proper docket feeD
II. 6arcel of land su;5ect of the case pending ;efore the
trial court is outside the said court<s territorial 5urisdictionD
III. 8ack of capacit1 to sue on the part of plaintiff heirs of
(icente Ta;anaoD and
I(. 6rescription of the plaintiff heirs< cause of action.
It can ;e readil1 seen that respondents< primar1 and ultimate
o;5ective in instituting the action ;elow was to recover the
decedent<s "E! share in the partnership< s assets. Ahile the1
ask for an accounting of the partnership< s assets and
finances, what the1 are actuall1 asking is for the trial court to
compel petitioner to pa1 and turn over their share, or the
e=uivalent value thereof, from the proceeds of the sale of
the partnership assets. The1 also assert that until and unless
a proper accounting is done, the e?act value of the
partnership< s assets, as well as their corresponding share
therein, cannot ;e ascertained. Conse=uentl1, the1 feel
5ustified in not having paid the commensurate docket fee as
re=uired ;1 the 'ules of Court.7>%p3i7.n?t
Ae do not agree. The trial court does not have to emplo1
guesswork in ascertaining the estimated value of the
partnership<s assets, for respondents themselves voluntaril1
pegged the worth thereof at Thirt1 :illion 6esos
(6!7,777,777.77). @ence, this case is one which is reall1 not
;e1ond pecuniar1 estimation, ;ut rather partakes of the
nature of a simple collection case where the value of the
su;5ect assets or amount demanded is pecuniaril1
determina;le.
"!
Ahile it is true that the e?act value of the
partnership<s total assets cannot ;e shown with certaint1 at
the time of filing, respondents can and must ascertain,
through informed and practical estimation, the amount the1
e?pect to collect from the partnership, particularl1 from
petitioner, in order to determine the proper amount of docket
and other fees.
"3
It is thus imperative for respondents to pa1
the corresponding docket fees in order that the trial court
ma1 ac=uire 5urisdiction over the action.
"*
)evertheless, unlike in the case of 'anc3ester
,evelopment Corp. v. Court of $ppeals,
"+
where there was
clearl1 an effort to defraud the government in avoiding to pa1
the correct docket fees, we see no attempt to cheat the
courts on the part of respondents. In fact, the lower courts
have noted their e?pressed desire to remit to the court -an1
pa1a;le ;alance or lien on whatever award which the
@onora;le Court ma1 grant them in this case should there
;e an1 deficienc1 in the pa1ment of the docket fees to ;e
computed ;1 the Clerk of Court.-
"2
There is evident
willingness to pa1, and the fact that the docket fee paid so
far is inade=uate is not an indication that the1 are tr1ing to
avoid pa1ing the re=uired amount, ;ut ma1 simpl1 ;e due to
an ina;ilit1 to pa1 at the time of filing. This consideration
ma1 have moved the trial court and the Court of ppeals to
declare that the unpaid docket fees shall ;e considered a
lien on the 5udgment award.
6etitioner, however, argues that the trial court and the Court
of ppeals erred in condoning the non%pa1ment of the
proper legal fees and in allowing the same to ;ecome a lien
on the monetar1 or propert1 5udgment that ma1 ;e rendered
in favor of respondents. There is merit in petitioner<s
assertion. The third paragraph of 0ection "+, 'ule "3" of the
'ules of Court states that:
The legal fees shall ;e a lien on the monetar1 or propert1
5udgment in favor of the pauper%litigant.
'espondents cannot invoke the a;ove provision in their
favor ;ecause it specificall1 applies to pauper%litigants.
)owhere in the records does it appear that respondents are
litigating as paupers, and as such are e?empted from the
pa1ment of court fees.
