G.R. No. L-4963, 29 January 1953, 92 Phil. 530


This is an action for recovery of the ownership and possession of five (5) parcels of land in Pangasinan, filed by Maria Uson against Maria del Rosario and her four illegit children. Maria Uson was the lawful wife of Faustino Nebreda who upon his death in 1945 left the lands involved in this litigation. Faustino Nebreda left no other heir except his widow Maria Uson. However, plaintiff claims that when Faustino Nebreda died in 1945, his common-law wife Maria del Rosario took possession illegally of said lands thus depriving her of their possession and enjoyment. Defendants in their answer set up as special defense that Uson and her husband, executed a public document whereby they agreed to separate as husband and wife and, in consideration of which Uson was given a parcel of land and in return she renounced her right to inherit any other property that may be left by her husband upon his death. CFI found for Uson. Defendants appealed.


1. W/N Uson has a right over the lands from the moment of death of her husband.
2. W/N the illegit children of deceased and his common-law wife have successional rights.


Yes. There is no dispute that Maria Uson, is the lawful wife of Faustino Nebreda, former owner of the five parcels of lands litigated in the present case. There is likewise no dispute that Maria del Rosario, was merely a common-law wife with whom she had four illegitimate children with the deceased. It likewise appears that Faustino Nebreda died in 1945 much prior to the effectivity of the new Civil Code. With this background, it is evident that when Faustino Nebreda died in 1945 the five parcels of land he was seized of at the time passed from the moment of his death to his only heir, his widow Maria Uson (Art 777 NCC).As this Court aptly said, “The property belongs to the heirs at the moment of the death of the ancestor as completely as if the ancestor had executed and delivered to them a deed for the same before his death”. From that moment, therefore, the rights of inheritance of Maria Uson over the lands in question became vested.

The claim of the defendants that Maria Uson had relinquished her right over the lands in question because she expressly renounced to inherit any future property that her husband may acquire and leave upon his death in the deed of separation, cannot be entertained for the simple reason that future inheritance cannot be the subject of a contract nor can it be renounced.

No. The provisions of the NCC shall be given retroactive effect even though the event which gave rise to them may have occurred under the prior legislation only if no vested rights are impaired. Hence, since the right of ownership of Maria Uson over the lands in question became vested in 1945 upon the death of her late husband, the new right recognized by the new Civil Code in favor of the illegitimate children of the deceased cannot, therefore, be asserted to the impairment of the vested right of Maria Uson over the lands in dispute.

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