Friday, March 30, 2012

Tison vs. CA

Facts: The petitioners Corazon Tison and Rene Dezoller are niece and nephew of the deceased Tedora Dezoller Guerrero, who appears to be the sister of their father Hermogenes Dezoller . The present action for reconveyance involves a parcel of land with a house and apartment which was originally owned by the spouses Martin Guerrero and Teodora Dezoller Guerrero. It. Teodora Dezoller Guerrero died on March 5, 1983 without any ascendant or descendant, and was survived only by her husband, Martin Guerrero, and herein petitioners. Petitioners' father, Hermogenes, died on October 3, 1973, hence they seek to inherit from Teodora Dezoller Guerrero by right of representation. 

The records reveal that upon the death of Teodora Dezoller Guerrero, her surviving spouse executed an Affidavit of Extrajudicial Settlement adjudicating unto himself, allegedly as sole heir, the land in dispute. Martin sold the lot to herein private respondent Teodora Domingo and thereafter. 

Martin Guerrero died. Subsequently, herein petitioners filed an action for reconveyance claiming that they are entitled to inherit one-half of the property in question by right of representation. Tedoro Domingo however, attacks the legitimacy of Hermogenes. 

Issue: Whether or not a third person, not the father nor an heir, may attack the legitimacy of Hermogenes 

Held: NO. the private respondent is not the proper party to impugn the legitimacy of herein petitioners. There is no presumption of the law more firmly established and founded on sounder morality and more convincing reason than the presumption that children born in wedlock are legitimate. And well settled is the rule that the issue of legitimacy cannot be attacked collaterally. 

Only the husband can contest the legitimacy of a child born to his wife. He is the one directly confronted with the scandal and ridicule which the infidelity of his wife produces; and he should decide whether to conceal that infidelity or expose it, in view of the moral and economic interest involved. It is only in exceptional cases that his heir are allowed to contest such legitimacy. Outside of these cases, none — even his heirs — can impugn legitimacy; that would amount to an insult to his memory.

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