"$
The rule applica;le to the case at ;ar is 0ection *(a) of 'ule
"3" of the 'ules of Court, which defines the two kinds of
claims as: (") those which are immediatel1 ascertaina;leD
and (,) those which cannot ;e immediatel1 ascertained as
to the e?act amount. This second class of claims, where the
e?act amount still has to ;e finall1 determined ;1 the courts
;ased on evidence presented, falls s=uarel1 under the third
paragraph of said 0ection *(a), which provides:
In case the value of the propert1 or estate or the sum
claimed is less or more in accordance with the appraisal of
the court, the difference of fee shall ;e refunded or paid as
the case ma1 ;e. (Cnderscoring ours)
In -ilipinas S3ell -etroleum Corporation v. Court of
$ppeals,
"#
this Court pronounced that the a;ove%=uoted
provision -clearl1 contemplates an Initial pa1ment of the
filing fees corresponding to the estimated amount of the
claim su;5ect to ad5ustment as to what later ma1 ;e
proved.-
,7
:oreover, we reiterated therein the principle that
the pa1ment of filing fees cannot ;e made contingent or
dependent on the result of the case. Thus, an initial pa1ment
of the docket fees ;ased on an estimated amount must ;e
paid simultaneous with the filing of the complaint. 4therwise,
the court would stand to lose the filing fees should the
5udgment later turn out to ;e adverse to an1 claim of the
respondent heirs.
The matter of pa1ment of docket fees is not a mere trivialit1.
These fees are necessar1 to defra1 court e?penses in the
handling of cases. Conse=uentl1, in order to avoid
tremendous losses to the 5udiciar1, and to the government
as well, the pa1ment of docket fees cannot ;e made
dependent on the outcome of the case, e?cept when the
claimant is a pauper%litigant.
pplied to the instant case, respondents have a specific
claim % "E! of the value of all the partnership assets % ;ut
the1 did not allege a specific amount. The1 did, however,
estimate the partnership<s total assets to ;e worth Thirt1
:illion 6esos (6!7,777,777.77), in a letter
,"
addressed to
petitioner. 'espondents cannot now sa1 that the1 are una;le
to make an estimate, for the said letter and the admissions
therein form part of the records of this case. The1 cannot
avoid pa1ing the initial docket fees ;1 convenientl1 omitting
the said amount in their amended complaint. This estimate
can ;e made the ;asis for the initial docket fees that
respondents should pa1. >ven if it were later esta;lished that
the amount proved was less or more than the amount
alleged or estimated, 'ule "3", 0ection *(a) of the 'ules of
Court specificall1 provides that the court ma1 refund the
<e?cess or e?act additional fees should the initial pa1ment ;e
insufficient. It is clear that it is onl1 the difference ;etween
the amount finall1 awarded and the fees paid upon filing of
this complaint that is su;5ect to ad5ustment and which ma1
;e su;5ected to alien.
In the oft%=uoted case of Sun Insurance &ffice, Ltd. v. Hon.
'aximiano $suncion,
,,
this Court held that when the
specific claim -has ;een left for the determination ;1 the
court, the additional filing fee therefor shall constitute a lien
on the 5udgment and it shall ;e the responsi;ilit1 of the Clerk
of Court or his dul1 authoriBed deput1 to enforce said lien
and assess and collect the additional fee.- Clearl1, the rules
and 5urisprudence contemplate the initial pa1ment of filing
and docket fees ;ased on the estimated claims of the
plaintiff, and it is onl1 when there is a deficienc1 that a lien
ma1 ;e constituted on the 5udgment award until such
additional fee is collected.
9ased on the foregoing, the trial court erred in not
dismissing the complaint outright despite their failure to pa1
the proper docket fees. )evertheless, as in other procedural
rules, it ma1 ;e li;erall1 construed in certain cases if onl1 to
secure a 5ust and speed1 disposition of an action. Ahile the
rule is that the pa1ment of the docket fee in the proper
amount should ;e adhered to, there are certain e?ceptions
which must ;e strictl1 construed.
,!
In recent rulings, this Court has rela?ed the strict adherence
to the 'anc3ester doctrine, allowing the plaintiff to pa1 the
proper docket fees within a reasona;le time ;efore the
e?piration of the applica;le prescriptive or reglementar1
period.
,3
In the recent case of 2ational Steel Corp. v. Court of
$ppeals,
,*
this Court held that:
The court ac=uires 5urisdiction over the action if the filing of
the initiator1 pleading is accompanied ;1 the pa1ment of the
re=uisite fees, or, if the fees are not paid at the time of the
filing of the pleading, as of the time of full pa1ment of the
fees within such reasona;le time as the court ma1 grant,
unless, of course, prescription has set in the meantime.
