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[ GR No. 7050, Nov 05, 1912 ]



23 Phil. 364

[ G.R. No. 7050, November 05, 1912 ]




The subject of  this suit is  a parcel of agricultural  land, situated i barrio of Galamayano, municipality of San Jose, Province of Batangas, of area such as is usually required for sowing thirty gantas of seed-rice, described and identified by  boundaries.   It is taken for granted that land belonged to Simona Madlangbayan, who died seven years ago. At the present time it is in the exclusive possession of one of the latter' Urbano Castillo, while there are  other descendants  of  hers who  have same right,  to wit: A  daughter and some grandchildren of the deceased brother  of full blood of Urbano Castillo, named Pio  Castillo; the  daughter of a  sister of  full blood of the same defendant, named  Alfonsa, like deceased; and a daughter  of a half-brother of  the said  Urbano Castillo, named Estefano Libingting,  also deceased.  The descendants of these three family branches claim to be entitled to share with Urbano Ca the ownership  of the land in question, as being the only property Simon Madlangbayan had left at her death.  Hence, the demand for  a division, which is the object of this suit, although Alfonsa Castillo's daughter f a defendant therein merely by default.

The defendant Urbano  Castillo, as the  sole possessor of the land, endeavored to  prove  that  his  mother, Simona Madlangbayan, had other property which during her life-time she disposed of to the benefit of so of the plaintiffs; but the lower  court held that this allegation had no proven, and such conclusion must be affirmed as it is well-founded and i wise erroneous.

In the judgment rendered the claim made by the plaintiffs was recognized be valid and the property of joint-owner- ship was  ordered  to  be divided into four parts: One, for Macaria Castillo and her nephews  and nieces,  Juan, Clemente,  Pedro,  Lope, Tomasa, and  Maria, all  surname Cadano; another, for Juliana Libingting; another, for Maria Quizon; and fourth, for the defendant Urbano Castillo.

The latter entered an exception to this judgment, moved for a rehearing, excepted to the ruling denying the same, and filed a bill of exceptions, however, was held on file until the conclusion of the trial and during t progress of the proceedings had for the division, award of shares and liquidation of fruits, which  operations  were all effected through commissioners and as a result thereof the court ordered:  (1) That each coparcener be delivered the part of the property shown on the rough sket made by the commissioners, to  belong  to him or her;  (2) that Urbano Castillo pay to each coparcener, as reimbursement of fruits, P78.18; and that the expense of partition be borne pro rata by all the interested parties.

When, after all this procedure, the case was  brought before us  on appe through the proper bill of exceptions, the judgment was  not impugned oh account of the form of division therein ordered, but merely because of t following assignments of error: 

  1. Because  the  personality of the plaintiffs was recognized, and the amendment of the answer, impugning  such personality, was disallowed.  
  3. Because  the instrument of gift was held  to  be false, and the gift and void.
  5. Because  an indemnity  for  the fruits was awarded.

With respect to the first assignment of error,  it is not a  principle by law that heirs  of legal  age  may not demand the division of a real property, left  them by their predecessor-in-interest and  held by  a co without first initiating special intestate proceedings  during which a administrator is to be appointed, who alone is vested with the personality claim the property that belongs to the succession.  On the contrary, such are expressly authorized  to  do so,  unless, for the reason of there  b unpaid  debts, judicial intervention  becomes necessary, which was  not alleged as a special defense in this suit.

As much  for the preceding reasons as because there was not included in bill of  exceptions the question relative to the opportune or inopportune motion  presented for an amendment of the answer to the complaint, and which was denied by the lower court, such assignment of error, alleged i instance, can  neither be considered nor decided.

With reference to the second alleged error, the document declared in  the judgment appealed from to  be false,  null and  void, is one of  gift which the appellant  avers  was executed in  his behalf by his predecessor-in- interest  The finding of falsity,  contained in the judgment of the lower court and based on various  facts discussed by him in detail, can not be brought up in this appeal except  as a  question of fact, with regard to which n new matter may be introduced inasmuch as no  error of fact was alleged t have been committed  in  weighing the evidence; and the  cogent presumption of law, which can not easily be destroyed  except by strong contrary evidence - the only reason advanced by the  appellant - reenforces the old public instruments executed in conformity with the Notarial Law, repealed) before a notary public, by reason of their insertion in the pr or notarial registry and the  personal attestation made by that official the proceedings and the contents of the  instrument - characteristic features not enjoyed  by a private instrument which, executed on one date, like t one in question (January 20,1902), appears to have been ratified on another (November 15, 1905), before a notary, but with no further authorization the part of this official other than such act of affirmation.

And even though the said  instrument were not false, the trial court  declared it to be void  and ineffective.  The alleged gift was in fact null and v according to the provisions of articles 629  and  633 of  the Civil Code its acceptance by the donee was  in no manner expressed in the instrument nor was the pretended gift consummated pursuant to the provision contain in article 623 of the same code.

The appellant  argues that the acceptance in writing of the gift in ques was not necessary, as it was made for a valuable consideration, and should be subject to the legal provisions governing contracts.  If  this allege was really made,  it was one of those mentioned in article 619 of the aforecited  code, as being a gift "which imposes upon the donee a burden inferior  to the value of the gift," for Simona Madlangbayan apparently stated in the said instrument that she delivered the land to Urbano Cast order that he defray the expenses  of her subsistence and burial, "and i perchance anything  should remain from the price of the land, the surplus the said expenses (?) is granted to him by me."  A gift of this k not in fact a gift for a valuable consideration, but is  remuneratory or compensatory, made  for  the  purpose  of remunerating or compensating a charge, burden or condition imposed upon the donee, inferior to the value of the gift which,  therefore, may very properly be termed to  be conditional, and article 622, invoked by the appellant himself, very clearly prescribes that  "gifts for valuable consideration shall  be governed by provisions of this title with regard to the part exceeding the va the  charge imposed," to say nothing of the finding of the trial court t the said instrument was false as shown by the evidence and in accordance with which the defendant did  not fulfill the conditions mentioned, sinc did not defray the expenses  for the subsistence and burial  of Simona Madlangbayan.

With regard to the third assignment of error, the appellant contends that reimbursement of fruits should have been awarded the plaintiffs, as no demand for the  same was made in the complaint and he was unable to prepare evidence in the matter.  The procedure had after the plaintiffs found to be entitled to the right of co-ownership, was in all respects in accord with the provisions of  section 191 of the Code of Civil Procedure and so well  prepared was the appellant in the second part of the trial, the presentation of evidence,  that  he stated  himself "I do  not even to cross-examine"  (his brief, p. 10).

The judgment appealed from is affirmed, with  the  costs of this  instance against the appellant.   So ordered.

Torres, Mapa,  Johnson, Carson, and  Trent, JJ., concur.