G.R. No. L-22469, 23 October 1978, 85 SCRA 567
In 1939, Teodoro R. Yangco, who had no forced heirs, died in Manila at the age of 75.
His will dated August 29, 1934 was probated in the Court of First Instance of Manila and the decree of probate was then affirmed.
At the time of his death, his nearest relatives were (1) his half brother, Luis R. Yangco, (2) his half sister, Paz Yangco, the wife of Miguel Ossorio (3) Amalia Corpus, Jose A. V. Corpus, and Ramon L. Corpus, the children of his half brother, Pablo Corpus, and (4) Juana (Juanita) Corpus, the daughter of his half brother Jose Corpus. Juanita later died.
Teodoro R. Yangco was the son of Luis Rafael Yangco and Ramona Arguelles, the widow of Tomas Corpus. Before her union with Luis Rafael Yangco, Ramona had begotten five children with Tomas Corpus, two of whom were the aforenamed Pablo Corpus and Jose Corpus.
Pursuant to the order of the probate court, a project of partition was submitted by the administrator and the legatees named in the will.
That project of partition was opposed by the estate of Luis R. Yangco whose counsel contended that an intestacy should be declared because the will does not contain an institution of heir. It was also opposed by Atty. Cruz, who represented Juanita Corpus, Pedro Martinez and Juliana de Castro. Juanita Corpus was already dead when Atty. Cruz appeared as her counsel.
Atty. Cruz alleged in his opposition that the proposed partion was not in conformity with the will because the testator intended that the estate should be “conserved” and not physically partitioned.
Later, the probate court approved the project of partition.
From that order, Pedro Martinez, Juliana de Castro , Juanita Corpus (deceased) and the estate of Luis R. Yangco appealed, but was dismissed after the legatees and the appellants entered into compromise agreements. Herein appellant Tomas Corpus signed that compromise settlement as the sole heir of Juanita Corpus.
The estate of Luis R. Yangco entered into a similar compromise agreement and the resolution dismissing the appeal became, final and executory.
In 1951, Tomas Corpus, as the sole heir of Juanita corpus, filed an action in the Court of First Instance of Manila to recover his supposed share in Yangco intestate estate but the trial court dismissed the action on the grounds of res judicata and laches.
Tomas Corpus appealed to the Court of Appeals but the latter court endorsed the case to the SC since it covers real property valued at more than 50,000.00.
WON Tomas Corpus may inherit from TeodoroYangco.
The SC ruled in the negative, because his mother (Juanita Corpus) does not have the right to inherit via intestacy from his half-blood brother.
Since Teodoro R. Yangco was an acknowledged natural child or was illegitimate and since Juanita Corpus was the legitimate child of Jose Corpus, himself a legitimate child, the SC hold that appellant Tomas Corpus has no cause of action for the recovery of the supposed hereditary share of his mother, Juanita Corpus, as a legal heir, in Yangco’s estate.
Accordingly, Juanita Corpus was not a legal heir of Yangco because there is no reciprocal succession between legitimate and illegitimate relatives.
Also, Article 943 of the old Civil code prohibits all successory reciprocity mortis causa between legitimate and illegitimate relatives.
The rule in article 943 of the old Civil Code is now found in article 992 of the Civil Code which provides that “an illegitimate child has no right to inherit ab intestato from the legitimate children and relatives of his father or mother; nor shall such children or relatives inherit in the same manner from the illegitimate child”.
That rule is based on the theory that the illegitimate child is disgracefully looked upon by the legitimate family while the legitimate family is, in turn, hated by the illegitimate child.
Article 992 of the Civil Code also provides that “an illegitimate child has no right to inherit ab intestato from the legitimate children and relatives of his father or mother; nor shall such children or relatives inherit in the same manner from the illegitimate child”.
Under articles 944 and 945 of the Spanish Civil Code, “if an acknowledged natural or legitimated child should die without issue, either legitimate or acknowledged, the father or mother who acknowledged such child shall succeed to its entire estate; and if both acknowledged it and are alive, they shall inherit from it share and share alike. In default of natural ascendants, natural and legitimated children shall be succeeded by their natural brothers and sisters in accordance with the rules established for legitimate brothers and sisters.”
Hence, Teodoro R. Yangco’s half brothers on the Corpus side, who were legitimate, had no right to succeed to his estate under the rules of intestacy.
*Case digest by Oscar Limabadies Jr., LLB-IV, Andres Bonifacio College Law School, SY 2018-2019