Succession Case Digest

Donato S. Paulmitan, et al. vs. Court of Appeals, Alicio Paulmitan, et al.

G.R. No. 61584, November 25, 1992


Agatona Sagario Paulmitan, who died sometime in 1953, left Lot No. 1091 with an area of 69,080 square meters. She begot two legitimate children, namely Pascual Paulmitan, who also died in 1953, and Donato Paulmitan, who is one of the petitioners. Petitioner Juliana P. Fanesa is Donato’s daughter. Donato executed on May 28, 1974 a Deed of Sale over the same in favor of petitioner Juliana, his daughter. Sometime in 1952, for non-payment of taxes, Lot No. 1091 was forfeited and sold at a public auction, with the Provincial Government of Negros Occidental being the buyer. On May 29, 1974, Juliana redeemed the property from the Provincial Government of Negros Occidental for the amount of P2,959.09.

On learning of these transactions, respondents who are children of the late Pascual Paulmitan, brother of Donato, filed with the Court of First Instance of Negros Occidental a Complaint against petitioners to partition the properties plus damages. Petitioner Juliana claimed that she acquired exclusive ownership thereof not only by means of a deed of sale executed in her favor by her father, petitioner Donato Paulmitan, but also by way of redemption from the Provincial Government of Negros Occidental. Acting on the petitioners’ affirmative defense of prescription with respect to Lot No. 757, the trial court issued an order dated April 22, 1976 dismissing the complaint as to the said property. As to Lot No. 1091, the trial court ruled in favor of the respondents who, as descendants of Agatona Sagario Paulmitan, were entitled to one-half (1/2) of Lot No. 1091, pro indiviso.


Whether or not Fanesa acquired ownership over the entire lot by virtue of the redemption


No. When Donato sold the property to his daughter Fanesa, he was only a co-owner with respondents and as such, he could only sell that portion which may be allotted to him upon termination of the co-ownership. The sale did not prejudice the rights of respondents to one half (1/2) undivided share of the land which they inherited from their father. It did not vest ownership in the entire land with the buyer but transferred only the seller’s pro-indiviso share in the property and consequently made the buyer a co-owner of the land until it is partitioned. The right of repurchase may be exercised by co-owner with respect to his share alone. While the records show that petitioner redeemed the property in its entirety, shouldering the expenses therefor, that did not make him the owner of all of it. In other words, it did not put to end the existing state of co-ownership. There is no doubt that redemption of property entails a necessary expense. The result is that the property remains to be in a condition of co-ownership. Although petitioner Juliana did not acquire ownership over the entire lot by virtue of the redemption she made, nevertheless, she did acquire the right to reimbursed for half of the redemption price she paid to the Provincial Government of Negros Occidental on behalf of her co-owners. Until reimbursed, Juliana holds a lien upon the subject property for the amount due her.


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