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CIVIL LAW REVIEW

2013-2014 Cases

Persons and Family Relations


Nagkakaisang Maralita ng Sitio Masigasig, Inc. v Military Shrine Services Philippine Veterans Affairs Office, Department of National Defense
GR 187587 5 June 2013
Sereno, CJ.
Nature of the Action
This is a consolidated petitions for review on certiorari under rule 45 assailing the decision of the
CA which reversed the decision of COSLAP in a petition for reclassification of land from public to
alienable and disposable land.
FACTS
President Carlos P. Garcia, by virtue of Proclamation no 423, reserved parcels of land in the
Municipalities of Pasig, Taguig, Paraaque, Province of Rizal and Pasay City for a military
reservation. The military reservation, then known as Fort William McKinley, was later on renamed
Fort Andres Bonifacio or Fort Bonifacio.
On 28 May 1967, President Ferdinand E. Marcos (President Marcos) issued Proclamation No. 208,
amending Proclamation No. 423, which excluded a certain area of Fort Bonifacio and reserved it for
a national shrine. The excluded area is now known as Libingan ng mga Bayani, which is under the
administration of herein respondent Military Shrine Services Philippine Veterans Affairs Office
(MSS-PVAO).
Subsequently, President Marcos issued Proclamation No. 2476, further amending
Proclamation No. 423, which excluded barangays Lower Bicutan, Upper Bicutan and Signal
Village from the operation of Proclamation No. 423 and declared it open for disposition
under the provisions of Republic Act Nos. 274 and 730. He then included Western Bicutan in
a handwritten addendum. At the bottom of Proclamation No. 2476, President Marcos made
a handwritten addendum, which reads:
"P.S. This includes Western Bicutan
(SGD.) Ferdinand E. Marcos"
Proclamation No. 2476 was published in the Official Gazette on February 3,
1986, without the addendum.
On October 16, 1987, President Corazon C. Aquino issued Proclamation No. 172, which reiterated
Proclamation No. 2476, as published, but this time excluded Lots 1 and 2 of Western Bicutan from
the operation of Proclamation No. 423 and declared the said lots open for disposition under the
provisions of R.A. 274 and 730. Memorandum Order No. 119, implementing Proclamation No. 172,
was issued on the same day.
Because the informal settlers increased and occupied some areas of Fort Bonifacio including
portions of the Libingan ng mga Bayani, Brigadier General Fredelito Bautista issued General Order
No. 1323 creating Task Force Bantay to prevent unauthorized occupation and to cause the
demolition of illegal structures at Fort Bonifacio.
In 1999, members of the petitioner organization (NMSMI) filed a Petition with the
Commission on Settlement of Land Problems (COSLAP), and prayed for the
reclassification of the areas they occupied in Western Bicutan, from public land to alienable
and disposable land pursuant to Proclamation No. 2476. Thereafter, petitioner Western Bicutan Lot
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Owners Association, Inc. filed a Petition-in-Intervention substantially praying for the same reliefs as
those prayed for by NMSMI with regard to the area the former then occupied.
The COSLAP ruled that the handwritten addendum of President Marcos was an integral part
of Proclamation No. 2476, and was therefore, controlling. The intention of the President
could not be defeated by the negligence or inadvertence of others.
MSS-PVAO filed a Petition with the Court of Appeals seeking to reverse the COSLAP Resolutions.
The Court of Appeals First Division rendered the assailed Decision granting MSS-PVAOs Petition.
Both NMSMI and WBLOAI appealed the said Decision.
ISSUE
Whether the handwritten addendum, which was not included in the publication of the law, must be
considered published also at the time the Proclamation was published.
HELD
NO, the written addendum was not considered published. Court cannot rely on a
handwritten note that was not part of Proclamation No. 2476 as published. Without
publication, the note never had any legal force and effect.

Considering that petitioners were occupying Lots 3 and 7 of Western Bicutan (subject lots), their
claims were anchored on the handwritten addendum of President Marcos to Proclamation No.
2476. They allege that the former President intended to include all Western Bicutan in the
reclassification of portions of Fort Bonifacio as disposable public land when he made a notation just
below the printed version of Proclamation No. 2476.

However, it is undisputed that the handwritten addendum was not included when Proclamation No.
2476 was published in the Official Gazette.

The resolution of whether the subject lots were declared as reclassified and disposable lies in the
determination of whether the handwritten addendum of President Marcos has the force and effect
of law. In relation thereto, Article 2 of the Civil Code expressly provides: xxx
ART. 2. Laws shall take effect after fifteen days following the completion of their
publication in the Official Gazette, unless it is otherwise provided. This Code shall take
effect one year after such publication.
Under the above provision, the requirement of publication is indispensable to give effect to the law,
unless the law itself has otherwise provided. The phrase "unless otherwise provided" refers to a
different effectivity date other than after fifteen days following the completion of the laws
publication in the Official Gazette, but does not imply that the requirement of publication may be
dispensed with. xxx

We agree that the publication must be in full or it is no publication at all since its
purpose is to inform the public of the contents of the laws. As correctly pointed out by the
petitioners, the mere mention of the number of the presidential decree, the title of such decree, its
whereabouts (e.g., "with Secretary Tuvera"), the supposed date of effectivity, and in a mere
supplement of the Official Gazette cannot satisfy the publication requirement. This is not even
substantial compliance. This was the manner, incidentally, in which the General Appropriations Act
for FY 1975, a presidential decree undeniably of general applicability and interest, was "published"
by the Marcos administration. The evident purpose was to withhold rather than disclose
information on this vital law. xxx

Laws must come out in the open in the clear light of the sun instead of skulking in the shadows with
their dark, deep secrets. Mysterious pronouncements and rumored rules cannot be recognized as
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binding unless their existence and contents are confirmed by a valid publication intended to make
full disclosure and give proper notice to the people. The furtive law is like a scabbarded saber that
cannot feint, parry or cut unless the naked blade is drawn.

Applying the foregoing ruling to the instant case, this Court cannot rely on a handwritten note that
was not part of Proclamation No. 2476 as published. Without publication, the note never had any
legal force and effect.

Furthermore, under Section 24, Chapter 6, Book I of the Administrative Code, "the publication of
any law, resolution or other official documents in the Official Gazette shall be prima facie evidence
of its authority." Thus, whether or not President Marcos intended to include Western
Bicutan is not only irrelevant but speculative. Simply put, the courts may not speculate as
to the probable intent of the legislature apart from the words appearing in the law. This Court
cannot rule that a word appears in the law when, evidently, there is none. In
Pagpalain Haulers, Inc. v. Hon. Trajano, we ruled that "under Article 8 of the Civil Code, 'judicial
decisions applying or interpreting the laws or the Constitution shall form a part of the legal system
of the Philippines.' This does not mean, however, that courts can create law. The courts exist for
interpreting the law, not for enacting it. To allow otherwise would be violative of the principle of
separation of powers, inasmuch as the sole function of our courts is to apply or interpret the laws,
particularly where gaps or lacunae exist or where ambiguities becloud issues, but it will not arrogate
unto itself the task of legislating." The remedy sought in these Petitions is not judicial
interpretation, but another legislation that would amend the law to include
petitioners' lots in the reclassification.

Rodolfo Francisco v Emiliana Rojas, et al.


GR 167120 21 April 2014
Peralta, J.
Nature of the Action
This is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45, assailing the decision of CA nullifying the
decision of the RTC in a land registration case.
FACTS
Don Buenaventura Guido y Santa Ana owned Hacienda de Angono in Angono, Rizal, covered by
OCT 633. He has two sons, Francisco Guido and Hermogenes Guido. Title over the property was
transferred to the two sons. Nine years later, the heirs of Francisco and Hergomenes adjudicated
among themselves and transferred half of the portion of the hacienda to the Jose Rozas,
predecessor-in-interest of the respondents in this case in an extra-judicial settlement of estate with
quitclaim.
Some months after the transfer, heirs of Don Buenaventura Guido, represented by their lawyer,
requested the then Land Registration Commission to issue the corresponding OCT based on
Decreto No. 6145, evidently because OCT No. 633 which was earlier issued on the basis of the same
Decreto was previously cancelled. The request, however, was denied.
Meanwhile, Alfredo Guido, Sr., representing the other heirs, filed with the Registry of Deeds of
Morong a petition for reconstitution of TCT No. 23377, alleging that the original of the same title
could not be located in the files of the Registry of Deeds of Rizal when he and his co-heirs sought the
registration of their aforementioned extra-Judicial Settlement of Estate With Quitclaim. The
petition was supported by the owners duplicate copy of the title sought to be reconstituted. Petition
for reconstruction was granted. Subsequently, the entire parcel of land covered by Decreto No. 6145
was subdivided into 21 lots and 21 different certificates of title were issued in lieu of the
reconstituted TCT No. 23377.
Thereafter, the heirs who executed the aforesaid document of extra-judicial settlement, including
the now spouses Jose Rojas and Emiliana Rojas, sold the property to Pacil Management
Corporation, which in turn then transferred the title Interport Resources Corporation.
On April 25, 1980, all the named heirs in the extra-Judicial Settlement of Estate With Quitclaim
renounced their rights over the remaining portion of the 3,181.74 hectares in favor of their co-heir
Alfredo Guido, Sr., in exchange for monetary considerations. It appears however that barely five (5)
months from the time Alfredo Guido, Sr. filed his petition for reconstitution of TCT No. 23377 on
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March 29, 1976, an Application for Registration of Title over four (4) parcels of land (lots 1, 2, 3 and
4), as shown in plan Psu-04- 001463, which lots are presently alleged by the [respondents] Rojases
to be overlapping a portion of the area covered by TCT No. 23377, x x x was filed with the then
Court of First Instance (CFI) of Rizal, Branch 10, by Rosalina, Rodolfo, Carmela and Carmen, all
surnamed Francisco (the Franciscos), about which petition the Rojases now claim to be unaware of.
CFI favored the Franciscos and declared that they are the true and absolute owners of Lots 1, 2, 3
and 4 of Psu-04- 001463. This decision became final.
The republic filed a complaint for declaration of nullity of Decreto No. 6145 and the owners
duplicate copy of TCT No. 23377 against the heirs of Francisco Guido and Hermogenes Guido, the
spouses Jose Rojas and Emiliana Rojas, the Pacil Development Corporation and Interport
Resources Corporation, on the ground that they were false, spurious and fabricated and were never
issued by virtue of judicial proceedings for registration of land. CFI ruled the decreto and the TCT
genuine and authentic. Republic appealed to CA, which only affirmed the decision of the lower
court.
The Republic moved for a reconsideration with an alternative prayer declaring Decreto No. 6145
and its derivative titles authentic except with respect to such portions of the disputed property
which were either: (1) possessed and owned by bona fide occupants who already acquired
indefeasible titles thereto; or (2) possessed and owned by bona fide occupants and their families
with lengths of possession which amounted to ownership.
ISSUE
Whether a ruling of a particular division of the CA is binding on another division of the CA
HELD
No. A ruling of a particular division of the CA, while may be taken cognizance of in
some cases, cannot bind or prejudice a ruling of another division thereof, the former
being a co-ordinate authority and, relative to Us, is still considered as a lower court
albeit empowered with an appellate jurisdiction.
Next, petitioner calls Our attention to an alleged closely related case, Civil Case No. 01-052 then
pending before Branch 68 of the RTC of Binangonan, Rizal, entitled Heirs of Alfredo I. Guido,
represented by Roberto A. Guido v. Carmen V. Francisco, et al. for Annulment of the Decision and
Order dated August 7, 2000 in LRC Case No. 95-0004 with Prayer for Issuance of Writ of
Preliminary Injunction. It was dismissed by the trial court on September 13, 2002 and,
subsequently, by the CA on June 11, 2003 in CA-G.R. CV No. 77764. The CA Decision became final
and executory on July 3, 2004. Petitioner opines that with the CA dismissal of the Guidos appeal, it
has been settled that the land registration case is an appropriate proceeding. He posits that CAG.R. CV No. 77764 has established a precedent and that the challenged orders of the land
registration court constitute the law between the parties because the Guidos and the Rojases are
similarly situated in the sense that they are both registered co- owners of the Guido Estate and both
of them assailed the same decisions and orders albeit via different modes of appeal. The effect of
this, petitioner holds, is that the CA Decision assailed in this petition was not validly promulgated,
since applying the doctrine of stare decisis, the CA did not follow the authority established in CAG.R. CV No. 77764.
We do not agree. The principle of stare decisis et non quieta movere (to adhere to precedents and
not to unsettle things which are established) is well entrenched in Article 8 of the Civil Code,
which states that [j]udicial decisions applying or interpreting the laws or the
Constitution shall form part of the legal system of the Philippines. The doctrine
embodies the legal maxim that a principle or rule of law which has been established by the decision
of a court of controlling jurisdiction will be followed in other cases involving a similar situation. It is
founded on the necessity for securing certainty and stability in the law and does not require identity
of or privity of parties. In a hierarchical judicial system like ours, the decisions of the higher courts
bind the lower courts; the courts of co-ordinate authority do not bind each other; and the one
highest court does not bind itself, it being invested with the innate authority to rule according to its
best lights. The principle of stare decisis enjoins adherence by lower courts to
doctrinal rules established by the Supreme Court in its final decisions. Thus, a ruling of
a particular division of the CA, while may be taken cognizance of in some cases, cannot bind or
prejudice a ruling of another division thereof, the former being a co-ordinate authority and, relative
to Us, is still considered as a lower court albeit empowered with an appellate jurisdiction.

Visayas Geothermal Power Company v Commissioner of Internal Revenue


GR 197525 4 June 2014
Mendoza, J.

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Nature of the Action


This is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45, assailing the resolution of the CTA En Banc.
FACTS
Petitioner Visayas Geothermal Power Company (VGPC) is a special limited partnership duly
organized and existing under Philippine Laws principally engaged in the business of power
generation through geothermal energy and the sale of generated power to the Philippine National
Oil Company (PNOC), pursuant to the Energy Conversion Agreement.
VGPC filed with the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) its Original Quarterly VAT Returns for the
first to fourth quarters of taxable year 2005 on April 25, 2005, July 25, 2005, October 25, 2006, and
January 20, 2006, respectively.
On December 6, 2006, it filed an administrative claim for refund for the amount of 14,160,807.95
with the BIR District Office No. 89 of Ormoc City on the ground that it was entitled to recover
excess and unutilized input VAT payments for the four quarters of taxable year 2005, pursuant to
Republic Act (R.A.) No. 9136, which treated sales of generated power subject to VAT to a zero
percent (0%) rate starting June 26, 2001.
Nearly one month later, on January 3, 2007, while its administrative claim was pending, VGPC filed
its judicial claim via a petition for review with the CTA praying for a refund or the issuance of a tax
credit certificate in the amount of 14,160,807.95, covering the four quarters of taxable year 2005.
CTA partially granted the petition and found that only the amount of 7,699,366.37 was duly
substantiated by the required evidence. As to the timeliness of the filing of the judicial claim, the
Court ruled that following the case of Commissioner of Internal Revenue (CIR) v. Mirant Pagbilao
Corporation (Mirant), both the administrative and judicial claims were filed within the two-year
prescriptive period provided in Section 112(A) of the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997
(NIRC), the reckoning point of the period being the close of the taxable quarter when the sales were
made.
CTA denied the separate motions for partial reconsideration. Thus, both VGPC and the CIR
appealed to the CTA En Banc.
The CTA En Banc reversed and set aside the decision and resolution of the CTA Second
Division, and dismissed the original petition for review for having been filed prematurely.
The CTA En Banc explained that although VGPC seasonably filed its administrative claim
within the two-year prescriptive period, its judicial claim filed with the CTA Second Division
was prematurely filed under Section 112(D) of the National Internal Revenue Code (NIRC).
Citing the case of CIR v. Aichi Forging Company of Asia, Inc. (Aichi), the CTA En
Banc held that the judicial claim filed 28 days after the petitioner filed its administrative
claim, without waiting for the expiration of the 120-day period, was premature and, thus, the
CTA acquired no jurisdiction over the case.
The VGPC filed a motion for reconsideration, but the CTA En Banc denied it in the assailed June 27,
2011 Resolution for lack of merit. It stated that the case of Atlas Consolidated Mining v. CIR (Atlas)
relied upon by the petitioner had long been abandoned.
ISSUE
Whether the interpretation of the law in a prior decided Supreme Court case (Aichi) should not be
made to apply to the present case for being contrary to existing jurisprudence as laid down in cases
decided by the Court of Tax Appeals at the time the petition was filed.
HELD
No, the interpretation of the law in a prior decided case should apply. CTA decisions
do not constitute precedent and do not bind this Court or the public. Only decisions
of this Court constitute binding precedents, forming part of the Philippine legal
system.
Petitioner VGPC also argues that Aichi should be applied prospectively and, therefore, should not be
applied to the present case. This position cannot be given consideration.
Article 8 of the Civil Code provides that judicial decisions applying or interpreting
the law shall form part of the legal system of the Philippines and shall have the force
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of law. The interpretation placed upon a law by a competent court establishes the
contemporaneous legislative intent of the law. Thus, such interpretation constitutes a part of the law
as of the date the statute is enacted. It is only when a prior ruling of the Court is overruled, and a
different view adopted, that the new doctrine may have to be applied prospectively in favor of
parties who have relied on the old doctrine and have acted in good faith.
Considering that the nature of the 120+30 day period was first settled in Aichi, the interpretation by
the Court of its being mandatory and jurisdictional in nature retroacts to the date the NIRC was
enacted. It cannot be applied prospectively as no old doctrine was overturned.
The petitioner cannot rely either on the alleged jurisprudence prevailing at the time it filed its
judicial claim. The Court notes that the jurisprudence relied upon by the petitioner consists of CTA
cases. It is elementary that CTA decisions do not constitute precedent and do not bind this Court or
the public. Only decisions of this Court constitute binding precedents, forming part of
the Philippine legal system.
As regards the cases which were later decided allegedly in contravention of Aichi, it is of note that all
of them were decided by Divisions of this Court, and not by the Court En Banc. Any doctrine or
principle of law laid down by the Court, either rendered En Banc or in Division, may be overturned
or reversed only by the Court sitting En Banc. Thus, the cases cited by the petitioner could not have
overturned the doctrine laid down in Aichi.

California Clothing, Inc. and Michelle Ybaez v Shirley Quiones


GR 175822

23 October 2013

Peralta, J.

Nature of the Action


This is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45, assailing the Decision and Resolution of
CA reversed and set aside the Decision of the RTC in an action for damages.

FACTS

Respondent Shirley Quiones, a Reservation Ticketing Agent of Cebu Pacific Air in Lapu Lapu City,
went inside the Guess USA Boutique at the second floor of Robinsons Department Store in Cebu
City. She fitted four items and allegedly paid to the cashier evidenced by a receipt issued by the
store. While she was walking through the skywalk connecting Robinsons and Mercury Drug Store, a
Guess employee approached and informed her that she failed to pay the item she got. However, she
insisted that she paid and showed the employee the receipt issued in her favor. She then suggested
that they talk about it at the Cebu Pacific Office located at the basement of the mall, to which the
guess employee agreed.

When she arrived at the Cebu Pacific Office, the Guess employees allegedly subjected her to
humiliation in front of the clients of Cebu Pacific and repeatedly demanded payment for the black
jeans. They searched her wallet to check how much money she had, followed by another argument.

On the same day, the Guess employees allegedly gave a letter to the Director of Cebu Pacific Air
narrating the incident, but the latter refused to receive it as it did not concern the office and the
same took place while respondent was off duty. Another letter was allegedly prepared and was
supposed to be sent to the Cebu Pacific Office in Robinsons, but the latter again refused to receive
it. Respondent also claimed that the Human Resource Department of Robinsons was furnished said
letter and the latter in fact conducted an investigation for purposes of canceling respondents
Robinsons credit card. Respondent further claimed that she was not given a copy of said damaging
letter.
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Quinones filed the Complaint for Damages before the RTC against petitioners California
Clothing, Inc., Ybanez and several other employees. She demanded the payment of moral, nominal,
and exemplary damages, plus attorneys fees and litigation expenses.

The RTC dismissed both the complaint and counterclaim of the parties. The trial court
concluded that the petitioners and the other defendants believed in good faith that
respondent failed to make payment. Considering that no motive to fabricate a lie could be
attributed to the Guess employees, the court held that when they demanded payment from
respondent, they merely exercised a right under the honest belief that no payment was
made.

On appeal, the CA reversed the decision of the RTC and ordered California Clothing and
Ybanez to pay moral damages to Quinones.

ISSUE

Whether the manner of verification employed by the petitioners was made in good faith or was an
abuse of right

HELD

YES, the manner of verification was an abused of their right.

Respondent cried foul when petitioners allegedly embarrassed her when they insisted that she did
not pay for the black jeans she purchased from their shop despite the evidence of payment which is
the official receipt issued by the shop. The issuance of the receipt notwithstanding, petitioners had
the right to verify from respondent whether she indeed made payment if they had reason to believe
that she did not. However, the exercise of such right is not without limitations. Any abuse in the
exercise of such right and in the performance of duty causing damage or injury to another is
actionable under the Civil Code. xxx

The elements of abuse of rights are as follows: (1) there is a legal right or
duty; (2) which is exercised in bad faith; (3) for the sole intent of prejudicing
or injuring another.

In this case, petitioners claimed that there was a miscommunication between the cashier and the
invoicer leading to the erroneous issuance of the receipt to respondent. When they realized the
mistake, they made a cash count and discovered that the amount which is equivalent to the price of
the black jeans was missing. They, thus, concluded that it was respondent who failed to make such
payment. It was, therefore, within their right to verify from respondent whether she indeed paid or
not and collect from her if she did not. However, the question now is whether such right was
exercised in good faith or they went overboard giving respondent a cause of action against them.

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Under the abuse of rights principle found in Article 19 of the Civil Code, a person must, in the
exercise of legal right or duty, act in good faith. He would be liable if he instead acted in bad faith,
with intent to prejudice another. Good faith refers to the state of mind which is manifested by the
acts of the individual concerned. It consists of the intention to abstain from taking an
unconscionable and unscrupulous advantage of another. Malice or bad faith, on the other hand,
implies a conscious and intentional design to do a wrongful act for a dishonest purpose or moral
obliquity.

Initially, there was nothing wrong with petitioners asking respondent whether she paid or
not. The Guess employees were able to talk to respondent at the Cebu Pacific Office. The
confrontation started well, but it eventually turned sour when voices were raised by both
parties. As aptly held by both the RTC and the CA, such was the natural consequence of two
parties with conflicting views insisting on their respective beliefs. Considering, however, that
respondent was in possession of the item purchased from the shop, together with the official
receipt of payment issued by petitioners, the latter cannot insist that no such payment was
made on the basis of a mere speculation. Their claim should have been proven by substantial
evidence in the proper forum.

It is evident from the circumstances of the case that petitioners went overboard and tried to
force respondent to pay the amount they were demanding. In the guise of asking for
assistance, petitioners even sent a demand letter to respondents employer not only
informing it of the incident but obviously imputing bad acts on the part of respondent.
Petitioners claimed that after receiving the receipt of payment and the item purchased,
respondent was noted to hurriedly left (sic) the store. They also accused respondent that
she was not completely being honest when she was asked about the circumstances of
payment. xxx
It can be inferred from the foregoing that in sending the demand letter to respondents
employer, petitioners intended not only to ask for assistance in collecting the disputed
amount but to tarnish respondents reputation in the eyes of her employer. To malign
respondent without substantial evidence and despite the latters possession of enough
evidence in her favor, is clearly impermissible. A person should not use his right unjustly or
contrary to honesty and good faith, otherwise, he opens himself to liability. The exercise of a
right must be in accordance with the purpose for which it was established and must not be
excessive or unduly harsh. In this case, petitioners obviously abused their rights. xxx

In view of the foregoing, respondent is entitled to an award of moral damages and attorney's fees.

Fe Floro Valino v. Rosario Adriano, et al.


GR 182894 22 April 2014
Mendoza, J.
Nature of the Action
This petition assails the decision of CA, which reversed and set aside the decision of RTC to dismiss
the complaint of Rosario Adriano et al. for damages with prayer that the remains of the deceased be
exhumed and transferred to their family plot.
FACTS
Atty Adriano Adriano was married to respondent Rosario Adriano. They had 6 children. When their
marriage turned sour, Atty Adriano and Rosario eventually separated-in-fact. Atty Adriano courted
Valino, one of his clients, and they decided to live together. Despite such arrangement, Atty Adriano
continued to provide support to Rosario and their children.
In 1992, Atty Adriano died of acute emphysema. At the time, Rosario and their children were in the
United States. Upon learning of his husbands death, Rosario called Valino and requested that she
delay the interment for a few days. Valino did not heed the request. Instead, the remains of Atty.
Adriano were then interred at the mausoleum of the family of Valino at the Manila Memorial Park.
Respondents were not able to attend the interment.
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Rosario and his children, who where deprived of the chance to view the remains of the deceased,
filed suit praying that they be indemnified for actual, moral and exemplary damages and attorneys
fees and that the remains of Atty. Adriano be exhumed and transferred to the family plot at the Holy
Cross Memorial Cemetery in Novaliches, Quezon City.
Valino, in her defense, claimed that:
1. Unlike Rosario, she took good care of Atty. Adriano and paid for all his medical expenses
when he got seriously ill.
2. She also claimed that despite knowing that Atty. Adriano was in a coma and dying, Rosario
still left for the United States.
3. According to Valino, it was Atty. Adrianos last wish that his remains be interred in the
Valino family mausoleum at the Manila Memorial Park.
4. Valino also claimed for moral and exemplary damages and attorneys fees.
RTC dismissed the complaint of respondents, as well as the counterclaim of
Valino, for lack of merit. RTC relied on the last wish of Atty Adriano to be buried at the
Manila Memorial Park. It furthered that Rosario did not show love and care for him, thus it
could be reasonably presumed that he wished to be buried in the Valino family mausoleum.
CA reversed and set aside the decision of RTC. It directed Valino to have the remains of
Atty. Adriano exhumed at the expense of respondents. It likewise directed respondents, at their
expense, to transfer, transport and inter the remains of the decedent in the family plot. Citing
Article 305 of the New Civil Code in relation to Article 199 of the Family Code, it was the
considered view of the appellate court that the law gave the surviving spouse not only the duty
but also the right to make arrangements for the funeral of her husband.
ISSUE
Whether it is the wife, to whom the deceased was separated-in-fact from, or the live-in partner of
the deceased who is entitled to the remains of the deceased.
HELD
The wife is entitled to the remains of the deceased. Petition denied.
Article 305 of the Civil Code, in relation to what is now Article 199 of the Family Code, specifies the
persons who have the right and duty to make funeral arrangements for the deceased. It is
undeniable that the law simply confines the right and duty to make funeral arrangements to the
members of the family to the exclusion of ones common law partner. xxx Indeed, Philippine Law
does not recognize common law marriages. (Tomas Eugenio, Sr. v. Velez)
The law gives the right and duty to make funeral arrangements to Rosario, she
being the surviving legal wife of Atty. Adriano.
The fact that she was living separately from her husband and was in the United States when
he died has no controlling significance. To say that Rosario had, in effect, waived or
renounced, expressly or impliedly, her right and duty to make arrangements for the funeral
of her deceased husband is baseless.
The

right and duty to make funeral arrangements, like any other right, will not be
considered as having been waived or renounced, except upon clear and
satisfactory proof of conduct indicative of a free and voluntary intent to that
end. While there was disaffection between Atty. Adriano and Rosario and their children
when he was still alive, the Court also recognizes that human compassion, more often than
not, opens the door to mercy and forgiveness once a family member joins his Creator. xxx
Valino insists that the expressed wishes of the deceased should nevertheless prevail
pursuant to Article 307 of the Civil Code. Valinos own testimony that it was Atty.
Adrianos wish to be buried in their family plot is being relied upon heavily.
It should be noted, however, that other than Valinos claim that Atty. Adriano wished to be
buried at the Manila Memorial Park, no other evidence was presented to corroborate
such claim. Considering that Rosario equally claims that Atty. Adriano wished to be buried
in the Adriano family plot in Novaliches, it becomes apparent that the supposed burial wish
of Atty. Adriano was unclear and undefinite. Considering this ambiguity as to the true
wishes of the deceased, it is the law that supplies the presumption as to his intent. No
presumption can be said to have been created in Valinos favor, solely on account of a long9

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time relationship with Atty. Adriano. xxx


Should there be any doubt as to the true intent of the deceased, the law favors
the legitimate family. Here, Rosarios keenness to exercise the rights and obligations
accorded to the legal wife was even bolstered by the fact that she was joined by the
children in this case. xxx
Even assuming, ex gratia argumenti, that Atty. Adriano truly wished to be buried in
the Valino family plot at the Manila Memorial Park, the result remains the same.
From its terms, it is apparent that Article 307 simply seeks to prescribe the form of the
funeral rites that should govern in the burial of the deceased. xxx Even if Article 307 were
to be interpreted to include the place of burial among those on which the wishes of the
deceased shall be followed, Dr. Arturo M. Tolentino (Dr. Tolentino), an eminent authority
on civil law, commented that it is generally recognized that any inferences as to the
wishes of the deceased should be established by some form of testamentary
disposition. As Article 307 itself provides, the wishes of the deceased must be expressly
provided. It cannot be inferred lightly, such as from the circumstance that Atty. Adriano
spent his last remaining days with Valino. xxx
At any rate, it should be remembered that the wishes of the decedent with respect to his
funeral are not absolute. The wishes of the deceased with respect to his funeral are
limited by Article 305 of the Civil Code in relation to Article 199 of the Family Code,
and subject the same to those charged with the right and duty to make the proper
arrangements to bury the remains of their loved-one.
As for Valinos contention that there is no point in exhuming and transferring the remains of Atty.
Adriano, it should be said that the burial of his remains in a place other than the Adriano family plot
in Novaliches runs counter to the wishes of his family. It does not only violate their right
provided by law, but it also disrespects the family because the remains of the
patriarch are buried in the family plot of his live-in partner.
It is generally recognized that the corpse of an individual is outside the commerce of man.
However, the law recognizes that a certain right of possession over the corpse exists, for the
purpose of a decent burial, and for the exclusion of the intrusion by third persons who have
no legitimate interest in it. This quasi-property right, arising out of the duty of
those obligated by law to bury their dead, also authorizes them to take
possession of the dead body for purposes of burial to have it remain in its final
resting place, or to even transfer it to a proper place where the memory of the dead may
receive the respect of the living. This is a family right. There can be no doubt that persons
having this right may recover the corpse from third persons.

Republic of the Philippines v Robert Narceda


GR 182760

10 April 2013

Sereno, CJ

Nature of the Action


This is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45, assailing the decision of CA, which
dismissed the appeal of petitioner on the ground of lack of jurisdiction. It held that the Decision of
the RTC of Balaoan, La Union declaring the presumptive death of Marina B. Narceda was
immediately final and executory, because by express provision of law, the judgment of the RTC was
not appealable.

FACTS

Respondent Robert married Marina on 22 July 1987. A reading of the Marriage Contract he
presented would reveal that at the time of their wedding, Marina was only 17 years and 4 months
old. According to respondent, Marina went to Singapore sometime in 1994 and never returned
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since. There was never any communication between them. He tried to look for her, but he could not
find her. Several years after she left, one of their town mates in Luna, La Union came home from
Singapore and told him that the last time she saw his wife, the latter was already living with a
Singaporean husband.

