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ARTICLE 147 & 148 – PROPERTY REGIME OF following clarification: "Consequently,

UNIONS WITHOUT MARRIAGE considering that Article 147 of the Family

Code explicitly provides that the property
Republic of the Philippines acquired by both parties during their union,
SUPREME COURT in the absence of proof to the contrary, are
Manila presumed to have been obtained through
the joint efforts of the parties and will be
FIRST DIVISION owned by them in equal shares, plaintiff
and defendant will own their 'family home'
G.R. No. 122749 July 31, 1996 and all their other properties for that
matter in equal shares. In the liquidation
ANTONIO A. S. VALDEZ, petitioner, and partition of the properties owned in
vs. common by the plaintiff and defendant, the
REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, BRANCH 102, provisions on co-ownership found in the
QUEZON CITY, and CONSUELO M. GOMEZ- Civil Code shall apply."
VALDEZ, respondents.
Valdes moved for reconsideration of the
VITUG, J.:p Order which was denied. Valdes appealed,
arguing that: (1) Article 147 of the Family
Code does not apply to cases where the
Case Doctrine: parties are psychological incapacitated;
(2) Articles 50, 51 and 52 in relation to
● In a void marriage, regardless of the Articles 102 and 129 of the Family Code
cause thereof, the property relations of the govern the disposition of the family
parties during the period of cohabitation is dwelling in cases where a marriage is
governed by the provisions of Article 147 declared void ab initio, including a marriage
or Article 148, such as the case may be, of declared void by reason of the
the Family Code. psychological incapacity of the spouses;
(3) Assuming arguendo that Article 147
applies to marriages declared void ab initio
on the ground of the psychological
Facts: Antonio Valdez and Consuelo incapacity of a spouse, the same may be
Gomez were married in 1971. They begot read consistently with Article 129.
5 children. In 1992, Valdez filed a petition
for declaration of nullity of their marriage Issues:
on the ground of psychological incapacity.
The trial court granted the petition, thereby
declaring their marriage null and void. It Whether Art 147 FC is the correct law
also directed the parties to start governing the disposition of property in the
proceedings on the liquidation of their case at bar.
common properties as defined by Article
147 of the Family Code, and to comply with
the provisions of Articles 50, 51 and 52 of Held:
the same code.
Yes. In a void marriage, regardless of the
Gomez sought a clarification of that portion cause thereof, the property relations of the
in the decision. She asserted that the parties during the period of cohabitation is
Family Code contained no provisions on the governed by the provisions of Article 147
procedure for the liquidation of common or Article 148, such as the case may be, of
property in "unions without marriage. the Family Code.

Article 147 applies when a man and a

In an Order, the trial court made the woman, suffering no illegal impediment to
marry each other, so exclusively live by them, the provisions on co-ownership
together as husband and wife under a void under the Civil Code, not Articles 50, 51
marriage or without the benefit of and 52, in relation to Articles 102 and 129,
marriage. Under this property regime, 12 of the Family Code, should aptly prevail.
property acquired by both spouses through The rules set up to govern the liquidation
their work and industry shall be governed of either the absolute community or the
by the rules on equal co-ownership. Any conjugal partnership of gains, the property
property acquired during the union is prima regimes recognized for valid and voidable
facie presumed to have been obtained marriages (in the latter case until the
through their joint efforts. A party who did contract is annulled), are irrelevant to the
not participate in the acquisition of the liquidation of the co-ownership that exists
property shall be considered as having between common-law spouses.
contributed thereto jointly if said party's
"efforts consisted in the care and The first paragraph of Articles 50 of the
maintenance of the family household." Family Code, applying paragraphs (2), (3),
Unlike the conjugal partnership of gains, (4) and 95) of Article 43, 13 relates only,
the fruits of the couple's separate property by its explicit terms, to voidable marriages
are not included in the co-ownership. and, exceptionally, to void marriages under
Article 40 14 of the Code, i.e., the
When the common-law spouses suffer from declaration of nullity of a subsequent
a legal impediment to marry or when they marriage contracted by a spouse of a prior
do not live exclusively with each other (as void marriage before the latter is judicially
husband and wife), only the property declared void. (Valdes vs Regional Trial
acquired by both of them through their Court, G.R. No. 122749. July 31,
actual joint contribution of money, property 1996).
or industry shall be owned in common and
in proportion to their respective
contributions. Such contributions and
corresponding shares, however, are prima
facie presumed to be equal. The share of
any party who is married to another shall
accrue to the absolute community or
conjugal partnership, as the case may be,
if so existing under a valid marriage. If the
party who has acted in bad faith is not
validly married to another, his or her share
shall be forfeited in the manner already
heretofore expressed.

In deciding to take further cognizance of

the issue on the settlement of the parties'
common property, the trial court acted
neither imprudently nor precipitately; a
court which has jurisdiction to declare the
marriage a nullity must be deemed likewise
clothed in authority to resolve incidental
and consequential matters. Nor did it
commit a reversible error in ruling that
petitioner and private respondent own the
"family home" and all their common
property in equal shares, as well as in
concluding that, in the liquidation and
partition of the property owned in common
Republic of the Philippines The sale of the riceland was made in favor of
Miguel and Erlinda. The provision of law
SUPREME COURT applicable here is Article 148 of the Family Code
Manila providing for cases of cohabitation when a man
and a woman who are not capacitated to marry
each other live exclusively with each other as
husband and wife without the benefit of marriage
or under a void marriage. The marriage of Miguel
and Erlinda was null and void because the earlier
marriage of Miguel and Carlina was still
G.R. No. 116668 July 28, 1997 subsisting and unaffected by the latter's de facto

ERLINDA A. AGAPAY, petitioner,

Under Article 148, only the properties acquired by
CARLINA (CORNELIA) V. PALANG and both of the parties through their actual joint
HERMINIA P. DELA CRUZ, respondents. contribution of money, property or
industry shall be owned by them in common in
proportion to their respective contributions. It
must be stressed that actual contribution is
required by this provision, in contrast to Article
FACTS; Miguel Palang married Calina 147 which states that efforts in the care and
Vellesterol with whom he had 1 child. He then maintenance of the family and household, are
contracted his second marriage with Erlinda regarded as contributions to the acquisition of
Agapay, with whom he had a son. The couple common property by one who has no salary or
purchased a parcel of agricultural land and the income or work or industry. If the actual
transfer certificate was issued in their names. She contribution of the party is not proved, there will
also purchased a house and lot in Binalonan, be no co-ownership and no presumption of equal
where the property was later issued in her name. shares.
Miguel and Carlina executed a Deed of Donation,
wherein they agreed to donate their conjugal
property consisting of 6 parcels of land to their In the case at bar, Erlinda tried to establish by her
only child, Herminia. Carlina filed a complaint testimony that she is engaged in the business of
against Miguel and Erlinda for bigamy. buy and sell and had a sari-sari store but failed to
persuade SC that she actually contributed money
Miguel died, and Carlina and Herminia instituted
to buy the subject riceland. Worth noting is the
an action for recovery of ownership and
fact that on the date of conveyance, when she
possession with damages against Erlinda. They
was only around 20 of age and Miguel Palang
sought to get back the riceland and house and lot
was already 64 and a pensioner of the U.S.
allegedly bought by Miguel during his
Government. Considering her youthfulness, it is
cohabitation with Erlinda. RTC dismissed the
unrealistic to conclude that she contributed
complaint and ordered the respondents to
P3,750.00 as her share in the purchase price of
provide for the intestate shares of the parties,
subject property, there being no proof of the
particularly of Erlinda's son. CA reversed the trial
court's decision.
With respect to the house and lot, Erlinda
ISSUE: Whether or not the properties from
allegedly bought the same for P20,000.00 when
Miguel's second marriage be granted to Erlinda.
she was only 22 years old. The testimony of the
RULING: No. SC held that the agricultural land notary public who prepared the deed of
and house and land cannot be granted to Erlinda. conveyance for the property testified that Miguel
Palang provided the money for the purchase
price and directed that Erlinda’s name alone be
placed as the vendee.

Since Erlinda failed to prove that she contributed

money to the purchase price of the riceland, we
find no basis to justify her co-ownership with
Miguel over the same. Consequently, the
riceland should, as correctly held by the CA,
revert to the conjugal partnership property of the
deceased Miguel and Carlina Palang.

The transaction was properly a donation made by

Miguel to Erlinda was void. Article 87 of the
Family Code expressly provides that the
prohibition against donations between spouses
now applies to donations between persons living
together as husband and wife without a valid
marriage, for otherwise, the condition of those
who incurred guilt would turn out to be better than
those in legal union.

