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What is reserva troncal?

Reserva troncal The ascendant who inherits from his descendant any property which the latter
may have acquired by gratuitous title from another ascendant, or a brother or sister, is obliged to
reserve such property as he may have acquired by operation of law for the benefit of relatives
who are within the third degree and who belong to the line from which said property came. (Art.
891)
Purpose:
To prevent persons who are outsiders to the family from acquiring, by chance or accident,
property which otherwise would have remained with the said family. In short, to put back the
property to the line from which it originally came.
Note: Other terms used to refer to reserva troncal:
1. Lineal
2. Familiar
3. Extraordinaria
4. Semi-troncal
5. Pseudo-troncal

What are the requisites that must exist in order that a


property may be impressed with a reservable character?
1. That the property was acquired by a descendant (called praepositus or propositus) from an
ascendant or from a brother or sister by gratuitous title when the recipient does not give anything
in return;
2. That said descendant (praepositus) died without an issue;
3. That the same property (called reserva) is inherited by another ascendant (called
reservista) by operation of law (either through intestate or compulsory succession) from the
praepositus; and
4. That there are living relatives within the third degree counted from the praepositus and
belonging to the same line from where the property originally came (called reservatarios).

(Art. 891; Chua v. CFI of Negros Occidental, Branch V, 78 SCRA 412; Rabuya, Civil Law
Reviewer, pp. 634-635)

Does the reservista own the reservable property?


The reservista is an absolute or full owner, subject to a resolutory condition. If the resolutory
condition is fulfilled, the reservistas ownership of the property is terminated.
Resolutory condition: If at the time of the reservistas death, there should still exist relatives
within the third degree (reservatarios) of the propositus and belonging to the line from which the
property came.
Note: The reservable property is not part of the estate of the reservista.

When does the reservatario acquire the right over the


reservable property?
Upon the death of the reservista, the reservatario nearest the decedent propositus becomes,
automatically and by operation of law, the absolute owner of the reservable property. (Cano v.
Director of Lands)

Is there right of representation in reserva troncal?


Yes. There is representation in reserva troncal, but the representative must also be within the
third degree from the propositus. (Florentino v. Florentino)
G.R. No. 176422

March 20, 2013

MARIA MENDOZA, in her own capacity and as Attorney-in-fact of DEOGRACIAS,


MARCELA, DIONISIA, ADORA CION, all surnamed MENDOZA, REMEDIOS
MONTILLA, FELY BAUTISTA, JULIANA GUILALAS and ELVIRA MENDOZA,
Petitioners,
vs.
JULIA POLl CARPIO DELOS SANTOS, substituted by her heirs, CARMEN P. DELOS
SANTOS, ROSA BUENA VENTURA, ZENAIDA P. DELOS SANTOS VDA. DE MATEO,
LEONILA P. DELOS SANTOS, ELVIRA P. DELOS SANTOS VDA. DE JOSE,
TERESITA P. DELOS SANTOS-CABUHAT, MERCEDITA P. DELOS SANTOS, LYDIA

