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Marriages exempt from license requirement

Joan Diaz- Salgado and Dr. Gerard Salgado vs. Luis G. Anson

THIRD DIVISION, G.R. No. 204494 July 27, 2016

Ponente: REYES, J.:

FACTS:

Before the Court is the petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court
assailing the Decision and the of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 92989. The CA affirmed the
Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Pasig City, Branch 155, in Civil Case No. 69611.

Luis alleged in his complaint that he is the surviving spouse of the late Severina de Asis-
Anson (Severina). They were married in a civil ceremony on December 28, 1966. Prior to the
celebration of their marriage, Severina gave birth to their daughter, Maria Luisa on December 30,
1965 while Jo-Ann is Severina's daughter from a previous relationship. During his marital union
with Severina, they acquired several real properties located in San Juan, Metro Manila. According to
Luis, because there was no marriage settlement between him and Severina, the above-listed
properties pertain to their conjugal partnership. But without his knowledge and consent, Severina
executed three separate Unilateral Deeds of Sale in favor of Jo-Ann, who secured new certificates of
title over the said properties.10 When Severina died on September 21, 2002, Maria Luisa executed
a Deed of Extra-Judicial Settlement of Estate of Deceased Severina de Asis on October 25, 2002,
adjudicating herself as Severina's sole heir. Luis claimed that because of the preceding acts, he was
divested of his lawful share in the conjugal properties and of his inheritance as a compulsory heir of
Severina. Jo-Ann countered that she was unaware of any marriage contracted by her mother with
Luis. She knew however that Luis and Severina had a common-law relationship which they both
acknowledged and formally terminated through a Partition Agreement executed in November
1980. The TCTs covering Severina's properties were under Severina's name only and she was
described therein as single without reference to any husband. After the termination of their
cohabitation in 1980, Luis went to United States of America (USA), married one Teresita Anson and
had a son with her; while Maria Luisa was left under the guardianship and custody of Severina. The
Spouses Maya were also able to obtain a Certificate of No Record of Marriage (between Luis and
Severina) from the Office the Civil Registrar General of the National Statistics Office. The Spouses
Salgado disputed the validity of Luis and Severina's marriage on the ground of lack of marriage
license as borne out by the marriage contract. They further claimed that Luis himself disclosed on
cross-examination that he did not procure a marriage license prior to the alleged marriage. Luis had
also admitted the existence, due execution and authenticity of the Partition Agreement. The logical
conclusion therefore is that the properties disposed in favor of Jo-Ann were owned by Severina as
her own, separate and exclusive properties, which she had all the right to dispose of, without the
conformity of Luis. RTC rendered its Decision in favor of Luis, holding that the marriage between
Luis and Severina was valid. It noted that the marriage contract, being a public document, enjoys
the presumption of regularity in its execution and is conclusive as to the fact of marriage. The trial
court thus declared that the properties covered by the Unilateral Deeds of Sale were considered
conjugal which cannot be disposed of by Severina without the consent of her husband, Luis.

ISSUES:

1) Whether or not the marriage is valid even without the marriage license falling under the
exceptions;

2) who has the burden of proving the existence or non-existence of the marriage license?

3) whether or not the properties subject of the Deed of Sale were considered conjugal which cannot
be disposed of by Severina without he consent of hher husband/partition agreement valid

RULING:

1) The Court held that Since the marriage between Luis and Severina was solemnized prior to the
effectivity of the Family Code, the applicable law to determine its validity is the Civil Code, the law
in effect at the time of its celebration68 on December 28, 1966. A valid marriage license is a

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requisite of marriage under Article 5369 of the Civil Code, and the absence thereof, save for
marriages of exceptional character, renders the marriage void ab initio pursuant to Article 80(3).
The marriage is not of an exceptional character. A cursory examination of the marriage contract of
Luis and Severina reveals that no marriage license number was indicated therein. It also appears
therein that no marriage license was exhibited to the solemnizing officer with Article 77 of Republic
Act No. 386 (Civil Code) being cited as the reason therefor. Article 77 of the Civil Code provides:

Art. 77. In case two persons married in accordance with law desire to ratify their union in
conformity with the regulations, rites, or practices of any church, sect, or religion, it shall no longer
be necessary to comply with the requirements of Chapter 1 of this Title and any ratification made
shall merely be considered as a purely religious ceremony. The reference to Article 77 of the Civil
Code in the marriage contract is not dismissible. Being a public document, the marriage contract is
not only a prima facie proof of marriage, but is also a prima facie evidence of the facts stated
therein. The foregoing provision pertains to a religious ceremony performed with the purpose of
ratifying a marriage which was solemnized civilly. For this exemption to be applicable, it is sine qua
non that: (1) the parties to the religious ceremony must already be married to each other in
accordance with law (civil marriage); and (2) the ratifying ceremony is purely religious in nature.
Applied to the present case however, it is clear that Luis and Severina were not married to each
other prior to the civil ceremony officiated on December 28, 1966 - the only date of marriage
appearing on the records.

2) Since there was an unequivocal declaration on the marriage contract itself that no marriage
license was exhibited to the solemnizing officer at the time of marriage owing to Article 77 of the
Civil Code, when in truth, the said exception does not obtain in their case, it is the burden of Luis to
prove that they secured the required marriage license.

However, instead of proving that a marriage license was indeed issued to them at the time of their
marriage, Luis relied mainly on the presumption of validity of marriage. This presumption does not
hold water vis-a-vis a prima facie evidence (marriage contract), which on its face has established
that no marriage license was presented to the solemnizing officer.

3) As there is no showing that Luis and Severina were incapacitated to marry each other at the time
of their cohabitation and considering that their marriage is void from the beginning for lack of a
valid marriage license, Article 144 of the Civil Code, in relation to Article 147 of the Family Code, are
the pertinent provisions of law governing their property relations. Article 147 of the Family Code
"applies to union of parties who are legally capacitated and not barred by any impediment to
contract marriage, but whose marriage is nonetheless void for other reasons, like absence of a
marriage license." "Under this property regime, property acquired by both spouses through their
work and industry shall be governed by the rules on equal co-ownership. Accordingly, the
provisions on co-ownership under the Civil Code shall apply in the partition of the properties co-
owned by Luis and Severina. As to how partition may be validly done, Article 496 of the Civil Code is
precise that "partition may be made by agreement between the parties or by judicial proceedings x
x x." The law does not impose a judicial approval for the agreement to be valid. Hence, even without
the same, the partition was validly done by Luis and Severina through the execution of the Partition
Agreement.

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Psychological Incapacity

RACHEL A. DEL ROSARIO vs.JOSE O. DEL ROSARIO and COURT OF APPEALS

FIRST DIVISION, G.R. No. 222541, February 15, 2017

Ponente: PERLAS-BERNABE, J.

FACTS:

Before the Court is this petition for review on certiorari assailing the Decision and the
Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 102745, which reversed the Decision of the
Regional Trial Court of Makati City, Branch 136 in Civil Case No. 11-891 declaring the marriage of
Jose O. Del Rosario (Jose) and Rachel A. Del Rosario (Rachel) void on the ground of psychological
incapacity pursuant to Article 365 of the Family Code, as amended.

Rachel, then fifteen (15) years old, met Jose, then seventeen (17) years old, sometime in
December 1983 at a party in Bintawan, Bagabag, Nueva Vizcaya. Very soon, they became
romantically involved. Sometime in 1988, Rachel went to Hongkong to work as a domestic helper.
During this period, Rachel allegedly provided for Jose's tuition fees for his college education. Rachel
and Jose eventually decided to get married on December 28, 1989 in a civil rites ceremony held in
San Jose City, Nueva Ecija, and were blessed with a son, named Wesley, on December 1, 1993. On
February 19, 1995, they renewed their vows in a church ceremony held in the Philippine
Independent Church.

In September 2011, Rachel filed a petition for declaration of nullity of marriage before the
RTC, alleging that Jose was psychologically incapacitated to fulfill his essential marital obligations.
In support of her petition, Rachel claimed that: during their marriage, Jose conspicuously tried to
avoid discharging his duties as husband and father.

Rachel also presented the testimony of Dr. Nedy L. Tayag (Dr. Tayag), who prepared the
Psychological Report (Report) on Rachel, which was primarily based on her interview with Rachel
and Wesley, stated that Jose suffered from Antisocial Personality Disorder (APD). For his part, Jose
denied all the allegations in the petition.

The RTC declared the marriage between Jose and Rachel void on the ground of
psychological incapacity. The CA reversed the ruling of the RTC, holding that the totality of the
evidence Rachel presented was not enough to sustain a finding that Jose is psychologically
incapacitated to comply with the essential obligations of marriage.

Issue: Whether or not the CA erred in reversing the RTC's finding of psychological incapacity.

Ruling:

Based on the totality of the evidence presented, there exists insufficient factual or legal
basis to conclude that Jose's immaturity, irresponsibility, or infidelity amount to psychological
incapacity.

It should be pointed out that Dr. Tayag's Report does not explain in detail how Jose's APD
could be characterized as grave, deeply rooted in his childhood, and incurable within the
jurisprudential parameters for establishing psychological incapacity. Particularly, the Report did
not discuss the concept of APD which Jose allegedly suffers from, i.e., its classification, cause,
symptoms, and cure, or show how and to what extent Jose exhibited this disorder or how and to
what extent his alleged actions and behavior correlate with his APD, sufficiently clear to conclude
that Jose's condition has no definite treatment, making it incurable within the law's conception.
Neither did the Report specify the reasons why and to what extent Jose's APD is serious and grave,
and how it incapacitated him to understand and comply with his marital obligations. Lastly, the
Report hastily concluded that Jose had a "deprived childhood" and "poor home condition" that
automatically resulted in his APD equivalent to psychological incapacity without, however,
specifically identifying the history of Jose's condition antedating the marriage, i.e., specific behavior
or habits during his adolescent years that could explain his behavior during the marriage.

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Moreover, Dr. Tayag did not personally assess or interview Jose to determine, at the very
least, his background that could have given her a more accurate basis for concluding that his APD is
rooted in his childhood or was already existing at the inception of the marriage. To be sure,
established parameters do not require that the expert witness personally examine the party alleged
to be suffering from psychological incapacity provided corroborating evidence are presented
sufficiently establishing the required legal parameters. Considering that her Report was based
solely on Rachel's side whose bias cannot be doubted, the Report and her testimony deserved the
application of a more rigid and stringent standards which the RTC failed to apply.

In sum, Dr. Tayag's assessment, even when taken together with the various testimonies, failed

to show that Jose's immaturity, irresponsibility, and infidelity rise to the level of
psychological incapacity that would justify the nullification of the parties' marriage. To reiterate
and emphasize, psychological incapacity must be more than just a "difficulty," "refusal" or "neglect"
in the performance of the marital obligations; it is not enough that a party prove that the other
failed to meet the responsibility and duty of a married person. There must be proof of a natal or
supervening disabling factor in the person - an adverse integral element in the personality
structure that effectively incapacitates the person from really accepting and thereby complying
with the obligations essential to marriage - which must be linked with the manifestations of the
psychological incapacity.

A final note. It is well to reiterate that Article 36 of the Family Code, as amended, is not a
divorce law that cuts the marital bond at the time the grounds for divorce manifest themselves; a
marriage, no matter how unsatisfactory, is not a null and void marriage. Thus, absent sufficient
evidence establishing psychological incapacity within the context of Article 36, the Court is
compelled to uphold the indissolubility of the marital tie.

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Psychological Incapacity

MARIA TERESA B. TANI-DE LA FUENTE, Petitioner ,vs. RODOLFO DE LA FUENTE, JR.,


Respondent

SECOND DIVISION, G.R. No. 188400.March 8, 2017

Ponente: LEONEN, J.

FACTS:

Petitioner Maria Teresa and respondent Rodolfo De La Fuente, Jr. were still sweethearts,
petitioner already noticed that Rodolfo was an introvert and was prone to jealousy. She also
observed that Rodolfo appeared to have no ambition in life and felt insecure of his siblings, who
excelled in their studies and careers.

On June 21, 1984, Maria Teresa and Rodolfo got married in Mandaluyong City. They had two
children: Maria Katharyn, who was born on May 23, 1985, and Maria Kimberly, who was born on
April 6, 1986.

Rodolfo's attitude worsened as they went on with their marital life. He was jealous of
everyone who talked to Maria Teresa, and would even skip work at his family's printing press to
stalk her. Rodolfo's jealousy was so severe that he once poked a gun at his own 15-year old cousin
who was staying at their house because he suspected his cousin of being Maria Teresa's lover.

In addition, Rodolfo treated Maria Teresa like a sex slave. They would have sex four (4) or
five (5) times a day. At times, Rodolfo would fetch Maria Teresa from her office during her lunch
break, just so they could have sex. During sexual intercourse, Rodolfo would either tie her to the bed
or poke her with things. Rodolfo also suggested that they invite a third person with them while
having sex, or for Maria Teresa to have sex with another man in Rodolfo's presence. Rodolfo's
suggestions made Maria Teresa feel molested and maltreated. Whenever Maria Teresa refused
Rodolfo's advances or suggestions, he would get angry and they would quarrel.

Maria Teresa sought the advice of a doctor, a lawyer, and a priest, as well as any person she
thought could help her and Rodolfo. Maria Teresa also suggested that she and Rodolfo undergo
marriage counselling, but Rodolfo refused and deemed it as mere "kalokohan".

Sometime in 1986, the couple quarrelled because Rodolfo suspected that Maria Teresa was
having an affair. In the heat of their quarrel, Rodolfo poked a gun at Maria Teresa's head. Maria
Teresa, with their two daughters in tow, left Rodolfo and their conjugal home after the gunpoking
incident. Maria Teresa never saw Rodolfo again after that, and she supported their children by
herself.

On June 3, 1999, Maria Teresa filed a petition for declaration of nullity of marriage before
the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City. During the trial, medical doctor was presented as an expert
witness to conduct an in-depth interview with Maria Teresa to gather information on her family
background and her marital life with Rodolfo, and subjected her to a battery of psychological tests.
Furthermore, Dr. Lopez diagnosed Rodolfo with "paranoid personality disorder manifested by
[Rodolfo's] damaging behavior like reckless driving and extreme jealousy; his being distrustful and
suspicious; his severe doubts and distrust of friends and relatives of [Maria Teresa]; his being
irresponsible and lack of remorse; his resistance to treatment; and his emotional coldness and
severe immaturity. This diagnosis was did not result from personal interview but through mails.

While Dr. Lopez was not able to personally examine Rodolfo, the trial court gave credence
to his findings as they were based on information gathered from credible informants. The trial
court held that the marriage between Maria Teresa and Rodolfo should be declared null and void.

ISSUE: Whether expert opinion not based on personal conduct of interview is sufficient evidence to
prove psychological incapacity

RULING:

The Court found that there was sufficient compliance with Molina ruling to warrant the
nullity of petitioner's marriage with respondent. Petitioner was able to discharge the burden of
proof that respondent suffered from psychological incapacity.

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The Court of Appeals chided the lower court for giving undue weight to the testimony of Dr.
Lopez since he had no chance to personally conduct a thorough study and analysis of respondent's
mental and psychological condition. The Court of Appeals cited Republic v. Dagdag, where this
Court held that "the root cause of psychological incapacity must be medically or clinically identified
and sufficiently proven by experts." The Court of Appeals then ruled that "[o]bviously, this
requirement is not deemed complied with where no psychiatrist or medical doctor testifies on the
alleged psychological incapacity of one party.

The High Court reiterated that the non-examination of one of the parties will not
automatically render as hearsay or invalidate the findings of the examining psychiatrist or
psychologist, since "marriage, by its very definition, necessarily involves only two persons. The
totality of the behavior of one spouse during the cohabitation and marriage is generally and
genuinely witnessed mainly by the other.

Dr. Lopez's testimony, as corroborated by petitioner, sufficiently proved that respondent


suffered from psychological incapacity. Respondent's paranoid personality disorder made him
distrustful and prone to extreme jealousy and acts of depravity, incapacitating him to fully
comprehend and assume the essential obligations of marriage.

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Psychological Incapacity

MIRASOL CASTILLO, Petitioner vs. REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES and FELIPE IMPAS,
Respondents

SECOND DIVISION, G.R. No. 214064. February 6, 2017

Ponente: PERALTA, J.:

FACTS:

As their parents were good friends and business partners, Mirasol and Felipe started as
friends then, eventually, became sweethearts. They got married in Bani, Pangasinan on April 22,
1984 and were blessed with two (2) children born in 1992 and in 2001.

On June 6, 2011, Mirasol filed a Complaint for declaration of nullity of marriage before the
Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Dasmariñas, Cavite. Mirasol alleged that after thirteen (13) years of
marriage, Felipe resumed philandering. Their relatives and friends saw him with different women.
Tired of her husband's infidelity, she left the conjugal dwelling and stopped any communication
with him. Felipe's irresponsible acts like cohabiting with another woman, not communicating with
her, and not supporting their children for a period of not less than ten (10) years without any
reason, constitute a severe psychological disorder.

In support of her case, Mirasol presented clinical psychologist Sheila Marie Montefalcon
(Montefalcon) who, in her Psychological Evaluation Report, concluded that Felipe is psychologically
incapacitated to fulfill the essential marital obligations.

The RTC declared the marriage between Mirasol and Felipe null and void. On February 22,
2012, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), filed a motion for reconsideration, which the RTC
denied in an Order dated April 3, 2012. On appeal, the CA reversed and set aside the decision of the
RTC, ruling that Mirasol failed to present sufficient evidence to prove that Felipe was suffering from
psychological incapacity, thus, incapable of performing marital obligations due to some
psychological illness existing at the time of the celebration of the marriage.

ISSUE: Whether or not the totality of evidence presented warrants, as the RTC determined, the
declaration of nullity of the marriage of Mirasol and Felipe on the ground of the latter's
psychological incapacity under Article 36 of the Family Code.

RULING:

No. Time and again, it was held that "psychological incapacity" has been intended by law to
be confined to the most serious cases of personality disorders clearly demonstrative of an utter
insensitivity or inability to give meaning and significance to the marriage. Psychological incapacity
must be characterized by (a) gravity, i.e., it must be grave and serious such that the party would be
incapable of carrying out the ordinary duties required in a marriage, (b) juridical antecedence, i.e.,
it must be rooted in the history of the party antedating the marriage, although the overt
manifestations may emerge only after the marriage, and (c) incurability, i.e., it must be incurable, or
even if it were otherwise, the cure would be beyond the means of the party involved.

The presentation of any form of medical or psychological evidence to show the


psychological incapacity, however, did not mean that the same would have automatically ensured
the granting of the petition for declaration of nullity of marriage. It bears repeating that the trial
courts, as in all the other cases they try, must always base their judgments not solely on the expert
opinions presented by the parties but on the totality of evidence adduced in the course of their
proceedings.

Guided by the foregoing principles and after a careful perusal of the records, this Court rules
that the totality of the evidence presented failed to establish Felipe's psychological incapacity.

The presentation of expert proof in cases for declaration of nullity of marriage based on
psychological incapacity presupposes a thorough and an in-depth assessment of the parties by the
psychologist or expert, for a conclusive diagnosis of a grave, severe and incurable presence of

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psychological incapacity. The probative force of the testimony of an expert does not lie in a mere
statement of her theory or opinion, but rather in the assistance that she can render to the courts in
showing the facts that serve as a basis for her criterion and the reasons upon which the logic of her
conclusion is founded.

As such, there are no other convincing evidence asserted to establish Felipe's psychological
condition and its associations in his early life. Montefalcon's testimony and psychological
evaluation report do not provide evidentiary support to cure the doubtful veracity of Mirasol's one-
sided assertion. The said report falls short of the required proof for the Court to rely on the same as
basis to declare petitioner's marriage to respondent as void.

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Absence of Marriage License Requirement

RAQUEL G. KHO, Petitioner, v. REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES AND VERONICA B. KHO,


Respondents.

THIRD DIVISION, G.R. No. 187462, June 01, 2016

Ponente: PERALTA, J.

FACTS:

Challenged in the present petition for review on certiorari are the Decision and Resolution
of the Court of Appeals , Cebu City The assailed CA Decision reversed and set aside the Decision of
the Regional Trial Court of Borongan, Eastern Samar, Branch 2, in Civil Case No. 464, which ruled in
petitioner's favor in an action he filed for declaration of nullity of his marriage with private
respondent, while the CA Resolution denied petitioners' motion for reconsideration.

The present petition arose from a Petition for Declaration of Nullity of Marriage filed by
herein petitioner with the RTC of Oras, Eastern Samar. Pertinent portions of the Petition allege as
follows:

Sometime in the afternoon of May 31, 1972, petitioner's parents summoned one Eusebio
Colongon, now deceased, then clerk in the office of the municipal treasurer, instructing said clerk to
arrange and prepare whatever necessary papers were required for the intended marriage between
petitioner and respondent supposedly to take place at around midnight of June 1, 1972 so as to
exclude the public from witnessing the marriage ceremony;

Petitioner and Respondent thereafter exchanged marital vows in a marriage ceremony


which actually took place at around 3:00 o'clock before dawn of June 1, 1972, on account that there
was a public dance held in the town plaza which is just situated adjacent to the church whereas the
venue of the wedding, and the dance only finished at around 2:00 o'clock of same early morning of
June 1, 1972;

Petitioner has never gone to the office of the Local Civil Registrar to apply for marriage
license and had not seen much less signed any papers or documents in connection with the
procurement of a marriage license;

Considering the shortness of period from the time the aforenamed clerk of the treasurer's
office was told to obtain the pertinent papers in the afternoon of May 31, 1972 so required for the
purpose of the forthcoming marriage up to the moment the actual marriage was celebrated before
dawn of June 1, 1972, no marriage license therefore could have been validly issued, thereby
rendering the marriage solemnized on even date null and void for want of the most essential
requisite;

For all intents and purposes, thus, Petitioner's and Respondent's marriage aforestated was
solemnized sans the required marriage license, hence, null and void from the beginning and neither
was it performed under circumstances exempting the requirement of such marriage license;

Respondent filed her Answer praying that the petition be outrightly dismissed for lack of
cause of action because there is no evidence to prove petitioner's allegation that their marriage was
celebrated without the requisite marriage license and that, on the contrary, both petitioner and
respondent personally appeared before the local civil registrar and secured a marriage license
which they presented before their marriage was solemnized.

The RTC found that petitioner's evidence sufficiently established the absence of the
requisite marriage license when the marriage between petitioner and respondent was celebrated.
As such, the RTC ruled that based on Articles 53(4), 58 and 80(3) of the Civil Code of the
Philippines, the absence of the said marriage license rendered the marriage between petitioner and
respondent null and void ab initio.

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Respondent then filed an appeal with the CA in Cebu City. The CA rendered a decision dated
25 September 2000 of Branch 2 of the Regional Trial Court of Borongan, Eastern Samar, reversing
and setting aside the judgment of the RTC. The CA held that since a marriage was, in fact,
solemnized between the contending parties, there is a presumption that a marriage license was
issued for that purpose and that petitioner failed to overcome such presumption. The CA also ruled
that the absence of any indication in the marriage certificate that a marriage license was issued is a
mere defect in the formal requisites of the law which does not invalidate the parties' marriage.

ISSUE: WHETHER OR NOT THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN ALTOGETHER


DISREGARDING PETITIONER'S OBVIOUSLY OVERWHELMING DOCUMENTARY EVIDENCES OF
LACK OF MARRIAGE LICENSE AND GIVING WEIGHT INSTEAD TO UNSUPPORTED PRESUMPTIONS
IN FAVOR OF RESPONDENT, IN ITS ASSAILED DECISION

RULING:

The Court finds for the petitioner.

The marriage of petitioner and respondent was celebrated on June 1, 1972, prior to the
effectivity of the Family Code. Hence, the Civil Code governs their union.

Article 58 of the Civil Code makes explicit that no marriage shall be solemnized without a
license first being issued by the local civil registrar of the municipality where either contracting
party habitually resides, save marriages of an exceptional character authorized by the Civil Code,
but not those under Article 75.14 Under the Civil Code, marriages of exceptional character are
covered by Chapter 2, Title 111, comprising Articles 72 to 79. These marriages are: (1) marriages in
articulo mortis or at the point of death during peace or war; (2) marriages in remote places; (3)
consular marriages; (4) ratification of marital cohabitation; (5) religious ratification of a civil
marriage; (6) Mohammedan or pagan marriages; and (7) mixed marriages. Petitioner's and
respondent's marriage does not fall under any of these exceptions.

Article 80(3) of the Civil Code also makes it clear that a marriage performed without the
corresponding marriage license is void, this being nothing more than the legitimate consequence
flowing from the fact that the license is the essence of the marriage contract. The rationale for the
compulsory character of a marriage license under the Civil Code is that it is the authority granted by
the State to the contracting parties, after the proper government official has inquired into their
capacity to contract marriage. Stated differently, the requirement and issuance of a marriage license
is the State's demonstration of its involvement and participation in every marriage, in the
maintenance of which the general public is interested.

In the instant case, respondent claims that she and petitioner were able to secure a
marriage license which they presented to the solemnizing officer before the marriage was
performed. On the other hand, petitioner insists that the Certification issued by the Civil Registrar
of Arteche, Eastern Samar, coupled with the testimony of the former Civil Registrar, is sufficient
evidence to prove the absence of the subject marriage license.

The Court agrees with petitioner and finds no doubt to be resolved as the evidence is clearly
in his favor..

Apropos is the case of Nicdao Cariño v. Yee Cariño.18 There, 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. It was 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.

Based on the Certification issued by the Municipal Civil Registrar of Arteche, Eastern Samar,
coupled with respondent's failure to produce a copy of the alleged marriage license or of any
evidence to show that such license was ever issued, the only conclusion that can be reached is that
no valid marriage license was, in fact, issued. Contrary to the ruling of the CA, it cannot be said that
there was a simple defect, not a total absence, in the requirements of the law which would not affect
the validity of the marriage. The fact remains that respondent failed to prove that the subject

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marriage license was issued and the law is clear that a marriage which is performed without the
corresponding marriage license is null and void.

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Bigamous Marriages

SAMSON R. PACASUM, SR., Petitioner. Vs. Atty. MARIETTA D. ZAMORANOS, Respondent

En Banc, G.R. No. 193719. March 21, 2017

Ponente: JARDELEZA, J.

FACTS:

This petition for review on certiorari challenges the Amended Decision dated August 31,
2010 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. SP No. 01945-MIN, which affirmed the resolutions of
the Civil Service Commission (CSC) dismissing petitioner's administrative complaint against
respondent.

Petitioner and respondent were married on December 28, 1992. However, Pacasum
discovered that Zamoranos was previously married to one Jesus De Guzman on July 30, 1982. On
December 14, 2004, Pacasum filed an administrative complaint for disgraceful and immoral
conduct against Zamoranos on the ground that she had contracted a bigamous marriage.

Respondent, on the other hand, argued that her previous marriage under the Code of
Muslim Personal Laws of the Philippines (the Muslim Code). Prior to her marriage with De Guzman,
she had converted to Islam. In 1983, however, she and De Guzman divorced, as evidenced by the
Decree of Divorce issued by Presiding Judge Kaudri L. Jainul of the Shari'a Circuit Court of Isabela,
Basilan in Case No. 407-92.