As regards to the donation of their conjugal

property executed by Miguel and Carlina in favor
of their daughter, was also void. Separation of
property between spouses during the marriage
shall not take place except by judicial order or
without judicial conferment when there is an
express stipulation in the marriage settlements.
The judgment which resulted from the parties’
compromise was not specifically and expressly
for separation of property and should not be so
THIRD DIVISION from the lessees of the other apartments, until
she discovered that Mario deceived her as to
the annulment of his marriage.
[G.R. No. 137650. April 12, 2000]
Issue: Whether or not the petitioner is the co-
GUILLERMA TUMLOS, petitioner, vs. owner of the property in litis.
LOURDES FERNANDEZ, respondents. Ruling: Petitioner fails to present any evidence
that she had made an actual contribution to
purchase the subject property. Indeed, she
anchors her claim of co-ownership merely on
her cohabitation with respondent Mario.
Likewise, her claim of having administered the
property during the cohabitation is
PANGANIBAN, J.: unsubstantiated. In any event, this fact by itself
does not justify her claim, for nothing in Article
Facts: Spouses Fernandez filed an action of 148 of the Family Code provides that the
ejectment against petitioner Guillerma Tumlos, administration of the property amounts to a
Toto Tumlos, and Gina Tumlos. In their contribution in its acquisition. Clearly, there is
complaint, the said spouses alleged that they no basis for petitioner’s claim of co-ownership.
are the absolute owners of an apartment The property in question belongs to the
building that through tolerance they had conjugal partnership of respondents.
allowed the defendants-private respondents to
occupy the apartment building for the last 7
years without the payment of any rent; that it
was agreed upon that after a few months,
Guillerma Tumlos will pay P1,600.00 a month
while the other defendants promised to pay
P1,000.00 a month, both as rental, which
agreement was not complied with by the said
defendants. They have demanded several
times that the defendants vacate the premises,
as they are in need of the property for the
construction of a new building.

Guillerma Tumlos was the only one who filed

an answer to the complaint. She averred
therein that the Fernandez spouses had no
cause of action against her, since she is a co-
owner of the subject premises as evidenced by
a Contract to Sell wherein it was stated that she
is a co-vendee of the property in question
together with Mario Fernandez. She then
asked for the dismissal of the complaint.

Upon appeal to the RTC, petitioner and the two

other defendants alleged in their memorandum
on appeal that Mario and petitioner had an
amorous relationship, and that they acquired
the property in question as their "love nest." It
was further alleged that they lived together in
the said apartment building with their 2 children
for around 10 years, and that Guillerma
administered the property by collecting rentals
FIRST DIVISION relationships where both man and a woman who
are married to other persons, and multiple
G.R. No. 150611 June 10, 2003 alliances of the same married man. Under this
JACINTO SAGUID, petitioner, regime, only the properties acquired by both of
the parties through their actual joint contribution
vs. of money, property or industry shall be owned by
them in common in proportion to their respective
contributions. Proof of actual contribution is
respondents. In the issue of co-ownership of properties
acquired by the parties to a bigamous marriage
and an adulterous relationship, it has been ruled
YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.: that proof of actual contribution in the acquisition
of the property is essential. The claim of co-
FACTS: Seventeen year-old Gina S. Rey, ownership of the petitioners therein who were
respondent, was married, but separated de facto parties to the bigamous and adulterous union is
from her husband, when she met Jacinto Saguid, without basis because they failed to substantiate
petitioner, in Marinduque sometime in July 1987. their allegations that they contributed money in
The two decided to cohabit as husband and wife the purchase of the disputed properties.
in a house built on a lot owned by Jacinto’s father. Furthermore, it has also been held that the fact
Petitioner made a living as the patron of their that the controverted property was titled in the
fishing vessel while Gina on the other hand, name of the parties to an adulterous relationship
worked as a fish dealer, but decided to work as is not sufficient proof of co-ownership, absent
an entertainer in Japan. evidence of actual contribution in the acquisition
of the property.
In 1996, the couple decided to separate
and end up their 9-year cohabitation. Respondent In the case at bar, the controversy
filed a complaint for partition and recovery of centers on the house and personal properties of
personal property with receivership against the the parties. Private respondent alleged in her
petitioner. She prayed that she be declared the complaint that she contributed Php 70,000.00 for
sole owner of these personal properties and that the completion of their house. However, nowhere
the amount of Php 70,000.00, representing her in her testimony did she specify the extent of her
contribution to the construction of their house be contribution. What appears in the records are
reimbursed to her. receipts in her name for the purchase of
construction materials in the total amount of Php
11, 413.00.
While there is no question that both
Whether or not there are actual parties contributed in their joint account deposit,
contributions from the parties? there is, however, no sufficient proof of the exact
amount of their respective shares therein.
Pursuant to Article 148 of the Family Code, in the
absence of proof of extent of the parties’
respective contribution, their share shall be
Yes. It is not disputed that Gina and presumed to be equal.
Jacinto were not capacitated to marry each other
Thus, private respondent Gina S. Rey is
because the former was validly married to
declared co-owner of petitioner Jacinto Saguid in
another man at the time of her cohabitation with
the controverted house.
the latter. Their property regime is governed by
Article 148 of the Family Code which applies to
bigamous marriages, adulterous relationships,
relationships in a state of concubinage,

G.R. No. 153029 September 27, 2007


all surnamed ACRE, Petitioners,




ARTICLE 150 & 151 FAMILY CODE; FAMILY plaintiff's favor for the consolidation of ownership
RELATIONS in and to the aforementioned property.

In her answer to the complaint, Mrs. Gayon

G.R. No. L-28394 November 26, 1970 alleged that her husband, Silvestre Gayon, died
on January 6, 1954, long before the institution of
this case; that Annex "A" to the complaint is
PEDRO GAYON, plaintiff-appellant,
fictitious, for the signature thereon purporting to
be her signature is not hers; that neither she nor
her deceased husband had ever executed "any
GAYON, defendants-appellees.
document of whatever nature in plaintiff's favor";
that the complaint is malicious and had
German M. Lopez for plaintiff-appellant. embarrassed her and her children; that the heirs
of Silvestre Gayon had to "employ the services of
Pedro R. Davila for defendants-appellees. counsel for a fee of P500.00 and incurred
expenses of at least P200.00"; and that being a
brother of the deceased Silvestre Gayon, plaintiff
"did not exert efforts for the amicable settlement
CONCEPCION, C.J.: of the case" before filing his complaint. She
prayed, therefore, that the same be dismissed
and that plaintiff be sentenced to pay damages.
Appeal, taken by plaintiff Pedro Gayon, from an
order of the Court of First Instance of Iloilo
dismissing his complaint in Civil Case No. 7334 Soon later, she filed a motion to dismiss,
thereof. reproducing substantially the averments made in
her answer and stressing that, in view of the
death of Silvestre Gayon, there is a "necessity of
The records show that on July 31, 1967, Pedro amending the complaint to suit the genuine facts
Gayon filed said complaint against the spouses on record." Presently, or on September 16, 1967,
Silvestre Gayon and Genoveva de Gayon, the lower court issued the order appealed from,
alleging substantially that, on October 1, 1952, reading:
said spouses executed a deed — copy of which
was attached to the complaint, as Annex "A" —
whereby they sold to Pedro Gelera, for the sum Considering the motion to
of P500.00, a parcel of unregistered land therein dismiss and it appearing from
described, and located in the barrio of Exhibit "A" annexed to the
Cabubugan, municipality of Guimbal, province of complaint that Silvestre Gayon is
Iloilo, including the improvements thereon, the absolute owner of the land in
subject to redemption within five (5) years or not question, and considering the
later than October 1, 1957; that said right of fact that Silvestre Gayon is now
redemption had not been exercised by Silvestre dead and his wife Genoveva de
Gayon, Genoveva de Gayon, or any of their heirs Gayon has nothing to do with the
or successors, despite the expiration of the period land subject of plaintiff's
therefor; that said Pedro Gelera and his wife complaint, as prayed for, this
Estelita Damaso had, by virtue of a deed of sale case is hereby dismissed,
— copy of which was attached to the complaint, without pronouncement as to
as Annex "B" — dated March 21, 1961, sold the costs.1
aforementioned land to plaintiff Pedro Gayon for
the sum of P614.00; that plaintiff had, since 1961, A reconsideration of this order having been
introduced thereon improvements worth P1,000; denied, plaintiff interposed the present appeal,
that he had, moreover, fully paid the taxes on said which is well taken.
property up to 1967; and that Articles 1606 and
1616 of our Civil Code require a judicial decree Said order is manifestly erroneous and must be
for the consolidation of the title in and to a land set aside. To begin with, it is not true that Mrs.
acquired through a conditional sale, and, Gayon "has nothing to do with the land subject of
accordingly, praying that an order be issued in plaintiff's complaint." As the widow of Silvestre
Gayon, she is one of his compulsory heirs 2and
has, accordingly, an interest in the property in (3) Among other ascendants and
question. Moreover, her own motion to dismiss their descendants;
indicated merely "a necessity of amending the
complaint," to the end that the other successors (4) Among brothers and sisters.
in interest of Silvestre Gayon, instead of the latter,
be made parties in this case. In her opposition to
Mrs. Gayon is plaintiff's sister-in-law, whereas her
the aforesaid motion for reconsideration of the
children are his nephews and/or nieces.
plaintiff, Mrs. Gayon alleged, inter alia, that the Inasmuch as none of them is included in the
"heirs cannot represent the dead defendant, enumeration contained in said Art. 217 — which
unless there is a declaration of heirship."
should be construed strictly, it being an exception
Inasmuch, however, as succession takes place,
to the general rule — and Silvestre Gayon must
by operation of law, "from the moment of the
necessarily be excluded as party in the case at
death of the decedent"3 and "(t)he inheritance
bar, it follows that the same does not come within
includes all the property, rights and obligations of the purview of Art. 222, and plaintiff's failure to
a person which are not extinguished by his seek a compromise before filing the complaint
death,"4 it follows that if his heirs were included
does not bar the same.
as defendants in this case, they would be sued,
not as "representatives" of the decedent, but as
owners of an aliquot interest in the property in WHEREFORE, the order appealed from is
question, even if the precise extent of their hereby set aside and the case remanded to the
interest may still be undetermined and they have lower court for the inclusion, as defendant or
derived it from the decent. Hence, they may be defendants therein, of the administrator or
sued without a previous declaration of heirship, executor of the estate of Silvestre Gayon, if any,
provided there is no pending special proceeding in lieu of the decedent, or, in the absence of such
for the settlement of the estate of the decedent.5 administrator or executor, of the heirs of the
deceased Silvestre Gayon, and for further
proceedings, not inconsistent with this decision,
As regards plaintiff's failure to seek a
with the costs of this instance against defendant-
compromise, as an alleged obstacle to the
appellee, Genoveva de Gayon. It is so ordered.
present case, Art. 222 of our Civil Code provides:
Reyes, J.B.L., Makalintal, Zaldivar, Castro,
No suit shall be filed or Fernando, Teehankee, Barredo and Villamor, JJ.,
maintained between members of concur.
the same family unless it should
appear that earnest efforts
toward a compromise have been Dizon and Makasiar, JJ., are on leave.
made, but that the same have
failed, subject to the limitations in
article 2035.
G.R. No. 119714 May 29, 1997
It is noteworthy that the impediment arising from
this provision applies to suits "filed or maintained SALVADOR S. ESQUIVIAS and ALICIA
between members of the same family." This DOMALAON-ESQUIVIAS, petitioners,
phrase, "members of the same family," should, vs.
however, be construed in the light of Art. 217 of COURT OF APPEALS, JOSE G. DOMALAON,
the same Code, pursuant to which: ELENA G. DOMALAON and REGISTER OF
DEEDS OF SORSOGON, respondents.
Family relations shall include