P. DELOS SANTOS VDA. DE HILARIO, PERFECTO P. DELOS SANTOS, JR., and


CECILIA M. MENDOZA, Respondents.
DECISION
REYES, J.:
Reserva troncal is a special rule designed primarily to assure the return of a reservable property
to the third degree relatives belonging to the line from which the property originally came, and
avoid its being dissipated into and by the relatives of the inheriting ascendant.1
The Facts
The properties subject in the instant case are three parcels of land located in Sta. Maria, Bulacan:
(1) Lot 1681-B, with an area of 7,749 square meters;2 (2) Lot 1684, with an area of 5,667 sq m;3
and (3) Lot No. 1646-B, with an area of 880 sq m.4 Lot Nos. 1681-B and 1684 are presently in
the name of respondent Julia Delos Santos5 (respondent). Lot No. 1646-B, on the other hand, is
also in the name of respondent but co-owned by Victoria Pantaleon, who bought one-half of the
property from petitioner Maria Mendoza and her siblings.
Petitioners are grandchildren of Placido Mendoza (Placido) and Dominga Mendoza (Dominga).
Placido and Dominga had four children: Antonio, Exequiel, married to Leonor, Apolonio and
Valentin. Petitioners Maria, Deogracias, Dionisia, Adoracion, Marcela and Ricardo are the
children of Antonio. Petitioners Juliana, Fely, Mercedes, Elvira and Fortunato, on the other hand,
are Valentins children. Petitioners alleged that the properties were part of Placido and
Domingas properties that were subject of an oral partition and subsequently adjudicated to
Exequiel. After Exequiels death, it passed on to his spouse Leonor and only daughter, Gregoria.
After Leonors death, her share went to Gregoria. In 1992, Gregoria died intestate and without
issue. They claimed that after Gregorias death, respondent, who is Leonors sister, adjudicated
unto herself all these properties as the sole surviving heir of Leonor and Gregoria. Hence,
petitioners claim that the properties should have been reserved by respondent in their behalf and
must now revert back to them, applying Article 891 of the Civil Code on reserva troncal.
Respondent, however, denies any obligation to reserve the properties as these did not originate
from petitioners familial line and were not originally owned by Placido and Dominga.
According to respondent, the properties were bought by Exequiel and Antonio from a certain
Alfonso Ramos in 1931. It appears, however, that it was only Exequiel who was in possession of
the properties.6
The Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Malolos, Bulacan, Branch 6, found merit in petitioners claim
and granted their action for Recovery of Possession by Reserva Troncal, Cancellation of TCT
and Reconveyance. In its Decision dated November 4, 2002, the RTC disposed as follows:
WHEREFORE, premised from the foregoing judgment is hereby rendered:

1. Ordering respondents (heirs of Julia Policarpio) to reconvey the three (3) parcels of
land subject of this action in the name of the plaintiffs enumerated in the complaint
including intervenor Maria Cecilia M. Mendoza except one-half of the property described
in the old title, TCT No. T-124852(M) which belongs to Victorina Pantaleon;
2. Ordering the Register of Deeds of Bulacan to cancel the titles in the name of Julia
Policarpio, TCT No. T-149033(M), T-183631(M) and T-149035(M) and reconvey the
same to the enumerated plaintiffs; and
3. No pronouncement as to claims for attorneys fees and damages and costs.
SO ORDERED.7
On appeal, the Court of Appeals (CA) reversed and set aside the RTC decision and dismissed the
complaint filed by petitioners. The dispositive portion of the CA Decision dated November 16,
2006 provides:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the November 4, 2002 Decision of the Regional Trial
Court, Br. 6, Third Judicial Region, Malolos, Bulacan, is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The
Third Amended Complaint in Civil Case No. 609-M-92 is hereby DISMISSED. Costs against the
Plaintiffs-Appellants.
SO ORDERED.8
Petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration but the CA denied the same per Resolution9 dated
January 17, 2007.
In dismissing the complaint, the CA ruled that petitioners failed to establish that Placido and
Dominga owned the properties in dispute.10 The CA also ruled that even assuming that Placido
and Dominga previously owned the properties, it still cannot be subject to reserva troncal as
neither Exequiel predeceased Placido and Dominga nor did Gregoria predecease Exequiel.11
Now before the Court, petitioners argue that:
A.
THE HONORABLE [CA] GRIEVOUSLY ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE
SUBJECT PROPERTIES ARE NOT RESERVABLE PROPERTIES, COMING AS
THEY DO FROM THE FAMILY LINE OF THE PETITIONERS MENDOZAS.
B.
THE HONORABLE [CA] GRIEVOUSLY ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE
PETITIONERS MENDOZAS DO NOT HAVE A RIGHT TO THE SUBJECT
PROPERTIES BY VIRTUE OF THE LAW ON RESERVA TRONCAL.12

