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NORA B. CALALANG-PARULAN AND ELVIRA B. CALALANG VS.

ROSARIO CALALANG-
GARCIA, LEONORA CALALANG-SABILE, AND CARLITO S. CALALANG.

G.R. No. 184148, June 09, 2014

Facts:

Respondents Rosario Calalang- Garcia, Leonora Calalang-Sabile, and Carlito S.


Calalang Complaint for Annulment of Sale and Reconveyance of Property filed with the
RTC of Malolos, Bulacan on June 10, 199. They asserted ownership over a certain parcel
of land against the petitioners Nora B. Calalang-Parulan and Elvira B. Calalang. The land
in dispute was allegedly acquired by the respondents from their mother Encarnacion
Silverio, through succession as the latters compulsory heirs.

According to the respondents, their father, Pedro Calalang contracted two marriages
during his lifetime. The first marriage was with their mother Encarnacion Silverio. During
the subsistence of this marriage, their parents acquired the above-mentioned parcel of
land from their maternal grandmother Francisca Silverio. Despite enjoying continuous
possession of the land, however, their parents failed to register the same. On June 7,
1942, the first marriage was dissolved with the death of Encarnacion Silverio. It was only
then, after Pedro Calalang contracted the second marriage with Elvira Calalang, that
the former filed an application for free patent. The marriage of Pedro and Elvira
Calalang gave birth to Nora B. Calalang-Parulan and Rolando Calalang. The
respondent aver that Pedro Calalang committed fraud in such application by claiming
sole and exclusive ownership over the land since 1935 and concealing the fact that he
had three children with his first spouse.

On February 17, 1984, Pedro Calalang sold the said parcel of land to Nora B. Calalang-
Parulan as evidenced by a Deed of Sale.

The respondents argued that the sale of the land was void because Pedro Calalang
failed to obtain the consent of the respondents who were co-owners of the same. As
compulsory heirs upon the death of Encarnacion Silverio, the respondents claimed that
they acquired successional rights over the land. Thus, in alienating the land without their
consent, Pedro Calalang allegedly deprived them of their pro indiviso share in the
property.

In their Answer, the petitioners argued that the parcel of land was acquired during the
second marriage of Pedro Calalang with Elvira B. Calalang. They stressed that the
certificate of title itself stated that it was issued in the name of Pedro Calalang, married
to Elvira Berba [Calalang]. Thus, the property belonged to the conjugal partnership of
the spouses Pedro Calalang and Elvira B. Calalang.

On July 10, 2001, the trial court rendered decision in favor of the respondents.

Aggrieved by the adverse ruling, the petitioners appealed the case to the CA which
rendered the assailed Decision in favor of the plaintiff and against the defendant.

Issue:

Whether or not the respondents were deprived of their respective shares by reason of the
sale.
Ruling:

No. We note that the free patent was issued solely in the name of Pedro Calalang and
that it was issued more than 30 years after the death of Encarnacion and the dissolution
of the conjugal partnership of gains of the first marriage. Thus, we cannot subscribe to
respondents submission that the subject property originally belonged to the parents of
Encarnacion and was acquired by Pedro Calalang and Encarnacion.

We likewise cannot sustain the argument of the petitioners that the disputed property
belongs to the conjugal partnership of the second marriage of Pedro Calalang with
Elvira B. Calalang on the ground that the title was issued in the name of Pedro
Calalang, married to Elvira Berba [Calalang].

A plain reading of the Section 45 of Presidential Decree No. 1529 would clearly reveal
that the phrase Pedro Calalang, married to Elvira Berba [Calalang] merely describes
the civil status and identifies the spouse of the registered owner Pedro Calalang.
Evidently, this does not mean that the property is conjugal.

It must likewise be noted that in his application for free patent, applicant Pedro Calalang
averred that the land was first occupied and cultivated by him since 1935. But he
applied for free patent only in 1974 and was issued a free patent while already married
to Elvira B. Calalang. Thus, having possessed the subject land in the manner and for the
period required by law after the dissolution of the first marriage and before the second
marriage, the subject property ipso jure became private property and formed part of
Pedro Calalangs exclusive property. It was therefore excluded from the conjugal
partnership of gains of the second marriage.

