FACTS: On November 16, 1989, Pedro L. Rifioza died intestate, leaving several heirs, including his children with his first wife the respondents leaving several properties to them. Thereafter, a complaint for judicial partition with Annulment of Title and Recovery of Possession was filed by the respondents alleging that they discovered that their co-heirs sold the properties to the petitioners, who were now deceased and duly represented by their son, without their consent.
The respondents also learned of a notice of an extra-judicial settlement of estate of their late father was published in a tabloid called Balita. Because of this, they caused the annotation of their adverse claims over the subject properties before the Register of Deeds and filed the said complaint.
The petitioners denied the allegations of the complaint on the ground of lack of personal knowledge and good faith in acquiring the subject properties. Petitioner Francisco further contended that what they purchased was only the resort. He also presented an Extra-Judicial Settlement with Renunciation, Repudiations and Waiver of Rights and Sale which provides that respondents’ co-heirs sold the family home to the spouses Rolando and Ma. Cecilia Bondoc for Pl million as well as a Deed of Sale whereby Benita sold the resort to petitioners.

The trial court nullified the transfer of the subject Properties to petitioners and spouses Bondoc due to irregularities in the Documents of conveyance offered by petitioners as well as the circumstances Surrounding the execution of the same. CA affirmed hence, the petition where they alleged that since the Respondents’ complaint alleged causes of action for settlement of estate under Rule 74 of the Rules of Court, therefore it is actually one for settlement of estate and not of judicial partition.

ISSUE: Whether or not the petition is for partition or for settlement of estate?

HELD: The court held that the complaint filed by the respondents was for judicial partition. It is true that some of respondents’ causes of action pertaining to the properties left behind by the decedent Pedro, his known heirs, and the nature and extent of their interests thereon may fall under an action for settlement of estate. However, a complete reading of the complaint would readily show that, based on the nature of the suit, the allegations therein, and the relief’s prayed for, the action, is clearly one for judicial partition with annulment of title and recovery of possession.

In this case, it was expressly alleged in the complaint, and was not disputed, that Pedro died without a will, leaving his estate without any ending obligations. Thus, contrary to petitioner’s contention, respondents were under no legal obligation to submit the subject properties of the estate of a special proceeding for settlement of intestate estate, and are, in fact, encouraged to have the same partitioned, judicially or extrajudicially.

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