Petitioners take exception to the ruling of the CA, contending that it is sufficient that the
properties came from the paternal line of Gregoria for it to be subject to reserva troncal. They
also claim the properties in representation of their own predecessors, Antonio and Valentin, who
were the brothers of Exequiel.13
Ruling of the Court
This petition is one for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. The general rule
in this regard is that it should raise only questions of law. There are, however, admitted
exceptions to this rule, one of which is when the CAs findings are contrary to those of the trial
court.14 This being the case in the petition at hand, the Court must now look into the differing
findings and conclusion of the RTC and the CA on the two issues that arise one, whether the
properties in dispute are reservable properties and two, whether petitioners are entitled to a
reservation of these properties.
Article 891 of the Civil Code on reserva troncal
The principle of reserva troncal is provided in Article 891 of the Civil Code:
Art. 891. The ascendant who inherits from his descendant any property which the latter may have
acquired by gratuitous title from another ascendant, or a brother or sister, is obliged to reserve
such property as he may have acquired by operation of law for the benefit of relatives who are
within the third degree and belong to the line from which said property came. (Emphasis ours)
There are three (3) lines of transmission in reserva troncal. The first transmission is by gratuitous
title, whether by inheritance or donation, from an ascendant/brother/sister to a descendant called
the prepositus. The second transmission is by operation of law from the prepositus to the other
ascendant or reservor, also called the reservista. The third and last transmission is from the
reservista to the reservees or reservatarios who must be relatives within the third degree from
which the property came.15
The lineal character of the
reservable property is reckoned
from the ascendant from whom the
prepositus received the property by
gratuitous title
Based on the circumstances of the present case, Article 891 on reserva troncal is not applicable.

The fallacy in the CAs resolution is that it proceeded from the erroneous premise that Placido is
the ascendant contemplated in Article 891 of the Civil Code. From thence, it sought to trace the
origin of the subject properties back to Placido and Dominga, determine whether Exequiel
predeceased Placido and whether Gregoria predeceased Exequiel.
The persons involved in reserva troncal are:
(1) The ascendant or brother or sister from whom the property was received by the
descendant by lucrative or gratuitous title;
(2) The descendant or prepositus (propositus) who received the property;
(3) The reservor (reservista), the other ascendant who obtained the property from the
prepositus by operation of law; and
(4) The reservee (reservatario) who is within the third degree from the prepositus and
who belongs to the (linea o tronco) from which the property came and for whom the
property should be reserved by the reservor.16
It should be pointed out that the ownership of the properties should be reckoned only from
Exequiels as he is the ascendant from where the first transmission occurred, or from whom
Gregoria inherited the properties in dispute. The law does not go farther than such
ascendant/brother/sister in determining the lineal character of the property.17 It was also
immaterial for the CA to determine whether Exequiel predeceased Placido and Dominga or
whether Gregoria predeceased Exequiel. What is pertinent is that Exequiel owned the properties
and he is the ascendant from whom the properties in dispute originally came. Gregoria, on the
other hand, is the descendant who received the properties from Exequiel by gratuitous title.

Moreover, Article 891 simply requires that the property should have been acquired by the
descendant or prepositus from an ascendant by gratuitous or lucrative title. A transmission is
gratuitous or by gratuitous title when the recipient does not give anything in return.18 At risk of
being repetitious, what was clearly established in this case is that the properties in dispute were
owned by Exequiel (ascendant). After his death, Gregoria (descendant/prepositus) acquired the
properties as inheritance.
Ascendants, descendants and
collateral relatives under Article
964 of the Civil Code
Article 891 provides that the person obliged to reserve the property should be an ascendant (also
known as the reservor/reservista) of the descendant/prepositus. Julia, however, is not Gregorias
ascendant; rather, she is Gregorias collateral relative.
Article 964 of the Civil Code provides for the series of degrees among ascendants and
descendants, and those who are not ascendants and descendants but come from a common
ancestor, viz:
Art. 964. A series of degrees forms a line, which may be either direct or collateral.1wphi1 A
direct line is that constituted by the series of degrees among ascendants and descendants.
A collateral line is that constituted by the series of degrees among persons who are not
ascendants and descendants, but who come from a common ancestor. (Emphasis and italics ours)
Gregorias ascendants are her parents, Exequiel and Leonor, her grandparents, great-grandparents
and so on. On the other hand, Gregorias descendants, if she had one, would be her children,
grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Not being Gregorias ascendants, both petitioners and
Julia, therefore, are her collateral relatives. In determining the collateral line of relationship,
ascent is made to the common ancestor and then descent to the relative from whom the
computation is made. In the case of Julias collateral relationship with Gregoria, ascent is to be
made from Gregoria to her mother Leonor (one line/degree), then to the common ancestor, that
is, Julia and Leonors parents (second line/degree), and then descent to Julia, her aunt (third
line/degree). Thus, Julia is Gregorias collateral relative within the third degree and not her
ascendant.
First cousins of the
descendant/prepositus are fourth
degree relatives and cannot be
considered reservees/reservatarios
Moreover, petitioners cannot be considered reservees/reservatarios as they are not relatives
within the third degree of Gregoria from whom the properties came. The person from whom the
degree should be reckoned is the descendant/prepositusthe one at the end of the line from
which the property came and upon whom the property last revolved by descent.19 It is Gregoria

