Melchora Cabanas vs Francisco Pilapil Case Digest – GR No. L-25843, July 25, 1974

Melchora Cabanas vs Francisco Pilapil Case Digest

Melchora Cabanas vs Francisco Pilapil Case Digest

After trial duly had, the lower court in a decision of May 10, 1965, rendered judgment ordering the defendant to deliver the proceeds of the policy in question to plaintiff. Its main reliance was on Articles 320 and 321 of the Civil Code. The former provides: “The father, or in his absence the mother, is the legal administrator of the property pertaining to the child under parental authority. If the property is worth more than two thousand pesos, the father or mother shall give a bond subject to the approval of the Court of First Instance.”3 The latter states: “The property which the unemancipated child has acquired or may acquire with his work or industry, or by any lucrative title, belongs to the child in ownership, and in usufruct to the father or mother under whom he is under parental authority and whose company he lives; …4

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Florentino Pilapil, deceased, left an insurance having his child, Millian Pilapil, as the beneficiary and authorized his brother, Francisco Pilapil, to act as trustee during his daughter’s minority. The lower court decided to give the mother of the child, Melchora Cabanas, the right to act as trustee citing the appropriate provisions in the Civil Code and the consideration of the child’s welfare. The defendant appealed for the case. He claims the retention of the amount in question by invoking the terms of the insurance policy. He is the rightful trustee of the insurance policy.


Does the State have the authority to interfere with the terms of the insurance policy by virtue of parens patriae



The appealed decision adheres to the concept that the judiciary, as an agent of the State, acts as parens patriae. As such, the judiciary cannot remain insensible to the validity of the petitioner’s plea. “The State shall strengthen the family as a basic social institution”. The Constitution, moreover, dictates that it is the family as a unit that has to be strengthened. As such, the decision of the lower courts, entitling the mother as the trustee, is affirmed.

The mother is entitled to act as a trustee. The decision is affirmed

Melchora Cabanas vs Francisco Pilapil Case Digest

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