The CSC dismissed the complaint because Pacasum failed to assail the existence, much less
validity, of the Decree of Divorce. On appeal, the CA initially granted the petition, relying on the
judicial admissions of Zamoranos in the various cases between her and Pacasum. However, on
consideration, the appellate court corrected its initial ruling.

ISSUE: Whether or not respondent’s previous marriage was validly terminated by reason of divorce
decree under Sharia Law

RULING:

The Muslim Code recognizes divorce in marriages between Muslims, and mixed marriages
wherein only the male party is a Muslim and the marriage is solemnized in accordance with Muslim
law or the Muslim Code in any part of the Philippines. At present, this is the only law in the
Philippines that allows domestic divorce.

The divorce becomes irrevocable after observance of a period of waiting called idda, the
duration of which is three monthly courses after termination of the marriage by divorce. Once
irrevocable, the divorce has the following effects: the severance of the marriage bond and, as a
consequence, the spouses may contract another marriage; loss of the spouses' mutual rights of
inheritance; adjudication of the custody of children in accordance with Article 78 of the Muslim
Code; recovery of the dower by the wife from the husband; continuation of the husband's obligation
to give support in accordance with Article 67; and the dissolution and liquidation of the conjugal
partnership, if stipulated in the marriage settlements.

The High Court agrees with the CA that the Decree of Divorce cannot be the subject of a
collateral attack. It is evident that Pacasum's persistence in pursuing the administrative case
against Zamoranos on the sole ground of bigamy is premised on the supposition that the latter's
marriage with De Guzman was still subsisting when she contracted marriage with Pacasum, which
effectively challenges the Shari'a Circuit Court's divorce judgment. As we have noted, however, the
judgment of the court is valid on its face; hence, a collateral attack in this case is not allowed. The
collateral unassailability of the divorce is a necessary consequence of its finality. It "cannot now be
changed in any proceeding; and much less is it subject to the collateral attack which is here made
upon it." As no appeal was taken with respect to the divorce decree, it must be conceded to have full
force and effect.The decree, insofar as it affects the civil status of Zamoranos, has therefore
become res judicata, subject to no collateral attack.

Furthermore, the proscription against collateral attacks similarly applies to matters


involving the civil status of persons. Thus, we have held that collateral attacks against the
legitimacy and filiation of children, adoption, and the validity of marriages (except void

Page | 12
marriages) are not allowed. Zamoranos' civil status as "divorced" belongs to the same category, and
Pacasum cannot impugn it in an administrative case filed with the CSC, where the sole purpose of
the proceedings is to determine the administrative liability, if any, of Zamoranos.

Page | 13
Bigamous Marriages

NORBERTO A. VITANGCOL, Petitioner, v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondent.

SECOND DIVISION, G.R. No. 207406, January 13, 2016


Ponente: LEONEN, J.

FACTS:

In the Information dated April 29, 2008, the Office of the City Prosecutor of Manila charged
Norberto with bigamy. According to the prosecution, on December 4, 1994, Norberto married Alice
G. Eduardo at the Manila Cathedral in Intramuros. Born into their union were three (3) children.
After some time, Alice "began hearing rumors that [her husband] was previously married to
another woman.]" She eventually discovered that Norberto was previously married to a certain
Gina M. Gaerlan (Gina) on July 17, 1987, as evidenced by a marriage contract registered with the
National Statistics Office.

Alice subsequently filed a criminal Complaint for bigamy against Norberto. On the other
hand, Norberto alleged that he and Alice became romantically involved sometime in 1987. "After
much prodding by their friends and relatives, [he and Alice] decided to get married in 1994.”Before
finalizing their marriage plans, however, Norberto revealed to Alice that he had a "fake
marriage"with his college girlfriend, a certain Gina Gaerlan. Nevertheless, despite Norberto's
revelation, Alice convinced him that they proceed with the wedding. Thus, Norberto and Alice were
married on December 4, 1994 and, thereafter, had three children.

Finding that Norberto contracted a second marriage with Alice despite his subsisting valid
marriage with Gina, Branch 25 of the Regional Trial Court of Manila convicted Norberto of bigamy.
On appeal, the Court of Appeals sustained the guilty verdict against Norberto. Norberto filed a
Petition for Review on Certiorari before this court. Norberto argues that the first element of bigamy
is absent in this case. He presents as evidence a Certification from the Office of the Civil Registrar of
Imus, Cavite, which states that the Office has no record of the marriage license allegedly issued in
his favor and his first wife, Gina. He argues that with no proof of existence of an essential requisite
of marriage—the marriage license—the prosecution fails to establish the legality of his first
marriage. In addition, Norberto claims that the legal dissolution of the first marriage is not an
element of the crime of bigamy. According to Norberto, nothing in Article 349 of the Revised Penal
Code that punishes bigamy mentions that requirement.

ISSUE: Whether or not the conviction of Norberto for bigamy was proper.

RULING:

Contrary to petitioner's claim, all the elements of bigamy are present in this case. Petitioner
was still legally married to Gina when he married Alice. Thus, the trial court correctly convicted him
of the crime charged.

Based on the marriage contract presented in evidence, petitioner's first marriage was
solemnized on July 17, 1987. This was before the Family Code of the Philippines became effective
on August 3, 1988. Consequently, provisions of the Civil Code of the Philippines govern the validity
of his first marriage. Moreover, petitioner admitted the authenticity of his signature appearing on
the marriage contract between him and his first wife, Gina. The marriage contract between
petitioner and Gina is a positive piece of evidence as to the existence of petitioner's first
marriage. This "should be given greater credence than documents testifying merely as to [the]
absence of any record of the marriage.

Petitioner presents a Certification from the Office of the Civil Registrar of Imus, Cavite,
which states:
[A]fter a diligent search on the files of Registry Book on Application for
Marriage License and License Issuance available in this office, no record could be
found on the alleged issuance of this office of Marriage License No. 8683519 in favor
of MR. NORBERTO A. VITANGCOL and MS. GINA M. GAERLAN dated July 17,
1987.ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary

This Certification does not prove that petitioner's first marriage was solemnized without a
marriage license. It does not categorically state that Marriage License No. 8683519 does not exist.
Assuming without conceding that petitioner's first marriage was solemnized without a marriage
license, petitioner remains liable for bigamy. Petitioner's first marriage was not judicially

Page | 14
declared void. Nor was his first wife Gina judicially declared presumptively dead under the Civil
Code.The second element of the crime of bigamy is, therefore, present in this case. As early as 1968,
this court held in Landicho v. Relova, et al. that parties to a marriage should not be permitted to
judge for themselves its nullity, only competent courts having such authority. Prior to such
declaration of nullity, the validity of the first marriage is beyond question. A party who contracts a
second marriage then assumes the risk of being prosecuted for bigamy.

The third element of bigamy is likewise present in this case. Petitioner admitted that he
subsequently married Alice G. Eduardo on December 4, 1994. As for the last element of bigamy, that
the subsequent marriage has all the essential requisites for validity, it is presumed. The crime of
bigamy was consummated when petitioner subsequently married Alice without his first marriage
to Gina having been judicially declared void.

With all the elements of bigamy present in this case, petitioner was correctly convicted of the crime
charged.

Page | 15
Divorce

Doreen Grace Parilla- Medina v. Michiyuki Koike

G.R. No. 215723 July 27, 2016

Ponente: PERLAS-BERNABE, J.

FACTS:

Petitioner Doreen Grace Parilla (Doreen), a Filipino citizen, and respondent Michiyuki Koike
(Michiyuki), a Japanese national, were married on June 14, 2005 in Quezon City, Philippines. Their
union bore two children, Masato Koike, who was born on January 23, 2006, and Fuka Koike who
was born on April 4, 2007. Seeking to have the said Divorce Certificate annotated on her Certificate
of Marriage on file with the Local Civil Registrar of Quezon City, Doreen filed on February 7, 2013 a
petition for judicial recognition of foreign divorce and declaration of capacity to remarry pursuant
to the second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code before the RTC. At the hearing, no one
appeared to oppose the petition. On the other hand, Doreen presented several foreign documents,
namely, "Certificate of Receiving/ Certificate of Acceptance of Divorce" and "Family Register of
Michiyuki Koike" both issued by the Mayor of Ichinomiya City and duly authenticated by the Consul
of the Republic of the Philippines for Osaka, Japan. She also presented a certified machine copy of a
document entitled "Divorce Certificate" issued by the Consul for the Ambassador of Japan in Manila
that was authenticated by the Department of the Foreign Affairs, as well as a Certification issued by
the City Civil Registry Office in Manila that the original of said divorce certificate was filed and
recorded in the said Office. In addition, photocopies of the Civil Code of Japan and their
corresponding English translation, as well as two (2) books entitled "The Civil Code of Japan 2000"
and "The Civil Code of Japan 2009" were likewise submitted as proof of the existence of Japan's law
on divorce. RTC denied Doreen's petition, ruling that in an action for recognition of foreign divorce
decree pursuant to Article 26 of the Family Code, the foreign divorce decree and the national law of
the alien recognizing his or her capacity to obtain a divorce must be proven in accordance with
Sections 2420 and 2521 of Rule 132 of the Revised Rules on Evidence. The RTC observed that the
"The Civil Code of Japan 2000" and "The Civil Code of Japan 2009," presented were not duly
authenticated by the Philippine Consul in Japan as required by Sections 24 and 25 of the said Rules.
Doreen's motion for reconsideration was denied.

ISSUE: Whether or not the divorce decree is should be recognized in the Philippines

RULING:

The Court held that Philippine law does not provide for absolute divorce; hence, our courts
cannot grant it. However, Article 26 of the Family Code - which addresses foreign marriages or
mixed marriages involving a Filipino and a foreigner - allows a Filipino spouse to contract a
subsequent marriage in case the divorce is validly obtained abroad by an alien spouse capacitating
him or her to remarry. Thus, in Garcia v. Recio,29 it was pointed out that in order for a divorce
obtained abroad by the alien spouse to be recognized in our jurisdiction, it must be shown that the
divorce decree is valid according to the national law of the foreigner. Both the divorce decree and
the governing personal law of the alien spouse who obtained the divorce must be proven.30 Since
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 like any
other fact. Considering that the validity of the divorce decree between Doreen and Michiyuki, as
well as the existence of pertinent laws of Japan on the matter are essentially factual that calls for a
re-evaluation of the evidence presented before the RTC, the issue raised in the instant appeal is
obviously a question of fact that is beyond the ambit of a Rule 45 petition for review.

Page | 16
Prejudicial Question

RENATO S.D. DOMINGO on his own behalf and on behalf of his coheirs of the late SPOUSES
FELICIDAD DE DOMINGO and MACARIO C. DOMINGO, Petitioners vs. SPOUSES ENGRACIA D.
SINGSON and MANUEL F. SINGSON, Respondents

THIRD DIVISION, G.R. No. 203287. April 5, 2017

Ponente: REYES, J.

FACTS:

Before the Court are two consolidated petitions for review on certiorari - G.R. Nos.
203287and 207936 - under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court seeking to annul and set aside the
Decision dated August 31, 2012 in CA-G.R. SP No. 122054 and the Decision dated June 28, 2013 in
CA-G.R. CV No. 98026, both issued by the Court of Appeals.

Spouses Macario C. Domingo and Felicidad S..D. Domingo owned a parcel of land, situated in
F. Sevilla Street, San Juan, Metro Manila and the house built thereon. Domingo spouse both died
thereafter, leaving the properties to respondent Engracia D. Singson and petitioners Renato S.D.
Domingo and his co-heirs who are herein petitioners.

It appears that on September 26, 2006, Engracia filed with the Metropolitan Trial Court of
Manila a complaint for ejectment/unlawful detainer, docketed as Civil Case No. 9534, against
Consolacion, Rosario, Rafael, and Ramon. Engracia claimed that she is the absolute owner of the
subject property, having bought the same from the Spouses Domingo as evidenced by an Absolute
Deed of Sale. Petitioners then filed a complaint with the RTC of Pasig City, which sought the nullity
of the sale on the ground that signatures were procured through forgery.

Consequently, an Information was filed against Engracia for the crimes of falsification of
public document, estafa, and use of falsified documents. Spouses Singson filed a Motion to Suspend
Proceedings Due to Prejudicial Question with the RTC, alleging that the validity and genuineness of
the Absolute Deed of Sale, which is the subject of Civil Case No. 70898 then still pending with the
RTC Branch 160, are determinative of their guilt of the crime charged.

ISSUE: Whether or not validity and genuineness of the Absolute Deed of Sale is determinative of the
guilt for the crimes of falsification of public document, estafa, and use of falsified documents

RULING:

The Court ruled in affirmative. A prejudicial question is understood in law to be that which
arises in a case the resolution of which is a logical antecedent of the issue involved in said case and
the cognizance of which pertains to another tribunal. The doctrine of prejudicial question comes
into play generally in a situation where civil and criminal actions are pending and the issues
involved in both cases are similar or so closely related that an issue must be pre-emptively resolved
in the civil case before the criminal action can proceed. The rationale behind the principle of
prejudicial question is to avoid two conflict decisions.

For a civil action to be considered prejudicial to a criminal case as to cause the suspension of the
criminal proceedings until the final resolution of the civil case, the following requisites must -be
present: (1) the civil case involves facts intimately related to those upon which the criminal
prosecution would be based; (2) in the resolution of the issue or issues raised in the civil action, the
guilt or innocence of the accused would necessarily be determined; and (3) jurisdiction to try said
question must be lodged in another tribunal.

Based on the issues raised in both Civil Case No. 70898 and Criminal Case No. 137867
against the Spouses Singson, and in the light of the foregoing concepts of a prejudicial question,
there indeed appears to be a prejudicial question in the case at bar. The defense of the Spouses
Singson in the civil case for annulment of sale is that Engracia bought the subject property from her
parents prior to their demise and that their signatures appearing on the Absolute Deed of Sale are
true and genuine. Their allegation in the civil case is based on the very same facts, which would be
necessarily determinative of their guilt or innocence as accused in the criminal case.

If the signatures of the Spouses Domingo in the Absolute Deed of Sale are genuine, then
there would be no falsification and the Spouses Singson would be innocent of the offense charged.

Page | 17
Otherwise stated, a conviction on Criminal Case No. 137867, should it be allowed to proceed ahead,
would be a gross injustice and would have to be set aside if it were finally decided in Civil Case No.
70898 that indeed the signatures of the Spouses Domingo were authentic.

Page | 18
Declaration of presumptive death

REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, Petitioner, v. JOSE B. SAREÑOGON, JR., Respondent.

SECOND DIVISION, G.R. No. 199194, February 10, 2016

Ponente: DEL CASTILLO, J.

FACTS:

On November 4, 2008, respondent Jose B. Sarefiogon, Jr. filed a Petition before the Regional
Trial Court of Ozamiz City-Branch 15 the declaration of presumptive death of his wife, Netchie
S. Sareñogon. Jose testified that he first met Netchie in Clarin, Misamis Occidental in 1991, They
later became sweethearts and on August 10,1996, they got married in civil rites at the Manila City
Hall. However, they lived together as husband and wife for a month only because he left to work as
a seaman while Netchie went to Hongkong as a domestic helper. For three months, he did not
receive any communication from Netchie. He likewise had no idea about her whereabouts. While
still abroad, he tried to contact Netchie''s parents, but failed. He then inquired from Netchie''s
relatives and friends about her whereabouts, but they also did not know where she was. Because of
these, he had to presume that his wife Netchie was already dead. He filed the Petition before the
RTC so he could contract another marriage pursuant to Article 41 of the Family Code.

Jose's testimony was corroborated by his older brother Joel Sareñogon, and by Netchie''s
aunt, Consuelo Sande. These two witnesses testified that Jose and Netchie lived together as husband
and wife only for one month prior to their leaving the Philippines for separate destinations
abroad. These two added that they had no information regarding Netchie''s location.

The RTC held that Jose had established by preponderance of evidence that he is entitled to
the relief prayed for under Article 41 of the Family Code. The RTC found that Netchie had
disappeared for more than four years, reason enough for Jose to conclude that his wife was indeed
already dead.

ISSUE: Whether or not the alleged efforts of respondents in locating his missing wife do not
sufficiently support a “well-founded belief” that the absent wife is probably dead.

RULING:

The "well-founded belief" requisite under Article 41 of the Family Code is complied with
only upon a showing that sincere honest-to-goodness efforts had indeed been made to ascertain
whether the absent spouse is still alive or is already dead.

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.

The law did not define what is meant by "well-founded belief." It depends upon the
circumstances of each particular case. Its determination, so to speak, remains on a case-to-case
basis. To be able to comply with this requirement, the present spouse must prove that his/her
belief was the result of diligent and reasonable efforts and inquiries to locate the absent spouse and
that based on these efforts and inquiries, he/she believes that under the circumstances, the absent
spouse is already dead. It requires exertion of active effort (not a mere passive one).

The application of this stricter standard becomes even more imperative if we consider the
State''s policy to protect and strengthen the institution of marriage. Since marriage serves as the
family''s foundation and since it is the state''s policy to protect and strengthen the family as a basic
social institution, marriage should not be permitted to be dissolved at the whim of the parties.

Given the Court''s imposition of "strict standard" in a petition for a declaration of


presumptive death under Article 41 of the Family Code, it must follow that there was no basis at all
for the RTC''s finding that Jose''s Petition complied with the requisites of Article 41 of the Family
Code, in reference to the "well-founded belief standard. If anything, Jose''s pathetically anemic
efforts to locate the missing Netchie are notches below the required degree of stringent diligence
prescribed by jurisprudence. For, aside from his bare claims that he had inquired from alleged
friends and relatives as to Netchie''s whereabouts, Jose did not call to the witness stand specific
individuals or persons whom he allegedly saw or met in the course of his search or quest for the

Page | 19
allegedly missing Netchie. Neither did he prove that he sought the assistance of the pertinent
government agencies as well as the media, Nor did he show mat he undertook a thorough,
determined and unflagging search for Netchie, say for at least two years (and what those years
were), and naming the particular places, provinces, cities, barangays or municipalities that he
visited, or went to, and identifying the specific persons he interviewed or talked to in the course of
his search.

Page | 20
Filiation of Illegitimate Children

ROMEO F. ARA AND WILLIAM A. GARCIA Vs. DRA. FELY S. PIZARRO AND HENRY ROSSI

SECOND DIVISION , G.R. No. 187273. February 15, 2017

FACTS:

Romeo F. Ara and William A. Garcia (petitioners), and Dra. Fely S. Pizarro and Henry A.
Rossi (respondents) all claimed to be children of the late Josefa A. Ara (Josefa), who died on
November 18, 2002.

Petitioners assert that Fely S. Pizarro (Pizarro) was born to Josefa and her then husband,
Vicente Salgado (Salgado), who died during World War II. At some point toward the end of the war,
Josefa met and lived with an American soldier by the name of Darwin Gray (Gray). Romeo F. Ara
(Ara) was born from this relationship. Josefa later met a certain Alfredo Garcia (Alfredo), and, from
this relationship, gave birth to sons Ramon Garcia (Ramon) and William A. Garcia (Garcia). Josefa
and Alfredo married on January 24, 1952. After Alfredo passed away, Josefa met an Italian
missionary named Frank Rossi, who allegedly fathered Henry Rossi (Rossi).

Respondent Pizarro claims that, to her knowledge, she is the only child of Josefa. Further,
petitioner Garcia is recorded as a son of a certain Carmen Bucarin and Pedro Garcia, as evidenced
by a Certificate of Live Birth dated July 19, 1950; and petitioner Ara is recorded as a son of spouses
Jose Ara and Maria Flores, evidenced by his Certificate of Live Birth.

Petitioners, together with Ramon and herein respondent Rossi (collectively, plaintiffs a
quo), verbally sought partition of the properties left by the deceased Josefa, which were in the
possession of respondent Pizarro.

Plaintiffs a quo filed a Complaint dated April 9, 2003 for judicial partition of properties left
by the deceased Josefa, before the RTC.

RTC held that petitioners Ara and Garcia to be children of Josefa, and including them in the
partition of properties, which the respondents appealed thereafter.

The CA, promulgated its Decision and held that only respondents Pizarro and Rossi, as well
as plaintiff a quo Ramon, were the children of the late Josefa, entitled to shares in Josefa's estate.

ISSUE: Whether petitioners may prove their filiation to Josefa through their open and
continuous possession of the status of illegitimate children, found in the second paragraph of
Article 172 of the Family Code.

RULING:

On establishing the filiation of illegitimate children, the Family Code provides:

Article 175. Illegitimate children may establish their illegitimate filiation in the same way
and on the same evidence as legitimate children.

The action must be brought within the same period specified in Article 173, except when
the action is based on the second paragraph of Article 172, in which case the action may be brought
during the lifetime of the alleged parent. Articles 172 and 173 of the Family Code provide:

Article 172. The filiation of legitimate children is established by any of the following:

In the absence of the foregoing evidence, the legitimate filiation shall be proved by:

1. The open and continuous possession of the status of a legitimate child; or

2. Any other means allowed by the Rules of Court and special laws.

Article 173. The action to claim legitimacy may be brought by the child during his or her
lifetime and shall be transmitted to the heirs should the child die during minority or in a

Page | 21
state of insanity. In these cases, the heirs shall have a period of five years within which to
institute the action.

The action already commenced by the child shall survive notwithstanding the death of
either or both of the parties.

Thus, a person who seeks to establish illegitimate filiation after the death of a putative
parent must do so via a record of birth appearing in the civil register or a final judgment, or an
admission of legitimate filiation.

Petitioners did not present evidence that would prove their illegitimate filiation to their
putative parent, Josefa, after her death as provided under Articles 172 and 175 of the Family Code.

To recall, petitioners submitted the following to establish their filiation:

(1) Garcia's Baptismal Certificate listing Josefa as his mother, showing that the baptism
was conducted on June 1, 1958, and that Garcia was born on June 23, 1951;

(2) Garcia's Certificate of Marriage, listing Josefa as his mother;

(3) A picture of Garcia's wedding, with Josefa and other relatives;

(4) Certificate of Marriage showing that Alfredo and Josefa were married on January 24,
1952

(5) Garcia's Certificate of Live Birth from Paniqui, Tarlac, issued on October 23, 2003,
under Registry No. 2003-1447, which is a late registration of his birth, showing he was born
on June 23, 1951 to Alfredo and Josefa;[50]

(6) A group picture of all the parties in the instant case.

(7) In the Comment of Rossi to the Formal Offer of Exhibits of Pizarro, Rossi stated:

1. That William Garcia and Romeo Flores Ara are half brothers of Dr. Henry Rossi their
mother being Josefa Ara, who did not register them as her children for fear of losing her
pension from the U.S. Veterans Office;[52]

(8) Ara testified that he was a son of the late Josefa and Gray, and that his record of birth
was registered at camp Murphy, Quezon City;[53] and

(9) Nelly Alipio, first degree cousin of Josefa, testified that Ara was a son of Josefa and
Gray.

None of the foregoing constitutes evidence under the first paragraph of Article 172 of the
Family Code.

Although not raised by petitioners, it may be argued that petitioner Garcia's Certificate of
Live Birth obtained in 2003 through a late registration of his birth is a record of birth appearing in
the civil register under Article 172 of the Family Code.

True, birth certificates offer prima facie evidence of filiation. To overthrow the presumption
of truth contained in a birth certificate, a high degree of proof is needed. However, the
circumstances surrounding the delayed registration prevent us from according it the same weight
as any other birth certificate.

The Court of Appeals did not adopt the Trial Court's appreciation of evidence. It ruled that,
because petitioners' putative parent Josefa had already passed away, petitioners were proscribed
from proving their filiation under the second paragraph of Article 172 of the Family Code.

The Court of Appeals properly did not give credence to the evidence submitted by
petitioners regarding their status.

Page | 22
Josefa passed away in 2002. After her death, petitioners could no longer be allowed to
introduce evidence of open and continuous illegitimate filiation to Josefa. The only evidence
allowed under the law would be a record of birth appearing in the civil register or a final judgment,
or an admission of legitimate filiation in a public document or a private signed, handwritten
instruction by Josefa.

An alleged parent is the best person to affirm or deny a putative descendant's filiation.
Absent a record of birth appearing in a civil register or a final judgment, an express admission of
filiation in a public document, or a handwritten instrument signed by the parent concerned, a
deceased person will have no opportunity to contest a claim of filiation.

Page | 23
Proof of Filiation of Illegitimate Children

Gloria Zoleta-San Agustin v. Ernesto Sales

G.R. No. 189289 August 31, 2016

Ponente: Reyes, J.

FACTS:

The plaintiffs, having no knowledge of any relatives of Spouses Fernandez, directed the
action against unknown defendants. However, on May 30, 1994, the petitioner raised her
opposition. She alleged in her Amended Answer filed on July 26, 1994 that she is the niece of Louis
and that the Spouses Fernandez informally adopted her as their child when she was only 2 years
old. She insisted that the father of the plaintiffs is Corpus Micabalo (Corpus), the former houseboy
of the Fernandez household. One of the principal allegations in the amended answer of the
petitioner is that the documents presented by the plaintiffs to sustain the complaint were spurious.
RTC issued an order denying the admission of the photographs presented by the petitioner seeking
to prove that she was 'treated by the Spouses Fernandez as their own child. the RTC in a Decision14
dated July 12, 2007 ruled in favor of the recognition of the plaintiffs as the illegitimate children of
Louis.

ISSUE: whether or not the documents executed by Louis are valid to acknowledge voluntary
recognition of Teodoro and Ernesto as his illegitimate children

RULING:

The Court held that The legitimate filiation of a child may be established by any of the
following:

(1) The record of birth appearing in the civil register or a final judgment; or

(2) An admission of legitimate filiation in a public document or a private handwritten


instrument and signed by the present concerned.

In the absence of the foregoing evidence, the legitimate filiation shall be proven by:

(1) The open and continuous possession of the status of a legitimate child; or

(2) Any other means allowed by the Rules of Court and special laws.

These requirements likewise apply to establish the filiation of illegitimate children. In order
to cast doubt as to the · authenticity of the documentary evidence presented by Ernesto, the
petitioner purported that the circumstances surrounding the execution and notarization of the said
documents are highly suspicious thereby warranting the overturn of the presumption of regularity
in favor of these documents. The petitioner claimed that during the execution and notarization of
the documents, Louis could still write, rendering incredible the mere affixing of his thumbprints to
the contested documents. However, Ernesto testified before the RTC that Louis was no longer
capable of writing his name as he was already blind and bedridden at the time he affixed his thumb
mark to the document dated November 11, 1980. The witnesses to the document were Margarita
Almeda, the hairdresser of Louis' sister, and Romeo Gadones, Teodoro's acquaintance. A thumb
mark has been repeatedly considered as a valid mode of signature. The other inconsistencies cited
by the petitioner are of no importance and insufficient to overcome the presumption of regularity
in favor of the notarized documents.

