Lim Tanhu v. Ramolete

G.R. No. L-40098, 29 August 1975

FACTS:

Private respondent Tan Put alleged that she is the widow of Tee Hoon Lim Po Chuan, who was a partner in the commercial partnership, glory commercial company with Antonio Lim Tanhu and Alfonso Ng Sua’’. Defendants Antonio Lim Tan Hu, Alfonso Leonardo Ng Sua, Lim Teck Chuan, and Eng Chong Leonardo, through fraud and conspiracy, took actual and active management of the partnership and although tee Hoon Lim Po Chuan was the manager of glory commercial company, defendants managed to use the funds of the partnership to purchase lands and building in the cities of Cebu, Lapu-Lapu, Mandaue, and the municipalities of Talisay and Minglanilla.

She alleged in her complaint that at the time of death of Tee Hoon Lim Po Chuan, the defendants, without liquidation, continued the business of glory commercial company, by purportedly organizing a corporation known as the glory commercial company, incorporated and sometime in the month of November, 1967, defendants, particularly Antonio Lim Tan Hu, by means of fraud deceit, and misrepresentations did then and there , induce and convince her to execute a quitclaim of all her rights and interests, in the assets of the partnership of glory commercial company.

Thereafter, in the year 1968-69, the defendants who had earlier promised to liquidate the aforesaid properties and assets in favor, among others of plaintiff and until the middle of the year 1970 when the plaintiff formally demanded from the defendants the accounting of real and personal properties of glory commercial company, defendants refused and stated that they would not give the share of the plaintiff.

ISSUE:

Whether Tan Put has right over the liquidated properties of the partnership.

RULING:

Tan has a right over the liquidated properties of partnership. The supreme court hold that there is no alternative but to hold that plaintiff Tan Put’s allegation that she is the widow of Tee Hoon Lim Po Chuan has not been satisfactorily established and that, on the contrary, the evidence on record convincingly shows that her relation with said deceased was that of common-law wife. Moreover, the Supreme Court said that the lower courts committed an error by awarding 1/3 of the partnership properties to Tan because there has been no liquidation proceedings yet. And if there has not been any liquidation of the partnership, the only rights plaintiff could have would be to what might result after much liquidation to belong to the deceased partner (her alleged husband) and before this is finished, it is impossible to determine, what rights or interest, if any the deceased had. In other words no specific amounts or properties may be adjudicated to the heir or legal representative of the deceased partner without the liquidation being first terminated.

Under Article 55 of the Civil Code, the declaration of the contracting parties that they take each other as husband and wife “shall be set forth in an instrument” signed by the parties as well as by their witnesses and the person solemnizing the marriage. Accordingly, the primary evidence of a marriage must be an authentic copy of the marriage contract. While a marriage may also be proved by other competent evidence, the absence of the contract must first be satisfactory explained. Surely, the certification of the person who allegedly solemnized a marriage is not admissible evidence of such marriage unless proof of loss of the contract or of any other satisfactory reason for its non-production is first presented to the court.

In the case at bar, the purported certification issued by a Mons. Jose M. Recoleto, Philippine Independent Church, Cebu City, is not, therefore, competent evidence, there being absolutely no showing as to unavailability of the marriage contract and, indeed, as to the authenticity of the signature of said certifies, the jurat allegedly signed by a second assistant provincial fiscal not being authorized by law, since it is not part of the functions of his office. Besides, inasmuch as the bishop did not testify, the same is hearsay. As regards the testimony of the plaintiff herself on the same point and that of her witness Antonio Nuñez, there can be no question that they are both self-serving and of very little evidently value, it having been disclosed at the trial that plaintiff has already assigned all her rights in this case to said Nuñez, thereby making him the real party in interest here and, therefore, naturally as biased as herself. Besides, in the portion of the testimony of Nuñez copied in Annex C of petitioner’s memorandum, it appears admitted that he was born only on March 25, 1942, which means that he was less than eight years old at the supposed time of the alleged marriage. If for this reason alone, it is extremely doubtful if he could have sufficiently aware of such event as to be competent to testify about it.

* Case digest by Aileen B. Buenafe, LLB-1, Andres Bonifacio Law School, SY 2017-2018

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