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Maililiin Jr. v.

Castillo, GR 136803, June 16, 2000

FACT: Eustaqio MaLilin, Jr. filed a case in the Makati RTC against Ma. Elvira Castillo for Partition and/or
Payment of Co-Ownership Share, Accounting and Damages. He alleges that he and Castillo has been
cohabiting in 1979 even if both of them are married. He also represented that both of them established
their customs brokerage business with Castillo as the President and Chairman of the Board, while he is
the Vice-President and the Treasurer. The respondent contended that they had not cohabited since they
are both married and that even if Malilin worked with her in the business; there were other individuals
who organized it with her.

The RTC, in its summary judgment, initially dismissed the case, explaining that the case was purely legal.
Upon the appeal of the petitioner, the CA ruled that the case be remanded to the RTC for trial on the
merits. Rather, the court should resolve the case and should only dismiss the case not because of the
wrong remedy being availed of, but because no basis exists for requiring the defendant to submit to
partition if the plaintiff is unable to sustain his claimed status as owner.

Further, the CA ruled that Art. 144 of the Civil Code has been repealed by Art. No 148 of the Family
Code. Thus, his claim must be tried under the said statute. Malilin filed a motion for reconsideration of
the decision of CA, and after almost two years after their first decision, the CA discovered discrepancies
on the nine (9) land titles where Malilin claimed to have a share thereto. The said titles were held to
be owned by Castillo, with the exception of the two properties named under third parties Steelhaus
Realty & Dev. Corp. and Eloisa Castillo. The CA then reversed its own initial ruling and favored the trial
courts decision. Malilin filed another motion for reconsideration, which was denied by the CA.

The Supreme Court ruled that the trial court erred that the parties could not have co-owned properties
since they are incapacitated to marry. Thus, all of the properties identified may be subject to co-
ownership except for one which was acquired prior to the effectivity of the Civil Code. The Court also
ruled that the filing of co-ownership on the properties were valid and is not considered a collateral
attack. Also, the dismissal of petitioner's complaint is unjustified since both ends may be amply served
by simply excluding from the action for partition the properties registered in the name of the third
parties.

ISSUE: Whether or not the parties be considered as co-owners of the properties, under the law,
considering the present status of their parties as both married and incapable of maarying each other,
even assuming that they lived together as husband and wife.

RULING: The amended decision of the Court of Appeals is reversed and the case is remanded to the
Regional Trial Court, Makati City, for further proceedings of the merits.