G.R. No. L-29901, 31 August 1977, 78 SCRA 412
Jose Frias Chua had 2 marriages. First with Patricia, he had 3 children- Ignacio, Manuel and Lorenzo. When Patricia died, he married Consolacion de la Torre and had one child- Juanito Frias Chua. Jose Frias Chua died intestate. After the intestate proceeding the court adjudicated half of lot in question to Consolacion and the other half to their only son, Juanito. The two sons in the first marriage, Lorenzo and Ignacio, received P3000 and P1550 respectively. (Manuel already died). Juanito also died intestate without issue. Consolacion de la Torre executed a declaration of heirship adjudicating in her favor the pro-indiviso share of her son Juanito in the lot in question. When dela Torre died, Ignacio and the heirs of Lorenzo filed a complaint praying that the one-half portion of the Lot be declared as a reservable property for the reason that the lot in question was subject to reserval troncal pursuant to Article 981 NCC. Lower court dismissed complaint.
WON property in question was acquired by Juanito Frias Chua from his father Jose Frias Chua gratuitously (as first requisite of Reserva Troncal).
Yes. In order that a property may be impressed with a reservable character the following requisites must exist, to wit:
(1) That the property was acquired by a descendant from an ascendant or from a brother or sister by gratuitous title;
(2) That said descendant died without an issue;
(3) That the property is inherited by another ascendant by operation of law; and
(4) That there are relatives within the third degree belonging to the line from which said property came.
All of the foregoing requisites are present. Thus, as borne out by the records, Juanoito Frias Chua of thesecond marriage died intestate in 1952; he died without leaving any issue; his pro-indiviso of 1/2 share of Lot No. 399 was acquired by his mother, Consolacion de la Torre died, Juannnito Frias Chua who died intestate had relatives within the third degree. These relatives are Ignacio Frias Chua and Dominador Chua and Remidios Chua, the suppose legitimate children of the deceased Lorenzo Frias Chua, who are the petitioners herein
According to Manresa, “The transmission is gratuitous or by gratuitous title when the recipient does not give anything in return.” It matters not whether the property transmitted be or be not subject to any prior charges; what is essential is that the transmission be made gratuitously, or by an act of mere liberality of the person making it, without imposing any obligation on the part of the recipient; and that the person receiving the property gives or does nothing in return.
“The essential thing is that the person who transmits it does so gratuitously, from pure generosity, without requiring from the transferee any prestation.” It is evident from the record that the transmission of the property in question to Juanito Frias Chua of the second marriage upon the death of his father Jose Frias Chua was by means of a hereditary succession and therefore gratuitous.
As long as the transmission of the property to the heirs is free from any condition imposed by the deceased himself and the property is given out of pure generosity, it is gratuitous.
*Case digest by Lindsay Arra Calapiz, LLB-4, Andres Bonifacio Law School, SY 2018-2019