Page | 24
Proof of Legitimacy

VIRGINIA D. CALIMAG, Petitioner, v. HEIRS OF SILVESTRA N. MACAPAZ, REPRESENTED BY


ANASTACIO P. MACAPAZ, JR., Respondents

THIRD DIVISION, G.R. No. 191936, June 01, 2016

Ponente: REYES, J.

FACTS:

This is a petition for review on certiorari assailing the Decision of the Court of Appeals
promulgated in CA-G.R. CV No. 90907 which affirmed with modification the of the Regional Trial
Court of Makati City, Branch 147, in Civil Case No. 06-173, an action for annulment of deed of sale
and cancellation of title with damages. The CA Resolution denied the motion for reconsideration
thereof.

Virginia D. Calimag (petitioner) co-owned the property, the subject matter of this case, with
Silvestra N. Macapaz (Silvestra). On the other hand, Anastacio P. Macapaz, Jr. (Anastacio, Jr.) and
Alicia Macapaz-Ritua (Alicia) (respondents) are the children of Silvestra's brother, Anastacio
Macapaz, Sr. (Anastacio, Sr.) and Fidela O. Poblete Vda. de Macapaz (Fidela).

The subject property, is located at No. 1273 Bo. Visaya Street, Barangay Guadalupe Nuevo,
Makati City, and was duly registered in the names of the petitioner (married to Demetrio Calimag)
and Silvestra under Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. 183088.5 In said certificate of title,
appearing as Entry No. 02671 is an annotation of an Adverse Claim of Fidela asserting rights and
interests over a portion of the said property measuring 49.5 sq m.

On November 11, 2002, Silvestra died without issue. On July 7, 2005, TCT No. 183088 was
cancelled and a new certificate of title, TCT No. 221466, was issued in the name of the petitioner by
virtue of a Deed of Sale dated January 18, 2005 whereby Silvestra allegedly sold her 99-sq-m
portion to the petitioner for P300,000.00. Included among the documents submitted for the
purpose of cancelling TCT No. 183088 was an Affidavit dated July 12, 2005 purportedly executed by
both the petitioner and Silvestra. It was stated therein that the affidavit of adverse claim filed by
Fidela was not signed by the Deputy Register of Deeds of Makati City, making the same legally
ineffective. On September 16, 2005, Fidela passed away.

On March 2, 2006, the respondents, asserting that they are the heirs of Silvestra, instituted
the action for Annulment of Deed of Sale and Cancellation of TCT No. 221466 with Damages against
the petitioner and the Register of Deeds of Makati City.

In her Answer with Compulsory Counterclaim, the petitioner averred that the respondents
have no legal capacity to institute said civil action on the ground that they are illegitimate children
of Anastacio, Sr. As such, they have no right over Silvestra's estate pursuant to Article 992 of the
Civil Code which prohibits illegitimate children from inheriting intestate from the legitimate
children and relatives of their father and mother.

Demetrio Calimag, Jr. sought, but failed, to impugn the personality of the [respondents] to
initiate this action as the alleged heirs of [Silvestra]. The marriage between [Anastacio Sr.J and
[FidclaJ is evidenced by the Certificate of (canonical) Marriage. The name 'Fidela Obera Poblete' is
indicated in [the respondents'] respective birth certificates as the mother's maiden name but Fidela
signed the same as the informant as "Fidela P. Macapaz". In both birth certificates, "Anastacio Nator
Macapaz" is indicated as the name of the father.

Aggrieved, the petitioner elevated her case to the CA resting on the argument that the
respondents are without legal personality to institute the civil action for cancellation of deed of sale
and title on the basis of their claimed status as legitimate children of Anastacio, Sr., the brother and
sole heir of the deceased, Silvestra. The CA rendered its Decision affirming the RTC decision with
modification as to the amount of damages.

Page | 25
While the petitioner does not question that Anastacio, Sr. is the legal heir of Silvestra, she, however,
claims that the respondents failed to establish their legitimate filiation to Anastacio, Sr. considering
that the marriage between Anastacio, Sr. and Fidela was not sufficiently proven. According to the
petitioner, the marriage contract24 presented by the respondents is not admissible under the Best
Evidence Rule for being a mere fax copy or photocopy of an alleged marriage contract, and which is
not even authenticated by the concerned Local Civil Registrar. In addition, there is no mark or
stamp showing that said document was ever received by said office. Further, while the respondents
also presented a Certificate of (Canonical) Marriage,25 the petitioner asserts that the same is not
the marriage license required under Articles 3 and 4 of the Family Code;26 that said Certificate of
(Canonical) Marriage only proves that a marriage ceremony actually transpired between Anastacio,
Sr. and Fidela.

Moreover, the petitioner contends that the certificates of live birth of the respondents do
not conclusively prove that they are legitimate children of Anastacio, Sr.

ISSUE: Whether or not respondents established their legitimate filiation to Anastacio, Sr.
considering that the marriage between Anastacio, Sr. and Fidela was not sufficiently proven hence,
respondents are legal heirs of Silvestra.

RULING:

The petition is bereft of merit.

While it is true that a person's legitimacy can only be questioned in a direct action
seasonably filed by the proper party, as held in Spouses Fidel v. Hon. CA, et al.,30 this Court
however deems it necessary to pass upon the respondents' relationship to Silvestra so as to
determine their legal rights to the subject property. Besides, the question of whether the
respondents have the legal capacity to sue as alleged heirs of Silvestra was among the issues agreed
upon by the parties in the pre-trial.

At first blush, the documents presented as proof of marriage between Anastacio, Sr. and
Fidela, viz: (1) fax or photo copy of the marriage contract, and (2) the canonical certificate of
marriage, cannot be used as legal basis to establish the fact of marriage without running afoul with
the Rules on Evidence of the Revised Rules of Court. Rule 130, Section 3 of the Rules on Evidence
provides that: "When the subject of the inquiry is the contents of a document, no evidence shall be
admissible other than the original document itself, x x x." Nevertheless, a reproduction of the
original document can still be admitted as secondary evidence subject to certain requirements
specified by law. In Dantis v. Maghinang, Jr.,31 it was held that:

A secondary evidence is admissible only upon compliance with Rule 130, Section 5, which
states that: when the original has been lost or destroyed, or cannot be produced in court, the
offeror, upon proof of its execution or existence and the cause of its unavailability without bad faith
on his part, may prove its contents by a copy, or by a recital of its contents in some authentic
document, or by the testimony of witnesses in the order stated. Accordingly, the offeror of the
secondary evidence is burdened to satisfactorily prove the predicates thereof, namely: (1) the
execution or existence of the original; (2) the loss and destruction of the original or its non-
production in court; and (3) the unavailability of the original is not due to bad faith on the part of
the proponent/offeror. Proof of the due execution of the document and its subsequent loss would
constitute the basis for the introduction of secondary evidence, x x x.32 (Citation omitted)

On the other hand, a canonical certificate of marriage is not a public document. As early as
in the case of United States v. Evangelista, it has been settled that church registries of births,
marriages, and deaths made subsequent to the promulgation of General Orders No. 68 and the
passage of Act No. 190 are no longer public writings, nor are they kept by duly authorized public
officials.34 They are private writings and their authenticity must therefore be proved as are all
other private writings in accordance with the rules of evidence.35 Accordingly, since there is no
showing that the authenticity and due execution of the canonical certificate of marriage of
Anastacio, Sr. and Fidela was duly proven, it cannot be admitted in evidence.

Page | 26
Notwithstanding, it is well settled that other proofs can be offered to establish the fact of a
solemnized marriage. Jurisprudence teaches that the fact of marriage may be proven by relevant
evidence other than the marriage certificate. Hence, even a person's birth certificate may be
recognized as competent evidence of the marriage between his parents.

Thus, in order to prove their legitimate filiation, the respondents presented their respective
Certificates of Live Birth issued by the National Statistics Office where Fidela signed as the
Informant in item no. 17 of both documents.

Page | 27
Joint Obligation

SPOUSES AMADO O. IBAÑEZ and ESTHER R. IBAÑEZ vs. JAMES HARPER as Representative of
the Heirs of FRANCISCO MUÑOZ, SR., the REGISTER OF DEEDS OF MANILA and the SHERIFF
OF MANILA

THIRD DIVISION, G.R. No. 194272. February 15, 2017

Ponente: JARDELEZA, J.

FACTS:

Sometime in October 1996, spouses Amado and Esther Ibañez (spouses Ibañez) borrowed
from Francisco E. Muñoz, Sr. (Francisco), Consuelo Estrada (Consuelo) and Ma. Consuelo E. Muñoz
(Ma. Consuelo) the amount of ₱1,300,000, payable in three months, with interest at the rate of 3% a
month. On October 14, 1996, the spouses Ibanez issued a Promissory Note binding themselves
jointly and severally to pay Ma. Consuelo and Consuelo the loan amount with interest.

As security, the spouses Ibañez executed a Deed of Real Estate Mortgage in favor of Ma.
Consuelo and Consuelo over a parcel of land and its improvements covered by TCT No. 202978. The
mortgage contained the same terms as the promissory note. It further stipulated that Ma. Consuelo
and Consuelo shall have the right to immediately foreclose the mortgage upon the happening of the
following events: (1) filing by the mortgagor of any petition for insolvency or suspension of
payment; and/or (2) failure of the mortgagor to perform or comply with any covenant, agreement,
term or condition of the mortgage.

On September 23, 1997, alleging that the conditions of the mortgage have been violated
since November 17, 1996 and that all check payments were dishonored by the drawee, Ma.
Consuelo and Consuelo applied for foreclosure of the real estate mortgage.

On December 8, 1997, the spouses Ibañez filed in the RTC of Manila a Complaint for
injunction and damages with prayers for writ of preliminary injunction and temporary restraining
order against Francisco, Ma. Consuelo, Consuelo, et.al, and the complaint alleged that there is no
reason to proceed with the foreclosure because the real estate mortgage was novated. They prayed
that the public auction of the property be enjoined and that Francisco, Ma. Consuelo and Consuelo
be held liable for actual and compensatory, moral and exemplary damages, as well as attorney's
fees and costs of suit.

On December 12, 1997, the spouses Ibañez filed an Amended Complaint. The RTC issued
a status quo order. The RTC approved the Amended Compromise Agreement and adopted it as
its Hatol.

Atty. Roberto C. Bermejo (Atty. Bermejo), representing himself as collaborating counsel for
Francisco, Ma. Consuelo and Consuelo, filed an Omnibus Motion for Execution and Lifting of
the Status Quo Order and for the Issuance of Writ of Possession. Atty. Bermejo alleged that the
spouses Ibañez failed to comply with their obligation under the Amended Compromise Agreement.
Consequently, and following the terms of the Amended Compromise Agreement, the RTC's status
quo order must be lifted and a certificate of sale over the subject property be immediately issued.

On March 24, 2006, the RTC granted Atty. Bermejo's motion. It found that the spouses
Ibañez have yet to pay the amount due, in violation of the terms of the Amended Compromise
Agreement.

The CA ruled that the Amended Complaint and the Hatol identified Francisco, Ma. Consuelo
and Consuelo as the creditors and the parties who were supposed to receive the proceeds of the
Amended Compromise Agreement. Since the Deed of Assignment was executed only in favor of Ma.
Consuelo and Consuelo, the loan obligation of the spouses Ibañez to Francisco remained unsettled.
The heirs of Francisco thus retain the right to invoke paragraph 2.5 of the Compromise Agreement
which provides for the lifting of the trial court's status quo order.

Page | 28
ISSUE: Whether all the provisions of the Amended Compromise Agreement have been complied
with.

RULING:

As correctly identified by the CA, the Amended Compromise Agreement clearly refers to the
spouses Ibañez as plaintiffs and Francisco, Consuelo and Ma. Consuelo as the defendants they
covenanted to pay. There is nothing in the Hatol, and the Amended Compromise Agreement it is
based on, which shows a declaration that the obligation created was solidary.

In any case, solidary obligations cannot be inferred lightly. They must be positively and
clearly expressed. Articles 1207 and 1208 of the Civil Code provide:

Art. 1207. The concurrence of two or more creditors or of two or more debtors in one
and the same obligation does not imply that each one of the former has a right to
demand, or that each one of the latter is bound to render, entire compliance with the
prestations. There is a solidary liability only when the obligation expressly so states, or
when the law or the nature of the obligation requires solidarity.

Art. 1208. If from the law, or the nature or the wording of the obligations to which the
preceding article refers the contrary does not appear, the credit or debt shall be
presumed to be divided into as many equal shares as there are creditors or debtors,
the credits or debts being considered distinct from one another, subject to the Rules
of Court governing the multiplicity of suits.

In this case, given that solidarity could not be inferred from the agreement, the presumption
under the law applies-the obligation is joint.

As defined in Article 1208, a joint obligation is one where there is a concurrence of several
creditors, or of several debtors, or of several debtors, or of several creditors and debtors, by
virtue of which each of the creditors has a right to demand, and each of the debtors is bound
to render compliance with his proportionate part of the prestation which constitutes the
object of the obligation. Each debtor answers only for a part of the whole liability and to each
obligee belongs only a part of the correlative rights as it is only in solidary obligations that
payment made to any one of the solidary creditors extinguishes the entire obligation. This means
that Francisco, Ma. Consuelo and Consuelo are each entitled to equal shares in the ₱3,000,000
agreed upon in the Amended Compromise Agreement and that payment to Consuelo and Ma.
Consuelo will not have the effect of discharging the obligation with respect to Francisco.

The spouses Ibañez assigned the proceeds of the GSIS loan and executed a real estate
mortgage over the Puerto Azul property only in Ma. Consuelo and Consuelo's favour. By doing so,
they did not discharge their obligation in accordance with the terms of the Amended Compromise
Agreement and left their loan obligation to Francisco unsettled. Thus, and as correctly held by the
CA, it was gravely erroneous for the trial court to rule that all the stipulations in the Hatol have
been complied with. Under the circumstances, the obligations to Francisco, and consequently, his
heirs, have clearly not been complied with.

Page | 29
Extinguishment of Obligations

PILIPINAS SHELL PETROLEUM CORPORATION, Petitioner vs.ROYAL FERRY SERVICES, INC.,


Respondent

G.R. No. 188146, February 1, 2017

Ponente: LEONEN, J.

FACTS:

Royal Ferry Services Inc. (Royal Ferry) is a corporation duly organized and existing under
Philippine law. Its office is located at 2521 A. Bonifacio Street, Bangkal, Makati City. However, it
currently holds office at Room 203, BF Condominium Building, Andres Soriano comer Solano
Streets, Intramuros, Manila. On August 28, 2005 filed a verified Petition for Voluntary Insolvency
before the Regional Trial Court of Manila. It alleged that in 2000, it suffered serious business losses
that led to heavy debts. Efforts to revive the company's finances failed, and almost all assets were
either foreclosed or sold to satisfy the liabilities incurred. Royal Ferry ceased its operations on
February 28, 2002. In a special meeting on August 25, 2005, its Board of Directors approved and
authorized the filing of a petition for voluntary insolvency in court. (Pilipinas Shell) filed before the
Regional Trial Court of Manila a Formal Notice of Claim and a Motion to Dismiss on the ground that
it was filed in the wrong venue.

On April 29, 2016, respondent moved to dismiss the case. Respondent stated that it entered
into a Compromise Agreement with petitioner, which resulted in the Court of Appeals' judgment
based on the compromise agreement. It argued that the Judgment, promulgated in a related case
docketed as CA-G.R. CV No. 102522, made the present Petition moot and academic. For its part,
petitioner contends that it has waived only its claims against "[respondent's] Antonino R. Gascon, Jr.
and Jonathan D. Gascon and its other officers, directors, employees, stockholders, successors-in-
interest and did not waive or abandon any of its claims against the Company.

ISSUE: Whether or not the said compromise agreement bar Pilipinas Shell for filing a complaint
against Royal Ferry for Notice of claim

RULING:

The Compromise Agreement was between petitioner and the Gascons. Contrary to its claim,
respondent was not a party to the agreement. Nowhere in the Compromise Agreement did
petitioner agree to waive its claim against respondent. In CA-GR. CV No. 102522, petitioner held the
Gascons solidarily liable with respondent for the same debt that petitioner was claiming in these
proceedings. It is on this basis that respondent now asserts that it is a solidary debtor with the
Gascons and can, thus, acquire the benefit stipulated in Article 12156 of the Civil Code.

Respondent did not present any other proof of this alleged solidary liability. In CA-GR. CV
No. 102522, one of petitioner's contentions was whether the corporate veil should be pierced to
make the Gascons liable for respondent's liabilities. Before the Court of Appeals could rule on the
matter, however, the Compromise Agreement had been executed and the case was closed.

A case is moot and academic when it ceases to present a justiciable controversy because of
supervening events so that a declaration would be of no practical use or value. As respondent has
failed to establish that petitioner has abandoned its claim against it, petitioner continues to have an
interest in the insolvency proceeding.

Page | 30
Compromise Agreement

Tung Hui Chung vs. Shih Chiu Huang A.K.A. James Shih,

FIRST DIVISION, G.R. No. 170679, March 09, 2016

Ponente: Bersamin, J.

FACTS:

This is a petition for review on certiorari of the decision of the Court of Appeals. The
petitioners, both Australian citizens, filed before the Regional Trial Court an amended complaint to
recover from the respondent a sum of money and damages. The suit, involved a contract to sell
dated October 30, 2000, whereby the respondent, as the vendor, undertook to deliver to the
petitioners, as the vendees, shares of stock worth P10,606,266.00 in Island Information and
Technology, Inc., a publicly listed corporation.

The petitioners alleged that under the provisions of the contract to sell, the equivalent
shares of stock in the corporation should be their value as of February 22, 2001, the date
corresponding to the five-day period prior to the end of the fourth month after October 30, 2000,
the date of the signing of the contract to sell; that according to the Philippine Stock Exchange, Inc.
(PSEI), the shares of the corporation, which stood at P0.05 for the open, high, low and closing prices
on February 22, 2001, had the equivalent of 177,925,320 shares of stock; and that the respondent
failed to deliver the shares of stock corresponding to the agreed amount on the date fixed by the
contract.

However, later on, the parties filed their Joint Motion for Approval of a Compromise
Agreement dated August 19, 2003. The compromise agreement stipulated that the parties agreed to
settle their respective claims and counterclaims, and the respondent acknowledged therein his
obligation to the petitioners in the amount of $250,000.00, which he promised to pay in US
currency.

The parties further agreed that upon payment of the first installment of $20,000.00, both of
them would jointly move for the partial lifting of the writ of attachment issued by the RTC against
the properties of the respondent. The RTC approved the compromise agreement on October 20,
2003. Upon the respondent's payment of the initial amount of $20,000.00, the parties filed
their Joint Motion to Partially Lift the Preliminary Attachment dated December 16, 2003 in
accordance with the compromise agreement. The RTC granted the joint motion. But the respondent
did not pay the November 15, 2004 second installment despite demand. Instead, he filed in the CA a
petition for annulment of judgment dated November 25, 2004 (C.A.-G.R. SP No. 87768), thereby
seeking to nullify the amended order dated October 10, 2001 granting the application for the writ of
attachment, and the order dated October 20, 2003 approving the compromise agreement.

Meanwhile, the petitioners sought the execution of the judgment upon the compromise
agreement through their motion for execution dated December 2, 2004 on the ground of the
respondent's failure to pay the second installment. The RTC granted their motion for execution on
December 14, 2004, and issued the writ of execution, commanding the sheriff to demand from the
respondent the immediate payment of the full amount of $230,000.00 as indicated in the
compromise agreement.

ISSUE: Whether or not annulment is proper

RULING:

The annulment was unwarranted. To start with, a compromise agreement is a contract


whereby the parties make reciprocal concessions to avoid litigation or to put an end to one already
commenced. It is an accepted, nay, even highly encouraged practice in the courts of law of this
jurisdiction. It attains the authority and effect of res judicata upon the parties upon its
execution, and becomes immediately final and executory, unless rescinded by grounds which vitiate
consent. Once stamped with judicial imprimatur, it ceases to be a mere contract between the
parties, and becomes a judgment of the court, to be enforced through writ of execution.

The CA did not recognize that what it was asked to annul and set aside in C.A.-G.R. SP No.
88804 was no longer the compromise agreement of the parties but already the judgment based on
the compromise agreement. The failure to recognize led the CA into granting the unprecedented

Page | 31
relief of annulling the compromise agreement on the ground of fraud and lack of consent. In so
doing, the CA acted without jurisdiction. First of all, the action before the CA was a special civil
action for certiorari that had been brought on March 7, 2005, which was way beyond the period of
60 days from the rendition of the judgment based on the compromise agreement on October 20,
2003. The long delay grossly violated Section 4, Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, which allowed the
petition for certiorari to be filed not later than 60 days from notice of the judgment being assailed.
Moreover, the grounds relied upon by the respondent in his petition for certiorari in C.A.-G.R. SP
No. 88804 - that the RTC had committed grave abuse of discretion tantamount to excess or lack of
jurisdiction for issuing the writ of execution that was patently unjust, one-side, unfair, fraudulent
and unconscionable compromise agreement; and for issuing the writ of execution of the
compromise agreement that lacked consideration - were not proper grounds for assailing the
judgment based on the compromise agreement. Even assuming that such grounds for the petition
for certiorari were true, which they were not, the judgment based on the compromise agreement
could not be assailed on that basis. As the foregoing excerpt of the assailed decision bears out, the
annulment of the judgment based on the compromise agreement was premised on fraud and lack of
consent on the part of the respondent as a contracting party, which were far from the jurisdictional
error on which the petition for certiorari should have rested.

Page | 32
Fortuituous Events

ILOILO JAR CORPORATION, Petitioner vs.COMGLASCO CORPORATION AGUILA GLASS,


Respondent

G.R. No. 219509.January 18, 2017

Ponente: MENDOZA, J.:

FACTS:

Petitioner Iloilo Jar Corporation (Iloilo Jar), as lessor, and respondent Comglasco
Corporation/Aguila Glass (Comglasco), as lessee, entered into a lease contract over a portion of a
warehouse building, on Lot 2-G-1-E-2 in Barangay Lapuz, La Paz District, Iloilo City. The term of the
lease was for a period of three (3) years or until August 15, 2003. On December 1, 2001, Comglasco
requested for the pre-termination of the lease effective on the same date; however, it was rejected
on the ground that the pre-termination of the lease contract was not stipulated therein. Despite the
denial,Comglasco still removed all its stock, merchandise and equipment from the leased premises.
Notwithstanding several demand letters, Comglasco no longer paid all rentals accruing from the
said date. Comglasco filed its Answer and raised an affirmative defense, arguing that by virtue of
Article 1267 of the Civil Code (Article 1267), it was released from its obligation from the lease
contract. It explained that the consideration thereof had become so difficult due to the global and
regional economic crisis that had plagued the economy.

ISSUE: Whether or not economic crisis is a valid ground to pre-terminate the lease contract.

RULING:

Comglasco's position fails to impress because Article 1267 applies only to obligations to do
and not to obligations to give. Thus, in Philippine National Construction Corporation v. Court of
Appeals, the Court expounded:

Petitioner cannot, however, successfully take refuge in the said article, since it is applicable
only to obligations "to do," and not to obligations "to give." An obligation "to do" includes all kinds
of work or service; while an obligation "to give" is a prestation which consists in the delivery of a
movable or an immovable thing in order to create a real right, or for the use of the recipient, or for
its simple possession, or in order to return it to its owner.

The obligation to pay rentals or deliver the thing in a contract of lease falls within the
prestation "to give"; xxx

The principle of rebus sic stantibus neither fits in with the facts of the case. Under this
theory, the parties stipulate in the light of certain prevailing conditions, and once these conditions
cease to exist, the contract also ceases to exist. Xxx This article, which enunciates the doctrine of
unforeseen events, is not, however, an absolute application of the principle of rebus sic stantibus,
which would endanger the security of contractual relations. The parties to the contract must be
presumed to have assumed the risks of unfavorable developments. It is therefore only in absolutely
exceptional changes of circumstances that equity demands assistance for the debtor.

Considering that Comglasco' s obligation of paying rent is not an obligation to do, it could
not rightfully invoke Article 1267 of the Civil Code. Even so, its position is still without merit as
financial struggles due to an economic crisis is not enough reason for the courts to grant reprieve
from contractual obligations.

Page | 33
Fraud

Domingo v. Spouses Molina

SECOND DIVISION, G.R. No. 200274, April 20, 2016

Ponente: DEL CASTILLO, J.

FACTS:

Petitioner spouses Anastacio and Flora Domingo bought a property in Tarlac During his
lifetime, Anastacio borrowed money from the respondent spouses Genaro and Elena Molina
(spouses Molina).

Ten years after Flora's death, Anastacio sold his interest over the land to the spouses Molina
to answer for his debts. The sale to the spouses Molina was annotated at the OCT of the subject
property. In 1986, Anastacio died. In May 19, 1995, the sale of Anastacio's interest was registered
under Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. 2729677 and transferred the entire one-half undivided
portion of the land to the spouses Molina.

Melecio, one of the children of Anastacio and Flora, learned of the transfer and filed a
Complaint for Annulment of Title and Recovery of Ownership against the spouses Molina, alleging
that there was fraud, for there was no document evidencing the transfer.

ISSUE: Whether or not the sale of the subject property to the spouses Molina was attended with
fraud.

RULING:

The sale of the subject property to the spouses Molina was not attended with fraud.
On the issue of fraud, the lower courts found that there was no fraud in the sale of the disputed
property to the spouses Molina. The issue of fraud would require the Court to inquire into the
weight of evidentiary matters to determine the merits of the petition and is essentially factual in
nature. It is basic that factual questions cannot be cannot be entertained in a Rule 45 petition,
unless it falls under any of the recognized exceptions found in jurisprudence. The present petition
does not show that it falls under any of the exceptions allowing factual review.

Melecio's argument that no document was executed for the sale is negated by the CA finding
that there was a notarized deed of conveyance executed between Anastacio and the spouses Molina,
as annotated on the OCT of the disputed property.

Furthermore, Melecio's belief that Anastacio could not have sold the property without his
knowledge cannot be considered as proof of fraud to invalidate the spouses Molina's registered title
over the subject property. Prevailing jurisprudence uniformly holds that findings of facts of the trial
court, particularly when affirmed by the Court of Appeals, are binding upon this Court.

Page | 34
Unlawful Detainer

SPOUSES ROLANDO AND SUSIE GOLEZ, Petitioners, v. HEIRS OF DOMINGO BERTULDO,


NAMELY: ERINITA BERTULDO-BERNALES, FLORENCIO BERTULDO, DOMINADOR BERTULDO,
RODEL BERTULDO AND ROGER BERTULDO, HEREIN REPRESENTED BY THEIR CO-HEIR AND
DULY APPOINTED ATTORNEY-IN-FACT, ERINITA BERNALES, Respondents.

SECOND DIVISION, G.R. No. 201289, May 30, 2016

Ponente: BRION, J.

FACTS:

We resolve the petition for review on certiorari filed by petitioners-spouses Rolando and
Susie Golez (Sps. Golez) assailing the March 18, 2011 resolution1 and March 8, 2012 resolution2 of
the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CEB-SP No. 05741 on the ground that respondents Heirs of
Domingo Bertuldo (collectively referred to in this case as respondents) have no cause of action for
unlawful detainer.

