Special Proceedings Finals reviewer Prof. C. de la Cerna2
Semester A.Y. 2011-2012
Janz Hanna Ria N. Serrano
Special thanks to Amin, Cha, Krizel and Vien for the case digests/doctrines
Meaning and scope of special proceedings
Rule 1, Sec 3(c)
. A special proceeding is a remedy by which a party seeks to establish a status, a right, or a particular fact.
Vda. de. Manalo v. CA
. It is a fundamental rule that, in the determination of the nature of an action or proceeding, the averments and the characterof the relief sought in the complaint, or petition, as in the case at bar, shall be controlling. A careful scrutiny of the Petition for Issuance of Letters of Administration, Settlement and Distribution of Estate in SP. PROC. No. 92-
63626 belies herein petitioners’ claim that the same is in the nature of an
ordinary civil action. The said petition contains sufficient jurisdictional facts required in a petition for the settlement of estate of a deceased personsuch as the fact of death of the late Troadio Manalo on February 14, 1992, as well as his residence in the City of Manila at the time of his said death.The fact of death of the decedent and of his residence within the country are foundation facts upon which all the subsequent proceedings in theadministration of the estate rest. The petition in SP. PROC. No. 92-63626 also contains an enumeration of the names of his legal heirs including atentative list of the properties left by the deceased which are sought to be settled in the probate proceedings
Natcher v. CA
. An action is a formal demand of one's right in a court of justice in the manner prescribed by the court or by the law. It is the methodof applying legal remedies according to definite established rules. The term "special proceeding" may be defined as an application or proceeding toestablish the status or right of a party, or a particular fact. Usually, in special proceedings, no formal pleadings are required unless the statuteexpressly so provides. In special proceedings, the remedy is granted generally upon an application or motion."Distinguished from civil action
Rule 2, Sec. 1
Ordinary Civil Actions, basis of.
Every ordinary civil action must be based on a cause of action
Rule 2, Sec. 2
Cause of action, defined
A Cause of Action is the act or omission by which a party violates a right of anotherB.
Importance of Procedural Rules
Republic v. Kenrick Dev’t Corp
. Procedural rules are [tools] designed to facilitate the adjudication of cases. Courts and litigants alike are thus[enjoined] to abide strictly by the rules. And while the Court, in some instances, allows a relaxation in the application of the rules, this, we stress,was never intended to forge a bastion for erring litigants to violate the rules with impunity. The liberality in the interpretation and application of the rules applies only in proper cases and under justifiable causes and circumstances. While it is true that litigation is not a game of technicalities, it is equally true that every case must be prosecuted in accordance with the prescribed procedure to insure an orderly and speedy administration of justice.Like all rules, procedural rules should be followed except only when, for the most persuasive of reasons, they may be relaxed to relieve alitigant of an injustice not commensurate with the degree of his thoughtlessness in not complying with the prescribed procedure.
In this case,respondent failed to show any persuasive reason why it should be exempted from strictly abiding by the rules.C.
Applicability of Rules of Civil Action
Rule 72, Sec. 2
Applicability of rules of civil actions
In the absence of special provisions, the rules provided for in ordinary actions shall be, as faras practicanle, applicable in special proceedings
Matute v. CA
. In fact, even without the respondent's reservation, it was the bounden duty of the probate judge to schedule the presentation andreception of the respondent's evidence before disposing of the case on the merits because only the movants at that time had presented theirevidence. This duty is projected into bolder relief if we consider, which we must, that the aforesaid motion is in form as well as in substance a
demurrer to evidence
allowed by Rule 35, by virtue of which the defendant does not lose his right to offer evidence in the event that his motion isdenied. Said Rule states: After the plaintiff has completed the presentation of his evidence, the defendant
without waiving his right to offer evidencein the event the motion is not granted
, may move for a dismissal on the ground that upon the facts and law the plaintiff has shown no right to relief.(emphasis supplied)
The application of the abovecited Rule in special proceedings, like the case at bar, is authorized by section 2 of Rule 72which direct that in the "absence of special provisions, the rules provided for in ordinary civil actions shall be, as far as practicable, applicable inspecial proceedings."II.