(1) Between husband and wife; BELLOSILLO, J.:

(2) Between parent and child; A 6,270-SQUARE METER PARCEL OF LAND in

the poblacion of Gubat, Sorsogon,1 is the subject
of this action for reconveyance and damages.
Julia Galpo de Domalaon was the owner of a February 1981. His rights over the other
piece of land with an area of 1,260 square meters application covering the rest of the property were
and the two-storey house standing thereon. In relinquished by him in favor of his sister Elena. 7 It
1950 she extrajudicially constituted this property turned out later that Elena G. Domalaon also
into a family home. Alicia Domalaon-Esquivias, succeeded in her application for Free Patent and
Elena G. Domalaon and Jose G. Domalaon, a certificate of title was issued in her name on 18
among other children, were named beneficiaries March 1985. 8
Alleging that it was only in 1981 that she came to
On 11 March 1974 a Deed of Absolute Sale was know that the document she signed in favor of
executed by Julia Galpo de Domalaon in favor of Atty. Salvador S. Esquivias in 1974 was actually
her son-in-law, Atty. Salvador Esquivias, a deed of sale, Julia Galpo de Domalaon filed a
husband of Alicia Domalaon. Subject matter of disbarment case against Atty. Esquivias.
the deed was the property constituting the family According to her, being a son-in-law and lawyer
home — the two-storey house and the residential of the Domalaons, Atty. Esquivias took
lot on which it stood, more particularly described advantage of her trust and confidence and poor
in the deed as — eyesight by representing that the document was
a sale of her land in favor of all her children. But
. . . containing an area the Solicitor General, who investigated the case,
corresponding to the ground recommended its dismissal for lack of merit thus
floor area of the house (136 sq. —
m.) plus and including its outside
surrounding area of land xxx xxx xxx
measuring three (3) meters from
the outside walls on all on all The claim of the complainant that
sides of said house, and respondent took advantage of
including the whole width and her trust and confidence and
length of the driveway leading presented to her for signature a
from the house to Manook prepared document which he
Street. This is likewise part and represented as a distribution of
parcel of the family home her lands to her children is not
declared in the name of Julia credible . . . It is inconceivable
Galpo de Domalaon under Tax that from March 1974 up to
Declaration No. 9021 containing January 1981, complainant had
an original area of 1,260 square never informed her children that
meters, more or less, and she had already signed a
assessed at P1,070. 3 document transferring her
ricelands to them . . . And what is
On 30 March 1977 the family home was dissolved more, it is too much of a
by Julia Galpo de Domalaon with the conformity coincidence that Elena
of all her children. Afterwards, another deed of Domalaon discovered the
sale was executed by her dated 12 April 1977 document at the Office of the
transferring to Jose G. Domalaon the house and Register of Deeds of Sorsogon in
lot which once constituted the family home. The January 1981 . . . The only
deed indicated that the property being sold was reasonable conclusion is that
the entire 1,260 square meters. 4 However, in Elena knew all along about the
the Affidavit of Confirmatory Waiver of existence of said document,
Rights, 5 the area was increased to 2,456 square which is a genuine deed of sale
meters. in favor of respondent, and she
and her mother (complainant
Prior to the sale of the property to him, or on 21 herself) only concocted the
October 1976, Jose already filed two (2) alleged misrepresentation
applications for Free Patent in his name covering committed by respondent just to
the entire property. When his first application was get even with him . . . The settled
approved, a certificate of title 6 was issued on 11 rule is that the serious
consequences of disbarment or the house, and including the
suspension should follow only whole width and length of the
where there is a clear driveway leading from the house
preponderance of evidence to Manook Street;
against the respondent. The
presumption is that the attorney 2. That Jose Domalaon should
is innocent of the charges reconvey to the plaintiffs that
proffered and has performed his property mentioned above; and
duty as a lawyer in accordance for the purpose, a licensed
with his oath. surveyor be commissioned to set
off that particular portion of the
Complainant's evidence is property. The fee of such
obviously insufficient to prove surveyor should be paid by
dishonesty on the part of defendant Jose Domalaon;
respondent. Complainant's
version is not credible, and 3. That the property identified as
respondent has adduced Lot No. 453 be partitioned by the
sufficient evidence to prove heirs of Julia G. Domalaon, and
motive for the filing of the instant as a consequence, the Register
complaint . . . .9 of Deeds of Sorsogon is ordered
to cancel OCT No. P-22729 in
This Court adopted the above Recommendation the name of Elena Domalaon
and dismissed the case. 10 and issue the corresponding
titles to the portions owned by
Upon discovering that the subject lands were each heir;
already titled in the names of Jose and Elena,
Atty. Esquivias and his wife filed an action for 4. That defendants Jose
reconveyance and damages before the Regional Domalaon and Elena Domalaon
Trial Court of Sorsogon. In their complaint they should pay to the plaintiffs, jointly
claimed the entire 6,270 square meters and not and severally, the sum of P5,000
just the house and lot they acquired by purchase as moral damages, and P5,000
from Julia. According to them, when Silvestre as attorney's fees;
Domalaon, husband of Julia, was still alive he
promised to transfer the entire property in their 5. That defendants, likewise,
names as payment of his accumulated debts to jointly and severally, should pay
them. Thus, they declared the property in their the costs of this suit.
names and paid the taxes thereon.
Not satisfied with the decision, respondents Jose
After trial, the court ruled in favor of plaintiffs thus G. Domalaon and Elena G. Domalaon elevated
— the case to the Court of Appeals which reversed
the decision of the trial court and dismissed the
WHEREFORE, premises case on the basis of its finding that there was no
considered, this Court hereby compliance with the mandatory requirements of
orders: Art. 222 of the New Civil Code; hence, the instant
1. That plaintiff Salvador
Esquivias and Alicia Domalaon- Three (3) issues need to be resolved: (a) Was the
Esquivias be declared the appellate court correct in holding that no earnest
owners of the house and the effort towards a compromise between members
portion of the land it is standing of the same family was made, in contravention of
on, with an area of 136 sq. m., Art. 222 of the Civil Code? (b) Did the
plus and including its outside Report/Recommendation of the Solicitor General
surrounding area of land in the disbarment case, which was adopted by the
measuring three (3) meters from Supreme Court, rule on the validity of the sale
the outside walls on all sides of executed by Julia Domalaon? (c) Who has a
better right over the subject property, the Besides, it is neither practical nor fair that the
Esquiviases or the Domalaons? rights of a family be made to depend on a
stranger who just happens to have innocently
Petitioners contend that Atty. Esquivias is only a acquired some interest in a property by virtue of
brother-in-law of Jose and Elena Domalaon. Atty. his affinity to the parties. Contrary to the ruling of
Esquivias is not a member of the family of his wife the Court of Appeals, we find no reason to give
and is outside the scope and coverage of the law Art. 222 a broader scope than its literal import.
requiring that the same members of a family
should exert efforts to bring about a compromise On the second issue, petitioner Salvador S.
before the commencement of a litigation. Esquivias postulates that the validity of the deed
of sale in his favor had already been sustained in
We agree with petitioners. Article 222 of the Civil the disbarment proceedings against him. As a
Code provides that no suit shall be filed or consequence, the facts established therein have
maintained between members of the same family become the law of the case and can no longer be
unless it should appear that earnest efforts disturbed by the Court of Appeals.
towards a compromise have bee made but the
same have failed. The reason for the law is that a The argument is flawed. In the case of In re
lawsuit between family members generates Almacen 14 we ruled —
deeper bitterness than one between strangers.
Hence, it is necessary that every effort should be . . . Disciplinary proceedings
made towards a compromise before a litigation is against lawyers are sui generis.
allowed to breed hate and passion in the family. 11 Neither purely civil nor purely
criminal, they do not involve a
But this requirement in Art. 222 of the Civil Code trial of an action or a suit, but are
applies only to suits between or among members rather investigations by the Court
of the same family. The phrase "between into the conduct of one of its
members of the same family" should be officers. Not being intended to
construed in the light of Art. 217 of the Civil inflict punishment, it is in no
Code 12 under which "family relations" include sense a criminal prosecution.
only those (a) between husband and wife, (b) Accordingly, there is neither a
between parent and child, (c) among other plaintiff nor a prosecutor therein.
ascendants and their descendants, and (d) It may be initiated by the
among brothers and sisters. Court motu proprio. Public
interest is its primary objective,
As correctly pointed out by petitioners, Atty. and the real question for
Salvador S. Esquivias is not included in the determination is whether or not
enumeration of who are members of the same the attorney is still a fit person to
family, as he is only a brother-in-law of be allowed the privileges as
respondents Jose and Elena by virtue of his such. Hence, in the exercise of
marriage to their sister Alicia. His relationship with its disciplinary powers, the Court
respondents is based on affinity and not on merely calls upon a member of
consanguinity. Consequently, insofar as he is the Bar to account for his
concerned, he is a stranger with respect to the actuations as an officer of the
family of his wife and, as such, the mandatory Court with the end in view of
requirement of "earnest effort toward a preserving the purity of the legal
compromise" does not apply to him. In Magbaleta profession and the proper and
v. Gonong 13 we ruled that "efforts to honest administration of justice
compromise" are not a jurisdictional prerequisite by purging the profession of
for the maintenance of an action whenever a members who by their
stranger to the family is a party thereto, whether misconduct have proved
as necessary or indispensable one. An alien to themselves no longer worthy to
the family may not be willing to suffer the be entrusted with the duties and
inconvenience of, much less relish, the delay and responsibilities pertaining to the
the complications that wranglings between and office of an attorney. In such
among relatives more often than not entail. posture, there can thus be no
occasion to speak of a only a disbarment case instead of the more
complainant or a prosecutor. appropriate action for annulment of contract?