The dispute involves two neighboring unregistered parcels of land located at Roxas, Capiz,
In 1976, Benito Bertuldo (Benito) sold Lot 1024 to Asuncion Segovia acting for her daughter, Susie
Golez. They executed a Deed of Absolute Sale dated December 10, 1976, clearly indicating the lot's
metes and bounds. After the sale, the Sps. Golez started the construction of their house on Lot
10258, instead of on Lot 1024. Domingo Bertuldo (Domingo), Benito's first cousin, claimed
ownership over Lot 1025 and protested against the Sps. Golez's house construction. In response,
the Sps. Golez assured Domingo that the construction was being done on Lot 1024.

Sometime in 1993 and after Domingo's death, the respondents conducted a relocation
survey on Lot 1025.12 The relocation survey revealed that the Sps. Golez's house stood on Lot
1025.13 The respondents confronted the Sps. Golez with this result. On February 17, 2009, the
respondents filed a Complaint for Unlawful Detainer25 against the Sps. Golez with the Municipal
Circuit Trial Court (MCTC) of President Roxas, Capiz, in Civil Case No. 507,26

Second, the ejectment complaint must be dismissed since there was no tolerance from the
start of the Sps. Golez' possession of Lot 1025. To stress, the late Domingo Bertuldo objected and
protested against the construction of the house.

Upon motion by the Sps. Golez, the MCTC ordered the conduct of a relocation survey. The
survey result showed that 99.99% of the house of Sps. Golez occupied Lot 1025.

The MCTC, in its decision dated September 20, 2010,31 decided in favor of the respondents
.The MCTC recognized that what the Sps. Golez actually bought from Benito was Lot 1024 which
issue has already been decided with finality by no less than the Supreme Court.32 Since the survey
result showed that the Sps. Golez's entire house occupies Lot 1025, the Sps. Golez are in unlawful
possession of Lot 1025 under an erroneous claim of ownership. The MCTC also held that the Sps.
Golez's possession of Lot 1025 was originally lawful because they believed that they bought Lot
1025 from Benito Bertuldo, as evidenced by the execution of the Amended Deed of Absolute Sale
and the filing of the quieting of title case against the respondents.34 Their possession became illegal
when the RTC dismissed the quieting of title case and ruled that the Sps. Golez bought Lot 1024, not
Lot 1025

On appeal to the RTC, the Sps. Golez reiterated their argument that there is no cause of
action for unlawful detainer because Domingo's protest over the Sps. Golez's house construction on
Lot 1025 negates the presence of tolerance which is an essential element of an action for unlawful
detainer.

In its decision dated January 4, 2011, the RTC38 dismissed the appeal and affirmed the
MCTC decision in toto.

In its Resolution48 dated March 18, 2011, the CA dismissed the appeal and affirmed the
MCTC and RTC decisions.49 The CA held that it does not need to wait for the DENR Secretary

Page | 35
resolution on the respondents' free patent application over Lot 1025 because the Supreme Court
has already ruled that the respondents are the lawful and rightful owners of Lot 1025.50

ISSUE: WHETHER OR NOT THE UNLAWFUL DETAINER CASE FILED BY THE RESPONDENTS
AGAINST THE PETITIONERS WAS PROPER. Whether or not there was tolerance on the part of
plaintiffs to warrant a case for unlawful detainer against respondents.

RULING:

We grant the petition. No cause of action for an unlawful detainer.

Unlawful detainer is a summary action for the recovery of possession of real property. This
action may be filed by a lessor, vendor, vendee, or other person against whom the possession of any
land or building is unlawfully withheld after the expiration or termination of the right to hold
possession by virtue of any contract, express or implied. A complaint for unlawful detainer must
allege that: (a) the possession of the defendant was originally legal, as his possession was permitted
by the plaintiff on account of an express or implied contract between them; (b) the defendant's
possession became illegal when the plaintiff demanded that the defendant vacate the subject
property due to the expiration or termination of the right to possess under the contract; (c) the
defendant refused to heed such demand; and (d) the case for unlawful detainer is instituted within
one year from the date of last demand.

The allegations in the complaint determine both the nature of the action and the jurisdiction
of the court. The complaint must specifically allege the facts constituting unlawful detainer. In the
absence of these factual allegations , an action for unlawful detainer is not the proper remedy and
the municipal trial court does not have jurisdiction over the case.

The respondents' allegations in the Complaint are contrary to the requirements for an
unlawful detainer case. In an unlawful detainer, the possession of the defendant was originally legal
and his possession was permitted by the owner through an express or implied contract.

In the present case, paragraph 6 of the complaint clearly characterized the Sps. Golez's
possession of Lot 1025 as unlawful from the start and bereft of contractual or legal basis. Domingo
did not tolerate the possession of Sps. Golez since he had immediately objected and protested over
the construction of Sps. Golez's house on Lot 1025. Notably, the RTC expressly found that there was
no tolerance or permission on the part of Domingo on the construction of the Sps. Golez house on
Lot 1025.

Since tolerance has not been effectively alleged in the complaint, the complaint fails to state
a cause of action for unlawful detainer. Therefore, the MCTC had no jurisdiction over the
respondents' complaint.

Even assuming arguendo that the complaint sufficiently stated a cause of action, the
respondents still failed to prove that they or Domingo tolerated the Sps. Golez's possession on
account of an express or implied contract between them.

To justify an action for unlawful detainer, it is essential that the plaintiffs supposed acts of
tolerance must have been present right from the start of the possession which is later sought to be
recovered. Otherwise, if the possession was unlawful from the start, an action for unlawful detainer
would be an improper remedy.

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Unlawful Detainer

REBECCA FULLIDO, Petitioner, v. GINO GRILLI, Respondent.

SECOND DIVISION, G.R. No. 215014, February 29, 2016

Ponente: MENDOZA, J.

FACTS:

Sometime in 1994, Grilli, an Italian national, met Fullido in Bohol and courted her. In 1995,
Grilli decided to build a residential house where he and Fullido would stay whenever he would be
vacationing in the country. Grilli financially assisted Fullido in procuring a lot located in Biking I,
Dauis, Bohol, from her parents which was registered in her name. In 1998, Grilli and Fullido
executed a contract of lease, a memorandum of agreement and a special power of attorney to
define their respective rights over the house and lot.The lease contract stipulated, among others,
that Grilli as the lessee, would rent the lot, registered in the name of Fullido, for a period of fifty
years, to be automatically renewed for another fifty (50) years upon its expiration and that Fullido
as the lessor, was prohibited from selling, donating, or encumbering the said lot without the written
consent of Grilli. Lastly, the SPA allowed Grilli to administer, manage, and transfer the house and
lot on behalf of Fullido.

Initially, their relationship was harmonious, but it turned sour after 16 years of living
together. Both charged each other with infidelity. They could not agree who should leave the
common property, and Grilli sent formal letters to Fullido demanding that she vacate the property,
but these were unheeded. On September 8, 2010, Grilli filed a complaint for unlawful detainer with
prayer for issuance of preliminary injunction against Fullido.

The MCTC dismissed the case after finding that Fullido could not be ejected from their
house and lot. The MCTC opined that she was a co-owner of the house as she contributed to it by
supervising its construction. The RTC reversed and set aside the MCTC decision. The RTC was of the
view that Grilli had the exclusive right to use and possess the house and lot by virtue of the contract
of lease executed by the parties. Since the period of lease had not yet expired, Fullido, as lessor, had
the obligation to respect the peaceful and adequate enjoyment of the leased premises by Grilli as
lessee. On appeal, the CA upheld the decision of the RTC emphasizing that in an ejectment case, the
only issue to be resolved would be the physical possession of the property.

ISSUES:
1. Whether a contract could be declared void in a summary action of unlawful detainer.
2.Whether or not Fullido should be ejected from the subject property.
3. Whether or not In Pari Delicto Doctrine is applicable in the given case.

RULING:

1. A void contract cannot be a source of any right; it cannot be utilized in an ejectment suit.

A void or inexistent contract may be defined as one which lacks, absolutely either in fact or
in law, one or some of the elements which are essential for its validity. It is one which has no force
and effect from the very beginning, as if it had never been entered into; it produces no effect
whatsoever either against or in favor of anyone. Quod nullum est nullum producit effectum. Clearly,
contracts may be declared void even in a summary action for unlawful detainer because, precisely,
void contracts do not produce legal effect and cannot be the source of any rights. To emphasize,
void contracts may not be invoked as a valid action or defense in any court proceeding, including an
ejectment suit. The next issue that must be resolved by the Court is whether the assailed lease
contract and MOA are null and void. The lease contract and the MOA circumvent the constitutional
restraint against foreign ownership of lands.

2. Grilli does not have a cause of action for unlawful detainer.

As can be gleaned from the discussion above, the complainant must either be a lessor,
vendor, vendee, or other person against whom the possession of any land or building is unlawfully
withheld. In other words, the complainant in an unlawful detainer case must have some right of
possession over the property. In the case at bench, the lease contract and the MOA, from which
Grilli purportedly drew his right of possession, were found to be null and void for being
unconstitutional. A contract that violates the Constitution and the law is null and void ab initio and
vests no rights and creates no obligations. Hence, as void contracts could not be the source of rights,

Page | 37
Grilli had no possessory right over the subject land. A person who does not have any right over a
property from the beginning cannot eject another person possessing the same. Consequently,
Grilli's complaint for unlawful detainer must be dismissed for failure to prove his cause of action.

3. In Pari Delicto Docrine is not applicable in the given case.

On a final note, the Court deems it proper to discuss the doctrine of in pari delicto. Latin for
"in equal fault," in pari delicto connotes that two or more people are at fault or are guilty of a crime.
Neither courts of law nor equity will interpose to grant relief to the parties, when an illegal
agreement has been made, and both parties stand in pari delicto.

In the present case, both Grilli and Fullido were undoubtedly parties to a void contract.
Fullido, however, was not barred from filing the present petition before the Court because the
matters at hand involved an issue of public policy, specifically the Constitutional prohibition against
land ownership by aliens. As pronounced in Philippine Banking Corporation v. Lui She, the said
constitutional provision would be defeated and its continued violation sanctioned if the lands
continue to remain in the hands of a foreigner.40 Thus, the doctrine of in pari delicto shall not be
applicable in this case.

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Unlawful Detainer

THAMERLANE M. PEREZ, Petitioner, v. DOMINADOR PRISCILLA RASACEÑA, NAVARRO AND


ADELFA LIM, Respondent.

THIRD DIVISION, G.R. No. 211539, October 17, 2016

Ponente: PERALTA, J.

FACTS:

For this Court's Resolution is a Petition for Review on Certiorari filed by petitioner
Thamerlane M. Perez assailing the Decision and Resolution of the Court of Appeals. The CA reversed
the of the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 42, in Civil Case No. 11-125644, which affirmed the
Metropolitan Trial Court (MeTC) Decision.

The dispute centers on the right of possession of the subject property located at 800 Loyola'
Street corner San Diego Street, Sampaloc, Manila, with a total area of 187.50 square meters, more or
less, covered by Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. 284213 registered under the name of LNC 3
Asset Management, Inc.

On August 18, 2010, petitioner filed a Complaint for unlawful detainer before the MeTC of
Manila, Branch 11 against respondents Dominador Rasacefia, Priscilla Navarro, and Adelfa Lim. He
alleged that he is the absolute owner of the property in controversy. He acquired the property from
LNC through a Deed of Conditional Sale dated January 13, 2010 and, subsequently, through a Deed
of Absolute Sale dated July 29, 2010. The previous owner, LNC, tolerated respondents' occupancy of
the subject property.

In a letter dated April 19, 2010, petitioner, through his counsel demanded respondents to
vacate the property, but the latter refused to heed. The complaint, praying that respondents be
ordered to vacate the premises and restore the possession of the property to the petitioner; to pay a
reasonable rent in the amount of P30,000.00 for the use and occupation of the same; and, to pay
P100,000.00 as moral damages, P30,000.00 as attorney's fees and costs. In their Answer with
Counterclaim,respondents alleged that they leased the property from Agus Development
Corporation . They contended that: the court has no jurisdiction over the person of the
respondents; the case is barred by prior judgment or res judicata; there is no lessor-lessee
relationship between the parties; petitioner has no cause of action against respondents; and the
condition precedent for the filing of the complaint was not complied with as there was no demand
to vacate.

The MeTC ruled in favor of petitioner. Thereafter, respondents elevated the case before the
RTC of Manila. On September 30, 2011, the RTC affirmed in toto the Decision of the MeTC.
Aggrieved, respondents filed a petition for review before the CA. The CA reversed and set aside the
decision of the RTC. Petitioner failed to prove that his predecessor-in-interest tolerated
respondents' possession of the property. He did not offer any evidence attesting that LNC tolerated
the occupation. His complaint was silent as to the factual circumstances surrounding the alleged
tolerance, or averment of an overt act indicative of LNC's permission. The CA considered the Deed
of Absolute Sale from which petitioner anchors his right of possession highly dubious and
questionable because: the same was not registered with the proper Registry of Deeds; no affidavit
of the lawyer who notarized the same was submitted; and there was no proof of authority of the
persons who signed in the contract for LNC. Hence, the instant petition.

ISSUE: Whether or not an irregular deed of absolute sale is precluded from being an evidence of
lawful possession in order to constitute a valid cause of action for unlawful detainer.

RULING:

In the case at bar, petitioner anchors his claim of ownership and right to possess the
property on the strength of a notarized Deed of Conditional Sale and a notarized Deed of Absolute
Sale between. him and LNC.

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The CA opined that the Deed of Absolute Sale invoked by petitioner is highly dubious and
questionable considering that the same was not registered with the proper Registry of Deeds, no
affidavit by the lawyer who notarized the same was submitted, and no proof was shown that the
persons who signed for LNC were authorized to do so.

There is no rule which requires a party, who relies on a notarized deed of sale for
establishing his ownership, to present further evidence of such deed's genuineness lest the
presumption of its due execution be for naught.26 Regarded as evidence of the facts therein
expressed in a clear, unequivocal manner, public documents enjoy a presumption of regularity
which may only be rebutted by evidence so clear, strong and convincing as to exclude all
controversy as to falsity. The burden of proof to overcome said presumptions lies with the party
contesting the notarial document

It is settled that a complaint sufficiently alleges a cause of action for unlawful detainer if it states the
following:

(a) Initially, the possession of the property by the defendant was by contract with or by
tolerance of the plaintiff;

(b) Eventually, such possession became illegal upon notice by the plaintiff to the defendant
about the termination of the latter's right of possession;

(c) Thereafter, the defendant remained in possession of the property and deprived the
plaintiff of its enjoyment; and

(d) Within one year from the making of the last demand to vacate the property on the
defendant, the plaintiff instituted the complaint for ejectment.14

A review of petitioner's complaint shows that: (a) by tolerance of the previous owner, LNC,
respondents were allowed to occupy the property on the promise to vacate upon demand; (b) in a
letter dated April 19, 2010, petitioner demanded the respondents to vacate the property; (c) the
respondents refused to vacate; (d) petitioner filed the complaint on August 18, 2010 or within one
year from the formal demand to vacate was made. Clearly, the Complaint established a case for
unlawful detainer as to vest the MeTC jurisdiction over it.

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Forcible Entry

HEIRS OF JOHNNY AOAS, REPRESENTED BY BETTY PUCAY, Petitioners, v. JULIET AS-IL,


Respondent.

SECOND DIVISION, G.R. No. 219558, October 19, 2016

PONENTE: MENDOZA, J.

FACTS

In this Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, petitioners
Heirs of Johnny Aoas represented by Betty Pucay, question the decision and resoulution of the
Court of Appeals, which reversed the resolution of the Regional Trial Court of La Trinidad, Benguet,
Branch 63, in Civil Case No. 06-CV-2275. In reversing the said resolution, the CA reinstated the
Decision which affirmed in toto the Decision of the Municipal Trial Court of Itogon, Benguet in a
forcible entry case filed by respondent Juliet As-il against the Heirs of Johnny Aoas. The MTC
decision ordered the Heirs of Aoas or their representative and all persons acting under them to
vacate and turn over peacefully the actual and material possession of a 42 square meter lot located
in Tuding, Itogon, Benguet.

As-il filed a complaint for forcible entry and damages against the Heirs of Aoas before the
MTC, claiming absolute ownership and possessory rights over the 42 square meter portion of a
parcel of land She alleged that since time immemorial, she, by her predecessors and successors-in-
interest, had been in actual, open, physical, and notorious possession of the subject property; that
sometime in January 2005, she discovered that the Heirs of Aoas, by stealth and strategy, initiated
the preparatory digging, clearing and construction of a house and enclosing the subject land, thus,
depriving and dispossessing her of the same; and that when confronted, they asserted ownership of
the same property. From the foregoing, As-il asked the MTC to order the Heirs of Aoas to vacate the
subject property and that compensation be given to her as well as damages and attorney's fees.

In their Answer, the Heirs of Aoas contended that the area As-il claimed was their property,
it being part of a land registered in their names under TCT No. T-32507; that they had been in
continuous, public and adverse possession and occupation of it; that they have erected a residential
house and undertook activities such as fencing, rip-rapping and other improvements done openly
and publicly on the said property; that it was only after completion of the residential house when
As-il asserted her claim over the property; and that in the belief of being the true owners, they
refused As-il's demands to turn over the property.

During trial, the MTC, with the concurrence of both parties, ordered the conduct of a
relocation survey over the property. A Survey Commission was agreed to be formed and upon
completion of its tasks, a report was issued which, however, failed to address the question on
ownership. It merely confirmed that the properties overlapped each other. In other words, conflict
in boundaries was acknowledged.

ISSUE: Whether or not an ejectment case under Rule 70 is the proper remedy in the present case.

RULING:

From a deeper analysis of the records and attendant circumstances, it is clear that this case
deals not with the right to possess the property. Instead, the main discussions in the lower courts
and the CA went around the boundary dispute between the contending parties over the 42 square
meter parcel of land. This is apparent from the fact that the properties being claimed by both
parties are covered by separate certificates of title and overlapped each other. Stated differently,
both parties lay claim to that property on the basis of their certificates of title, both of which cover
the contested land. The MTC and RTC findings confirm this.

Settled is the rule that a boundary dispute, as in this case, can only be resolved in the
context of an accion reivindicatoria, and not in an ejectment case. In Manalang v. Bacani, the Court
held that boundary dispute cannot be resolved in ejectment proceedings as it involves different
issues, to wit: The boundary dispute is not about possession, but encroachment, that is, whether the
property claimed by the defendant formed part of the plaintiffs property. A boundary dispute

Page | 41
cannot be settled summarily under Rule 70 of the Rules of Court, the proceedings under which are
limited to unlawful detainer and forcible entry. In unlawful detainer, the defendant unlawfully
withholds the possession of the premises upon the expiration or termination of his right to hold
such possession under any contract, express or implied. The defendant's possession was lawful at
the beginning, becoming unlawful only because of the expiration or termination of his right of
possession. In forcible entry, the possession of the defendant is illegal from the very beginning, and
the issue centers on which between the plaintiff and the defendant had the prior possession de
facto.

Given the foregoing, the CA erred in affirming the ejectment of the Heirs of Aoas considering
that the issue raised cannot be properly ventilated in a forcible entry case as the main contention of
the parties deal with encroachment. In other words, the MTC in passing upon the case, acted
without authority as the case was beyond the ambit of a summary proceeding.

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Partition

MANUEL L. BAUTISTA, SPOUSES ANGEL SAHAGUN and CARMELITA BAUTISTA, and ANIANO L.
BAUTISTA , Petitioners .vs. MARGARITO L. BAUTISTA, Respondent

SECOND DIVISION, G.R. No. 202088, March 8, 2017

Ponente: PERALTA, J.

FACTS:

Assailed in this petition for review on certiorari filed by petitioners Manuel L. Bautista,
Spouses Angel Sahagun and Carmelita Bautista, and Aniano L. Bautista before this Court is the
Decision dated March 6, 2012 and Resolution dated May 25, 2012 of the Court of
Appeals (CA) which reversed the Decision dated February 16, 2009 of the Regional Trial
Court (RTC) of San Pablo City, Branch 32, declaring that the subject property covered by Transfer
Certificate of Title (TCT) No. T-59882 is exclusively owned by respondent Margarito L. Bautista.

Petitioners established a lending business through a common fund from the proceeds of the
sale of a parcel of coconut land they inherited from their mother Consorcia Lantin
Bautista. Margarito, Florencia, and Ester managed the business with Reginald Sahagun, Carmelita's
son, as credit investigator. Senen Cabrera, Ester's husband, prepared the documents for mortgage
and reported the status of the lending business to the Bautista siblings. Through the said lending
business, the siblings acquired several real properties in San Pablo City.

Amelia Mendoza obtained a loan from Florencia and scured with real estate mortgag.
Florencia, thereafter, received the owner's duplicate copy of TCT No. T-2371, which she, in turn,
entrusted to Carmelita when she went overseas.

On November 28, 2002, Amelia allegedly sold the subject property to Margarito through
a Kasulatan ng Bilihang Tuluyanfor ₱500,000.00 and, likewise, cancelled the ₱l,085,000.00 loan
through another "Cancellation and Discharge of Mortgage.” On the same date, Florencia filed a
Petition for the Issuance of a Second Owner's Duplicate of TCT No. T-2371 before the RTC of San
Pablo City, Branch 29. She alleged that she was the mortgagee of the subject property, and that she
could not locate, despite diligent search, the owner's duplicate title in her possession, which she
misplaced sometime in September 2002. Florencia also executed a Special Power of Attorney in
favor of Margarito to represent her in the proceedings.

Petitioners tried to oppose the issuance, but on January 30, 2003, the RTC granted the
petition and TCT No. T-59882 was later issued in the name of Margarito. Failing to settle their
differences, petitioners subsequently instituted a Complaint for Partition and Accounting with
Prayer for Temporary.

RTC ruled in favor of the petitioners and declared, among other things, that the Sta. Monica
property was commonly owned by the siblings. The RTC also ordered that the property be
partitioned among all of them and that an accounting of its income be held. On appeal, the Court of
Appeals reversed the trial court ruling.

ISSUE: Whether or not a compromise decision based on an agreement by all the parties which
included property where some of the titles are already in the names of the siblings concerned
should be considered in partition.

RULING:

The Court ruled in favor of petitioners. It ruled that the object of partition is to enable those
who own property as joint tenants, or coparceners, or tenants in common to put an end to the joint
tenancy so as to vest in each a sole estate in specific property or an allotment in the lands or
tenements. It is typically brought by a person claiming to be the owner of a specified property
against a defendant or defendants whom the plaintiff recognizes to be his co-owners and is
premised on the existence or non-existence of co-ownership between the parties. Hence, unless
and until the issue of co-ownership is definitively resolved, it would be premature to effect a
partition of an estate.

Consequently, the first stage of an action for judicial partition and/or accounting is
concerned with the determination of whether or not a coownership in fact exists and a partition is

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proper. In the case at bar, petitioners aver that although the Sta. Monica property was registered
solely in Margarito's name, they are co-owners of the property because it was acquired through the
siblings' lending business, as such, they are entitled to partition and the conveyance to them of their
respective shares.

To support their allegations, petitioners presented several mortgage contracts evidencing


the transactions between Amelia and Florencia, computer printouts of their bank transactions, and
the blank Kasulatan. In Carmelita's direct testimony, she illustrated how they acquired properties
through their lending business and how ownership of the properties was transferred under their
names. She also testified that the money used in the purchase of the Sta. Monica property came
from their common fund.

Page | 44
Validity of Partition

Elpidio Magno et. al vs. Lorenzo Magno et al.

THIRD DIVISION , GR206451 August 17, 2016

Ponente: Peralta, J.

FACTS:

Petitioners Elpidio Magno, heirs of Isidro M. Cabatic, namely: Jose Cabatic, Rodrigo Cabatic,
and Melba Cabatic, and Odelito M. Bugayong, as heir of the late Aurora Magno, (Elpidio Magno, et
al.) are the successors-in-interest of Doroteo Magno, who is the legitimate child of Nicolas Magno by
his first wife, Eugenia Recaido. On the other hand, respondents Lorenzo, Nicolas, Petra, Marciano,
Isidro, Teodista, Estrella, all surnamed Magno, and Bienvenido M., Conchita M., Silary M., Manuel M.
and Manolo, all surnamed De Guzman, are the successors-in-interest ofNicetas Magno, Gavino
Magno and Nazaria Magno, (Lorenzo Magno, et al.), who are the legitimate children of Nicolas by
her second wife, Camila Asinger. al.), who are the predecessors-in-interest of Lorenzo Magno, et al.,
filed an Amended Complaint dated January 30, 1964 before the Court of First Instance (CF!) of
Alaminos, Pangasinan, which was docketed as Civil Case No. A-413. In their complaint for partition
with damages, Gavino Magno, et al. sought the partition. Lorenzo Magno, et al. averred that their
refusal to partition the properties is founded on the open, continuous, exclusive and adverse
possession in the concept of owner by their predecessor-in-interest, Gavino, Nazaria and Necitas, all
surnamed Magno. In the Amended Complaint22 dated July 1, 1992, Elpidio Magno, et al. stressed
that the three (3) real properties described in their complaint were all acquired during the first
marriage of Nicolas with Eugenia Recaido.

ISSUE: whether the properties of the deceased Nicolas Magno have been partitioned

RULING:

The Court held that from the evidence thus adduced, the Court is convinced that said
properties of the deceased Nicolas Magno, common ancestor of the parties remain undivided up to
present. This view is supported by the testimonies of the plaintiffs and their witnesses, as well as
that of the defendants and their witnesses. The mere fact that the Lucap property is covered by four
tax declarations is not evidence to show that it has been partitioned. Mere tax declarations are not
evidence of ownership. Likewise, the fact that the plaintiffs possessed certain portions of the Lucap
property does not prove that said property had been partitioned because, as satisfactorily
explained by Nicetas Magno, it was the practice of the heirs to occupy portions of the hereditary
estate and harvest the corresponding produce thereof. This has not been contradicted or rebutted
by the defendants. The inequality of the areas possessed by the plaintiffs and Doroteo Magno
involving the Lucap property which was not explained by defendants is another irrefutable sign of
non-partition.

No partition having been effected among the heirs, it follows that the pro-indiviso character
of the lands in question continue. It is a familiar doctrine that when an inheritance is undivided,
possession by one of the co-heirs, and prescription, however long may be the lapse, do not run
against the latter's right of action to demand the partition of the pro-indiviso property, for the
Jimple reason that the possessor thereof is not a third person, nor does he hold it by such adverse
possession as will become legalized by prescription.

The only exception to the rule that prescription does not run against the co-heirs is when
the co-heirs or co-owners, having possession of the hereditary community property, hold the same
in his own name, that is, under claim of exclusive ownership. In such case, he may acquire the
property by prescription if his possession meets the other requirements of the law (De los Santos
vs. Sta. Teresa, 44 Phil. 811). However, this exception does not apply in this case. In the first place,
neither the defendant Teofilo Magno nor his father Doroteo Magno could be considered to have
possessed the lands in question in the concept of an owner to the exclusion of his co-heirs. The
evidence to the effect is insufficient and inconclusive. As can be clearly gleaned from the evidence,
the defendants were all the while aware of the plaintiffs' claim of ownership over said properties.

