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BAR QUESTIONS

(1975-2004)

Name: Charelle Mei V. Sy


Bar Year: 1979

1) Succession; intestate succession 1979 No. II

RD and BG, both Filipinos were married and lived in Manila. They begot 2 children and after some
years of marriage, RD, being a physician, went to the United States. After staying there for two
years, RD got attached to a Filipina nurse. He got a quick divorce on the ground of desertion and
then married the Filipina nurse with whom he also begot 2 children. RD died intestate in an
automobile accident in the United States leaving valuable properties in the Philippines both inherited
by him from his parents as well as acquired during his marriage to BG. How would BG and her two
children and the Filipina nurse and her two children share in the estate of RD. Give reasons for your
answer.

SUGGESTED ANSWER
Before we can determine the shares of the claimants to the estate of RD, let us first determine what
is the estate of RD and what is the status of the claimants in relation to RD,
Estate of RD: As far as the properties acquired by RD during his marriage to BG are concerned, 1/2
thereof should be included in his estate and 1/2 should be given to BG since they are conjugal in
character. As far as the properties inherited by him from his parents are concerned, since they are
exclusive or separate in character, they must also be included in his estate,
Status of the claimants: BG is the surviving spouse of RD. The decree of absolute divorce secured
by RD in the United States is not valid. In the first place, we adhere to the nationality theory.
Philippine laws shall be binding upon Filipino citizens wherever they are with respect to family
rights and duties as well as status, condition and legal capacity. And in the second place, there is a
declaration of public policy in this country against absolute divorce. Such a declaration of public
policy cannot be rendered nugatory by the decree of absolute divorce secured RD in a foreign
country. Therefore, the marriage of RD to the Filipina nurse is not valid. It is bigamous under the
Philippine law. Hence, the nurse is not related to RD under our law of succession. It is different in
the case of the two children. Being born of a void marriage, they are classified as natural children by
legal fiction, and are, therefore, entitled to the same rights as acknowledged natural children,
Division of the estate of RD: It is clear that only BG, as surviving spouse, the two legitimate
children of RD and BG, and the two natural children by legal fiction of RD will be able to inherit.
The Filipina nurse cannot. Since RD died intestate, the proportions established under our law on
legitime is applicable. In the instant case, the proportions will be 10 for BG; 10 for each of the
legitimate children; and 5 for each of the natural children. Stated in another way, the two legitimate
children shall be entitled to 1/2, or 1/4, each, of the entire estate of RD; BG shall be entitled to the
same share as each of the legitimate children, or 1/4 of the entire estate; and the two natural
children by legal fiction shall be entitled to the balance of 1/4 or 1/8 each of the entire estate.

2) Succession; renunciation; compromise 1979 No. XIII

MN, a wealthy haciendero died leaving to his four legitimate children and his widow an estate worth
about P2 million. When the proceedings for the settlement of his estate were pending, Rosie, a child
he begot with his lavandera, filed a claim for a share in the estate. The widow and four children
contested the claim on the ground that in a previous action for support filed by the lavandera when
Rosie was still a minor, the lavandera agreed to dismiss the case and signed an agreement
acknowledging that the sum of P50,000.00 paid thereunder included payment for whatever
inheritance Rosie was to have. Should Rosie's claim be granted? Why?

SUGGESTED ANSWER
Rosie's claim should be granted but subject to the condition that the portion of the P50,000 paid to
her mother as her inheritance shall be brought to collation. It must be observed that the agreement
is actually a renunciation or compromise as regards a future legitimate or inheritance between the
person owing it and a compulsory heir. According to the Civil Code, such a renunciation or
compromise is void, and the latter may claim the same upon the death of the former, but he must
bring to collation whatever he may have received by virtue of the renunciation or compromise. (Art.
905, Civil Code).
(NOTE: If the bar candidate invokes either Art. 1347, par. 2, or Art. 2035, No. 6 of the Civil Code,
instead of Art. 905, his answer should be considered correct because the result would be the same).

3) Succession; reserva troncal 1979 No. XIV

A married B in 1950 bringing into the marriage a 10-hectare piece of unregistered land in Antipolo
which he inherited from his father. Of the marriage two daughters were born. On February 10, 1956
A and his two daughters went to Baguio. On the way they met an accident and A died instantly on
the spot while the two daughters died two days later in the hospital where they were brought. In
1960 B sold the land .to C. In 1977 B died so D, the only brother of A, asked C to reconvey the land
to him. Upon C's refusal, D filed a complaint for recovery of the land. C raised the defense of
prescription. Should the defense be sustained? Why?

SUGGESTED ANSWER
The defense should be sustained but only with respect to one-third of the subject property;
however, with respect to the other two-thirds, it should not be sustained.
It must be observed that when A died the subject property passed by intestate succession to his wife
B and his two daughters in the proportion of one- third for each. When the two daughters died two
hours later, their one-third shares passed by intestate succession to their mother B. These shares
which B acquired by operation of law from her two daughters became reservable. In other words, by
mandate of the law, upon acquiring the two-thirds share of her daughters she was obliged to reserve
such share for the benefit of relatives of her two deceased daughters who are within the third degree
and who belong to the live from whence the reservable property came. All of the requisites of
reserva troncal are, therefore, present. In the first place, the property was acquired by a descendant
from an ascendant or from a brother or sister by gratuitous title; in the second place, said
descendant died without any legitimate issue in the direct descending line who can inherit from him;
in the third place, the property is inherited by another ascendant by operation of law; and in the
fourth place, there are relatives of the descendant who are within the third degree and who belong to
the line from which said property came. Consequently, when C bought the subject property from B
in I960, he acquired only that which B had and nothing more. In other words, when B, the
ascendant reservista sold the property to C in 1960, the latter acquired the one-third share which B
had inherited from A without any condition whatsoever. However, with respect to the other two-
thirds share which is reservable, C acquired a limited and revocable title only. Therefore, when B,
the ascendant-reservista vendor finally died in 1977, automatically, by operation of law, the two-
thirds share which is reservable passed to D, who is the reservee or reservatario.
Premises considered, the defense of prescription can only be sustained with respect to the one-third
share of B which she had inherited from A in 1955. The computation of the 10-year period of
prescription must commence from 1960. In the case of the two-thirds share which is reservable, the
computation must commence from 1977 when B, the ascendant-reservista, died. When D, the
reservatario, therefore, filed his action after the death of B, he was very much in time to do so.
(Chua vs. CFI, 78 SCRA 412).