For this reason, whatever has been As regards the third issue, this Court notes the
decided in the disbarment case cannot glaring irregularities that attended the transfer of
be a source of right that may be enforced the land in question to Jose G. Domalaon and
in another action, like this case before us. Elena G. Domalaon: First, the land was sold by
Julia to Jose on 12 April 1977. 16 But even prior to
Moreover, what was decided in the disbarment that date, or on 21 October 1976 , Jose already
proceedings was the issue of whether Atty. applied for Free Patent in his name covering the
Esquivias violated his oath by defrauding and land; 17Second, during the disbarment
deceiving the complainant into conveying to him proceedings against Atty. Esquivias, Elena
the properties in question, and not the issue of the admitted on cross-examination that she went to
validity of the deed of sale. When the Solicitor the Register of Deeds of Sorsogon to register
General made a declaration that the deed was another deed of sale — one executed by her
valid, it was only because the same was mother in favor of her brother Jose over the same
incidentally necessary for the prompt resolution of house and lot — ahead of the deed of sale
the case. Indeed, in matters involving questions executed in favor of Atty. Esquivias.
of genuineness and due execution of documents She succeeded in doing so by using the tax
purporting to convey properties of considerable receipt paid by Atty. Esquivias himself; 18 Third, in
value, no less than an action instituted for that the deed of sale of Jose, what was sold to him
purpose before a court of competent jurisdiction was 1,260 square meters. However, in
is necessary, rather than a mere administrative the Affidavit of Confirmatory Waiver of Rights the
proceeding, like a disbarment case, where the area was increased to 2,456 square
procedure followed is, more often than not, meters; Fourth, Jose relinquished to Elena Lot
summary, and where the question on validity of No. 453 with an area of 3,814 square meters.
the instrument is merely a collateral and not the Surprisingly, the records contain no deed or
main issue. evidence showing that Julia likewise sold to Jose
Lot No. 453. What was sold was 1,260 square
Consequently, the judgment on the disbarment meters if we go by the deed of sale, or 2,456
square meters if we base it on the Affidavit of
proceedings, which incidentally touched on the
Confimatory Waiver of Rights. As aptly observed
issue of the validity of the deed of sale, cannot be
by the trial court, how could Jose relinquish to
considered conclusive in another action where
Elena something which he did not own? Fifth,
the validity of the same deed of sale is merely one
Julia executed an affidavit 19 dated 17 July 1986
of the main issues. At best, such judgment may
only be given weight when introduced as wherein she ceded her rights and interests over
evidence, but in no case does it bind the court in Lot No. 453 in favor of Jose. But it will be
observed that such affidavit was not sufficient to
the second action.
transfer ownership of the subject lot. Even if it did,
it was executed only after more than four (4)
We are convinced, however, that the sale in favor years from the date Jose relinquished to Elena his
of Atty. Esquivias was made by Julia with full alleged rights over Lot No. 453.
knowledge of the facts and there appears nothing
on record to warrant a declaration of nullity of the
These circumstances confirm the belief that there
deed from the standpoint of fraud.
indeed was collusion among the Domalaons to
defeat the valid and legitimate claim of the
It must be emphasized that the bare existence of Esquiviases by consolidating the ownership of
confidential relation between grantor and grantee the entire property in the names of Jose G.
does not, standing alone, raise the presumption Domalaon and Elena G. Domalaon. They
of fraud. A deed will not be set aside merely likewise belie the Domalaons' profession of
because the grantor and grantee sustained a ignorance with respect to the existence of the first
confidential relationship where the evidence sale.
shows no fraud or abuse of
confidence. 15 Besides, if Julia really had a cause
Logically, while the deed of sale in favor of Jose
of action against Atty. Esquivias, why did she file
G. Domalaon was registered earlier, the same
cannot prevail over the deed of sale in favor of erroneously registered in another person's name,
Atty. Esquivias because private respondent knew to its rightful and legal owners. 25
of the prior sale to petitioners, and such
knowledge tainted his registration with bad WHEREFORE, the Decision of respondent Court
faith. 20 To merit protection under Art. 1544, of Appeals reversing that of the Regional Trial
second par., 21 the second buyer must act in good Court, Branch 54, Gubat, Sorsogon, is
faith in registering his deed. REVERSED and SET ASIDE, and the Decision
of the latter court in favor of petitioners as quoted
While we are sustaining petitioners' rights over in pages four (4) and five (5) hereof is
the house and lot subject of the 11 March 1974 REINSTATED and AFFIRMED. Costs against
deed of sale, we cannot find any justification to private respondents.
likewise award to them the rest of the property.
They presented no evidence other than their self- SO ORDERED.
serving assertion that the entire property was
promised to them by the late Silvestre Domalaon. Vitug, Kapunan and Hermosisima Jr., JJ., concur.
The fact that such promise was not contradicted
by private respondents does not prove that their
claim over the entire property is valid and Padilla, J., is on leave.
subsisting. Furthermore, although the entire
property was declared by petitioners in their
names for taxation purposes, it does not by itself
constitute conclusive evidence of ownership. 22