As the sole and exclusive owner, Pedro Calalang had the right to convey his property in
favor of Nora B. Calalang-Parulan by executing a Deed of Sale on February 17, 1984. The
CA therefore erred in ruling that Pedro Calalang deprived his heirs of their respective
shares over the disputed property when he alienated the same.

It is hornbook doctrine that successional rights are vested only at the time of death.
Article 777 of the New Civil Code provides that [t]he rights to the succession are
transmitted from the moment of the death of the decedent.

The principle of transmission as of the time of the predecessors death is basic in our Civil
Code, and is supported by other related articles. Thus, the capacity of the heir is
determined as of the time the decedent died (Art. 1034); the legitime is to be computed
as of the same moment (Art. 908), and so is the inofficiousness of the donation inter vivos
(Art. 771). Similarly, the legacies of credit and remission are valid only in the amount due
and outstanding at the death of the testator (Art. 935), and he fruits accruing after that
instant are deemed to pertain to the legatee (Art. 948).

Thus, it is only upon the death of Pedro Calalang on December 27, 1989 that his heirs
acquired their respective inheritances, entitling them to their pro indiviso shares to his
whole estate. At the time of the sale of the disputed property, the rights to the succession
were not yet bestowed upon the heirs of Pedro Calalang. And absent clear and
convincing evidence that the sale was fraudulent or not duly supported by valuable
consideration (in effect an inofficious donation inter vivos), the respondents have no right
to question the sale of the disputed property on the ground that their father deprived
them of their respective shares. Well to remember, fraud must be established by clear
and convincing evidence. Mere preponderance of evidence is not even adequate to
prove fraud. The Complaint for Annulment of Sale and Reconveyance of Property must
therefore be dismissed.

DOLORES L. HACBANG AND BERNARDO J. HACBANG VS. ATTY. BASILIO H. ALO

G.R. No. 191031, October 05, 2015

Facts:

On 3 April 1937, Bishop Sofronio Hacbang (Bishop Sofronio) died leaving several
properties behind. Bishop Sofronio was survived by his parents, Basilio and Maria
Hacbang, and his siblings: Perfecto Hacbang, Joaquin Hacbang, Lucia Teresita
Hacbang, and Dolores Hacbang Alo. Petitioner Dolores L. Hacbang is the grandchild of
Perfecto while petitioner Bernardo Hacbang (Bernardo) is a son of Joaquin. The
respondent Basilio Alo is the son of Dolores.

Bishop Sofronio left a will denominated as Ultima Voluntad y Testamento. He left one-half
of his properties to his parents and devised the other half - including the subject lot - to his
sister Dolores.

On 24 September 1971, the Register of Deeds of Quezon City issued a TCT No. 169342
over the subject lot in the name of respondent Basilio H. Alo. TCT No. 169342 cancelled
TCT No. 117322/T-500. However, this Court cannot determine the circumstances
surrounding the issuance of TCT No. 169342 or the relationship between TCT No. 117322/T-
500 and TCT No. (19896) 227644 due to the inadequacy of the documents on record.

On 1 February 1999, petitioners Dolores L. Hacbang and Bernardo filed a petition to


cancel TCT on the ground that it was fraudulently secured. In support of their allegations,
they submitted The report concluded that TCT No. 117322 was of "doubtful authenticity"
and was neither derived from TCT No. 117322 nor issued by the Registry of Deeds of
Quezon City.

In his Answer dated 18 August 1999, Basilio denied all allegations of irregularity and
wrongdoing. He also moved to dismiss the petition because the petitioners were neither
heirs nor devisees of Bishop Sofronio and had no legal interest in the subject lot.

On 7 January 2003, the RTC dismissed the petition because the petitioners had no right to
prosecute the case on the subject lot. The RTC noted that Bishop Sofronio's will had
already been admitted into probate in 1937; thus, the intrinsic validity of the will is no
longer in question. Though the settlement proceedings were archived, Bishop Sofronio
already designated his heirs: Bishop Sofronio's parents were compulsory heirs entitled to
half of his estate while the respondent's mother, Dolores Hacbang Alo, was devised the
remaining half (the free portion). Thus, the petitioners, who are neither compulsory nor
testamentary heirs, are not real parties in interest.

