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109 IMPERIAL v.

CA
FACTS:
Eloy Imperial purchased a parcel of land from his father Leoncio Imperial. Although the
transaction was denominated as a sale, both admit that it was a donation.
Subsequently, Leoncio filed an action for the annulment of the supposed deed of sale on
the ground that he was supposedly deceived by Eloy into signing the deed of sale.
However, the dispute was resolved through a compromise agreement wherein:
1. Leoncio recognized the legality and validity of Eloys rights to the donated land
2. Eloy agreed to sell 1000 sq m of the donated land and to deposit the proceeds
therefrom to a bank for Leoncios disposal
Pending execution of the compromise, Leoncio died. His adopted son, Victor, substituted
him in the Compromise agreement.
When Victor also died, his heirs (private respondents) filed an action for annulment of the
donation on the ground that the conveyance of said property in favor of petitioner Eloy
impaired the legitime of Victor, their natural brother and predecessors-in-interest.
Eloy raises the defense that the donation did not impair Victors legitime
RTC: The donation to Eloy was inofficious and impaired the legitime of Victor. At the time
of Leoncios death, he left no property other than the land he donated to Eloy.
CA: Affirmed
ISSUE: Do private respondents have the right to contest the donation? NO. Barred by
prescription.
RATIO:
Eloys argument: When Leoncio died, only Victor was entitled to question the donation.
Art. 772, CC: Only those who at the time of the donor's death have a right to the
legitime and their heirs and successors in interest may ask for the reduction of
inofficious donations.
However, Eloy argues that instead of questioning the donation, Victor even asked to be
substituted in the Compromise Agreement and moved for its execution.

SC: Our law on succession does not countenance tacit repudiation of inheritance. Rather, it
requires an express act on the part of the heir. Thus, when Victor substituted Leoncio upon the
latter's death, his act of moving for execution of the compromise judgment cannot be considered
an act of renunciation of his legitime. He was, therefore, not precluded or estopped from
subsequently seeking the reduction of the donation. Nor are Victor's heirs, upon his death,
precluded from doing so. (Art. 1053)

But the action has prescribed. Both the RTC and CA held that this case is a "real action over an
immovable," because private respondents describe their complaint as one for "Annulment of
Documents, Reconveyance and Recovery of Possession of Property", which suggests the action
to be, in part, a real action based on a claim of title. However, a claim for legitime does not
amount to a claim of title. As such, the period for prescription cannot be thirty years.

Vizconde v. CA: What is brought to collation is not the donated property itself, but the value of the
property at the time it was donated. This is because a donation is a real alienation which conveys
ownership upon its acceptance, hence, any increase in value or any deterioration or loss thereof
is for the account of the heir or donee.

Under Art. 1144, actions upon an obligation created by law must be brought within ten years from
the time the right of action accrues. Thus, the ten-year prescriptive period applies to the obligation
to reduce inofficious donations to the extent that they impair the legitime of compulsory heirs. And
this period is counted from the death of the donor-decedent since it is only upon his death that the
net estate may be ascertained, and on which basis, the legitimes may be determined.

Here, the private respondents initiated this case 24 years after Leoncios death. The action,
therefore, has long prescribed.