Finally, while the certificates of title in the names

of Jose G. Domalaon and Elena G. Domalaon are
indefeasible, unassailable and binding against
the whole world, including the government itself,
they do not create or vest title. They merely
confirm or record title already existing and vested.
They cannot be used to protect a usurper from
the true owner, nor can they be used as a shield
for the commission of fraud; neither does they
permit one to enrich himself at the expense of
others. 23

Although a review of the decree of registration is

no longer available on account of the expiration
of the one-year period from entry thereof, an
equitable remedy is still available to the
Esquiviases who were wrongfully deprived of
their property, i.e., to compel Jose G. Domalaon
in whose name the house and lot in question had
been wrongfully registered, to reconvey the
property to the Esquiviases, provided that the
same has not yet been transferred to innocent
persons for value. 24

The registered property is deemed to be held in

trust for the real owners by the person in whose
name it has been registered. In this action for
reconveyance, the decree of registration is
respected as incontrovertible. What is sought
instead is the transfer of the property, in this case,
the title thereof, which has been wrongfully or
G.R. No. 155033 December 19, 2007 amount of three million pesos (₱3,000,000.00).
She believed that Arturo and Rosita had a joint
ALICE A.I. SANDEJAS, ROSITA A.I. CUSI, "and/or" money market placement in the amount
PATRICIA A.I. SANDEJAS and BENJAMIN A.I. of P3 million with the UCPB branch at Ortigas
ESPIRITU,Petitioners, Ave., San Juan and that Ignacio preterminated
vs. the placement and ran away with it, which
SPS. ARTURO IGNACIO, JR. and EVELYN rightfully belonged to Rosita. Alice then inquired
IGNACIO, Respondents. from UCPB Greenhills branch if Arturo still has an
account with them. On getting a confirmation, she
together with Rosita drew up a scheme to recover
the P3 million from Arturo. Alice filled up the date
of the check with "March 17, 1995" and the
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J.: amount with "three million only." Alice got her
driver, Kudera, to stand as the payee of the
Before the Court is a Petition for Review check, Dr. Borja. Alice and Rosita came to
on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court SBC2 Greenhills Branch together with a man
assailing the Decision1 of the Court of Appeals (Kudera) who[m] they introduced as Dr. Borja to
(CA) in CA-G.R. CV No. 62404 promulgated on the then Assistant Cashier Luis. After introducing
August 27, 2002, which affirmed with modification the said man as Dr. Borja, Rosita, Alice and the
the Decision of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of man who was later identified as Kudera opened a
Pasig City, Branch 158, in Civil Case No. 65146 Joint Savings Account No. 271-410554-7. As
dated December 18, 1998. initial deposit for the Joint Savings Account, Alice,
Rosita and Kudera deposited the check. No ID
The facts of the case, as summarized by the RTC, card was required of Mr. Kudera because it is an
are as follows: internal policy of the bank that when a valued
client opens an account, an identification card is
It appears from the plaintiffs' [petitioners] no longer required (TSN, April 21, 1997, pp. 15-
evidence that Arturo [respondent] is the elder 16). SBC also allowed the check to be deposited
brother of Alice [petitioner] and Rosita [petitioner], without the endorsement of the impostor Kudera.
Benjamin [petitioner] and Patricia [petitioner] are SBC officials stamped on the dorsal portion of the
Arturo's nephew and niece. Arturo and his wife check "endorsement/lack of endorsement
Evelyn [respondent] are residents of the United guaranteed" and sent the check for clearing to the
States. In October 1993, Arturo leased from Dr. Philippine Clearing House Corporation.
Borja a condominium unit identified as Unit 28-C
Gilmore Townhomes located at Granada St., On 21 March 1995, after the check had already
Quezon City. The lease was for the benefit of been cleared by the drawer bank UCPB, Rosita
Benjamin who is the occupant of the unit. The withdrew P1 million from Joint Savings Account
rentals were paid by Ignacio. The term of the and deposited said amount to the current account
lease is for one (1) year and will expire on of Alice with SBC Greenhills Branch. On the same
October 15, 1994. It appears that Arturo was date, Alice caused the transfer of P2 million from
intending to renew the lease contract. As he had the Joint Savings Account to two (2) Investment
to leave for the U.S., Arturo drew up a check, Savings Account[s] in the names of Alice, Rosita
UCPB Check No. GRH-560239 and wrote on it and/or Patricia. ...
the name of the payee, Dr. Manuel Borja, but left
blank the date and amount. He signed the check. On April 4, 1995, a day after Evelyn and Atty.
The check was intended as payment for the Sanz inquired about the identity of the persons
renewal of the lease. The date and the amount and the circumstances surrounding the deposit
were left blank because Arturo does not know and withdrawal of the check, the three million
when it will be renewed and the new rate of the pesos in the two investment savings account[s]
lease. The check was left with Arturo's sister-in- and in the current account just opened with SBC
law, who was instructed to deliver or give it to were withdrawn by Alice and Rosita.3
On June 18, 1995, Arturo Ignacio, Jr. and Evelyn
The check later came to the possession of Alice Ignacio (respondents) filed a verified complaint
who felt that Arturo cheated their sister in the for recovery of a sum of money and damages
against Security Bank and Trust Company On August 14, 1999, during the pendency of the
(SBTC) and its officers, namely: Rene Colin D. appeal with the CA, herein respondent Arturo
Gray, Manager; and Sonia Ortiz-Luis, Cashier. Ignacio, Jr. (Arturo) died.5
The complaint also impleaded herein petitioner
Benjamin A.I. Espiritu (Benjamin), a "John Doe," On August 27, 2002, the CA promulgated the
representing himself as Manuel N. Borja; and a presently assailed Decision, disposing as follows:
"Jane Doe."
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the
On November 7, 1995, the complaint was assailed decision of the trial court is
amended by additionally impleading herein hereby AFFIRMED with the
petitioners Alice A.I. Sandejas (Alice), Rosita A.I. MODIFICATION that the judgment shall read as
Cusi (Rosita) and Patricia A.I. Sandejas (Patricia) follows:
as defendants who filed their respective answers
and counterclaims. The defendants-appellants Security Bank and
Trust Company, Rene Colin D. Gray, Sonia Ortiz-
After trial, the RTC rendered judgment dated Luis, Alice A.I. Sandejas, and Rosita A.I. Cusi, are
December 18, 1998 with the following dispositive hereby ordered to jointly and severally pay the
portion: plaintiffs the following amounts:

WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, judgment 1. ₱3,000,000.00 plus legal interest

is rendered in favor of plaintiffs as against computed from March 17, 1995 until the
defendants Security Bank and Trust Co., Rene entire amount is fully paid;
Colin Gray, Sonia Ortiz Luis, Alice A.I. Sandejas
and Rosita A.I. Cusi, ordering them to pay jointly 2. ₱200,000.00 as moral damages;
and severally the plaintiffs the following amounts:
3. ₱100,000.00 as exemplary damages;
(1) ₱3,000,000.00 plus legal interest on it
from March 17, 1995 until the entire
amount is fully paid; 4. ₱50,000.00 as attorney's fees; plus

(2) ₱500,000.00 as moral damages; 5. the costs of suit.

(3) ₱200,000.00 as exemplary damages; The award of moral damages, exemplary

damages, and attorney's fees in favor of
Benjamin Espiritu is DELETED.
(4) ₱300,000.00 as attorney's fees; plus
(5) the cost of suit.
Petitioners and SBTC, together with Gray and
In turn, plaintiffs are directed to pay Benjamin A.I.
Ortiz-Luis, filed their respective petitions for
Espiritu the amount of ₱100,000.00 as moral review before this Court.
damages, ₱50,000.00 as exemplary damages
and another ₱50,000.00 as attorney's fees.
However, the petition filed by SBTC, Gray and
Ortiz-Luis, docketed as G.R. No. 155038, was
The counterclaims of Patricia A.I. Sandejas are
denied in a Resolution7 issued by this Court on
dismissed. November 20, 2002, for their failure to properly
verify the petition, submit a valid certification of
SO ORDERED.4 non-forum shopping, and attach to the petition the
duplicate original or certified true copy of the
Both parties appealed the RTC Decision to the assailed CA Decision. Said
Resolution became final and executory on April 9,
On the other hand, the instant petition was given HE KNEW THAT THE ORIGINAL
due course. Petitioners enumerated the following OWNER'S COPY OF THE TITLE WAS
grounds in support of their petition: WITH ROSITA, IS ANOTHER