Page | 45
Right of Redemption

ANECITA GREGORIO, Petitioner, v. MARIA CRISOLOGO VDA. DE CULIG, THRU HER


ATTORNEY-IN-FACT ALFREDO CULIG, JR., Respondent.

THIRD DIVISION, G.R. No. 180559, January 20, 2016


Ponente: JARDELEZA, J.

FACTS:

Respondent Maria Crisologo Vda. De Culig is the widow of Alfredo Culig, Sr. During his
lifetime, Alfredo was granted a homestead patent under the Public Land Act (C.A. 141) over a
54,730-square meter parcel of land (the property) in Nuangan, Kidapawan, North Cotabato. Alfredo
died sometime in 1971, and on October 9, 1974, his heirs, including respondent, executed an extra-
judicial settlement of estate with simultaneous sale of the property in favor of spouses Andres
Seguritan and Anecita Gregorio (petitioner).

On September 26, 1979, respondent filed a complaint demanding the repurchase of the
property under the provisions of the Public Land Act. She alleged that she first approached the
spouses personally and offered to pay back the purchase price but the latter refused. For their part,
the spouses Seguritan countered that the respondent had no right to repurchase the property since
the latter only wanted to redeem the property to sell it for a greater profit.

The Regional Trial Court rendered its decision dismissing the complaint. The trial court,
relying on the case of Lee Chuy Realty Corporation v. Court of Appeals ruled that a formal offer
alone, or the filing of a case alone, within the prescribed period of five (5) years is not sufficient to
effect a valid offer to redeem—either must or should be coupled with consignation of the
repurchase price if bona fide tender of payment has been refused. In its decision dated July 11,
2006, the CA granted the appeal.According to the CA, consignation should not be considered a
requisite element for the repurchase of homestead or free patent lots.

ISSUE: Whether or not the respondent can validly exercise the right of redemption.

RULING:

It is undisputed, in fact, the parties already stipulated, that the complaint for repurchase
was filed within the reglementary period of five years. The parties also agreed that there was no
consignment of the repurchase price. However, petitioner argues that consignment is necessary to
validly exercise the right of redemption.

In Hulganza v. Court of Appeals, we held that the bona fide tender of the redemption price
or its equivalent—consignation of said price in court is not essential or necessary where the filing
of the action itself is equivalent to a. formal offer to redeem. As explained in the said case,"The
formal offer to redeem, accompanied by a bona fide tender of the redemption price, within the
period of redemption prescribed by law, is only essential to preserve the right of redemption for
future enforcement beyond such period of redemption and within the period prescribed for the
action by the statute of limitations. Where, as in the instant case, the right to redeem is exercised
thru the filing of judicial action within the period of redemption prescribed by the law, the formal
offer to redeem, accompanied by a bona fide tender of the redemption price, might be proper, but is
not essential. The filing of the action itself, within the period of redemption, is equivalent to a
formal offer to redeem.

We also do not agree with petitioner's insistence that Article J616 of the Civil Code applies
in this case. As found by the CA, the provision only speaks of the amount to be tendered when
exercising the right to repurchase, but it does not state the procedure to be followed in exercising
the right. In feet, in Peralta v. Alipio, we rejected the argument that the provisions on conventional
redemption apply as supplementary law to the Public Land Act, and clarified that:

xxx. The Public Land Law does not fix the form and manner in which reconveyance
may be enforced, nor prescribe the method and manner in which demand therefor should
be made; any act which should amount to a demand for reconveyance should, therefore, be
sufficient.

Petitioner claims that even if the redemption is timely made, respondent is not entitled to
the right of repurchase because respondent intends to resell the property again for profit, and that
her "aim in redeeming the land is purely for speculation and profit. We have ruled in several

Page | 46
instances, that the right to repurchase of a patentee should fail if the purpose was only speculative
and for profit, or "to dispose of it again for greater profit" or "to recover the land only to dispose of
it again to amass a hefty profit to themselves." In all these instances, we found basis for ruling that
there was intent to sell the property for a higher profit. We find no such purpose in this case.

The burden of proof of such speculative intent is on the petitioner. Petitioner's bare
allegations as to respondent's "manifestation of the affluence," "bulging coffers," their being
"professionals" and "most of them are residing in Canada" are not enough to show that petitioner
intended to resell the property for profit.

Page | 47
Nuisance Per Accidens

KNIGHTS OF RIZAL, Petitioner. vs, DMCI HOMES, INC., DMCI PROJECT DEVELOPERS, INC., CITY
OF MANILA, NATIONAL COMMISSION FOR CULTURE AND THE ARTS, NATIONAL HISTORICAL
COMMISSION OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondents.

EN BANC. G.R. No. 213948, April 18, 2017

Ponente: CARPIO, J.

FACTS:

Before this Court is a Petition for Injunction, with Applications for Temporary Restraining
Order, Writ of Preliminary Injunction, and Others filed by the Knights of Rizal (KOR) seeking,
among others, for an order to stop the construction of respondent DMCI Homes, Inc. 's
condominium development project known as the Torre de Manila. In its Resolution dated 25
November 2014, the Court resolved to treat the petition as one for mandamus

DMCI Project Developers, Inc. acquired a 7,716.60-square meter lot in the City of Manila,
located near Taft Avenue, Ermita, beside the former Manila Jai-Alai Building and Adamson
University.The lot was earmarked for the construction of DMCI-PDI's Torre de Manila
condominium project. Respondents were granted a Building Permit, allowing it to build a "Forty
Nine (49) Storey w/ Basement & 2 penthouse Level Res'l./Condominium" on the property.

Thereafter, the City Council of Manila issued Resolution No. 121 enjoining the Office of the
Building Official to temporarily suspend the Building Permit of DMCI-PDI, citing among others, that
"the Torre de Manila Condominium, based on their development plans, upon completion, will rise
up high above the back of the national monument, to clearly dwarf the statue of our hero, and with
such towering heights, would certainly ruin the line of sight of the Rizal Shrine from the frontal
Roxas Boulevard vantage point.

ISSUES:

1. Whether Torre de Manila is a nuisance per se

2. Whether Torre de Manila is a nuisance peraccidens

RULING:

The Court ruled in negative. Article 694 of the Civil Code defines a nuisance as any act,
omission, establishment, business, condition of property, or anything else which: (1) injures or
endangers the health or safety of others; (2) annoys or offends the senses; (3) shocks, defies or
disregards decency or morality; (4) obstructs or interferes with the free passage of any public
highway or street, or any body of water; or (5) hinders or impairs the use of property.

Thy Court recognizes two kinds of nuisances. The first, nuisance perse, is on "recognized as
a nuisance under any and all circumstances, because it constitutes a direct menace to public health
or safety, and, for that reason, may be abated summarily under the undefined law of necessity." The
second, nuisance peraccidens, is that which "depends upon certain conditions and circumstances,
and its existence being a question of fact, it cannot be abated without due hearing thereon in a
tribunal authorized to decide whether such a thing in law constitutes a nuisance."

It can easily be gleaned that the Torre de Manila is not a nuisance per se. The Torre de
Manila project cannot be considered as a "direct menace to I public health or safety." Not only is a
condominium project commonplace in the City of Manila, DMCI-PDI has, according to the proper
government agencies, complied with health and safety standards set by law. DMCI-PDI has been
granted the following permits and clearances prior to starting the project: (1) Height Clearance
Permit from the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines; (2) Development Permit from the
HLURB; (3) Zoning Certification from the HLURB; (4) Certificate of Environmental Compliance
Commitment from the Environment Management Bureau of the Department of Environment and
Natural Resources; (5) Barangay Clearance (6) Zoning Permit; (7) Building Permit; (8) and
Electrical and Mechanical Permit.

Page | 48
Later, DMCI-PDI also obtained the right to build under a variance recommended by the
MZBAA and granted by the City Council of Manila. Thus, there can be no doubt that the Torre de
Manila project is not a nuisance perse.

On the other hand, the KOR now claims that the Torre de Manila is a nuisance peraccidens.

By definition, a nuisance peraccidens is determined based on its surrounding conditions


and circumstances. These conditions and circumstances must be well established, not merely
alleged. The Court cannot simply accept these conditions and circumstances as established facts as
the KOR would have us do in this case. The KOR itself concedes that the question of whether the
Torre de Manila is a nuisance peraccidens is a question of fact.

The authority to decide when a nuisance exists is an authority to find facts, to estimate their
force, and to apply rules of law to the case thus made. 1lhis Court is no such authority. It is not a
trier of facts. It cannot simply take the allegations in the petition and accept these as facts, more so
in this case where these allegations are contested by the respondents.

The task to receive and evaluate evidence is lodged with the trial courts. The question, then,
of whether the Torre de Manila project is a nuisance peraccidens must be settled after due
proceedings brought before the proper Regional Trial Court. The KOR cannot circumvent the
process in the guise be protecting national culture and heritage.

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Right of Way

HELEN CALIMOSO, MARILYN P. CALIMOSO AND LIBY P. CALIMOSO, Petitioners, v. AXEL D.


ROULLO, Respondent.

SECOND DIVISION, G.R. No. 198594, January 25, 2016


Ponente: BRION.J.

FACTS:

In his Complaint for Easement of Right of Way, the respondent mainly alleged: that he is the
owner of Lot 1462-C-1 situated in Brgy. Sambag, Jaro, Iloilo City; that his lot is isolated by several
surrounding estates, including Lot 1454-B-25 owned by petitioners, all surnamed Calimoso; that he
needs a right-of-way in order to have access to a public road; and that the shortest and most
convenient access to the nearest public road, i.e., Fajardo Subdivision Road, passes through the
petitioners' lot. The petitioners objected to the establishment of the easement because it would
cause substantial damage to the two (2) houses already standing on their property. They alleged
that the respondent has other right-of-way alternatives.

The RTC granted the respondent's complaint and ordered the petitioners to provide the
respondent an easement of right-of-way. "Accordingly, the RTC ordered the respondent to pay the
petitioners proper indemnity in the amount of "Php1,500.00 per square meter of the portion of the
lot subject of the easement." The petitioners appealed the RTC's decision to the CA. The CA, in its
assailed December 15, 2010 decision, affirmed in toto the RTC's decision and held that all the
requisites for the establishment of a legal or compulsory easement of right-of-way were present in
the respondent's case.

ISSUE: Whether or not the grant of the easement of right of way was proper.

RULING:

We disagree with the CA finding that all the requisites for the valid establishment of an
easement of right-of-way are present in this case.

To be entitled to an easement of right-of-way, the following requisites should be met:


1. The dominant estate is surrounded by other immovables and has no adequate outlet to a
public highway;

2. There is payment of proper indemnity;

3. The isolation is not due to the acts of the proprietor of the dominant estate; and

4. The right-of-way claimed is at the point least prejudicial to the servient estate; and insofar as
consistent with this rule, where the distance from the dominant estate to a public highway
may be the shortest."

That the respondent's lot is surrounded by several estates and has no access to a public
road are undisputed. The only question before this Court is whether the right-of-way passing
through the petitioners' lot satisfies the fourth requirement of being established at the point least
prejudicial to the servient estate.

Three options were then available to the respondent for the demanded right-of-way:
the first option is to traverse directly through the petitioners' property, which route has an
approximate distance of fourteen (14) meters from the respondent's lot to the Fajardo Subdivision
Road; the second option is to pass through two vacant lots (Lots 1461-B-l and 1461-B-2) located on
the southwest of the respondent's lot, which route has an approximate distance of forty-three (43)
meters to another public highway, the Diversion Road; and the third option is to construct a
concrete bridge over Sipac Creek and ask for a right-of-way on the property of a certain Mr. Basa in
order to reach the Fajardo Subdivision Road.

Article 650 of the Civil Code provides that the easement of right-of-way shall be
established at the point least prejudicial to the servient estate, and, insofar as consistent with this
rule, where the distance from the dominant estate to a public highway may be the shortest. If these
two criteria (shortest distance and least damage) do not concur in a single tenement, we have held

Page | 50
in the past that the least prejudice criterion must prevail over the shortest distance criterion. In
this case, the establishment of a right-of-way through the petitioners' lot would cause the
destruction of the wire fence and a house on the petitioners' property. Although this right-of-way
has the shortest distance to a public road, it is not the least prejudicial considering the destruction
pointed out, and that an option to traverse two vacant lots without causing any damage, albeit
longer, is available.

We have held that "mere convenience for the dominant estate is not what is required by law
as the basis of setting up a compulsory easement;"11 that "a longer way may be adopted to avoid
injury to the servient estate, such as when there are constructions or walls which can be avoided by
a roundabout way."

Page | 51
Loan

GEORGIA OSMEÑA-JALANDONI, Petitioner . vs. CARMEN A. ENCOMIENDA, Respondent

SECOND DIVISION , G.R. No. 205578. March 1, 2017

Ponente: PERALTA, J.

FACTS:

This is an appeal from the Decision of the Court of Appeals, Cebu City dated March 29, 2012
and its Resolution dated December 19, 2012 in CA-G.R. CV No. 01339 which set aside the
Decision of the Cebu Regional Trial Court , Branch 57, dated January 9, 2006, dismissing respondent
Carmen Encomienda's claim for sum of money.

Respondents met petitioner in Cebu on October 24, 1995, when the former was purchasing a
condominium unit and the latter was the real estate broker. Thereafter, they became close friends.
On March 2, 1997, petitioner thereafter borrowed money from respondent who handed
₱l00,000.00 in a sealed envelope to the latter's security guard. While in Manila, petitioner again
borrowed money for certain errands and followed by another debts.

Encomienda then later gave Jalandoni six weeks to settle her debts. Despite several demands,
no payment was made. Jalandoni insisted that the amounts given were not in the form of loans.
When they had to appear before the Barangay for conciliation, no settlement was reached. But a
member of the Lupong Tagapamayapa of Barangay Kasambagan, Laureano Rogero, attested that J
alandoni admitted having borrowed money from Encomienda and that she was willing to return it.
Jalandoni said she would talk to her lawyer first, but she never came back. Hence, Encomienda filed
a complaint. She impleaded Luis as a necessary party, being Georgia's husband.

For her defense, Jalandoni claimed that there was never a discussion or even just an allusion
about a loan. She confirmed that Encomienda would indeed deposit money in her bank account and
pay her bills in Cebu. But when asked, Encomienda would tell her that she just wanted to extend
some help and that it was not a loan. When Jalandoni returned to Cebu, Encomienda wanted to
fetch her at the airport but the former refused. This allegedly made Encomienda upset, causing her
to eventually demand payment for the amounts originally intended to be gratuitous.

On January 9, 2006, the RTC of Cebu City dismissed Encomienda's complaint. On appeal, the
Court of Appeals reversed the trial court ruling.

ISSUE: Whether or not the transanctions should not be considered as loans since they were not
reduced in writing

RULING:

The Court ruled in negative. The Court ruled Jalandoni greatly benefited from the
purportedly unauthorized payments. Thus, even if she asseverates that Encomienda's payment of
her household bills was without her knowledge or against her will, she cannot deny the fact that the
same still inured to her benefit and Encomienda must therefore be consequently reimbursed for it.
Also, when Jalandoni learned about the payments, she did nothing to express her objection to or
repudiation of the same, within a reasonable time. Even when she claimed that she was prepared
with her own money, she still accepted the financial assistance and actually made use of it.

Furthermore, in case of loans between friends and relatives, the absence of


acknowledgment receipts or promissory notes is more natural and real. In a similar case, the Court
upheld the CA' s pronouncement that the existence of a contract of loan cannot be denied merely
because it was not reduced in writing. Surely, there can be a verbal loan. Contracts are binding
between the parties, whether oral or written. The law is explicit that contracts shall be obligatory in
whatever form they may have been entered into, provided all the essential requisites for their
validity are present. A simple loan or mutuum exists when a person receives a loan of money or any
other fungible thing and acquires its ownership. He is bound to pay to the creditor the equal
amount of the same kind and quality. Jalandoni posits that the more logical reason behind the
disbursements would be what Encomienda candidly told the trial court, that her acts were plainly
an "unselfish display of Christian help" and done out of "genuine concern for Georgia's children."
However, the "display of Christian help" is not inconsistent with theexistence of a loan. Encomienda
immediately offered a helping hand when a friend asked for it. But this does not mean that she had

Page | 52
already waived herright to collect in the future. Indeed, when Encomienda felt that Jalandoni was
beginning to avoid her, that was when she realized that she had to protect her right to demand
payment. The fact that Encomienda kept the receipts even for the smallest amounts she had
advanced, repeatedly sent demand letters, and immediately filed the instant case when Jalandoni
stubbornly refused to heed her demands sufficiently disproves the latter’s belief that all the sums of
money she received were merely given out of charity.

The principle of unjust enrichment finds application in this case. Unjust enrichment exists
when a person unfairly retains a benefit to the loss of another, or when a person retains money or
property of another against the fundamental principles of justice, equity, and good conscience.
There is unjust enrichment under Article 22 of the Civil Code when (1) a person is unjustly
benefited, and (2) such benefit is derived at the expense of or with damages to another. The
principle of unjust enrichment essentially contemplates payment when there is no duty to pay, and
the person who receives the payment has no right to receive it. The CA is then correct when it ruled
that allowing Jalandoni to keep the amounts received from Encomienda will certainly cause an
unjust enrichment on Jalandoni' s part and to Encomienda's damage and prejudice.

Page | 53
Mortgagee in good faith

PRUDENTIAL BANK (now BANK OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS), Petitioner vs. RONALD
RAPANOT and HOUSING & LAND USE REGULATORY BOARD, Respondents

G.R. No. 191636, January 16, 2017

Ponente: CAGUIOA, J.

FACTS:

Golden Dragon is the developer of Wack-Wack Twin Towers Condominium, located in


Mandaluyong City. On May 9, 1995, Rapanot paid Golden Dragon the amount of ₱453,329.64 as
reservation fee for a 41.1050- square meter unit in said condominium, particularly designated as
Unit 2308-B2, and covered by Condominium Certificate of Title (CCT) No. 2383 in the name of
Golden Dragon. The Bank extended a loan to Golden Dragon amounting to P50,000,000.008 to be
utilized by the latter as additional working capital. To secure the loan, Golden Dragon executed a
Mortgage Agreement in favor of the Bank, which had the effect of constituting a real estate
mortgage over several condominium units owned and registered under Golden Dragon's name.
Among the units subject of the Mortgage Agreement was Unit 2308-B2.

Rapanot and Golden Dragon entered into a Contract to Sell covering Unit 2308-B2. On April
23, 1997, Rapanot completed payment of the full purchase price of said unit. However, despite
repeated demands Golden Dragon failed to deliver the said condominium unit which prompted
Rapanot to file a complaint National Capital Region Field Office of the HLURB. The arbiter granted
the decision on favour of Rapanot with damages. Ordering respondent Bank to cancel the mortgage
on the subject condominium unit, and accordingly, release the title thereof to the complainant; and
to be jointly and severally liable with Golden Dragon. This prompted the Bank to secure a certified
true copy of the Arbiter's Decision from the HLURB in which they contended they were in Good
faith with respect to Unit 2308-B2 mortgaged by Golden Dragon in its favor as collateral.

ISSUE: Whether or not Prudential Bank is jointly and severally liable with Golden Dragon for
damages due Rapanot

RULING:

It is true that a mortgagee in good faith and for value is entitled to protection, as held in
Rural Bank of Compostela vs. Court of Appeals but petitioner's dependence on this ruling is
misplaced as it cannot be considered a mortgagee in good faith.The doctrine of "mortgagee in good
faith" is based on the rule that all persons dealing with property covered by a certificate of title, as
mortgagees, are not required to go beyond what appears on the face of the title.

However, while a mortgagee is not under obligation to look beyond the certificate of title,
the nature of petitioner's business requires it to take further steps to assure that there are no
encumbrances or liens on the mortgaged property, especially since it knew that it was dealing with
a condominium developer. It should have inquired deeper into the status of the properties offered
as collateral and verified if the HLURB's authority to mortgage was in fact previously obtained. This
it failed to do. It has been ruled that a bank, like petitioner, cannot argue that simply because the
titles offered as security were clean of any encumbrances or lien, it was relieved of taking any other
step to verify the implications should the same be sold by the developer. While it is not expected to
conduct an exhaustive investigation of the mortgagor's title, it cannot be excused from the duty of
exercising the due diligence required of banking institutions, for banks are expected to exercise
more care and prudence than private individuals in their dealings, even those involving registered
property, for their business is affected with public interest.

Thus, petitioner should have ascertained that the required authority to mortgage the
condominium units was obtained from the HLURB before it approved Golden Dragon's loan. It
cannot feign lack of knowledge of the sales activities of Golden Dragon since, as an extender of
credit, it is aware of the practices, both good or bad, of condominium developers. Since petitioner
was negligent in its duty to investigate the status of the properties offered to it as collateral, it
cannot claim that it was a mortgagee in good faith.

Page | 54
Equitable Mortgage

Rosario Victoria Pidlaoan and Elma Pidalaoan vs Normita Jacob Pidlaoan et al.

SECOND DIVISION, G.R. No. 196470, April 20, 2016

Ponente: BRION, J.

FACTS:

Rosario and Elma lived together since 1978 until Rosario left for Saudi Arabia. In 1984,
Elma bought a parcel of land in Lucena City and was issued Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. T-
50282.2 When Rosario came home, she caused the construction of a house on the said lot but she
left again after the house was built.

Elma allegedly mortgaged the house and lot in 1989.When the properties were about to be
foreclosed, Elma allegedly asked for help from her sister-in-law, Eufemia Pidlaoan to redeem the
property. On her part, Eufemia called her daughter abroad, Normita, to lend money to Elma.
Normita agreed.

Elma allegedly sought to sell the land, but when she failed to find a buyer, she offered to sell
it to Eufemia or her daughter. Elma then executed a deed of sale transferring the ownership of the
lot to Normita. The last provision in the deed of sale provides that Elma shall eject the person who
erected the house and deliver the lot to Normita.

When Elma and Normita were about to have the document notarized, the notary public
advised them to donate the lot instead to avoid capital gains tax. On the next day, Elma executed a
deed of donation in Normita's favor and had it notarized. TCT No. T-50282 was cancelled and TCT
No. T-70990 was issued in Normita's name. Since then, Normita had been paying the real property
taxes over the lot but Elma continued to occupy the house. Rosario found out about the donation
when she returned.

In 1997, the petitioners filed a complaint for reformation of contract, cancellation of TCT
No. T-70990, and damages with prayer for preliminary injunction against Eufemia, Normita, and
Herminigilda Pidlaoan (respondents).

The petitioners argued that: first, they co-owned the lot because both of them contributed
the money used to purchase it; second, Elma and Normita entered into an equitable mortgage
because they intended to constitute a mortgage over the lot to secure Elma's loan but they executed
a deed of sale instead; and third, the deed of donation was simulated because Elma executed it upon
the notary public's advice to avoid capital gains tax.

ISSUE: Whether or not the transaction between Elma and Normita was an equitable mortgage.

RULING:

An equitable mortgage is one which, although lacking in some formality or other requisites
demanded by statute, nevertheless reveals the intention of the parties to charge real property as
security for a debt, and contains nothing impossible or contrary to law. Articles 1602 and 1604 of
the Civil Code provide that a contract of absolute sale shall be presumed an equitable mortgage if
any of the circumstances listed in Article 1602 is attendant.

Two requisites must concur for Articles 1602 and 1604 of the Civil Code to apply: one, the
parties entered into a contract denominated as a contract of sale; and two, their intention was to
secure an existing debt by way of mortgage.

In the present case, the unnotarized contract of sale between Elma and Normita is
denominated as "Panananto ng Pagkatanggap ng Kahustuhang Bayad." Its contents show an
unconditional sale of property between Elma and Normita. The document shows no intention to
secure a debt or to grant a right to repurchase. Thus, there is no evidence that the parties agreed to
mortgage the property as contemplated in Article 1602 of the Civil Code.

Clearly, the contract is not one of equitable mortgage. Even assuming that Article 1602 of
the Civil Code applies in this case, none of the circumstances are present to give rise to the
presumption of equitable mortgage. One, the petitioners failed to substantiate their claim that the

Page | 55
sale price was unusually inadequate. In fact, the sale price of P30,000.00 is not unusually
inadequate compared with the lot's market value of P32,160 as stated in the 1994 tax declaration.
Two, the petitioners continued occupation on the property was coupled with the respondents'
continuous demand for them to vacate it. Third, no other document was executed for the
petitioners to repurchase the lot after the sale contract was executed. Finally, the respondents paid
the real property taxes on the lot. These circumstances contradict the petitioners' claim of equitable
mortgage.

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Contract of Sale

DASMARIÑAS T. ARCAINA and MAGNANI T. BANTA vs. NOEMI L. INGRAM, represented by MA.
NENETTE L. ARCHINUE

THIRD DIVISION, G.R. No. 196444. February 15, 2017

Ponente:JARDELEZA, J.

FACTS:

Arcaina is the owner of Lot No. 3230 (property) located at Salvacion, Sto. Domingo, Albay.
Sometime in 2004, her attorney-in-fact, Banta, entered into a contract with Ingram for the sale of
the property. Banta showed Ingram and the latter’s attorney-in-fact, respondent Ma. Nenette L.
Archinue (Archinue), the metes and bounds of the property and represented that Lot No. 3230 has
an area of more or less 6,200 aquare meters (sq.m.) per the tax declaration covering it. The contract
price was ₱1,860,000.00, with Ingram making installment payments for the property from May 5,
2004 to February 10, 2005 totaling ₱1,715,000.00. Banta and Ingram thereafter executed a
Memorandum of Agreement acknowledging the previous payments and that Ingram still had an
obligation to pay the remaining balance in the amount of ₱145,000.00. They also separately
executed deeds of absolute sale over the property in Ingram’s favor. Subsequently, Ingram caused
the property to be surveyed and discovered that Lot No. 3230 has an area of 12,000 sq. m. Upon
learning of the actual area of the property, Banta allegedly insisted that the difference of 5,800 sq.
m. remains unsold. This was opposed by Ingram who claims that she owns the whole lot by virtue
of the sale. Thus, Archinue, on behalf of Ingram, instituted the recovery case, docketed as Civil Case
No. S-241, against petitioners before the MCTC.

Trial ensued. After Ingram presented her evidence, petitioners filed a demurrer on the
grounds that (1) Ingram failed to sufficiently establish her claim and (2) her claim lacks basis in fact
and in law. The MCTC granted petitioners' demurrer and counterclaim against Ingram.

The MCTC declared that the survey showed that the property was 12,000 sq. m. or more
than what was stated in the deeds of sale. For Ingram to be awarded the excess 5,800 sq. m. portion
of the property, she should have presented evidence that she paid for the surplus area consistent
with Article 1540 of the Civil Code

On appeal, the RTC reversed and set aside the Order of the MCTC. The RTC found that
neither of the parties presented competent evidence to prove the property's actual area. In
addition, the RTC held that Article 1542, which covers sale of real estate in lump sum, applies in this
case. The CA affirmed the RTC's ruling with modification.