in this case. Petitioners are Gregorias fourth degree relatives, being her first cousins. First
cousins of the prepositus are fourth degree relatives and are not reservees or reservatarios.20
They cannot even claim representation of their predecessors Antonio and Valentin as Article 891
grants a personal right of reservation only to the relatives up to the third degree from whom the
reservable properties came. The only recognized exemption is in the case of nephews and nieces
of the prepositus, who have the right to represent their ascendants (fathers and mothers) who are
the brothers/sisters of the prepositus and relatives within the third degree.21 In Florentino v.
Florentino,22 the Court stated:
Following the order prescribed by law in legitimate succession, when there are relatives of the
descendant within the third degree, the right of the nearest relative, called reservatario, over the
property which the reservista (person holding it subject to reservation) should return to him,
excludes that of the one more remote. The right of representation cannot be alleged when the one
claiming same as a reservatario of the reservable property is not among the relatives within the
third degree belong to the line from which such property came, inasmuch as the right granted by
the Civil Code in Article 811 now Article 891 is in the highest degree personal and for the
exclusive benefit of the designated persons who are the relatives, within the third degree, of the
person from whom the reservable property came. Therefore, relatives of the fourth and the
succeeding degrees can never be considered as reservatarios, since the law does not recognize
them as such.
x x x Nevertheless there is right of representation on the part of reservatarios who are within the
third degree mentioned by law, as in the case of nephews of the deceased person from whom the
reservable property came. x x x.23 (Emphasis and underscoring ours)
The conclusion, therefore, is that while it may appear that the properties are reservable in
character, petitioners cannot benefit from reserva troncal. First, because Julia, who now holds the
properties in dispute, is not the other ascendant within the purview of Article 891 of the Civil
Code and second, because petitioners are not Gregorias relatives within the third degree. Hence,
the CAs disposition that the complaint filed with the RTC should be dismissed, only on this
point, is correct. If at all, what should apply in the distribution of Gregorias estate are Articles
1003 and 1009 of the Civil Code, which provide:
Art. 1003. If there are no descendants, ascendants, illegitimate children, or a surviving spouse,
the collateral relatives shall succeed to the entire estate of the deceased in accordance with the
following articles.
Art. 1009. Should there be neither brothers nor sisters, nor children of brothers or sisters, the
other collateral relatives shall succeed to the estate.
The latter shall succeed without distinction of lines or preference among them by reason of
relationship by the whole blood.
Nevertheless, the Court is not in the proper position to determine the proper distribution of
Gregorias estate at this point as the cause of action relied upon by petitioners in their complaint