It does not follow, however, that the trial court should have
dismissed the complaint for failure of private respondent to
pa1 the correct amount of docket fees. lthough the
pa1ment of the proper docket fees is a 5urisdictional
re=uirement, the trial court ma1 allow the plaintiff in an action
to pa1 the same within a reasona;le time ;efore the
e?piration of the applica;le prescriptive or reglementar1
period. If the plaintiff fails to compl1 within this re=uirement,
the defendant should timel1 raise the issue of 5urisdiction or
else he would ;e considered in estoppel. In the latter case,
the ;alance ;etween the appropriate docket fees and the
amount actuall1 paid ;1 the plaintiff will ;e considered a lien
or an1 award he ma1 o;tain in his favor. (Cnderscoring ours)
ccordingl1, the trial court in the case at ;ar should
determine the proper docket fee ;ased on the estimated
amount that respondents seek to collect from petitioner, and
direct them to pa1 the same within a reasona;le time,
provided the applica;le prescriptive or reglementar1 period
has not 1et e?pired, Failure to compl1 therewith, and upon
motion ;1 petitioner, the immediate dismissal of the
complaint shall issue on 5urisdictional grounds.
4n the matter of improper venue, we find no error on the
part of the trial court and the Court of ppeals in holding that
the case ;elow is a personal action which, under the 'ules,
ma1 ;e commenced and tried where the defendant resides
or ma1 ;e found, or where the plaintiffs reside, at the
election of the latter.
,+
6etitioner, however, insists that venue was improperl1 laid
since the action is a real action involving a parcel of land that
is located outside the territorial 5urisdiction of the court a
!uo. This contention is not well%taken. The records
indu;ita;l1 show that respondents are asking that the assets
of the partnership ;e accounted for, sold and distri;uted
according to the agreement of the partners. The fact that two
of the assets of the partnership are parcels of land does not
materiall1 change the nature of the action. It is an action in
personam ;ecause it is an action against a person, namel1,
petitioner, on the ;asis of his personal lia;ilit1. It is not an
action in rem where the action is against the thing itself
instead of against the person.
,2
Furthermore, there is no
showing that the parcels of land involved in this case are
;eing disputed. In fact, it is onl1 incidental that part of the
assets of the partnership under li=uidation happen to ;e
parcels of land.
The time%tested case of Claridades v. 'ercader, et al.,
,$
settled this issue thus:
The fact that plaintiff pra1s for the sale of the assets of the
partnership, including the fishpond in =uestion, did not
change the nature or character of the action, such sale
;eing merel1 a necessar1 incident of the li=uidation of the
partnership, which should precede andEor is part of its
process of dissolution.
The action filed ;1 respondents not onl1 seeks redress
against petitioner. It also seeks the enforcement of, and
petitioner<s compliance with, the contract that the partners
e?ecuted to formaliBe the partnership<s dissolution, as well
as to implement the li=uidation and partition of the
partnership<s assets. Clearl1, it is a personal action that, in
effect, claims a de;t from petitioner and seeks the
performance of a personal dut1 on his part.
,#
In fine,
respondents< complaint seeking the li=uidation and partition
of the assets of the partnership with damages is a personal
action which ma1 ;e filed in the proper court where an1 of
the parties reside.
!7
9esides, venue has nothing to do with
5urisdiction for venue touches more upon the su;stance or
merits of the case.
!"
s it is, venue in this case was
properl1 laid and the trial court correctl1 ruled so.
4n the third issue, petitioner asserts that the surviving
spouse of (icente Ta;anao has no legal capacit1 to sue
since she was never appointed as administratri? or e?ecutri?
of his estate. 6etitioner<s o;5ection in this regard is
misplaced. The surviving spouse does not need to ;e
appointed as e?ecutri? or administratri? of the estate ;efore
she can file the action. 0he and her children are
complainants in their own right as successors of (icente
Ta;anao. From the ver1 moment of (icente Ta;anao< s
death, his rights insofar as the partnership was concerned
were transmitted to his heirs, for rights to the succession are
transmitted from the moment of death of the decedent.!,
Ahatever claims and rights (icente Ta;anao had against the
partnership and petitioner were transmitted to respondents
;1 operation of law, more particularl1 ;1 succession, which
is a mode of ac=uisition ;1 virtue of which the propert1,
rights and o;ligations to the e?tent of the value of the
inheritance of a person are transmitted.
!!
:oreover,
respondents ;ecame owners of their respective hereditar1
shares from the moment (icente Ta;anao died.
