G.R. No. 198680, July 08, 2013 - HEIRS OF MAGDALENO YPON, NAMELY, ALVARO YPON, ERUDITA Y. BARON, CICERO YPON, WILSON YPON, VICTOR YPON, AND HINIDINO Y. PEÑALOSA, Petitioners, v. GAUDIOSO PONTERAS RICAFORTE A.K.A. “GAUDIOSO E. YPON,” AND THE REGISTER OF DEEDS OF TOLEDO CITY, Respondents.
G.R. No. 198680, July 08, 2013
HEIRS OF MAGDALENO YPON, NAMELY, ALVARO YPON, ERUDITA Y. BARON, CICERO YPON, WILSON YPON, VICTOR YPON, AND HINIDINO Y. PEÑALOSA, Petitioners, v. GAUDIOSO PONTERAS RICAFORTE A.K.A. “GAUDIOSO E. YPON,” AND THE REGISTER OF DEEDS OF TOLEDO CITY, Respondents.
R E S O L U T I O N
Jurisprudence dictates that the determination of who are the legal heirs of the deceased must be made in the proper special proceedings in court, and not in an ordinary suit for recovery of ownership and possession of property. This must take precedence over the action for recovery of possession and ownership. The Court has consistently ruled that the trial court cannot make a declaration of heirship in the civil action for the reason that such a declaration can only be made in a special proceeding. Under Section 3, Rule 1 of the 1997 Revised Rules of Court, a civil action is defined as one by which a party sues another for the enforcement or protection of a right, or the prevention or redress of a wrong while a special proceeding is a remedy by which a party seeks to establish a status, a right, or a particular fact. It is then decisively clear that the declaration of heirship can be made only in a special proceeding inasmuch as the petitioners here are seeking the establishment of a status or right.
In the early case of Litam, et al. v. Rivera, this Court ruled that the declaration of heirship must be made in a special proceeding, and not in an independent civil action. This doctrine was reiterated in Solivio v. Court of Appeals x x x:cralavvonlinelawlibrary
In the more recent case of Milagros Joaquino v. Lourdes Reyes, the Court reiterated its ruling that matters relating to the rights of filiation and heirship must be ventilated in the proper probate court in a special proceeding instituted precisely for the purpose of determining such rights. Citing the case of Agapay v. Palang, this Court held that the status of an illegitimate child who claimed to be an heir to a decedent's estate could not be adjudicated in an ordinary civil action which, as in this case, was for the recovery of property.22 (Emphasis and underscoring supplied; citations omitted)
* Designated Acting Member per Special Order No. 1484 dated July 9, 2013.cralawlibrary
1Rollo, pp. 3-25.cralawlibrary
2 Id. at 28-30. Penned by Judge Hermes B. Montero.cralawlibrary
3 Id. at 31.cralawlibrary
4 Id. at 32. The plaintiffs in Civil Case No. T-2246 are as follows: Francisca Y. Trilla, Elena Yntig, Cerelo Ypon, Esterlita Y. Sereño, Alvaro Ypon, Rogelio Ypon, Simplico Ypon, Jr., Monaliza B. Judilla, Lilia B. Quinada, Teodora A. Baron, Teofilo Ypon, Mauricio Ypon, Vicente Ypon, Pabling Ypon and Diega Ypon, Erudita Baron, Cristobal Ypon, Elizabeth Ypon, Francisco Ypon, Lolita Y. Gamao, Egnacia Y. Cavada, Serafin Ypon, Victor Ypon, Prudencio Ypon, Jr., Allan Ypon, Raul Ypon, Rey Rufo Ypon, Galicursi Ypon, Minda Y. Libre, Moises Ypon, Jr., Bethoven Ypon, Divina A. Sanchez, Cicero Ypon, Minerva Ypon, Lucinita Ypon, Crisolina Y. Tingal, Jessica Ypon, Nonoy Ypon, Wilson Ypon, Arthur Ypon, Yolanda Ypon, Lilia Y. Cordero, Ester Y. Hinlo, Lydia Ypon, Percival Ypon, Esmeralda Y. Baron, Emelita Y. Chiong, Victor Ypon, Primitivo Ypon, Jr., Pura Ypon, Ma. Nila Ypon, Roy Ipon, Eric Ypon, Henry Ypon, Felipa, Ypon, Felipa Ypon, Vivian Ypon, Hilarion Peñalosa, Angeles D. Libre, Clarita P. Lopez, Vicente Y. Peñalosa, Jr., Columbus Y. Peñalosa, Jose Y. Peñalosa, Alberto Y. Peñalosa, Teodoro Y. Peñalosa, Louella P. Madraga, Pomelo Y. Peñalosa, and Agnes P. Villora. (In boldface are the names of the plaintiffs who are also petitioners in this case.)
5 Id. at 32-39.cralawlibrary
6 Id. at 33.cralawlibrary
7 Id. at 34.cralawlibrary
9 Id. at 53-54.cralawlibrary
10 Id. at 54.cralawlibrary
11 Id. at 28-30.cralawlibrary
12 Id. at 69. Docketed as Sp. Pro. No. 608-T. Entitled “In Re: Petition for Issuance of Letter of Administration, Minda Ypon Libre, Cristobal E. Ypon, and Agnes P. Veloria, petitioners v. City Registrar of Deeds and City Assessor of the City of Toledo, respondents.”
13 Id. at 30.cralawlibrary
14 Id. at 31.cralawlibrary
15 Based on the records, it appears that only petitioner Hinidino Y. Peñalosa was not a complainant in Civil Case No. T-2246.cralawlibrary
16 See Section 2, Rule 2 of the Rules of Court.cralawlibrary
17Peltan Development, Inc. v. Court of Appeals (CA), 336 Phil. 824, 833 (1997).cralawlibrary
18 Davao Light & Power Co., Inc. v. Judge, Regional Trial Court Davao City, Branch 8, G.R. No. 147058, March 10, 2006, 484 SCRA 272, 281.cralawlibrary
19The Consolidated Bank and Trust Corp. v. CA, 274 Phil. 947, 955 (1991).cralawlibrary
20 Section 1, Rule 90 of the Rules of Court partly provides:cralavvonlinelawlibrarySEC. 1. When order for distribution of reside made. —
x x x x
If there is a controversy before the court as to who are the lawful heirs of the deceased person or as the distributive shares to which each person is entitled under the law, the controversy shall be heard and decided as in ordinary cases.
21 G.R. No. 150206, March 13, 2009, 581 SCRA 70.cralawlibrary
22 Id. at 78-80.cralawlibrary
23 Id. at 80-81. “[When] there appears to be only one parcel of land being claimed by the contending parties as their inheritance x x x [i]t would be more practical to dispense with a separate special proceeding for the determination of the status of respondent as the sole heir x x x specially [when the parties to the civil case had] voluntarily submitted the issue to the RTC and already presented their evidence regarding the issue of heirship in these proceedings [and] the RTC [had] assumed jurisdiction over the same and consequently rendered judgment thereon.”
24 “Where special proceedings had been instituted but had been finally closed and terminated, however, or if a putative heir has lost the right to have himself declared in the special proceedings as co-heir and he can no longer ask for its re-opening, then an ordinary civil action can be filed for his declaration as heir in order to bring about the annulment of the partition or distribution or adjudication of a property or properties belonging to the estate of the deceased.” (Republic v. Mangotara, G.R. No. 170375, July 07, 2010, 624 SCRA 360, 443, citing Portugal v. Portugal-Beltran, G.R. No. 155555, August 16, 2005, 467 SCRA 184-189).cralawlibrary
25Peltan Development, Inc. v. CA, supra note 17, at 834.