filed with the RTC is based solely on reserva troncal. Further, any determination would
necessarily entail reception of evidence on Gregorias entire estate and the heirs entitled thereto,
which is best accomplished in an action filed specifically for that purpose.
A reservista acquires ownership of
the reservable property until the
reservation takes place or is
extinguished
Before concluding, the Court takes note of a palpable error in the RTCs disposition of the case.
In upholding the right of petitioners over the properties, the RTC ordered the reconveyance of the
properties to petitioners and the transfer of the titles in their names. What the RTC should have
done, assuming for arguments sake that reserva troncal is applicable, is have the reservable
nature of the property registered on respondents titles. In fact, respondent, as reservista, has the
duty to reserve and to annotate the reservable character of the property on the title.24 In reserva
troncal, the reservista who inherits from a prepositus, whether by the latters wish or by operation
of law, acquires the inheritance by virtue of a title perfectly transferring absolute ownership. All
the attributes of ownership belong to him exclusively.25
The reservor has the legal title and dominion to the reservable property but subject to the
resolutory condition that such title is extinguished if the reservor predeceased the reservee. The
reservor is a usufructuary of the reservable property. He may alienate it subject to the
reservation. The transferee gets the revocable and conditional ownership of the reservor. The
transferees rights are revoked upon the survival of the reservees at the time of the death of the
reservor but become indefeasible when the reservees predecease the reservor.26 (Citations
omitted)
It is when the reservation takes place or is extinguished,27 that a reservatario becomes, by
operation of law, the owner of the reservable property.28 In any event, the foregoing discussion
does not detract from the fact that petitioners are not entitled to a reservation of the properties in
dispute.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The Decision dated November 16, 2006 and Resolution
dated January 17, 2007 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 77694 insofar as it
dismissed the Third Amended Complaint in Civil Case No. 609-M-92 are AFFIRMED. This
Decision is without prejudice to any civil action that the heirs of Gregoria
Mendoza may file for the settlement of her estate or for the determination of ownership of the
properties in question.
SO ORDERED.
BIENVENIDO L. REYES
Associate Justice
WE CONCUR:

MARIA LOURDES P. A. SERENO


Chief Justice
Chairperson
TERESITA J. LEONARDO-DE
CASTRO
Associate Justice

LUCAS P. BERSAMIN
Associate Justice

MARTIN S. VILLARAMA, JR.


Associate Justice
C E R T I F I C AT I O N
Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution, I certify that the conclusions in the above
Decision had been reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the
opinion of the Court's Division.
MARIA LOURDES P. A. SERENO
Chief Justice

Footnotes
1

De Papa v. Camacho, 228 Phil. 269, 274-275 (1986).

Covered by TCT No. T-149035 (M) (formerly TCT No. T-101248 [M]).

Covered by TCT No. T-183631 (M) (formerly TCT No. T-139184 [M]).

Covered by TCT No. T-149033 (M) (formerly TCT No. T-124852 [M]).

Respondent was subsequently substituted by her heirs.

Rollo, p. 38.

Id. at 50.

Id. at 40.

Id. at 42-43.

10

Id. at 37.

11

Id. at 39.

12

Id. at 19.

13

Id. at 19-25.

14

Maglana Rice and Corn Mill, Inc. v. Tan, G.R. No. 159051, September 21, 2011, 658
SCRA 58, 64-65.
15

Gonzales v. CFI of Manila (Br. V), et al., 192 Phil. 1, 12 (1981).

16

Id. at 12-13.

17

Tolentino, A.M., COMMENTARIES AND JURISPRUDENCE ON THE CIVIL CODE


OF THE PHILIPPINES, Vol. III, 2003 ed., p. 276, citing 6 Manresa 273, 6 Sanchez
Roman 1020.
18

Chua v. CFI of Negros Occidental, Br. V, 168 Phil. 571, 575 (1977).

19

Supra note 15, at 14.

20

Id.

21

Florentino v. Florentino, 40 Phil. 480, 490 (1919).

22

40 Phil. 480 (1919).

23

Id. at 489-490.

24

Sumaya v. Intermediate Appellate Court, 278 Phil. 201, 210-211 (1991).

25

Edroso v. Sablan, 25 Phil. 295, 307-308 (1913).

26

Supra note 15, at 15.

27

Dizon and Dizon v. Galang, 48 Phil. 60 I, 603-604 (1926).

28

Supra note 15, at 17


[G.R. No. L-10701. January 16, 1959.]

MARIA CANO, applicant-appellee, v. DIRECTOR OF LANDS, EUSTAQUIA


GUERRERO, ET AL., Oppositors-Appellants. JOSE FERNANDEZ, ET AL., OppositorsAppellants.
Ramon C. Fernandez for Appellants.
Jose B. Dealca for Appellee.

