Monday, February 27, 2017

Tumbokon vs. Legaspi, 626 SCRA 736, August 04, 2010

Succession; Representation; Words and Phrases; Representation is a right created by fiction of law, by virtue of which the representative is raised to the place and the degree of the person represented, and acquires the rights which the latter would have if she were living or if she could have inherited.—Only two forced heirs survived Alejandra upon her death, namely: respondent Apolonia, her daughter, and Crisanto Miralles, her grandson. The latter succeeded Alejandra by right of representation because his mother, Ciriaca, had predeceased Alejandra. Representation is a right created by fiction of law, by virtue of which the representative is raised to the place and thedegree of the person represented, and acquires the rights which the latter would have if she were living or if she could have inherited. Herein, the representative (Crisanto Miralles) was called to the succession by law and not by the person represented (Ciriaca); he thus succeeded Alejandra, not Ciriaca.

Judgments; Res Judicata; The doctrine of res judicata is an old axiom of law, dictated by wisdom and sanctified by age, and founded on the broad principle that it is to the interest of the public that there should be an end to litigation by the same parties over a subject once fully and fairly adjudicated.—Res judicatameans a matter adjudged, a thing judicially acted upon or decided; a thing or matter settled by judgment. The doctrine of res judicata is an old axiom of law, dictated by wisdom and sanctified by age, and founded on the broad principle that it is to the interest of the public that there should be an end to litigation by the same parties over a subject once fully and fairly adjudicated. It has been appropriately said that the doctrine is a rule pervading every well-regulated system of jurisprudence, and is put upon two grounds embodied in various maxims of the common law: the one, public policy and necessity, which makes it to the interest of the State that there should be an end to litigation—reipublicae ut sit finis litium; the other, the hardship on the individual that he should be vexed twice for one and the same cause—nemo debet bis vexari pro una et eadem causa. A contrary doctrine will subject the public peace and quiet to the will and neglect of individuals and prefer the gratification of the litigious disposition on the part of suitors to the preservation of the public tranquillity and happiness.

Same; Same; Requisites; The doctrine of res judicata has two aspects—the first, known as bar by prior judgment, or estoppel by verdict, and the second, known as conclusiveness of judgment, also known as the rule of auter action pendant.—For res judicata to bar the institution of a subsequent action, the following requisites must concur: (1) the former judgment must be final; (2) it must have been rendered by a court having jurisdiction over the subject matter and the parties; (3) it must be a judgment on the merits; and (4) there must be between the first and second actions (a) identity of parties, (b) identity of the subject matter, and (c) identity of cause of action. The doctrine of res judicata has two aspects: the first, known as bar by prior judgment, or estoppel by verdict, is the effect of a judgment as a bar to the prosecution of a second action upon thesame claim, demand, or cause of action; the second, known as conclusiveness of judgment, also known as the rule of auter action pendant, ordains that issues actually and directly resolved in a former suit cannot again be raised in any future case between the same parties involving a different cause of action and has the effect of preclusion of issues only.

Same; Same; Bar by prior judgment is not applicable where the causes of action in the civil and the criminal actions were different and distinct from each other—the civil action was for the recovery of ownership of the land filed by the petitioners, while the criminal action was to determine whether the act of the respondents of taking the coconut fruits from the trees growing within the disputed land constituted the crime of qualified theft.—First of all, bar by prior judgment, the first aspect of the doctrine, is not applicable, because the causes of action in the civil and the criminal actions were different and distinct from each other. The civil action is for the recovery of ownership of the land filed by the petitioners, while the criminal action was to determine whether the act of the respondents of taking the coconut fruits from the trees growing within the disputed land constituted the crime of qualified theft. In the former, the main issue is the legal ownership of the land, but in the latter, the legal ownership of the land was not the main issue. The issue of guilt or innocence was not dependent on the ownership of the land, inasmuch as a person could be guilty of theft of the growing fruits even if he were the owner of the land.

Same; Same; The doctrine of conclusiveness of judgment is subject to exceptions, such as where there is a change in the applicable legal context, or to avoid inequitable administration of justice.—The doctrine of conclusiveness of judgment is subject to exceptions, such as where there is a change in the applicable legal context, or to avoid inequitable administration of justice. Applying the doctrine of conclusiveness of judgments to this case will surely be iniquitous to the respondents who have rightly relied on the civil case, not on the criminal case, to settle the issue of ownership of the land. This action for recovery of ownership was brought precisely to settle the issue of ownership of the property. In contrast, the pronouncement on ownership of the land made in the criminal case was only the response to the respondents having raised the ownership as a matter of defense.

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