Benitez-Badua vs. C.A. [G.R. No. 105625. January 24, 1994]

05 Oct

Ponente: PUNO, J.:


[S]pouses Vicente Benitez and Isabel Chipongian owned various properties especially in Laguna both died intestate. The fight for administration of Vicente’s estate ensued. Private respondents Victoria Benitez-Lirio and Feodor Benitez Aguilar (Vicente’s sister and nephew, respectively) instituted a Special Proceeding before the RTC of San Pablo City. They prayed for the issuance of letters of administration of Vicente’s estate in favor of private respondent Aguilar. Petitioner opposed the petition. She alleged that she is the sole heir of the deceased Vicente Benitez and capable of administering his estate. The parties further exchanged reply and rejoinder to buttress their legal postures. The trial court decided in favor of the petitioner. However, the Decision of the trial court was reversed by the Court of Appeals.


Whether or not Articles 164, 166, 170 and 171 of the Family Code is applicable in favor of the petitioner.


NO. Petition was dismissed for lack of merit. Costs against petitioner.


A careful reading of the above articles will show that they do not contemplate a situation, like in the instant case, where a child is alleged not to be the child of nature or biological child of a certain couple. Rather, these articles govern a situation where a husband (or his heirs) denies as his own a child of his wife. Thus, under Article 166, it is the husband who can impugn the legitimacy of said child by proving: (1) it was physically impossible for him to have sexual intercourse, with his wife within the first 120 days of the 300 days which immediately preceded the birth of the child; (2) that for biological or other scientific reasons, the child could not have been his child; (3) that in case of children conceived through artificial insemination, the written authorization or ratification by either parent was obtained through mistake, fraud, violence, intimidation or undue influence. Articles 170 and 171 reinforce this reading as they speak of the prescriptive period within which the husband or any of his heirs should file the action impugning the legitimacy of said child. Doubtless then, the appellate court did not err when it refused to apply these articles to the case at bench. For the case at bench is not one where the heirs of the late Vicente are contending that petitioner is not his child by Isabel. Rather, their clear submission is that petitioner was not born to Vicente and Isabel.


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Posted by on October 5, 2012 in Case Digests, Civil Law


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