!3
prior settlement of the estate, or even the appointment of
0alvacion Ta;anao as e?ecutri? or administratri?, is not
necessar1 for an1 of the heirs to ac=uire legal capacit1 to
sue. s successors who stepped into the shoes of their
decedent upon his death, the1 can commence an1 action
originall1 pertaining to the decedent.
!*
From the moment of
his death, his rights as a partner and to demand fulfillment of
petitioner<s o;ligations as outlined in their dissolution
agreement were transmitted to respondents. The1, therefore,
had the capacit1 to sue and seek the court<s intervention to
compel petitioner to fulfill his o;ligations.
Finall1, petitioner contends that the trial court should have
dismissed the complaint on the ground of prescription,
arguing that respondents< action prescri;ed four (3) 1ears
after it accrued in "#$+. The trial court and the Court of
ppeals gave scant consideration to petitioner<s hollow
arguments, and rightl1 so.
The three (!) final stages of a partnership are: (")
dissolutionD (,) winding%upD and (!) termination.
!+
The
partnership, although dissolved, continues to e?ist and its
legal personalit1 is retained, at which time it completes the
winding up of its affairs, including the partitioning and
distri;ution of the net partnership assets to the partners.
!2
For as long as the partnership e?ists, an1 of the partners
ma1 demand an accounting of the partnership<s ;usiness.
6rescription of the said right starts to run onl1 upon the
dissolution of the partnership when the final accounting is
done.
!$
Contrar1 to petitioner<s protestations that respondents< right
to in=uire into the ;usiness affairs of the partnership accrued
in "#$+, prescri;ing four (3) 1ears thereafter, prescription
had not even ;egun to run in the a;sence of a final
accounting. rticle "$3, of the Civil Code provides:
The right to an account of his interest shall accrue to an1
partner, or his legal representative as against the winding up
partners or the surviving partners or the person or
partnership continuing the ;usiness, at the date of
dissolution, in the a;sence of an1 agreement to the contrar1.
pplied in relation to rticles "$72 and "$7#, which also deal
with the dut1 to account, the a;ove%cited provision states
that the right to demand an accounting accrues at the date
of dissolution in the a;sence of an1 agreement to the
contrar1. Ahen a final accounting is made, it is onl1 then that
prescription ;egins to run. In the case at ;ar, no final
accounting has ;een made, and that is precisel1 what
respondents are seeking in their action ;efore the trial court,
since petitioner has failed or refused to render an accounting
of the partnership<s ;usiness and assets. @ence, the said
action is not ;arred ;1 prescription.
In fine, the trial court neither erred nor a;used its discretion
when it denied petitioner<s motions to dismiss. 8ikewise, the
Court of ppeals did not commit reversi;le error in upholding
the trial court<s orders. 6recious time has ;een lost 5ust to
settle this preliminar1 issue, with petitioner resurrecting the
ver1 same arguments from the trial court all the wa1 up to
the 0upreme Court. The litigation of the merits and
su;stantial issues of this controvers1 is now long overdue
and must proceed without further dela1.
<!EREFORE, in view of all the foregoing, the instant
petition is DEN#ED for lack of merit, and the case is
REMANDED to the 'egional Trial Court of CadiB Cit1,
9ranch +7, which is ORDERED to determine the proper
docket fee ;ased on the estimated amount that plaintiffs
therein seek to collect, and direct said plaintiffs to pa1 the
same within a reasona;le time, provided the applica;le
prescriptive or reglementar1 period has not 1et e?pired.
Thereafter, the trial court is ORDERED to conduct the
appropriate proceedings in Civil Case )o. 3"+%C.
Costs against petitioner.7>%p3i7.n?t
'O ORDERED.
+. G.R. No. 10))8( &an*a0y ((, 1996
"EL#NDA A>EDO, 6o0 720,2/6 and 9n 02:02,2n-a-9on o6
720 30o-720, and ,9,-20,, and EOF#LA %OR$UZ
A>EDO, 02:02,2n-9n+ 720 19no0 da*+7-20 VERNA
A>EDO, petitioners, vs.!E %OUR OF A$$EAL',
'$OU'E' R#%ARDO M. A>EDO AND ERE'#A
"ARERA A>EDO, respondents.
D E % # ' # O N
$ANGAN#"AN, J.?
