10) Arbolario vs. CA, GR No. 129163, 22 April 2003(1)

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  10 Volataire ARBOLARIO et al. v. Court of Appeals et al G.R. No. 129163. April 22, 2003 Topic:   Settlement of Decedents’ Estates ; how do you initiate probate proceedings Doctrine: Questions as to the determination of the heirs of a decedent, the proof of filiation, and the determination of the estate of a decedent and claims thereto should be brought up before the proper probate court or in special proceedings instituted for the purpose. Such issues cannot be adjudicated in an ordinary civil action for the recovery of ownership and possession. Facts: 1. The srcinal owners of the controverted lot, Spouses Anselmo Baloyo and Macaria Lirazan (Spouses Baloyo) had 5 children: Agueda, Catalina, Eduardo, Gaudencia, and Julian. (All are dead) 2. Agueda Colinco (1 st  child) was survived by her 2 children: Antonio and respondent Irene Colinco. Antonio Colinco predeceased his three daughters, herein respondents Ruth, Orpha, and Goldelina. 3. Catalina Baloyo (2 nd  child) was married to Juan Arbolario. Their union was blessed with the birth of one child, Purificacion Arbolario (died in 1985) a. Juan Arbolario consorted with another woman (Francisca Malvas) by the name of Francisca Malvas. From this cohabitation was born the petitioners Voltaire, Lucena, Fe, Exaltacion, and Carlos (Arbolarios). All the petitioners were born well before the year 1951. 4. In 1946, it appears that Eduardo Baloyo (3 rd  child) sold his entire interest in Lot 323 to his sister, Agueda Colinco, by virtue of a notarized document. 5. In 1951, a notarized declaration of heirship  was executed by and between  Agueda, Catalina, Gaudencia, and their brothers Eduardo and Julian, who extrajudicially declared themselves to be the only heirs of the late Spouses Baloyo a. Gaudencia (4 th  child) conveyed her interest in the said lot in favor of her two nieces, Irene Colinco to 1/2 and Purificacion Arbolario to the other half. 6. Respondents Irene, Ruth, Orpha, and Goldelina (Colincos) believing themselves to be the only surviving heirs of Anselmo Baloyo and Macaria Lirazan, executed a Declaration of Heirship and Partition (Irene Colinco, ½ while the surviving daughters of her late brother Antonio namely Ruth, Orpha, and Goldelina, to share in equal, ideal proportions to the remaining ½). This forthwith brought about the cancellation of the OCT and the issuance of a TCT in their names and conformably with the aforesaid distribution. 7. 1 st  case =  Colincos filed against Spouses Salhay a case seeking to recover possession of a portion of the aforesaid lot occupied by the latter since 1970. The Salhays alleged in their defense that they have been the lawful lessees of the late Purificacion Arbolario since 1971 up to 1978. And that they purchased the disputed portion of Lot No. 323 from the deceased lessor in 1978. 8. 2 nd  case =  Before the abovementioned case was heard and tried on the merits, the Arbolarios) and Spouses Salhay filed for Cancellation of Title with Damages, against Colincos. Petitioners contend that the Declaration of Heirship and Partition Agreement executed by the Colincos was defective and thus voidable as the Arbolarios were excluded therein. 9. RTC = In favor of ARBOLARIOS…and in the 2 nd  case, DISMISSED the case filed by Colincos. 1   10. CA = REVERSED. 2   Issue:  1. WON the CA erred when it declared petitioners as illegitimate children and were not entitled to inherit (NO)  2. WON the CA erred when it declared that the court a quo had no right to distribute the property (NO)   Held:  1. Petitioners’ maintain that Catalina Baloyo had long been dead before the notarized declaration of heirship was ever executed, thus conclude that the  Arbolarios are legitimate half-brothers and half-sisters of Purificacion. The SC said : The 1951 Declaration reveals that the year of Catalina ’ s death was intercalated. The first two numbers (1 and 9) and the last digit (3) are legible; but the third digit has been written over to make it look like a 0. The paragraph (in the declaration) quoted by petitioners should show a chronological progression in the heirs years of death. If Catalina had indeed died in 1903, why then was her name written after Aguedas and not before it? Moreover, it does not follow that just because his first wife has died, a man is already conclusively married to the woman who bore his children. A marriage certificate or other generally accepted proof is necessary to establish the marriage as an undisputable fact. Paternity or filiation, or the lack of it, is a relationship that must be judicially established. It stands to reason that children born within wedlock are legitimate. Petitioners failed to prove the fact of marriage between their parents, Juan Arbolario and Francisca Malvas; hence, they cannot invoke a presumption of legitimacy in their favor. 1  Arbolarios were the brothers and the sisters of the deceased Purificacion Arbolario, while the Colincos were her cousins and nieces. Pursuant to Article 1009 of the Civil Code, the Colincos could not inherit from her, because she had half-brothers and half-sisters. 2  When Juan Arbolario cohabited with another woman, the union was extramarital. Consequently, their children (respondent Arbolarios) are illegitimate half-brothers and half-sisters of Purificacion and thus barred by Article 992 from inheriting intestate from the legitimate children and relatives of their father or mother. There is no impediment for respondents to declare themselves as the sole and forced heirs. Also, there is no clear evidence to support the allegation of the Salhays that they purchased the lot.    2. Petitioners contend that the CA overstepped its bounds when it ruled that the RTC had no jurisdiction to divide the disputed lot since respondents did not raise the issue of partition on appeal. The CA (as agreed by the SC)  held that the partition of the property had not been contemplated by the parties, because respondents merely sought recovery of possession of the parcel held by the Salhays, while petitioners sought the annulment of the Deed of Partition respondents had entered into. The purpose of partition is to put an end to co-ownership. It seeks a severance of the individual interests of co-owners, vesting in each of them a sole estate in a specific property and a right to enjoy the allotted estate without supervision or interference Petitioners in this case were unable to establish any right to partition, because they had failed to establish that they were legitimate half-brothers and half-sisters of the deceased Purificacion (read doctrine after). Note: The SC in agreement with the CA ruled that the acquisition of the property by the Salhay’s was improper as there was  no clear and reliable evidence introduced to prove such allegation. Also, no favorable supporting evidence was cited by petitioners in their Memorandum. Dispositive Portion:  WHEREFORE the Petition is DENIED, and the appealed Decision AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioners.
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