Posted: March 6, 2017 in case digests, succession
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G.R. No. L-28394     November 26, 1970

By: Karen P. Lustica



Facts: Pedro Gayon filed said complaint against the spouses Silvestre Gayon and Genoveva de Gayon, alleging substantially that, said spouses executed a deed whereby they sold to Pedro Gelera, for the sum of P500.00, a parcel of unregistered land subject to redemption; that said right of redemption had not been exercised by Silvestre Gayon, Genoveva de Gayon, or any of their heirs or successors.

In her answer to the complaint, Mrs. Gayon alleged that her husband, Silvestre Gayon, died on January 6, 1954, long before the institution of this case; that the deed to the complaint is fictitious, for the signature thereon purporting to be her signature is not hers; that neither she nor her deceased husband had ever executed “any document of whatever nature in plaintiff’s favor”; that the complaint is malicious and had embarrassed her and her children; that the heirs of Silvestre Gayon had to “employ the services of counsel for a fee of P500.00 and incurred expenses of at least P200.00”; and that being a brother of the deceased Silvestre Gayon, plaintiff “did not exert efforts for the amicable settlement of the case” before filing his complaint. She prayed, therefore, that the same be dismissed and that plaintiff be sentenced to pay damages.

Later on, she filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that, in view of the death of Silvestre Gayon, there is a “necessity of amending the complaint to suit the genuine facts on record.” The lower court issued the order appealed from, contending that Silvestre Gayon is the absolute owner of the land in question, and considering the fact that Silvestre Gayon is now dead and his wife Genoveva de Gayon has nothing to do with the land subject of plaintiff’s complaint, as prayed for, this case is hereby dismissed, without pronouncement as to costs.

Issue: WON Genoveva De Gayon has an interest with the land subject of the plaintiff’s complaint

Held: Yes.

Ratio: As a widow, she is one of her deceased husband’s compulsory heirs [Art. 887(3), Civil Code] and has, accordingly, an interest in the property in question.

Inasmuch as succession takes place by operation of law, “from the moment of the death of the decedent” (Arts. 774 and 777, Civil Code) and “the inheritance includes all the property, rights and obligations of a person which are not extinguished by his death,” (Art. 776, Civil Code) it follows that if his heirs were included as defendants, they would be sued, not as “representatives” of the decedent, but as owners  of an aliquot interest in the property in question, even if the precise extent of their interest may still be undetermined and they have derived it from the decedent. Hence, they may be sued without a previous declaration of heirship, provided there is no pending special proceeding for the settlement of the estate of the decedent.

Dispositive: The order appealed from is hereby set aside and the case remanded to the lower court for the inclusion, as defendant or defendants therein, of the administrator or executor of the estate of Silvestre Gayon, if any, in lieu of the decedent, or, in the absence of such administrator or executor, of the heirs of the deceased Silvestre Gayon, and for further proceedings, not inconsistent with this decision, with the costs of this instance against defendant-appellee, Genoveva de Gayon.


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