Is a sale of future inheritance validM In multiple sales of the
same real propert1, who has preference in ownershipM Ahat
is the pro;ative value of the lower court<s finding of good
faith in registration of such sales in the registr1 of propert1M
These are the main =uestions raised in this 6etition for
review on certiorari under 'ule 3* of the 'ules of Court to
set aside and reverse the Decision
"
of the Court of
ppeals
,
in C%&.'. C( )4. ,3#$2 promulgated on
0eptem;er ,+, "##" affirming the decision of the 'egional
Trial Court, 9ranch +!, Third .udicial 'egion, Tarlac, Tarlac
in Civil Case )o. +!,$, and its 'esolution den1ing
reconsideration thereof, promulgated on :a1 ,2, "##,.
91 the Court<s 'esolution on 4cto;er ,*, "##*, this case
(along with several others) was transferred from the First to
the Third Division and after due deli;eration, the Court
assigned it to the undersigned ponente for the writing of this
Decision.
+3e =acts
4n 4cto;er ,7, "#+,, 8aBardo TaKedo e?ecuted a notariBed
deed of a;solute sale in favor of his eldest ;rother, 'icardo
TaKedo, and the latter<s wife, Teresita 9arera, private
respondents herein, where;1 he conve1ed to the latter in
consideration of 6",*77.77, -one hectare of whatever share I
shall have over 8ot )o. "#" of the cadastral surve1 of
&erona, 6rovince of Tarlac and covered ;1 Title T%"!$,# of
the 'egister of Deeds of Tarlac-, the said propert1 ;eing his
-future inheritance- from his parents (>?h. "). Cpon the
death of his father :atias, 8aBaro e?ecuted an -ffidavit of
Conformit1- dated Fe;ruar1 ,$, "#$7 (>?h. !) to -re%affirm,
respect, acknowledge and validate the sale I made in "#+,.-
4n .anuar1 "!, "#$", 8aBaro e?ecuted another notariBed
deed of sale in favor of private respondents covering his
-undivided 4)> TA>8(> ("E",) of a parcel of land known
as 8ot "#" . . . - (>?h. 3). @e acknowledged therein his
receipt of 6"7,777.77 as consideration therefor. In Fe;ruar1
"#$", 'icardo learned that 8aBaro sold the same propert1 to
his children, petitioners herein, through a deed of sale dated
Decem;er ,#, "#$7 (>?h. >). 4n .une 2, "#$,, private
respondents recorded the Deed of 0ale (>?h. 3) in their
favor in the 'egistr1 of Deeds and the corresponding entr1
was made in Transfer Certificate of Title )o. "++3*" (>?h.
*).
6etitioners on .ul1 "+, "#$, filed a complaint for rescission
(plus damages) of the deeds of sale e?ecuted ;1 8aBaro in
favor of private respondents covering the propert1 inherited
;1 8aBaro from his father.
6etitioners claimed that their father, 8aBaro, e?ecuted an
-;solute Deed of 0ale- dated Decem;er ,#, "#$7 (>?it. >).
Conve1ing to his ten children his allotted portion tinder the
e?tra5udicial partition e?ecuted ;1 the heirs of :atias, which
deed included the land in litigation (8ot "#").
6etitioners also presented in evidence: (") a private writing
purportedl1 prepared and signed ;1 :atias dated Decem;er
,$, "#2$, stating that it was his desire that whatever
inheritance 8aBaro would receive from him should ;e given
to his (8aBaro<s) children (>?h. )D (,) a t1pewritten
document dated :arch "7, "#2# signed ;1 8aBaro in the
presence of two witnesses, wherein he confirmed that he
would voluntaril1 a;ide ;1 the wishes of his father, :atias, to
give to his (8aBaro<s) children all the propert1 he would
inherit from the latter (>?h. 9)D and (!) a letter dated .anuar1
", "#$7 of 8aBaro to his daughter, Carmela, stating that his
share in the e?tra5udicial settlement of the estate of his
father was intended for his children, petitioners herein (>?h.
C).
6rivate respondents, however presented in evidence a
-Deed of 'evocation of a Deed of 0ale- dated :arch ",,
"#$" (>?h. +), wherein 8aBaro revoked the sale in favor of
petitioners for the reason that it was -simulated or fictitious
without an1 consideration whatsoever-.