CRIMINAL ACT OF ARTURO, JR. IN Petitioners argue that the CA overlooked and
SUBMITTING AN AFFIDAVIT OF LOSS ignored vital pieces of evidence showing that the
OF THE OWNER'S COPY OF THE encashment of the subject check was not
TITLE IN MORAYTA AND IN fraudulent and, on the contrary, was justified
TESTIFYING IN COURT AS TO SUCH, under the circumstances; and that such
WHEN THAT IS NOT THE TRUTH AS encashment did not amount to an actionable tort
and that it merely called for the application of the the trial court found that Benjamin suffered
civil law rule on pari delicto. mental anguish, wounded feelings and moral
shock as a result of the filing of the present case.
In support of these arguments, petitioners Citing the credentials and social standing of
contend that the principal adversaries in the Benjamin, petitioners claim that the award of
present case are full blooded siblings; that the law damages and attorney's fees in his favor should
recognizes the solidarity of family which is why it be increased.
is made a condition that earnest efforts towards a
compromise be exerted before one family Lastly, petitioners contend that the award of
member can institute a suit against the other; that damages and attorney's fees to respondents
even if Arturo previously defrauded Rosita and should be deleted for their failure to establish
deprived her of her lawful share in the sale of her malice or bad faith on the part of petitioners Alice
property, petitioners Rosita and Alice did not and Rosita in recovering the ₱3,000,000.00
precipitately file suit against him and instead took which Arturo took from Rosita; and that it is Rosita
extra-legal measures to protect Rosita's property who is entitled to damages and attorney's fees for
rights and at the same time preserve the solidarity Arturo's failure and refusal to give her share in the
of their family and save it from public sale of her property in Morayta.
embarrassment. Petitioners also aver that
Rosita's and Alice's act of encashing the subject In their Memorandum, respondents simply
check is not fraudulent because they did not have contend that the issues raised by petitioners are
any unlawful intent and that they merely took from factual in nature and that the settled rule is that
Arturo what rightfully belonged to Rosita. questions of fact are not subject to review by the
Petitioners contend that even granting that the act Supreme Court in a petition for review
of Rosita and Alice amounted to an actionable on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court.
tort, they could not be adjudged liable to return While there are exceptions to this rule,
the amount to respondents or to pay damages in respondents assert that petitioners failed to show
their favor, because the civil law rule on pari that the instant case falls under any of these
delicto dictates that, when both parties are at exceptions.
fault, neither of them could expect positive relief
from courts of justice and, instead, are left in the The Court’s Ruling
state where they were at the time of the filing of
the case.
The Court finds the petition bereft of merit. There
is no compelling reason for the Court to disturb
Petitioners also contend that the CA erred in
the findings of facts of the lower courts.
failing to award damages to Patricia even if the
appellate court sustained the trial court's finding
that she was not a party to the fraudulent acts The trial court's findings are as follows: (1) Rosita
committed by Rosita and failed to establish that there is an agreement
Alice.1avvphi1Petitioners argue that even if between her and Arturo that the latter will give her
Patricia did not bother to know the details of the one-third of the proceeds of the sale of the
cases against her and left everything to her Morayta property; (2) petitioners were not able to
mother, she did not even know the nature of the establish by clear and sufficient evidence that the
case against her, or her superiors in the bank ₱3,000,000.00 which they took from Arturo when
where she worked did not know whether she was they encashed the subject check was part of the
the plaintiff or defendant, these were not reasons proceeds of the sale of the Morayta property; (3)
to deny her award of damages. The fact remains Rosita's counterclaim is permissive and she failed
that she had been maliciously dragged into the to pay the full docket and filing fees for her
case, and that the suit had adversely affected her counterclaim.10
work and caused her mental worries and anguish,
besmirched reputation, embarrassment and Petitioners challenge the findings of the RTC and
humiliation. insist that they should not be held liable for
encashing the subject check because Arturo
As to Benjamin, petitioners aver that the CA also defrauded Rosita and that he committed deceitful
erred in deleting the award of damages and acts which deprived her of her rightful share in the
attorney's fees in his favor. Petitioners assert that sale of her building in Morayta; that the amount of
₱3,000,000.00 represented by the check which
they encashed formed part of the proceeds of the money to recover her share in the sale of her
said sale; that Alice and Rosita were merely property in Morayta. In a civilized society such as
moved by their desire to recover from Arturo, ours, the rule of law should always prevail. To
Rosita's supposed share in the sale of her allow otherwise would be productive of nothing
property. but mischief, chaos and anarchy. As a lawyer,
who has sworn to uphold the rule of law, Rosita
However, the Court agrees with respondents that should know better. She must go to court for
only questions of law are entertained in petitions relief.
for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules
of Court.11 The trial court’s findings of fact, which It is true that Article 151 of the Family Code
the Court of Appeals affirmed, are generally requires that earnest efforts towards a
binding and conclusive upon this court.12 There compromise be made before family members can
are recognized exceptions to this rule, among institute suits against each other. However,
which are: (1) the conclusion is grounded on nothing in the law sanctions or allows the
speculations, surmises or conjectures; (2) the commission of or resort to any extra-legal or
inference is manifestly mistaken, absurd or illegal measure or remedy in order for family
impossible; (3) there is grave abuse of discretion; members to avoid the filing of suits against
(4) the judgment is based on a misapprehension another family member for the enforcement or
of facts; (5) the findings of facts are conflicting; (6) protection of their respective rights.
there is no citation of specific evidence on which
the factual findings are based; (7) the finding of Petitioners invoke the rule of pari delicto to
absence of facts is contradicted by the presence support their contention that respondents do not
of evidence on record; (8) the findings of the CA deserve any relief from the courts.
are contrary to the findings of the trial court; (9)
the CA manifestly overlooked certain relevant The principle of pari delicto provides that when
and undisputed facts that, if properly considered,
two parties are equally at fault, the law leaves
would justify a different conclusion; (10) the
them as they are and denies recovery by either
findings of the CA are beyond the issues of the
one of them.14 Indeed, one who seeks equity and
case; and (11) such findings are contrary to the
justice must come to court with clean
admissions of both parties.13 In the instant case, hands.15 However, in the present case,
petitioners failed to demonstrate that their petition petitioners were not able to establish that
falls under any one of the above exceptions.
respondents are also at fault. Thus, the principle
of pari delicto cannot apply.
Petitioners' assignments of errors boil down to the
basic issue of whether or not Alice and Rosita are In any case, the application of the pari
justified in encashing the subject check given the delicto principle is not absolute, as there are
factual circumstances established in the present
exceptions to its application.16One of these
exceptions is where the application of the pari
delicto rule would violate well-established public
Petitioners' posture is not sanctioned by law. If policy.17 The prevention of lawlessness and the
they truly believe that Arturo took advantage of maintenance of peace and order are established
and violated the rights of Rosita, petitioners public policies. In the instant case, to deny
should have sought redress from the courts and respondents relief on the ground of pari
should not have simply taken the law into their delicto would put a premium on the illegal act of
own hands. Our laws are replete with specific petitioners in taking from respondents what the
remedies designed to provide relief for the former claim to be rightfully theirs.
violation of one's rights. In the instant case,
Rosita could have immediately filed an action for
Petitioners also question the trial court's ruling
the nullification of the sale of the building she
that their counterclaim is permissive. This Court
owns in light of petitioners' claim that the
has laid down the following tests to determine
document bearing her conformity to the sale of whether a counterclaim is compulsory or not, to
the said building was taken by Arturo from her wit: (1) Are the issues of fact or law raised by the
without her knowledge and consent. Or, in the
claim and the counterclaim largely the same? (2)
alternative, as the CA correctly held, she could
Would res judicata bar a subsequent suit on
have brought a suit for the collection of a sum of
defendant’s claims, absent the compulsory
counterclaim rule? (3) Will substantially the same prescribed filing fee but, subsequently,
evidence support or refute plaintiff’s claim as well the judgment awards a claim not
as the defendant’s counterclaim? and (4) Is there specified in the pleading, or if specified
any logical relation between the claim and the the same has been left for determination
counterclaim, such that the conduct of separate by the court, the additional filing fee
trials of the respective claims of the parties would therefor shall constitute a lien on the
entail a substantial duplication of effort and time judgment. It shall be the responsibility of
by the parties and the court?18 the Clerk of Court or his duly authorized
deputy to enforce said lien and assess
Tested against the above-mentioned criteria, this and collect the additional fee.20
Court agrees with the view of the RTC that
Rosita's counterclaim for the recovery of her In order for the trial court to acquire jurisdiction
alleged share in the sale of the Morayta property over her permissive counterclaim, Rosita is
is permissive in nature. The evidence needed to bound to pay the prescribed docket fees.21 Since
prove respondents' claim to recover the amount it is not disputed that Rosita never paid the docket
of ₱3,000,000.00 from petitioners is different from and filing fees, the RTC did not acquire
that required to establish Rosita's demands for jurisdiction over her permissive counterclaim.
the recovery of her alleged share in the sale of Nonetheless, the trial court ruled on the merits of
the subject Morayta property. The recovery of Rosita's permissive counterclaim by dismissing
respondents' claim is not contingent or dependent the same on the ground that she failed to
upon the establishment of Rosita's counterclaim establish that there is a sharing agreement
such that conducting separate trials will not result between her and Arturo with respect to the
in the substantial duplication of the time and effort proceeds of the sale of the subject Morayta
of the court and the parties. property and that the amount of ₱3,000,000.00
represented by the check which Rosita and Alice
In Sun Insurance Office, Ltd., (SIOL) v. encashed formed part of the proceeds of the said
Asuncion,19 this Court laid down the rules on the sale.
payment of filing fees, to wit:
It is settled that any decision rendered without
1. It is not simply the filing of the jurisdiction is a total nullity and may be struck
complaint or appropriate initiatory down at any time, even on appeal before this
pleading, but the payment of the Court.22
prescribed docket fee, that vests a trial
court with jurisdiction over the subject- In the present case, considering that the trial court
matter or nature of the action. Where the did not acquire jurisdiction over the permissive
filing of the initiatory pleading is not counterclaim of Rosita, any proceeding taken up
accompanied by payment of the docket by the trial court and any ruling or judgment
fee, the court may allow payment of the rendered in relation to such counterclaim is
fee within a reasonable time but in no considered null and void. In effect, Rosita may file
case beyond the applicable prescriptive a separate action against Arturo for recovery of a
or reglementary period. sum of money.

