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G.R. No.

L-66574

ANSELMA DIAZ, guardian of VICTOR, RODRIGO, ANSELMINA and MIGUEL, all surnamed
SANTERO, petitioners, and FELIXBERTA PACURSA guardian of FEDERICO SANTERO, et al.,
vs.
INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT and FELISA PAMUTI JARDIN, respondents.

Ambrosia Padilla, Mempin & Reyes Law Offices for petitioners.


Pedro S. Sarino for respondent F.P. Jardin.

PARAS, J.:

Private respondent filed a Petition dated January 23, 1976 with the Court of First Instance of Cavite
in Sp. Proc. Case No. B-21, "In The Matter of the Intestate Estate of the late Simona Pamuti Vda. de
Santero," praying among other things, that the corresponding letters of Administration be issued in
her favor and that she be appointed as special Administratrix of the properties of the deceased
Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero.

It is undisputed: 1) that Felisa Pamuti Jardin is a niece of Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero who
together with Felisa's mother Juliana were the only legitimate children of the spouses Felipe Pamuti
and Petronila Asuncion; 2) that Juliana married Simon Jardin and out of their union were born Felisa
Pamuti and another child who died during infancy; 3) that Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero is the
widow of Pascual Santero and the mother of Pablo Santero; 4) that Pablo Santero was the only
legitimate son of his parents Pascual Santero and Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero; 5) that Pascual
Santero died in 1970; Pablo Santero in 1973 and Simona Santero in 1976; 6) that Pablo Santero, at
the time of his death was survived by his mother Simona Santero and his six minor natural children
to wit: four minor children with Anselma Diaz and two minor children with Felixberta Pacursa.

Judge Jose Raval in his Orders dated December 1, 1976 and December 9, 1976 declared Felisa
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Pamuti Jardin as the sole legitimate heir of Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero.

Before the trial court, there were 4 interrelated cases filed to wit:

a) Sp. Proc. No. B-4 is the Petition for the Letters of Administration of the intestate Estate
of Pablo Santero;

b) Sp. Proc. No. B-5 is the Petition for the Letters of Administration of the Intestate Estate
of Pascual Santero;

c) Sp. Proc. No. B-7 is the Petition for Guardianship over the properties of an Incompetent
Person, Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero;

d) Sp. Proc. No. B-21 is the Petition for Settlement of the Intestate Estate of Simona
Pamuti Vda. de Santero.
Felisa Jardin upon her Motion to Intervene in Sp. Proceedings Nos. B-4 and B-5, was allowed to
intervene in the intestate estates of Pablo Santero and Pascual Santero by Order of the Court dated
August 24, 1977.

Petitioner Anselma Diaz, as guardian of her minor children, filed her "Opposition and Motion to
Exclude Felisa Pamuti Jardin dated March 13, 1980, from further taking part or intervening in the
settlement of the intestate estate of Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero, as well as in the intestate
estate of Pascual Santero and Pablo Santero.

Felixberta Pacursa guardian for her minor children, filed thru counsel, her Manifestation of March 14,
1980 adopting the Opposition and Motion to Exclude Felisa Pamuti, filed by Anselma Diaz.

On May 20, 1980, Judge Ildefonso M. Bleza issued an order excluding Felisa Jardin "from further
taking part or intervening in the settlement of the intestate estate of Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero,
as well as in the intestate estates of Pascual Santero and Pablo Santero and declared her to
be, not an heir of the deceased Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero." 3

After her Motion for Reconsideration was denied by the trial court in its order dated November 1,
1980, Felisa P. Jardin filed her appeal to the Intermediate Appellate Court in CA-G.R. No. 69814-R.
A decision was rendered by the Intermediate Appellate Court on December 14, 1983 (reversing the
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decision of the trial court) the dispositive portion of which reads

WHEREFORE, finding the Order appealed from not consistent with the facts and law
applicable, the same is hereby set aside and another one entered sustaining the Orders of
December 1 and 9, 1976 declaring the petitioner as the sole heir of Simona Pamuti Vda. de
Santero and ordering oppositors-appellees not to interfere in the proceeding for the
declaration of heirship in the estate of Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero.