0hortl1 after the case a !uo was filed, 8aBaro e?ecuted a
sworn statement (>?h. &) which virtuall1 repudiated the
contents of the Deed of 'evocation of a Deed of 0ale (>?h.
+) and the Deed of 0ale (>?h. 3) in favor of private
respondents. @owever, 8aBaro testified that he sold the
propert1 to 'icardo, and that it was a law1er who induced
him to e?ecute a deed of sale in favor of his children after
giving him five pesos (6*.77) to ;u1 a -drink- (T0)
0eptem;er "$, "#$*, pp. ,73%,7*).
The trial court decided in favor of private respondents,
holding that petitioners failed -to adduce a proponderance of
evidence to support (their) claim.- 4n appeal, the Court of
ppeals affirmed the decision of the trial court, ruling that the
Deed of 0ale dated .anuar1 "!, "#$" (>?h. #) was valid and
that its registration in good faith vested title in said
respondents.
+3e Issues
6etitioners raised the following -errors- in the respondent
Court, which the1 also now allege in the instant 6etition:
I. The trial court erred in concluding that the Contract of 0ale
of 4cto;er ,7, "#+, (>?hi;it 2, nswer) is merel1 voida;le or
annula;le and not void a# initio pursuant to paragraph , of
rticle "!32 of the )ew Civil Code involving as it does a
-future inheritance-.
II. The trial court erred in holding that defendants%appellees
acted in good faith in registering the deed of sale of .anuar1
"!, "#$" (>?hi;it #) with the 'egister of Deeds of Tarlac and
therefore ownership of the land in =uestion passed on to
defendants%appellees.
III. The trial court erred in ignoring and failing to consider the
testimonial and documentar1 evidence of plaintiffs%
appellants which clearl1 esta;lished ;1 preponderance of
evidence that the1 are indeed the legitimate and lawful
owners of the propert1 in =uestion.
I(. The decision is contrar1 to law and the facts of the case
and the conclusions drawn from the esta;lished facts are
illogical and off%tangent.
From the foregoing, the issues ma1 ;e restated as follows:
". Is the sale of a future inheritance validM
,. Aas the su;se=uent e?ecution on .anuar1 "!, "#$" (and
registration with the 'egistr1 of 6ropert1) of a deed of sale
covering the same propert1 to the same ;u1ers validM
!. :a1 this Court review the findings of the respondent Court
(a) holding that the ;u1ers acted in good faith in registering
the said su;se=uent deed of sale and (;) in -failing to
consider petitioners< evidence-M re the conclusions of the
respondent Court -illogical and off%tangent-M
+3e Court5s uling
t the outset, let it ;e clear that the -errors- which are
reviewa;le ;1 this Court in this petition for review on
certiorari are onl1 those allegedl1 committed ;1 the
respondent Court of ppeals and not directl1 those of the
trial court, which is not a part1 here. The -assignment of
errors- in the petition =uoted a;ove are therefore totall1
misplaced, and for that reason, the petition should ;e
dismissed. 9ut in order to give the parties su;stantial 5ustice
we have decided to delve into the issues as a;ove re%stated.
The errors attri;uted ;1 petitioners to the latter (trial) court
will ;e discussed onl1 insofar as the1 are relevant to the
appellate court<s assailed Decision and 'esolution.
The sale made in "#+, involving future inheritance is not
reall1 at issue here. In conte?t, the assailed Decision
conceded -it ma1 ;e legall1 correct that a contract of sale of
anticipated future inheritance is null and void.-
!
9ut to remove all dou;ts, we here;1 categoricall1 rule that,
pursuant to rticle "!32 of the Civil Code, -(n)o contract ma1
;e entered into upon a future inheritance e?cept in cases
e?pressl1 authoriBed ;1 law.-
Conse=uentl1, said contract made in "#+, is not valid and
cannot ;e the source of an1 right nor the creator of an1
o;ligation ;etween the parties.
@ence, the -affidavit of conformit1- dated Fe;ruar1 ,$, "#$7,
insofar as it sought to validate or ratif1 the "#+, sale, is also
useless and, in the words of the respondent Court, -suffers
from the same infirmit1.- >ven private respondents in their
memorandum
3
concede this.
