G.R. No. 184148, 9 June 2014, 725 SCRA 402
In a Complaint for Annulment of Sale and Reconveyance of Property filed with the RTC of Malolos, Bulacan on June 10, 1991, the respondents Rosario Calalang-Garcia, Leonora Calalang-Sabile, and Carlito S. Calalang asserted their ownership over a certain parcel of land against the petitioners Nora B. Calalang-Parulan and Elvira B. Calalang. The said lot with an area of 1,266 square meters and specifically identified as Lot 1132, Cad. 333, Bigaa Cadastre situated in Brgy. Burol 2nd, Municipality of Balagtas, Province of Bulacan, was allegedly acquired by the respondents from their mother Encarnacion Silverio, through succession as the latter’s compulsory heirs.
According to the respondents, their father, Pedro Calalang contracted two marriages during his lifetime. The first marriage was with their mother Encarnacion Silverio. During the subsistence of this marriage, their parents acquired the above-mentioned parcel of land from their maternal grandmother Francisca Silverio. Despite enjoying continuous possession of the land, however, their parents failed to register the same. On June 7, 1942, the first marriage was dissolved with the death of Encarnacion Silverio.
On November 6, 1967, Pedro Calalang entered into a second marriage with Elvira B. Calalang who then gave birth to Nora B. Calalang-Parulan and Rolando Calalang. According to the respondents, it was only during this time that Pedro Calalang filed an application for free patent over the parcel of land with the Bureau of Lands. Pedro Calalang committed fraud in such application by claiming sole and exclusive ownership over the land since 1935 and concealing the fact that he had three children with his first spouse. As a result, on September 22, 1974, the Register of Deeds of Bulacan issued Original Certificate of Title (OCT) No. P-2871 in favor of Pedro Calalang only.
On February 17, 1984, Pedro Calalang sold the said parcel of land to Nora B. Calalang-Parulan as evidenced by a Deed of Sale executed by both Pedro Calalang and Elvira B. Calalang. Accordingly, the Register of Deeds of Bulacan cancelled OCT No. P-2871 and issued Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. 283321 in the name of Nora B. Calalang-Parulan. On December 27, 1989, Pedro Calalang died.
Whether or not the annulment of sale and reconveyance of property will prosper.
Yes. It is hornbook doctrine that successional rights are vested only at the time of death. Article 777 of the New Civil Code provides that “the rights to the succession are transmitted from the moment of the death of the decedent.”
The principle of transmission as of the time of the predecessor’s death is basic in our Civil Code, and is supported by other related articles. Thus, the capacity of the heir is determined as of the time the decedent died (Art. 1034); the legitime is to be computed as of the same moment (Art. 908), and so is the in officiousness of the donation inter vivas (Art. 771). Similarly, the legacies of credit and remission are valid only in the amount due and outstanding at the death of the testator (Art. 935), and the fruits accruing after that instant are deemed to pertain to the legatee (Art. 948).
Thus, it is only upon the death of Pedro Calalang on December 27, 1989 that his heirs acquired their respective inheritances, entitling them to their pro in diviso shares to his whole estate. At the time of the sale of the disputed property, the rights to the succession were not yet bestowed upon the heirs of Pedro Calalang. And absent clear and convincing evidence that the sale was fraudulent or not duly supported by valuable consideration (in effect an in officious donation inter vivas), the respondents have no right to question the sale of the disputed property on the ground that their father deprived them of their respective shares. Well to remember, fraud must be established by clear and convincing evidence. Mere preponderance of evidence is not even adequate to prove fraud.The Complaint for Annulment of Sale and Reconveyance of Property must therefore be dismissed.
*Case digest by Karl Bation, LLB-4, Andres Bonifacio Law School, SY 2018-2019