Costs against the oppositors-appellees.

The Motion for Reconsideration filed by oppositors-appellees (petitioners herein) was denied by the
same respondent court in its order dated February 17, 1984 hence, the present petition for Review
with the following:

ASSIGNMENT OF ERRORS

I. The Decision erred in ignoring the right to intestate succession of


petitioners grandchildren Santero as direct descending line (Art. 978) and/or
natural/"illegitimate children" (Art. 988) and prefering a niece, who is a collateral relative (Art.
1003);

II. The Decision erred in denying the right of representation of the natural grandchildren
Santero to represent their father Pablo Santero in the succession to the intestate estate of
their grandmother Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero (Art. 982);

III. The Decision erred in mistaking the intestate estate of the grandmother Simona Pamuti
Vda. de Santero as the estate of "legitimate child or relative" of Pablo Santero, her son
and father of the petitioners' grandchildren Santero;

IV. The Decision erred in ruling that petitioner-appellant Felisa P. Jardin who is a niece and
therefore a collateral relative of Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero excludes the
natural children of her son Pablo Santero, who are her direct descendants and/or grand
children;

V. The Decision erred in applying Art. 992, when Arts. 988, 989 and 990 are the applicable
provisions of law on intestate succession; and

VI. The Decision erred in considering the orders of December 1 and December 9, 1976
which are provisional and interlocutory as final and executory.

The real issue in this case may be briefly stated as follows who are the legal heirs of Simona
Pamuti Vda. de Santero her niece Felisa Pamuti Jardin or her grandchildren (the natural children
of Pablo Santero)?

The dispute at bar refers only to the intestate estate of Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero and the
issue here is whether oppositors-appellees (petitioners herein) as illegitimate children of Pablo
Santero could inherit from Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero, by right of representation of their father
Pablo Santero who is a legitimate child of Simona Pamuti Vda, de Santero.

Now then what is the appropriate law on the matter? Petitioners contend in their pleadings that Art.
990 of the New Civil Code is the applicable law on the case. They contend that said provision of the
New Civil Code modifies the rule in Article 941 (Old Civil Code) and recognizes the right of
representation (Art. 970) to descendants, whether legitimate or illegitimate and that Art. 941, Spanish
Civil Code denied illegitimate children the right to represent their deceased parents and inherit from
their deceased grandparents, but that Rule was expressly changed and/or amended by Art. 990 New
Civil Code which expressly grants the illegitimate children the right to represent their deceased
father (Pablo Santero) in the estate of their grandmother Simona Pamuti)." 5

Petitioners' contention holds no water. Since the heridatary conflict refers solely to the intestate
estate of Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero, who is the legitimate mother of Pablo Santero, the
applicable law is the provision of Art. 992 of the Civil Code which reads as follows:

ART. 992. An illegitimate child has no right to inherit ab intestato from the legitimate children
and relatives of his father or mother; nor shall such children or relatives inherit in the same
manner from the illegitimate child. (943a)

Pablo Santero is a legitimate child, he is not an illegitimate child. On the other hand, the oppositors
(petitioners herein) are the illegitimate children of Pablo Santero.

Article 992 of the New Civil Code provides a barrier or iron curtain in that it prohibits absolutely a
succession ab intestato between the illegitimate child and the legitimate children and relatives of the
father or mother of said legitimate child. They may have a natural tie of blood, but this is not
recognized by law for the purposes of Art. 992, Between the legitimate family and the illegitimate
family there is presumed to be an intervening antagonism and incompatibility. The illegitimate child is
disgracefully looked down upon by the legitimate family; the family is in turn, hated by the illegitimate
child; the latter considers the privileged condition of the former, and the resources of which it is
thereby deprived; the former, in turn, sees in the illegitimate child nothing but the product of sin,
palpable evidence of a blemish broken in life; the law does no more than recognize this truth, by
avoiding further grounds of resentment. 6
Thus, petitioners herein cannot represent their father Pablo Santero in the succession of the letter to
the intestate estate of his legitimate mother Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero, because of the barrier
provided for under Art. 992 of the New Civil Code.