ISSUE: Whether or not there can be no valid verdict for the final adjudication of the parties' rights
under the contract of sale.

RULING:

In a lump sum contract, a vendor is generally obligated to deliver all the land covered within
the boundaries, regardless of whether the real area should be greater or smaller than that recited in
the deed. However, in case there is conflict between the area actually covered by the boundaries
and the estimated area stated in the contract of sale, he/she shall do so only when the excess or
deficiency between the former and the latter is reasonable.

Declaring Ingram as the owner of the whole 12,000 sq. m. on the premise that this is the
actual area included in the boundaries would be ordering the delivery of almost twice the area
stated in the deeds of sale. Surely, Article 1542 does not contemplate such an unfair situation to
befall a vendor-that he/she would be compelled to deliver double the amount that he/she originally
sold without a corresponding increase in price. In Asiain v. Jalandoni, we explained that "[a] vendee
of a land when it is sold in gross or with the description 'more or less' does not thereby ipso
facto take all risk of quantity in the land. The use of 'more or less' or similar words in designating
quantity covers only a reasonable excess or deficiency." Therefore, we rule that Ingram is entitled
only to 6,200 sq. m. of the property. An area of 5,800 sq. m. more than the area intended to be sold
is not a reasonable excess that can be deemed included in the sale.

Page | 57
Further, at the time of the sale, Ingram and petitioners did not have knowledge of the actual
area of the land within the boundaries of the property. It is undisputed that before the survey, the
parties relied on the tax declaration covering the lot, which merely stated that it measures more or
less 6,200 sq. m. Thus, when petitioners offered the property for sale and when Ingram accepted
the offer, the object of their consent or meeting of the minds is only a 6,200 sq. m. property. The
deeds of sale merely put into writing what was agreed upon by the parties. In this regard, we quote
with approval the ruling of the MCTC:

In this case, the Deed of Absolute Sale (Exhibit "M") dated April 13, 2005 is clear and
unequivocal as to the area sold being up to only 6,200 square meters. The
agreement of the parties were clear and unambiguous, hence, the inconsistent and
impossible testimonies of N[e]nette [Archinue] and the Spouses Ingram. No amount
of extrinsic aids are required and no further extraneous sources are necessary in
order to ascertain the parties' intent, determinable as it is, from the document itself.
The court is thus convinced that the deed expresses truly the parties' intent as
against the oral testimonies of Nenette, and the Spouses Ingram.

The contract of sale is the law between Ingram and petitioners; it must be complied with in
good faith. Petitioners have already performed their obligation by delivering the 6,200 sq. m.
property. Since Ingram has yet to fulfill her end of the bargain, she must pay petitioners the
remaining balance of the contract price amounting to ₱145,000.00.

Page | 58
Contract of sale

Designer Baskets, Inc vs Air Sea Transport, Inc.

THIRD DIVISION, G.R. No. 184513, March 09, 2016

Ponente: JARDELEZA, J.

FACTS:

Petitioner Corporation is engaged in the production of housewares and handicraft items for
export. Ambiente, a foreign-based company, ordered from DBI 223 cartons of assorted wooden
items. The shipment was worth $12,590.87 and payable through telegraphic transfer. Ambiente
designated ACCLI as the forwarding agent that will ship out its order from the Philippines to the
United States (US). ACCLI is a domestic corporation acting as agent of ASTI, a US based corporation
engaged in carrier transport business, in the Philippines.

Consequently, the shipment was delivered to ACCLI for sea transport from Manila and
delivery to Ambiente at Beverly Hills, California. To acknowledge receipt and to serve as the
contract of sea carriage, ACCLI issued to DBI triplicate copies of ASTI Bill of Lading No.
AC/MLLA601317. DBI retained possession of the originals of the bills of lading pending the
payment of the goods by Ambiente.

Ambiente and ASTI entered into an Indemnity Agreement. Under the Agreement, Ambiente
obligated ASTI to deliver the shipment to it or to its order "without the surrender of the relevant
bills of lading due to the non-arrival or loss thereof." In exchange, Ambiente undertook to indemnify
and hold ASTI and its agent free from any liability as a result of the release of the
shipment. Thereafter, ASTI released the shipment to Ambiente without the knowledge of DBI, and
without it receiving payment for the total cost of the shipment.

DBI then made several demands to Ambiente for the payment of the shipment, but to no avail. Thus,
on October 7, 1996, DBI filed the Original Complaint against ASTI, ACCLI and ACCLFs incorporators-
stockholders for the payment of the value of the shipment in the amount of $12,590.87 or
P333,658.00 , plus interest at the legal rate from January 22, 1996, exemplary damages, attorney's
fees and cost of suit. The trial court found ASTI, ACCLI, and Ambiente solidarity liable to DBI for the
value of the shipment.

ISSUE: Whether or not the contract of the parties is a contract of carriage or contract of sale and
consequently ASTI, ACCLI, and Ambiente be solidarily liable to DBI.

RULING:

The contract between DBI and ASTI is a contract of carriage of goods; hence, ASTI's liability
should be pursuant to that contract and the law on transportation of goods. Not being a party to the
contract of sale between DBI and Ambiente, ASTI cannot be held liable for the payment of the value
of the goods sold. In this regard, we cite Loadstar Shipping Company, Incorporated v. Malayan
Insurance Company, Incorporated, thus:r

Malayan opposed the petitioners' invocation of the Philex-PASAR purchase agreement,


stating that the contract involved in this case is a contract of affreightment between the petitioners
and PASAR, not the agreement between Philex and PASAR, which was a contract for the sale of
copper concentrates.

On this score, the Court agrees with Malayan that contrary to the trial court's disquisition,
the petitioners cannot validly invoke the penalty clause under the Philex-PASAR purchase
agreement, where penalties are to be imposed by the buyer PASAR against the seller Philex if some
elements exceeding the agreed limitations are found on the copper concentrates upon delivery. The
petitioners are not privy to the contract of sale of the copper concentrates. The contract between
PASAR and the petitioners is a contract of carriage of goods and not a contract of sale. Therefore,
the petitioners and PASAR are bound by the laws on transportation of goods and their contract of
affreightment. Since the Contract of Affreightment between the petitioners and PASAR is silent as
regards the computation of damages, whereas the bill of lading presented before the trial court is
undecipherable, the New Civil Code and the Code of Commerce shall govern the contract between
the parties.

Page | 59
In view of the foregoing, we hold that under Bill of Lading No. AC/MLLA601317 and the
pertinent law and jurisprudence, ASTI and ACCLI are not liable to DBI. We sustain the finding of the
CA that only Ambiente, as the buyer of the goods, has the obligation to pay for the value of the
shipment. However, in view of our ruling in Nacar v. Gallery Frames, we modify the legal rate of
interest imposed by the CA. Instead of 12% per annum from the finality of this judgment until its
full satisfaction, the rate of interest shall only be 6% per annum.

Page | 60
Contract of Lease

NISSAN CAR LEASE PHILS., INC., Petitioner, v. LICA MANAGEMENT, INC. AND PROTON
PILIPINAS, INC., Respondents.

THIRD DIVISION, G.R. No. 176986, January 13, 2016

Ponente: JARDELEZA, J.

FACTS:

LMI is the absolute owner of a property located at 2326 Pasong Tamo Extension, Makati
City with a total area of approximately 2,860 square meters. On June 24, 1994, it entered into a
contract with NCLPI for the latter to lease the property for a term often (10) years. Sometime in
September 1994, NCLPI, with LMFs consent, allowed its subsidiary Nissan Smartfix Corporation
(NSC) to use the leased premises. Subsequently, NCLPI became delinquent in paying the monthly
rent. In May 1996, Nissan and Lica verbally agreed to convert the arrearages into a debt to be
covered by a promissory note and twelve (12) postdated checks. While NCLPI was able to deliver
the postdated checks per its verbal agreement with LMI, it failed to sign the promissory note and
pay the checks for June to October 1996. Thus, in a letter dated October 16, 1996, which was sent
on October 18, 1996 by registered mail, LMI informed NCLPI that it was terminating their Contract
of Lease due to arrears in the payment of rentals.
In the meantime, Proton sent NCLPI an undated request to use the premises as a temporary display
center for "Audi" brand cars for a period of ten (10) days. In the same letter, Proton undertook "not
to disturb [NCLPI and LMI's] lease agreement and ensure that [NCLPI] will not breach the same [by]
lending the premises without any consideration." NCLPI acceded to this request.

LMI, on November 8, 1996, entered into a Contract of Lease with Proton over the subject
premises. On November 12, 1996, LMI filed a Complaint for sum of money with damages seeking to
recover from NCLPI the amount of P2,696,639.97, equivalent to the balance of its unpaid rentals. On
November 20, 1996, NCLPI demanded Proton to vacate the leased premises. However, Proton
replied that it was occupying the property based on a lease contract with LMI. NCLPI also informed
LMI that since it was unlawfully ousted from the leased premises and was not deriving any benefit
therefrom, it decided to stop payment of the checks issued to pay the rent.

The trial court, ruling in favor of LMI, found that NCLPI purposely violated the terms of its
contract with LMI when it failed to pay the required rentals and contracted to sublease the
premises without the latter's consent.

ISSUE: Whether or not a contract can be rescinded extrajudicially despite the absence of a special
contractual stipulation therefor.

RULING:

It is clear from the records that NCLPI committed substantial breaches of its Contract of
Lease with LMI. Under Paragraph 2, NCLPI bound itself to pay a monthly rental of P308,000.00 not
later than the first day of every month to which the rent corresponds. NCLPI, however, defaulted on
its contractual obligation to timely and properly pay its rent, the arrearages of which, as of October
16, 1996, amounted to P2,651,570.39. Aside from non-payment of rentals, it appears that NCLPI
also breached its obligations under Paragraphs 4 and 5 of the Contract of Lease which prohibit it
from subleasing the premises or introducing improvements or alterations thereon without LMI's
prior written consent. The trial court found:

As revealed from the evidence presented by PROTON however, even before [NCLPI]
represented that it would try to negotiate a possible sub-lease of the premises, it
had, without any semblance of authority from [LMI,] already effectively subleased the
subject premises to PROTON and allowed the latter not only to enter the premises but to
renovate the same.

NCLPI maintains that LMI cannot unilaterally and extrajudicially rescind their Contract of
Lease in the absence of an express provision in their Contract to that effect. According to NCLPI:
It is true that NCLP1 and LMI's Contract of Lease does not contain a provision expressly authorizing
extrajudicial rescission. LMI can nevertheless rescind the contract, without prior court approval,
pursuant to Art. 1191 of the Civil Code.

Page | 61
Art. 1191 provides that the power to rescind is implied in reciprocal obligations, in cases
where one of the obligors should fail to comply with what is incumbent upon him. Otherwise stated,
an aggrieved party is not prevented from extrajudicially rescinding a contract to protect its
interests, even in the absence of any provision expressly providing for such right. The rationale for
this rule was explained in the case ofUniversity of the Philippines v. De los Angeles wherein this
Court held:
[T]he law definitely does not require that the contracting party who believes itself
injured must first file suit and wait for a judgment before taking extrajudicial steps to
protect its interest. Otherwise, the party injured by the other's breach will have to passively
sit and watch its damages accumulate during the pendency of the suit until the final
judgment of rescission is rendered when the law itself requires that he should exercise due
diligence to minimize its own damages.

Whether a contract provides for it or not, the remedy of rescission is always available as a
remedy against a defaulting party. When done without prior judicial imprimatur, however, it may
still be subject to a possible court review. In other words, the party who deems the contract
violated may consider it resolved or rescinded, and act accordingly, without previous court action,
but it proceeds at its own risk. For it is only the final judgment of the corresponding court that will
conclusively and finally settle whether the action taken was or was not correct in law. Having
established that LMl can extrajudicially rescind its contract with NCLPI even absent an express
contractual stipulation to that effect, the question now to be resolved is whether this extrajudicial
rescission was proper under the circumstances. As earlier discussed, NCLPI's non-payment of
rentals and unauthorized sublease of the leased premises were both clearly proven by the records.
We thus confirm LMFs rescission of its contract with NCLPI on account of the latter's breach of its
obligations.

Page | 62
Warranty

PHILIPPINE STEEL COATING CORP., Petitioner, vs.EDUARD QUINONES, Respondent.

FIRST DIVISION, G.R. No. 194533. April 19, 2017

Ponente: SERENO, CJ

FACTS:

Before us is a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court assailing
the Court of Appeals (CA) Decision and Resolution. The CA affirmed in toto the Regional Trial Court
(R TC) Decision in Civil Case No. A-1708 for damages

Respondent filed a Complaint for damages against petitioner PhilSteel. The Complaint
alleged that in early 1994, Richard Lopez, a sales engineer of PhilSteel, offered Quinones their new
product: primer-coated, long-span, rolled galvanized iron (G.I.) sheets. The latter showed interest,
but asked Lopez if the primer-coated sheets were compatible with the Guilder acrylic paint process
used by Amianan Motors in the finishing of its assembled buses. Uncertain, Lopez referred the
query to his immediate superior, Ferdinand Angbengco, PhilSteel's sales manager.

Angbengco assured Quinones that the quality of their new product was superior to that of
the non-primer coated G.l. sheets being used by the latter in his business. Quinones expressed
reservations, as the new product might not be compatible with the paint process used by Amianan
Motors.

However, respondent received several complaints from customers who had bought bus
units, claiming that the paint or finish used on the purchased vehicles was breaking and peeling off.
Quinones then sent a letter-complaint to PhilSteel invoking the warranties given by the latter.
According to respondent, the damage to the vehicles was attributable to the hidden defects of the
primer-coated sheets and/or their incompatibility with the Guilder acrylic paint process used by
Amianan Motors, contrary to the prior evaluations and assurances of PhilSteel.

ISSUE: Whether vague oral statements made by seller on the characteristics of a generic good can
be considered warranties that may be invoked to warrant payment of damages

RULING:

The Court ruled in affirmative. A warranty is a statement or representation made by the


seller of goods - contemporaneously and as part of the contract of sale - that has reference to the
character, quality or title of the goods; and is issued to promise or undertake to insure that ce1iain
facts are or shall be as the seller represents them. 8 A warranty is not necessarily written. It may be
oral as long as it is not given as a mere opinion or judgment. Rather, it is a positive affirmation of a
fact that buyers rely upon, and that influences or induces them to purchase the product.

Contrary to the assertions of petitioner, the finding of the CA was that the former, through
Angbengco, did not simply make vague oral statements on purported warranties. Petitioner
expressly represented to respondent that the primer-coated G .I. sheets were compatible with the
acrylic paint process used by the latter on his bus units. This representation was made in the face of
respondent's express concerns regarding incompatibility. Petitioner also claimed that the use of
their product by Quinones would cut costs. Angbengco was so certain of the compatibility that he
suggested to respondent to assemble a bus using the primer-coated sheet and have it painted with
the acrylic paint used in Amianan Motors.

At the outset, Quinones had reservations about the compatibility of his acrylic paint primer
with the primer-coated G.I. sheets of PhilSteel. But he later surrendered his doubts about the
product after 4 to 5 meetings with Angbengco, together with the latter's subordinate Lopez. Only
after several meetings was Quinones persuaded to buy their G.I. sheets. On 15 April 1994, he placed
an initial order for petitioner's product and, following Angbengco's instructions, had a bus painted
with acrylic paint. The results of the painting test turned out to be successful. Satisfied with the
initial success of that test, respondent made subsequent orders of the primer-coated product and
used it in Amianan Motors' mass production of bus bodies.

Thus, it was not accurate for petitioner to state that they had made no warranties. It insisted
that at best, they only gave "'assurances" of possible savings Quinones might have if he relied on
PhilSteel's primer-coated G.I. sheets and eliminated the need to apply an additional primer.

Page | 63
All in all, these "vague oral statements" were express affirmations not only of the costs that
could be saved if the buyer used PhilSteel's G.I. sheets, but also of the compatibility of those sheets
with the acrylic painting process customarily used in Amianan Motors. Angbengco did not aimlessly
utter those "vague oral statements" for nothing, but with a clear goal of persuading Quinones to buy
PhilSteel's product.

Taken together, the oral statements of Angbengco created an express warranty. They were
positive affirmations of fact that the buyer relied on, and that induced him to buy petitioner's
primer-coated G .I. sheets.

Under Article 1546 of the Civil Code, "'[ n ]o affirmation of the value of the thing, nor any
statement purporting to be a statement of the seller's opinion only, shall be construed as a
warranty, unless the seller made such affirmation or statement as an expert and it was relied upon
by the buyer."

Despite its claims to the contrary, petitioner was an expert in the eyes of the buyer
Quinones. The latter had asked if the primer-coated G.I. sheets were compatible with Amianan
Motors' acrylic painting process. Petitioner's former employee, Lopez, testified that he had to refer
Quinones to the former's immediate supervisor, Angbengco, to answer that question. As the sales
manager of PhilSteel, Angbengco made repeated assurances and affirmations and even invoked
laboratory tests that showed compatibility. In the eyes of the buyer Quinones, PhilSteel - through
its representative, Angbengco - was an expert whose word could be relied upon.

Page | 64
Pacto de retro sale

JUANA VDA. DE ROJALES, SUBSTITUTED BY HER HEIRS, REPRESENTED BY CELERINA


ROJALES-SEVILLA, Petitioner, v. MARCELINO DIME, SUBSTITUTED BY HIS HEIRS,
REPRESENTED BY BONIFACIA MANIBAY, Respondent.

THIRD DIVISION, G.R. No. 194548, February 10, 2016

FACTS:

Petitioner Juana Vda. de Rojales owned a parcel of land (Lot 4-A) located at Barrio
Remanente, Municipality of Nasugbu, BatangasIn a petition dated May 30, 2000 filed before the RTC
of Nasugbu, Batangas, Branch 14, respondent Marcelino Dime alleged that on May 16, 1999,
petitioner conveyed under a pacto de retro contract Lot 4-A in favor of respondent. Petitioner
reserved the right to repurchase the property for the same price within a period of nine (9) months
from March 24, 1999 to December 24, 1999. Despite repeated verbal and formal demands to
exercise her right, petitioner refused to exercise her right to repurchase the subject property.

In her answer, petitioner denied the execution of the pacto de retro sale in favor of
respondent and alleged that she had not sold the subject property.
In her sworn statement attached to her Answer, petitioner alleged that she mortgaged the subject
property with the Batangas Savings and Loan Bank for P100,000.00 when her daughter Violeta
Rojales Rufo needed the money for application of overseas work. Upon the joint motion of the
parties, the RTC issued an Order dated November 16, 2000 directing the questioned thumbmark be
referred to the fingerprint expert of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to determine
whether the thumbmark appearing in the pacto de retro contract and the specimen thumbmark of
the petitioner are the same.

On April 16, 2001, the NBI submitted a copy of Dactyloscopic Report FP Case No. 2000-349
by Fingerprint Examiner Eriberto B. Gomez, Jr. to the court. It was concluded therein that the
questioned thumbmark appearing on the original-duplicate copy of the notarized pacto de
retro sale and the standard right thumbmark, taken by Police Officer Marcelo Quintin Sosing, were
impressed by and belong to the same person, the petitioner.Respondent passed away on June 22,
2002 before the trial on the merits of the case ensued. Being his compulsory heirs, respondent's
estranged wife Bonifacia Dime and their children Cesario Antonio Dime and Marcelino Dime, Jr.,
substituted him in the suit.

On July 11, 2006, the heirs of respondent filed a Manifestation and Motion to Dismiss the
Complaint on the ground that it was Rufina Villamin, respondent's common law wife, who was the
source of the fund in purchasing Lot 4-A.17 Consequently, the RTC, through Judge Christino E. Judit,
in an Order dated July 12, 2006, dismissed the case with prejudice on the ground that the case was
not filed by an indispensable party, Villamin.

In an Order dated October 25, 2007, Judge Mayor set aside the order of dismissal of the case
and set the hearing for further reception of evidence.Thereafter, the RTC ruled in favor of the
petitioner. The court a quo ratiocinated that it is a clear mistake to rule on the merits of the case
knowing that such was not filed by the indispensable party, hence, the judgment will be void. The
CA rejected the ruling of the court a quo that Villamin was an indispensable party. It ruled that the
person who provided the funds for the purchase of the property is not considered as an
indispensable party in a case of consolidation of title filed by respondent, the vendee, in whose
favor the petitioner sold the subject property under the contract of sale con pacto de retro.

Upon the denial of her Motion for Reconsideration by the CA, petitioner filed the instant petition

ISSUES:
1. Whether or not e CA erred in ordering the consolidation of ownership and title in the name of
respondent Dime.
2. Whether or not there was a Pacto de retro sale?

RULING:

Petitioner alleges that the consolidation of the title should not be allowed since the heirs
admitted that they would be unjustly enriched, Villamin being the source of the fund used for the
purchase of the subject property.

Page | 65
This Court notes that the RTC relied on the bare assertions of the heirs in dismissing the
case with prejudice. The records are bereft of evidence to support the allegation that Villamin has
indeed provided the consideration. Not being a privy to the pacto de retro sale, Villamin cannot be
considered to have been prejudiced with the consolidation of title in respondent's name. The
inconsistencies in petitioner's claims cast doubt to the credibility of her testimonies. We note that
petitioner admitted, as reflected in the pre-trial order, that she once mortgaged her property to the
bank. However, she denied the same during the trial and further claimed that it was the respondent
who mortgaged the title with the bank.

We have consistently decreed that the nomenclature used by the contracting parties to
describe a contract does not determine its nature The decisive factor is their intention - as shown
by their conduct, words, actions and deeds - prior to, during, and after executing the
agreement. Thus, even if a contract is denominated as a pacto de retro, the owner of the property
may still disprove it by means of parole evidence, provided that the nature of the agreement is
placed in issue by the pleadings filed with the trial court.

Petitioner failed to specifically allege in all her pleadings that she did not intend to sell her
property to respondent, instead, she maintained that there was no pacto de retro sale because her
thumbmark and the notary public's signature were falsified. She should have raised the issue that
respondent merely borrowed the title from her and promised to pay her in her pleadings and not
belatedly claimed the same after the NBI ruled that the thumbmark in the contract was hers. In light
of petitioner's inconsistent and bare allegations and the conflicting testimony of her other witness,
we rule that petitioner failed to overcome the presumption of regularity of the notarized contract
of Pacto de Retro sale. Moreover, this Court is unconvinced that petitioner has successfully proven
that her agreement with respondent was not a pacto de retro sale but a contract of loan secured by
a mortgage of the subject property.

Page | 66
Agency

WILLIAM ANGIDAN SIY, Petitioner. vs.ALVIN TOMLIN, Respondent

FIRST DIVISION, G.R. No. 205998. April 24, 2017

Ponente: DEL CASTILLO, J.

FACTS:

This Petition for Review on Certiorari assails the October 9, 2012 Decision and February 19,
2013 Resolution of the Court of Appeals (CA) which respectively granted the respondent's Petition
for Certiorari and denied petitioner1s Motion for Reconsideration in CA-G.R. SP No. 124967.

In July, 2011, petitioner William Anghian Siy filed before the Regional Trial Court of Quezon
City (RTC) a Complaint for Recovery of Possession with Prayer for Replevin against Frankie
Domanog Ong, Chris Centeno, John Co Chua, and herein respondent Alvin Tomlin.

In his Complaint, petitioner alleged that he is the owner of a 2007 model Range Rover with
Plate Number ZMG 272 which he purchased from alberto Lopez III (Lopez) on July 22, 2009; that in
2010, he entrusted the said vehicle to Ong, a businessman who owned a second-hand car sales
showroom ("Motortrend" in Katipunan, Quezon City), after the latter claimed that he had a
prospective buyer therefor; that Ong failed to remit the proceeds of the purported sale nor return
the vehicle; that petitioner later found out that the vehicle had been transferred to Chua; that in
December, 2010, petitioner filed a complaint before the Quezon City Police District's Anti-
Carnapping Section; that Ong, upon learning of the complaint, met with petitioner to arrange the
return of the vehicle; that Ong still failed to surrender the vehicle; that petitioner learned that the
vehicle was being transferred to respondent; and that the vehicle was later impounded and taken
into custody by the PNP-Highway Patrol Group (HPG) at Camp Crame, Quezon City after respondent
attempted to process a PNP clearance of the vehicle with a view to transferring ownership thereof.
Petitioner thus prayed that a writ of replevin be issued for the return of the vehicle to him, and that
the defendants be ordered to pay him ₱100,000.00 atton1ey's fees and the costs of suit.

ISSUE: Whether there was agency created between the parties

RULING:

The Court ruled in affirmative. This Court added that it is not unaware of the practice by
many vehicle buyers and second-hand car traders of not transferring registration and ownership
over vehicles purchased from their original owners, and rather instructing the latter to execute and
sign in blank deeds of sale covering these vehicles, so that these buyers and dealers may freely and
readily trade or re-sell the vehicles in the second-hand car market without difficulty. This way,
multiple transfers, sales, or trades of the vehicle using these undated deeds signed in blank become
possible, until the latest purchaser decides to actually transfer the certificate of registration in his
name. For many car owners-sellers, this is an easy concession; so long as they actually receive the
sale price, they will sign sale deeds in blank and surrender them to the buyers or dealers; and for
the latter, this is convenient since they can "flip'' or re-sell the vehicles to the public many times
over with ease, using these blank deeds of sale.

In many cases as well, busy vehicle owners selling their vehicles actually leave them, together with
all the documents of title, spare keys, and deeds of sale signed in blank, with second-hand car
traders they know and trust, in order for the latter to display these vehicles for actual viewing and
inspection by prospective buyers at their lots, warehouses, garages, or showrooms, and to enable
the traders to facilitate sales on-the-spot, as-is-where-is, without having to inconvenience the
owners with random viewings and inspections of their vehicles. For this kind of arrangement, an
agency relationship is created between the vehicle owners, as principals, and the car traders, as
agents. The situation is akin to an owner of jewelry who sells the same through an agent, who
receives the jewelry in trust and offers it for sale to his/her regular clients; if a sale is made, the
agent takes payment under the obligation to remit the same to the jewelry owner, minus the agreed
commission or other compensation.

From petitioner's own account, he constituted and appointed Ong as his agent to sell the
vehicle, surrendering to the latter the vehicle, all documents of title pertaining thereto, and a deed
of sale signed in blank, with full understanding that Ong would offer and sell the same to his clients
or to the public. In return, Ong accepted the agency by his receipt of the vehicle, the blank deed of

Page | 67
sale, and documents of title, and when he gave bond in the form of two guarantee checks worth
₱4.95 million. All these gave Ong the authority to act for and in behalf of petitioner. Under the Civil
Code on agency, Art. 1869. Agency may be express, or implied from the acts of the principal, from
his silence or lack of action, or his failure to repudiate the agency, knowing that another person is
acting on his behalf without authority.

Agency may be oral, unless the law requires a specific form.

