Fortunata Barcena filed an action to quiet title over parcels of land. Pending the proceeding, she died. The counsel for deceased plaintiff filed a written manifestation praying that the minors Rosalio Bonilla and Salvacion Bonilla be allowed to substitute their deceased mother, but the court denied the counsel’s prayer for lack of merit, and dismissed the complaint on the ground that a dead person has no legal personality to sue.
Whether or not a court action survives, through the heirs, after the death of the plaintiff.
YES. Article 777 of the Civil Code provides “that the rights to the succession are transmitted from the moment of the death of the decedent.” From the moment of the death of the decedent, the heirs become the absolute owners of his property, subject to the rights and obligations of the decedent, and they cannot be deprived of their rights thereto except by the methods provided for by law. When Fortunata Barcena, therefore, died her claim or right to the parcels of land in litigation, was not extinguished by her death but was transmitted to her heirs upon her death. Her heirs have thus acquired interest in the properties in litigation and became parties in interest in the case. There is, therefore, no reason for the respondent Court not to allow their substitution as parties in interest for the deceased plaintiff.