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Gerona v.

De Guzman
G.R. No. L-19060
May 29, 1964
Facts:
Petitioner Gerona heirs are the legitimate children of Domingo Gerona and
Placida de Guzman. Placida was a legitimate daughter of Marcelo de Guzman and
his first wife Teodora de la Cruz. After the death of Teodora, Marcelo married Camila
Ramos. Their children are herein respondents de Guzman heirs. Marcelo died some
time in Septermber 1945 and respondents executed a deed of extra-judicial
settlement of his estate. They fraudulently stipulated therein that they were the
only surviving heirs of Marcelo although knowing that petitioners were also his
forced heirs. They were able to cause the transfer the certificates of 7 parcels of
land each in their names. The petitioners discovered the fraud only the year before
the institution of the case. Petitioners seek to annul the extra-judicial settlement as
well as have their shares in the said properties reconveyed to them.
Defendants argue that Placida de Guzman was not entitled to share in the estate of
Marcelo as she was an illegitimate child and that the action of the Petitioners is
barred by the statute of limitations.
The trial court dismissed the case after finding that Placida was a legitimate child of
Marcelo and that the properties described herein belonged to the conjugal
partnership of Marcelo and Camila. It also ruled that Petitioners action had already
prescribed. The CA affirmed the ruling of the trial court
Petitioners assert that since they are co-heirs of Marcelo, the action for
partition is not subject to the statute of limitations; that if affected, the period of 4
years did not begin to run until discovery of the fraud. They claim that the fraud
done by respondents took place in 1956 or 1957 and that it had not prescribed
when the present action was commenced.
Issue:
WON the action for partition of the latter's estate is not subject to the statute
of limitations of action
Held:
The rule holds true only when the defendants do not hold the property in
question under an adverse title. The statute of limitations operates from the time
the adverse title is asserted by the possessor of the property.
The defendants excluded the petitioners from the estate of Marcelo when
they executed the deed of extra-judicial settlement claiming that they are the sole
heirs thus setting up an adverse title to the estate.
An action for reconveyance of real property based upon a constructive or
implied trust, resulting from fraud may be barred by the statute of limitations and
the action may only be filed within 4 years from the discovery of the fraud. In the
case at bar, the discovery was made on June 25, 1948 when the deed was filed with
the Register of Deeds and new certificates of title were issued in the names of the

respondents exclusively. Plaintiffs complaint was not filed until November 4, 1958
or more than 10 years after.