In view of her absence and his desire to remarry, respondent filed with the RTC in 2002 a
Petition for a judicial declaration of the presumptive death and/or absence of
Marina. The RTC granted respondents petition.

Petitioner, through the OSG, appealed the foregoing Decision to the CA. According to
petitioner, respondent failed to conduct a search for his missing wife with the diligence
required by law and enough to give rise to a "well-founded" belief that she was dead.

The CA dismissed the appeal ruling that the hearing of a petition for the declaration of
presumptive death was a summary proceeding under the Family Code and was thus
governed by Title XI thereof. Article 247 of the Family Code provides that the judgment of
the trial court in summary court proceedings shall be immediately final and executory.

ISSUE

Whether the judgment in a petition for declaration of presumptive death is not appealable.

HELD

YES, it is not appealable. The proper remedy is to file for a petition for certiorari.

The appellate court argues that there is no reglementary period within which to perfect an appeal in
summary judicial proceedings under the Family Code, because the judgments rendered thereunder,
by express provision of Article 247, are immediately final and executory upon notice to
the parties. In support of its stance, it cited Republic v. Bermudez-Lorino (Bermudez-Lorino), in
which this Court held:

In Summary Judicial Proceedings under the Family Code, there is no reglementary period
within which to perfect an appeal, precisely because judgments rendered thereunder, by
express provision of Section 247, Family Code, supra, are "immediately final and
executory." It was erroneous, therefore, on the part of the RTC to give due course to the
Republic's appeal and order the transmittal of the entire records of the case to the Court of
Appeals.

An appellate court acquires no jurisdiction to review a judgment which, by express provision of law,
is immediately final and executory. As we have said in Veloria vs. Comelec, "the right to appeal is
not a natural right nor is it a part of due process, for it is merely a statutory privilege." Since, by
express mandate of Article 247 of the Family Code, all judgments rendered in summary judicial
proceedings in Family Law are "immediately final and executory," the right to appeal was not
granted to any of the parties therein. The Republic of the Philippines, as oppositor in the petition for
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declaration of presumptive death, should not be treated differently. It had no right to appeal the
RTC decision of November 7, 2001. xxx

For the purpose of contracting the subsequent marriage under the preceding paragraph, the spouse
present must institute a summary proceeding as provided in this Code for the declaration of
presumptive death of the absentee, without prejudice to the effect of reappearance of the absent
spouse. xxx

As explained in Republic v. Tango, the remedy of a losing party in a summary proceeding


is not an ordinary appeal, but a petition for certiorari, to wit:

By express provision of law, the judgment of the court in a summary proceeding shall be
immediately final and executory. As a matter of course, it follows that no appeal can be
had of the trial court's judgment in a summary proceeding for the declaration of
presumptive death of an absent spouse under Article 41 of the Family Code. It goes without
saying, however, that an aggrieved party may file a petition for certiorari to question
abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction. Such petition should be filed in the
Court of Appeals in accordance with the Doctrine of Hierarchy of Courts. To be sure, even
if the Court's original jurisdiction to issue a writ of certiorari is concurrent with the RTCs
and the Court of Appeals in certain cases, such concurrence does not sanction an
unrestricted freedom of choice of court forum. From the decision of the Court of Appeals,
the losing party may then file a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules
of Court with the Supreme Court. This is because the errors which the court may commit in
the exercise of jurisdiction are merely errors of judgment which are the proper subject of
an appeal.

When the OSG filed its notice of appeal under Rule 42, it availed itself of the wrong remedy. As a
result, the running of the period for filing of a Petition for Certiorari continued to run and was not
tolled. Upon lapse of that period, the Decision of the RTC could no longer be questioned.
Consequently, petitioner's contention that respondent has failed to establish a well-founded belief
that his absentee spouse is dead may no longer be entertained by this Court.

Syed Azhar Abbas v Gloria Goo Abbas


GR 183896

30 January 2013

Velasco, Jr. J

Nature of the Action


This is a petition for review on Certiorari under Rule 45 questioning the Decision of the CA, which
reversed the Decision of the RTC in a petition for declaration of nullity of marriage.

FACTS

Petitioner Syed Azhar Abbas filed for a petition for the declaration of nullity of his marriage to
Gloria Goo-Abbas with the RTC of Pasay City. Syed alleged the absence of a marriage license, as
provided for in Article 4 of the Family Code of the Philippines, as a ground for the annulment of his
marriage to Gloria. In the Marriage Contract of Gloria and Syed, it is stated that Marriage License
No. 9969967, issued at Carmona, Cavite on January 8, 1993, was presented to the solemnizing
officer.
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During the trial, Syed, a Pakistani citizen, testified that after being married in Taiwan with Gloria
and while staying in the Philippines, his mother-in-law made him participate in a ceremony
purportedly required for his stay in the country and made him sign a document. He claimed that he
did not know that the ceremony was a marriage until Gloria told him later. He did not go to
Carmona, Cavite to apply for a marriage license, and that he had never resided in that area. In 2003,
he went to the Office of the Civil Registrar of Carmona to check on their marriage license, and was
asked to show a copy of their marriage contract wherein the marriage license number could be
found. The Municipal Civil Registrar then issued a certification to the effect that the marriage
license number appearing in the marriage contract he submitted, Marriage License No. 9969967,
was the number of another marriage license issued to a certain Arlindo Getalado and Myra
Mabilangan.

RTC held that no valid marriage license was issued by the Municipal Civil Registrar
in favor of the parties, as Marriage License No. 9969967 had been issued to another coupe,
and the former had certified that no marriage license had been issued for Gloria and Syed. It
also took into account the fact that neither party was a resident of Carmona, the place where
the marriage license was issued, in violation of Article 9 of the Family Code. As the marriage
was not one of those exempt from the license requirement, and that the lack of a valid
marriage license was an absence of a formal requisite, the marriage was declared void ab
initio.

The CA, on appeal, gave credence to Glorias arguments and did not give
probative value to the certification of the civil registrar, failing to state
categorically that a diligent search was made. Hence, it reversed the decision of the RTC and
declared the marriage as valid and subsisting.

ISSUE

Whether or not the certification of the Civil Registrar of non-issuance of a marriage license was
sufficient proof of the absence of a formal requisite of marriage

HELD

YES, certification issued by the civil registrar enjoyed probative value, as his duty was
to maintain records of data relative to the issuance of a marriage license.

There is no issue with the essential requisites under Art. 2 of the Family Code, nor with the formal
requisites of the authority of the solemnizing officer and the conduct of the marriage ceremony. Nor
is the marriage one that is exempt from the requirement of a valid marriage license under Chapter
2, Title I of the Family Code. The resolution of this case, thus, hinges on whether or not a valid
marriage license had been issued for the couple. The RTC held that no valid marriage license had
been issued. The CA held that there was a valid marriage license. We find the RTC to be correct in
this instance.

Respondent Gloria failed to present the actual marriage license, or a copy thereof, and relied on the
marriage contract as well as the testimonies of her witnesses to prove the existence of said license.
To prove that no such license was issued, Syed turned to the office of the Municipal Civil Registrar
of Carmona, Cavite which had allegedly issued said license. It was there that he requested
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certification that no such license was issued. In the case of Republic v. Court of Appeals such
certification was allowed, as permitted by Sec. 29, Rule 132 of the Rules of Court. xxx

The above Rule authorized the custodian of the documents to certify that despite diligent search, a
particular document does not exist in his office or that a particular entry of a specified tenor was not
to be found in a register. As custodians of public documents, civil registrars are public officers
charged with the duty, inter alia, of maintaining a register book where they are required to enter all
applications for marriage licenses, including the names of the applicants, the date the marriage
license was issued and such other relevant data.

The Court held in that case that the certification issued by the civil registrar enjoyed probative value,
as his duty was to maintain records of data relative to the issuance of a marriage license.

The Municipal Civil Registrar of Carmona, Cavite, where the marriage license of Gloria and Syed
was allegedly issued, issued a certification to the effect that no such marriage license for Gloria and
Syed was issued, and that the serial number of the marriage license pertained to another couple,
Arlindo Getalado and Myra Mabilangan. A certified machine copy of Marriage License No. 9969967
was presented, which was issued in Carmona, Cavite, and indeed, the names of Gloria and Syed do
not appear in the document xxx

In the case of Cario v. Cario, following the case of Republic, it was held that the certification of the
Local Civil Registrar that their office had no record of a marriage license was adequate to prove the
non-issuance of said license. The case of Cario further held that the presumed validity of the
marriage of the parties had been overcome, and that it became the burden of the party alleging a
valid marriage to prove that the marriage was valid, and that the required marriage license had been
secured. Gloria has failed to discharge that burden, and the only conclusion that can be reached is
that no valid marriage license was issued. It cannot be said that there was a simple irregularity in
the marriage license that would not affect the validity of the marriage, as no license was presented
by the respondent. No marriage license was proven to have been issued to Gloria and Syed, based on
the certification of the Municipal Civil Registrar of Carmona, Cavite and Glorias failure to produce a
copy of the alleged marriage license. xxx

All the evidence cited by the CA to show that a wedding ceremony was conducted and a marriage
contract was signed does not operate to cure the absence of a valid marriage license. Article 4 of the
Family Code is clear when it says, "The absence of any of the essential or formal requisites shall
render the marriage void ab initio, except as stated in Article 35(2)." Article 35(3) of the Family
Code also provides that a marriage solemnized without a license is void from the beginning, except
those exempt from the license requirement under Articles 27 to 34, Chapter 2, Title I of the same
Code. Again, this marriage cannot be characterized as among the exemptions, and thus, having been
solemnized without a marriage license, is void ab initio.

As to the motive of Syed in seeking to annul his marriage to Gloria, it may well be that his motives
are less than pure, that he seeks to evade a bigamy suit. Be that as it may, the same does not make
up for the failure of the respondent to prove that they had a valid marriage license, given the weight
of evidence presented by petitioner. The lack of a valid marriage license cannot be attributed to him,
as it was Gloria who took steps to procure the same. The law must be applied. As the marriage
license, a formal requisite, is clearly absent, the marriage of Gloria and Syed is void ab initio.

People v Odtuhan (2013)


G.R. No. 191566
17 July 2013
Peralta, J.
Nature of the Action
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Petition for certiorari under rule 45 of the Rules of Court


FACTS
Respondent Edgardo Odtuhan married Jasmin Modina in 1980. In 1993, Odtuhan contracted a
second marriage with Eleanor A. Alagon. In 1994, Respondent Odtuhan filed a petition for
annulment of his first marriage with Modina. In 1999, RTC granted respondents petition and
declared his marriage with Modina void ab initio for lack of a valid marriage license.
In June 2003, private complainant Alagon,upon learning of respondents first marriage, she filed a
complaint-affidavit charging respondent of Bigamy. Alagon died on 10 November 2003.
Respondent moved for the quashal of the information on the ground that the facts do not charge the
offense of bigamy and that his criminal liability has been extinguished because of the declaration of
nullity of the first marriage. Trial court denied the motion reasoning that the declaration of nullity
of the first marriage is not one of the modes of extinguishing criminal liability.
Respondent instituted a special civil action on certiorari under rule 64 before CA, assailing the
denial of his motion to quash. CA granted the petition and concluded that the RTC gravely abused
its discretion in denying respondents motion to quash the information considering that the facts
alleged in the information do not charge an offense. It based its decision on Morigo v people, that if
the evidence would establish that his first marriage was indeed void ab initio, one essential element
of the crime of bigamy would be lacking. Thus, this petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45.
ISSUE
1. Whether it was proper for respondent to raise the courts declaration of nullity of the first
marriage in a motion to quash.
2. Whether the subsequent court judgment declaring respondents first marriage void ab initio
did not extinguish respondents criminal liability which already attached prior the said
judgment.
HELD
1. NO, THE EVIDENCE SHOWING COURTS DECLARATION OF NULLITY OF
THE FIRST MARRIAGE IS A MATTER OF DEFENSE THAT CANNOT BE
RAISED IN A MOTION TO QUASH. IT MUST BE RESOLVED WITH THE
BENEFIT OF A FULL-BLOWN TRIAL.
Respondents evidence showing the courts declaration that his marriage to Modina is null and void
from the beginning because of the absence of a marriage license is only an evidence that seeks to
establish a fact contrary to that alleged in the information that a first valid marriage was subsisting
at the time he contracted the second marriage. This should not be considered at all, because
matters of defense cannot be raised in a motion to quash. It is not proper, therefore, to resolve the
charges at the very outset without the benefit of a full blown trial. The issues require a fuller
examination and it would be unfair to shut off the prosecution at this stage of the proceedings and
to quash the information on the basis of the document presented by respondent. With the
presentation of the court decree, no facts have been brought out which destroyed the prima
facie truth accorded to the allegations of the information on the hypothetical admission thereof.
2. SUBSEQUENT COURT JUDGMENT DECLARING RESPONDENTS FIRST
MARRIAGE VOID AB INITIO DID NOT EXTINGUISH RESPONDENTS
CRIMINAL LIABILITY.
A declaration of the absolute nullity of a marriage is now explicitly required either
as a cause of action or a ground for defense. It has been held in a number of cases that a
judicial declaration of nullity is required before a valid subsequent marriage can be contracted; or
else, what transpires is a bigamous marriage, reprehensible and immoral.
What makes a person criminally liable for bigamy is when he contracts a second or subsequent
marriage during the subsistence of a valid marriage. Parties to the marriage should not be permitted
to judge for themselves its nullity, for the same must be submitted to the judgment of competent
courts and only when the nullity of the marriage is so declared can it be held as void, and so long as
there is no such declaration, the presumption is that the marriage exists. Therefore, he who
contracts a second marriage before the judicial declaration of nullity of the first marriage assumes
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the risk of being prosecuted for bigamy. If we allow respondents line of defense and the
CAs ratiocination, a person who commits bigamy can simply evade prosecution by
immediately filing a petition for the declaration of nullity of his earlier marriage
and hope that a favorable decision is rendered therein before anyone institutes a
complaint against him.
Respondent, likewise, claims that there are more reasons to quash the information against him,
because he obtained the declaration of nullity of marriage before the filing of the complaint for
bigamy against him. Again, we cannot sustain such contention. Culpability attaches to the
offender upon the commission of the offense and from that instant, liability appends
to him until extinguished as provided by law and that the time of filing of the
criminal complaint or information is material only for determining prescription.
ADDITIONAL NOTES:
The issues are not novel and have been squarely ruled upon by this Court in Montaez v. Cipriano,
Teves v. People, and Antone v. Beronilla:
In Montaez, respondent Cipriano married Socrates in April 1976, but during the
subsistence of their marriage on January 24, 1983, respondent married Silverio. In 2001,
respondent filed a petition for the annulment of her marriage with Socrates on the ground
of psychological incapacity which was granted on July 18, 2003. On May 14, 2004,
petitioner filed a complaint for bigamy against respondent. The latter, however, moved
for the quashal of the information and dismissal of the criminal complaint alleging that
her first marriage had already been declared void ab initio prior to the filing of the bigamy
case.
In Teves, petitioner married Thelma on November 26, 1992. During the subsistence of
their marriage on December 10, 2001, he again married Edita. On May 4, 2006, petitioner
obtained a declaration of her marriage with Thelma null and void on the ground that the
latter is physically incapacitated to comply with her marital obligations. On June 8, 2006,
an Information for Bigamy was filed against petitioner. The court eventually convicted
petitioner of the crime charged.
In Antone, petitioner married respondent in 1978, but during the subsistence of their
marriage, respondent contracted a second marriage in 1991. On April 26, 2007,
respondent obtained a declaration of nullity of her first marriage which decision became
final and executory on May 15, 2007. On June 21, 2007, the prosecution filed an
information for bigamy against respondent which the latter sought to be quashed on the
ground that the facts charged do not constitute an offense.
Amelia Garcia-Quiazon, et al. v Ma. Lourdes Belen
GR 189121

31 July 2013

Perez, J.

Nature of the Action


This is a Petition for Review on Certiorari filed pursuant to Rule 45 of the Revised Rules of Court,
primarily assailing the Decision rendered by the Ninth Division of the Court of Appeals, denying the
appeal and affirming the decision of the RTC in a petition for letters of administration.

FACTS

The case started as a Petition for Letters of Administration of the Estate of Eliseo Quiazon filed by
herein respondents who were Eliseos common-law wife and daughter. The petition was opposed by
petitioners Amelia Garcia-Quaizon to whom Eliseo was married. Amelia was joined by her children,
Jenneth and Maria Jennifer.

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Eliseo died intestate on December 12, 1992. On September 12, 1994, Maria Lourdes Elise Quiazon,
represented by her mother, Ma. Lourdes Belen, filed a Petition for Letters of Administration before
the Regional Trial Court of Las Pias City. To prove her filiation to the decedent, Elise, among
others, attached to the Petition for Letters of Administration her Certificate of Live Birth signed by
Eliseo as her father. It was further alleged that Eliseo left real and personal properties. In order to
preserve the estate of Eliseo and to prevent the dissipation of its value, Elise sought her
appointment as administratrix of her late fathers estate. Claiming that the venue of the petition was
improperly laid, petitioners Amelia, together with her children opposed the issuance of the letters of
administration. The petitioners asserted that as shown by his Death Certificate, Eliseo was a
resident of Capas, Tarlac and not of Las Pias City, at the time of his death.

The RTC directed the issuance of Letters of Administration to Elise upon posting the necessary
bond. The lower court ruled that the venue of the petition was properly laid in Las Pias City. The
CA affirmed the findings of the RTC that that Elise was able to prove that Eliseo and Lourdes lived
together as husband and wife by establishing a common residence in Las Pias City, from 1975 up to
the time of Eliseos death in 1992.

ISSUE

1. Whether Elise had a cause of action to impugn the validity of Eliseos marriage to Amelia
2. Whether or not the decedents marriage to Amelia is void for being bigamous.
3. Whether Elise, a compulsory heir, is qualified to be the administrator of the estate.

HELD

1. YES, Elise has the right to impugn Eliseos marriage to Amelia

Viewed in light of the foregoing principles, the Court of Appeals cannot be faulted for affirming the
ruling of the RTC that the venue for the settlement of the estate of Eliseo was properly laid in Las
Pias City. It is evident from the records that during his lifetime, Eliseo resided at No. 26
Everlasting Road, Phase 5, Pilar Village, Las Pias City. For this reason, the venue for the settlement
of his estate may be laid in the said city. xxx

Likewise unmeritorious is petitioners contention that the Court of Appeals erred in declaring
Amelias marriage to Eliseo as void ab initio. In a void marriage, it was though no marriage has
taken place, thus, it cannot be the source of rights. Any interested party may attack the marriage
directly or collaterally. A void marriage can be questioned even beyond the lifetime of the parties to
the marriage. It must be pointed out that at the time of the celebration of the marriage of Eliseo and
Amelia, the law in effect was the Civil Code, and not the Family Code, making the ruling in Nial v.
Bayadog applicable four-square to the case at hand. In Nial, the Court, in no uncertain terms,
allowed therein petitioners to file a petition for the declaration of nullity of their fathers marriage to
therein respondent after the death of their father, by contradistinguishing void from voidable
marriages, to wit:

Consequently, void marriages can be questioned even after the death of either party but
voidable marriages can be assailed only during the lifetime of the parties and not after death
of either, in which case the parties and their offspring will be left as if the marriage had been
perfectly valid. That is why the action or defense for nullity is imprescriptible, unlike
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voidable marriages where the action prescribes. Only the parties to a voidable marriage can
assail it but any proper interested party may attack a void marriage.

It was emphasized in Nial that in a void marriage, no marriage has taken place and it cannot be the
source of rights, such that any interested party may attack the marriage directly or collaterally
without prescription, which may be filed even beyond the lifetime of the parties to the marriage.
Relevant to the foregoing, there is no doubt that Elise, whose successional rights would be
prejudiced by her fathers marriage to Amelia, may impugn the existence of such marriage even
after the death of her father. The said marriage may be questioned directly by filing an action
attacking the validity thereof, or collaterally by raising it as an issue in a proceeding for the
settlement of the estate of the deceased spouse, such as in the case at bar. Ineluctably, Elise, as a
compulsory heir, has a cause of action for the declaration of the absolute nullity of the void marriage
of Eliseo and Amelia, and the death of either party to the said marriage does not extinguish such
cause of action.

Having established the right of Elise to impugn Eliseos marriage to Amelia, we now proceed to
determine whether or not the decedents marriage to Amelia is void for being bigamous.

2. YES, the marriage is bigamous.

Contrary to the position taken by the petitioners, the existence of a previous marriage between
Amelia and Filipito was sufficiently established by no less than the Certificate of Marriage issued by
the Diocese of Tarlac and signed by the officiating priest of the Parish of San Nicolas de Tolentino in
Capas, Tarlac. The said marriage certificate is a competent evidence of marriage and the
certification from the National Archive that no information relative to the said marriage exists does
not diminish the probative value of the entries therein. We take judicial notice of the fact that the
first marriage was celebrated more than 50 years ago, thus, the possibility that a record of marriage
can no longer be found in the National Archive, given the interval of time, is not completely remote.
Consequently, in the absence of any showing that such marriage had been dissolved at the time
Amelia and Eliseos marriage was solemnized, the inescapable conclusion is that the latter marriage
is bigamous and, therefore, void ab initio.

3. YES, Elise has the right to be appointed as Administratrix

Neither are we inclined to lend credence to the petitioners contention that Elise has not shown any
interest in the Petition for Letters of Administration. Xxx

An "interested party," in estate proceedings, is one who would be benefited in the estate, such as an
heir, or one who has a claim against the estate, such as a creditor. Also, in estate proceedings, the
phrase "next of kin" refers to those whose relationship with the decedent Is such that they are
entitled to share in the estate as distributees.

In the instant case, Elise, as a compulsory heir who stands to be benefited by the distribution of
Eliseos estate, is deemed to be an interested party. With the overwhelming evidence on record
produced by Elise to prove her filiation to Eliseo, the petitioners pounding on her lack of interest in
the administration of the decedents estate, is just a desperate attempt to sway this Court to reverse
the findings of the Court of Appeals. Certainly, the right of Elise to be appointed administratix of the
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estate of Eliseo is on good grounds. It is founded on her right as a compulsory heir, who, under the
law, is entitled to her legitimate after the debts of the estate are satisfied. Having a vested right in
the distribution of Eliseos estate as one of his natural children, Elise can rightfully be considered as
an interested party within the purview of the law.

Edelina T. Ando v Department of Foreign Affairs


GR 195432 27 August 2014
Sereno, CJ.
Nature of the Action
This is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45, seeking to nullify the order of RTC
dismissing the petitioner Edelina Andos petition for declaratory relief.
FACTS
Petitioner Edelina married Yuichiro Kobayashi, a Japanese National, in a civil wedding solemnized
at Candaba, Pampanga. After 3 years of marriage, Yuichiro obtained a divorce decree in Japan. Said
Divorce Certificate was duly registered with the Office of the Civil Registry of Manila.
Believing in good faith that said divorce capacitated her to remarry and that by such she reverted to
her single status, petitioner married Masatomi Y. Ando on 13 September 2005 in a civil wedding
celebrated in Sta. Ana, Pampanga. In the meantime, Yuichiro Kobayashi married Ryo Miken on 27
December 2005.
Petitioner applied for the renewal of her Philippine passport to indicate her surname with her
husband Masatomi Y. Ando but she was told at the Department of Foreign Affairs that the same
cannot be issued to her until she can prove by competent court decision that her marriage with her
said husband Masatomi Y. Ando is valid until otherwise declared.
Petitioner filed with the RTC a Petition for Declaratory Relief, praying that judgment be
rendered declaring as valid and subsisting the marriage between petitioner Edelina T. Ando and her
husband Masatomi Y. Ando until otherwise declared by a competent court; declaring petitioner
entitled to the issuance of a Philippine Passport under the name Edelina Ando y Tungol; and
directing the Department of Foreign Affairs to honor petitioners marriage to her husband
Masatomi Y. Ando and to issue a Philippine Passport to petitioner under the name Edelina Ando y
Tungol.
RTC dismissed the petition for want of cause of action as well as jurisdiction.
In this petition for review, Petitioner argues that under A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC, or the Rule on the
Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void Marriages and Annulment of Voidable Marriages, it is solely
the wife or the husband who can file a petition for the declaration of the absolute nullity of a void
marriage. Thus, as the state is not even allowed to file a direct petition for the declaration of the
absolute nullity of a void marriage, with even more reason can it not collaterally attack the validity
of a marriage, as in a petition for declaratory relief. Further, petitioner alleges that under the law, a
marriage even one that is void or voidable shall be deemed valid until declared otherwise in a
judicial proceeding.
Petitioner also argues that assuming a court judgment recognizing a judicial decree of
divorce is required under Article 13 of the Family Code, noncompliance therewith is a mere
irregularity in the issuance of a marriage license. Any irregularity in the formal requisites of
marriage, such as with respect to the marriage license, shall not affect the legality of the
marriage. Petitioner further claims that all the requisites for a petition for declaratory relief
have been complied with.
ISSUE
Whether the second marriage should be recognized as valid here in the Philippines without the
recognition by the Philippine court of the first marriages foreign divorce.
HELD
NO. xxx with respect to her prayer for the recognition of her second marriage as valid,
petitioner should have filed, instead, a petition for the judicial recognition of her
foreign divorce from her first husband.
In Garcia v. Recio, we ruled that a divorce obtained abroad by an alien may be recognized in our
jurisdiction, provided the decree is valid according to the national law of the foreigner. The
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presentation solely of the divorce decree is insufficient; both the divorce decree and the governing
personal law of the alien spouse who obtained the divorce must be proven. Because our courts do
not take judicial notice of foreign laws and judgment, our law on evidence requires that both the
divorce decree and the national law of the alien must be alleged and proven and like any other fact.
While it has been ruled that a petition for the authority to remarry filed before a
trial court actually constitutes a petition for declaratory relief, we are still unable to
grant the prayer of petitioner. As held by the RTC, there appears to be insufficient proof or
evidence presented on record of both the national law of her first husband, Kobayashi, and of the
validity of the divorce decree under that national law. Hence, any declaration as to the validity of the
divorce can only be made upon her complete submission of evidence proving the divorce decree and
the national law of her alien spouse, in an action instituted in the proper forum.

Republic of the Philippines v Liberty Albios


GR 198780

16 October 2013

Mendoza, J

Nature of the Action


This was a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court assailing the
Decision of the CA, which affirmed the Decision of the RTC, Imus, Cavite, declaring the marriage of
Daniel Lee Fringer and respondent Liberty Albios as void from the beginning.

FACTS

In 2004, Fringer, an American citizen, and Albios were married before Judge Calo of the
Metropolitan Trial Court, Branch 59, Mandaluyong City, as evidenced by a Certificate of Marriage.

In 2006, Albios filed with the RTC a petition for declaration of nullity of her marriage
with Fringer. She alleged that immediately after their marriage, they separated and never lived as
husband and wife because they never really had any intention of entering into a married state or
complying with any of their essential marital obligations. She described their marriage as one made
in jest and, therefore, null and void ab initio.

The RTC granted the petition and declared the marriage as void ab initio. The
RTC found that the parties married each other for convenience only. Giving credence to the
testimony of Albios, it stated that she contracted Fringer to enter into a marriage to enable
her to acquire American citizenship and that in consideration thereof, she agreed to pay him
the sum of $2,000.00. Further, the RTC noted that after the ceremony, the parties went
their separate ways, as Fringer returned to the United States and never again communicated
with her and that, in turn, she did not pay him the $2,000.00 because he never processed
her petition for citizenship.

The CA affirmed the RTC. It found the essential requisite of consent to be lacking. The
CA stated that the parties clearly did not understand the nature and consequence of getting
married and that their case was similar to a marriage in jest. It further explained that the
parties never intended to enter into the marriage contract and never intended to live as
husband and wife or build a family.

ISSUE
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Whether a marriage, contracted for the sole purpose of acquiring American citizenship in
consideration of $2,000.00, void ab initio because consent was lacking.

HELD

NO, the marriage is valid.


The institution of marriage carries with it concomitant benefits. This has led to the development of
marriage fraud for the sole purpose of availing of particular benefits. In the United States, marriages
where a couple marries only to achieve a particular purpose or acquire specific benefits, have been
referred to as limited purpose marriages. A common limited purpose marriage is one entered into
solely for the legitimization of a child. Another, which is the subject of the present case, is for
immigration purposes. Immigration law is usually concerned with the intention of the couple at the
time of their marriage, and it attempts to filter out those who use marriage solely to achieve
immigration status. xxx

The CAs assailed decision was, therefore, grounded on the parties supposed lack of consent. Under
Article 2 of the Family Code, consent is an essential requisite of marriage. Article 4 of the same Code
provides that the absence of any essential requisite shall render a marriage void ab initio.

Under said Article 2, for consent to be valid, it must be (1) freely given and (2) made in the presence
of a solemnizing officer. A freely given consent requires that the contracting parties willingly and
deliberately enter into the marriage. Consent must be real in the sense that it is not vitiated nor
rendered defective by any of the vices of consent under Articles 45 and 46 of the Family Code, such
as fraud, force, intimidation, and undue influence. Consent must also be conscious or intelligent, in
that the parties must be capable of intelligently understanding the nature of, and both the beneficial
or unfavorable consequences of their act. Their understanding should not be affected by insanity,
intoxication, drugs, or hypnotism.

Based on the above, consent was not lacking between Albios and Fringer. In fact, there was real
consent because it was not vitiated nor rendered defective by any vice of consent. Their consent was
also conscious and intelligent as they understood the nature and the beneficial and inconvenient
consequences of their marriage, as nothing impaired their ability to do so. That their consent was
freely given is best evidenced by their conscious purpose of acquiring American citizenship through
marriage. Such plainly demonstrates that they willingly and deliberately contracted the marriage.
There was a clear intention to enter into a real and valid marriage so as to fully comply with the
requirements of an application for citizenship. There was a full and complete understanding of the
legal tie that would be created between them, since it was that precise legal tie which was necessary
to accomplish their goal. xxx

The respondents marriage is not at all analogous to a marriage in jest. Albios and Fringer had an
undeniable intention to be bound in order to create the very bond necessary to allow the respondent
to acquire American citizenship. Only a genuine consent to be married would allow them to further
their objective, considering that only a valid marriage can properly support an application for
citizenship. There was, thus, an apparent intention to enter into the actual marriage status and to
create a legal tie, albeit for a limited purpose. Genuine consent was, therefore, clearly present.

The avowed purpose of marriage under Article 1 of the Family Code is for the couple to establish a
conjugal and family life. The possibility that the parties in a marriage might have no real intention
to establish a life together is, however, insufficient to nullify a marriage freely entered into in
accordance with law. The same Article 1 provides that the nature, consequences, and incidents of
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marriage are governed by law and not subject to stipulation. A marriage may, thus, only be declared
void or voidable under the grounds provided by law. There is no law that declares a marriage void if
it is entered into for purposes other than what the Constitution or law declares, such as the
acquisition of foreign citizenship. Therefore, so long as all the essential and formal requisites
precribed by law are present, and it is not void or voidable under the grounds provided by law, it
shall be declared valid.

