Who has the Better Right to our Grandparents’ property?

HEIRS OF ROGER JARQUE v. MARCIAL JARQUE (G.R. No. 196733) Nov 21, 2018


Laureano Jarque (Laureano) was married to Seravanda Hagos (Servanda) with whom he had four children namely: Roger, Lupo, Sergio, and Natalia. The petitioners are the heirs of Roger, the original plaintiff in this case. On the other hand, respondents are the living children of Lupo.

Petitioner claims that since the death of Laureano in 1956, their father, Roger, inherited Lot No. 2560 and exercised all attributed ownership and possession over it. Upon the death of Servanda, their children orally partitioned the properties of their parents among themselves such that Lot No. 2560 was ceded to Roger. Roger mortgaged the lot twice, and on the second one, Lupo, his brother, was the one who redeemed the property. Roger tried to claim the property back from Lupo and his family thrice, but every time he would they would request the property remain with them as they need a source of income. Roger agreed. When Roger’s sons decided to finally take back the property for good, they were surprised when the respondents were already claiming ownership over the property.

On the other hand, the respondent claimed that Servanda mortgaged the lot and when the period to redeem the property was about to expire, she requested Doming to repurchase the property. Thereafter, Dominga transferred all her rights over the property to Leila, who took possession of the property in the concept of an owner.


Whether or not the heirs of Roger have the better right over the property.


YES. The Court ruled in favor of the petitioners.

Laureano died in 1946, prior to the effectivity of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 386 or the New Civil Code on August 30, 1950. At the time of his death, the governing law as to the property relations between husband and wife and the successional rights among the decedent’s heirs is the Old Civil Code. Under the Old Civil Code, the default property regime of the husband and wife is the conjugal partnership of gains. Upon the death of either spouse, the conjugal partnership is dissolved. The surviving spouse is entitled to his or her 1/2 share in the partnership, while the remaining half belongs to the estate of the deceased which will be inherited by his forced heirs.

When Laureano died and the partnership was dissolved, Servanda acquired her 1/2 share in the conjugal partnership, while the other half devolved to the estate of Laureano. In turn, their four children (including Roger) succeeded to 2/3 of the estate of Laureano as his forced heirs.

In this case, Roger’s exercise of ownership over Lot No. 2560 after Laureano’s death in 1946 is established by evidence. In 1960, he was able to mortgage the property, and subsequently redeem it. Therefore, the respondents’ possession of the property did not give rise to their ownership over it. There is no dispute that respondents are in possession of Lot No. 2560 since its repurchase from the mortgage in 1974 until the filing of the complaint. However, whether their possession was adverse and in the concept of owner, with just title and in good faith, is another matter. Here, the Court find that the respondents’ possession over the property is without any just title and good faith; rather, it was only by mere tolerance for the first 10 years of possession.

The takeaway:

When there is real property involved, it is important to make it clear to the heirs what to expect upon your demise. It is always a good idea to prepare a living will or any documented arrangement of your affairs while you are still alive and in control over your estate. You can always consult a property lawyer to guide you through this. After all, we want to avoid our descendants fighting over your properties in the future when you can do something to prevent it.

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