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Sunga-Chan v.

Chua (Short title) testimonies of respondent and Josephine to prove the alleged
GR # 143340 | August 15, 2001 partnership. They invoke the Dead Man's Statute.
Petitioner: Lilibeth Sunga-Chan and Cecilia Sunga
Respondent: Lamberto T. Chua ISSUE/S
(Rule 130, Section 23) 1. W/N the the testimonies of Chua and his witness should not have been
admitted to prove certain claims against a deceased person.
1. Lamberto T. Chua filed a complaint against Lilibeth and Cecilia, RULING & RATIO
daughter and wife of Jacinto L. Sunga, for Winding Up of 1. No.
Partnership Affairs, Accounting, Appraisal and Recovery of Shares 1. The Dead Man's Statute provides that if one party to the alleged
and Damages with Writ of Preliminary Attachment with the RTC. transaction is precluded from testifying by death, insanity, or other
2. Chua alleged that he verbally entered into a partnership with mental disabilities, the surviving party is not entitled to the undue
Jacinto in the distribution of Shellane and that for business advantage of giving his own uncontradicted and unexplained
convenience, they agreed to register the business name as account of the transaction but before this rule can be successfully
SHELLITE under the name of Jacinto as a sole proprietorship with invoked, it is necessary that: (1) The witness is a party or assignor
Josephine, the sister of Chua's wife, as assistant. of a party to a case or persons in whose behalf a case is
3. Upon Jacinto's death, his surviving wife, and daughter, took over prosecuted. (2) The action is against an executor or administrator
the operations, control, custody, disposition and management. or other representative of a deceased person or a person of
4. Despite repeated demands by Chua for accounting, inventory, unsound mind. (3) The subject-matter of the action is a claim or
appraisal, winding up and restitution of his net shares in the demand against the estate of such deceased person or against
partnership, they failed to comply. person of unsound mind; (4) His testimony refers to any matter of
5. The wife and duaghter filed a Motion to Dismiss on the ground that fact which occurred before the death of such deceased person or
the SEC in Manila had jurisdiction over the action which RTC before such person became of unsound mind.
denied. 2. Two reasons forestall the application of the rule to this case
6. The wife and daughter filed their Answer with Compulsory (1) the wife and daughter filed a compulsory counterclaim
Counterclaims, contending that they are not liable for partnership against Chua in their answer, and with such, they themselves
shares, unreceived income/profits, interests, damages and effectively removed this case from the ambit of the Dead Man's
attorneys fees. Statute (2) the testimony of Josephine is not covered by the
7. They filed a second Motion to Dismiss claiming that the recovery of Dead Man's Statute for the simple reason that she is not a
shares in partnership assets /properties should be dismissed and party or assignor of a party.
prosecuted against the estate of deceased Jacinto in a probate or 3. The reliance alone on the Dead Man's Statute to defeat the claim
intestate proceedings which RTC denied. cannot prevail over the factual findings of the RTC and CA that a
8. SC denied the petition for review on certiorari filed by the wife and partnership was established.
daughter, as they failed to show that a reversible error was 4. Based not only on the testimonial evidence, but the documentary
committed by the appellate court. evidence as well, RTC and CA considered the evidence for Chua
9. The entry of judgment was made by the Clerk of Court and the as sufficient to prove the formation of a partnership, albeit an
case was remanded to the RTC which and set the hearing of the informal one.
case where Chua presented his evidence while the Sunga-Chans
were considered to have waived their right to present evidence for DISPOSITION
their failure to attend. WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the petition is DENIED and the
10. RTC ruled in favor of Chua and CA affirmed appealed decision is AFFIRMED. SO ORDERED.
11. The wife and daughter questioned the correctness of the finding
that a partnership existed between Chua and Jacinto until Jacinto's
death. In the absence of any written document to show such , they
argue that these courts were proscribed from hearing the