Motives for entering into a marriage are varied and complex. The State does not and cannot dictate
on the kind of life that a couple chooses to lead. Any attempt to regulate their lifestyle would go into
the realm of their right to privacy and would raise serious constitutional questions. The right to
marital privacy allows married couples to structure their marriages in almost any way they see fit, to
live together or live apart, to have children or no children, to love one another or not, and so on.
Thus, marriages entered into for other purposes, limited or otherwise, such as convenience,
companionship, money, status, and title, provided that they comply with all the legal requisites, are
equally valid. Love, though the ideal consideration in a marriage contract, is not the only valid cause
for marriage. Other considerations, not precluded by law, may validly support a marriage.

Although the Court views with disdain the respondents attempt to utilize marriage for dishonest
purposes, it cannot declare the marriage void. Hence, though the respondents marriage may be
considered a sham or fraudulent for the purposes of immigration, it is not void ab initio and
continues to be valid and subsisting. xxx

Albios has indeed made a mockery of the sacred institution of marriage. Allowing her marriage with
Fringer to be declared void would only further trivialize this inviolable institution. The Court cannot
declare such a marriage void in the event the parties fail to quality for immigration benefits, after
they have availed of its benefits, or simply have no further use for it. Xxx

No less than our Constitution declares that marriage, as an inviolable social institution, is the
foundation of the family and shall be protected by the State.

Office of the Court Administrator v Judge Anatalio S. Necessario, et al.


A.M. No. MTJ-07-1691

2 April 2013

Per Curiam

Nature of the Action


This was an administrative case that stemmed from the Memorandum of the Office of the Court
Administrator (OCA). The judicial audit team created by the OCA reported alleged irregularities in
the solemnization of marriages in several branches of the MTCCs and RTCs in Cebu City. Certain
package fees were offered to interested parties by "fixers" or "facilitators" for instant marriages.

FACTS

In 2007, an audit team created by OCA proceeded to Cebu City for the purpose of investigating
Branches 2, 3, 4, and 8 of the MTCC in Cebu City. The OCA subsequently submitted its Report
regarding the syndicate. 643 marriage certificates were examined by the judicial audit team. The
team reported that out of the 643 marriage certificates examined, 280 marriages were solemnized
under Article 34 of the Family Code. The logbooks of the MTCC Branches indicated a higher
number of solemnized marriages than the number of marriage certificates in the courts custody.
There was also an unusual number of marriage licenses obtained from the local civil registrars of the
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towns of Barili and Liloan, Cebu. There were even marriages solemnized at 9 am with marriage
licenses obtained on the same day.

In its Resolution, this Court treated the Memorandum of the judicial audit team as a formal
administrative complaint and directed Judge Anatalio S. Necessario, Judge Gil R.
Acosta, Judge Rosabella M. Tormis, and Judge Edgemelo C. Rosales to submit their
respective comments. The Court also suspended the judges pending resolution of the cases against
them.

Judge Necessario relied on the presumption of regularity regarding the documents presented to him
by contracting parties. Judge Acosta argued that the law only required a marriage license and that
he was not required to inquire whether the license was obtained from a location where one of the
parties is an actual resident. The judge believed that it was not his duty to verify the signature on the
marriage license to determine its authenticity because he relied on the presumption of regularity of
public documents. Judge Tormis claimed that there was nothing wrong with solemnizing marriages
on the date of the issuance of the marriage license and with the fact that the issued marriage license
was obtained from a place where neither of the parties resided. As to the pro forma affidavits of
cohabitation, she argued that she cannot be faulted for accepting it as genuine as she and the other
judges were not handwriting experts and that the affidavits also enjoyed the presumption of
regularity. Lastly, Judge Rosales denied violating the law on marriage and maintained that it was
the local civil registrar who evaluated the documents submitted by the parties, and he presumed the
regularity of the license issued. It was only when there is no marriage license given that he
ascertains the qualifications of the parties and the lack of legal impediment to marry.

The OCA recommended the dismissal of the respondent judges and some court employees, and the
suspension or admonition of others.

ISSUE

Whether the irregularities with regard to solemnization of marriages constituted gross inefficiency
or neglect of duty on the part of the respondent judges.

HELD

YES, for gross inefficiency or neglect of duty and gross ignorance of the law,
respondent judges were dismissed from service.

The findings in the 2010 Memorandum of the Office of the Court Administrator are supported by
the evidence on record and applicable law and jurisprudence. This Court has long held that court
officials and employees are placed with a heavy burden and responsibility of keeping the faith of the
public. xxx

To summarize, the liabilities of the judges are the following:

First, Judges Necessario, Tormis and Rosales solemnized marriages even if the
requirements submitted by the couples were incomplete and of questionable character. Most
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of these documents showed visible signs of tampering, erasures, corrections or


superimpositions of entries related to the parties place of residence. These included
indistinguishable features such as the font, font size, and ink of the computer-printed entries
in the marriage certificate and marriage license. These actions of the respondent judges
constitute gross inefficiency. In Vega v. Asdala, the Court held that inefficiency implies
negligence, incompetence, ignorance, and carelessness.

Second, the judges were also found guilty of neglect of duty regarding the payment of
solemnization fees. The Court, in Rodrigo-Ebron v. Adolfo, defined neglect of duty as the
failure to give ones attention to a task expected of him and it is gross when, from the gravity
of the offense or the frequency of instances, the offense is so serious in its character as to
endanger or threaten public welfare. The marriage documents examined by the audit team
show that corresponding official receipts for the solemnization fee were missing or payment
by batches was made for marriages performed on different dates. X X X

Third, Judges Necessario, Tormis, and Rosales also solemnized marriages where a
contracting party is a foreigner who did not submit a certificate of legal capacity to marry
from his or her embassy. What the foreigners submitted were mere affidavits stating their
capacity to marry. The irregularity in the certificates of legal capacity that are required under
Article 21 of the Family Code displayed the gross neglect of duty of the judges. They should
have been diligent in scrutinizing the documents required for the marriage license issuance.
Any irregularities would have been prevented in the qualifications of parties to contract
marriage.

Fourth, Judges Necessario, Acosta, and Tormis are likewise guilty of gross ignorance of the
law under Article 34 of the Family Code with respect to the marriages they solemnized where
legal impediments existed during cohabitation such as the minority status of one party. xxx

It follows also that although Article 21 of the Family Code requires the submission of the certificate
from the embassy of the foreign party to the local registrar for acquiring a marriage license, the
judges should have been more diligent in reviewing the parties documents and qualifications. As
noted by the OCA, the absence of the required certificates coupled with the presence of mere
affidavits should have aroused suspicion as to the regularity of the marriage license issuance.

The judges gross ignorance of the law is also evident when they solemnized marriages under Article
34 of the Family Code without the required qualifications and with the existence of legal
impediments such as minority of a party. Marriages of exceptional character such as those made
under Article 34 are, doubtless, the exceptions to the rule on the indispensability of the formal
requisite of a marriage license. Under the rules of statutory construction, exceptions as a general
rule should be strictly but reasonably construed. The affidavits of cohabitation should not be issued
and accepted pro forma particularly in view of the settled rulings of the Court on this matter. The
five-year period of cohabitation should be one of a perfect union valid under the law but rendered
imperfect only by the absence of the marriage contract. The parties should have been capacitated to
marry each other during the entire period and not only at the time of the marriage.

The absence of a marriage license will clearly render a marriage void ab initio. The actions of the
judges have raised a very alarming issue regarding the validity of the marriages they solemnized
since they did not follow the proper procedure or check the required documents and qualifications.
In Aranes v. Judge Salvador Occiano, the Court said that a marriage solemnized without a marriage
license is void and the subsequent issuance of the license cannot render valid or add even an iota of
validity to the marriage. It is the marriage license that gives the solemnizing officer the authority to
solemnize a marriage and the act of solemnizing the marriage without a license constitutes gross
ignorance of the law.

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Yasuo Iwasawa v Felisa Custodio Gangan (A.K.A Felisa Gangan Arambulo, And Felisa
Gangan Iwasawa) and the Local Civil Registrar of Pasay City
GR 204169

11 September 2013

Villarama, Jr., J

Nature of the Action


This is a Petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 assailing the Decision and Order of the RTC
denying the petition for declaration of nullity of the marriage of petitioner Yasuo Iwasawa.

FACTS

Petitioner, a Japanese national, met private respondent in 2002 in one of his visits to the
Philippines. Private respondent introduced herself as single and has never married before. Since
then, the two became close to each other. Later that year, petitioner came back to the Philippines
and married private respondent on November 28, 2002 in Pasay City. After the wedding, the couple
resided in Japan. In July 2009, private respondent confessed to him that she received news that her
previous husband passed away. Petitioner discovered that she was married to one Raymond
Maglonzo Arambulo and that their marriage took place on June 20, 1994.

Petitioner filed a petition for the declaration of his marriage to private respondent as null and void
on the ground that their marriage was a bigamous one, based on Article 35(4) in relation to Article
41 of the Family Code of the Philippines.

The RTC rendered the assailed decision. It ruled that there was insufficient evidence to
prove private respondents prior existing valid marriage to another man. It held that while
petitioner offered the certificate of marriage of private respondent to Arambulo, it was only
petitioner who testified about said marriage. The RTC ruled that petitioners testimony is
unreliable because he has no personal knowledge of private respondents prior marriage nor
of Arambulos death which makes him a complete stranger to the marriage certificate
between private respondent and Arambulo and the latters death certificate. It further ruled
that petitioners testimony about the NSO certification is likewise unreliable since he is a
stranger to the preparation of said document. Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration,
but the same was denied by the RTC.

ISSUE

Whether the testimony of the NSO records custodian certifying the authenticity and due execution
of the public documents issued by said office was necessary before they could be accorded
evidentiary weight

HELD

NO, The testimony of the records custodian of the NSO on the authenticity and due
execution of public documents is not necessary before such documents could be
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accorded evidentiary weight, since under Article 410 of the Civil Code, the books
making up the civil register and all documents relating thereto shall be considered
public documents and shall be prima facie evidence of the facts there in contained.
There is no question that the documentary evidence submitted by petitioner are all public
documents. As provided in the Civil Code:
ART. 410. The books making up the civil register and all documents relating thereto shall be
considered public documents and shall be prima facie evidence of the facts therein
contained.
As public documents, they are admissible in evidence even without further proof of their due
execution and genuineness. Thus, the RTC erred when it disregarded said documents on the sole
ground that the petitioner did not present the records custodian of the NSO who issued them to
testify on their authenticity and due execution since proof of authenticity and due execution was not
anymore necessary. Moreover, not only are said documents admissible, they deserve to be given
evidentiary weight because they constitute prima facie evidence of the facts stated therein. And in
the instant case, the facts stated therein remain unrebutted since neither the private respondent nor
the public prosecutor presented evidence to the contrary.
This Court has consistently held that a judicial declaration of nullity is required before a valid
subsequent marriage can be contracted; or else, what transpires is a bigamous marriage, which is
void from the beginning as provided in Article 35(4) of the Family Code of the Philippines. And this
is what transpired in the instant case.

Sally Go-Bangayan v Benjamin Bangayan, Jr.


GR 201061 3 July 2013
Carpio, J.
Nature of the Action
This is a petition for review on certiorari assailing the decision of CA modified the judgment of RTC
in a petition for declaration of nullity of marriage.
FACTS
In 1979, Benjamin developed a romantic relationship with Sally GoBangayan (Sally) who was a
customer in the auto parts and supplies business owned by Benjamins family. In December 1981,
Azucena left for the United States of America. In February 1982, Benjamin and Sally lived together
as husband and wife. Sallys father was against the relationship. On 7 March 1982, in order to
appease her father, Sally brought Benjamin to an office in Santolan, Pasig City where they signed a
purported marriage contract. Sally, knowing Benjamins marital status, assured him that the
marriage contract would not be registered.
Benjamin and Sallys cohabitation produced two children, Bernice and Bentley
The relationship of Benjamin and Sally ended in 1994 when Sally left for Canada, bringing Bernice
and Bentley with her. She then filed a criminal actions for bigamy and falsification of
public documents against Benjamin, using their simulated marriage contract as
evidence. Benjamin, in turn, filed a petition for declaration of a non-existent
marriage and/or declaration of nullity of marriage before the trial court on the ground
that his marriage to Sally was bigamous and that it lacked the formal requisites to a valid marriage.
Benjamin also asked the trial court for the partition of the properties he acquired with Sally in
accordance with Article 148 of the Family Code, for his appointment as administrator of the
properties during the pendency of the case, and for the declaration of Bernice and Bentley as
illegitimate children. A total of 44 registered properties became the subject of the partition before
the trial court. Aside from the seven properties enumerated by Benjamin in his petition, Sally
named 37 properties in her answer.
The trial court ruled in favor of Benjamin. The trial court gave weight to the certification dated 21
July 2004 from the Pasig Local Civil Registrar, which was confirmed during trial, that only Marriage
License Series Nos. 6648100 to 6648150 were issued for the month of February 1982 and the
purported Marriage License No. N-07568 was not issued to Benjamin and Sally. The trial court
ruled that the marriage was not recorded with the local civil registrar and the National Statistics
Office because it could not be registered due to Benjamins subsisting marriage with Azucena.
The trial court ruled that the marriage between Benjamin and Sally was not bigamous. The trial
court ruled that the second marriage was void not because of the existence of the first marriage but
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because of other causes, particularly, the lack of a marriage license. Hence, bigamy was not
committed in this case.
ISSUE
Whether the marriage between parties is bigamous.
HELD
NO, THERE WAS NO BIGAMOUS MARRIAGE.
We see no inconsistency in finding the marriage between Benjamin and Sally null
and void ab initio and, at the same time, non-existent. Under Article 35 of the Family
Code, a marriage solemnized without a license, except those covered by Article 34 where no license
is necessary, "shall be void from the beginning." In this case, the marriage between Benjamin and
Sally was solemnized without a license. It was duly established that no marriage license was issued
to them and that Marriage License No. N-07568 did not match the marriage license numbers issued
by the local civil registrar of Pasig City for the month of February 1982. The case clearly falls under
Section 3 of Article 35 which made their marriage void ab initio. The marriage between Benjamin
and Sally was also non-existent. Applying the general rules on void or inexistent contracts under
Article 1409 of the Civil Code, contracts which are absolutely simulated or fictitious are "inexistent
and void from the beginning." Thus, the Court of Appeals did not err in sustaining the trial courts
ruling that the marriage between Benjamin and Sally was null and void ab initio and non-existent.
Except for the modification in the distribution of properties, the Court of Appeals affirmed in all
aspects the trial courts decision and ruled that "the rest of the decision stands." While the Court of
Appeals did not discuss bigamous marriages, it can be gleaned from the dispositive portion of the
decision declaring that "the rest of the decision stands" that the Court of Appeals adopted the trial
courts discussion that the marriage between Benjamin and Sally is not bigamous. The trial court
stated:
On whether or not the parties marriage is bigamous under the concept of Article 349 of the
Revised Penal Code, the marriage is not bigamous. It is required that the first or former
marriage shall not be null and void. The marriage of the petitioner to Azucena shall be
assumed as the one that is valid, there being no evidence to the contrary and there is no
trace of invalidity or irregularity on the face of their marriage contract. However, if the
second marriage was void not because of the existence of the first marriage but for other
causes such as lack of license, the crime of bigamy was not committed. In People v. De Lara
[CA, 51 O.G., 4079], it was held that what was committed was contracting marriage
against the provisions of laws not under Article 349 but Article 350 of the Revised Penal
Code. Concluding, the marriage of the parties is therefore not bigamous because there was
no marriage license. The daring and repeated stand of respondent that she is legally
married to petitioner cannot, in any instance, be sustained. Assuming that her marriage to
petitioner has the marriage license, yet the same would be bigamous, civilly or criminally
as it would be invalidated by a prior existing valid marriage of petitioner and Azucena.
For bigamy to exist, the second or subsequent marriage must have all the essential requisites for
validity except for the existence of a prior marriage. In this case, there was really no subsequent
marriage. Benjamin and Sally just signed a purported marriage contract without a marriage license.
The supposed marriage was not recorded with the local civil registrar and the National Statistics
Office. In short, the marriage between Benjamin and Sally did not exist. They lived together and
represented themselves as husband and wife without the benefit of marriage. xxx
The certification from the local civil registrar is adequate to prove the non-issuance of a marriage
license and absent any suspicious circumstance, the certification enjoys probative value, being
issued by the officer charged under the law to keep a record of all data relative to the issuance of a
marriage license.

Minoru Fujiki v Maria Paz Galela Marinay, et al.


GR 196049

26 June 2013

Carpio, J

Nature of the Action


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This was a direct recourse to the SC from the RTC Branch 107, Quezon City, through a petition for
review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court on a pure question of law. The petition
assailed the Order of the RTC and its Resolution denying petitioners Motion for Reconsideration.
The RTC dismissed the petition for "Judicial Recognition of Foreign Judgment (or Decree of
Absolute Nullity of Marriage)" based on improper venue and the lack of personality of petitioner,
Minoru Fujiki, to file the petition.

FACTS

Petitioner Minoru Fujiki was a Japanese national who married respondent Maria Paz Galela
Marinay in the Philippines in 2004. The marriage did not sit well with petitioners parents. Thus,
Fujiki could not bring his wife to Japan where he resided. Eventually, they lost contact with each
other. In 2008, Marinay met another Japanese, Shinichi Maekara. Without the first marriage being
dissolved, Marinay and Maekara were married in 2008 in Quezon City. Maekara brought Marinay
to Japan. However, Marinay allegedly suffered physical abuse from Maekara. She left Maekara and
started to contact Fujiki.

Fujiki and Marinay met in Japan and they were able to reestablish their relationship. In 2010, Fujiki
helped Marinay obtain a judgment from a family court in Japan which declared the marriage
between Marinay and Maekara void on the ground of bigamy. In 2011, Fujiki filed a petition in the
RTC entitled: "Judicial Recognition of Foreign Judgment (or Decree of Absolute Nullity of
Marriage)." Fujiki prayed that (1) the Japanese Family Court judgment be recognized and (2) that
the bigamous marriage between Marinay and Maekara be declared void ab initio under Articles
35(4) and 41 of the Family Code of the Philippines.

The RTC dismissed the petition and withdrew the case from its docket. It reasoned that
according to the Rule on Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void Marriages and Annulment
of Voidable Marriages, only the husband or the wife, in this case either Maekara or Marinay,
could file the petition to declare their marriage void, and not Fujiki.

Before the SC, The Solicitor General argued that Fujiki, as the spouse of the first marriage,
was an injured party who can sue to declare the bigamous marriage between Marinay and
Maekara void.

ISSUE

Whether the foreign spouse from the first marriage may file a petition to recognize a foreign
judgment nullifying the subsequent marriage between his Filipino spouse and another foreign
citizen on the ground of bigamy.

HELD

YES, The Rule on Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void Marriages and Annulment
of Voidable Marriages (A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC) does not apply in a petition to
recognize a foreign judgment relating to the status of a marriage where one of the
parties is a citizen of a foreign country. Moreover, in Juliano-Llave v. Republic, this Court
held that the rule in A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC that only the husband or wife can file a declaration of
nullity or annulment of marriage "does not apply if the reason behind the petition is bigamy." xxx
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There is therefore no reason to disallow Fujiki to simply prove as a fact the Japanese Family Court
judgment nullifying the marriage between Marinay and Maekara on the ground of bigamy. While
the Philippines has no divorce law, the Japanese Family Court judgment is fully consistent with
Philippine public policy, as bigamous marriages are declared void from the beginning under Article
35(4) of the Family Code. Bigamy is a crime under Article 349 of the Revised Penal Code. Thus,
Fujiki can prove the existence of the Japanese Family Court judgment in accordance with Rule 132,
Sections 24 and 25, in relation to Rule 39, Section 48(b) of the Rules of Court.

Since the recognition of a foreign judgment only requires proof of fact of the judgment, it may be
made in a special proceeding for cancellation or correction of entries in the civil registry under Rule
108 of the Rules of Court. xxx

Fujiki has the personality to file a petition to recognize the Japanese Family Court
judgment nullifying the marriage between Marinay and Maekara on the ground of
bigamy because the judgment concerns his civil status as married to Marinay. For
the same reason he has the personality to file a petition under Rule 108 to cancel the entry of
marriage between Marinay and Maekara in the civil registry on the basis of the decree of the
Japanese Family Court.

There is no doubt that the prior spouse has a personal and material interest in
maintaining the integrity of the marriage he contracted and the property relations
arising from it. There is also no doubt that he is interested in the cancellation of an entry of a
bigamous marriage in the civil registry, which compromises the public record of his marriage. The
interest derives from the substantive right of the spouse not only to preserve (or dissolve, in limited
instances) his most intimate human relation, but also to protect his property interests that arise by
operation of law the moment he contracts marriage. These property interests in marriage include
the right to be supported "in keeping with the financial capacity of the family"and preserving the
property regime of the marriage. xxx

Section 2(a) of A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC does not preclude a spouse of a subsisting marriage to
question the validity of a subsequent marriage on the ground of bigamy. On the contrary, when
Section 2(a) states that "[a] petition for declaration of absolute nullity of void marriage may be filed
solely by the husband or the wife"it refers to the husband or the wife of the subsisting marriage.
Under Article 35(4) of the Family Code, bigamous marriages are void from the beginning. Thus, the
parties in a bigamous marriage are neither the husband nor the wife under the law. The husband or
the wife of the prior subsisting marriage is the one who has the personality to file a petition for
declaration of absolute nullity of void marriage under Section 2(a) of A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC.

Article 35(4) of the Family Code, which declares bigamous marriages void from the beginning, is the
civil aspect of Article 349 of the Revised Penal Code, which penalizes bigamy. Bigamy is a public
crime. Thus, anyone can initiate prosecution for bigamy because any citizen has an interest in the
prosecution and prevention of crimes. If anyone can file a criminal action which leads to the
declaration of nullity of a bigamous marriage, there is more reason to confer personality to sue on
the husband or the wife of a subsisting marriage. The prior spouse does not only share in the public
interest of prosecuting and preventing crimes, he is also personally interested in the purely civil
aspect of protecting his marriage.

When the right of the spouse to protect his marriage is violated, the spouse is clearly an injured
party and is therefore interested in the judgment of the suit. Juliano-Llave ruled that the prior
spouse "is clearly the aggrieved party as the bigamous marriage not only threatens the financial and
the property ownership aspect of the prior marriage but most of all, it causes an emotional burden
to the prior spouse." Being a real party in interest, the prior spouse is entitled to sue in order to
declare a bigamous marriage void. For this purpose, he can petition a court to recognize a foreign
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judgment nullifying the bigamous marriage and judicially declare as a fact that such judgment is
effective in the Philippines. Once established, there should be no more impediment to cancel the
entry of the bigamous marriage in the civil registry.

Republic of the Philippines v Cesar Encelan


GR 170022

9 January 2013

Brion, J

Nature of the Action


This is a petition for review on certiorari filed by petitioner Republic of the Philippines challenging
the amended decision of the CA that reconsidered its original decision. In its original decision, the
CA set aside the decision of the RTC of Manila, Branch 47, in Civil Case No. 95-74257, which
declared the marriage involved to be void.

FACTS

Cesar Married Lolita, and they had two children. To support the family, Cesar went abroad and
worked as an OFW in Saudi Arabia. After two years of working abroad, Cesar learned that Lolita is
having an illicit affair with Alvin Perez, and thereafter, left the conjugal dwelling together with the
two children. But even with such circumstances, Cesar never failed to send financial support for the
family.

Cesar filed with the RTC a petition against Lolita for the declaration of the nullity of his marriage
based on Lolitas psychological incapacity. Cesar presented the psychological evaluation report on
Lolita prepared by Dr. Fareda Fatima Flores of the National Center for Mental Health. Dr. Flores
found that Lolita was "not suffering from any form of major psychiatric illness," but had been
"unable to provide the expectations expected of her for a good and lasting marital relationship"; her
"transferring from one job to the other depicted some interpersonal problems with co-workers as
well as her impatience in attaining her ambitions"; and "her refusal to go with her husband abroad
signified her reluctance to work out a good marital and family relationship.

The RTC declared Cesars marriage to Lolita void, finding sufficient basis to declare Lolita
psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential marital obligations.

The CA originally set aside the RTCs verdict, finding that Lolitas abandonment of the
conjugal dwelling and infidelity were not serious cases of personality disorder/psychological
illness. Lolita merely refused to comply with her marital obligations which she was capable
of doing. The CA significantly observed that infidelity is only a ground for legal separation,
not for the declaration of the nullity of a marriage. However, upon reconsideration,
the CA affirmed the RTCs decision and found two circumstances indicative of
Lolitas serious psychological incapacity that resulted in her gross infidelity:
(1) Lolitas unwarranted refusal to perform her marital obligations to Cesar; and (2) Lolitas
willful and deliberate act of abandoning the conjugal dwelling.

ISSUE

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Whether unfaithfulness, abandonment and professional unfitness of the spouse constitute


psychological incapacity.

HELD

NO. There is no sufficient basis exists to annul Cesars marriage to Lolita on the
ground of psychological incapacity.

Article 36 of the Family Code governs psychological incapacity as a ground for declaration of nullity
of marriage. It provides that [a] marriage contracted by any party who, at the time of the
celebration, was psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential marital obligations of
marriage, shall likewise be void even if such incapacity becomes manifest only after its
solemnization. In interpreting this provision, we have repeatedly stressed that psychological
incapacity contemplates downright incapacity or inability to take cognizance of and to
assume the basic marital obligations; not merely the refusal, neglect or difficulty, much less
ill will, on the part of the errant spouse. The plaintiff bears the burden of proving the juridical
antecedence (i.e., the existence at the time of the celebration of marriage), gravity and incurability of
the condition of the errant spouse.
In any event, sexual infidelity and abandonment of the conjugal dwelling, even if true, do not
necessarily constitute psychological incapacity; these are simply grounds for legal separation. To
constitute psychological incapacity, it must be shown that the unfaithfulness and abandonment are
manifestations of a disordered personality that completely prevented the erring spouse from
discharging the essential marital obligations.
Aside from the time element involved, a wifes psychological fitness as a spouse cannot simply be
equated with her professional/work relationship; workplace obligations and responsibilities are
poles apart from their marital counterparts. While both spring from human relationship, their
relatedness and relevance to one another should be fully established for them to be compared or to
serve as measures of comparison with one another.
Once again, we stress that marriage is an inviolable social institution protected by the State. Any
doubt should be resolved in favor of its existence its existence and continuation and against its
dissolution and nullity. It cannot be dissolved at the whim of the parties nor by transgressions made
by one party to the other during the marriage.

People v Edgar Dumawan


GR 187495 21 April 2014
Reyes, J.
Nature of the Action
This is an automatic review of the decision of CA affirming the conviction by RTC against Edgar
Jumawan of 2 counts of rape, sentencing him to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua for each
count.
FACTS
Accused Edgar Dumawan were married to KKK. They had 4 children. Despite the fact that Edgar
only finished highschool and his wife gradeschool, they were able to set up several businesses such
as sari-sari store, trucking, rice mill and hardware.
KKK filed a complaint for the crime of rape against her husband. According to her, her husband was
not as fervent to as she is with regard to their businesses. Conjugal intimacy did not really cause
marital problems between KKK and the accused-appellant. It was, in fact, both frequent and
fulfilling. However, in 1997, he started to be brutal in bed. His abridged method of lovemaking was
physically painful for her so she would resist his sexual ambush but he would threaten her into
submission. On two occasions, the accused forced KKK to have sex with him, despite her insistent
objections.
Accused denied raping his wife. In his defense, he alleged that KKK merely fabricated the rape
charges as her revenge because he took over the control and management of their businesses after
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his wife failed to account for their bank deposits and business earnings. Furthermore, KKK wanted
to cover up her extra-marital affairs with more than 10 paramours.
The RTC convicted the accused on the basis of the spontaneous and straightforward testimonies of
the prosecutions witnesses. CA affirmed this ruling.
ISSUE
Whether rape, as a form of sexual violence, exists within marriage.
HELD
Yes, Husbands do not have property rights over their wives' bodies. Sexual
intercourse, albeit within the realm of marriage, if not consensual, is rape. This is the
clear State policy expressly legislated in Section 266-A of the Revised Penal Code
(RPC), as amended by Republic Act (R.A.) No. 8353 or the Anti-Rape Law of 1997.
The crux of the accused-appellants plea for acquittal mirrors the irrevocable implied consent
theory. In his appeal brief before the CA, he posits that the two incidents of sexual intercourse,
which gave rise to the criminal charges for rape, were theoretically consensual, obligatory even,
because he and the victim, KKK, were a legally married and cohabiting couple. He argues that
consent to copulation is presumed between cohabiting husband and wife unless the contrary is
proved.
The accused-appellant further claims that this case should be viewed and treated differently from
ordinary rape cases and that the standards for determining the presence of consent or lack thereof
must be adjusted on the ground that sexual community is a mutual right and obligation between
husband and wife.
The contentions failed to muster legal and rational merit.
The ancient customs and ideologies from which the irrevocable implied
consent theory evolved have already been superseded by modern global
principles on the equality of rights between men and women and respect for
human dignity established in various international conventions, such as the CEDAW. The
Philippines, as State Party to the CEDAW, recognized that a change in the traditional role of
men as well as the role of women in society and in the family is needed to achieve full
equality between them.
Accordingly, the country vowed to take all appropriate measures to modify the social and
cultural patterns of conduct of men and women, with a view to achieving the elimination of
prejudices, customs and all other practices which are based on the idea of the inferiority or
the superiority of either of the sexes or on stereotyped roles for men and women. One of
such measures is R.A. No 8353 insofar as it eradicated the archaic notion that marital rape
cannot exist because a husband has absolute proprietary rights over his wifes body and thus
her consent to every act of sexual intimacy with him is always obligatory or at least,
presumed. xxx

Clearly, it is now acknowledged that rape, as a form of sexual violence, exists within
marriage. A man who penetrates her wife without her consent or against her will commits sexual
violence upon her, and the Philippines, as a State Party to the CEDAW and its accompanying
Declaration, defines and penalizes the act as rape under R.A. No. 8353.
A woman is no longer the chattel-antiquated practices labeled her to be. A
husband who has sexual intercourse with his wife is not merely using a property, he is
fulfilling a marital consortium with a fellow human being with dignity equal to that he
accords himself. He cannot be permitted to violate this dignity by coercing her to engage in a
sexual act without her full and free consent. Surely, the Philippines cannot renege on its
international commitments and accommodate conservative yet irrational notions on marital
activities that have lost their relevance in a progressive society.
It is true that the Family Code, obligates the spouses to love one another but
this rule sanctions affection and sexual intimacy, as expressions of love, that
are both spontaneous and mutual and not the kind which is unilaterally
exacted by force or coercion.
Further, the delicate and reverent nature of sexual intimacy between a husband and wife
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excludes cruelty and coercion. Sexual intimacy brings spouses wholeness and oneness. It is a
gift and a participation in the mystery of creation. It is a deep sense of spiritual communion.
It is a function which enlivens the hope of procreation and ensures the continuation of
family relations. It is an expressive interest in each others feelings at a time it is needed by
the other and it can go a long way in deepening marital relationship. When it is egoistically
utilized to despoil marital union in order to advance a felonious urge for coitus by force,
violence or intimidation, the Court will step in to protect its lofty purpose, vindicate justice
and protect our laws and State policies. Besides, a husband who feels aggrieved by his
indifferent or uninterested wifes absolute refusal to engage in sexual intimacy may legally
seek the courts intervention to declare her psychologically incapacitated to fulfill an
essential marital obligation. But he cannot and should not demand sexual intimacy from her
coercively or violently.
xxx
The Court adheres to and hereby adopts the rationale in Liberta in rejecting the argument
akin to those raised by herein accused-appellant. A marriage license should not be viewed as
a license for a husband to forcibly rape his wife with impunity. A married woman has the
same right to control her own body, as does an unmarried woman. She can give or withhold
her consent to a sexual intercourse with her husband and he cannot unlawfully wrestle such
consent from her in case she refuses.
Xxx
The human rights of women include their right to have control over and decide freely and
responsibly on matters related to their sexuality, including sexual and reproductive health,
free of coercion, discrimination and violence. Women do not divest themselves of
such right by contracting marriage for the simple reason that human rights
are inalienable.