Settlement of Estate of Deceased PersonRule 73
Venue and Process
Where estate of deceased persons settled
If the decedent is an inhabitant of the Philippines at the time of his death, whether a citizen or analien, his will shall be proved, or letters of administration granted, and his estate settled, in the Court of First Instance in the province in which gheresides at the time of his death, and if he is an inhabitant of a foreign country, the Court of First Instance of any province in which he had estate. Thecourt first taking cognizance of the settlement of the estate of a decedent, shall exercise jurisdiction to the exclusion of all other courts. Thejurisdiction assumed by a court, so far as it depends on the place of residence of the decedent, or of the location of his estate, shall not be contestedin a suit or proceeding, except in an appeal from that court, in the original case, or when the want of jurisdiction appears on the record.
Where estate settled upon dissolution of marriage
When the marriage is dissolved by the death of the husband or wife, the communityproperty shall be inventoried, administered, and liquidated, and the debts thereof paid, in the testate or intestate proceedings of the deceasedspouse. If both spouses have died, the conjugal partnership shall be liquidated in the testate or intestate proceedings of either.
In the exercise of probate jurisdiction, Courts of First Instance may issue warrants and process necessary to compel the attendanceof witnesses or to carry into effect their orders and judgments, and all other powers granted them by law. If a person does not perform an order orjudgment rendered by a court in the exercise of its probate jurisdiction, it may issue a warrant for the apprehension and imprisonment of suchperson until he performs such order or judgment, or is released.
Presumption of Death
For purposes of settlement of his estate, a person shall ve presumed dead if absent and unheard from for the periodsfixed in the Civil Code. But if such person proves to be alive, he shall be entitled to the balance of his estate after payment of all his debts. Thebalance may be recovered by motion in the same proceeding.A.
Eusebio v. Eusebio
. Following Rule 75, Sec. 1 (now Rule 73, Sec.1),
“If the decedent is an inhabitant of the Philippines at the time
of his death,whether a citizens or an alien, his will shall be proved, or letters of administration granted, and his estate settled, in the Court of First Instance in the province in which he resides at the time of his death xxx.
Although it is true that shortly before his death Andres bought a house in QC and began
moving his belongings from San Fernando thereto, the SC found that there was no clear showing of Andres’s intention to change
domicile. Theevidence weighed by the CFI Rizal actually proved that Andres still considers San Fernando as his true domicile and that he was moving to QC onlyfor medical purposes without definite intention (
) to change the same. Moreover, there is a presumption in law
changes of domicile.In other words, there is a presumption in favor of the continuance of an existing domicile. Therefore, the burden of proving a change of domicile lieson those who alleged that a change has occurred. Failing this, and absent any evidence of intention/animus, it is to be presumed that the party hasretained the last domicile known to have been possessed by him. This follows from the principle that a domicile acquired is retained until another isgained.
Fule v. CA
. The place of residence of the deceased in settlement of estates, probate of will, and issuance of letters of administration merelyconstitute venue. Since the last place of residence of Amado was at Quezon City, and
at Calamba, Laguna, the venue for Fule's petition for lettersof administration was improperly laid in the CFI of Calamba. ||
The word "resides" in Section 1, Rule 73 referring to the situs of the settlement of the estate of deceased persons, means actual residence
Malig v. Bush
. On jurisdiction issue, court said that Rule 75 Sec. 1 (now R73S1)
really concerns venue, and in order to preclude different courts which may properly assume jurisdiction from doing so, the Rule specifies that "the court first taking cognizance of the settlement of the estate of a decedent, shall exercise jurisdiction to the
exclusion of all other courts.”
In the final analysis
this action is not necessarily one to annul the partition already made and approved by the probate court, and to reopen the estate proceeding so that a new partition may be made, but for recovery by the plaintiffs of the portion of their alleged inheritance of which, through fraud, they have been deprived.
Rodriguez v. Borja