2. The same rule applies to permissive However, Rosita's claims for damages and
counterclaims, third-party claims and attorney's fees are compulsory as they
similar pleadings, which shall not be necessarily arise as a result of the filing by
considered filed until and unless the filing respondents of their complaint. Being compulsory
fee prescribed therefor is paid. The court in nature, payment of docket fees is not
may allow payment of said fee within a required.23Nonetheless, since petitioners are
reasonable time but also in no case found to be liable to return to respondents the
beyond its applicable prescriptive or amount of ₱3,000,000.00 as well as to pay moral
reglementary period. and exemplary damages and attorney's fees, it
necessarily follows that Rosita's counterclaim for
3. Where the trial court acquires damages and attorney's fees should be
jurisdiction over a claim by the filing of the dismissed as correctly done by the RTC and
appropriate pleading and payment of the affirmed by the CA.
As to Patricia's entitlement to damages, this Court by a person for having been made a party in a
has held that while no proof of pecuniary loss is civil case is not the kind of anxiety which would
necessary in order that moral damages may be warrant the award of moral damages.31
awarded, the amount of indemnity being left to the
discretion of the court, it is nevertheless essential A resort to judicial processes is not, per
that the claimant should satisfactorily show the se, evidence of ill will upon which a claim for
existence of the factual basis of damages and its damages may be based.32
causal connection to defendant’s acts.24 This is
so because moral damages, though incapable of In China Banking Corporation v. Court of
pecuniary estimation, are in the category of an
Appeals,33 this Court held:
award designed to compensate the claimant for
actual injury suffered and not to impose a penalty
on the wrongdoer.25 Moreover, additional facts Settled in our jurisprudence is the rule that moral
must be pleaded and proven to warrant the grant damages cannot be recovered from a person who
of moral damages under the Civil Code, these has filed a complaint against another in good
being, social humiliation, wounded feelings, faith, or without malice or bad faith (Philippine
grave anxiety, etc. that resulted from the act National Bank v. Court of Appeals, 159 SCRA
being complained of.26 In the present case, both 433 [1988]; R & B Surety and Insurance v.
the RTC and the CA were not convinced that Intermediate Appellate Court, 129 SCRA 736
Patricia is entitled to damages. Quoting the RTC, [1984]). If damage results from the filing of the
the CA held thus: complaint, it is damnum absque injuria (Ilocos
Norte Electrical Company v. Court of Appeals,
179 SCRA 5 [1989]).34
With respect to Patricia, she did not even bother
to know the details of the case against her, she
left everything to the hands of her mother Alice. In the present case, the Court agrees with the
Her attitude towards the case appears weird, she RTC and the CA that petitioners failed to establish
being a banker who seems so concerned of her that respondents were moved by bad faith or
reputation. malice in impleading Patricia and Benjamin.
Hence, Patricia and Benjamin are not entitled to
Aside from the parties to this case, her immediate
superiors in the BPI knew that she is involved in
a case. They did not however know whether she The Court sustains the award of moral and
is the plaintiff or the defendant in the case. exemplary damages as well as attorney's fees in
Further, they did not know the nature of the case favor of respondents.
that she is involved in. It appears that Patricia has
not suffered any of the injuries enumerated in As to moral damages, Article 20 of the Civil Code
Article 2217 of the Civil Code, thus, she is not provides that every person who, contrary to law,
entitled to moral damages and attorney's fees.27 willfully or negligently causes damage to another,
shall indemnify the latter for the same. In addition,
This Court finds no cogent reason to depart from Article 2219 (10) of the Civil Code provides that
the above-quoted findings as Patricia failed to moral damages may be recovered in acts or
satisfactorily show the existence of the factual actions referred to in Articles 21, 26, 27, 28, 29,
basis for granting her moral damages and the 30, 32, 34 and 35 of the same Code. More
causal connection of such fact to the act of particularly, Article 21 of the said Code provides
respondents in filing a complaint against her. that any person who willfully causes loss or injury
to another in a manner that is contrary to morals,
good customs, or public policy shall compensate
In addition, and with respect to Benjamin, the
the latter for the damage. In the present case, the
Court agrees with the CA that in the absence of a
act of Alice and Rosita in fraudulently encashing
wrongful act or omission, or of fraud or bad faith,
the subject check to the prejudice of respondents
moral damages cannot be awarded.28 The is certainly a violation of law as well as of the
adverse result of an action does not per se make
public policy that no one should put the law into
the action wrongful, or the party liable for it.29 One
his own hands. As to SBTC and its officers, their
may err, but error alone is not a ground for
negligence is so gross as to amount to a willfull
granting such damages.30 In the absence of
injury to respondents. The banking system has
malice and bad faith, the mental anguish suffered
become an indispensable institution in the
modern world and plays a vital role in the As to attorney's fees, Article 2208 of the same
economic life of every civilized society.35 Whether Code provides, among others, that attorney's
as mere passive entities for the safe-keeping and fees may be recovered when exemplary
saving of money or as active instruments of damages are awarded or when the defendant's
business and commerce, banks have attained a act or omission has compelled the plaintiff to
ubiquitous presence among the people, who litigate with third persons or to incur expenses to
have come to regard them with respect and even protect his interest.
gratitude and most of all, confidence.36 For this
reason, banks should guard against injury WHEREFORE, the instant petition is DENIED.
attributable to negligence or bad faith on its part.37 The Decision of the Court of Appeals dated
August 27, 2002 in CA-G.R. CV No. 62404
There is no hard-and-fast rule in the is AFFIRMED.
determination of what would be a fair amount of
moral damages since each case must be Costs against the petitioners.
governed by its own peculiar facts.38 The
yardstick should be that it is not palpably and
scandalously excessive.39 Moreover, the social
standing of the aggrieved party is essential to the
determination of the proper amount of the
award.40 Otherwise, the goal of enabling him to
obtain means, diversions, or amusements to
restore him to the status quo ante would not be
achieved.41 In the present case, the Court finds
no cogent reason to modify the amount of moral
damages granted by the CA.

Likewise, the Court finds no compelling reason to

disturb the modifications made by the CA on the
award of exemplary damages and attorney's

Under Article 2229 of the Civil Code, exemplary

or corrective damages are imposed by way of
example or correction for the public good, in
addition to moral, temperate, liquidated, or
compensatory damages. In the instant case, the
award of exemplary damages in favor of
respondents is in order for the purpose of
deterring those who intend to enforce their rights
by taking measures or remedies which are not in
accord with law and public policy. On the part of
respondent bank, the public relies on a bank's
sworn profession of diligence and
meticulousness in giving irreproachable
service.42 Hence, the level of meticulousness
must be maintained at all times by the banking
sector.43 In the present case the award of
exemplary damages is justified by the brazen
acts of petitioners Rosita and Alice in violating the
law coupled with the gross negligence committed
by respondent bank and its officers in allowing the
subject check to be deposited which later paved
the way for its encashment.
G.R. No. 177861 July 13, 2010 [I]t is very obvious that the mother of these 8
children is certainly not KEH SHIOK CHENG, but
IN RE: PETITION FOR CANCELLATION a much younger woman, most probably TIU
AND CORRECTION OF ENTRIES IN THE CHUAN. Upon further evaluation and analysis by
RECORD OF BIRTH, these Agents, LEE TEK SHENG is in a quandary
in fixing the age of KEH SHIOK CHENG possibly
to conform with his grand design of making his 8
EMMA K. LEE, Petitioner,
children as their own legitimate children,
consequently elevating the status of his second
COURT OF APPEALS, RITA K. LEE, family and secure their future. The doctor lamented
LEONCIO K. LEE, LUCIA K. LEE-ONG, that this complaint would not have been necessary
JULIAN K. LEE, MARTIN K. LEE, ROSA had not the father and his second family kept on
LEE-VANDERLEK, MELODY LEE-CHIN, insisting that the 8 children are the legitimate
represented by RITA K. LEE, as Attorney-in-
The NBI found, for example, that in the hospital
Fact, Respondents.
records, the eldest of the Lee’s other children,
Marcelo Lee (who was recorded as the 12th child of
DECISION Lee and Keh), was born of a 17-year-old mother,
when Keh was already 38 years old at the time.
ABAD, J.: Another of the Lee’s other children, Mariano Lee,
was born of a 23-year-old mother, when Keh was
This case is about the grounds for quashing a then already 40 years old, and so forth. In other
subpoena ad testificandum and a parent’s right not to words, by the hospital records of the Lee’s other
testify in a case against his children. children, Keh’s declared age did not coincide with
her actual age when she supposedly gave birth to
such other children, numbering eight.
The Facts and the Case