SYLLABUS
1. SUCCESSION; RESERVA TRONCAL; RECORD RESERVA; DEATH OF RESERVISTA;
ISSUANCE OF CERTIFICATE OF TITLE OF RESERVEE. Once an original certificate of
title by virtue of the final decree of the land court was duly issued in the name of the reservista,
subject to reserva troncal, and subsequently the latter died, the registration court, in view of the
said recorded reserva has authority under Sec. 112 of Act 496 to order the reservatario; for the
reason that the death of the reservista vested the ownership of the property in the sole
reservatario troncal.
2. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; EXCEPTION. Where, however, the registration decree merely specifies
the reservable character of the property, without determining the identity of the reservatario (as
in the case of Director of Lands v. Aguas, 63 Phil., 279) or where several reservatories dispute
the property among themselves, further proceedings would be unavoidable.
3. ID.; ID.; ID.; REQUISITES TO VEST TITLE IN RESERVE. The only requisites for the
passing of the title from the reservista to the reservee are (1) the death of the reservista; and (2)
the fact the reservitario has survived the reservista.
4. ID.; ID.; RESERVATION NOT RESERVISTAS SUCCESSOR MORTIS CAUSA. The
reservatario is not the reservistas successor mortis causa nor is the reservable property part of
the reservistas estate; the reservatario receives the property as a conditional heir of the
descendant (prepositus), the property merely reverting to the line of origin from which it had
temporarily and accidentally strayed during the reservistas lifetime. The authorities are all
agreed that there being reservatarios that survive the reservista, the latter must be deemed to have
enjoyed no more a life interest in the reservable property.
5. ID.; ID.; DEATH OF RESERVISTA; RESERVATARIO AUTOMATICALLY BECOMES
OWNER OF RESERVABLE PROPERTY. Upon the death of the reservatario nearest to the
prepositus becomes, automatically and by operation of law, the owner of the reservable property.
6. ID.; ID.; RESERVABLE PROPERTY CANNOT BE TRANSMITTED MORTIS CAUSA BY
RESERVISTA. The reservable property cannot be transmitted by a reservista to her or his
own successors mortis causa so long as a reservatario, within the third degree from the prepositus
and belonging to the line whence the property came, is in existence when the reservista dies.
DECISION
REYES, J.B.L., J.:

In an amended decision dated October 9, 1951, issued in Land Registration Case No. 12, G. L.
O. Rec. No. 2835, the Court of First Instance of Sorsogon decreed the registration of Lots. Nos.
1798 and 1799 of the Juban (Sorsogon) Cadastre, under the following terms and conditions:
jgc:chanrobl es.com.ph

"In view of the foregoing, and it appearing that the notices have been duly published and posted
as required by law, and that the title of the applicant to the above-mentioned two parcels of land
is registrable in law, it is hereby adjudged and decreed, and with reaffirmation of the order of
general default, that the two parcels of land described in plan SWO-24152, known as Lots Nos.
1798 and 1799 of the Cadastral Survey of Juban, with their improvements, be registered in the
name of Maria Cano, Filipina 71 years of age, widow and resident of Juban, province of
Sorsogon, with the understanding that Lot No. 1799 shall be subject to the right of reservation in
favor of Eustaquia Guerrero pursuant to Article 891 of Civil Code. After this decision shall have
become final for lack of appeal therefrom within the 30-day period from its promulgation, let the
corresponding decree issue.
So ordered." (Rec. App. pp. 18-19)
The decision having become final, the decree and the Certificate of Title (No. 0-20) were issued
in the name of Maria Cano, subject to reserva troncal in favor of Eustaquia Guerrero. In October
1955, counsel for the reservee (reservatario) Guerrero filed a motion with the Cadastral Court,
alleging the death of the original registered owner and reservista, Maria Cano, on September 8,
1955, and praying that the original Certificate of Title be ordered cancelled and a new one issued
in favor of movant Eustaquia Guerrero; and that the Sheriff be ordered to place her in possession
of the property. The motion was opposed by Jose and Teotimo Fernandez, sons of the reservista
Maria Cano, who contended that the application and operation of the reserva troncal should be
ventilated in an ordinary contentious proceeding, and that the Registration Court did not have
jurisdiction to grant the motion.
In view of the recorded reserva in favor of the appellee, as expressly noted in the final decree of
registration, the lower court granted the petition for the issuance of a new certificate, for the
reason that the death of reservista vested the ownership of the property in the petitioner as the
sole reservatario troncal.
The oppositors, heirs of the reservista Maria Cano, duly appealed from the order, insisting that
the ownership of the reservatario can not be decreed in a mere proceeding under sec. 112 of Act
496, but requires a judicial administration proceedings, wherein the rights of appellee, as the
reservatario entitled to the reservable property, are to be declared. In this connection, appellants
argue that the reversion in favor of the reservatario requires the declaration of the existence of
the following facts:
jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

