Posted by: Elmer Brabante | September 1, 2009

Matabuena vs. Cervantes


L-2877 (38 SCRA 284)

March 31, 1971 


                In 1956, herein appellant’s brother Felix Matabuena donated a piece of lot to his common-law spouse, herein appellee Petronila Cervantes.  Felix and Petronila got married only in 1962 or six years after the deed of donation was executed.  Five months later, or September 13, 1962, Felix died.  Thereafter, appellant Cornelia Matabuena, by reason of being the only sister and nearest collateral relative of the deceased, filed a claim over the property, by virtue of a an affidavit of self-adjudication executed by her in 1962, had the land declared in her name and paid the estate and inheritance taxes thereon. The lower court of Sorsogon declared that the donation was valid inasmuch as it was made at the time when Felix and Petronila were not yet spouses, rendering Article 133 of the Civil Code inapplicable. 

ISSUE:  Whether or not the ban on donation between spouses during a marriage applies to a common-law relationship. 


                While Article 133 of the Civil Code considers as void a donation between the spouses during marriage, policy consideration of the most exigent character as well as the dictates of morality requires that the same prohibition should apply to a common-law relationship. 

                As stated in Buenaventura vs. Bautista (50 OG 3679, 1954), if the policy of the law is to prohibit donations in favor of the other consort and his descendants because of fear of undue and improper pressure and influence upon the donor, then there is every reason to apply the same prohibitive policy to persons living together as husband and wife without the benefit of nuptials. 

                The lack of validity of the donation by the deceased to appellee does not necessarily result in appellant having exclusive right to the disputed property.  As a widow, Cervantes is entitled to one-half of the inheritance, and the surviving sister to the other half.  

                Article 1001, Civil Code: Should brothers and sisters or their children survive with the widow or widower, the latter shall be entitled to one-half of the inheritance and the brothers and sisters or their children to the other half.



  1. I hope you can give me a link to the SC decision of matabuena v. cervantes…. it’s nowhere to be found on the net.


  2. sir, can i have the original copy of this case CORNELIA MATABUENA vs. PETRONILA CERVANTES thank you, more power! god bless us…


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