Philippine National Bank v. Jose Garcia et al.


GR 182839 2 June 2014
Brion, J.
Nature of the Action:
This is a petition for review on certiorari assailing the decision of the CA which reversed and set
aside the decision of the RTC dismissing the complaint for nullity of the amendment of real estate
mortgage for lack of cause of action.
FACTS
Jose Garcia Sr. had 4 children - Nora, Jose, Jr., Bobby and Jimmy - with his spouse Ligaya. During
their marriage, Jose Sr. acquired the subject parcel of residential land with improvements. Ligaya
died in 1987.
In 1989, spouses Rogelio and Celedonia Garcia acquired a loan from Philippine National Bank
(PNB) secured by a real estate mortgage. Jose Sr. agreed to accommodate the spouses Garcia,
hence, they were able to increase their loan with the subject parcel of land offered as additional
security. Jose Sr. executed SPAs in favor of the spouses. He also executed an amendment of Real
estate mortgage in favor of PNB. These were all inscribed on the title of the land. However, the
accommodation was made without the knowledge and consent of the four children of Jose Sr. the
respondents in this case.
The spouses Garcia failed to pay back their loan. Consequently, the children of Jose Sr. filed a
complaint for nullity of the amendment of real estate mortgage, damages with preliminary
injunction against the spouses Garcia and PNB. Respondents argue that:
1. The amendment was null and void as they were not made parties to the contract.
2. The subject property was a conjugal property of Jose Sr. and Ligaya as they acquired it
during their marriage. Upon death of their mother, they, together with their father, became
owners pro indiviso of the subject property.
3. The real estate mortgage executed by Jose Sr. over the property could not bind them as they
did not giver their consent or approval to the encumbrance.
4. The real estate mortgage was void as Jose Sr. did not benefit from the loan.
The petitioner bank, on the other hand, claimed that the mortgage was made in good faith and for
value, and maintained that the respondents complaint stated no cause of action against it. It alleged
that the real estate mortgage over the properties was duly registered and inscribed on their titles
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and was thus binding on the whole world.


In the course of the proceedings, the children executed an SPA authorizing their father to act as
their attorney-in-fact during the pre-trial of the case.
RTC dismissed the complaint for lack of cause of action. Without the consent of
the children, the conjugal property could only be encumbered to the extent of Jose Sr.s
share in the conjugal property plus his share as an heir in the other half pertaining to the
estate of his deceased spouse. Nonetheless, by virtue of the SPA they executed, they are
already estopped from questioning the mortgage and from alleging lack of consent or
knowledge in the transaction.
The children appealed to the CA. CA upheld trial courts finding that the subject
property was conjugal, but reversed and set aside its ruling as to declaring the amendment
valid and binding. CA ruled that the encumbrance by Jose Sr. over the entire conjugal
property without his childrens conformity was null and void. Mere part owner could
not alienate the shares of other co-owners.
ISSUE
1. Whether the subject property is conjugal.
2. Whether the mortgage executed by the father, which he executed after the death of the wife
but before the liquidation of the conjugal partnership, binds the children who did not
consent to the transaction.
HELD
1. YES, THE SUBJECT PROPERTY IS CONJUGAL.
All property acquired during marriage is presumed conjugal.
Since Jose Sr. and Ligaya were married prior to the effectivity of the Family Code, their
property relations were governed by the conjugal partnership of gains as provided under
Article 119 of the Civil Code. Under Article 160 of the Civil Code, all property of the
marriage is presumed to belong to the conjugal partnership, unless it can be proven that it
pertains exclusively to the husband or to the wife.
In his testimony, Jose Sr. admitted that at the time he acquired the land through sale, he was
already married.
Because of the petitioner banks failure to rebut the allegation that the subject property was
acquired during the formers marriage to Ligaya, the legal presumption of the conjugal
nature of the property, in line with Article 160 of the Civil Code, applies to this property.
Proof of the subject propertys acquisition during the subsistence of marriage suffices to
render the statutory presumption operative.
Registration of the subject property in the name of one spouse does not destroy the
presumption that the property is conjugal. What is material is the time when the
property was acquired.
The registration of the property is not conclusive evidence of the exclusive ownership of the
husband or the wife. Although the property appears to be registered in the name of the
husband, it has the inherent character of conjugal property if it was acquired for valuable
consideration during marriage. It retains its conjugal nature.
In order to rebut the presumptive conjugal nature of the property, the petitioner must
present strong, clear and convincing evidence of exclusive ownership of one of
the spouses. The burden of proving that the property belongs exclusively to the wife or to
the husband rests upon the party asserting it.
2. NO, THE MORTGAGE DOES NOT BIND THE CHILDREN AND THEIR
UNDIVIDED INTEREST IN THE PROPERTY. HOWEVER, THE MORTGAGE IS
VALID ONLY TO THE EXTENT OF THE PORTION ALLOTTED TO JOSE SR.
The conjugal partnership was converted into an implied ordinary co-ownership
upon the death of Ligaya.

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Upon the death of Ligaya, the conjugal partnership was automatically dissolved and
terminated pursuant to Article 175(1) of the Civil Code, and the successional rights of her
heirs vest, as provided under Article 777 of the Civil Code, which states that [t]he rights to
the succession are transmitted from the moment of the death of the decedent.
Consequently, the conjugal partnership was converted into an implied ordinary coownership between the surviving spouse, on the one hand, and the heirs of the deceased, on
the other. This resulting ordinary co- ownership among the heirs is governed
by Article 493 of the Civil Code. Under this provision, each co-owner has the full
ownership of his part or share in the co-ownership and may, therefore, alienate, assign or
mortgage it except when personal rights are involved. Should a co-owner alienate or
mortgage the co-owned property itself, the alienation or mortgage shall
remain valid but only to the extent of the portion which may be allotted to him
in the division upon the termination of the co-ownership.
In the present case, Jose Sr. constituted the mortgage over the entire subject
property after the death of Ligaya, but before the liquidation of the conjugal
partnership.
As correctly emphasized by the trial court, Jose Sr.s right in the subject property is limited
only to his share in the conjugal partnership as well as his share as an heir on the other half
of the estate which is his deceased spouses share. Accordingly, the mortgage contract is void
insofar as it extends to the undivided shares of his children (Nora, Jose Jr., Bobby and
Jimmy) because they did not give their consent to the transaction.
Accordingly, the Amendment of Real Estate Mortgage constituted by Jose Sr.
over the entire property without his co-owners' consent is not necessarily
void in its entirety. The right of the petitioner bank as mortgagee is limited though only
to the portion which may be allotted to Jose Sr. in the event of a division and liquidation of
the subject property.

Sally Go-Bangayan v Benjamin Bangayan, Jr.


GR 201061 3 July 2013
Carpio, J.
Nature of the Action
This is a petition for review on certiorari assailing the decision of CA modified the judgment of RTC
in a petition for declaration of nullity of marriage.
FACTS
In 1979, Benjamin developed a romantic relationship with Sally GoBangayan (Sally) who was a
customer in the auto parts and supplies business owned by Benjamins family. In December 1981,
Azucena left for the United States of America. In February 1982, Benjamin and Sally lived together
as husband and wife. Sallys father was against the relationship. On 7 March 1982, in order to
appease her father, Sally brought Benjamin to an office in Santolan, Pasig City where they signed a
purported marriage contract. Sally, knowing Benjamins marital status, assured him that the
marriage contract would not be registered.
Benjamin and Sallys cohabitation produced two children, Bernice and Bentley
The relationship of Benjamin and Sally ended in 1994 when Sally left for Canada, bringing Bernice
and Bentley with her. She then filed a criminal actions for bigamy and falsification of
public documents against Benjamin, using their simulated marriage contract as
evidence. Benjamin, in turn, filed a petition for declaration of a non-existent
marriage and/or declaration of nullity of marriage before the trial court on the ground
that his marriage to Sally was bigamous and that it lacked the formal requisites to a valid marriage.
Benjamin also asked the trial court for the partition of the properties he acquired with Sally in
accordance with Article 148 of the Family Code, for his appointment as administrator of the
properties during the pendency of the case, and for the declaration of Bernice and Bentley as
illegitimate children. A total of 44 registered properties became the subject of the partition before
the trial court. Aside from the seven properties enumerated by Benjamin in his petition, Sally
named 37 properties in her answer.
The trial court ruled in favor of Benjamin. The trial court gave weight to the certification dated 21
July 2004 from the Pasig Local Civil Registrar, which was confirmed during trial, that only Marriage
License Series Nos. 6648100 to 6648150 were issued for the month of February 1982 and the
purported Marriage License No. N-07568 was not issued to Benjamin and Sally. The trial court
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ruled that the marriage was not recorded with the local civil registrar and the National Statistics
Office because it could not be registered due to Benjamins subsisting marriage with Azucena.
The trial court ruled that the marriage between Benjamin and Sally was not bigamous. The trial
court ruled that the second marriage was void not because of the existence of the first marriage but
because of other causes, particularly, the lack of a marriage license. Hence, bigamy was not
committed in this case.
ISSUE
What property relations must govern the parties.
HELD
ART 148 OF THE FAMILY CODE APPLIES.
We see no inconsistency in finding the marriage between Benjamin and Sally null
and void ab initio and, at the same time, non-existent. Under Article 35 of the Family
Code, a marriage solemnized without a license, except those covered by Article 34 where no license
is necessary, "shall be void from the beginning." In this case, the marriage between Benjamin and
Sally was solemnized without a license. It was duly established that no marriage license was issued
to them and that Marriage License No. N-07568 did not match the marriage license numbers issued
by the local civil registrar of Pasig City for the month of February 1982. The case clearly falls under
Section 3 of Article 35 which made their marriage void ab initio. The marriage between Benjamin
and Sally was also non-existent. Applying the general rules on void or inexistent contracts under
Article 1409 of the Civil Code, contracts which are absolutely simulated or fictitious are "inexistent
and void from the beginning." Thus, the Court of Appeals did not err in sustaining the trial courts
ruling that the marriage between Benjamin and Sally was null and void ab initio and non-existent.
Xxx
The Court of Appeals correctly ruled that the property relations of Benjamin and Sally is governed
by Article 148 of the Family Code which states:
Art. 148. In cases of cohabitation not falling under the preceding Article, only the
properties acquired by both of the parties through their actual joint contribution of money,
property, or industry shall be owned by them in common in proportion to their respective
contributions. In the absence of proof to the contrary, their contributions and
corresponding shares are presumed to be equal. The same rule and presumption shall
apply to joint deposits of money and evidences of credit.
If one of the parties is validly married to another, his or her share in the co-ownership
shall accrue to the absolute community of conjugal partnership existing in such valid
marriage. If the party who acted in bad faith is not validly married to another, his or her
share shall be forfeited in the manner provided in the last paragraph of the preceding
Article.
The foregoing rules on forfeiture shall likewise apply even if both parties are in bad faith.
Benjamin and Sally cohabitated without the benefit of marriage. Thus, only the properties acquired
by them through their actual joint contribution of money, property, or industry shall be owned by
them in common in proportion to their respective contributions. Thus, both the trial court and the
Court of Appeals correctly excluded the 37 properties being claimed by Sally which were given by
Benjamins father to his children as advance inheritance. Sallys Answer to the petition before the
trial court even admitted that Benjamins late father himself conveyed a number of properties to
his children and their respective spouses which included Sally.
Xxx
We have ruled that the words married to preceding the name of a spouses are merely descriptive
of the civil status of the registered owners. Such words do not prove co-ownership. Without proof of
actual contribution from either or both spouses, there can be no ownership under Art 148 of the
family code.

David A. Noveras v. Leticia T. Noveras


GR 188289 20 August 2014
Perez, J.

Nature of the Action


This is a petition for review assailing the decision of CA which affirmed in part the decision of RTC
on the petition for judicial separation of conjugal properties instituted by Leticia Noveras.
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FACTS
David and Leticia are US citizens who own properties in the USA and in the Philippines. Due to
business reverses, David returned to the Philippines to sell one of their properties. But sometime in
2003, David abandoned his family and lived with another woman in Aurora Province. Leticia
obtained a decree of divorce from the Superior Court of California in June 2005 wherein the court
awarded all the properties in the USA to Leticia. With respect to their properties in the Philippines,
Leticia filed a petition for judicial separation of conjugal properties.
The trial court recognized that since the parties are US citizens, the laws that cover their legal and
personal status are those of the USA.
With respect to their marriage, the parties are divorced by virtue of the decree of dissolution
of their marriage issued by the Superior Court of California, County of San Mateo on 24 June
2005. Under their law, the parties marriage had already been dissolved. Thus, the trial
court considered the petition filed by Leticia as one for liquidation of the
absolute community of property regime with the determination of the
legitimes, support and custody of the children, instead of an action for
judicial separation of conjugal property.
With respect to their property relations, the trial court first classified their property regime
as absolute community of property because they did not execute any marriage settlement
before the solemnization of their marriage pursuant to Article 75 of the Family Code. Then,
the trial court ruled that in accordance with the doctrine of processual presumption,
Philippine law should apply because the court cannot take judicial notice of the US law since
the parties did not submit any proof of their national law. The trial court held that as the
instant petition does not fall under the provisions of the law for the grant of
judicial separation of properties, the absolute community properties cannot
be forfeited in favor of Leticia and her children. Moreover, the trial court
observed that Leticia failed to prove abandonment and infidelity with
preponderant evidence.
The trial court however ruled that Leticia is not entitled to the reimbursements she is
praying for considering that she already acquired all of the properties in the USA. Relying
still on the principle of equity, the Court also adjudicated the Philippine properties to
David, subject to the payment of the childrens presumptive legitimes. The trial court held
that under Article 89 of the Family Code, the waiver or renunciation made by David of his
property rights in the Joint Affidavit is void.
On appeal, the Court of Appeals modified the trial courts Decision by directing the equal division of
the Philippine properties between the spouses. Moreover with respect to the common childrens
presumptive legitime, the appellate court ordered both spouses to each pay their children the
amount of P520,000.00.
In this petition, David insists that the CA should have recognized the California Judgment which
awarded the Philippine properties to him because said judgment was part of the pleading presented
and offered in evidence before the trial court.
ISSUE
1. Whether it was proper for the trial court to proceed to directly to liquidation when divorce
was not yet established as fact before the Philippine court.
2. Whether there was abandonment so as to necessitate judicial separation of properties.
HELD
1. NO. DIVORCE WAS NOT ESTABLISHED, THUS THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN
PROCEEDING DIRECTLY TO LIQUIDATION.
At the outset, the trial court erred in recognizing the divorce decree which severed the bond of
marriage between the parties. xxx The requirements of presenting the foreign divorce
decree and the national law of the foreigner must comply with our Rules of
Evidence. Specifically, for Philippine courts to recognize a foreign judgment relating to the status
of a marriage, a copy of the foreign judgment may be admitted in evidence and proven as a fact
under Rule 132, Sections 24 and 25, in relation to Rule 39, Section 48(b) of the Rules of Court.
Based on the records, only the divorce decree was presented in evidence. The required
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certificates to prove its authenticity, as well as the pertinent California law on divorce were
not presented.
Even if we apply the doctrine of processual presumption as the lower courts did with respect
to the property regime of the parties, the recognition of divorce is entirely a different matter
because, to begin with, divorce is not recognized between Filipino citizens in the Philippines.
Absent a valid recognition of the divorce decree, it follows that the parties are still legally
married in the Philippines. The trial court thus erred in proceeding directly to liquidation.

2. YES, THERE WAS ABANDONMENT.


Leticia anchored the filing of the instant petition for judicial separation of property on paragraphs 4
and 6 of Article 135 of the Family Code, xxx The trial court had categorically ruled that there was no
abandonment in this case to necessitate judicial separation of properties under paragraph 4 of
Article 135 of the Family Code. xxx
Separation in fact for one year as a ground to grant a judicial separation of
property was not tackled in the trial courts decision because, the trial court
erroneously treated the petition as liquidation of the absolute community of
properties.
The records of this case are replete with evidence that Leticia and David had indeed
separated for more than a year and that reconciliation is highly improbable. First, while
actual abandonment had not been proven, it is undisputed that the spouses had been living
separately since 2003 when David decided to go back to the Philippines to set up his own
business. Second, Leticia heard from her friends that David has been cohabiting with
Estrellita Martinez, who represented herself as Estrellita Noveras. Editha Apolonio, who
worked in the hospital where David was once confined, testified that she saw the name of
Estrellita listed as the wife of David in the Consent for Operation form. Third and more
significantly, they had filed for divorce and it was granted by the California court in June
2005.
Having established that Leticia and David had actually separated for at least one
year, the petition for judicial separation of absolute community of property should
be granted.
The grant of the judicial separation of the absolute community property automatically
dissolves the absolute community regime, as stated in the 4th paragraph of Article 99 of the
Family Code, xxx.
At the risk of being repetitious, we will not remand the case to the trial court. Instead, we
shall adopt the modifications made by the Court of Appeals on the trial courts Decision with
respect to liquidation.

We agree with the appellate court that the Philippine courts did not acquire jurisdiction over the
California properties of David and Leticia. Indeed, Article 16 of the Civil Code clearly states that real
property as well as personal property is subject to the law of the country where it is situated. Thus,
liquidation shall only be limited to the Philippine properties.
We affirm the modification made by the Court of Appeals with respect to the share of the spouses in
the absolute community properties in the Philippines, as well as the payment of their childrens
presumptive legitimes.

People v Joel Abat y Cometa


GR 202704 2 April 2014
Leonardo-de Castro, J.
Nature of the Action
This is a petition to review the decision of CA affirming the conviction by the RTC.
FACTS
Abat, the uncle of the victim AAA, was charged with the crime of rape and was convicted by RTC.
According AAAs testimony full faith and credit, the RTC was not convinced with Abats defense of
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denial and ill motive. It said that it was highly unlikely that AAA, his own niece would falsely charge
him of such a serious crime and go public with her ordeal just because of a misunderstanding
between him and her mother over a property. Moreover, the RTC found it striking that nobody
testified in his behalf, including his own family.
Abat is alleging that he and AAA had a romantic relationship, which eventually turned sour when
AAA started asking for money from him all the time. In support of this claim, he cites the birth date
of the baby, who was supposedly the product of his crime. Abat says that if the baby was born in
April 2002, then his version of the story, that they had consensual sex in July 2001, is more credible
than her story of rape in September 2001; otherwise, the baby would have been premature.
ISSUE
Whether pregnancy is material in resolving a rape case.
HELD
No, Having stressed that pregnancy is not an element of the crime of rape, AAAs
pregnancy therefore is totally immaterial to the resolution of this case.
Abat argues that if it were true that he raped AAA in September 2001, then the baby girl AAA gave
birth to in April 2002, would have been born prematurely. Since the baby appeared to be healthy
and did not need any medical attention when she was born, she could not have possibly been the
result of the alleged rape in September 2001.
Reiterating the pronouncements in People v. Adora, this Court, in People v. Sta. Ana, said:
[A]uthorities in forensic medicine agree that the determination of the exact date of
fertilization is problematic. The exact date thereof is unknown; thus, the difficulty in
determining the actual normal duration of pregnancy. Citing a Filipino authority, the
Court further elucidated: The average duration of pregnancy is 270 to 280 days from the
onset of the last menstruation. There is, however, no means of determining it with
certainty. Evidence derived from pregnancy following a single coitus is trustworthy, but
inasmuch as some authorities consider more than two weeks as the life span of the
spermatozoa in the vaginal canal, it is hard to ascertain the exact date of fertilization.
There is no synchrony between coitus and fertilization. (Citations omitted).
In People v. Malapo, this Court was faced with a similar issue when the accused therein, Malapo,
questioned his conviction for rape based on the fact that the baby boy, who was supposedly the fruit
of the rape he allegedly perpetrated on September 15, 1991, was only eight months and three days
old when he was born on May 18, 1992, contrary to the Medical Certificate submitted in evidence,
which states that the baby was full term when it was delivered.
This Court upheld Malapos conviction and explained its position as follows:
In the case at bar, it can be inferred that conception occurred at or about the
time that accused-appellant is alleged to have committed the crime, i.e.,
within 120 days from the commission of the offense in September 1991.
Pursuant to Art. 166 of the Family Code, accused- appellant can overcome the
presumption that Amalias child was begotten as a result of her having been
raped in September 1991 only if he can show either that it was physically
impossible for him to have sexual intercourse because of impotence or serious
illness which absolutely prevents him from having sexual intercourse or that
Amalia had sexual intercourse with another man. However, accusedappellant has not shown either of these. Xxx In any event, the impregnation of
a woman is not an element of rape.

Susan Lim-Lua v Danilo Lua


GR 175279-80
5 June 2013
Villarama, Jr., J
Nature of the Action
This is a Petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45, seeking to set aside the decision of CA
dismissing petitioners petition for contempt and granting respondents petition for certiorari.
FACTS

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Petitioner Susan Lim-Lua filed an action for the declaration of nullity of her marriage with
respondent Danilo Y. Lua. In her prayer for support pendente lite for herself and her two children,
petitioner sought the amount ofP500,000.00 as monthly support, citing respondents huge earnings
from salaries and dividends in several companies and businesses here and abroad.
The trial court granted support pendente lite. Respondent filed a motion for reconsideration,
asserting that petitioner is not entitled to spousal support considering that she does not maintain
for herself a separate dwelling from their children and respondent has continued to support the
family for their sustenance and well-being in accordance with familys social and financial standing.
As to the P250,000.00 granted by the trial court as monthly support pendente lite, as well as
theP1,750,000.00 retroactive support, respondent found it unconscionable and beyond the
intendment of the law for not having considered the needs of the respondent.
The trial court stated that the Order had become final and executory since respondents motion for
reconsideration was filed out of the reglamentary period. Respondent was given ten (10) days to
show cause why he should not be held in contempt of the court for disregarding the order granting
support pendente lite. His second motion for reconsideration having been denied, respondent filed
a petition for certiorari in the CA.
CA found merit in respondents contention that the trial court gravely abused its discretion in
granting P250,000.00 monthly support to petitioner without evidence to prove his actual income.
Neither of the parties appealed this decision of the CA.
Danilo issued a check representing an amount which was the difference between the total support in
arrears and expenses he had already incurred. In her Comment to Compliance with Motion for
Issuance of a Writ of Execution, Susan asserted that none of the expenses deducted by
respondent may be chargeable as part of the monthly support contemplated by the
CA. The trial court granted petitioners motion for issuance of a writ of execution as it rejected
respondents interpretation of the CA decision. Since respondent still failed and refused to pay the
support in arrears pendente lite, petitioner filed in the CA a Petition for Contempt of Court with
Damages. Respondent then filed a petition for certiorari to nullify the orders of the RTC judge. The
CA granted Danilos petition and dismissed the contempt charge. The CA ordered that the expenses
already incurred by the respondent should be deducting from the total support in arrears owing to
Susan and the children.
ISSUE
Whether certain expenses already incurred by the respondent may be deducted from the total
support in arrears owing to petitioner and her children.
HELD
Yes. Certain expenses may be deducted. However, CA should not have allowed all
the expenses incurred by respondent to be credited against the accrued support
pendente lite.
As a matter of law, the amount of support which those related by marriage and family relationship is
generally obliged to give each other shall be in proportion to the resources or means of the giver and
to the needs of the recipient. Such support comprises everything indispensable for sustenance,
dwelling, clothing, medical attendance, education and transportation, in keeping with the financial
capacity of the family.
Upon receipt of a verified petition for declaration of absolute nullity of void marriage or for
annulment of voidable marriage, or for legal separation, and at any time during the proceeding, the
court, motu proprio or upon verified application of any of the parties, guardian or designated
custodian, may temporarily grant support pendente lite prior to the rendition of judgment or final
order. Because of its provisional nature, a court does not need to delve fully into the merits of the
case before it can settle an application for this relief. All that a court is tasked to do is determine the
kind and amount of evidence which may suffice to enable it to justly resolve the application. It is
enough that the facts be established by affidavits or other documentary evidence appearing in the
record.
In this case, the amount of monthly support pendente lite for petitioner and her two children was
determined after due hearing and submission of documentary evidence by the parties. Although the
amount fixed by the trial court was reduced on appeal, it is clear that the monthly support pendente
lite of P115,000.00 ordered by the CA was intended primarily for the sustenance of petitioner and
her children, e.g., food, clothing, salaries of drivers and house helpers, and other household
expenses.
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The CA, in ruling for the respondent said that all the foregoing expenses already
incurred by the respondent should, in equity, be considered advances which may be
properly deducted from the support in arrears due to the petitioner and the two
children. Said court also noted the absence of petitioners contribution to the joint obligation of
support for their children.
We reverse in part the decision of the CA.
Judicial determination of support pendente lite in cases of legal separation and petitions for
declaration of nullity or annulment of marriage are guided by the following provisions {Sections 2
and 3] of the Rule on Provisional Orders. xxx
In determining the amount of provisional support, the court may likewise consider the following
factors:
(1) the financial resources of the custodial and non-custodial parent and those of the
child;
(2) the physical and emotional health of the child and his or her special needs and
aptitudes;
(3) the standard of living the child has been accustomed to;
(4) the non-monetary contributions that the parents will make toward the care and wellbeing of the child.
The Family Court may direct the deduction of the provisional support from the salary of the parent.
Since the amount of monthly support pendente lite as fixed by the CA was not appealed by either
party, there is no controversy as to its sufficiency and reasonableness. The dispute concerns the
deductions made by respondent in settling the support in arrears. xxx
The general rule is to the effect that when a father is required by a divorce decree to pay to the
mother money for the support of their dependent children and the unpaid and accrued installments
become judgments in her favor, he cannot, as a matter of law, claim credit on account of
payments voluntarily made directly to the children. (Koon v. Koon, supra; Briggs v.
Briggs, supra). However, special considerations of an equitable nature may justify a court in
crediting such payments on his indebtedness to the mother, when that can be done without injustice
to her. (Briggs v. Briggs, supra.) The courts are justifiably reluctant to lay down any
general rules as to when such credits may be allowed.
Here, the CA should not have allowed all the expenses incurred by respondent to be credited against
the accrued support pendente lite. As earlier mentioned, the monthly support pendente lite granted
by the trial court was intended primarily for food, household expenses such as salaries of drivers
and house helpers, and also petitioners scoliosis therapy sessions. Hence, the value of two
expensive cars bought by respondent for his children plus their maintenance cost, travel expenses of
petitioner and Angelli, purchases through credit card of items other than groceries and dry goods
(clothing) should have been disallowed, as these bear no relation to the judgment awarding support
pendente lite. While it is true that the dispositive portion of the executory decision in CA-G.R. SP
No. 84740 ordered herein respondent to pay the support in arrears "less than the amount
supposedly given by petitioner to the private respondent as her and their two (2) children monthly
support," the deductions should be limited to those basic needs and expenses considered by the trial
and appellate courts. The assailed ruling of the CA allowing huge deductions from the accrued
monthly support of petitioner and her children, while correct insofar as it commends the generosity
of the respondent to his children, is clearly inconsistent with the executory decision in CA-G.R. SP
No. 84740. More important, it completely ignores the unfair consequences to petitioner whose
sustenance and well-being, was given due regard by the trial and appellate courts.

Infant Julian Yusay Caram, represented by his mother, Ma. Christina Yusay
Caram v Atty Maridoy D. Segui, et al.
GR 193652 05 August 2014
Villarama, Jr. J.
Nature of the Action
This is a petition for review on certiorari under rule 45 seeking to set aside the orders of the RTC
dismissing the petitioner Christinas petition for writ of amparo.
FACTS

Petitioner Ma. Christina Yusay Caram (Christina) had an amorous relationship with Marcelino
Gicano Constantino III (Marcelino) and eventually became pregnant with the latters child without
the benefit of marriage. After getting pregnant, Christina mislead Marcelino into believing that she
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had an abortion when in fact she proceeded to complete the term of her pregnancy. During this
time, she intended to have the child adopted. After giving birth to Baby Julian, Christina voluntarily
surrendered Baby Julian by way of a Deed of Voluntary Commitment to the DSWD.
Marcelino died without knowing about the birth of his son. During the wake, Christina revealed to
Marcelinos family about Baby Julian. Sympathizing with Christina, they they vowed to help her
recover and raise the baby.
Christina wrote a letter to DSWD asking for the suspension of Baby Julians adoption proceedings
as she already changed her mind. DSWD, informed her that the certificate declaring Baby Julian
legally available for adoption had attained finality and that DSWD was no longer in the position to
stop the adoption process.
Christina filed a petition for the issuance of a writ of amparo before the RTC of Quezon
City seeking to obtain custody of Baby Julian from Atty. Segui, Atty. Escutin, Assistant Secretary
Cabrera and Acting Secretary Celia C. Yangco, all of the DSWD.
In her petition, Christina argues that the life, liberty and security of Baby Julian is being
violated or threatened by the respondent DSWD officers enforcement of an illegal Deed of
Voluntary Commitment between her and Sun and Moon. She claims that she had been
blackmailed through the said Deed by the DSWD officers and Sun and Moons
representatives into surrendering her child thereby causing the forced separation of the
said infant from his mother. Furthermore, she also reiterates that the respondent DSWD
officers acted beyond the scope of their authority when they deprived her of Baby Julians
custody.
RTC dismissed the petition for issuance of a writ of amparo without prejudice to the
filing of the appropriate action in court. The RTC held that Christina availed of the wrong
remedy to regain custody of her child Baby Julian. The RTC further stated that Christina should
have filed a civil case for custody of her child as laid down in the Family Code and the Rule on
Custody of Minors and Writ of Habeas Corpus in Relation to Custody of Minors. If
there is extreme urgency to secure custody of a minor who has been illegally detained by another, a
petition for the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus may be availed of, either as a principal
or ancillary remedy, pursuant to the Rule on Custody of Minors and Writ of Habeas Corpus in
Relation to Custody of Minors.
Christina directly elevated the case before this Court, via a petition for review on certiorari under
Rule 45 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, as amended, in relation to Section 19 of the Rule on the
Writ of Amparo.
ISSUE
Whether a petition for a writ of amparo is the proper recourse for obtaining parental authority and
custody of a minor child.
HELD
NO, writ of amparo is not the proper remedy. The writ of amparo is confined only to
cases of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances, or to threats thereof. xxx
In this case, Christina alleged that the respondent DSWD officers caused her "enforced
separation" from Baby Julian and that their action amounted to an "enforced
disappearance" within the context of the Amparo rule. Contrary to her position, however, the
respondent DSWD officers never concealed Baby Julian's whereabouts. In fact, Christina obtained a
copy of the DSWD's May 28, 2010 Memorandum explicitly stating that Baby Julian was in the
custody of the Medina Spouses when she filed her petition before the RTC. Besides, she even
admitted in her petition for review on certiorari that the respondent DSWD officers presented Baby
Julian before the RTC during the hearing held in the afternoon of August 5, 2010. There is
therefore, no "enforced disappearance" as used in the context of the Amparo rule as the
third and fourth elements are missing.
Christina's directly accusing the respondents of forcibly separating her from her child and placing
the latter up for adoption, supposedly without complying with the necessary legal requisites to
qualify the child for adoption, clearly indicates that she is not searching for a lost child but asserting
her parental authority over the child and contesting custody over him.
Since it is extant from the pleadings filed that what is involved is the issue of child custody and the
exercise of parental rights over a child, who, for all intents and purposes, has been legally
considered a ward of the State, the Amparo rule cannot be properly applied.
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To reiterate, the privilege of the writ of amparo is a remedy available to victims of


extra-judicial killings and enforced disappearances or threats of a similar nature,
regardless of whether the perpetrator of the unlawful act or omission is a public
official or employee or a private individual. It is envisioned basically to protect and
guarantee the right to life, liberty and security o f persons, free from fears and
threats that vitiate the quality of life.

