You have NO obligation to pay your parent's debt

A person has no obligation to pay for the debts of his stepfather. (Nacar v. Nistal G.R. No. L-33006, December 8, 1982) ChanRobles Virtual Law Library gives the following synopsis of the case:

To recover a sum of money, respondent Japitana filed a complaint entitled, "Claim against the Estate of the Late Isabelo Nacar with Preliminary Attachment" against the petitioner before the Municipal Court of Esperanza, Agusan del Sur. On the basis of the said complaint, the provincial sheriff was ordered to attach seven (7) heads of cattle in possession of the petitioner, although actually only four (4) carabaos were attached. Claiming ownership of the attached carabaos, Antonio Doloricon filed a complaint in intervention. Petitioner’s motion to dismiss, to dissolve writ of attachment and to order the return of the seized carabaos, was, upon opposition of the private respondent, denied by the respondent court. Hence, the instant recourse. Upon posting a P1,000.00 bond, a preliminary mandatory injunction was issued by the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court held that since respondent Japitana has no cause of action against the petitioner because the debts were actually incurred by the late Isabelo Nacar, the respondent Court’s denial of the motion to dismiss the complaint and its issuance of a writ of attachment based thereon, are improper.

Under the circumstances of this case, respondent Japitana has no cause of action against petitioner Nacar. Although respondent Japitana may have a legal right to recover an indebtedness due him, petitioner Nicanor Nacar has no correlative legal duty to pay the debt for the simple reason that there is nothing in the complaint to show that he incurred the debt or had anything to do wish the creation of the liability. As far as the debt is concerned, there is no allegation or showing that the petitioner had acted in violation of Mr. Japitana’s rights with consequential injury or damage to the latter as would create a cause of action against the former. The respondent court’s reason for not dismissing the case is contrary to applicable precedents on the matter. We ruled in Mathay v. Consolidated Bank and Trust Company (58 SCRA 559): "Section I, Rule 16 of the Rules of Court, explicitly requires that the sufficiency of the complaint must be tested exclusively on the basis of the complaint itself and no other should be considered when the ground for motion to dismiss that the complaint states no cause of action. Pursuant thereto this Court has ruled that: ‘As a rule the sufficiency of the complaint, when challenged in a motion to dismiss, must be determined exclusively on the basis of the facts alleged therein.’"

Hence, it was error for the respondent court not to dismiss the case simply because respondent Doloricon filed the complaint for intervention alleging that he owned the carabaos.
VASQUEZ, J., concurring in G.R. No. L-33006 (December 8, 1982): Even if settlement proceedings had been taken to settle the estate of Isabelo Nacar, the suit to recover the claim of the private respondents may not be filed against the administrator or executor of his estate. This is expressly provided for in Section 1 of Rule 87 of the Rules of Court, as follows:

No action upon a claim for the recovery of money or debt or interest thereon shall be commenced against the executor or administrator; ... .

The claim of private respondents, being one arising from a contract, may be pursued only by filing the same in the administration proceedings that may be taken to settle the estate of the deceased Isabelo Nacar. If such a proceeding is instituted and the subject claim is not filed therein within the period prescribed, the same shall be deemed "barred forever." (Sec. 5, Rule 86, Rules of Court). Even if this action were commenced during the lifetime of Isabelo Nacar, the same shall have to be dismissed, and the claim prosecuted in the proper administration proceedings (Sec. 21, Rule 3, Ibid.).

It would seem that the main purpose of the private respondents in filing Civil Case No. 65 was to attach the seven carabaos owned by Isabelo Nacar. A case had to be filed in order to justify the issuance of a writ of attachment, unfortunately, said remedy may not be allowed. The carabaos, if really owned by Isabelo Nacar, pertained to his estate upon his death. The claim of the private respondents may only be satisfied by a voluntary act on the part of the heirs of Isabelo Nacar, or pursued in the appropriate settlement proceedings. A municipal court may not entertain such a proceeding, it not being vested, under the law then in force, with probate jurisdiction.