G.R. No. 177703, 28 January 2008
Fidel Arriola who married twice died and is survived by his legal heirs: John Nabor Arriola (respondent), his son with his first wife, and Vilma G. Arriola, his second wife and his other son, Anthony Ronald Arriola (petitioners). On February 16, 2004, the RTC rendered a decision ordering the partition of the parcel of land left by the decedent Fidel S. Arriola by and among his heir John, Vilma and Anthony in equal shares of one-third each without prejudice to the rights of creditors or mortgagees thereon, if any. However, the parties failed to agree on how to divide the property and so the respondent proposed to sell it through public auction. The petitioners initially agreed but refused to include in the auction the house standing on the subject land because it is a family home.
Whether or not the subject house is a family home.
Yes. The subject house is a family home that it cannot be sold through public auction.
Based on Article 152, the Family Home, constituted jointly by the husband and wife or any an unmarried head of the family is the dwelling house where they and their family reside, and the land on which it is situated.
Article 153, the Family Home is deemed constituted on a house and lot from the time it is occupied as a family residence. From the time of its constitution and so long as any beneficiaries actually resides therein, the family home continues to be such and is exempt from execution, forced sale or attachment except as hereinafter provided and to the extent of the value allowed by law.
Article 159, the Family Home shall continue despite the death of one or both spouses or of the unmarried head of the family for a period of ten years or for as long as there is a minor beneficiary, and the heirs cannot partition the same unless the court finds compelling reason.
Applying these concepts, the subject house as well as the specific portion of the subject land on which it stands is deemed constituted as a family home by the deceased and the petitioner Vilma from the moment that began occupying the same as a family residence 20 years back. Therefor the house cannot be forced to sale by the respondent because family home is exempt on such sale.
* Case digest by Aileen B. Buenafe, LLB-1, Andres Bonifacio Law School, SY 2017-2018