CASE DIGEST: Butte v. Manuel Uy & Sons (G.R. No. L-15499)

CASE DIGEST: 114 Phil. 443 [ G. R. No. L-15499, February 28, 1962 ] [With Resolutions of April 23, 1962] ANGELA M. BUTTE, PLAINTIFF AND APPELLANT, VS. MANUEL UY & SONS, INC., DEFENDANT AND APPELLEE. REYES, J.B.L., J.:

FACTS: During his lifetime, Jose Ramirez co-owned a property in Manila, with 5 other persons. In his last will and testament, Jose bequeathed his estate, which included his 1/6 undivided portion in the said property, to his children and grandchildren, and 1/3 of the free portion to Mrs. Angela Butte. Eight years after the death of Jose and while the estate proceedings were still pending, one of the co-owners sold her 1/6 share in the property to Manuel Uy & Sons. After being informed of said sale, Mrs. Butte, offered to redeem said 1/6 share sold to Manuel Uy and Sons and filed the corresponding legal action for legal redemption.

ISSUE: Can Butte exercise the right of legal redemption despite the presence of the judicial administrator and pending the final distribution of her shares in the testate proceedings?

HELD: As testamentary heir of the estate of Jose Ramirez, Butte acquired an interest in the undivided 1/6 share owned by her predecessor in the subject property. This right was vested from the moment of the death of the aforesaid co-owner Jose Ramirez. By law, the rights to the succession of a deceased person are transmitted to his heirs from the moment of his death, and the right of succession includes all property, rights and obligations that survive the decedent. As a consequence, the heirs of Jose Ramirez acquired his undivided share in the subject property from the moment of his death, and from that instant, they became co-owners in the aforesaid property, together with the original surviving co-owners of their decedent. A co-owner of an undivided share is necessarily a co-owner of the whole. Hence, anyone of Jose’s heirs became entitled to exercise the right of legal redemption as soon as another co-owner has sold his undivided share to a stranger. The presence of the judicial administrator is of no moment because the rights of the administrator of possession and administration of the real and personal estate of the deceased do not include the right of legal redemption of the undivided share sold to Manuel Uy and Sons because the right to redeem only came into existence when the sale was perfected 8 years from the death of Jose Ramirez. The administrator cannot exercise the right of legal redemption since the land was sold AFTER the death of Ramirez. The right to redeem therefore pertains to the heirs and not the estate. The administrator may exercise the right to redeem only if the right pertains to the estate, and this can only happen if the sale of said portion to Uy was done BEFORE the death of Ramirez.