G.R. No. L-41715, 18 June 1976, 71 SCRA 491

FACTS:

On March 31, 1975 Fortunata Bonilla, mother of minors Rosalio and Salvacion, wife of Ponciano Bonilla (petitioner) instituted a civil action to quiet title over certain parcles of land located in Abra. Respondents opposed and when Fortunata died, moved to dismiss the same since a dead person has no legal capacity to sue. CFI dismissed the civil action earlier instituted and although counsel for the plaintiff prayed that Rosalio and Salvacion be allowed to substitute their deceased mother, the same was dismissed.

ISSUE:

Whether or not children of the deceased be allowed to substitute the deceased plaintiff.

RULING:

If the plaintiff dies, the Rules of Court prescribes the procedure whereby a party who died during the pendency of the proceeding can be substituted.
Rule 16, Sec 3 ROC states, “whenever a party to a pending case dies… it shall be the duty of his attorney to inform the court promptly of such death… and to give the name and residence of his executor, administrator, guardian or other legal representative.”
This duty was complained with by the counsel for the deceased plaintiff but the court, instead of allowing the substitution, dismissed the petition on the ground that a dead person has no legal personality to sue. Art 777 NCC provides “the rights to the succession are transmitted from the moment of the death of the decedent.
When Fortunata therefore died, her claim or right to the parcels of land in litigation was not extinguished but was transferred to her heirs upon death.

*Case digest by Ana Azalea Adraincem, LLB-IV, Andres Bonifacio College Law School, SY 2018-2019