Republic of the Philippines v Dr. Norma S. Lugsanay Uy


GR 198010

12 August 2013

Peralta, J

Nature of the Action


This is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45, assailing the decision of CA which affirmed
the decision of RTC in a special proceeding granting the Petition for Correction of Entry of
Certificate of Live Birth filed by respondent Dr. Norma S. Lugsanay Uy.

FACTS

In 2004, respondent filed a Petition for Correction of Entry in her Certificate of Live Birth. She
alleged that she was born on February 8, 1952 and was the illegitimate daughter of Sy Ton and
Sotera Lugsanay. Her Certificate of Live Birth showed that her full name was "Anita Sy" when in fact
she was allegedly known to her family and friends as "Norma S. Lugsanay." She further claimed that
her school records, Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) Board of Medicine Certificate, and
passport bore the latter name. She also alleged that she was an illegitimate child considering that
her parents were never married, so she had to follow the surname of her mother. She also
contended that she was a Filipino citizen and not Chinese, and all her siblings bore the surname
Lugsanay and were all Filipinos.

The RTC granted respondents petition. The RTC concluded that respondents petition
would neither prejudice the government nor any third party. It also held that the names
"Norma Sy Lugsanay" and "Anita Sy" refer to one and the same person, especially since the
Local Civil Registrar of Gingoog City has effected the correction. Considering that
respondent has continuously used and has been known since childhood as "Norma Sy
Lugsanay" and as a Filipino citizen, the RTC granted the petition to avoid confusion.

The CA affirmed the RTC Order. It held that respondents failure to implead other
indispensable parties was cured upon the publication of the Order setting the case for
hearing in a newspaper of general circulation for three consecutive weeks and by serving a
copy of the notice to the Local Civil Registrar, the OSG and the City Prosecutors Office. As to
whether the petition was a collateral attack on respondents filiation, the CA ruled in favor of
respondent, considering that her parents were not legally married and that her siblings birth
certificates uniformly state that their surname was Lugsanay and their citizenship was
Filipino. Petitioners motion for reconsideration was also denied.

ISSUE

Whether publication of the order cured the defect of respondents failure to implead indispensible
parties in a petition for correction of entry in certificate of live birth.
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HELD

In this case, respondent sought the correction of entries in her birth certificate, particularly those
pertaining to her first name, surname and citizenship. Xxx The changes, however, are obviously not
mere clerical as they touch on respondents filiation and citizenship. In changing her surname from
"Sy" (which is the surname of her father) to "Lugsanay" (which is the surname of her mother), she,
in effect, changes her status from legitimate to illegitimate; and in changing her citizenship from
Chinese to Filipino, the same affects her rights and obligations in this country. Clearly, the changes
are substantial.

It has been settled in a number of cases starting with Republic v. Valencia that even substantial
errors in a civil registry may be corrected and the true facts established provided the parties
aggrieved by the error avail themselves of the appropriate adversary proceeding. The
pronouncement of the Court in that case is illuminating:

It is undoubtedly true that if the subject matter of a petition is not for the correction of
clerical errors of a harmless and innocuous nature, but one involving nationality or
citizenship, which is indisputably substantial as well as controverted, affirmative relief
cannot be granted in a proceeding summary in nature. However, it is also true that a right
in law may be enforced and a wrong may be remedied as long as the appropriate remedy
is used. This Court adheres to the principle that even substantial errors in a civil registry
may be corrected and the true facts established provided the parties aggrieved by the error
avail themselves of the appropriate adversary proceeding. xxx

In sustaining the RTC decision, the CA relied on the Courts conclusion in Republic v. Kho, Alba v.
Court of Appeals, and Barco v. Court of Appeals, that the failure to implead indispensable parties
was cured by the publication of the notice of hearing pursuant to the provisions of Rule 108 of the
Rules of Court. In Republic v. Kho, petitioner therein appealed the RTC decision granting the
petition for correction of entries despite respondents failure to implead the minors mother as an
indispensable party. The Court, however, did not strictly apply the provisions of Rule 108, because it
opined that it was highly improbable that the mother was unaware of the proceedings to correct the
entries in her childrens birth certificates especially since the notices, orders and decision of the trial
court were all sent to the residence she shared with them. xxx

The fact that the notice of hearing was published in a newspaper of general
circulation and notice thereof was served upon the State will not change the nature
of the proceedings taken. A reading of Sections 4 and 5, Rule 108 of the Rules of Court shows
that the Rules mandate two sets of notices to different potential oppositors: one given to the persons
named in the petition and another given to other persons who are not named in the petition but
nonetheless may be considered interested or affected parties. Summons must, therefore, be served
not for the purpose of vesting the courts with jurisdiction but to comply with the requirements of
fair play and due process to afford the person concerned the opportunity to protect his interest if he
so chooses.

While there may be cases where the Court held that the failure to implead and notify the affected or
interested parties may be cured by the publication of the notice of hearing, earnest efforts were
made by petitioners in bringing to court all possible interested parties. Such failure was likewise
excused where the interested parties themselves initiated the corrections proceedings; when there is
no actual or presumptive awareness of the existence of the interested parties; or when a party is
inadvertently left out.
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It is clear from the foregoing discussion that when a petition for cancellation or correction of an
entry in the civil register involves substantial and controversial alterations, including those on
citizenship, legitimacy of paternity or filiation, or legitimacy of marriage, a strict compliance with
the requirements of Rule 108 ofthe Rules of Court is mandated. If the entries in the civil register
could be corrected or changed through mere summary proceedings and not through appropriate
action wherein all parties who may be affected by the entries are notified or represented, the door to
fraud or other mischief would be set open, the consequence of which might be detrimental and far
reaching.

Property
Heirs of Telesforo Julao v Spouses de Jesus
GR 176020 29 September 2014
Del Castillo, J.
Nature of the Action
This is a petition for review on Certiorari under Rule 45, assailing the decision of CA, reversing the
ruling of RTC in a petition for recovery of possession of real property.
FACTS
Sometime in the 1960's, Telesforo Julao (Telesforo) filed before the DENR, two Townsite Sales
Applications (TSA1 and TSA2). Upon his death,, his applications were transferred to his heirs.
Solito Julao transferred his hereditary share in the property covered by one of the TSA (TSA2) to
respondent spouses de Jesus. Respondents then constructed a house on the property they acquired
from Solito. In 1986, Solito went missing.
Since Telesforo filed for 2 applications, which was in violation of the policy in disposition of public
lands, DENR dropped the application for TSA2. However, the TSA1 was granted and was
consequently transferred to the heirs of Telesforo.
Petitioners filed for a petition for recovery of possession of real property against respondent
spouses. They alleged that they are the true and lawful owners of a 641-sqm parcel of land which
originated from TSA2. They also alleged that the respondent spouses encroached on 70 meters of
the subject property. They claim that the hereditary share transferred to the respondent spouses by
Solito pertain to the parcel of land covered by TSA2, which was rejected by DENR. Furthermore,
they alleged that Solito was not Telesforos biological son, but his stepson.
Respondent spouses controvert that they are the true and lawful owners and possessors of the
subject property. They acquired it from Solito, petitioners brother. They also claim that both TSA1
and TSA2 pertain to the same property.
RTC favored petitioner because they were able to prove that there were two applications before the
DENR and TSA2 was dropped. Since Solito transferred his hereditary share over a parcel of land
covered by TSA2, respondent spouses acquired no right over the subject property which was derived
from a separate application, TSA1.

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When elevated to CA, decision of RTC was reversed. According to CA, petitioners failed to identify
the property sought to be recovered. They did not present any survey plan to show that respondent
spouses actually encroached on petitioners property.
ISSUE
Whether petitioners may recover a parcel of land, which they fail to identify.
HELD
No, in an action to recover, the property must be identified.
Moreover, Article 434 of the Civil Code states that "[i]n an action to recover, the
property must be identified, and the plaintiff must rely on the strength of his title
and not on the weakness of the defendant's claim." The plaintiff, therefore, is duty-bound
to clearly identify the land sought to be recovered, in accordance with the title on which he anchors
his right of ownership. It bears stressing that the failure of the plaintiff to establish the identity of
the property claimed is fatal to his case.
In this case, petitioners failed to identify the property they seek to recover as they failed to describe
the location, the area, as well as the boundaries thereof. In fact, as aptly pointed out by the CA, no
survey plan was presented by petitioners to prove that respondent spouses actually encroached
upon the 70- square meter portion of petitioners' property. Failing to prove their allegation,
petitioners are not entitled to the relief prayed for in their Complaint.

Midway Maritime and Technological Foundation v Marissa Castro, et al.


GR 189061 6 August 2014
Reyes, J
Nature of the Action
This is a petition for review on certiorari under rule 45, assailing the decision of CA which affirmed
the decision of RTC in an action for ownership, recovery of possession and damages.
FACTS
Petitioner Midway Maritime and Technological Foundation (petitioner) is the lessee of two parcels
of land in Cabanatuan City. Its president, Dr. Sabino Manglicmot (Manglicmot), is married to
Adoracion Cloma (Adoracion), who is the registered owner of the property. Inside said property
stands a residential building, which is now the subject matter of the dispute, owned by the
respondents.
The two parcels of land, on a portion of which the residential building stand, were originally owned
by the respondents father Louis Castro, Sr. The elder Castro was also the president of Cabanatuan
City Colleges (CCC). Castro mortgaged the property to Bancom Development Corporation (Bancom)
to secure a loan. During the subsistence of the mortgage, CCCs board of directors agreed to a 15year lease of a portion of the property to the Castro children, herein respondents, who subsequently
built the residential house now in dispute. The lease was to expire in 1992.
When CCC failed to pay its obligation, Bancom foreclosed the mortgage and the property was sold at
public auction in 1979, with Bancom as the highest bidder. Bancom thereafter assigned the credit to
Union Bank of the Philippines (Union Bank), and later on, Union Bank consolidated its ownership
over the properties in 1984 due to CCCs failure to redeem the property. When Union Bank
sought the issuance of a writ of possession over the properties, which included the
residential building, respondents opposed the same. The case reached the Supreme Court
which ruled that the residential house owned by the respondents should not have been
included in the writ of possession issued by the trial court as CCC has no title over it.
In the meantime, Adoracions father, Tomas Cloma (Tomas), bought the two parcels of land from
Union Bank in an auction sale conducted. Tomas subsequently leased the property to the petitioner
and thereafter, sold the same to Adoracion. Several suits were brought by the respondents against
the petitioner, including the case at bench, which is an action for Ownership, Recovery of
Possession and Damages. Respondents alleged that:
(1) They are the owners of the residential building subject of the dispute, which they used
from 1977 to 1985 when they left for the United States of America and instituted their
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uncle, Josefino C. Castro (Josefino), as the caretaker;


(2) Manglicmot, who was the President of the petitioner Midway Maritime and
Technological Foundation, leased the building (except for the portion
occupied by Josefino) from Lourdes Castro, mother of the respondents, in June
1993 with monthly rent of 6,000.00, which was later to be increased to 10,000.00 in
October 1995 after Josefino vacates his occupied portion;
(3) The petitioner failed to pay rent starting August 1995, thus prompting the respondents to
file the action. The respondents prayed that they be declared as the owners of the
residential building, and that the petitioner be ordered to vacate the same and pay rent
arrearages and damages.
The petitioner, however, denied respondents ownership of the residential building
and claimed that Adoracion owns the building, having bought the same together
with the land on which it stands.
RTC favored respondents. It declared respondents as the absolute owners of the residential building
and ordered petitioner to pay them the unpaid rentals from August 1995 until fully paid. CA
dismissed petitioners appeal.
ISSUE
1. Whether a lessee may question the title of the lessor.
2. Whether the determination of trial court with regard to ownership of improvements of the
property in an ejectment suit binds the court in an action for ownership and recovery
involving the same property.
3. Whether the acquisition through purchase of a land also entails the acquisition of the
building standing on it.
HELD
1. NO. ONCE A CONTACT OF LEASE IS SHOWN TO EXIST BETWEEN THE
PARTIES, THE LESSEE CANNOT BY ANY PROOF, HOWEVER STRONG,
OVERTURN THE CONCLUSIVE PRESUMPTION THAT THE LESSOR HAS A
VALID TITLE TO OR A BETTER RIGHT OF POSSESSION TO THE SUBJECT
PREMISES THAN THE LESSEE.
The first issue to be resolved is whether there was a lease agreement between the petitioner and the
respondents as regards the residential building. Such issue, it must be emphasized, is a question of
fact that has been resolved by the RTC in the affirmative, xxx Given the existence of the lease,
the petitioners claim denying the respondents ownership of the residential house
must be rejected. According to the petitioner, it is Adoracion who actually owns the residential
building having bought the same, together with the two parcels of land, from her father Tomas, who,
in turn, bought it in an auction sale.
It is settled that [o]nce a contact of lease is shown to exist between the parties, the lessee cannot by
any proof, however strong, overturn the conclusive presumption that the lessor has a valid title to or
a better right of possession to the subject premises than the lessee. Section 2(b), Rule 131 of the
Rules of Court prohibits a tenant from denying the title of his landlord at the time of the
commencement of the relation of landlord and tenant between them. In Santos v. National Statistics
Office, the Court expounded on the rule on estoppel against a tenant and further clarified that what
a tenant is estopped from denying is the title of his landlord at the time of the commencement of the
landlord-tenant relation. If the title asserted is one that is alleged to have been acquired subsequent
to the commencement of that relation, the presumption will not apply.
In this case, the petitioners basis for insisting on Adoracions ownership dates back to the latters
purchase of the two parcels of land from her father, Tomas. It was Tomas who bought the property
in an auction sale by Union Bank in 1993 and leased the same to the petitioner in the same year.
Note must be made that the petitioners president, Manglicmot, is the husband of Adoracion and
son-in-law of Tomas. It is not improbable that at the time the petitioner leased the residential
building from the respondents mother in 1993, it was aware of the circumstances surrounding the
sale of the two parcels of land and the nature of the respondents claim over the residential house.
Yet, the petitioner still chose to lease the building. Consequently, the petitioner is now estopped
from denying the respondents title over the residential building.
More importantly, the respondents ownership of the residential building is already an established
fact.
2. NO, IN AN ACTION FOR EJECTMENT, ANY RESOLUTION BY THE RTC ON
THE MATTER OF THE OWNERSHIP OF THE IMPROVEMENTS OF THE
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PROPERTY IS MERELY PROVISIONAL FOR THE SOLE PURPOSE OF


DETERMINING WHO IS ENTITLED TO POSSESSION DE FACTO.
As regards the ruling of the RTC of Cabanatuan City, Branch 26, in Civil Case No. 2939 (AF) that the
advertised sale of the property included all the improvements thereon, suffice it to say that said case
involved an action for ejectment and any resolution by the RTC on the matter of the
ownership of the improvements of the property is merely provisional and cannot
surpass the Courts pronouncement in Castro and in the present case. The petitioner
should be reminded that in ejectment suits, the only issue for resolution is the physical or material
possession of the property involved, independent of any claim of ownership by any of the party
litigants. However, the issue of ownership may be provisionally ruled upon for the sole purpose of
determining who is entitled to possession de facto. The MTC and RTCs adjudication of ownership
is merely provisional and would not bar or prejudice an action between the same parties involving
title to the property.
3. NO, A BUILDING BY ITSELF IS A REAL OR IMMOVABLE PROPERTY
DISTINCT FROM THE LAND ON WHICH IT IS CONSTRUCTED AND
THEREFORE CAN BE A SEPARATE SUBJECT OF CONTRACTS.
Also, Adoracions subsequent acquisition of the two parcels of land from her father does not
necessarily entail the acquisition of the residential building. A building by itself is a real or
immovable property distinct from the land on which it is constructed and therefore can be a
separate subject of contracts. Whatever Adoracion acquired from her father is still subject to the
limitation pronounced by the Court in Castro, and the sale between Adoracion and Tomas is
confined only to the two parcels of land and excluded the residential building owned by the
respondents. It is beyond question that Tomas, and subsequently, Adoracion, could not have
acquired a right greater than what their predecessors-in-interest CCC and later, Union Bank
had.

Raul Saberon, et al. v Oscar Ventanilla, Jr. et al.


GR 192669 21 April 2014
Mendoza, J.
Nature of the Action
This is a resolution of the court in a motion for reconsideration of the SCs decision ruling against
petitioners.
FACTS
This case involves several parcels of originally owned by Manila Remnant Co., Inc. (MRCI) and
developed by A.U. Valencia & Co. Inc. (AUVC). MRCI and AUVC sold the parcels of land to Oscar C.
Ventanilla, Jr. and Carmen Gloria D. Ventanilla (Ventanillas). Artemio Valencia, holding out
himself as president of MRCI, and without the knowledge of the Ventanillas, resold the same
property to Carlos Crisostomo (Crisostomo), without any consideration. Valencia transmitted the
fictitious contract with Crisostomo to MRCI while he kept the contracts to sell with the Ventanillas
in his private office files. All the amounts paid by the latter were deposited in Valencias bank
account and remitted to MRCI as payments of Crisostomo. The Ventanillas continued to pay the
monthly installment.
Ventanilla filed an action for specific performance, annulment of deeds and damages.
CFI favored Ventanilla and declared the sale in their favor as valid and subsisting. In a separate
case, MRCI filed before this Court a petition for certiorari to review the decision of the CA
upholding the solidary liability of MRCI, AUVC and Crisostomo for the payment of moral and
exemplary damages and attorney's fees to the Ventanillas. SC upheld the decision of CA. The
Ventanillas moved for the issuance of a writ of execution. A notice of levy was annotated in the titles
of MRCI on May 31, 1991.
Since the properties were already sold to Samuel Marquez (Marquez), MRCI offered to
reimburse the amount paid by Ventanillas plus damages. Ventanillas rejected the offer of
reimbursement. They contended that the alleged sale to Marquez was void, fraudulent, and
in contempt of court and that no claim of ownership over the properties in question had ever
been made by Marquez. CFI ordered for the garnishment upon the bank account of MRCI
and denied the motion of MRCI to reimburse the Ventanillas. On appeal, CA ruled that the
contract to sell in favor of Marquez did not constitute a legal impediment to the immediate
execution of the judgment. It turned out that Marquez sold the property to Saberons.
Ventanillas went to court to annul the deed of sale between MRCI and Marquez as
well as the deed of sale between Marquez and Saberons. RTC favored the Ventanillas.
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Before the CA, Saberons relied on one central argumentthat they were purchasers in good faith,
having relied on the correctness of the certificates of title covering the lots in question; and
therefore, holders of a valid and indefeasible title. CA affirmed the decision of RTC.
Aggrieved by this CA ruling, the Saberons filed the present petition. Unknown to the
Saberons, the former owner of the properties had entered into contracts to sell with the Ventanillas,
way back in 1970. It was only upon receipt of the summons in the case filed by the Ventanillas with
the RTC that they learned of the present controversy.
With the RTC and the CA rulings against their title over the properties, the Saberons now
come to the Court with their vehement insistence that they were purchasers in good faith
and for value. Before purchasing the lots, they exercised due diligence and found no
encumbrance or annotations on the titles. At the same time, the Ventanillas also failed to
rebut the presumption of their good faith as there was no showing that they confederated
with MRCI and its officers to deprive the Ventanillas of their right over the subject
properties.
According to the Saberons, the CA likewise erred in ruling that there was no constructive
notice of the levy made upon the subject lands.
ISSUE
Whether Saberons are entitled to reimbursement of all expenses incurred in the introduction of
improvements on the subject lands.
HELD
YES, as builders in good faith, Saberons are entitled to reimbursement of all expenses
incurred in the introduction of improvements on the subject lands.
The Court deems it significant to note that the amount of P7,118,115.88 awarded to the Saberons by
the RTC is to be satisfied by MRCI, Krohn, Tabalingcos, and Marquez, who have not been
impleaded as parties to the present petition, thus, rendering the said award final and executory. The
said amount, however, is separate and distinct from those provided under Article 448 in relation to
Article 546 of the Civil Code. In the petition, the Saberons invoked the said provisions, claiming that
they are entitled to reimbursement of all the expenses incurred in the introduction of improvements
on the subject lands amounting to P23,058,822.79.
The Court finds the Saberons to be builders in good faith.
No less than the court a quo observed that no actual evidence that the Saberons connived with the
MRCI and Marquez to have the titles registered in their names to the prejudice of the (Ventanillas)
and that what was obvious was that the Saberons dealt with clean certificates of titles. Also quite
telling on this point is the finding that MRCI, Krohn, Tabalingcos, and Marquez are liable to the
Saberons. Xxx
Consequently, Article 448 in relation to Article 546 of the Civil Code will apply.
Thus, the two options available to the Ventanillas:
1. they may exercise the right to appropriate after payment of indemnity representing the value
ofthe improvements introduced and the necessary and useful expenses defrayed on the
subject lots; or
2. they may forego payment of the said indemnity and instead, oblige the Saberons to pay the
price ofthe land.
Should the Ventanillas elect to appropriate the improvements, the trial court is ordered to
determine the value of the improvements and the necessary and useful expenses after hearing and
reception of evidence. Should the Ventanillas, however, pursue the option to oblige the Saberons to
pay the "price of the land," the trial court is ordered to determine said price to be paid to the
Ventanillas.

Heirs of Francisco Narvasa, Sr., et al. v Emiliana Imbornal, et al.


GR 182908 6 August 2014
Perlas-Bernabe, J.
Nature of the Action
This is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45, assailing the decision of CA which reversed
and set aside the decision of RTC in an action for reconveyance, partition and damages.
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FACTS
+
Basilia Imbornal (Basilia) had four (4) children, namely, Alejandra, Balbina, Catalina, and Pablo.
Francisco I. Narvasa, Sr. (Francisco) and Pedro Ferrer (Pedro) were the children of Alejandra, while
petitioner Petra Imbornal (Petra) was the daughter of Balbina. Petitioners are the heirs and
successors-in-interest of Francisco, Pedro, and Petra (Francisco, et al.). On the other hand,
respondents Emiliana, Victoriano, Felipe, Mateo, Raymundo, Maria, and Eduardo, all surnamed
Imbornal, are the descendants of Pablo. During her lifetime, Basilia owned a parcel of land situated
at Sabangan, Barangay Nibaliw West, San Fabian, Pangasinan with an area of 4,144 square meters
(sq. m.), more or less (Sabangan property), which she conveyed to her three (3) daughters Balbina,
Alejandra, and Catalina (Imbornal sisters) sometime in 1920.
Meanwhile, Catalinas husband, Ciriaco Abrio (Ciriaco), applied for and was granted a homestead
patent over a 31,367-sq. m. riparian land (Motherland) adjacent to the Cayanga River in San Fabian,
Pangasinan. He was eventually awarded Homestead Patent No. 2499 therefor, and, on December 5,
1933, OCT No. 1462 was issued in his name. Later, or on May 10, 1973, OCT No. 1462 was cancelled,
and Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. 101495 was issued in the name of Ciriacos heirs, namely:
Margarita Mejia; Rodrigo Abrio, married to Rosita Corpuz; Antonio Abrio, married to Crisenta
Corpuz; Remedios Abrio, married to Leopoldo Corpuz; Pepito Abrio; Dominador Abrio; Francisca
Abrio; Violeta Abrio; and Perla Abrio (Heirs of Ciriaco).
Ciriaco and his heirs had since occupied the northern portion of the Motherland,
while respondents occupied the southern portion.
Sometime in 1949, the First Accretion, approximately 59,772 sq. m. in area, adjoined the
southern portion of the Motherland. On August 15, 1952, OCT No. P-318 was issued in the name
of respondent Victoriano, married to Esperanza Narvarte, covering the First
Accretion.
Decades later, or in 1971, the Second Accretion, which had an area of 32,307 sq. m., more or less,
abutted the First Accretion on its southern portion. On November 10, 1978, OCT No. 21481 was
issued in the names of all the respondents covering the Second Accretion.
Claiming rights over the entire Motherland, Francisco, et al., as the children of Alejandra and
Balbina, filed on February 27, 1984 an Amended Complaint for reconveyance, partition, and/or
damages against respondents. They anchored their claim on the allegation that Ciriaco, with the
help of his wife Catalina, urged Balbina and Alejandra to sell the Sabangan property, and that
Ciriaco used the proceeds therefrom to fund his then-pending homestead patent application over
the Motherland. In return, Ciriaco agreed that once his homestead patent is approved, he will be
deemed to be holding the Motherland which now included both accretions in trust for the
Imbornal sisters.
Likewise, Francisco, et al. alleged that through deceit, fraud, falsehood, and
misrepresentation, respondent Victoriano, with respect to the First Accretion, and
the respondents collectively, with regard to the Second Accretion, had illegally
registered the said accretions in their names, notwithstanding the fact that they
were not the riparian owners (as they did not own the Motherland to which the accretions
merely formed adjacent to). In this relation, Francisco, et al. explained that they did not assert their
inheritance claims over the Motherland and the two (2) accretions because they respected
respondents rights, until they discovered in 1983 that respondents have repudiated their
(Francisco, et al.s) shares thereon. Thus, bewailing that respondents have refused them their rights
not only with respect to the Motherland, but also to the subsequent accretions, Francisco, et al.
prayed for the reconveyance of said properties, or, in the alternative, the payment of their value, as
well as the award of moral damages in the amount of 100,000.00, actual damages in the amount of
150,000.00, including attorneys fees and other costs.
RTC favored Francisco, et al with regard to the reconveyance of their respective portion in the
motherland. However, RTC ruled that the owner of the Motherland is likewise the owner of the said
accretions. Considering that the Imbornal sisters have become proportionate owners of the
Motherland by virtue of the implied trust created between them and Ciriaco, they (Imbornal sisters)
and their heirs are also entitled to the ownership of said accretions despite the fact that respondents
were able to register them in their names.
Still unsatisfied, respondents appealed to the CA. With regard to the disputed accretions, the CA
ruled that respondents i.e., respondent Victoriano with respect to the First Accretion, and all the
respondents with respect to the Second Accretion need not be the owners of the
Motherland in order to acquire them by acquisitive prescription. Considering that
accretions are not automatically registered in the name of the riparian owner and are, therefore,
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subject to acquisitive prescription by third persons, any occupant may apply for their registration.
In this case, the CA found that respondents have acquired title to the subject accretions
by prescription, considering that they have been in continuous possession and enjoyment of the
First Accretion in the concept of an owner since 1949 (when the First Accretion was formed), which
resulted in the issuance of a certificate of title in the name of respondent Victoriano covering the
same. Accordingly, they have also become the riparian owners of the Second Accretion, and given
that they have caused the issuance of OCT No. 21481 in their names over the said Accretion, they
have also become the absolute owners thereof. Since Francisco, et al. took no action to protect their
purported interests over the disputed accretions, the respondents titles over the same had already
become indefeasible, to the exclusion of Francisco, et al.
ISSUE
1. Whether the action for the reconveyance of the motherland, the first and second accretion
was filed within the prescriptive period.
2. Whether implied trust was created.
3. Whether the petitions, who were not the owners of the motherland, own the first accretion
that attached to the motherland and the second accretion that attached to the first.
HELD
1. NO, ACTION WAS FILED OUT OF TIME BUT ONLY WITH RESPECT TO THE
MOTHERLAND AND THE FIRST ACCRETION. HOWEVER, ACTION FOR THE
RECONVEYANCE OF THE 2ND ACCRETION WAS FILED WITHIN THE
PRESCRIPTIVE PERIOD.
An action for reconveyance based on an implied trust prescribes in ten (10) years, reckoned from
the date of registration of the deed or the date of issuance of the certificate of title over the property,
if the plaintiff is not in possession. However, if the plaintiff is in possession of the property, the
action is imprescriptible.
A judicious perusal of the records, however, will show that the Amended Complaint covering all
three (3) disputed properties was filed only on February 27, 1984. As such, it was filed way beyond
the 10-year reglementary period within which to seek the reconveyance of two (2) of these
properties, namely, the Motherland and the First Accretion, with only the reconveyance action with
respect to the Second Accretion having been seasonably filed. Thus, considering that respondents
raised prescription as a defense in their Amended Answer, the Amended Complaint with respect to
the Motherland and the First Accretion ought to have been dismissed based on the said ground,
with only the cause of action pertaining to the Second Accretion surviving.
2. NO, THERE WAS NO IMPLIED TRUST. THE PETITIONERS DID NOT PROVE
ITS EXISTENCE.
The main thrust of Francisco, et al.s Amended Complaint is that an implied trust had arisen
between the Imbornal sisters, on the one hand, and Ciriaco, on the other, with respect to the
Motherland. This implied trust is anchored on their allegation that the proceeds from the sale of the
Sabangan property an inheritance of their predecessors, the Imbornal sisters were used for the
then-pending homestead application filed by Ciriaco over the Motherland. As such, Francisco, et al.
claim that they are, effectively, co- owners of the Motherland together with Ciriacos heirs.
An implied trust arises, not from any presumed intention of the parties, but by
operation of law in order to satisfy the demands of justice and equity and to protect
against unfair dealing or downright fraud. To reiterate, Article 1456 of the Civil Code states
that [i]f property is acquired through mistake or fraud, the person obtaining it is, by force of law,
considered a trustee of an implied trust for the benefit of the person from whom the property
comes.
The burden of proving the existence of a trust is on the party asserting its existence, and such proof
must be clear and satisfactorily show the existence of the trust and its elements. While implied
trusts may be proven by oral evidence, the evidence must be trustworthy and received by the courts
with extreme caution, and should not be made to rest on loose, equivocal or indefinite declarations.
Trustworthy evidence is required because oral evidence can easily be fabricated.
In this case, it cannot be said, merely on the basis of the oral evidence offered by Francisco, et al.,
that the Motherland had been either mistakenly or fraudulently registered in favor of Ciriaco.
Accordingly, it cannot be said either that he was merely a trustee of an implied trust holding the
Motherland for the benefit of the Imbornal sisters or their heirs. Xxx In this light, the Court cannot
fully accept and accord evidentiary value to the oral testimony offered by Francisco, et al. on the
alleged verbal agreement between their predecessors, the Imbornal sisters, and Ciriaco with respect
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to the Motherland. Xxx Hence, with respect to the Motherland, the CA did not err in holding that
Ciriaco and his heirs are the owners thereof, without prejudice to the rights of any subsequent
purchasers for value of the said property.
3. NO, SINCE PETITIONERS FAILED TO PROVE THEIR OWNERSHIP RIGHTS
OVER THE MOTHERLAND, THEIR CAUSE OF ACTION WITH RESPECT TO
THE FIRST ACCRETION AND, NECESSARILY, THE SECOND ACCRETION,
MUST LIKEWISE FAIL.
Consequently, as Francisco, et al. failed to prove their ownership rights over the Motherland, their
cause of action with respect to the First Accretion and, necessarily, the Second Accretion, must
likewise fail. A further exposition is apropos.
Article 457 of the Civil Code states the rule on accretion as follows: [t]o the owners of lands
adjoining the banks of rivers belong the accretion which they gradually receive from the effects of
the current of the waters. Relative thereto, in Cantoja v. Lim, the Court, citing paragraph 32 of the
Lands Administrative Order No. 7-1 dated April 30, 1936, in relation to Article 4 of the Spanish Law
of Waters of 1866, as well as related jurisprudence on the matter, elucidated on the preferential
right of the riparian owner over the land formed by accretions, xxx
The reason for that preferential right is the same as the justification for giving accretions
to the riparian owner, which is that accretion compensates the riparian owner for the
diminutions which his land suffers by reason of the destructive force of the waters. So, in
the case of littoral lands, he who loses by the encroachments of the sea should gain by its
recession.
Accordingly, therefore, alluvial deposits along the banks of a creek or a river do not form part of the
public domain as the alluvial property automatically belongs to the owner of the estate to which it
may have been added. The only restriction provided for by law is that the owner of the adjoining
property must register the same under the Torrens system; otherwise, the alluvial property may be
subject to acquisition through prescription by third persons.
In this' case, Francisco, et al. and, now, their heirs, i.e., herein petitioners, are not the riparian
owners of the Motherland to which the First Accretion had attached, hence, they cannot assert
ownership over the First Accretion. Consequently, as the Second Accretion had merely attached to
the First Accretion, they also have no right over the Second Accretion. Neither were they able to
show that they acquired these properties through prescription as it was not
established that they were in possession of any of them. Therefore, whether through
accretion or, independently, through prescription, the discernible conclusion is that Francisco et al.
and/or petitioners' claim of title over the First and Second Accretions had not been substantiated,
and, as a result, said properties cannot be reconveyed in their favor. This is especially so since on the
other end of the fray lie respondents armed with a certificate of title in their names covering the
First and Second Accretions coupled with their possession thereof, both of which give rise to the
superior credibility of their own claim. Hence, petitioners' action for reconveyance with respect to
both accretions must altogether fail.