The petitioners appealed to the CA, arguing that: (1) Bishop Sofronio's will did not validly
transfer the subject property to Dolores Hacbang Alo; (2) the probate of the will is not
conclusive as to the validity of its intrinsic provisions; and (3) only a final decree of
distribution of the estate vests title on the properties from the estate on the distributees.

They further argued that the distribution of the estate should be governed by intestate
succession because: (1) the subject property was not adjudicated; and (2) the
settlement proceedings were archived and dismissed. Thus, all the properties passed on
to and became part of the estate of Bishop Sofronio's parents. The petitioners concluded
that they had legal interest in the subject lot as representatives of their ascendants, the
other children of Bishop Sofronio's parents.

The inheritance vests immediately upon the decedents death without a moments
interruption. This provision was later on translated and adopted as Article 777 of our Civil
Code. As a consequence of this principle, ownership over the inheritance passes to the
heirs at the precise moment of death not at the time the heirs are declared, nor at the
time of the partition, nor at the distribution of the properties. There is no interruption
between the end of the decedents ownership and the start of the
heir/legatee/devisees ownership.

Issue:

Whether or not that the probate proceedings of the estate was dismissed, not archived

Ruling:

Under both the Spanish Code and our Civil Code, successional rights are vested at the
precise moment of the death of the decedent.

As a consequence of this principle, ownership over the inheritance passes to the heirs at
the precise moment of death - not at the time the heirs are declared, nor at the time of
the partition, nor at the distribution of the properties. There is no interruption between the
end of the decedent's ownership and the start of the heir/legatee/devisee's ownership.

For intestate heirs, this means that they are immediately entitled to their hereditary shares
in the estate even though they may not be entitled to any particular properties yet. For
legatees and devisees granted specific properties, this means that they acquire
ownership over the legacies and devises at that immediate moment without prejudice to
the legitimes of compulsory heirs.

Undoubtedly, Bishop Sofronio did not die intestate. He left a will that was probated in
1937. He left half of his properties to his parents and the remaining half to his sister Dolores
Hacbang Alo. The admission of his will to probate is conclusive with respect to its due
execution and extrinsic validity.

Our jurisdiction has always respected a decedent's freedom to dispose of his estate,
whether under the Spanish Civil Code or under the present Civil Code. Article 763 of the
Spanish Code states that a person without compulsory heirs may dispose of his estate,
either in part or in its entirety, in favor of anyone capacitated to succeed him; if the
testator has compulsory heirs, he can dispose of his property provided he does not impair
their legitimes. This provision was later translated and adopted as Article 842 of our Civil
Code.

Bishop Sofronio was free to dispose of his estate without prejudice to the legitimes of his
compulsory heirs. Bishop Sofronio's only compulsory heirs were his parents. Their legitime
was one-half of Bishop Sofronio's estate. Considering that Bishop Sofronio gave his
parents half of his estate, then he was free to dispose of the free portion of his estate in
favor of his sister, Dolores Hacbang Alo. Thus, his will was intrinsically valid.
The CFPs failure to adjudicate the specific properties is irrelevant because Bishop Sofronio
did not just name his heirs; he also identified the specific properties forming part of their
inheritance. The dispositions in the will rendered court adjudication and distribution
unnecessary.

The petitioners' contention that only a final decree of distribution of the estate vests title
to the land of the estate in the distributees is also incorrect. Again, ownership over the
inheritance vests upon the heirs, legatees, and devisees immediately upon the death of
the decedent.

At the precise moment of death, the heirs become owners of the estate pro-indiviso.
They become absolute owners of their undivided aliquot share but with respect to the
individual properties of the estate, they become co-owners. This co-ownership remains
until partition and distribution. Until then, the individual heirs cannot claim any rights over
a specific property from the estate. This is because the heirs do not know which
properties will be adjudicated to them yet. Hence, there is a need for a partition before
title over particular properties vest in the distributee- heirs.

However, heirs, legatees, and devisees bequeathed specific properties do not require
Court adjudication to identify which particular properties become theirs; the testator had
already identified these. From the very moment of the testator's death, title over these
particular properties vests on the heir, legatee, or devisee.