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Escolin Summary

Escolin Summary

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Published by rjdc121

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Published by: rjdc121 on Jul 14, 2010
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Escolin summary S U M M A R Y 
Considering the fact that this decision is unusually extensive and thatthe issues herein taken up and resolved are rather numerous andvaried, what with appellant making seventy-eight assignments of erroraffecting no less than thirty separate orders of the court a quo, if onlyto facilitate proper understanding of the import and extent of ourrulings herein contained, it is perhaps desirable that a brief restatement of the whole situation be made together with ourconclusions in regard to its various factual and legal aspects. . The instant cases refer to the estate left by the late Charles NewtonHodges as well as that of his wife, Linnie Jane Hodges, whopredeceased him by about five years and a half. In their respectivewills which were executed on different occasions, each one of themprovided mutually as follows: "I give, devise and bequeath all of therest, residue and remainder (after funeral and administrationexpenses, taxes and debts) of my estate, both real and personal,wherever situated or located, to my beloved (spouse) to have and tohold unto (him/her) — during (his/her) natural lifetime", subject to thecondition that upon the death of whoever of them survived the other,the remainder of what he or she would inherit from the other is"give(n), devise(d) and bequeath(ed)" to the brothers and sisters of thelatter.Mrs. Hodges died first, on May 23, 1957. Four days later, on May 27,Hodges was appointed special administrator of her estate, and in aseparate order of the same date, he was "allowed or authorized tocontinue the business in which he was engaged, (buying and sellingpersonal and real properties) and to perform acts which he had beendoing while the deceased was living." Subsequently, on December 14,1957, after Mrs. Hodges' will had been probated and Hodges had beenappointed and had qualified as Executor thereof, upon his motion inwhich he asserted that he was "not only part owner of the propertiesleft as conjugal, but also, the successor to all the properties left by thedeceased Linnie Jane Hodges", the trial court ordered that "for thereasons stated in his motion dated December 11, 1957, which theCourt considers well taken, ... all the sales, conveyances, leases andmortgages of all properties left by the deceased Linnie Jane Hodgesexecuted by the Executor, Charles Newton Hodges are herebyAPPROVED. The said Executor is further authorized to executesubsequent sales, conveyances, leases and mortgages of theproperties left by the said deceased Linnie Jane Hodges in consonancewith the wishes contained in the last will and testament of the latter."
Annually thereafter, Hodges submitted to the court the correspondingstatements of account of his administration, with the particularity thatin all his motions, he always made it point to urge the that "no personinterested in the Philippines of the time and place of examining theherein accounts be given notice as herein executor is the only deviseeor legatee of the deceased in accordance with the last will andtestament already probated by the Honorable Court." All said accountsapproved as prayed for.Nothing else appears to have been done either by the court
a quo
orHodges until December 25, 1962. Importantly to be the provision in thewill of Mrs. Hodges that her share of the conjugal partnership was to beinherited by her husband "to have and to hold unto him, my saidhusband, during his natural lifetime" and that "at the death of my saidhusband, I give, devise and bequeath all the rest, residue andremainder of my estate, both real and personal, wherever situated orlocated, to be equally divided among my brothers and sisters, shareand share alike", which provision naturally made it imperative that theconjugal partnership be promptly liquidated, in order that the "rest,residue and remainder" of his wife's share thereof, as of the time of Hodges' own death, may be readily known and identified, no suchliquidation was ever undertaken. The record gives no indication of thereason for such omission, although relatedly, it appears therein:
1. That in his annual statement submitted to the court of the net worthof C. N. Hodges and the Estate of Linnie Jane Hodges, Hodgesrepeatedly and consistently reported the combined income of theconjugal partnership and then merely divided the same equallybetween himself and the estate of the deceased wife, and, moreimportantly, he also, as consistently, filed corresponding separateincome tax returns for each calendar year for each resulting half of such combined income, thus reporting that the estate of Mrs. Hodgeshad its own income distinct from his own.2. That when the court
a quo
happened to inadvertently omit in itsorder probating the will of Mrs. Hodges, the name of one of herbrothers, Roy Higdon then already deceased, Hodges lost no time inasking for the proper correction "in order that the heirs of deceasedRoy Higdon may not think or believe they were omitted, and that theywere really interested in the estate of the deceased Linnie JaneHodges".3. That in his aforementioned motion of December 11, 1957, heexpressly stated that "deceased Linnie Jane Hodges died leaving nodescendants or ascendants except brothers and sisters and hereinpetitioner as the surviving spouse, to inherit the properties of thedecedent", thereby indicating that he was not excluding his wife'sbrothers and sisters from the inheritance.
4. That Hodges allegedly made statements and manifestations to theUnited States inheritance tax authorities indicating that he hadrenounced his inheritance from his wife in favor of her other heirs,which attitude he is supposed to have reiterated or ratified in analleged affidavit subscribed and sworn to here in the Philippines and inwhich he even purportedly stated that his reason for so disclaimingand renouncing his rights under his wife's will was to "absolve (him) or(his) estate from any liability for the payment of income taxes onincome which has accrued to the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges", hiswife, since her death.
On said date, December 25, 1962, Hodges died. The very next day,upon motion of herein respondent and appellee, Avelina A. Magno, shewas appointed by the trial court as Administratrix of the Testate Estateof Linnie Jane Hodges, in Special Proceedings No. 1307 and as SpecialAdministratrix of the estate of Charles Newton Hodges, "in the lattercase, because the last will of said Charles Newton Hodges is still keptin his vault or iron safe and that the real and personal properties of both spouses may be lost, damaged or go to waste, unless SpecialAdministratrix is appointed," (Order of December 26, 1962, p. 27, Yellow R. on A.) although, soon enough, on December 29, 1962, acertain Harold K. Davies was appointed as her Co-SpecialAdministrator, and when Special Proceedings No. 1672, Testate Estateof Charles Newton Hodges, was opened, Joe Hodges, as next of kin of the deceased, was in due time appointed as Co-Administrator of saidestate together with Atty. Fernando P. Mirasol, to replace Magno andDavies, only to be in turn replaced eventually by petitioner PCIB alone.At the outset, the two probate proceedings appear to have beenproceeding jointly, with each administrator acting together with theother, under a sort of modus operandi. PCIB used to secure at thebeginning the conformity to and signature of Magno in transactions itwanted to enter into and submitted the same to the court for approvalas their joint acts. So did Magno do likewise. Somehow, however,differences seem to have arisen, for which reason, each of them beganacting later on separately and independently of each other, withapparent sanction of the trial court. Thus, PCIB had its own lawyerswhom it contracted and paid handsomely, conducted the business of the estate independently of Magno and otherwise acted as if all theproperties appearing in the name of Charles Newton Hodges belongedsolely and only to his estate, to the exclusion of the brothers andsisters of Mrs. Hodges, without considering whether or not in fact anyof said properties corresponded to the portion of the conjugalpartnership pertaining to the estate of Mrs. Hodges. On the other hand,Magno made her own expenditures, hired her own lawyers, on thepremise that there is such an estate of Mrs. Hodges, and dealth withsome of the properties, appearing in the name of Hodges, on the

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