Heirs of Pacifico Pocdo v Arsenina Avila, et al.


GR 199146 19 March 2014
Carpio, J
Nature of the Action
This is a petition for review on certiorari under rule 45, assailing the decision of CA affirming the
decision of RTC in an action for quieting of title.
FACTS
Pocdo Pool, who died in 1942, began his occupation in 1894 and claim on three lots that were
eventually surveyed in his name. These lots were the subject of a petition to reopen judicial
proceedings filed by the Heirs of Pocdo Pool with the CFI of Baguio City. The registration of the lots
in the names of the petitioners were granted in October 1964, but since the decision was not
implemented within the 10 years prescribed period, the Heirs filed their ancestral land claims with
the DENR. Certificates of Ancestral Lands Claims (CALS) were issued by the DENR for Lots 44 and
45, but Lot 43 was not approved due to Memorandum Order 9815 issued by the DENR Secretary.
In the meantime, Polon Pocdo, an heir of Pocdo Pool, ceded his rights over the three lots to Pacifico
Pocdo in exchange for a one hectare lot to be taken from Lot 43. However, Pacifico entered into a
contract with Florencio Pax and Braulio Yaranon revoking the agreement with Polon. In the
contract, the 4,875 square meters where Polons house was located became part of the 1hectare
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given to Pax and Yaranon in exchange for their services in the titling of Pacificos lands.
In an amicable settlement, it was agreed that Polon would again retain the 4,875 square meters and
Pacifico would give the 5,125 square meter area, the remaining portion of the 1hectare share of
Polon, to be taken from Lot 43 after a segregation.
Polon entered into a Catulagan with Arsenia Avila authorizing the latter to undertake the
segregation of his onehectare land from Lot 43 in accord with the amicable settlement. In
exchange, Polon would award to her 2,000 square meters from the 1hectare lot. After spending
time, money and effort in the execution of the survey, Avila gave the survey results to Polon
prompting Polon to execute a Waiver of Rights. Accordingly, the subdivided lots were declared for
tax purposes and the corresponding tax declaration issued to Polon and Arsenia, with 8,010 square
meters going to Polon and 1,993 square meters to Avila. Finding the amicable settlement, the
Catulagan and Waiver of Rights in order, the CENRO of Baguio City issued in favor of Avila a
Certificate of Exclusion of 993 square meters from the Ancestral Land Claim of the Heirs of Pocdo
Pool over Lot 43.
However, the Heirs of Polon Pocdo and his wife Konon filed an affidavit of cancellation with OIC
CENRO Teodoro Suaking and on that basis, Suaking cancelled the Certificate of Exclusion. Avila
complained to the Regional Executive Director or RED the unlawful cancellation of her Certificate of
Exclusion. RED issued a memorandum setting aside the revocation and restoring the Certificate of
Exclusion. Avila filed an administrative complaint against Suaking. RED dismissed the letter
complaint of Avila and referred the administrative complaint to the DENR Central Office.
Acting on the motion for reconsideration by Avila [against oppositors Pacifico Pocdo, et al.], the
RED in an Order on October 28, 2002 set aside the July 16, 2002 order. The Affidavit of
Cancellation dated April 27, 2002 filed by the heirs of Polon Pocdo was dismissed for lack of
jurisdiction and the validity of the Amicable Settlement, Catulagan and Deed of Waiver of Rights
were recognized. The letter dated April 28, 2000 and certification issued on May 31, 2000 by
Suaking were ordered cancelled. Accordingly, the RED held that the TSA applications of Arsenia
Avila and others under TSA Application 15313, 15314, 15409 and 15410 should be given due course
subject to compliance with existing laws and regulations.
The DENR Secretary affirmed his Order in his Decision of May 14, 2004 in DENR Case 5599, with
the modification that the TSAs for the appellee Avila could now be made the basis of disposition
through public bidding and the appellant may participate in the bidding if qualified. Pacifico Pocdo
went on appeal to the Office of the President which resulted in an affirmance of DENR Secretarys
decision. Heirs of Pacifico Pocdo challenged the OP resolution before the Court of Appeals, which
was dismissed for having been filed late. The SC dismissed the Heirs appeal from this decision.
Pacifico filed an action for quieting of title against Arsenia Avila and Emelinda Chua,
after RED RED set aside Suakings revocation on and ordered the restoration of Avilas Certificate of
Exclusion.

RTC dismissed the case for lack of jurisdiction. It held that the DENR had already declared
the disputed property as public land, which the State, through the DENR, has the sole power
to dispose. Thus, the claim of petitioners to quiet title is not proper since they do not have
title over the disputed property.

On appeal, CA ruled that petitioners, in raising the issue of quieting of title, failed to allege
any legal or equitable title to quiet. Under Article 477 of the Civil Code, in an action to quiet
title, the plaintiff must have legal or equitable title to, or interest in the real property which is
the subject matter of the action. Instead of an action to quiet title or accion
reivindicatoria, the Court of Appeals stated that petitioners should have filed an accion
publiciana based merely on the recovery of possession de jure.

ISSUE

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Whether the RTC has jurisdiction in an action for quieting of title involving a land that is still part of
the public domain.

HELD

NO, trial court had no jurisdiction to determine who among the parties have better
right over the disputed property which is admittedly still part of the public domain.

In the administrative case involving the disputed property, which forms part of Lot 43, the DENR
ruled that Lot 43 is public land located within the Baguio Townsite Reservation. xxx

Having established that the disputed property is public land, the trial court was therefore correct in
dismissing the complaint to quiet title for lack of jurisdiction. The trial court had no jurisdiction to
determine who among the parties have better right over the disputed property which is admittedly
still part of the public domain. As held in Dajunos v. Tandayag (G.R. Nos. L-32651-52, 31 August
1971, 40 SCRA 449):

x x x The Tarucs action was for quieting of title and necessitated determination of the
respective rights of the litigants, both claimants to a free patent title, over a piece of
property, admittedly public land. The law, administration, disposition and alienation of
public lands with the Director of Lands subject, of course, to the control of the Secretary of
Agriculture and Natural Resources.
In sum, the decision rendered in Civil Case No. 1218 on October 28, 1968 is a patent nullity.
The lower court did not have power to determine who (the Firmalos or the Tarucs) were
entitled to an award of free patent title over that piece of property that yet belonged to the
public domain. Neither did it have power to adjudge the Tarucs as entitled to the true
equitable ownership thereof, the latters effect being the same: the exclusion of the
Firmalos in favor of the Tarucs.

In an action for quieting of title, the complainant is seeking for an adjudication that a claim of title
or interest in property adverse to the claimant is invalid, to free him from the danger of hostile
claim, and to remove a cloud upon or quiet title to land where stale or unenforceable claims or
demands exist. Under Articles 476 and 477 of the Civil Code, the two indispensable requisites in an
action to quiet title are: (1) that the plaintiff has a legal or equitable title to or interest in the real
property subject of the action; and (2) that there is a cloud on his title by reason of any instrument,
record, deed, claim, encumbrance or proceeding, which must be shown to be in fact invalid or
inoperative despite its prima facie appearance of validity.

Lourdes Fernandez v Norma Villegas


GR 200191 20 August 2014
Perlas-Bernabe, J.

Nature of Action
This is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45, assailing the Resolutions of the Court of
Appeals which dismissed the petition for review under Rule 42 of the Rules of Court (CA petition)
due to defective verification and certification against forum shopping.
FACTS
On August 21, 2008, petitioner Lourdes C. Fernandez (Lourdes) and her sister, Cecilia Siapno
(Cecilia), represented by her attorney-in-fact, Imelda S. Slater (Imelda), filed a Complaint for
Ejectment before the Municipal Trial Court in Cities, Branch 1, Dagupan City (MTCC), docketed as
Civil Case No. 15980, against respondent Norma Villegas (Norma) and any person acting in her
behalf including her family (respondents), seeking to recover possession of a parcel of land situated
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in Guilig Street, Dagupan City covered by Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. 19170 (subject
property).
In their complaint, Lourdes and Cecilia (plaintiffs) averred that they are the registered owners of the
subject property on which both Lourdes and respondents previously lived under one roof. However,
when their house was destroyed by typhoon Cosme, Lourdes transferred to a nipa hut on the same
lot, while Norma, Cecilias daughter-in-law, and her family were advised to relocate but, in the
meantime, allowed to use a portion thereof. Instead, respondents erected a house thereon over
plaintiffs objections and, despite demands, refused to vacate and surrender possession of the
subject property. The dispute was referred to the Barangay Office of Pugo Chico and the Public
Attorneys Office, both of Dagupan City, but no settlement was reached.
For their part, respondents, in their Answer, averred that the complaint stated no cause of action,
considering that Lourdes has no standing to question their possession of the subject property as she
had already donated her portion in favor of Cecilia, adding too that the latter is bound by her
declaration that the house and lot belong[s] to Eddie, who is Normas late husband. Respondents
further asserted that there was no compliance with the required conciliation and mediation under
the Katarungang Pambarangay Law as no Certificate to File Action was attached to the complaint,
thereby rendering the complaint dismissible.
MTCC found that respondents failed to impugn the validity of plaintiffs ownership over the
subject property. As owners, plaintiffs therefore have the right to enjoy the use and receive
the fruits from the said property, as well as to exclude one from its enjoyment pursuant to
Articles 428 and 429 of the Civil Code.
RTC granted respondents appeal and ordered the dismissal of plaintiffs complaint based on
the following grounds: (a) there was no substantial compliance with the mandatory
conciliation and mediation process before the barangay, especially considering that the
parties are very close relatives; and (b) respondents are builders in good faith and cannot be
summarily ejected from the subject property without compliance with the provisions of
Articles 448, 546, and 548 of the Civil Code.
CA granted respondents Motion to Dismiss Appeal, holding that the verification and
certification against forum shopping attached to the CA petition was defective since it was
signed only by Lourdes, one of the plaintiffs in the case, in violation of Section 5, Rule 7 of
the Rules of Court which requires all the plaintiffs to sign the same.
ISSUE
Whether the one of the co-owners, without joining all the other co-owners as plaintiffs, may bring
an action for ejectment.
HELD
YES, any of the co-owners may bring an action for ejectment, without the necessity of
joining all the other co-owners as co-plaintiffs.
It is undisputed that Lourdes is not only a resident of the subject property but is a co-owner thereof
together with her co-plaintiff/sister, Cecilia. As such, she is one who has ample knowledge to swear
to the truth of the allegations in the x x x [CA] petition and is therefore qualified to sign x x x the
verification attached thereto in view of paragraph 3 of the above-said guidelines.
In fact, Article 487 of the Civil Code explicitly provides that any of the co-owners may bring an
action for ejectment, without the necessity of joining all the other co-owners as co-plaintiffs because
the suit is deemed to be instituted for the benefit of all. To reiterate, both Lourdes and Cecilia are
co-plaintiffs in the ejectment suit. Thus, they share a commonality of interest and cause of action as
against respondents. Notably, even the petition for review filed before the CA indicated that they are
the petitioners therein and that the same was filed on their behalf. Hence, the lone signature of
Lourdes on the verification attached to the CA petition constituted substantial compliance with the
rules. As held in the case of Medado v. Heirs of the Late Antonio Consing:
[W]here the petitioners are immediate relatives, who share a common interest in the
property subject of the action, the fact that only one of the petitioners executed the
verification or certification of forum shopping will not deter the court from proceeding
with the action. (Emphases and underscoring supplied)
Besides, it is settled that the verification of a pleading is only a formal, not a jurisdictional
requirement intended to secure the assurance that the matters alleged in a pleading are true and
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correct. Therefore, the courts may simply order the correction of the pleadings or act on them and
waive strict compliance with the rules, as in this case.

Jose Juan Tong, et al. v Go Tiat Kun, et al.


GR 196023 21 April 2014
Reyes, J
Nature of the Action

The instant petition stemmed from an action for Nullification of Titles and Deeds of Extra-Judicial
Settlement and Sale and Damages instituted by the petitioners against the respondents over a parcel
of land known as Lot 998-A of the Cadastral Survey of Iloilo.

FACTS
The petitioners are nine of the ten children of Spouses Juan Tong (Juan Tong) and Sy Un (Spouses
Juan Tong). Completing the ten children of Spouses Juan Tong is the deceased Luis Juan Tong, Sr.
(Luis, Sr.) whose surviving heirs are: his spouse Go Tiat Kun, and their children, Leon, Mary, Lilia,
Tomas, Luis, Jr., and Jaime, who being already dead, is survived by his wife, Roma Cokee Juan
Tong (respondents).
Juan Tong had a meeting with all his children to inform them of his intention to purchase Lot 998
to be used for the familys lumber business called Juan Tong Lumber. However, since he was
a Chinese citizen and was disqualified from acquiring the said lot, the title to the
property will be registered in the name of his eldest son, Luis, Sr., who at that time
was already of age and was the only Filipino citizen among his children. On May 11,
1957, Juan Tong bought Lot 998 from the heirs of Jose Ascencio. Accordingly, on May 16, 1957, TCT
No. 10346 was issued by the Register of Deeds in the name of Luis, Sr.
Sy Un and Juan Tong both died intestate. Meanwhile, on May 30, 1981, Luis, Sr. died and the
respondents, being his surviving heirs, claimed ownership over Lot 998 by
succession, alleging that no trust agreement exists and it was Luis, Sr. who bought
Lot 998. On July 2, 1982, the respondents executed a Deed of Extra-Judicial Settlement of Estate
of Luis, Sr., adjudicating unto themselves Lot 998 and claiming that the said lot is the conjugal
property of Luis, Sr., and his wife.
Subsequently, the respondents agreed to subdivide Lot 998, thus, on October 12, 1992, two new
titles were issued: (1) TCT No. 97068 over Lot 998-A in the name of Go Tiat Kun and her children;
and (2) TCT No. T-96216 over Lot 998-B in the name of Luis, Jr. After Lot 998 was subdivided,
Luis, Jr. sold Lot 998-B to Fine Rock Development Corporation (FRDC), which in
turn sold the same to Visayas Goodwill Credit Corporation (VGCC). It was only after the
petitioners received a letter from VGCC, on August 31, 1995, that they discovered about the breach
of the trust agreement committed by the respondents.
To protect their rights, the petitioners filed an action for Annulment of Sales, Titles,
Reconveyance and Damages of Lot 998-B docketed as Civil Case No. 22730 against
Luis, Jr., FRDC and VGCC. On March 6, 1997, the trial court ruled in favor of the petitioners
which were later affirmed by the CA and this Court on appeal. Consequently, Lot 998-B was
reconveyed to the petitioners and TCT No. T-14839 was issued under their names including the late
Luis, Sr., Go Tiat Kun executed a Deed of Sale of Undivided Interest over Lot 998-A in favor of her
children, Leon, Mary, Lilia, Tomas, and the late Jaime. Hence, on August 2, 2005, the petitioners
filed the instant case for Nullification of Titles, and Deeds of Extra-judicial
Settlement and Sale and Damages claiming as owners of Lot 998-A.
RTC favored petitioners and ruled that there was an implied trust resulting between Juan Tong,
Luis, Sr., the petitioners and the respondents, over Lot 998. Since the respondents were not the
owners of Lot 998-A, they could not appropriate the property unto themselves, much less convey
the same unto third persons. CA reversed and set aside the decision of RTC.
ISSUE
1. Whether there was an implied resulting trust constituted over Lot 998 when Juan Tong
purchased the property and registered it in the name of Luis, Sr.
2. Whether petitioners action was already barred by prescription, estoppel and laches.
HELD
1. YES, A REVIEW OF THE RECORDS SHOWS AN INTENTION TO CREATE A
TRUST BETWEEN THE PARTIES.
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Although Lot 998 was titled in the name of Luis, Sr., the circumstances surrounding the acquisition
of the subject property eloquently speak of the intent that the equitable or beneficial ownership of
the property should belong to the Juan Tong family.
The appellate courts conclusion that an express trust was created because there was a direct
and positive act by Juan Tong to create a trust must inevitably yield to the clear and positive
evidence on record which showed that what was truly created was an implied resulting trust.
As what has been fully established, in view of the mutual trust and confidence existing
between said parties who are family members, the only reason why Lot 998 was registered in
the name of Luis, Sr. was to facilitate the purchase of the said property to be used in the
familys lumber business since Luis, Sr. is the only Filipino Citizen in the Juan Tong family
at that time. As the registered owner of Lot 998, it is only natural that tax declarations and
the corresponding tax payment receipts be in the name of Luis, Sr. so as to effect payment
thereof.
The principle of a resulting trust is based on the equitable doctrine that valuable consideration and
not legal title determines the equitable title or interest and are presumed always to have been
contemplated by the parties. They arise from the nature or circumstances of the consideration
involved in a transaction whereby one person thereby becomes invested with legal title but is
obligated in equity to hold his legal title for the benefit of another. On the other hand, a constructive
trust, unlike an express trust, does not emanate from, or generate a fiduciary relation. Constructive
trusts are created by the construction of equity in order to satisfy the demands of justice and prevent
unjust enrichment. They arise contrary to intention against one who, by fraud, duress or abuse of
confidence, obtains or holds the legal right to property which he ought not, in equity and good
conscience, to hold. xxx
The principle that a trustee who puts a certificate of registration in his name cannot repudiate the
trust by relying on the registration is one of the well-known limitations upon a title. A trust, which
derives its strength from the confidence one reposes on another especially between families, does
not lose that character simply because of what appears in a legal document. xxx
2. NO, PETITIONERS ACTION IS NOT BARRED BY PRESCRIPTION, LACHES
AND ESTOPPEL.
As a rule, implied resulting trusts do not prescribe except when the trustee repudiates the trust.
Further, the action to reconvey does not prescribe so long as the property stands in the name of the
trustee. To allow prescription would be tantamount to allowing a trustee to acquire title against his
principal and true owner. It should be noted that the title of Lot 998 was still registered in the name
of Luis Sr. even when he predeceased Juan Tong. Considering that the implied trust has been
repudiated through such death, Lot 998 cannot be included in his estate except only insofar as his
undivided share thereof is concerned. It is well-settled that title to property does not vest ownership
but it is a mere proof that such property has been registered. And, the fact that the petitioners are in
possession of all the tax receipts and tax declarations of Lot 998 all the more amplify their claim of
ownership over Lot 998-A. Although these tax declarations or realty tax payments of property are
not conclusive evidence of ownership, nevertheless, they are good indicia of possession in the
concept of owner, for no one in his right mind would be paying taxes for a property that is not in his
actual or at least constructive possession. Such realty tax payments constitute proof that the holder
has a claim of title over the property. Therefore, the action for reconveyance of Lot 998-A, which
forms part of Lot 998, is imprescriptible and the petitioners are not estopped from claiming
ownership thereof.
Moreso, when the petitioners received a letter from VGCC, and discovered about the breach ofthe
trust agreement committed by the heirs of Luis, Sr., they immediately instituted an action to protect
their rights, as well as upon learning that respondent Go Tiat Kun executed a Deed of Sale of
Undivided Interest over Lot 998-A in favor of her children. Clearly, no delay may be attributed to
them. The doctrine of laches is not strictly applied between near relatives, and the fact that the
parties are connected by ties of blood or marriage tends to excuse an otherwise unreasonable delay.
On the question of whether or not Juan Tong intended a donation to Luis, Sr., this is merely a
disputable presumption which in this case was clearly disputed by the petitioners and supported by
the pieces of evidence on record.
Thus, contrary to the CA's finding that there was no evidence on record showing that an implied
resulting trust relation arose between Juan Tong and Luis, Sr., the Court finds that the petitioners
before the trial court, had actually adduced sufficient evidence to prove the intention of Juan Tong
to transfer to Luis, Sr. only the legal title of Lot 998, with attendant expectation that Luis, Sr. would
hold the property in trust for the family. The evidence of course is not documentary, but rather
testimonial. Furthermore, the respondents never proffered any proof that could tend to establish
that they were the ones who have been paying taxes from the time of its purchase up to the present,
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that they have been in possession of the subject property or that they had it surveyed and
subdivided openly with notice to all concerned.

Heirs of Francisco Narvasa, Sr., et al. v Emiliana Imbornal, et al.


GR 182908 6 August 2014
Perlas-Bernabe, J.

Nature of the Action


This is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45, assailing the decision of CA which reversed
and set aside the decision of RTC in an action for reconveyance, partition and damages.
FACTS
+
Basilia Imbornal (Basilia) had four (4) children, namely, Alejandra, Balbina, Catalina, and Pablo.
Francisco I. Narvasa, Sr. (Francisco) and Pedro Ferrer (Pedro) were the children of Alejandra, while
petitioner Petra Imbornal (Petra) was the daughter of Balbina. Petitioners are the heirs and
successors-in-interest of Francisco, Pedro, and Petra (Francisco, et al.). On the other hand,
respondents Emiliana, Victoriano, Felipe, Mateo, Raymundo, Maria, and Eduardo, all surnamed
Imbornal, are the descendants of Pablo. During her lifetime, Basilia owned a parcel of land situated
at Sabangan, Barangay Nibaliw West, San Fabian, Pangasinan with an area of 4,144 square meters
(sq. m.), more or less (Sabangan property), which she conveyed to her three (3) daughters Balbina,
Alejandra, and Catalina (Imbornal sisters) sometime in 1920.
Meanwhile, Catalinas husband, Ciriaco Abrio (Ciriaco), applied for and was granted a homestead
patent over a 31,367-sq. m. riparian land (Motherland) adjacent to the Cayanga River in San Fabian,
Pangasinan. He was eventually awarded Homestead Patent No. 2499 therefor, and, on December 5,
1933, OCT No. 1462 was issued in his name. Later, or on May 10, 1973, OCT No. 1462 was cancelled,
and Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. 101495 was issued in the name of Ciriacos heirs, namely:
Margarita Mejia; Rodrigo Abrio, married to Rosita Corpuz; Antonio Abrio, married to Crisenta
Corpuz; Remedios Abrio, married to Leopoldo Corpuz; Pepito Abrio; Dominador Abrio; Francisca
Abrio; Violeta Abrio; and Perla Abrio (Heirs of Ciriaco).
Ciriaco and his heirs had since occupied the northern portion of the Motherland,
while respondents occupied the southern portion.
Sometime in 1949, the First Accretion, approximately 59,772 sq. m. in area, adjoined the
southern portion of the Motherland. On August 15, 1952, OCT No. P-318 was issued in the name
of respondent Victoriano, married to Esperanza Narvarte, covering the First
Accretion.
Decades later, or in 1971, the Second Accretion, which had an area of 32,307 sq. m., more or less,
abutted the First Accretion on its southern portion. On November 10, 1978, OCT No. 21481 was
issued in the names of all the respondents covering the Second Accretion.
Claiming rights over the entire Motherland, Francisco, et al., as the children of Alejandra and
Balbina, filed on February 27, 1984 an Amended Complaint for reconveyance, partition, and/or
damages against respondents. They anchored their claim on the allegation that Ciriaco, with the
help of his wife Catalina, urged Balbina and Alejandra to sell the Sabangan property, and that
Ciriaco used the proceeds therefrom to fund his then-pending homestead patent application over
the Motherland. In return, Ciriaco agreed that once his homestead patent is approved, he will be
deemed to be holding the Motherland which now included both accretions in trust for the
Imbornal sisters.
Likewise, Francisco, et al. alleged that through deceit, fraud, falsehood, and
misrepresentation, respondent Victoriano, with respect to the First Accretion, and
the respondents collectively, with regard to the Second Accretion, had illegally
registered the said accretions in their names, notwithstanding the fact that they
were not the riparian owners (as they did not own the Motherland to which the accretions
merely formed adjacent to). In this relation, Francisco, et al. explained that they did not assert their
inheritance claims over the Motherland and the two (2) accretions because they respected
respondents rights, until they discovered in 1983 that respondents have repudiated their
(Francisco, et al.s) shares thereon. Thus, bewailing that respondents have refused them their rights
not only with respect to the Motherland, but also to the subsequent accretions, Francisco, et al.
prayed for the reconveyance of said properties, or, in the alternative, the payment of their value, as
well as the award of moral damages in the amount of 100,000.00, actual damages in the amount of
150,000.00, including attorneys fees and other costs.
RTC favored Francisco, et al with regard to the reconveyance of their respective portion in the
motherland. However, RTC ruled that the owner of the Motherland is likewise the owner of the said
accretions. Considering that the Imbornal sisters have become proportionate owners of the
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Motherland by virtue of the implied trust created between them and Ciriaco, they (Imbornal sisters)
and their heirs are also entitled to the ownership of said accretions despite the fact that respondents
were able to register them in their names.
Still unsatisfied, respondents appealed to the CA. With regard to the disputed accretions, the CA
ruled that respondents i.e., respondent Victoriano with respect to the First Accretion, and all the
respondents with respect to the Second Accretion need not be the owners of the
Motherland in order to acquire them by acquisitive prescription. Considering that
accretions are not automatically registered in the name of the riparian owner and are, therefore,
subject to acquisitive prescription by third persons, any occupant may apply for their registration.
In this case, the CA found that respondents have acquired title to the subject accretions
by prescription, considering that they have been in continuous possession and enjoyment of the
First Accretion in the concept of an owner since 1949 (when the First Accretion was formed), which
resulted in the issuance of a certificate of title in the name of respondent Victoriano covering the
same. Accordingly, they have also become the riparian owners of the Second Accretion, and given
that they have caused the issuance of OCT No. 21481 in their names over the said Accretion, they
have also become the absolute owners thereof. Since Francisco, et al. took no action to protect their
purported interests over the disputed accretions, the respondents titles over the same had already
become indefeasible, to the exclusion of Francisco, et al.
ISSUE
Whether implied trust was created.
HELD
NO, there was no implied trust. The petitioners did not prove its existence.
The main thrust of Francisco, et al.s Amended Complaint is that an implied trust had arisen
between the Imbornal sisters, on the one hand, and Ciriaco, on the other, with respect to the
Motherland. This implied trust is anchored on their allegation that the proceeds from the sale of the
Sabangan property an inheritance of their predecessors, the Imbornal sisters were used for the
then-pending homestead application filed by Ciriaco over the Motherland. As such, Francisco, et al.
claim that they are, effectively, co- owners of the Motherland together with Ciriacos heirs.
An implied trust arises, not from any presumed intention of the parties, but by
operation of law in order to satisfy the demands of justice and equity and to protect
against unfair dealing or downright fraud. To reiterate, Article 1456 of the Civil Code states
that [i]f property is acquired through mistake or fraud, the person obtaining it is, by force of law,
considered a trustee of an implied trust for the benefit of the person from whom the property
comes.
The burden of proving the existence of a trust is on the party asserting its existence, and such proof
must be clear and satisfactorily show the existence of the trust and its elements. While implied
trusts may be proven by oral evidence, the evidence must be trustworthy and received by the courts
with extreme caution, and should not be made to rest on loose, equivocal or indefinite declarations.
Trustworthy evidence is required because oral evidence can easily be fabricated.
In this case, it cannot be said, merely on the basis of the oral evidence offered by Francisco, et al.,
that the Motherland had been either mistakenly or fraudulently registered in favor of Ciriaco.
Accordingly, it cannot be said either that he was merely a trustee of an implied trust holding the
Motherland for the benefit of the Imbornal sisters or their heirs. Xxx In this light, the Court cannot
fully accept and accord evidentiary value to the oral testimony offered by Francisco, et al. on the
alleged verbal agreement between their predecessors, the Imbornal sisters, and Ciriaco with respect
to the Motherland. Xxx Hence, with respect to the Motherland, the CA did not err in holding that
Ciriaco and his heirs are the owners thereof, without prejudice to the rights of any subsequent
purchasers for value of the said property.

Land Bank of the Philippines v Jose Lajom, et al.


GR 184982 20 August 2014
Perlas-Bernabe, J.
Nature of the Action
This is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45, assailing the decision of CA which affirmed
and modified the decision of RTC in a petition for determination of just compensation and
cancellation of land transfers against DAR.

