Hontiveros v. Regional Trial Court

GR No. 125465, 29 June 1999

FACTS:

Petitioner spouses Augusto and Maria Hontiveros filed a complaint for damages against private respondents Gregorio Hontiveros and Teodora Ayson. The petitioners alleged that they are the owners of a parcel of land in Capiz and that they were deprived of income from the land as a result of the filing of the land registration case. In the reply, private respondents denied that they were married and alleged that Gregorio was a widower while Teodora was single. They also denied depriving petitioners of possession of and income from the land. On the contrary, according to the private respondents, the possession of the property in question had already been transferred to petitioners by virtue of the writ of possession. Trial court denied petitioner’s motion that while in the amended complaint, they alleged that earnest efforts towards a compromise were made, it was not verified as provided in Article 151.

ISSUE:

Whether or not the court can validly dismissed the complaint due to lack of efforts exerted towards a compromise.

RULING:

SC held that the inclusion of private respondent Teodora Ayson as defendant and Maria Hontiveros as petitioner takes the case out of the scope of Article 151.

Art. 151(1). No suit between members of the same family shall prosper unless it should appear from the verified complaint or petition that earnest efforts toward a compromise have been made, but that the same have failed. If it is shown that no such efforts were in fact made, the same case must be dismissed.

Under this provision, the phrase “members of the same family” refers to the husband and wife, parents and children, ascendants and descendants, and brothers and sisters whether full or half-blood. Religious relationship and relationship by affinity are not given any legal effects in this jurisdiction. Teodora and Maria as spouses of the Hontiveros’ are regarded as strangers to the Hontiveros family for purposes of Article 151.

* Case digest by Prince Dave C. Santiago, LLB-1, Andres Bonifacio Law School, SY 2017-2018

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