"(1) The property was received by a ascendant by gratuitous titled from an ascendant or from a
brother or sister;
(2) Said descendant dies without issue;
(3) The property ascendant by operation of law; and

(4) The existence of relatives within the third degree belonging to the line from which said
property came." (Appellants Brief, p. 8)
We find the appeal untenable. The requisites enumerated by appellants have already been
declared to exist by the decree of registration wherein the rights of the appellee as reservatario
troncal were expressly recognized:
jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

"From the above-quoted agreed stipulation of facts, it is evident that Lot No. 1799 was acquired
by the applicant Maria Cano by inheritance from her deceased daughter, Lourdes Guerrero who,
in turn, inherited the same from her father Evaristo Guerrero and, hence falls squarely under the
provisions of Article 891 of the Civil Code; and that each and everyone of the private oppositors
are within the third degree of consanguinity of the decedent Evaristo Guerrero, and who
belonging to the same line from which the property came.
It appears, however, from the agreed stipulation of facts that with exception of Eustaquia
Guerrero, who is the only living daughter of the decedent Evaristo Guerrero, by his former
marriage, all the other oppositors are grandchildren of the said Evaristo Guerrero by his former
marriages. Eustaquia Guerrero, being the nearest of kin, excludes all the other private oppositors,
whose degree of relationship to the decedent is remoter (Article 962, Civil Code; Director of
Lands v. Aguas, 62 Phil., 279)." (Rec. App. pp. 16-17)
This decree having become final, all persons (appellees included) are barred thereby from
contesting the existence of the constituent elements of the reserva. The only requisites for the
passing of the titled from the reservista to the appellee are: (1) the death of the reservista; and (2)
the fact that the reservatario has survived the reservista. Both facts are admitted, and their
existence in nowhere questioned.
The contention that an intestacy proceeding is still necessary rests upon the assumption that the
reservatario will succeed in, or inherit, the reservable property from the reservista. This is not
true. The reservatario is not the reservistas successor mortis causa nor is the reservable property
part of the reservistas estate; the reservatario receives the property as a conditional heir of the
descendant (prepositus), said property merely reverting to the line of origin from which it had
temporarily and accidentally strayed during the reservatarios that survive the reservista, the latter
must be deemed to have enjoyed no more than a life interest in the reservable property.
It is a consequence of these principles that upon the death of the reservista, the reservatario
nearest to the prepositus (the appellee in this case) becomes, automatically and by operation of
law, the owner of the reservable property. As already stated, that property is no part of the estate
of the reservista, and does not even answer for the debts of the latter. Hence, its acquisition by
the reservatario may be entered in the property records without necessity of estate proceedings,
since the basic requisites therefor appear of record. It is equally well settled that the reservable
property can not be transmitted by a reservista to her or his own successors mortis causa, (like
appellants herein) so long as a reservatario within the third degree from the prepositus and
belonging to the line whence the property came, is in existence when the reservista dies.

Of course, where the registration decree merely specifies the reservable character of the property,
without determining the identity of the reservatario (as in the case of Director of Lands v. Aguas,
63 Phil., 279) or where several reservatarios dispute the property among themselves, further
proceedings would be unavoidable. But this is not the case. The rights of the reservataria
Eustaquia Guerrero have been expressly recognized, and it is nowhere claimed that there are
other reservatarios of equal or nearer degree. It is thus apparent that the heirs of the reservista are
merely endeavoring to prolong their enjoyment of the reservable property to the detriment of the
party lawfully entitled thereto.
We find no error in the order appealed from therefore, the same is affirmed with costs against
appellants in both instances. So ordered.