FACTS
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Jose Lajom and his mother were registered owners of several parcels of land with an aggregate area
of 27 hectares. Sometime in 1991, a 24-ha., more or less, portion of the subject land (subject
portion) was placed under the government's Operation Land Transfer Program pursuant to
Presidential Decree No. (PD) 27,known as the "Tenants Emancipation Decree," as amended.
Accordingly, the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), through the Land Bank of the Philippines
(LBP), offered to pay Lajom for just compensation. Records show, however, that despite nonpayment of the offered just compensation, DAR granted twelve (12) Emancipation Patents between
1994 and 1998 in favor of the farmer-beneficiaries.
Lajom rejected the DAR valuation and, instead, filed an amended petition for determination of just
compensation and cancellation of land transfers against the DAR, the LBP, and the said farmerbeneficiaries. Lajom stressed that the DAR valuation was arrived at without due process, highly
prejudicial and inimical to his and his heirs property rights.
RTC rejected the DAR valuation. LBP moved for reconsideration, which was denied. CA affirmed
but modified the decision of RTC. The CA found no error on the part of the RTC in considering 1991
as the time of the subject portions actual taking, instead of October 21, 1972 when PD 27 took effect,
and in consequently using the higher GSP value of 400.00 prevailing in 1991 instead of 35.00,
contrary to the LBPs claim. The CA found it inequitable to determine just compensation based on
the guidelines provided by PD 27 and EO 228 considering that the actual taking of the subject
property took place in 1991. Hence, just compensation, being the full and fair equivalent of the
property taken from its owner by the expropriator, the equivalent being real, substantial, full and
ample, should be determined in accordance with RA 6657, not with PD 27 and EO 228.
ISSUE
Whether just compensation should be determined at the time of the propertys taking, for this
instance, at the time emancipation patents were issued by the government.
HELD
YES. As to the proper reckoning point, it is fundamental that just compensation
should be determined at the time of the propertys taking. Taking may be deemed to
occur, for instance, at the time emancipation patents are issued by the government.
Since the emancipation patents in this case had been issued between the years 1994 and 1998, the
just compensation for the subject portion should then be reckoned therefrom, being considered the
time of taking or the time when the landowner was deprived of the use and benefit
of his property. On this score, it must be emphasized that while the LBP is charged with the
initial responsibility of determining the value of lands placed under the land reform and,
accordingly, the just compensation therefor, its valuation is considered only as an initial
determination and, thus, not conclusive. Verily, it is well-settled that it is the RTC, sitting
as a Special Agrarian Court, which should make the final determination of just
compensation in the exercise of its judicial function. xxx
After a punctilious review of the records, however, the Court finds that none of the aforementioned
factors had been considered by the RTC in determining the just compensation for the subject
portion. Thus, the Court must reject the valuation pronounced in the RTC Decision, as affirmed by
the CA, and consequently direct the remand of the case to the trial court in order to determine the
proper amount of just compensation anew in accordance with the following guidelines: xxx
As a final word, the Court would like to emphasize that while the agrarian reform program was
undertaken primarily for the benefit of our landless farmers, this undertaking should, however, not
result in the oppression of landowners by pegging the cheapest value for their lands. Indeed,
although the taking of properties for agrarian reform purposes is a revolutionary kind of
expropriation, it should not be carried out at the undue expense of landowners who are also entitled
to protection under the Constitution and agrarian reform laws.

Spouses Jose Roque, et al. v Ma. Pamela Aguado, et al.


GR 193787 7 April 2014
Perlas-Bernabe, J.
Nature of the Action
This is a petition for review on certiorari under rule 45, assailing the decision of CA affirming the
decision of RTC which dismissed the petition for reconveyance, annulment of sale, deed of real
estate mortgage, foreclosure and certificate of sale, and damages.
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FACTS
Petitioners-spouses Jose C. Roque and Beatriz dela Cruz Roque (Sps. Roque) and the original
owners of the then unregistered Lot 18089 namely, Velia R. Rivero (Rivero), Magdalena Aguilar,
Angela Gonzales, Herminia R. Bernardo, Antonio Rivero, Araceli R. Victa, Leonor R. Topacio, and
Augusto Rivero (Rivero, et al.) executed a Deed of Conditional Sale of Real Property (1977 Deed
of Conditional Sale) over a 1,231-sq. m. portion of Lot 18089 (subject portion) for a
consideration of 30,775.00. The parties agreed that Sps. Roque shall make an initial payment of
15,387.50 upon signing, while the remaining balance of the purchase price shall be payable upon
the registration of Lot 18089, as well as the segregation and the concomitant issuance of a separate
title over the subject portion in their names. After the deeds execution, Sps. Roque took possession
and introduced improvements on the subject portion which they utilized as a balut factory.
Fructuoso Sabug, Jr. (Sabug, Jr.), former Treasurer of the National Council of Churches in the
Philippines (NCCP), applied for a free patent over the entire Lot 18089 and was eventually issued
Original Certificate of Title (OCT) No. M-5955 in his name on October 21, 1991. On June 24, 1993,
Sabug, Jr. and Rivero, in her personal capacity and in representation of Rivero, et al., executed a
Joint Affidavit (1993 Joint Affidavit), acknowledging that the subject portion belongs to Sps.
Roque and expressed their willingness to segregate the same from the entire area of Lot 18089.
On December 8, 1999, however, Sabug, Jr., through a Deed of Absolute Sale (1999 Deed of
Absolute Sale), sold Lot 18089 to one Ma. Pamela P. Aguado (Aguado) for 2,500,000.00, who,
in turn, caused the cancellation of OCT No. M-5955 and the issuance of Transfer Certificate of Title
(TCT) No. M-96692 dated December 17, 1999 in her name.
Thereafter, Aguado obtained an 8,000,000.00 loan from the Land Bank of the Philippines (Land
Bank) secured by a mortgage over Lot 18089. When she failed to pay her loan obligation, Land
Bank commenced extra-judicial foreclosure proceedings and eventually tendered the highest bid in
the auction sale. Upon Aguados failure to redeem the subject property, Land Bank consolidated its
ownership, and TCT No. M-115895 was issued in its name on July 21, 2003.
Sps. Roque filed a complaint for reconveyance, annulment of sale, deed of real estate
mortgage, foreclosure, and certificate of sale, and damages before the RTC against
Aguado, Sabug, Jr., NCCP, Land Bank, the Register of Deeds of Morong, Rizal, and Sheriff Cecilio U.
Pulan, seeking to be declared as the true owners of the subject portion which had been erroneously
included in the sale between Aguado and Sabug, Jr., and, subsequently, the mortgage to Land Bank,
both covering Lot 18089 in its entirety.
In defense, NCCP and Sabug, Jr. denied any knowledge of the 1977 Deed of Conditional Sale
through which the subject portion had been purportedly conveyed to Sps. Roque.
For her part, Aguado raised the defense of an innocent purchaser for value as she allegedly
derived her title (through the 1999 Deed of Absolute Sale) from Sabug, Jr., the registered
owner in OCT No. M-5955, covering Lot 18089, which certificate of title at the time of sale
was free from any lien and/or encumbrances. Land Bank averred that it had no knowledge of
Sps. Roques claim relative to the subject portion, considering that at the time the loan was
taken out, Lot 18089 in its entirety was registered in Aguados name and no lien and/or
encumbrance was annotated on her certificate of title.

RTC dismissed the complaints of Sps. Roque and NCCP. CA affirmed the decision
of RTC.
While Land Bank was not regarded as a mortgagee/purchaser in good faith with respect to
the subject portion considering Sps. Roques possession thereof, the CA did not order its
reconveyance or segregation in the latters favor because of Sps. Roques failure to pay the
remaining balance of the purchase price. Hence, it only directed Land Bank to respect Sps.
Roques possession with the option to appropriate the improvements introduced thereon
upon payment of compensation.
As regards NCCP, the CA found that it failed to establish its right over Lot 18089 for the
following reasons: (a) the sale to it of the lot by Sabug, Jr. was never registered; and (b)
there is no showing that it was in possession of Lot 18089 or any portion thereof from 1998.
Thus, as far as NCCP is concerned, Land Bank is a mortgagee/purchaser in good faith.
Sps. Roque maintain that the CA erred in not declaring them as the lawful owners of the subject
portion despite having possessed the same since the execution of the 1977 Deed of Conditional Sale,
sufficient for acquisitive prescription to set in in their favor.

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ISSUE
Whether initial payment and possession of the property, which was the subject of a deed of
conditional sale, vest superior right over the property on petitioners as against the registered owner.

HELD
NO, initial payment and possession of the property does not establish
petitioners superior right over the property as against its registered owner.
The essence of an action for reconveyance is to seek the transfer of the property which was
wrongfully or erroneously registered in another persons name to its rightful owner or to one with a
better right. Thus, it is incumbent upon the aggrieved party to show that he has a legal claim on
the property superior to that of the registered owner and that the property has not yet
passed to the hands of an innocent purchaser for value.
Sps. Roque claim that the subject portion covered by the 1977 Deed of Conditional Sale between
them and Rivero, et al. was wrongfully included in the certificates of title covering Lot 18089, and,
hence, must be segregated therefrom and their ownership thereof be confirmed. xxx
Examining its provisions, the Court finds that the stipulation above- highlighted shows that the 1977
Deed of Conditional Sale is actually in the nature of a contract to sell and not one of sale contrary to
Sps. Roques belief. xxx Here, it is undisputed that Sps. Roque have not paid the final installment of
the purchase price. As such, the condition which would have triggered the parties obligation to
enter into and thereby perfect a contract of sale in order to effectively transfer the ownership of the
subject portion from the sellers (i.e., Rivero et al.) to the buyers (Sps. Roque) cannot be deemed to
have been fulfilled. Consequently, the latter cannot validly claim ownership over the subject portion
even if they had made an initial payment and even took possession of the same.
The Court further notes that Sps. Roque did not even take any active steps to protect their claim
over the disputed portion. This remains evident from the following circumstances appearing on
record: (a) the 1977 Deed of Conditional Sale was never registered; (b) they did not seek the
actual/physical segregation of the disputed portion despite their knowledge of the fact that, as early
as 1993, the entire Lot 18089 was registered in Sabug, Jr.s name under OCT No. M-5955; and (c)
while they signified their willingness to pay the balance of the purchase price, Sps. Roque neither
compelled Rivero et al., and/or Sabug, Jr. to accept the same nor did they consign any amount to
the court, the proper application of which would have effectively fulfilled their obligation to pay the
purchase price. Instead, Sps. Roque waited 26 years, reckoned from the execution of the 1977 Deed
of Conditional Sale, to institute an action for reconveyance (in 2003), and only after Lot 18089 was
sold to Land Bank in the foreclosure sale and title thereto was consolidated in its name. Thus, in
view of the foregoing, Sabug, Jr. as the registered owner of Lot 18089 borne by the grant of his
free patent application could validly convey said property in its entirety to Aguado who, in turn,
mortgaged the same to Land Bank. Besides, as aptly observed by the RTC, Sps. Roque failed to
establish that the parties who sold the property to them, i.e., Rivero, et al., were indeed its true and
lawful owners. In fine, Sps. Roque failed to establish any superior right over the subject portion as
against the registered owner of Lot 18089, i.e., Land Bank, thereby warranting the dismissal of their
reconveyance action, without prejudice to their right to seek damages against the vendors, i.e.,
Rivero et al. xxx
On the matter of double sales, suffice it to state that Sps. Roques reliance on Article 1544 of the Civil
Code has been misplaced since the contract they base their claim of ownership on is, as earlier
stated, a contract to sell, and not one of sale. xxx

Subic Bay Legend Resorts and Casinos, Inc. v Bernard Fernandez


GR 193426 29 September 2014
Del Castillo, J.
Nature of the Action
This is a petition for review on certiorari under rule 45, assailing the resolution of CA affirming the
decision of RTC in an action for recovery of sum of money with damages.
FACTS
Respondents brother, Ludwin Fernandez, visited the Legenda Hotel and Casino. Legenda had
strategically installed several closed- circuit television (CCTV) cameras as part of security measures
required by its business. The monitors revealed that Ludwin changed $5,000.00 worth of chips into
smaller denominations. Legenda admitted that its surveillance staff paid close attention to Ludwin
simply because it was "unusual" for a Filipino to play using dollar-denominated chips. After Ludwin
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won $200.00 in a game of baccarat, he redeemed the value of chips worth $7,200.00. A review of
the CCTV recordings showed that the incident was not the first time Ludwin visited the Casino, as
he had also been there on 5 June 1997.
An operation was launched by Legenda to zero-in on Ludwin whose picture was furnished its
security section. Thus, unbeknownst to him, he was already closely watched on 13 June 1997 when
he went with another brother, Deoven, to the casino. After playing (and losing $100.00) only one
round of baccarat, the siblings had their chips encashed at two separate windows. Since the cashiers
were apprised of a supposed irregularity, they "froze" the transaction. Thereafter, Legenda's internal
security officers accosted Ludwin and Deoven and ordered them to return the cash and they
complied without ado because they were being pulled away. The two were eventually escorted to
private rooms where they were separately interrogated about the source of the chips they brought.
They were held for about seven hours without food or sleep. The ultimaturn was simple: they
confess that the chips were given by a certain employee, Michael Cabrera, or they would not be
released from questioning. The brothers succumbed to Legenda's instruction to execute a joint
statement implicating Cabrera as the illegal source of the chips.
Respondent filed an action for recovery of sum of money with damages against
petitioner on the ground that he handed over to Legenda casino chips worth USD6,000 which
belonged to him. RTC decided in favor of respondent. CA affirmed this decision.
In deciding against petitioner, the CA held that, applying Article 559 of the civil code,
respondent had the legal presumption of title to or ownership of the casino chips. This
conclusion springs from respondent's admission during trial that the chips represented
payment by a Chinese customer for services he rendered to the latter in his car shop. The CA
added that since respondent became the owner ofthe chips, he could very well have given
them to Ludwin and Deoven, who likewise held them as "possessors in good faith and for
value" and with Civil Code, "presumptive title" derived from the respondent. On the other
hand, petitioner failed to convincingly show that the chips were stolen; for one, it did not
even file a criminal case against the supposed mastermind, Cabrera - nor did it charge
Ludwin or Deoven- for the alleged theft or taking of its chips.

ISSUE
Whether Art 559 of the Civil code applies.
HELD
NO, if petitioner cannot prove its loss, then Article 559 cannot apply.
Though casino chips do not constitute legal tender, there is no law which prohibits their use or trade
outside of the casino which issues them. In any case, it is not unusual - nor is it unlikely - that
respondent could be paid by his Chinese client at the former' s car shop with the casino chips in
question; said transaction, if not common, is nonetheless not unlawful. These chips are paid for
anyway; petitioner would not have parted with the same if their corresponding representative
equivalent - in legal tender, goodwill, or otherwise - was not received by it in return or exchange.
Given this premise - that casino chips are considered to have been exchanged with their
corresponding representative value - it is with more reason that this Court should require petitioner
to prove convincingly and persuasively that the chips it confiscated from Ludwin and Deoven were
indeed stolen from it; if so, any Tom, Dick or Harry in possession of genuine casino chips is
presumed to have paid for their representative value in exchange therefor. If petitioner cannot
prove its loss, then Article 559 cannot apply; the presumption that the chips were
exchanged for value remains.

Republic of the Philippines v Corazon Sese and Fe Sese


GR 185092 4 June 2014
Mendoza, J
Nature of the Action
This is a petition for review on certiorari under rule 45, assailing the decision of CA which affirmed
the decision of MTC in a petition for registration of property.
FACTS
Records show that on September 17, 2002, Corazon C. Sese and Fe C. Sese (respondents) filed with
the MTC an application for original registration of land over a parcel of land with an area of l0,792
square meters, situated in Barangay Sto. Cristo, Municipality of Pulilan, Province of Bulacan, and
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004226. Respondents alleged that on July 22, 1972, they acquired, through a donation inter vivos
from their mother, Resurreccion L. Castro (Resurreccion), the subject agricultural land; that they,
through their predecessors-in-interest, had been in possession of the subject property; and that the
property was not within a reservation.
MTC ordered for the registration of the property in the name of the respondents. The
MTC reasoned out that there was evidence to show that the subject lots had been in open,
continuous, adverse, and public possession, either by the applicants themselves or their
predecessor-in-interest. Such possession since time immemorial conferred an effective title on the
applicants, whereby the land ceased to be public and became private property. It had been the
accepted norm that open, adverse and continuous possession for at least 30 years was sufficient.
The MTC noted that evidence showed that the parcel of land involved was not covered by land
patent or a public land application as certified to by the Community Environment and Natural
Resources of Tabang, Guiguinto, Bulacan. Moreover, it added that the technical descriptions of Lot
11247 were prepared and secured from the Land Management Sector, DENR, Region III, San
Fernando, Pampanga, and were verified and found to be correct by Eriberto Almazan, In-Charge of
the Regional Survey Division.
OSG appealed to the CA. OSG argued that there was no proof that the subject property was
already segregated from inalienable lands of the public domain. Verily, it was only from the date of
declaration of such lands as alienable and disposable that the period for counting the statutory
requirement of possession would start. Also, there was absolutely no proof of respondents
supposed possession of the subject property. Save for the testimony of Corazon that at present, the
worker of (her) mother is occupying the subject property, there was no evidence that respondents
were actually occupying the subject tract of land or that they had introduced improvement thereon.
CA affirmed the decision of MTC. The CA reasoned out, among others, that the approved
survey plan of the subject property with an annotation, stating that the subject property was
alienable and disposable land, was a public document, having been issued by the DENR, a
competent authority. Its contents were prima facie evidence of the facts stated therein. Thus, the
evidence was sufficient to establish that the subject property was indeed alienable and disposable.
With respect to the second issue, the CA was of the view that the doctrine of constructive possession
was applicable. Respondents acquired the subject property through a donation inter vivos executed
on July 22, 1972 from their mother. The latter acquired the said property from the Santoses on
October 4, 1950 by virtue of a deed of absolute sale. Further, respondent Corazon testified that a
small hut was built on the said land, which was occupied by the worker of her mother. Moreover,
neither the public prosecutor nor any private individual appeared to oppose the application for
registration of the subject property.
ISSUE
1. Whether respondents are entitled to the registration of the land
2. Whether a survey plan is sufficient to prove that a property is alienable and disposable.
3. Whether period of prescription only runs from the time state enacts a law or president issues
a proclamation that the land is no longer retained for public service or the development of
the national wealth or that the property has been converted into patrimonial.
HELD
1. NO, THE RESPONDENTS ARE NOT ENTITLED TO THE REGISTRATION OF
THE LAND FOR FAILING TO PROVE THAT THE PROPERTY IS ALIENABLE
AND DISPOSABLE AND THAT THEIR POSSESSION OF THE PROPERTY
DATED BACK TO JUNE 12, 1945 OR EARLIER.
The vital issue to be resolved by the Court is whether respondents are entitled to the registration of
land title under Section 14(1) of Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 1529, or pursuant to Section 14(2) of
the same statute.
Based on the above-quoted provisions, applicants for registration of land title must establish and
prove:
(1) that the subject land forms part of the disposable and alienable lands of the public
domain;
(2) that the applicant and his predecessors-in-interest have been in open, continuous,
exclusive and notorious possession and occupation of the same; and
(3) that it is under a bona fide claim of ownership since June 12, 1945, or earlier.

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Compliance with the foregoing requirements is indispensable for an application for registration of
land title, under Section 14(1) of P.D. No. 1529, to validly prosper. The absence of any one requisite
renders the application for registration substantially defective. Xxx

2. NO, SURVEY PLAN IS NOT SUFFICIENT TO ESTABLISH THAT THE LAND IS


ALREADY DISPOSABLE AND ALIENABLE.
Anent the first requisite, respondents presented evidence to establish the disposable and
alienable character of the subject land through a survey plan
The burden of proof in overcoming the presumption of State ownership of the
lands of the public domain is on the person applying for registration (or
claiming ownership), who must prove that the land subject of the application
is alienable or disposable. To overcome this presumption, incontrovertible evidence
must be established that the land subject of the application (or claim) is alienable or
disposable. The applicant must establish the existence of a positive act of the government
such as a presidential proclamation or an executive order; an administrative action;
investigation reports of Bureau of Lands investigators; or a legislative act or a statute. The
applicant may also secure a certification from the government that the land claimed to have
been possessed for the required number of years is alienable and disposable. Xxx
Thus, the present rule is that an application for original registration must be
accompanied by (1) a CENRO or PENRO Certification; and (2) a copy of the
original classification approved by the DENR Secretary and certified as a true
copy by the legal custodian of the official records
Here, the only evidence presented by respondents to prove the disposable and
alienable character of the subject land was an annotation by a geodetic
engineer in a survey plan. Although this was certified by the DENR, it clearly falls short
of the requirements for original registration. Xxx

3. YES, PERIOD OF PRESCRIPTION AGAINST THE STATE ONLY RUNS FROM


THE TIME STATE ENACTS A LAW OR PRESIDENT ISSUES A PROCLAMATION
THAT THE LAND IS NO LONGER RETAINED FOR PUBLIC SERVICE OR THE
DEVELOPMENT OF THE NATIONAL WEALTH OR THAT THE PROPERTY HAS
BEEN CONVERTED INTO PATRIMONIAL. THERE MUST BE AN EXPRESS
DECLARATION BY THE STATE.
With regard to the third requisite, it must be shown that the possession and occupation of a
parcel of land by the applicant, by himself or through his predecessors-in-interest, started on June
12, 1945 or earlier. A mere showing of possession and occupation for 30 years or more, by itself, is
not sufficient.
In this regard, respondents likewise failed. As the records and pleadings of this case will
reveal, the earliest that respondents and their predecessor-in-interest can trace back
possession and occupation of the subject land was only in the year 1950, when their mother,
Resurreccion, acquired the subject land from the Santoses on October 4, 1950 by virtue of an
absolute sale. Evidently, their possession of the subject property commenced roughly five (5)
years beyond June 12, 1945, the reckoning date expressly provided under Section 14(1) of
P.D. No. 1529. Thus, their application for registration of land title was legally infirm.
Accordingly, there must be an express declaration by the State that the public dominion
property is no longer intended for public service or the development of the national wealth
or that the property has been converted into patrimonial. Without such express declaration,
the property, even if classified as alienable or disposable, remains property of the public
dominion, pursuant to Article 420(2), and, thus, incapable of acquisition by prescription. It
is only when such alienable and disposable lands are expressly declared by the State to be no
longer intended for public service or for the development of the national wealth that the
period of acquisitive prescription can begin to run. Such declaration shall be in the form of a
law duly enacted by Congress or a Presidential Proclamation in cases where the President is
duly authorized by law.
Thus, under Section 14(2) of P.D. No. 1529, for acquisitive prescription to commence and
operate against the State, the classification of land as alienable and disposable alone is not
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sufficient. The applicant must be able to show that the State, in addition to the said
classification, expressly declared through either a law enacted by Congress or a proclamation
issued by the President that the subject land is no longer retained for public service or the
development of the national wealth or that the property has been converted into
patrimonial. Consequently, without an express declaration by the State, the land remains to
be a property of public dominion and, hence, not susceptible to acquisition by virtue of
prescriptionof the subject property as alienable and disposable land of the public domain
does not change its status as property of the public dominion under Article 420(2) of the
Civil Code. It is still insusceptible to acquisition by prescnption.

Republic of the Philippines v Francisca Santos, et al.


GR 191516 4 June 2014
Peralta, J.
Nature of the Action
This is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45, assailing the decision of CA which affirmed
the decision of RTC in a petition for registration of title for four parcels of land.

FACTS
Respondents Francisca, Geronimo and [Crispin], all surnamed Santos, filed an Application for
Registration of title for four parcels of land. The Application of the was accompanied by the
following required documents:
1. Original or tracing cloth of Survey plan SWO-13- 000464 and SWO-13-000480, with four
blue print copies thereof
2. Technical Description
3. Surveyor's Certificate
4. Tax Declaration
5. Deed of Extrajudicial Settlement.
On January 23, 2004, the applicants filed a Motion for Partial Dropping of Application re: the
application for the Wawa property [Lot No. 536]. On March 9, 2004, the court a quo granted said
motion and ordered the withdrawal of the Wawa property from the application.
RTC was satisfied that the respondents have discharged their burden of proving their registrable
right over the said properties. Accordingly, the court a quo ordered the registration of the said
properties in the names of the respondents.
Solicitor general appealed to the CA, which affirmed the decision of RTC.
Petitioner Republic maintains that there is no proof that the subject lots had been classified as
alienable and disposable, because a mere notation in the Conversion Plan, even if it had been
formally offered in evidence, is not the required proof of a positive government act validly changing
the classification of the land in question. Respondents counter that they presented Exhibit X, a
Certification from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) dated March 9,
2006 stating that the subject lots were verified to be within Alienable and Disposable Land, under
Project No. 27-B of Taguig as per Land Classification Map No. 2623, approved on January 3, 1968.
ISSUE
Whether a certification issued by the Forest Utilization & Law Enforcement Division of the DENR is
sufficient to prove that subject lots had been declared alienable and disposable lands of the public
domain at the time the application was filed.
HELD
NO, a mere certification issued by the Forest Utilization & Law Enforcement Division
of the DENR is not enough to prove that the lots subject of application for registration
had been declared alienable and disposable lands of public domain.
The Court agrees with petitioner's stance. In Republic v. Medida, the Court emphasized that
anyone who applies for registration of ownership over a parcel of land has the burden of
overcoming the presumption that the land sought to be registered forms part of the public domain.
xxx
In a line of cases, we have ruled that mere notations appearing in survey plans are
inadequate proof of the covered properties alienable and disposable character. xxx
To prove that the land subject of an application for registration is alienable, an applicant
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must establish the existence of a positive act of the government such as a presidential
proclamation or an executive order, an administrative action, investigation reports of
Bureau of Lands investigators, and a legislative act or statute. The applicant may also
secure a certification from the Government that the lands applied for are alienable and
disposable.
Xxx
[I]t is not enough for the PENRO or CENRO to certify that a land is alienable and
disposable. The applicant for land registration must prove that the DENR Secretary had
approved the land classification and released the land of the public domain as alienable
and disposable, and that the land subject of the application for registration falls within the
approved area per verification through survey by the PENRO or CENRO. In addition, the
applicant for land registration must present a copy of the original classification approved
by the DENR Secretary and certified as a true copy by the legal custodian of the official
records.
To reiterate, the evidence required to establish that land subject of an application
for registration is alienable and disposable are:
(1) CENRO or PENRO Certification; and
(2) a copy of the original classification approved by the DENR Secretary and certified as a
true copy by the legal custodian of the official records.
In the present case, the foregoing documents had not been submitted in evidence. There is no copy
of the original classification approved by the DENR Secretary. As ruled by this Court, a mere
certification issued by the Forest Utilization & Law Enforcement Division of the DENR is not
enough. Petitioner is then correct that evidence on record is not sufficient to prove that subject lots
had been declared alienable and disposable lands.
In view of the foregoing, the Court must abide by its constitutional duty to protect the State's
ownership of the lands of the public domain by ensuring that applicants are able to discharge the
burden of proof required to overcome the presumption that the land sought to be registered is part
of the public domain.

Raul Saberon, et al. v Oscar Ventanilla, Jr. et al.


GR 192669 21 April 2014
Mendoza, J.
Nature of the Action
This is a resolution of the court in a motion for reconsideration of the SCs decision ruling against
petitioners.
FACTS
This case involves several parcels of originally owned by Manila Remnant Co., Inc. (MRCI) and
developed by A.U. Valencia & Co. Inc. (AUVC). MRCI and AUVC sold the parcels of land to Oscar C.
Ventanilla, Jr. and Carmen Gloria D. Ventanilla (Ventanillas). Artemio Valencia, holding out
himself as president of MRCI, and without the knowledge of the Ventanillas, resold the same
property to Carlos Crisostomo (Crisostomo), without any consideration. Valencia transmitted the
fictitious contract with Crisostomo to MRCI while he kept the contracts to sell with the Ventanillas
in his private office files. All the amounts paid by the latter were deposited in Valencias bank
account and remitted to MRCI as payments of Crisostomo. The Ventanillas continued to pay the
monthly installment.
Ventanilla filed an action for specific performance, annulment of deeds and damages.
CFI favored Ventanilla and declared the sale in their favor as valid and subsisting. In a separate
case, MRCI filed before this Court a petition for certiorari to review the decision of the CA
upholding the solidary liability of MRCI, AUVC and Crisostomo for the payment of moral and
exemplary damages and attorney's fees to the Ventanillas. SC upheld the decision of CA. The
Ventanillas moved for the issuance of a writ of execution. A notice of levy was annotated in the titles
of MRCI on May 31, 1991.
Since the properties were already sold to Samuel Marquez (Marquez), MRCI offered to
reimburse the amount paid by Ventanillas plus damages. Ventanillas rejected the offer of
reimbursement. They contended that the alleged sale to Marquez was void, fraudulent, and
in contempt of court and that no claim of ownership over the properties in question had ever
been made by Marquez. CFI ordered for the garnishment upon the bank account of MRCI
and denied the motion of MRCI to reimburse the Ventanillas. On appeal, CA ruled that the
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contract to sell in favor of Marquez did not constitute a legal impediment to the immediate
execution of the judgment. It turned out that Marquez sold the property to Saberons.
Ventanillas went to court to annul the deed of sale between MRCI and Marquez as
well as the deed of sale between Marquez and Saberons. RTC favored the Ventanillas.
Before the CA, Saberons relied on one central argumentthat they were purchasers in good faith,
having relied on the correctness of the certificates of title covering the lots in question; and
therefore, holders of a valid and indefeasible title. CA affirmed the decision of RTC.
Aggrieved by this CA ruling, the Saberons filed the present petition. Unknown to the
Saberons, the former owner of the properties had entered into contracts to sell with the Ventanillas,
way back in 1970. It was only upon receipt of the summons in the case filed by the Ventanillas with
the RTC that they learned of the present controversy.
With the RTC and the CA rulings against their title over the properties, the Saberons now
come to the Court with their vehement insistence that they were purchasers in good faith
and for value. Before purchasing the lots, they exercised due diligence and found no
encumbrance or annotations on the titles. At the same time, the Ventanillas also failed to
rebut the presumption of their good faith as there was no showing that they confederated
with MRCI and its officers to deprive the Ventanillas of their right over the subject
properties.
According to the Saberons, the CA likewise erred in ruling that there was no constructive
notice of the levy made upon the subject lands.
ISSUE
Whether the registration of the notice of levy had produced constructive notice that would bind
third persons despite the failure of the RODQC to annotate the same in the certificates of title.
HELD
YES, REGISTRATION OF NOTICE OF LEVY PRODUCED CONSTRUCTIVE NOTICE TO
THIRD PERSONS EVEN THOUGH IT WAS NOT ANNOTATED ON THE CERTIFICATE
OF TITLE.
The Saberons could not be said to have authored the entanglement they found themselves in. No
fault can be attributed to them for relying on the face of the title presented by Marquez. This is
bolstered by the fact that the RTC decision shows no categorical finding that the Saberons
purchase of the lots from Marquez was tainted with bad faith. That the Saberons should
have harbored doubts against Marquez is too high a standard to impose on a buyer of titled land.
This is in consonance to the rule that the one who deals with property registered under the Torrens
system is charged with notice only of such burdens and claims as are annotated on the title. All
persons dealing with property covered by Torrens certificate of title are not required to explore
further than what the Torrens title upon its face indicates in quest for any hidden defect or inchoate
right that may subsequently defeat his right thereto. These rules remain as essential features of the
Torrens system. The present case does not entail a modification or overturning of these principles.
Be that as it may, no fault can likewise be imputed to the Ventanillas. xxx
It has already been established in the two previous cases decided by the Court that the contracts to
sell executed in favor of the Ventanillas are valid and subsisting. Xxx These favorable findings
prompted the Ventanillas to register the notice of levy on the properties. Xxx This complex
situation could have been avoided if it were not for the failure of ROD Cleofe to carry
over the notice of levy to Marquezs title, serving as a senior encumbrance that
might have dissuaded the Saberons from purchasing the properties.
Corollary to this is the rule that a levy of a judgment debtor creates a lien, which
nothing can subsequently destroy except the very dissolution of the attachment of
the levy itself. Prior registration of the lien creates a preference, since the act of registration is the
operative act to convey and affect the land. Jurisprudence dictates that the said lien continues until
the debt is paid, or the sale is had under an execution issued on the judgment or until the judgment
is satisfied, or the attachment is discharged or vacated in the same manner provided by law.
Under no law, not even P.D. No. 1529, is it stated that an attachment shall be discharged upon sale
of the property other than under execution. xxx Additionally, Section 59 of P.D. No. 1529 provides
that, [i]f, at the time of the transfer, subsisting encumbrances or annotations appear in the
registration book, they shall be carried over and stated in the new certificate or certificates, except
so far as they may be simultaneously released or discharged. This provision undoubtedly speaks of
the ministerial duty on the part of the Register of Deeds to carry over existing encumbrances to the
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certificates of title. xxx


Surely, the Ventanillas had every right to presume that the Register of Deeds would carry over the
notice of levy to subsequent titles covering the subject properties. The notice was registered
precisely to bind the properties and to serve as caution to third persons who might
potentially deal with the property under the custody of the law. In DBP v. Acting
Register of Deeds of Nueva Ecija, the Court ruled that entry alone produced the effect of
registration, whether the transaction entered was a voluntary or involuntary one, so long as the
registrant had complied with all that was required of him for purposes of entry and annotation, and
nothing more remained to be done but a duty incumbent solely on the Register of Deeds.
While the Court is not unmindful that a buyer is charged with notice only of such
burdens and claims as are annotated on the title, the RTC and the CA are both
correct in applying the rule as to the effects of involuntary registration. In cases of
voluntary registration of documents, an innocent purchaser for value of registered land becomes
the registered owner, and, in contemplation of law the holder of a certificate of title, the moment he
presents and files a duly notarized and valid deed of sale and the same is entered in the day book
and at the same time he surrenders or presents the owner's duplicate certificate of title covering
the land sold and pays the registration fees, because what remains to be done lies not within his
power to perform. The Register of Deeds is duty bound to perform it. In cases of involuntary
registration, an entry thereof in the day book is a sufficient notice to all persons even if the owner's
duplicate certificate of title is not presented to the register of deeds. Therefore, in the
registration of an attachment, levy upon execution, notice of lis pendens, and the
like, the entry thereof in the day book is a sufficient notice to all persons of such
adverse claim. xxx
In the case at bench, the notice of levy covering the subject property was annotated in the entry
book of the ROD QC prior to the issuance of a TCT in the name of the Saberons. Clearly, the
Ventanillas levy was placed on record prior to the sale. This shows the superiority and preference in
rights of the Ventanillas over the property as against the Saberons. Xxx
Suffice it to say, no bad faith can be ascribed to the parties alike. Nevertheless, the equal footing of
the parties necessarily tilts in favor of the superiority of the Ventanillas notice of levy, as discussed.