@owever, the documents that are critical to the resolution of
this case are: (a) the deed of sale of .anuar1 "!, "#$" in
favor of private respondents covering 8aBaro<s undivided
inheritance of one%twelfth ("E",) share in 8ot )o. "#", which
was su;se=uentl1 registered on .une 2, "#$,D and (;) the
deed of sale dated Decem;er ,#, "#$7 in favor of petitioners
covering the same propert1. These two documents were
e?ecuted after the death of :atias (and his spouse) and
after a deed of e?tra%5udicial settlement of his (:atias<)
estate was e?ecuted, thus vesting in 8aBaro actual title over
said propert1. In other words, these dispositions, though
conflicting, were no longer infected with the infirmities of the
"#+, sale.
6etitioners contend that what was sold on .anuar1 "!, "#$"
was onl1 one%half hectare out of 8ot )o. "#", citing as
authorit1 the trial court<s decision. s earlier pointed out,
what is on review in these proceedings ;1 this Court is the
Court of ppeals< decision F which correctl1 identified the
su;5ect matter of the .anuar1 "!, "#$" sale to ;e the entire
undivided "E", share of 8aBaro in 8ot )o. "#" and which is
the same propert1 disposed of on Decem;er ,#, "#$7 in
favor of petitioners.
Critical in determining which of these two deeds should ;e
given effect is the registration of the sale in favor of private
respondents with the register of deeds on .une 2, "#$,.
rticle "*33 of the Civil Code governs the preferential rights
of vendees in cases of multiple sales, as follows:
rt. "*33. If the same thing should have ;een sold to
different vendees, the ownership shall ;e transferred to the
person who ma1 have first taken possession thereof in good
faith, if it should ;e mova;le propert1.
0hould it ;e immova;le propert1, the ownership shall ;elong
to the person ac=uiring it who in good faith first recorded it in
the 'egistr1 of 6ropert1.
0hould there ;e no inscription, the ownership shall pertain to
the person who in good faith was first in the possessionD
and, in the a;sence thereof, to the person who presents the
oldest title, provided there is good faith.
The propert1 in =uestion is land, an immova;le, and
following the a;ove%=uoted law, ownership shall ;elong to
the ;u1er who in good faith registers it first in the registr1 of
propert1. Thus, although the deed of sale in favor of private
respondents was later than the one in favor of petitioners,
ownership would vest in the former ;ecause of the
undisputed fact of registration. 4n the other hand, petitioners
have not registered the sale to them at all.
6etitioners contend that the1 were in possession of the
propert1 and that private respondents never took possession
thereof. s ;etween two purchasers, the one who registered
the sale in his favor has a preferred right over the other who
has not registered his title, even if the latter is in actual
possession of the immova;le propert1.
*
s to third issue, while petitioners conceded the fact of
registration, the1 nevertheless contended that it was done in
;ad faith. 4n this issue, the respondent Court ruledD
Cnder the second assignment of error, plaintiffs%appellants
contend that defendants%appellees acted in ;ad faith when
the1 registered the Deed of 0ale in their favor as appellee
'icardo alread1 knew of the e?ecution of the deed of sale in
favor of the plaintiffsD appellants cite the testimon1 of plaintiff
9elinda TaKedo to the effect that defendant 'icardo TaKedo
called her up on .anuar1 3 or *, "#$" to tell her that he was
alread1 the owner of the land in =uestion -;ut the contract of
sale ;etween our father and us were (sic) alread1
consumated- (pp. #%"7, tsn, .anuar1 +, "#$3). This
testimon1 is o;viousl1 self%serving, and ;ecause it was a
telephone conversation, the deed of sale dated Decem;er
,#, "#$7 was not shownD 9elinda merel1 told her uncle that
there was alread1 a document showing that plaintiffs are the
owners (p. $7). 'icardo TaKedo controverted this and
testified that he learned for the first time of the deed of sale
e?ecuted ;1 8aBaro in favor of his children -a;out a month
or sometime in Fe;ruar1 "#$"- (p. """, tsn, )ov. ,$, "#$3). .
. .
+
The respondent Court, reviewing the trial court<s findings,
refused to overturn the latter<s assessment of the testimonial
evidence, as followsD
Ae are not prepared to set aside the finding of the lower
court upholding 'icardo TaKedo<s testimon1, as it involves a
matter of credi;ilit1 of witnesses which the trial 5udge, who
presided at the hearing, was in a ;etter position to resolve.