Art. 1870. Acceptance by the agent may also be express or implied from his acts which
carry out the agency, or from his silence or inaction according to the circumstances.
(Emphasis and underscoring supplied)

"The basis of agency is representation and the same may be constituted expressly or
impliedly. In an implied agency, the principal can be bound by the acts of the implied agent. "The
same is true with an oral agency.

Acting for and in petitioner's behalf by virtue of the implied or oral agency, Ong was thus
able to sell the vehicle to Chua, but he failed to remit the proceeds thereof to petitioner; his
guarantee checks bounced as well. This entitled petitioner to sue for estafa through abuse of
confidence. This is exactly what petitioner did: on May 18, 2011, he filed a complaint for estafa and
carnapping against Ong before the Quezon City Prosecutor's Office.

Since Ong was able to sell the subject vehicle to Chua, petitioner thus ceased to be the owner
thereof. Nor is he entitled to the possession of the vehicle; together with his ownership, petitioner
lost his right of possession over the vehicle. His argument that respondent is a buyer in bad faith,
when the latter nonetheless proceeded with the purchase and registration of the vehicle on March
7, 2011, despite having been apprised of petitioner's earlier November, 2010 "Failed to Return
Vehicle" report filed with the PNP-HPG, is unavailing. Petitioner had no right to file said report, as
he was no longer the owner of the vehicle at the time; indeed, his right of action is only against Ong,
for collection of the proceeds of the sale.

Page | 68
Implied Trust

De Guzman, Jr. vs. Court of Appeals, Mindanao Station

THIRD DIVISION, 785 SCRA 382, March 02, 2016

Ponente: JARDELEZA,J.

Facts:

This case is for review on certiorari of the decision and resolution of the Court of Appeals.

The property involved is a 480-square meter portion of a 25,178 square meters lot which
was acquired by Lamberto Bajao's (respondent) parent, Leoncio Bajao,through Free Patent No.
400087 . The same was subsequently acquired by the petitioners on two occasions, one transaction
for the 200 square meter lot and another transaction for the 280 square meter lot. Spouses Bajao
promised to separate the property from the remaining area of Lot No. 53212 and to deliver a
separate title to petitioners covering it.

However, because the promise was not forthcoming, petitioner Lydia S. de Guzman
executed an Affidavit of Adverse Claim on April 21, 1980 covering the property. Petitioners then
initiated the segregation of the property from Lot No. 532 through a survey. As a result of the
survey, petitioners acquired Lot 2-A, Psd-10-002692. They allegedly acquired possession over the
land immediately, fenced the area, introduced improvements, and planted it with fruit-bearing
trees.

Leoncio Bajao died on February 1, 1972, Anastacia Bajao then executed an Extrajudicial
Settlement among Heirs, which subdivided Lot No. 532 into three parts. The property was included
in Lot No. 532-C, which was adjudicated in favor of respondent. The Extrajudicial Settlement was
registered on December 10, 1980.

On December 16, 1980, respondent caused the cancellation of petitioners' annotated


adverse claim over the property and later obtained Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. T-7133 on
February 13 and October 2, 1981. Petitioners thereafter requested respondent to deliver TCT No. T-
7133 so they could present it to the Register of Deeds, together with the two Deeds of Absolute Sale,
for proper annotation. Respondent, however, refused to heed their request.

Petitioners then filed a Complaint, alleging that there was an implied trust formed between them.

Issue: Whether or not an implied trust between the parties exist.

Ruling:

An action for reconveyance based on an implied trust generally prescribes in 10 years, the
reckoning point of which is the date of registration of the deed or the date of issuance of the
certificate of title over the property. Thus, petitioners had 10 years from 1981 or until 1991 to file
their complaint for reconveyance of property. The Complaint, however, was filed only on January
21, 2000, or more than 10 years from the issuance of TCT No. T-7133. Hence, the action is already
barred by prescription.

The exception to the ten-year rule on prescription is when the plaintiff is in possession of
the land to be reconvened. In such case, the action becomes one for quieting of title, which is
imprescriptible. Here, petitioners allege that they were in juridical possession of the property from
the time they put up a fence on it until the filing of the Complaint. Respondent disputes this claim,
countering that petitioners are not in actual and material possession of the property.

Whether petitioners have actual possession of the lot is a question of fact. We have
repeatedly ruled that a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court shall
raise only questions of law and not questions of facts. When supported by substantial evidence, the
findings of fact of the CA are conclusive and binding on the parties and are not reviewable by us,
unless the case falls under any of the recognized exceptions.97 Petitioners never raised any of these
exceptions. Assuming they did, none of the exceptions would apply.

Page | 69
OPEN, CONTINUOUS, EXCLUSIVE AND NOTORIOUS POSSESSION AND OCCUPATION OF THE
SUBJECT PROPERTY, Probity of Tax Declarations

REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, Petitioner, v. CESAR P. RAYOS DEL SOL, LYDIA P. RAYOS DEL
SOL, GLORIA P. RAYOS DEL SOL AND ELVIRA P. RAYOS DEL SOL, Respondents.

SECOND DIVISION, G.R. No. 211698, May 30, 2016

Ponente: MENDOZA, J.

FACTS:

This petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court assails the
Decision and Resolution of the Court of Appeals which affirmed the Decision of the Regional Trial
Court in a land registration case.

On January 16, 2009, an application for land registration involving Lot 8173-A, with an area
of 33,298 square meters, located in Barangay Ligid Tipas, Taguig, Metro Manila, with an assessed
value of P665,960.00, was filed by the respondent siblings, namely: Cesar P. Rayos Del Sol, Lydia P.
Rayos Del Sol, Gloria P. Rayos Del Sol, and Elvira P. Rayos Del Sol (respondents).

Respondents alleged, among others, that they were the children of Jose Rayos Del Sol (Jose)
and the grandchildren of Felipe Del Sol (Felipe); that they inherited Lot 8173-A from their father,
Jose, who, in turn, inherited the same from his father, Felipe; that on August 3, 1996, they executed
the Extra-judicial Settlement of the Estate of Felipe Rayos Del Sol,5 wherein Lot 8173-A was
adjudicated to them pro indiviso; and that, through their predecessor-in-interest, they had been in
open, continuous, exclusive, and notorious possession and occupation of alienable and disposable
land of public domain under a bona fide claim of ownership since the 1930s, when Felipe was still
alive.

Lydia testified that she, together with the other respondents, inherited the subject lot from
their father, Jose, who died on September 25, 1953 per his death certificate; that their father
inherited the same from their grandfather Felipe, who died on July 2, 1932 per his epitaph; that
Felipe cultivated the lot during his lifetime and planted it with rice, vegetables and some fruit trees
and then Jose continued farming the same; that respondents also cultivated the lot through their
caretaker; that they possessed the lot for more than seventy (70) years since their grandfather's
time; and that they paid the taxes on the lot.

In its decision, dated July 20, 2010, the RTC ruled that Lot 8173-A could be registered in
respondents' names. The trial court stated that respondents were able to prove that they and their
predecessors-in-interest had been in possession of the subject lot under the circumstances
provided in Section 14 of P.D. No. 1529; that they had actual possession of the subject lot; and that
the tax declarations they presented constituted sufficient proof of possession in the concept of an
owner for more than thirty (30) years.

Aggrieved, Republic, through the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), elevated an appeal
before the CA.

In its assailed decision, dated September 25, 2013, the CA dismissed the Republic's appeal.
The appellate court found that respondents were able to present sufficient evidence to prove that
they had an open, exclusive, continuous, and notorious possession and occupation under a bona
fide claim of ownership over the subject land. The CA gave full credence to the witnesses who
testified that respondents' open and continuous possession of the subject property began as early
as the 1930s when their grandfather, Felipe, cultivated the land and planted it with rice, vegetables
and some fruit trees; that upon Felipe's death, their father, Jose, took over the ownership and
possession of the same; and that upon the latter's death, respondents, through their tenants,
continued farming the said land.

The CA opined that although tax declarations, as a rule, were not conclusive evidence of
ownership, these served as proof that respondents had a claim of title over the subject land and as
sufficient basis for inferring possession. Finally, the CA added that the deed of absolute sale

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between respondents and the DPWH acknowledged that the former were the true and lawful
owners of the subject parcel of land described as Lot No. 8173-A-2.

The Republic moved for reconsideration, but its motion was denied by the CA in its assailed
resolution, dated February 25, 2014. Hence, this petition.

ISSUE: WHETHER OR NOT RESPONDENTS WERE ABLE TO ESTABLISH THE REQUIREMENTS SET
IN SECTION 14 OF PD NO. 1529 AND THAT SHE AND HER PREDECESSORS-IN-INTEREST HAVE
BEEN IN OPEN, CONTINUOUS, EXCLUSIVE AND NOTORIOUS POSSESSION AND OCCUPATION OF
THE SUBJECT PROPERTY FOR THE PERIOD REQUIRED BY LAW.

RULING:

The Court denies the petition.

The applicable law in this case is Section 14(1) of P.D. No. 1529, otherwise known as the
Property Registration Decree, which provides:

Section 14. Who may apply. The following persons may file in the proper Court of First
Instance an application for registration of title to land, whether personally or through their
duly authorized representatives:

(1) Those who by themselves or through their predecessors-in-interest have been in open,
continuous, exclusive and notorious possession and occupation of alienable and disposable
lands of the public domain under a bona fide claim of ownership since June 12, 1945, or
earlier.

xxx

Section 14(1) of P.D. No. 1529 refers to the original registration of "imperfect" titles to
public land acquired under Section 11(4) in relation to Section 48(b) of Commonwealth Act
No. 141, or the Public Land Act, as amended. The requisites under the said provision are
enumerated as follow:

1. That the subject land forms part of the alienable and disposable lands of the public domain;

2. That the applicants, by themselves or through their predecessors- in-interest, have been in open,
continuous, exclusive and notorious possession and occupation of the subject land under a bona
fide claim of ownership; and

3. That such possession and occupation must be since June 12,1945 or earlier.

A person who seeks the registration of title to a piece of land on the basis of possession by
himself and his predecessors-in-interest must prove his claim by clear and convincing evidence,
that is, he must prove his title and should not rely on the absence or weakness of evidence of the
oppositors.20

Tax declarations have probative value in land registration proceedings

The records reveal that respondents and their predecessors-in-interest religiously paid the
realty taxes of the subject lot over the decades. Although a tax declaration by itself is not adequate
to prove ownership, it may serve as sufficient basis for inferring possession. The voluntary
declaration of a piece of real property for taxation purposes not only manifests one's sincere and
honest desire to obtain title to the property, but also announces an adverse claim against the state
and all other interested parties with an intention to contribute needed revenues to the government.
Such an act strengthens one's bona fide claim of acquisition of ownership.

Page | 71
Action to quiet title

HEIRS OF JOSE EXTREMADURA, REPRESENTED BY ELENA H. EXTREMADURA, Petitioners, v.


MANUEL EXTREMADURA AND MARLON EXTREMADURA,1 Respondents.

FIRST DIVISION, G.R. No. 211065, June 15, 2016

Ponente: PERLAS-BERNABE, J.

FACTS:

Assailed in this petition for review on certiorari are the Decision and the of the Court of
Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 99082, which reversed the Decision of the Regional Trial Court of
Sorsogon City, Branch 52 in Civil Case No. 2005-7552 declaring Jose Extremadura (Jose) as the
rightful owner of the land occupied by respondents Manuel and Marlon Extremadura
(respondents).

Jose, now deceased, filed Civil Case No. 2005-7552 for quieting of title with recovery of
possession, rendition of accounting, and damages, against his brother, Manuel Extremadura
(Manuel), and his nephew, Marlon Extremadura (Marlon), claiming that he (Jose) purchased three
(3) parcels of agricultural land located in Sitio Ponong, Barrio Rizal, Casiguran, Sorsogon from his
aunt, Corazon S. Extremadura (Corazon), the widow of his uncle, Alfredo H. Extremadura (Alfredo),
through a Deed of Absolute Sale dated December 18, 1984. Since Jose resided in Manila, he placed
one parcel, with an area of 3.4945 square meters (subject land), in Manuel's care, in exchange for
which, the latter and his son, Marlon, religiously delivered the produce of said land from 1984 until
1995. Unfortunately, respondents (Manuel and Marlon) continuously refused to deliver the
produce of the land or vacate the same despite his repeated demands; hence, the complaint.

In their defense, respondents averred that they have been in open, continuous, peaceful,
adverse, and uninterrupted possession of the subject land, where their residential house stands,
and in the concept of owner for almost fifty (50) years; thus, Jose's action was already barred by
prescription or laches. They further claimed that the fact that they gave Jose portions of the land's
produce was merely in keeping with the Filipino culture of sharing blessings with siblings and
relatives. Also, they argued that the deed of absolute sale presented by Jose is not the legal or
beneficial title contemplated by Article 47611 of the Civil Code.1

In a Decision13 dated November 23, 2011, the RTC rendered judgment declaring Jose as the
owner of the subject land, and thereby directed respondents to immediately relinquish and
surrender possession thereof to the former. It ruled that Jose had a better right over the land as
proven by the deed of absolute sale executed in his favor, which was notarized and, therefore,
enjoys the presumption of regularity. Respondents, on the other hand, were declared to have failed
to substantiate their claim, finding, among others, that their possession was not in the concept of an
owner.

Aggrieved, respondents elevated their case on appeal before the CA. In a Decision17 dated
September 24, 2013, the CA granted respondents' appeal and, thus, dismissed Civil Case No. 2005-
7552.18 It held that Jose failed to establish legal and equitable title over the subject land, observing
that the notarized deed of sale executed in Jose's favor did not transfer the land's ownership to him
given that he was never placed in possession and control thereof. Moreover, having found that the
subject land was not in the possession of the alleged vendor, Corazon, the C A debunked Jose's claim
that he is a buyer in good faith, charging him of failing to probe the rights of the actual possessors of
the land and to clarify the true nature of the latter's possession before purchasing the same.

The motion for reconsideration filed by the heirs of Jose, represented by Elena
Extremadura (petitioners), was denied by the CA in a Resolution dated December 12, 2013 for lack
of merit; hence, the instant petition.

ISSUE : Whether or not Jose failed to establish legal and equitable title over the subject land,
observing that the notarized deed of sale executed in Jose's favor did not transfer the land's
ownership to him given that he was never placed in possession and control thereof.

Page | 72
RULING:

The petition is impressed with merit. In order for an action for quieting of title to prosper, it
is essential that the plaintiff must have legal or equitable title to, or interest in, the property which
is the subject matter of the action. Legal title denotes registered ownership, while equitable title
means beneficial ownership.22 In the case of Mananquil v. Moico, the Court expounded that:

An action for quieting of title is essentially a common law remedy grounded on equity. The
competent court is tasked to determine the respective rights of the complainant and other
claimants, not only to place things in their proper place, to make the one who has no rights to said
immovable respect and not disturb the other, but also for the benefit of both, so that he who has the
right would see every cloud of doubt over the property dissipated, and he could afterwards without
fear introduce the improvements he may desire, to use, and even to abuse the property as he deems
best. But "for an action to quiet tide to prosper, two indispensable requisites must concur, namely:
(1) the plaintiff or complainant has a legal or an equitable title to or interest in the real property
subject of the action; and (2) the deed, claim, encumbrance, or proceeding claimed to be casting
cloud on his title must be shown to be in fact invalid or inoperative despite its prima facie
appearance of validity or legal efficacy."

Contrary to the position taken by the CA, the Court finds that Jose satisfactorily established
his equitable title over the subject land entitling him - and now, petitioners as his successors-in-
interest - to the removal of the cloud or doubt thereon, particularly, the claim of respondents that
they are the owners thereof.

Based on jurisprudence, equitable title has been defined as "[a] title derived through a valid
contract or relation, and based on. recognized equitable principles; the right in the party, to whom
it belongs, to have the legal title transferred to him. x x x. In order that a plaintiff may draw to
himself an equitable title, he must show that the one from whom he derives his right had himself a
right to transfer. x x x."25cralawredchanrobleslaw

In this case, Jose's title to the subject land was derived through a contract of sale, as
evidenced by a notarized document denominated as Deed of Absolute Sale dated December 18,
1984, whereby the previous owner/s, Corazon, the widow of Alfredo, transferred the subject land
and two (2) other adjoining parcels to Jose for and in consideration of P6,000.00, for which Jose
duly paid27 the required capital gains tax. That Corazon had the right to transfer the land by virtue
of her ownership thereof was clearly established during the trial.

Page | 73
QUIETING OF TITLE

IVQ LANDHOLDINGS, INC.,, Petitioner vs.REUBEN BARBOSA, Respondent

G.R. No. 193156, January 18, 2017

Ponente: LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, J.

FACTS:

Barbosa averred that on October 4, 1978, he bought from Therese Vargas a parcel of land
identified as Lot 644-C-5 located on Visayas Avenue, Culiat, Quezon City (subject property).
Thereafter, Therese Vargas surrendered to Barbosa the owner's duplicate copy of her title, Transfer
Certificate of Title (TCT) No. 159487. Upon paying the said taxes on the property, Barbosa
discovered that Therese Vargas's name was cancelled and replaced with that of IVQ in the tax
declaration of the subject property. Apparently, it was previously owned by Kawilihan Corporation.
Barbosa filed a Petition for Cancellation and Quieting of Titles against Jorge Vargas III, Benito
Montinola, IVQ, and the Register of Deeds of Quezon City. On January 7, 2004, IVQ filed Civil Case
No. Q-17499(04), which is a petition for the cancellation of an adverse claim filed by Santiago Sio
Soy Une (Exhibit "RR"). In their Answer, Jose Vargas III, Benito Montinola, and IVQ (respondents in
the court a quo) countered that the alleged title from where Barbosa's title was allegedly derived
from was the one that was fraudulently acquired and that Barbosa was allegedly part of a syndicate
that falsified titles for purposes of "land grabbing." They argued that it was questionable that an
alleged lot owner would wait for 30 years before filing an action to quiet title. Furthermore, the
notary public who supposedly notarized the Deed of Absolute Sale in favor of Therese Vargas, is not
a member of the Philippine Bar. Documents that were notarized are not admissible as evidence
before the courts because they were not made into a public document. RTC ruled in favour of
Barbora. Hence, the appeal for the denial of Motion for Reconsideration.

ISSUE: Whether or not documents transmitting or extinguishing real rights over immovable
property should be in a public document

RULING:

Accordingly, the party invoking the validity of the deed of absolute sale had the burden of
proving its authenticity and due execution.x x x.

In the instant case, should the Deeds of Absolute Sale in favor of Therese Vargas and
Barbosa, respectively, be found to be indeed improperly notarized, the trial court would have erred
in admitting the same in evidence without proof of their authenticity and in relying on the
presumption regarding the regularity of their execution. Barbosa would then have the additional
burden of proving the authenticity and due execution of both deeds before he can invoke their
validity in establishing his claim of ownership. Therefore, IVQ should be allowed to formally offer in
evidence the documents it belatedly submitted to this Court and that Barbosa should equally be
given all the opportunity to refute the same or to submit controverting evidence.

The Court, in particular, deems it necessary for the parties to submit a certified true copy of TCT No.
71507 that is registered in the name of Kawilihan Corporation, if possible. Given that the Court is
not a trier of facts and there still are factual matters that need to be evaluated, the proper recourse
is to remand the case to the Court of Appeals for the conduct of further proceedings

Page | 74
RECONVEYANCE

Union Bank of the Philippines, vs, The Honorable Regional Agrarian Reform Officer, The
Honorable Provincial Agrarian Reform Officer, The Honorable Municipal Agrarian Reform
Officer, Miguel L. Carasocho, et al./Union Bank of the Philippines Vs. Petronilo V. Arsenio, et
al.

SPECIAL THIRD DIVISION, G.R. No. 200369/G.R. Nos. 203330-31.March 1, 2017


Ponente: PERALTA, J

FACTS:

Before the Court is a Petition for Review questioning the Decision of the Court of Appeals,
Cagayan de Oro, dated March 15, 2011, and its Resolution, dated January 25, 2012 in CA-G.R. CV
81799-MIN which upheld the Decision of the Regional Trial Court, Brach 21,Pagadian City, dated
December 19, 2003, ruling that the requisites for the reconveyance of the properties were
present.Private respondents filed a Complaint for Reconveyance alleging the he was true and lawful
owner and possessor of parcels of agricultural land located in Balangasan, Pagadian City. He
claimed that he had been in possession of the property since the time he bought it in 1960 from
Pantaleon Suazola, who, in turn, had been continuously and openly in occupation and possession of
said property in the concept of an owner for more than thirty (30) years before Alcantara acquired
the same. Tiburcio Ballesteros then purportedly employed fraud to have the contested property
registered in his name. Barely six (6) months later, Ballesteros sold the lots to his daughter, Fe B.
Yabut.

Meanwhile, the petitioners contended that sales application filed before Director of lands
over portion of land area applied for by Ballesteros and the decision thereto found Andoy, who
originally applied for sales application entered the subject land with the knowledge that the
premises had been applied for by Ballesteros. Eventually, Andoy’s heirs laid out their claims over
the portions of the subject property. Unfortunately, Ballesteros was captured as prisoner.

Thereafter, heirs of Andoy sold the portions of property to Jamisola, who in turn, filed Free
Patent Application. When Ballesteros learned the saleafter some years, he submitted a Letter-
Protest with the Director of Lands which ruled against Jamisola. The latter elevated the matter to
Higher Court for Review. During the pendency, the heirs of Jamisola sold the subject property to
Alcantara, who also applied for Free Patent Application. The High Court thereafter ruled for the
dismissal of petition by Jamisola.

Because of the favorable ruling, Ballesteros filed a cadastral answer for the judicial
confirmation of his title in the cadastral proceedings. On September 16, 1969, Alcantara filed a
petition for review with the CFI praying that the issuance of the decree of title over the subject lots
in favor of Ballesteros and the Yabuts be set aside since he was the true and lawful owner and
possessor of said parcels of land and that they were totally devoid of any lawful claim over the
subject lots. However, the trial court dismissed the same. Hence, Alcantara filed a Complaint for
Reconveyance.

ISSUE: Whether or not there is legal basis to support the reconveyance of the properties in question
in favor of the Alcantaras

RULING:

The High Court ruled that respondents miserably failed to prove that they are the actual
owners of the parcel of land they are claiming. They failed to present adequate evidence pointing to
any legal and valid source of a right over said lots.

An action for reconveyance is a legal and equitable remedy that seeks to transfer or
reconvey property, wrongfully registered in another person's name, to its rightful owner.· To
warrant reconveyance of the land, the plaintiff must allege and prove, among others, ownership of
the land in dispute and the defendant's erroneous, fraudulent or wrongful registration of the
property. 18 The following requisites must concur: ( 1) the action must be brought in the name of a
person claiming ownership or dominical right over the land registered in the name of the
defendant; (2) the registration of the land in the name of the defendant was procured through fraud

Page | 75
or other illegal means; (3) the property has not yet passed to an innocent purchaser for value; and (
4) the action is filed after the certificate of title had already become final and incontrovertible but
within four years from the discovery of the fraud, or not later than ten ( 10) years in the case of an
implied trust.

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Moral Damages

SPS. CRISTINO & EDNA CARBONELL, Petitioners, vs. METROPOLITAN BANK AND TRUST
COMPANY, Respondent.

THIRD DIVISION, G.R. No. 178467. April 26, 2017

Ponente: BERSAMIN, J.

FACTS:

The petitioners assail the decision promulgated on December 7, 2006, whereby the Court of
Appeals (CA) affirmed with modification the decision rendered on May 22, 1998 by the Regional
Trial Court, Branch 157, in Pasig City (RTC) dismissing the petitioners' complaint in Civil Case No.
65725 for its lack of merit, and awarded attorney's fees under the respondent's counterclaim

Petitioners filed an action for damages, alleging that they had experienced emotional shock,
mental anguish, public ridicule, humiliation, insults and embarrassment during their trip to
Thailand because of the respondent's release to them of five US$ 100 bills that later on turned out
to be counterfeit. They claimed that they had travelled to Bangkok, Thailand after withdrawing US$
l ,000.00 in US$ 100 notes from their dollar account at the respondent's Pateros branch; that while
in Bangkok, they had exchanged five US$ 100 bills into Baht, but only four of the US$ 100 bills had
been accepted by the foreign exchange dealer because the fifth one was "no good;" that
unconvinced by the reason for the rejection, they had asked a companion to exchange the same bill
at Norkthon Bank in Bangkok; that the bank teller thereat had then informed them and their
companion that the dollar bill was fake; that the teller had then confiscated the US$ 100 bill and had
threatened to report them to the police if they insisted in getting the fake dollar bill back; and that
they had to settle for a Foreign Exchange Note receipt.

The petitioners claimed that later on, they had bought jewelry from a shop owner by using
four of the remaining US$100 bills as payment; that on the next day, however, they had been
confronted by the shop owner at the hotel lobby because their four US$ 100 bills had turned out to
be counterfeit; that the shop owner had shouted at them: "You Filipinos, you are all cheaters!;" and
that the incident had occurred within the hearing distance of fellow travelers and several
foreigners.

The RTC ruled in favor of the respondent. On appeal, the appellate court upheld the trial court’s
ruling.

ISSUE: Whether or not respondent should be liable for moral and exemplary damages on account of
their suffering the unfortunate experience abroad brought about by their use of the fake US dollar
bills withdrawn from the latter

RULING:

The contention cannot be upheld. The relationship existing between the petitioners and the
respondent that resulted from a contract of loan was that of a creditor-debtor. Even if the law
imposed a high standard on the latter as a bank by vi1iue of the fiduciary nature of its banking
business, bad faith or gross negligence amounting to bad faith was absent. Hence, there simply was
no legal basis for holding the respondent liable for moral and exemplary damages. In breach of
contract, moral damages may be awarded only where the defendant acted fraudulently or in bad
faith. That was not true herein because the respondent was not shown to have acted fraudulently or
in bad faith. This is pursuant to Article 2220 of the Civil Code, to wit:

Article 2220. Willful injury to property may be a legal ground for awarding moral damages if the
court should find that, under the circumstances, such damages are justly due. The same rule applies
to breaches of contract where defendant acted fraudulently or in bad faith.

With the respondent having established that the characteristics of the subject dollar notes had
made it difficult even for the BSP itself as the country's own currency note expert to identify the
counterfeiting with ease despite adhering to all the properly laid out standard operating procedure
and precautions in the handling of US dollar bills, holding it liable for damages in favor of the
petitioners would be highly unwarranted in the absence of proof of bad faith, malice or fraud on its
part. That it formally apologized to them and even offered to reinstate the USD$500.00 in their
account as well as to give them the all-expense-paid round trip ticket to Hong Kong as means to

Page | 77
assuage their inconvenience did not necessarily mean it was liable. In civil cases, an offer of
compromise is not an admission of liability, and is inadmissible as evidence against the offeror.

Page | 78
Res ipsa loquitur

CARLOS BORROMEO, Petitioner, v. FAMILY CARE HOSPITAL, INC. AND RAMON S. INSO, M.D.,
Respondents.

SECOND DIVISION,G.R. No. 191018, January 25, 2016

Ponente: BRION, J.