In answer to the erroneous contention of petitioners that Article 941 of the Spanish Civil Code is
changed by Article 990 of the New Civil Code, We are reproducing herewith the Reflections of the
Illustrious Hon. Justice Jose B.L. Reyes which also finds full support from other civilists, to wit:

In the Spanish Civil Code of 1889 the right of representation was admitted only within the
legitimate family; so much so that Article 943 of that Code prescribed that an illegitimate child
can riot inherit ab intestato from the legitimate children and relatives of his father and mother.
The Civil Code of the Philippines apparently adhered to this principle since it reproduced
Article 943 of the Spanish Code in its own Art. 992, but with fine inconsistency, in subsequent
articles (990, 995 and 998) our Code allows the hereditary portion of the illegitimate child to
pass to his own descendants, whether legitimate or illegitimate. So that while Art. 992
prevents the illegitimate issue of a legitimate child from representing him in the intestate
succession of the grandparent, the illegitimates of an illegitimate child can now do so. This
difference being indefensible and unwarranted, in the future revision of the Civil Code we
shall have to make a choice and decide either that the illegitimate issue enjoys in all cases
the right of representation, in which case Art. 992 must be suppressed; or contrariwise
maintain said article and modify Articles 995 and 998. The first solution would be more in
accord with an enlightened attitude vis-a-vis illegitimate children. (Reflections on the Reform
of Hereditary Succession, JOURNAL of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, First Quater,
1976, Volume 4, Number 1, pp. 40-41).

It is therefore clear from Article 992 of the New Civil Code that the phrase "legitimate children and
relatives of his father or mother" includes Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero as the word "relative"
includes all the kindred of the person spoken of. The record shows that from the commencement of
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this case the only parties who claimed to be the legitimate heirs of the late Simona Pamuti Vda. de
Santero are Felisa Pamuti Jardin and the six minor natural or illegitimate children of Pablo Santero.
Since petitioners herein are barred by the provisions of Article 992, the respondent Intermediate
Appellate Court did not commit any error in holding Felisa Pamuti-Jardin to be the sole legitimate
heir to the intestate estate of the late Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero.

Lastly, petitioners claim that the respondent Intermediate Appellate Court erred in ruling that the
Orders of the Court a quo dated December 1, 1976 and December 9, 1976 are final and executory.
Such contention is without merit. The Hon. Judge Jose Raval in his order dated December 1, 1976
held that the oppositors (petitioners herein) are not entitled to intervene and hence not allowed to
intervene in the proceedings for the declaration of the heirship in the intestate estate of Simona
Pamuti Vda. de Santero. Subsequently, Judge Jose Raval issued an order, dated December 9,
1976, which declared Felisa Pamuti-Jardin to be the sole legitimate heir of Simona Pamuti. The said
Orders were never made the subjects of either a motion for reconsideration or a perfected appeal.
Hence, said orders which long became final and executory are already removed from the power of
jurisdiction of the lower court to decide anew. The only power retained by the lower court, after a
judgment has become final and executory is to order its execution. The respondent Court did not err
therefore in ruling that the Order of the Court a quo dated May 30, 1980 excluding Felisa Pamuti
Jardin as intestate heir of the deceased Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero "is clearly a total reversal of
an Order which has become final and executory, hence null and void. "

WHEREFORE, this petition is hereby DISMISSED, and the assailed decision is hereby AFFIRMED.

SO ORDERED.
Fernan (Chairman), Gutierrez, Jr., and Cortes, JJ., concur.
Padilla and Bidin, JJ., took no part.