House panel backs bar topnotcher in repealing antiquated property inheritance law

Published October 18, 2021, 3:03 PM

by Ben Rosario

A House of Representatives committee has backed a Philippine bar topnotcher in seeking the repeal of an antiquated law on property ownership which the proponent had described to be of “no value.”

Rep. Xavier Jesus Romualdo

The House Committee on Revision of Laws recommended the passage of House Bill 10372 proposing to repeal the ‘reserva troncal” provision of the new Civil Code of the Philippines.

The bill is authored by Camiguin Rep. Xavier Jesus D. Romualdo, topnotcher of the 2012 bar examination who may have noted the insignificance of the provisions of the country’s law on property.

Romualdo explained that Article 891 of the civil code provide for what is known as the ‘reserva troncal.” He said the reserva troncal is a “special rule designed primarily to assure the return of a reservable property to the third degree relatives belonging to the line from which the property originally came, and avoid its being dissipated into and by the relatives of the inheriting ascendant.” Article 891 will prevent the “danger” of the property that for so many years belonged to a family’s patrimony from being passed “gratuitously to outsiders through the accident of marriage and untimely death.” Romualdo said the reserva troncal was a provisions of the Spanish Civil Code of 1889 that is being frowned upon by the Code Commission that drafted the current Civil Code.

Despite the Code Commission’s rejection of the ‘reserva troncal’, Congress did not delete the said provision when Congress enacted the Civil Code.

“The drafters of the Civil Code sought to eliminate a provisons of law it deemed already outmoded and archaic almost 70 years ago,” said Romualdo.

He described the said provision of the Civil Code as “extremely obsolete and very out of place in today’s world.” “It penalizes marriage and legitimate family relations. It is a hindrance to the development and transferability of property,” the Mindanaoan solon stated.

According to Romualdo the reserva troncal merely serves to only “unduly complicate our already complex law on succession.”

“Finally, it is impractical, quite difficult to grasp and is a source of unnecessary litigation,” stressed Romualdo.