FACTS:

The petitioner, Carlos Borromeo, was the husband of the late Lilian V. Borromeo. Lilian was
a patient of the respondent Family Care Hospital, Inc. under the care of respondent Dr. Ramon Inso.
Over the next 48 hours, Lilian underwent multiple tests . However, the tests were not conclusive
enough to confirm that she had appendicitis. Meanwhile, Lilian's condition did not improve. Dr.
Inso decided to conduct an exploratory laparotomy on Lilian because of the findings on her
abdomen and his fear that she might have a ruptured appendix. During the operation, Dr. Inso
confirmed that Lilian was suffering from acute appendicitis. He proceeded to remove her appendix
which was already infected and congested with pus.

The operation was successful. Lilian's appearance and vital signs improved. Roughly six
hours after Lilian was brought back to her room, Dr. Inso was informed that her blood pressure was
low. Dr. Inso immediately went to Lilian and saw that she was quite pale. He immediately requested
a blood transfusion. Nevertheless, her condition continued to deteriorate.

Dr. Inso suspected that Lilian had Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation (DIC), a blood
disorder characterized by bleeding in many parts of her body caused by the consumption or the
loss of the clotting factors in the blood. Dr. Inso informed her family that there may be a need to re-
operate on her, but she would have to be put in an Intensive Care Unit (ICU). Unfortunately, Family
Care did not have an ICU because it was only a secondary hospital and was not required by the
Department of Health to have one. Dr. Inso informed the petitioner that Lilian would have to be
transferred to another hospital. Dr. Inso then personally coordinated with the Muntinlupa Medical
Center (MMC) which had an available bed.

Upon reaching the MMC, a medical team was on hand to resuscitate Lilian. Unfortunately, at
around 10:00 A.M., Lilian passed away despite efforts to resuscitate her. At the request of the
petitioner, Lilian's body was autopsied. Dr. Reyes concluded that the cause of Lilian's death was
hemorrhage due to bleeding petechial blood vessels: internal bleeding. Based on the autopsy, the
petitioner filed a complaint for damages against Family Care and against Dr. Inso for medical
negligence. In their defense, Dr. Inso and Family Care presented Dr. Inso, and expert witnesses Dr.
Celso Ramos and Dr. Herminio Hernandez.

Dr. Ramos submitted that the cause of Lilian's death was hemorrhage due to DIC, a blood
disorder that leads to the failure of the blood to coagulate.
The RTC rendered its decision awarding the petitioner damages, attorney's fees, and the costs of
the suit.

ISSUES:

1. Whether or not Dr. Inso and Family Care were negligent in caring for Lilian before, during, and
after her appendectomy and were responsible for her death; and

2. Whether or not that the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur is applicable to this case.

RULING:

1. Whoever alleges a fact has the burden of proving it. This is a basic legal principle that equally
applies to civil and criminal cases. In a medical malpractice case, the plaintiff has the duty of
proving its elements, namely: (1) a duty of the defendant to his patient; (2) the
defendant's breach of this duty; (3) injury to the patient; and (4) proximate causation between the
breach and the injury suffered. In civil cases, the plaintiff must prove these elements by a
preponderance of evidence. The expert witness must be a similarly trained and experienced
physician.

The petitioner failed to present an expert witness. Dr. Reyes is not an expert witness who
could prove Dr. Inso's alleged negligence. His testimony could not have established the standard of

Page | 79
care that Dr. Inso was expected to observe nor assessed Dr. Inso's failure to observe this standard.
His testimony cannot be relied upon to determine if Dr. Inso committed errors during the
operation, the severity of these errors, their impact on Lilian's probability of survival, and the
existence of other diseases/conditions that might or might not have caused or contributed to
Lilian's death. On the other hand, the respondents presented testimonies from Dr. Inso himself and
from two expert witnesses in pathology and surgery.To our mind, the testimonies of expert
witnesses Dr. Hernandez and Dr. Ramos carry far greater weight than that of Dr. Reyes. The
petitioner's failure to present expert witnesses resulted in his failure to prove the respondents'
negligence. The preponderance of evidence clearly tilts in favor of the respondents.

2. Res ipsa loquitur is not applicable when the failure to observe due care is not immediately
apparent to the layman.

The petitioner cannot invoke the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur to shift the burden of
evidence onto the respondent. Res ipsa loquitur, literally, "the thing speaks for itself;" is a rule of
evidence that presumes negligence from the very nature of the accident itself using common human
knowledge or experience.

This doctrine is used in conjunction with the doctrine of common knowledge. The rule is not
applicable in cases such as the present one where the defendant's alleged failure to observe due
care is not immediately apparent to a layman. These instances require expert opinion to establish
the culpability of the defendant doctor. It is also not applicable to cases where the actual cause of
the injury had been identified or established. While this Court sympathizes with the petitioner's
loss, the petitioner failed to present sufficient convincing evidence to establish: (1) the standard of
care expected of the respondent and (2) the fact that Dr. Inso fell short of this expected standard.

Page | 80
Settlement of the estate of deceased

SIGUION REYNA MONTECILLO AND ONGSIAKO LAW OFFICES, Petitioners, v. HON. NORMA
CHIONLO-SIA, IN HER CAPACITY AS PRESIDING JUDGE OF BRANCH 56 OF THE REGIONAL
TRIAL COURT OF LUCENA CITY, AND THE TESTATE ESTATE OF DECEASED SUSANO
RODRIGUEZ, REPRESENTED BY THE SPECIAL ADMINISTRATRIX, Respondents.

THIRD DIVISION, G.R. No. 181186, February 03, 2016


Ponente: JARDELEZA, J.

FACTS:

Petitioner Siguion Reyna Montecillo & Ongsiako Law Offices (SRMO) acted as counsel for
Remedios N. Rodriguez (Remedios) when she commenced an action for the intestate settlement of
the estate of her deceased husband Susano J. Rodriguez. During the pendency of the intestate
proceedings, Remedios asked for the payment of widow's allowance. This, however, was denied by
the RTC in an Order dated August 8, 1983. On review, the Court of Appeals (CA) promulgated a
decision reversing the RTC's Order and granted Remedios a monthly widow's allowance.

On February 29, 1988, while the case was pending before the CA, Remedios executed a Deed
of Sale of Inheritance (Deed of Sale) wherein she agreed to sell all her rights, interests and
participation in the estate of Susano J. Rodriguez to a certain Remigio M. Gerardo (Gerardo) in
consideration of P200,000.00. As a condition subsequent to the sale, Remedios, on March 1, 1988,
executed a special power of attorney (SPA) authorizing Gerardo to, among others, "receive from
any person, entity, government agency or instrumentality, or from any court, any property, real or
personal, cash, checks or other commercial documents which may be due to me or payable to me by
virtue of any contract, inheritance or any other legal means,". Gerardo later on executed a document
titled as "Substitution of Attorney-in-Fact," where he designated SRMO as substitute attorney
pursuant to the power of substitution granted to him in the earlier SPA. Gerardo subsequently
executed his own SPA authorizing SRMO "[t]o appear... and represent [Gerardo] in any and all
proceedings and incidents in the aforementioned case."

A Partial Project of Partition of the Estate dated January 10, 1997 was approved by the RTC
on January 20, 1997. Sometime in 2002, Remedios filed an "Urgent Omnibus Motion and Notice of
Termination of the Services of Petitioner's Counsel of Record." Therein, Remedios questioned the
RTC's Order approving the partition and denied the execution of the Deed of Sale in favor of
Gerardo. She also demanded that SRMO return the amount it received from the partition. Before the
motion could be resolved, however, Remedios filed a Notice of Withdrawal of the same motion. The
withdrawal of the motion notwithstanding, the RTC, in an Order dated August 21, 2003, motu
proprio directed SRMO to reimburse the Estate the amount of P315,000.00 representing the
widow's allowance it received in 1991.

Aggrieved by the RTC's orders, SRMO elevated the case to the CA through a petition
for certiorari.21SRMO argued that it merely acted as representative of Gerardo, Remedios'
successor-in-interest, when it received the sum corresponding to the widow's allowance. The CA
denied SRMO's petition on the ground that the latter was not a party in the case before the lower
court and therefore had no standing to question the assailed order. SRMO is now before this Court
contending that while it was not a party in the intestate proceedings, it is nevertheless an
"aggrieved party" which can file a petition for certiorari.

ISSUE: Whether or not Remedios is still entitled to any widow's allowance

RULING.:

Section 3, Rule 83 of the Rules of Court provides for the allowance granted to the widow and
family of the deceased person during the settlement of the estate. This allowance is rooted on the
right and duty to support under the Civil Code. The right to support is a purely personal right
essential to the life of the recipient, so that it cannot be subject to attachment or execution. Neither
can it be renounced or transmitted to a third person. Being intransmissible, support cannot be the
object of contracts.Nonetheless, it has also been held that support in arrears is a different thing
altogether. It may be compensated, renounced and transmitted by onerous or gratuitous title.

The Estate contends that since Remedios already sold her Estate to Gerardo on February 29,
1988, she was no longer entitled to any widow's allowance from that point on. SRMO, on the other
hand, maintains that the right of Remedios to receive widow's allowance remains from 1988 up to

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1991 because she remained a nominal party in the case, and that this formed part of the interests
sold to Gerardo.

However, neither of the parties to the Deed of Sale is impleaded in the present petition;
hence, this particular issue cannot be fully resolved. Following the principle of relativity of
contracts, the Deed of Sale is binding only between Remedios and Gerardo, and they alone acquired
rights and assumed obligations thereunder. Any ruling that affects the enforceability of the Deed of
Sale will therefore have an effect on their rights as seller and buyer, respectively. Both are,
therefore, indispensable parties insofar as the issue of enforceability of the Deed of Sale is
concerned. The failure to implead them is fatal to the Estate's challenge on this front.

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Settlement of the estate of deceased

HENRY H. TENG, Petitioner, v. LAWRENCE C. TING, EDMUND TING AND ANTHONY TING,
Respondent.

THIRD DIVISION, G.R. No. 184237, September 21, 2016

Ponente: PEREZ, J.

FACTS:

Assailed in this Petition for Review is the Decision of the Court of Appeals. The appellate
court had affirmed two Orders issued by the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 21 directing the
exclusion of certain properties allegedly belonging to respondents.

Teng Ching Lay died intestate in 1989, leaving as heirs, her child from her first marriage,
Arsenio Ting and from the second marriage, petitioner Henry Teng and Anna Teng. Arsenio married
Germana Chua and bore three sons, respondents Lawrence, Edmund and Anthony Ting. Arsenio
predeceased his father. In the intestate proceedings for the settlement of Arsenio's estate in 1975,
then Court of First Instance of Agusan del Norte and Butuan City approved the project of partition
which included, among others, a residential property located at Dr. A. Vasquez Street in Malate,
Manila, which was adjudicated in favor of respondents. The subject property became the subject of
a case dispute in Hko Ah Pao v. Ting. Petitioner claimed that said property is owned by Teng Ching
Lay and the latter merely entrusted the same to Arsenio. Eventually, on 27 September 2006, this
Court had ruled that Arsenio owned the subject property.

Meanwhile on 27 April 1992, petitioner filed a verified petition for the settlement of the
estate of Teng Ching Lay with the RTC of Manila. Petitioner was appointed as administrator of the
estate in 1999.

In a Manifestation dated 17 March 2005, petitioner submitted the Estate's Inventory as of


31 December 2004 and its Statement of Income and Expenses for the period 30 January 1989 to 31
December 2004. The inventory included the Malate property and other properties entrusted to
Arsenio such as personal properties in the form of investments, cash and equipment, and other real
properties in Butuan City.

Alleging that the properties belonging to Arsenio are included in the inventory, respondents
filed their Motion for Exclusion of Properties owned by Arsenio Ting and his Heirs. These
properties included the Malate properties and the properties were described as "Add: Other
properties entrusted to Arsenio Ting."Petitioner opposed the exclusion arguing that these
properties were held by Arsenio in trust for Teng Ching Lay because of the constitutional
prohibition against Teng Ching Lay, an alien who cannot own lands in the Philippines. Respondents
stressed that the properties of Arsenio being claimed for the estate of Teng Ching Lay were
acquired by them through inheritance from their father Arsenio whose estate was judicially settled
in 1975. The trial court, through Judge Amor A. Reyes, granted the Motion for Exclusion. Petitioner
filed a motion for reconsideration. It was partly granted by the trial court in an Order dated 7 June
2007. Aggrieved, petitioner filed a petition for certiorari before the Court of Appeals. On 2 May
2008, the Court of Appeals denied the petition for lack of merit. The appellate court ruled that the
trial court could determine whether or not properties may be included in the inventory to be
administered by the administrator and any dispute as to ownership may be resolved in another
forum. The appellate court affirmed the trial court's basis for exclusion. The appellate court also
pointed out that in the case of Hko Ah Pao, the Court categorically ruled that the Malate property
belonged to the estate of Arsenio. Petitioner solely argues that the advancement alleged to have
been made by the deceased to any heir should be heard and determined by the probate court, the
RTC of Manila Branch 21 in this case, in accordance with Section 2, Rule 90 of the Rules of Court.

ISSUE: Whether or not a question of ownership may be entertained by the probate court.

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RULING:

In the guise of raising a legal issue, petitioner urges the court a quo to resolve once again an
ownership issue. Section 2, Rule 90 of the Rules of Court states that "questions as to advancement
made, or alleged to have been made, by the deceased to any heir may be heard and determined by
the court having jurisdiction of the estate proceedings; and the final order of the court thereon shall
be binding on the person raising the questions and on the heir." But the rule, as correctly
interpreted by respondent, presupposes a genuine issue of advancement.

Legitime is defined as that part of the testator's property which he cannot dispose of
because the law has reserved it for certain heirs who are, therefore, called compulsory heirs.
Petitioner essentially asserts that properties were actually owned by Teng Ching Lay, and that
Arsenio was merely a trustee of the said properties. Verily, petitioner is claiming that Teng Ching
Lay owned the Malate property and therefore, it should be considered part of the legitime. This
brings us precisely to the purpose of an inclusion/exclusion proceeding. Where a party in a probate
proceeding prays for the inclusion in, or exclusion from, the inventory of a piece of property, the
court may provisionally pass upon the question without prejudice to its final determination in a
separate action.

The jurisdiction of the RTC as a probate court relates only to matters having to do with the
settlement of the estate and probate of a will of a deceased person, and does not extend to the
determination of a question of ownership that arises during the proceedings. This is true whether
or not the property is alleged to belong to the estate, unless the claimants to the property are all
heirs of the deceased and they agree to submit the question for determination by the probate or
administration court and the interests of third parties are not prejudiced; or unless the purpose is
to determine whether or not certain properties should be included in the inventory, in which case
the probate or administration court may decide prima facie the ownership of the property, but such
determination is not final and is without prejudice to the right of interested parties to ventilate the
question of ownership in a proper action. Otherwise put, the determination is provisional, not
conclusive, and is subject to the final decision in a separate action to resolve title by a court of
competent jurisdiction.

The separate action contemplated by the rule had in fact already been instituted by herein
petitioner in Hko Ah Pao through a petition for cancellation of title and partition with damages,
which essentially questions ownership of the Malate property. At this juncture, we hold that there
is no need to ventilate the issue of advanced legitime vis-a-vis ownership in another forum because
res judicata in the concept of conclusiveness of judgment has already set in.

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Probate and allowance of wills

IRIS MORALES, Petitioners, v. ANA MARIA OLONDRIZ, ALFONSO JUAN OLONDRIZ, JR.,
ALEJANDRO MORENO OLONDRIZ, ISABEL ROSA OLONDRIZ AND FRANCISCO JAVIER MARIA
OLONDRIZ, Respondent.

SECOND DIVISION, G.R. No. 198994, February 03, 2016

Ponente: BRION, J.

FACTS:

Alfonso Juan P. Olondriz, Sr. died on June 9, 2003. He was survived by his widow, Ana Maria
Ortigas de Olondriz, and his children: Alfonso Juan O. Olondriz, Jr., Alejandro Marino O. Olondriz,
Isabel Rosa O. Olondriz, Angelo Jose O. Olondriz, and Francisco Javier Maria Bautista Olondriz. His
widow and children are collectively referred to as the respondent heirs. Believing that the decedent
died intestate, the respondent heirs filed a petition with the Las Piñas RTC for the partition of the
decedent's estate and the appointment of a special administrator on July 4, 2003. The RTC
appointed Alfonso Juan O. Olondriz, Jr. as special administrator.

However, on July 28, 2003, Iris Morales filed a separate petition with the RTC alleging that
the decedent left a will dated July 23, 1991. Morales prayed for the probate of the will and for hex
appointment as special administratrix. Her petition was also raffled to Branch 254 and docketed
as Sp. Proc. Case No. SP-03-0069. Notably, the will omitted Francisco Javier Maria Bautista Olondriz,
an illegitimate son of the decedent.

On September 1, 2003, Morales filed a manifestation in Sp. Proc. Case No. SP-03-0060 and
moved to suspend the intestate proceedings in order to give way to the probate proceedings in Sp.
Proc. Case No. SP-03-0069. The respondent heirs opposed Morales' motion for suspension and her
petition for allowance of the will.On November 27, 2003, the RTC consolidated Sp. Proc. Case No.
SP-03-0060 with Sp. Proc. Case No. SP-03-0069.

On January 6, 2004, the respondent heirs moved to dismiss the probate proceedings
because Francisco was preterited from the will.On June 23, 2006, the RTC, through Judge Gloria
Butay Aglugub, suspended the intestate proceedings in Sp. Proc. Case No. SP-03-0060 and set the
case for probate. The RTC reasoned that probate proceedings take precedence over intestate
proceedings.

The respondent heirs moved for reconsideration of the suspension order but the RTC
denied the motion on September 1, 2006. The RTC also summarily revoked the Letters of
Administration previously issued to Alfonso Jr.The respondent heirs moved for reconsideration of
the summary revocation of the Letters of Administration. They also moved for the inhibition of
Judge Aglugub of Branch 254.

On November 16, 2006, the RTC granted the motion for inhibition.
The RTC observed: (1) that Morales expressly admitted that Francisco Javier Maria Bautista
Olondriz is an heir of the decedent; (2) that Francisco was clearly omitted from the will; and (3)
that based on the evidentiary hearings, Francisco was clearly preterited. Thus, the RTC reinstated
Alfonso Jr. as administrator of the estate and ordered the case to proceed in intestacy. Morales
moved for reconsideration which the RTC denied on October 30, 2007, for lack of merit.

On May 27, 2011, the CA dismissed Morales' petition for certiorari. The CA reasoned that
while probate proceedings take precedence over intestate proceedings, the preterition of a
compulsory heir in the direct line annuls the institution of heirs in the will and opens the entire
inheritance into intestate succession.4 Thus, the continuation of the probate proceedings would be
superfluous and impractical because the inheritance will be adjudicated intestate.

ISSUES:
1. Whether or not there was no preterition because Francisco received a house and lot inter
vivos as an advance on his legitime.
2. Whether or not the probate court cannot touch on the intrinsic validity of the will;

RULING:

1. Preterition consists in the omission of a compulsory heir from the will, either because he is not
named or, although he is named as a father, son, etc., he is neither instituted as an heir nor assigned

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any part of the estate without expressly being disinherited - tacitly depriving the heir of his
legitime. Preterition requires that the omission is total, meaning the heir did not also receive any
legacies, devises, or advances on his legitime. In other words, preterition is the complete and total
omission of a compulsory heir from the testator's inheritance without the heir's express
disinheritance.

In the present case, the decedent's will evidently omitted Francisco Olondriz as an heir,
legatee, or devisee. As the decedent's illegitimate son, Francisco is a compulsory heir in the direct
line. Unless Morales could show otherwise, Francisco's omission from the will leads to the
conclusion of his preterition. During the proceedings in the RTC, Morales had the opportunity to
present evidence that Francisco received donations inter vivos and advances on his legitime from
the decedent. However, Morales did not appear during the hearing dates, effectively waiving her
right to present evidence on the issue. We cannot fault the RTC for reaching the reasonable
conclusion that there was preterition.

2. The general rule is that in probate proceedings, the scope of the court's inquiry is limited to
questions on the extrinsic validity of the will; the probate court will only determine the will's formal
validity and due execution. However, this rule is not inflexible and absolute. It is not beyond the
probate court's jurisdiction to pass upon the intrinsic validity of the will when so warranted by
exceptional circumstances. When practical considerations demand that the intrinsic validity of the
will be passed upon even before it is probated, the probate court should meet the issue.

The decedent's will does not contain specific legacies or devices and Francisco's preterition
annulled the institution of heirs. The annulment effectively caused the total abrogation of the will,
resulting in total intestacy of the inheritance. The decedent's will, no matter how valid it may
appear extrinsically, is null and void. The conduct of separate proceedings to determine the
intrinsic validity of its testamentary provisions would be superfluous. Thus, we cannot attribute
error - much less grave abuse of discretion - on the RTC for ordering the case to proceed intestate.

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EXCLUSION OF HEIRS IN PARTITION

THE ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF TUGUEGARAO, Petitioner, v. FLORENTINA PRUDENCIO,


NOW DECEASED, SUBSTITUTED BY HER HEIRS, NAMELY: EXEQUIEL, LORENZO, PRIMITIVO,
MARCELINO, JULIANA, ALFREDO AND ROSARIO, ALL SURNAMED DOMINGO; AVELINA
PRUDENCIO, ASSISTED BY HER HUSBAND VICTORIANO DIMAYA; ERNESTO PENALBER* AND
RODRIGO TALANG; SPOUSES ISIDRO CEPEDA AND SALVACION DIVINI, NOW DECEASED,
SUBSTITUTED BY HER HEIRS, NAMELY: MARCIAL, PEDRO AND LINA, ALL SURNAMED
CEPEDA, Respondents.

THIRD DIVISION G.R. No. 187942, September 07, 2016

Ponente : JARDELEZA, J.

FACTS:

Assailed in this Petition for Review on Certiorari is the Resolution of the Court of Appeals
.The CA affirmed with modification the ruling of the Regional Trial Court–Branch 4 of Tuguegarao
City declaring as null and void the sale to petitioner of 96,926 square meters of a lot located in
Baggao, and ordering petitioner to reconvey the property to Florentina Prudencio, substituted by
her heirs, namely: Exequiel, Lorenzo, Primitivo, Marcelino, Juliana, Alfredo and Rosario, all
surnamed Domingo; Avelina Prudencio, assisted by her husband Victoriano Dimaya; Ernesto
Penalber and Rodrigo Talang (respondents-appellees).

Felipe Prudencio married twice during his lifetime. With his first wife, Elena Antonio he
begot five children, namely: Valentina, Eusebia, Paula, Florentina and Avelina. With his second wife,
Teodora Abad ,he had two children namely: Felipe Prudencio, Jr. and Leonora. During the marriage
of Felipe and Elena, they acquired a parcel of land located at Sitio Abbot, Barrio Imurung, Baggao,
Cagayan (Cagayan lot). When Elena died, Felipe and their children became co-owners of the
property. Felipe then died intestate during his second marriage. Upon his death, Teodora,
Prudencio, Jr. and Leonora executed a Deed of Extra-Judicial Partition of the Estate of the late Felipe
with Waiver of Rights in favor of Teodora .

While the Extra-Judicial Partition acknowledged that the Cagayan lot was acquired during the
marriage of Felipe and Elena, it stated that Felipe and Elena did not have any children who could
inherit the property; hence, Teodora and her children with Felipe are the only living heirs by
operation of law.

Teodora sold the Cagayan lot to respondents Spouses Isidro Cepeda and Salvacion Divini.
Spouses Cepeda sold the Cagayan lot to petitioner for P16,500.00. Thereafter, petitioner was issued
TCT No. T-20084.

On September 15, 1972, respondents-appellees filed a Complaint for Partition with


Reconveyance against petitioner, Spouses Cepeda and Teodora, Prudencio, Jr. and Leonora before
the RTC. They alleged that they are the children and grandchildren of Felipe by his first marriage.
Respondents-appellees posited that they were fraudulently deprived of their rightful shares in the
estate of Felipe and Elena when the Extra-Judicial Partition declared Teodora as the sole owner of
the Cagayan lot. Thus, they prayed that they be declared the owners pro indiviso of the undivided
portion of 10.2512 hectares of the Cagayan lot, and that this portion be reconveyed to them.
Spouses Cepeda maintained that their title over the Cagayan lot was clean and that they had no
knowledge that other persons had interest on it because Teodora's title over the property was
clean. They asserted that like petitioner, they were purchasers for value and in good faith.
Therefore, petitioner has no cause of action against them.

ISSUES:

1. Whether or not the excluded heirs could recover what is rightfully theirs from persons who
are innocent purchasers for value

2.Whether the extra judicial partition is binding on respondents-appellees

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RULING:

This is a case of exclusion of the rightful heirs in the partition of the estate of the deceased,
followed by the sale of their shares to third persons who claim good faith. Both petitioner
and Spouses Cepeda consistently contend that they were not aware that any person, other
than the seller, has interest over the Cagayan lot. Thus, they are innocent purchasers for
value.

In Segura v. Segura teaches that the answer would not depend on the good faith or bad faith
of the purchaser, but rather on the fact of ownership, for no one can give what he does not have—
nemo dat quod non habet. Thus, the good faith or bad faith of petitioner is immaterial in resolving
the present petition. A person can only sell what he owns or is authorized to sell; the buyer can as a
consequence acquire no more than what the seller can legally transfer.

The extra-judicial partition is not binding on respondents- appellees. Petitioner's title over
the Cagayan lot was derived from the title of Spouses Cepeda, who in turn obtained their title from
Teodora. Teodora, meanwhile, gained title over the entire Cagayan lot on the basis of the Extra-
Judicial Partition dated October 20, 1969. Articles 979, 980 and 981 of the Civil Code of the
Philippines (Civil Code) state that all the children of the deceased shall inherit from him and by
implication should participate in the settlement of his/her estate, to wit:

Art. 979. Legitimate children and their descendants succeed the parents and other ascendants,
without distinction as to sex or age, and even if they should come from different marriages.

Art. 980. The children of the deceased shall always inherit from him in their own right, dividing the
inheritance in equal shares.

Art. 981. Should children of the deceased and descendants of other children who are dead, survive,
the former shall inherit in their own right, and the latter by right of representation.

Thus, the children of Felipe in his two (2) marriages should be included in the execution of
the Extra-Judicial Partition. In this case, it is undisputed that respondents-appellees were children
of Felipe by his first marriage. Teodora, Prudencio, Jr. and Leonora did not deny respondents-
appellees' relation with Felipe. Despite this, however, Teodora, Prudencio, Jr. and Leonora declared
in the Extra-Judicial Partition that they are the only living heirs of Felipe by operation of law. They
claimed that Felipe had no child with his first wife Elena, in effect depriving respondents-appellees
of their rightful shares in the estate of their parents. They arrogated upon themselves not only the
share of Felipe in the Cagayan lot but also the shares belonging to respondents-appellees. Thus, the
Extra-Judicial Partition is void under Article 1409 (1) or those whose cause, object or purpose is
contrary to law, morals, good customs, public order or public policy. As a consequence, it has no
force and effect from the beginning, as if it had never been entered into and it cannot be validated
either by time or ratification

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