December 2009 - Philippine Supreme Court Decisions/Resolutions
G.R. No. 171669 - Heirs of Rodrigo Yacapin, namely, Sol Belnas, et al. v. Felimon Belida (Deceased), represented by Merlyn B. Palos, et al.
[G.R. NO. 171669 : December 14, 2009]
HEIRS OF RODRIGO YACAPIN, namely: SOL BELNAS, NANCY VALLEJOS, SUSAN YACAPIN, ESTACIO YACAPIN, JULIA YACAPIN, LINDA YACAPIN, JUAN YACAPIN, VICENTE YACAPIN, ADELFA PRENIO, CELSO YACAPIN, JULIE PUNZALAN, RUBEN YACAPIN, EDWIN YACAPIN, NOEL YACAPIN, GONZALO YACAPIN, SALVACION CABABAN, TERESITS DINAGUIT, VICENTA YACAPIN and VICENTE YACAPIN; HEIRS OF ESTEBAN YACAPIN, namely: LUZVIMINDA YACAPIN KEE, ALFONZITA MACALE, EMMANUEL YACAPIN, MARIA BELLA YACAPIN, ESTEBAN YACAPIN II, CONCHITA YACAPIN TAGOCON, FILIPINA EBLACAS, ROSTECO CANADA, EMELY SUYAT, ROLDAN TAGOCON, LEVY CARDONA, LEA GACAYAN, LOTA DAGUITA, LEYRA CARDONA, LAREDO CARDONA, EDNA YACAPIN ABADAY, HELDA DALAGUIT, SALOME Y. GUZMAN, RESSIE Y. DOTDOT, JOSEPINA Y. QUIA, RODOLFO YACAPIN, LEO SAARENAS, RONALDO SAARENAS, ELSA GABUTAN and BELLA YACAPIN-AGUSTIN; HEIRS OF DONATO YACAPIN, namely, PROFETISA DAPANAS, ERMA SALARDA, NARCESO YACAPIN, LUZ Y. CHAVEZ, ANNABELLA YACAPIN, ADELA YACAPIN, THERESA YACAPIN, EDUARDO YACAPIN, DANILO YACAPIN, EVA LISTAN, MERLYN YACAPIN, AMIR YACAPIN, WENCESLAO BUBA, all represented by NANCY YACAPIN VALLEJOS as attorney-in-fact, Petitioners, v. FELIMON BALIDA (deceased), represented by MERLYN B. PALOS, JOSEPH BALIDA, SELVERIO BALIDA, EXEQUIEL BALIDA, JOSE MARCOS BALIDA, AGATONA PASTOR, ANTONIO BALIDA, GREGORIA BALIDA, represented by LIGAYA BALIDA; ATTY. BONAFEBE LEYSON in his capacity as Register of Deeds of Cagayan de Oro City; Cagayan de Oro City; CHARLIE GO, RUBEN GO and RAC COMMERCIAL CORPORATION, Respondents.
D E C I S I O N
This petition1 seeks to set aside the resolutions dated June 4, 20042 and March 6, 20053 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. SP No. 82968 dismissing the petition to annul the December 5, 1993 decision4 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Cagayan de Oro, Branch 24 in Civil Case Nos. 91-080 and 91-261.
At the center of this controversy are three parcels of land in Gusa, Cagayan de Oro City, namely, the 96,919 sq. m. lot no. 2384, the 25,202 sq. m. lot no. 2478 and the 824 sq. m. lot no. 2338.
Records of the Registry of Deeds of Cagayan de Oro City reveal that lot no. 2384 was covered by OCT No. RO-363 and registered in the names of Donato Yacapin, Martina Yacapin and Valentina Yacapin. In 1973, petitioners, the respective heirs of Donato and Martina, entered into an extrajudicial settlement partitioning lot no. 2384 among themselves. Pursuant to this agreement, OCT No. RO-363 was cancelled and individual titles were issued to them.
The records likewise reveal that lot no. 2478 was covered by OCT No. 7227 issued to Rodrigo Yacapin, Donato Yacapin, Valentina Yacapin, Martina Yacapin, Anastacia Yacapin, Esteban Yacapin and Felino San Jose.
Lastly, lot no. 2338 used to be covered by OCT No. 7318 issued to Valentina Yacapin and Anastacia Yacapin. Pursuant to an extrajudicial settlement executed by respondents, heirs of Valentina, OCT No. 7318 was cancelled and TCT No. T-54890 was issued in lieu thereof.
In 1991, respondents filed an action for partition, annulment of titles and damages against petitioners in the RTC.5 They asserted that their mother, Valentina, was one of the registered owners of lot no. 2384. Upon her death, they (as compulsory heirs of Valentina) inherited her pro-indiviso share in the said property by operation of law. Since they were excluded in the execution of the extrajudicial settlement, the said agreement was void. Concomitantly, those titles issued in lieu of OCT No. RO-363 were likewise void.
Subsequently, petitioners filed a similar action in the same RTC against respondents.6 They claimed that Valentina and Anastacia died single and childless in 1943. Thus, being the nearest collateral relatives of the said registered owners, they inherited the shares of Valentina and Anastacia as their intestate heirs. Petitioners likewise sought to annul TCT No. T-54890 which was issued to respondents. They asserted that respondents could not have been the children of their aunt but of another "Valentina Yacapin" who died in Kiliog, Libona, Bukidnon.
Due to the seeming confusion regarding the identity of the parties and issues, the RTC consolidated the complaints and tried them jointly.
After trial, the RTC found that the 1973 extrajudicial settlement only involved 53,612 sq. m. out of the 96, 919 sq. m. of lot no. 2384 and, at that time, the remaining portion (or 43,307 sq. m.) was unoccupied. If Valentina indeed died childless in 1943, petitioners, as her only intestate heirs, should have partitioned the entire property unto themselves in 1973 and occupied their respective portions thereafter. But they did not. Thus, it concluded that petitioners must have known that Valentina had children of her own.
In a decision dated December 5, 1993, the RTC recognized respondents as Valentina's children and compulsory heirs. It therefore nullified the parties' respective titles to lot nos. 2384 and 2338. Furthermore, it ordered the division of the said properties and lot no. 2478 among petitioners, respondents and the heirs of the other registered owners who were not parties to the complaints.???ñr?bl?š