Spouses Lee Tek Sheng (Lee) and Keh Shiok Cheng On the basis of this report, the respondent Lee-Keh
(Keh) entered the Philippines in the 1930s as children filed two separate petitions, one of them
immigrants from China. They had 11 children, before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Caloocan
namely, Rita K. Lee, Leoncio K. Lee, Lucia K. Lee- City2 in Special Proceeding C-1674 for the deletion
Ong, Julian K. Lee, Martin K. Lee, Rosa Lee- from the certificate of live birth of the petitioner
Vanderlek, Melody Lee-Chin, Henry K. Lee, Emma Lee, one of Lee’s other children, the name
Natividad Lee-Miguel, Victoriano K. Lee, and Keh and replace the same with the name Tiu to
Thomas K. Lee (collectively, the Lee-Keh children). indicate her true mother’s name.

In 1948, Lee brought from China a young woman In April 2005 the Lee-Keh children filed with the
named Tiu Chuan (Tiu), supposedly to serve as RTC an ex parte request for the issuance of a
housemaid. The respondent Lee-Keh children subpoena ad testificandum to compel Tiu, Emma
believe that Tiu left the Lee-Keh household, moved Lee’s presumed mother, to testify in the case. The
into another property of Lee nearby, and had a RTC granted the motion but Tiu moved to quash
relation with him. the subpoena, claiming that it was oppressive and
violated Section 25, Rule 130 of the Rules of Court,
the rule on parental privilege, she being Emma
Shortly after Keh died in 1989, the Lee-Keh Lee’s stepmother.3 On August 5, 2005 the RTC
children learned that Tiu’s children with Lee quashed the subpoena it issued for being
(collectively, the Lee’s other children) claimed that unreasonable and oppressive considering that Tiu
they, too, were children of Lee and Keh. This was already very old and that the obvious object of
prompted the Lee-Keh children to request the the subpoena was to badger her into admitting that
National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to she was Emma Lee’s mother.
investigate the matter. After conducting such an
investigation, the NBI concluded in its report:
Because the RTC denied the Lee-Keh children’s
motion for reconsideration, they filed a special civil
action of certiorari before the Court of Appeals
(CA) in CA-G.R. SP 92555. On December 29, 2006 to advance the reasonable cost of the production
the CA rendered a decision,4 setting aside the thereof.
RTC’s August 5, 2005 Order. The CA ruled that
only a subpoena duces tecum, not a subpoena ad Notably, the Court previously decided in the related
testificandum, may be quashed for being oppressive case of Lee v. Court of Appeals6 that the Lee-Keh
or unreasonable under Section 4, Rule 21 of the children have the right to file the action for
Rules of Civil Procedure. The CA also held that correction of entries in the certificates of birth of
Tiu’s advanced age alone does not render her Lee’s other children, Emma Lee included. The
incapable of testifying. The party seeking to quash Court recognized that the ultimate object of the suit
the subpoena for that reason must prove that she was to establish the fact that Lee’s other children
would be unable to withstand the rigors of trial, were not children of Keh. Thus:
something that petitioner Emma Lee failed to do.
It is precisely the province of a special proceeding
Since the CA denied Emma Lee’s motion for such as the one outlined under Rule 108 of the
reconsideration by resolution of May 8, 2007,5 she Revised Rules of Court to establish the status or
filed the present petition with this Court. right of a party, or a particular fact. The petitions
filed by private respondents for the correction of
The Question Presented entries in the petitioners' records of birth were
intended to establish that for physical and/or
The only question presented in this case is whether biological reasons it was impossible for Keh Shiok
or not the CA erred in ruling that the trial court may Cheng to have conceived and given birth to the
compel Tiu to testify in the correction of entry case petitioners as shown in their birth records.
that respondent Lee-Keh children filed for the Contrary to petitioners' contention that the
correction of the certificate of birth of petitioner petitions before the lower courts were actually
Emma Lee to show that she is not Keh’s daughter. actions to impugn legitimacy, the prayer therein is
not to declare that petitioners are illegitimate
The Ruling of the Court children of Keh Shiok Cheng, but to establish that
the former are not the latter's children. There is
Petitioner Emma Lee claims that the RTC correctly nothing to impugn as there is no blood relation at
quashed the subpoena ad testificandum it issued all between Keh Shiok Cheng and
against Tiu on the ground that it was unreasonable petitioners.7(Underscoring supplied)
and oppressive, given the likelihood that the latter
would be badgered on oral examination concerning Taking in mind the ultimate purpose of the Lee-Keh
the Lee-Keh children’s theory that she had illicit children’s action, obviously, they would want Tiu
relation with Lee and gave birth to the other Lee to testify or admit that she is the mother of Lee’s
children. other children, including petitioner Emma Lee. Keh
had died and so could not give testimony that Lee’s
But, as the CA correctly ruled, the grounds cited— other children were not hers. The Lee-Keh children
unreasonable and oppressive—are proper for have, therefore, a legitimate reason for seeking Tiu’s
subpoena ad duces tecum or for the production of testimony and, normally, the RTC cannot deprive
documents and things in the possession of the them of their right to compel the attendance of such
witness, a command that has a tendency to infringe a material witness.
on the right against invasion of privacy. Section 4,
Rule 21 of the Rules of Civil Procedure, thus But petitioner Emma Lee raises two other
provides: objections to requiring Tiu to come to court and
testify: a) considering her advance age, testifying in
SECTION 4. Quashing a subpoena. — The court court would subject her to harsh physical and
may quash a subpoena duces tecum upon motion emotional stresses; and b) it would violate her
promptly made and, in any event, at or before the parental right not to be compelled to testify against
time specified therein if it is unreasonable and her stepdaughter.
oppressive, or the relevancy of the books,
documents or things does not appear, or if the 1. Regarding the physical and emotional
person in whose behalf the subpoena is issued fails punishment that would be inflicted on Tiu
if she were compelled at her age and
condition to come to court to testify, Consequently, Tiu can be compelled to testify
petitioner Emma Lee must establish this against petitioner Emma Lee.
claim to the satisfaction of the trial court.
About five years have passed from the time WHEREFORE, the Court DENIES the petition
the Lee-Keh children sought the issuance and AFFIRMS the decision and resolution of the
of a subpoena for Tiu to appear before the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP 92555.
trial court. The RTC would have to update
itself and determine if Tiu’s current SO ORDERED.
physical condition makes her fit to undergo
the ordeal of coming to court and being
questioned. If she is fit, she must obey the ROBERTO A. ABAD
subpoena issued to her. Associate Justice

Tiu has no need to worry that the oral

examination might subject her to badgering
by adverse counsel. The trial court’s duty is
to protect every witness against oppressive
behavior of an examiner and this is
especially true where the witness is of
advanced age.8

2. Tiu claimed before the trial court the

right not to testify against her stepdaughter,
petitioner Emma Lee, invoking Section 25,
Rule 130 of the Rules of Evidence, which

SECTION 25. Parental and filial privilege.- No

person may be compelled to testify against his
parents, other direct ascendants, children or other
direct descendants.

The above is an adaptation from a similar provision

in Article 315 of the Civil Code that applies only in
criminal cases. But those who revised the Rules of
Civil Procedure chose to extend the prohibition to
all kinds of actions, whether civil, criminal, or
administrative, filed against parents and other direct
ascendants or descendants.

But here Tiu, who invokes the filial privilege, claims

that she is the stepmother of petitioner Emma Lee.
The privilege cannot apply to them because the rule
applies only to "direct" ascendants and descendants,
a family tie connected by a common
ancestry.1avvphi1 A stepdaughter has no common
ancestry by her stepmother. Article 965 thus

Art. 965. The direct line is either descending or

ascending. The former unites the head of the family
with those who descend from him. The latter binds
a person with those from whom he descends.