Mariano v. Court of Appeals

G.R. No. 51283, 7 June 1989

FACTS:

The proceedings at bar concern (1) an attempt by a married man to prevent execution against conjugal property of a judgment rendered against his wife, for obligations incurred by the latter while engaged in a business that had admittedly redounded to the benefit of the family, and (2) the interference by a court with the proceedings on execution of a co-equal or coordinate court. Both acts being proscribed by law, correction is called for and will hereby be effected. The proceedings originated from a suit filed by Esther Sanchez against Lourdes Mariano in the Court of First Instance at Caloocan City, for recovery of the value of ladies’ readymade dresses allegedly purchased by and delivered to the latter.

Daniel Sanchez, Esther’s husband, now made his move. He filed a complaint for annulment of the execution in the Court of First Instance at Quezon City in his capacity as administrator of the conjugal partnership. He alleged that the conjugal assets could not validly be made to answer for obligations exclusively contracted by his wife, and that, moreover, some of the personal property levied on, such as household appliances and utensils necessarily used in the conjugal dwelling, were exempt from execution.

ISSUE:

WON the claim that property levied on in execution of a judgment is not property of the judgment debtor, Daniel Sanchez’s wife, but of the conjugal partnership of the Sanchez Spouses.

RULING:

In the case at bar, the husband of the judgment debtor cannot be deemed a “stranger” to the case prosecuted and adjudged against his wife. In any case, whether by intervention in the court issuing the writ, or by separate action, it is unavailing for either Esther Sanchez or her husband, Daniel, to seek preclusion of the enforcement of the writ of possession against their conjugal assets. For it being established, as aforestated, that Esther had engaged in business with her husband’s consent, and the income derived therefrom had been expended, in part at least, for the support of her family, the liability of the conjugal assets to respond for the wife’s obligations in the premises cannot be disputed.

Art. 122. The payment of personal debts contracted by the husband or the wife before or during the marriage shall not be charged to the conjugal properties partnership except insofar as they redounded to the benefit of the family.

Neither shall the fines and pecuniary indemnities imposed upon them be charged to the partnership.

However, the payment of personal debts contracted by either spouse before the marriage, that of fines and indemnities imposed upon them, as well as the support of illegitimate children of either spouse, may be enforced against the partnership assets after the responsibilities enumerated in the preceding Article have been covered, if the spouse who is bound should have no exclusive property or if it should be insufficient; but at the time of the liquidation of the partnership, such spouse shall be charged for what has been paid for the purpose above-mentioned.

* Case digest by Lady Rubyge A. Denura, LLB-1, Andres Bonifacio Law School, SY 2017-2018

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