Vilma G. Arriola vs. John Nabor C. Arriola

G.R. No. 177703. January 28, 2008.*

John Nabor C. Arriola, the son of  decedent Fidel Arriola on his first wife for judicial partition of the properties against Vilma G. Arriola and Anthony Ronald G. Arriola, the second wife and their son. RTC granted the petition and among the properties subject to partition is a land which sought it sale through public auction which the both parties agreed.

But it has to be reset due to the petitioners refusal to include the disposal of subject house which is standing on the subject land, the plaintiff argued that it should be considered accessory to the land on which it is built and the subject house was built by the deceased.


Whether or not the subject house built in the land which is not alleged in the petition shall be included judicial partition of properties. 

Whether or not the subject house should be sold at public auction which is built in the subject land that is included in the judicial partition of the properties


– YES. In general, the right to accession is automatic (ipso jure), requiring no prior act on the part of the owner or the principal. So that even if the improvements including the house were not alleged in the complaint for partition, they are deemed included in the lot on which they stand, following the principle of accession. Consequently, the lot subject of judicial partition in this case includes the house which is permanently attached thereto, otherwise, it would be absurd to divide the principal, i.e., the lot, without dividing the house which is permanently attached thereto.”

-NO. While the subject house is part of the coownership of the parties, the actual partition by public auction shall be stopped. An action for partition involves two phases: first, the declaration of the existence of a state of coownership; and second, the actual termination of that state of co-ownership through the segregation of the common property. What is settled thus far is only the fact that the subject house is under the co-ownership of the parties, and therefore susceptible of partition among them. Respondent claims that the subject house was built by decedent Fidel on his exclusive property. Petitioners add that said house has been their residence for 20 years. Taken together, these averments on record establish that the subject house is a family home (Article 152 & 153) and it is shielded from immediate partition under Article 159 of The Family Code. The purpose is to avert the disintegration of the family unit following the death of its head. To this end, it preserves the family home as the physical symbol of family love, security and unity by imposing the following restrictions on its partition: first, that the heirs cannot extrajudicially partition it for a period of 10 years from the death of one or both spouses or of the unmarried head of the family, or for a longer period, if there is still a minor beneficiary residing therein; and second, that the heirs cannot judicially partition it during the aforesaid periods unless the court finds compelling reasons therefor. No compelling reason has been alleged by the parties; nor has the RTC found any compelling reason to order the partition of the family home, either by physical segregation or assignment to any of the heirs or through auction sale as suggested by the parties. Thus, for 10 years from said date or until March 10, 2013, or for a longer period, if there is still a minor beneficiary residing therein, the family home he constituted cannot be partitioned, much less when no compelling reason exists for the court to otherwise set aside the restriction and order the partition of the property.

Consequently, its actual and immediate partition cannot be sanctioned until the lapse of a period of 10 years from the death of Fidel Arriola, or until March 10, 2013.

“Article 152. The family home, constituted jointly by the husband and the wife or by an unmarried head of a family, is the dwelling house where they and their family reside, and the land on which it is situated.

Article 153. The family home is deemed constituted on a house and lot from the time it is occupied as a family residence. From the time of its constitution and so long as any of its beneficiaries actually resides therein, the family home continues to be such and is exempt from execution, forced sale or attachment except as hereinafter provided and to the extent of the value allowed by law.”