Josephine Wee v Felicidad Mardo


GR 202414 4 June 2014
Mendoza, J.
Nature of the Action
This is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45, assailing the Decision of CA, which
reversed and set aside the Decision of RTC granting petitioner's "Application for Registration of
Title."
FACTS
Respondent Felicidad Gonzales, married to Leopoldo Mardo, was granted a registered Free Patent
covering Lot No. 8348, situated in Puting Kahoy, Silang, Cavite. Respondent allegedly conveyed to
petitioner Josephine Wee, through a Deed of Absolute Sale, a portion of Lot No. 8348 known as Lot
No. 8348-B, for a consideration of P250,000.00 which was fully paid. Respondent, however,
refused to vacate and turn over the subject property claiming that the alleged sale was falsified.
Petitioner filed an Application for Original Registration of a parcel of land located at
Barangay Putting Kahoy, Silang, Cavite, known as Lot No. 8349. Said application was amended on
September 19, 1996, this time covering a parcel of land known as Lot 8348- B situated in Barangay
Puting Kahoy, Silang, Cavite. Petitioner claimed that she is the owner of the said unregistered land
by virtue of a deed of absolute sale. Respondent opposed and alleged that she is the true and lawful
owner of the parcel of land which is the subject of the amended application; and that petitioners
deed of absolute sale is surreptitious.
Respondent filed a Motion to Dismiss the Application alleging that the land described in the
application was different from the land being claimed for titling. The motion was, however,
denied. A motion for reconsideration and second urgent motion for reconsideration were
subsequently filed by respondent, but both were denied by the RTC.
During the pendency of the case, respondent managed to register the land in her
name under Original Certificate of Title (OCT) No. OP-1840. Petitioner filed a
Notice of Lis Pendens with the Registry of Deeds of Cavite on May 10, 2005 which was
annotated on the title. A Motion for Leave to File Supplemental Pleading and to Admit
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Attached Supplemental Complaint for Reconveyance was filed by petitioner which was
denied by the RTC on the ground that a motion for reconveyance was different from an
application for registration of title.
RTC granted the application of petitioner. Respondent appealed to CA, which reversed and
set aside the decision of RTC. The CA held, among others, that petitioner was not able to
comply with the requirement of possession and occupation under Sec. 14 (1) of P.D. No.
1529. Her admission that the subject lot was not physically turned over to her due to some
objections and oppositions to her title suggested that she was not exercising any acts of
dominion over the subject property, an essential element in the requirement of possession
and occupation contemplated under Sec. 14 (1) of P.D. No. 1529.
Before the SC, Petitioner presents the theory that she must be deemed to have been in possession
and occupation of the subject property through respondent, her predecessor-in-interest, who after
the sale in 1993 and despite demands from her, unexpectedly and unjustifiably continued to occupy
the property and refused to turn over physical possession to her. Petitioner argues that it is not
necessary that the person in possession should himself be the occupant as the occupancy can be
held by another in his name. Moreover, petitioner also seeks reconveyance of the subject property
arguing that by virtue of its fraudulent registration, respondent became a trustee of an implied trust
for her benefit, as its real owner, having validly acquired the same from respondent through an
absolute deed of sale.
ISSUE
1. Whether the petitioner was in open, continuous, exclusive and notorious possession and
occupation of the property
2. Whether the rule on indefeasibility of title does not attach to titles secured by fraud and
misrepresentation.
3. What are the other remedies available to petitioner?
HELD
1. NO, petitioner was not in open, continuous, exclusive and notorious possession
and occupation of the property
The subject application for original registration was filed pursuant to Sec. 14(1) of PD 1529, which
provides the condition necessary for registration. Xxx Based on these legal parameters, applicants
for registration of title under Section 14(1) must sufficiently establish: (1) that the subject land forms
part of the disposable and alienable lands of the public domain; (2) that the applicant and his
predecessors-in-interest have been in open, continuous, exclusive and notorious possession and
occupation of the same; and (3) that it is under a bona fide claim of ownership since June 12, 1945
or earlier.
The CA denied the application on the issue of open, continuous, exclusive, and notorious possession
and occupation of the subject land. It was of the view that she could not have complied with the
requirement of possession and occupation under Sec. 14 (1) of P.D. No. 1529 considering that she
had admitted that it was not physically turned over to her. As she was not in actual and physical
possession, she could not have exercised any acts of dominion over the subject property which was
essential to the requirement of possession and occupation contemplated under Sec. 14 (1) of P.D.
No. 1529.
A more important consideration, however, is that the subject land is already registered under the
name of respondent Felicidad Gonzales. Xxx Accordingly, respondents registered patent
in the corresponding Registry of Deeds is a veritable Torrens title and becomes as
indefeasible as a Torrens title upon the expiration of one (1) year from the date of its
issuance. Xxx Verily, once a title is registered, as a consequence either of judicial or
administrative proceedings, the owner may rest secure, without the necessity of waiting in the
portals of the court sitting in the mirador de su casa to avoid the possibility of losing his land. The
certificate of title cannot be defeated by adverse, open and notorious possession. Neither can it be
defeated by prescription. As provided under Sec. 47 of PD 1529, no title to registered land in
derogation of the title of the registered owner shall be acquired by prescription or adverse
possession.
2. NO, the issue as to whether title was procured by falsification or fraud as
advanced by petitioner can only be raised in an action expressly instituted for
the purpose.
In Lagrosa v. Court of Appeals, it was stated that it is a well-known doctrine that the issue as to
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whether title was procured by falsification or fraud as advanced by petitioner can only be raised in
an action expressly instituted for the purpose. A Torrens title can be attacked only for fraud, within
one year after the date of the issuance of the decree of registration. Such attack must be direct, and
not by a collateral proceeding. The title represented by the certificate cannot be changed, altered,
modified, enlarged, or diminished in a collateral proceeding.
In this case, the petitioner is contesting the indefeasibility of title on the ground of fraud and
misrepresentation. Applying the abovementioned doctrine, even assuming that the petitioners
allegations are true, the same are considered as collateral attacks, and such must be raised in an
action expressly instituted for such purpose and in a proper proceeding.
3. Other remedies available
It is settled that an application for registration of a parcel of land already covered
by a Torrens title is actually a collateral attack, not permitted under the principle of
indefeasibility of a Torrens title. Xxx Registration, however, does not deprive an aggrieved
party of a remedy in law. What cannot be collaterally attacked is the certificate of title and not the
title or ownership which is represented by such certificate. Ownership is different from a certificate
of title. The fact that a person was able to secure a title in his name did not operate to vest
ownership upon him of the subject land. Registration of a piece of land under the Torrens System
does not create or vest title, because it is not a mode of acquiring ownership.
A certificate of title is merely an evidence of ownership or title over the patiicular property described
therein. It cannot be used to protect a usurper from the true owner; nor can it be used as a shield
for the commission of fraud: neither does it permit one to enrich himself at the expense of others.
Its issuance in favor of a particular person does not foreclose the possibility that the real prope1iy
may be co-owned with persons not named in the certificate, or that it may be held in trust for
another person by the registered owner.
The remedy of the petitioner is to file a separate proceeding or action to protect her alleged interest.
As she claimed that she bought the subject property for value from the respondent as evidenced by a
deed of sale, she can file an action for specific performance to compel the respondent to comply with
her obligation in the alleged deed of sale and/or an action for reconveyance of the property. She can
also file an action for rescission. Needless to state, petitioner must prove her entitlement because
the respondent claims that the sale was falsified.

Wills and Succession


Maria Mendoza, et al v Julia Pollcarpio Delos Santos, Substituted By Her Heirs,
Carmen P. Delos Santos, et al.
GR 176422
20 March 2013
Reyes, J
Nature of the Action
This is a Petition for review on certiorari under rule 45, assailing the decision of CA reversing the
decision of RTC in an action for recovery of possession of Reserva Troncal.
FACTS
The properties, which were subject in the case were three parcels of land located in Sta. Maria,
Bulacan, were presently in the name of respondent Julia Delos Santos. On the other hand, another

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lot was also in the name of respondent but co-owned by Victoria Pantaleon, who bought one-half of
the property from petitioner Maria Mendoza and her siblings.
The petitioners were the grandchildren of Placido Mendoza and Dominga Mendoza. Placido and
Dominga had four children: Antonio, Exequiel, married to Leonor, Apolonio and Valentin.
Petitioners Maria, Deogracias, Dionisia, Adoracion, Marcela and Ricardo were the children of
Antonio. Petitioners Juliana, Fely, Mercedes, Elvira and Fortunato, on the other hand, were
Valentins children.
Petitioners alleged that the properties invoved were part of Placido and Domingas properties that
were subject of an oral partition and subsequently adjudicated to Exequiel. After Exequiels death, it
passed on to his spouse Leonor and only daughter, Gregoria. After Leonors death, her share went to
Gregoria. In 1992, Gregoria died intestate and without issue. They claimed that after Gregorias
death, respondent, who was Leonors sister, adjudicated unto herself all these properties as the sole
surviving heir of Leonor and Gregoria. Hence, petitioners claimed that the properties should have
been reserved by respondent in their behalf and must now revert to them, applying Article 891 of
the Civil Code on reserva troncal.
Respondent denied any obligation to reserve the properties as these did not originate from
petitioners familial line and were not originally owned by Placido and Dominga. According to
respondent, the properties were bought by Exequiel and Antonio from a certain Alfonso Ramos in
1931. However, it appeared that it was only Exequiel who was in possession of the properties.
The RTC favored petitioners and granted their action for Recovery of Possession by Reserva
Troncal, Cancellation of TCT and Reconveyance. The RTC ordered respondents, who were
heirs of Julia Policarpio, to reconvey the three (3) parcels of land subject of this action in the
name of the plaintiffs enumerated in the complaint including intervenor Maria Cecilia M.
Mendoza except one-half of the property described in the old title, which belonged to
Victorina Pantaleon.
The CA reversed and set aside the RTC decision and dismissed the complaint filed by
petitioners. Petitioners failed to establish that Placido and Dominga owned the properties in
dispute. The CA also decided that even assuming that Placido and Dominga previously
owned the properties, it still could not be subject to reserva troncal as neither Exequiel
predeceased Placido and Dominga nor did Gregoria predecease Exequiel.
ISSUE
Whether the properties should be considered as reservable properties.
HELD
NO, they are not reservable properties.
Reserva troncal is a special rule designed primarily to assure the return of a reservable property
to the third degree relatives belonging to the line from which the property originally came, and
avoid its being dissipated into and by the relatives of the inheriting ascendant. xxx
There are three (3) lines of transmission in reserva troncal. The first transmission is by gratuitous
title, whether by inheritance or donation, from an ascendant/brother/sister to a descendant called
the prepositus. The second transmission is by operation of law from the prepositus to the other
ascendant or reservor, also called the reservista. The third and last transmission is from the
reservista to the reservees or reservatarios who must be relatives within the third degree from which
the property came. xxx
The fallacy in the CAs resolution is that it proceeded from the erroneous premise that Placido is the
ascendant contemplated in Article 891 of the Civil Code. From thence, it sought to trace the origin of
the subject properties back to Placido and Dominga, determine whether Exequiel predeceased
Placido and whether Gregoria predeceased Exequiel.

It should be pointed out that the ownership of the properties should be reckoned only from
Exequiels as he is the ascendant from where the first transmission occurred, or from whom
Gregoria inherited the properties in dispute. The law does not go farther than such
ascendant/brother/sister in determining the lineal character of the property. It was also immaterial
for the CA to determine whether Exequiel predeceased Placido and Dominga or whether Gregoria
predeceased Exequiel. What is pertinent is that Exequiel owned the properties and he is the
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ascendant from whom the properties in dispute originally came. Gregoria, on the other hand, is the
descendant who received the properties from Exequiel by gratuitous title. xxx
Gregorias ascendants are her parents, Exequiel and Leonor, her grandparents, great-grandparents
and so on. On the other hand, Gregorias descendants, if she had one, would be her children,
grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Not being Gregorias ascendants, both petitioners and
Julia, therefore, are her collateral relatives. Thus, Julia is Gregorias collateral relative within the
third degree and not her ascendant. xxx

Moreover, petitioners cannot be considered reservees/reservatarios as they are not relatives within
the third degree of Gregoria from whom the properties came. The person from whom the degree
should be reckoned is the descendant/prepositusthe one at the end of the line from which the
property came and upon whom the property last revolved by descent. It is Gregoria in this case.
Petitioners are Gregorias fourth degree relatives, being her first cousins. First cousins of the
prepositus are fourth degree relatives and are not reservees or reservatarios
The conclusion, therefore, is that while it may appear that the properties are reservable in character,
petitioners cannot benefit from reserva troncal. First, because Julia, who now holds the properties
in dispute, is not the other ascendant within the purview of Article 891 of the Civil Code and second,
because petitioners are not Gregorias relatives within the third degree. Hence, the CAs disposition
that the complaint filed with the RTC should be dismissed, only on this point, is correct. If at all,
what should apply in the distribution of Gregorias estate are Articles 1003 and 1009 of the Civil
Code. xxx

Before concluding, the Court takes note of a palpable error in the RTCs disposition of the case. xxx

What the RTC should have done, assuming for arguments sake that reserva troncal is applicable, is
have the reservable nature of the property registered on respondents titles. In fact, respondent, as
reservista, has the duty to reserve and to annotate the reservable character of the property on the
title. In reserva troncal, the reservista who inherits from a prepositus, whether by the latters wish or
by operation of law, acquires the inheritance by virtue of a title perfectly transferring absolute
ownership. All the attributes of ownership belong to him exclusively.

The reservor has the legal title and dominion to the reservable property but subject to the resolutory
condition that such title is extinguished if the reservor predeceased the reservee. The reservor is a
usufructuary of the reservable property. He may alienate it subject to the reservation. The transferee
gets the revocable and conditional ownership of the reservor. The transferees rights are revoked
upon the survival of the reservees at the time of the death of the reservor but become indefeasible
when the reservees predecease the reservor.

It is when the reservation takes place or is extinguished, that a reservatario becomes, by operation
of law, the owner of the reservable property. In any event, the foregoing discussion does not detract
from the fact that petitioners are not entitled to a reservation of the properties in dispute.

Avelina Abarientos Rebusquillo [Substituted by her heirs, except Emelinda R.


Gualvez] and Salvador A. Orosco, v Sps. Domingo and Emelinda Rebusquillo
Gualvez, et al.
GR 204029 4 June 2014
Velasco, Jr. .J.
Nature of the Action
This is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45, assailing the decision of the CA which
reversed and set aside the decision of RTC in a petition for annulment and revocation of an Affidavit
of Self-Adjudication and a Deed of Absolute Sale.
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FACTS
Petitioner Avelina Abarientos Rebusquillo was one of the children of Eulalio Abarientos and
Victoria Villareal. Eulalio died intestate on July 3, 1964, survived by his wife Victoria, six legitimate
children, and one illegitimate child. On his death, Eulalio left behind an untitled parcel of land in
Legazpi City consisting of two thousand eight hundred sixty-nine (2,869) square meters.
In 2001, Avelina was supposedly made to sign two (2) documents by her daughter Emelinda
Rebusquillo-Gualvez (Emelinda) and her son-in-law Domingo Gualvez (Domingo), respondents in
this case, on the pretext that the documents were needed to facilitate the titling of the lot. It was
only in 2003, so petitioners claim, that Avelina realized that what she signed was an Affidavit of
Self-Adjudication and a Deed of Absolute Sale in favor of respondents.
Avelina and Salvador Orosco, the grandson of the decedent, filed before the RTA a Complaint for
annulment and revocation of an Affidavit of Self-Adjudication and a Deed of Absolute Sale.
After trial, the RTC rendered its Decision annulling the Affidavit of Self-Adjudication and the Deed
of Absolute Sale executed by Avelina on the grounds that (1) with regard to the Affidavit of SelfAdjudication, she was not the sole heir of her parents and was not therefore solely entitled to their
estate; and (2) in the case of the Deed of Absolute Sale, Avelina did not really intend to sell her share
in the property as it was only executed to facilitate the titling of such property.
Assailing the trial courts decision, respondents interposed an appeal with the CA, among their
arguments, respondents contended that the Complaint filed by petitioners Avelina and Salvador
before the RTC is not the proper remedy provided by law for those compulsory heirs unlawfully
deprived of their inheritance.
ISSUE
Whether one of the heirs has the right to sell and transfer the absolute ownership of a property that
is yet to be partitioned.
HELD
NO. Avelina did not have the absolute ownership of the subject property but only an
aliquot portion. What she could have transferred to respondents was only the
ownership of such aliquot portion.
In like manner, the Deed of Absolute Sale executed by Avelina in favor of respondents was correctly
nullified and voided by the RTC. Avelina was not in the right position to sell and transfer
the absolute ownership of the subject property to respondents. As she was not the
sole heir of Eulalio and her Affidavit of Self-Adjudication is void, the subject
property is still subject to partition. Avelina, in fine, did not have the absolute ownership of
the subject property but only an aliquot portion. What she could have transferred to respondents
was only the ownership of such aliquot portion. It is apparent from the admissions of respondents
and the records of this case that Avelina had no intention to transfer the ownership, of whatever
extent, over the property to respondents. Hence, the Deed of Absolute Sale is nothing more than a
simulated contract.
On Procedure
It has indeed been ruled that the declaration of heirship must be made in a special proceeding, not
in an independent civil action. However, this Court had likewise held that recourse to
administration proceedings to determine who heirs are is sanctioned only if there is a good and
compelling reason for such recourse. Hence, the Court had allowed exceptions to the rule requiring
administration proceedings as when the parties in the civil case already presented their evidence
regarding the issue of heirship, and the RTC had consequently rendered judgment upon the issues it
defined during the pre-trial. In Portugal v. Portugal-Beltran, this Court held: xxx
It appearing, however, that in the present case the only property of the intestate estate of Portugal
is the Caloocan parcel of land to still subject it, under the circumstances of the case, to a special
proceeding which could be long, hence, not expeditious, just to establish the status of petitioners as
heirs is not only impractical; it is burdensome to the estate with the costs and expenses of an
administration proceeding. And it is superfluous in light of the fact that the parties to
the civil case - subject of the present case, could and had already in fact presented
evidence before the trial court which assumed jurisdiction over the case upon the
issues it defined during pre-trial.

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Philippine National Bank v. Jose Garcia et al.


GR 182839 2 June 2014
Brion, J.
Nature of the Action:
This is a petition for review on certiorari assailing the decision of the CA which reversed and set
aside the decision of the RTC dismissing the complaint for nullity of the amendment of real estate
mortgage for lack of cause of action.
FACTS
Jose Garcia Sr. had 4 children - Nora, Jose, Jr., Bobby and Jimmy - with his spouse Ligaya. During
their marriage, Jose Sr. acquired the subject parcel of residential land with improvements. Ligaya
died in 1987.
In 1989, spouses Rogelio and Celedonia Garcia acquired a loan from Philippine National Bank
(PNB) secured by a real estate mortgage. Jose Sr. agreed to accommodate the spouses Garcia,
hence, they were able to increase their loan with the subject parcel of land offered as additional
security. Jose Sr. executed SPAs in favor of the spouses. He also executed an amendment of Real
estate mortgage in favor of PNB. These were all inscribed on the title of the land. However, the
accommodation was made without the knowledge and consent of the four children of Jose Sr. the
respondents in this case.
The spouses Garcia failed to pay back their loan. Consequently, the children of Jose Sr. filed a
complaint for nullity of the amendment of real estate mortgage, damages with preliminary
injunction against the spouses Garcia and PNB. Respondents argue that:
5. The amendment was null and void as they were not made parties to the contract.
6. The subject property was a conjugal property of Jose Sr. and Ligaya as they acquired it
during their marriage. Upon death of their mother, they, together with their father, became
owners pro indiviso of the subject property.
7. The real estate mortgage executed by Jose Sr. over the property could not bind them as they
did not giver their consent or approval to the encumbrance.
8. The real estate mortgage was void as Jose Sr. did not benefit from the loan.
The petitioner bank, on the other hand, claimed that the mortgage was made in good faith and for
value, and maintained that the respondents complaint stated no cause of action against it. It alleged
that the real estate mortgage over the properties was duly registered and inscribed on their titles
and was thus binding on the whole world.
In the course of the proceedings, the children executed an SPA authorizing their father to act as
their attorney-in-fact during the pre-trial of the case.
RTC dismissed the complaint for lack of cause of action. Without the consent of
the children, the conjugal property could only be encumbered to the extent of Jose Sr.s
share in the conjugal property plus his share as an heir in the other half pertaining to the
estate of his deceased spouse. Nonetheless, by virtue of the SPA they executed, they are
already estopped from questioning the mortgage and from alleging lack of consent or
knowledge in the transaction.
The children appealed to the CA. CA upheld trial courts finding that the subject
property was conjugal, but reversed and set aside its ruling as to declaring the amendment
valid and binding. CA ruled that the encumbrance by Jose Sr. over the entire conjugal
property without his childrens conformity was null and void. Mere part owner could
not alienate the shares of other co-owners.
ISSUE
3. Whether the subject property is conjugal.
4. Whether the mortgage executed by the father, which he executed after the death of the wife
but before the liquidation of the conjugal partnership, binds the children who did not
consent to the transaction.
HELD
3. YES, THE SUBJECT PROPERTY IS CONJUGAL.
All property acquired during marriage is presumed conjugal.
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Since Jose Sr. and Ligaya were married prior to the effectivity of the Family Code, their
property relations were governed by the conjugal partnership of gains as provided under
Article 119 of the Civil Code. Under Article 160 of the Civil Code, all property of the
marriage is presumed to belong to the conjugal partnership, unless it can be proven that it
pertains exclusively to the husband or to the wife.
In his testimony, Jose Sr. admitted that at the time he acquired the land through sale, he was
already married.
Because of the petitioner banks failure to rebut the allegation that the subject property was
acquired during the formers marriage to Ligaya, the legal presumption of the conjugal
nature of the property, in line with Article 160 of the Civil Code, applies to this property.
Proof of the subject propertys acquisition during the subsistence of marriage suffices to
render the statutory presumption operative.
Registration of the subject property in the name of one spouse does not destroy the
presumption that the property is conjugal. What is material is the time when the
property was acquired.
The registration of the property is not conclusive evidence of the exclusive ownership of the
husband or the wife. Although the property appears to be registered in the name of the
husband, it has the inherent character of conjugal property if it was acquired for valuable
consideration during marriage. It retains its conjugal nature.
In order to rebut the presumptive conjugal nature of the property, the petitioner must
present strong, clear and convincing evidence of exclusive ownership of one of
the spouses. The burden of proving that the property belongs exclusively to the wife or to
the husband rests upon the party asserting it.
4. NO, THE MORTGAGE DOES NOT BIND THE CHILDREN AND THEIR
UNDIVIDED INTEREST IN THE PROPERTY. HOWEVER, THE MORTGAGE IS
VALID ONLY TO THE EXTENT OF THE PORTION ALLOTTED TO JOSE SR.
The conjugal partnership was converted into an implied ordinary co-ownership
upon the death of Ligaya.
Upon the death of Ligaya, the conjugal partnership was automatically dissolved and
terminated pursuant to Article 175(1) of the Civil Code, and the successional rights of her
heirs vest, as provided under Article 777 of the Civil Code, which states that [t]he rights to
the succession are transmitted from the moment of the death of the decedent.
Consequently, the conjugal partnership was converted into an implied ordinary coownership between the surviving spouse, on the one hand, and the heirs of the deceased, on
the other. This resulting ordinary co- ownership among the heirs is governed
by Article 493 of the Civil Code. Under this provision, each co-owner has the full
ownership of his part or share in the co-ownership and may, therefore, alienate, assign or
mortgage it except when personal rights are involved. Should a co-owner alienate or
mortgage the co-owned property itself, the alienation or mortgage shall
remain valid but only to the extent of the portion which may be allotted to him
in the division upon the termination of the co-ownership.
In the present case, Jose Sr. constituted the mortgage over the entire subject
property after the death of Ligaya, but before the liquidation of the conjugal
partnership.
As correctly emphasized by the trial court, Jose Sr.s right in the subject property is limited
only to his share in the conjugal partnership as well as his share as an heir on the other half
of the estate which is his deceased spouses share. Accordingly, the mortgage contract is void
insofar as it extends to the undivided shares of his children (Nora, Jose Jr., Bobby and
Jimmy) because they did not give their consent to the transaction.
Accordingly, the Amendment of Real Estate Mortgage constituted by Jose Sr.
over the entire property without his co-owners' consent is not necessarily
void in its entirety. The right of the petitioner bank as mortgagee is limited though only
to the portion which may be allotted to Jose Sr. in the event of a division and liquidation of
the subject property.
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Amelia Garcia-Quiazon, et al. v Ma. Lourdes Belen


GR 189121

31 July 2013

Perez, J.

Nature of the Action


This is a Petition for Review on Certiorari filed pursuant to Rule 45 of the Revised Rules of Court,
primarily assailing the Decision rendered by the Ninth Division of the Court of Appeals, denying the
appeal and affirming the decision of the RTC in a petition for letters of administration.

FACTS

The case started as a Petition for Letters of Administration of the Estate of Eliseo Quiazon filed by
herein respondents who were Eliseos common-law wife and daughter. The petition was opposed by
petitioners Amelia Garcia-Quaizon to whom Eliseo was married. Amelia was joined by her children,
Jenneth and Maria Jennifer.

Eliseo died intestate on December 12, 1992. On September 12, 1994, Maria Lourdes Elise Quiazon,
represented by her mother, Ma. Lourdes Belen, filed a Petition for Letters of Administration before
the Regional Trial Court of Las Pias City. To prove her filiation to the decedent, Elise, among
others, attached to the Petition for Letters of Administration her Certificate of Live Birth signed by
Eliseo as her father. It was further alleged that Eliseo left real and personal properties. In order to
preserve the estate of Eliseo and to prevent the dissipation of its value, Elise sought her
appointment as administratrix of her late fathers estate. Claiming that the venue of the petition was
improperly laid, petitioners Amelia, together with her children opposed the issuance of the letters of
administration. The petitioners asserted that as shown by his Death Certificate, Eliseo was a
resident of Capas, Tarlac and not of Las Pias City, at the time of his death.

The RTC directed the issuance of Letters of Administration to Elise upon posting the necessary
bond. The lower court ruled that the venue of the petition was properly laid in Las Pias City. The
CA affirmed the findings of the RTC that that Elise was able to prove that Eliseo and Lourdes lived
together as husband and wife by establishing a common residence in Las Pias City, from 1975 up to
the time of Eliseos death in 1992.

ISSUE

Whether Elise, a compulsory heir, is qualified to be the administrator of the estate.

HELD

YES, Elise has the right to be appointed as Administratrix

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Neither are we inclined to lend credence to the petitioners contention that Elise has not shown any
interest in the Petition for Letters of Administration. Xxx

An "interested party," in estate proceedings, is one who would be benefited in the estate, such as an
heir, or one who has a claim against the estate, such as a creditor. Also, in estate proceedings, the
phrase "next of kin" refers to those whose relationship with the decedent Is such that they are
entitled to share in the estate as distributees.

In the instant case, Elise, as a compulsory heir who stands to be benefited by the distribution of
Eliseos estate, is deemed to be an interested party. With the overwhelming evidence on record
produced by Elise to prove her filiation to Eliseo, the petitioners pounding on her lack of interest in
the administration of the decedents estate, is just a desperate attempt to sway this Court to reverse
the findings of the Court of Appeals. Certainly, the right of Elise to be appointed administratix of the
estate of Eliseo is on good grounds. It is founded on her right as a compulsory heir, who, under the
law, is entitled to her legitimate after the debts of the estate are satisfied. Having a vested right in
the distribution of Eliseos estate as one of his natural children, Elise can rightfully be considered as
an interested party within the purview of the law.

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