Dumlao v. Quality Plastics

G.R. No. L-27956, 30 April 1976

FACTS:

Judgement for Civil Case T-662 was rendered on February 28, 1962 ordering defendants Soliven, Pedro Oria, Laurencio, Sumalbag and Darang to pay solidarity Quality Plastics the sum of P3,667.03 plus legal rate of interest from November 1958 before its decision became final or else Quality Plastics is hereby authorized to foreclose the bond. Defendants failed to pay the amount before the limit given. Oria’s land, which was covered by Original Certificate of Title No. 28732 and has an area of nine and six-tenths hectares, was levied upon and sold by the sheriff at public auction on September 24, 1962 which he has given as security under the bond.

Apparently, Oria died on April 23, 1959 or long before June 13, 1960. Quality Plastics was not aware on Oria’s death. The summons and copies of complaint was personally served on June 24, 1960 by a deputy sheriff to Soliven which the latter acknowledged and signed in his own behalf and his co-defendants.

Dionisio, Fausta, Amado and Benjamin, all surnamed Dumlao and all testamentary heirs in Oria’s duly probated will, sued Quality Plastic Products, Inc on March 1, 1963 for the annulment of the judgment against Oria and the execution against his land (T-873). Dionisio also sued in his capacity as administrator of Oria’s testate estate.

ISSUE:

Whether judgment against Oria and execution against his land be annulled on the ground of lack in juridical capacity.

RULING:

Yes. The lower court’s decision in Civil Case No. T-662 against Pedro Oria is declared void for lack of jurisdiction. The execution sale of Oria’s land covered by OCT No. 28732 is also void. Quality Plastics upon receiving the summons on T-873 just learned that Oria was already dead prior case T-662 was filed. The Dumlaos agreed in their stipulation that indeed Quality Plastics was unaware of Oria’s death and that they acted in good faith in joining Oria as a co-defendant.

Pertinent provisins of the Civil Code state that:

Article 37. Juridical capacity, which is the fitness to be the subject of legal relations, is inherent in every natural person and is lost only through death. Capacity to act, which is the power to do acts with legal effect, is acquired and may be lost.

Article 42. Civil personality is extinguished by death.

The effect of death upon the rights and obligations of the deceased is determined by law, by contract and by will.

No jurisdiction was acquired over Oria, thus, the judgment against him is a patent nullity. He had no more civil personality and his juridical capacity which is the fitness to be the subject of legal relations was lost through death.

* Case digest by Immanuel Y. Granada, LLB-1, Andres Bonifacio Law School, SY 2017-2018

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