(Court of ppeals< Decision, p. +.)
In this connection, we note the tenacious allegations made
;1 petitioners, ;oth in their ;asic petition and in their
memorandum, as follows:
". The respondent Court allegedl1 ignored the claimed fact
that respondent 'icardo -;1 fraud and deceit and with
foreknowledge- that the propert1 in =uestion had alread1
;een sold to petitioners, made 8aBaro e?ecute the deed of
.anuar1 "!, "#$"D
,. There is allegedl1 ade=uate evidence to show that onl1
"E, of the purchase price of 6"7,777.77 was paid at the time
of the e?ecution of the deed of sale, contrar1 to the written
acknowledgment, thus showing ;ad faithD
!. There is allegedl1 sufficient evidence showing that the
deed of revocation of the sale in favor of petitioners -was
tainted with fraud or deceit.-
3. There is allegedl1 enough evidence to show that private
respondents -took undue advantage over the weakness and
unschooled and pitiful situation of 8aBaro TaKedo . . .- and
that respondent 'icardo TaKedo -e?ercised moral
ascendanc1 over his 1ounger ;rother he ;eing the eldest
;rother and who reached fourth 1ear college of law and at
one time a former (ice%&overnor of Tarlac, while his 1ounger
;rother onl1 attained first 1ear high school . . . D
*. The respondent Court erred in not giving credence to
petitioners< evidence, especiall1 8aBaro TaKedo<s
Sinumpaang Salaysay dated .ul1 ,2, "#$, stating that
'icardo TaKedo deceived the former in e?ecuting the deed
of sale in favor of private respondents.
To ;e sure, there are indeed man1 conflicting documents
and testimonies as well as arguments over their pro;ative
value and significance. 0uffice it to sa1, however, that all the
a;ove contentions involve =uestions of fact, appreciation of
evidence and credi;ilit1 of witnesses, which are not proper in
this review. It is well%settled that the 0upreme Court is not a
trier of facts. In petitions for review under 'ule 3* of the
'evised 'ules of Court, onl1 =uestions of law ma1 ;e raised
and passed upon. ;sent an1 whimsical or capricious
e?ercise of 5udgment, and unless the lack of an1 ;asis for
the conclusions made ;1 the lower courts ;e ampl1
demonstrated, the 0upreme Court will not distur; their
findings. t most, it appears that petitioners have shown that
their evidence was not ;elieved ;1 ;oth the trial and the
appellate courts, and that the said courts tended to give
more credence to the evidence presented ;1 private
respondents. 9ut this in itself is not a reason for setting
aside such findings. Ae are far from convinced that ;oth
courts gravel1 a;used their respective authorities and
5udicial prerogatives.
s held in the recent case of C3ua +iong +ay vs. Court of
$ppeals and @oldroc< Construction and ,evelopment
Corp.
2
The Court has consistentl1 held that the factual findings of
the trial court, as well as the Court of ppeals, are final and
conclusive and ma1 not ;e reviewed on appeal. mong the
e?ceptional circumstances where a reassessment of facts
found ;1 the lower courts is allowed are when the conclusion
is a finding grounded entirel1 on speculation, surmises or
con5ecturesD when the inference made is manifestl1 a;surd,
mistaken or impossi;leD when there is grave a;use of
discretion in the appreciation of factsD when the 5udgment is
premised on a misapprehension of factsD when the findings
went ;e1ond the issues of the case and the same are
contrar1 to the admissions of ;oth appellant and appellee.
fter a careful stud1 of the case at ;ench, we find none of
the a;ove grounds present to 5ustif1 the re%evaluation of the
findings of fact made ;1 the courts ;elow.
In the same vein, the ruling in the recent case of Sout3 Sea
Surety and Insurance Company, Inc. vs. Hon. Court of
$ppeals, et al.
$
is e=uall1 applica;le to the present case:
Ae see no valid reason to discard the factual conclusions of
the appellate court. . . . (I)t is not the function of this Court to
assess and evaluate all over again the evidence, testimonial
and documentar1, adduced ;1 the parties, particularl1
where, such as here, the findings of ;oth the trial court and
the appellate court on the matter coincide. (emphasis
supplied)
A@>'>F4'>, the petition is D>)I>D and the assailed
Decision of the Court of ppeals is FFI':>D. )o Costs.
04 4'D>'>D.