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Monserrat v. Ibañez
DISCLAIMER: Credit for this digest goes to Block C2013. Facts:  Vicenta Salamanca died intestate leaving 5 heirs (1 son, 4 daughters). Ramon, the son, filed in CFI Laguna a petition for his appointment as administrator of the propertyies of deceased mother. His sisters opposed saying that they are all of age, that the debts and obligations of the estate already paid, that they didn’t want to be burdened with administrative proceedings, and that Ramon’s remedy was to sue for partition under Rule 74.  Judge Ibañez issued an order stating that in accordance with Fule v. Fule, the proper remedy should be an action for partition, because all the heirs were of age and there were no debts. He required the sisters to institute partition proceedings and that the litigation begun by Ramon will be held in abeyance.  Sisters filed an action for partition. Ramon filed this special civil action alleging grave abuse of discretion on the part of the judge. o Ramon prayed for the court to proceed with the hearing of his petition for administration. He asserts that it is not known whether there were any debts because they may be shown only by administration proceedings, but he did not assert otherwise when the sisters’ affidavit says there were no debts o He argues that only when the heirs do not have any dispute as to the bulk of the hereditary estate but only in the manner of partition that Rule 74 Section 1 apply, and that in this case “the parties are at loggerheads as to the corpus of the hereditary estate because the respondents succeeded in sequestering some assets of the intestate.” Issue/Held: W/N the administration proceedings should be held in abeyance – YES, Fule v. Fule applies. Ratio:  Fule v Fule: Where there are no debts, the heirs are NOT bound to submit the property to a judicial administration which is always long and costly or to apply for an appointment of an administration by the court. These proceedings are superfluous and unnecessary.  The creditors are protected even if, without the benefit of the administration, the estate is distributed in an action for partition  Questions as to what properly belonged to the deceased (and to their heirs) may properly be ventilated in the partition proceedings, esp. where such property is in the hands of one heir.  The question Ramon seeks to raise in the administration proceedings may equally be decided in the partition suit. Besides, since the sisters constitute 4/5 of the heirs, the majority interest usually gets to select the administrator.  SC also said that the admin proceedings will be dismissed soon, inasmuch as the partition suit has already been instituted, because the court has already intimated that the proceedings will be suspended pending the presentation of the other suit.

88 Phil 785 (1950)

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vda. de Rodriguez et. al v. Tan
Quickie: Rodriguez died. Petitioners and respondent had a verbal agreement wherein they agreed not to liquidate the estate and to place it under the administration of the widow. When eventually, petitioners filed a petition for administration of the intestate estate of the deceased, respondents objects because of the rule that if the state is free from obligations and the heirs are all of age, no administration proceedings shall be allowed. The Court held that that Rule does not preclude the heirs from instituting administration proceedings, even if the estate has no debts or obligations, if they do not desire to resort for good reasons to an ordinary action of partition. Nature: petition for certiorari seeking to nullify the order of respondent Judge dated August 11, 1952, wherein after overruling the opposition to the institution of the intestate estate proceedings of the late Flaviano Rodriguez, he appointed Abelardo Rodriguez administrator of the estate upon filing a bond in the sum of P2,000. Facts:  Flaviano Rodriguez died  the surviving heirs are the widow, Fortunata Vda. de Rodriguez, and six children who are the petitioners and respondent Abelardo Rodriguez all the heirs, who were then already of age, entered into a verbal agreement whereby they agreed not to make a liquidation of the estate but to place it under the administration of the widow with the understanding that each of the six children would be entitled to receive a portion of the income in equal shares from year to year for the needs of their families provided that they do not exceed the participation to which they are entitled  eight years after the death of Flaviano Rodriguez, respondent Abelardo Rodriguez filed a petition for administration of their intestate estate of said deceased in spite of his knowledge that the estate had no debts and all the heirs were of age  petitioners herein, objected to the petition invoking the rule that if the estate is free from obligations and the heirs are all of age, no administration proceedings shall be allowed Argument of respondents: admitted the existence of a verbal agreement entered into between the heirs in 1944, wherein they agreed not to liquidate the estate and to place it under the administration of the widow in view of the unsettled conditions then prevailing at the time, but they contend that while that was the understanding the same was not carried out because in reality it was Benjamin Rodriguez, one of the petitioners herein, who took over the administration of the estate and in the discharge of his duties he failed and refused to give to respondent Abelardo Rodriguez his share in the income which he badly needed for the support of his family, for which reason he started the intestate proceedings which gave rise to the present petition for certiorari.

92 Phil 273 (1952)
Issue: whether respondent Judge acted properly in maintaining the administration proceedings and in appointing Abelardo Rodriguez as administrator of the estate notwithstanding the fact that the estate has no debts and all the heirs entitled to share in its distribution are all of age. Held:  Under section 1, rule 74 of the Rules of Court, if the decedent left no debts and the heirs are all of age, or the minors are represented by their judicial guardians, the parties may, without securing letters of administration, divide the estate among themselves as they see fit, and should they disagree, they may do so in an ordinary action of partition. section 1 does not preclude the heirs from instituting administration proceedings, even if the estate has no debts or obligations, if they do not desire to resort for good reasons to an ordinary action of partition. While section 1 allows the heirs to divide the estate among themselves as they may see fit, or to resort to an ordinary action of partition, it does not compel them to do so if they have good reasons to take a different course of action. Said section is not mandatory or compulsory as may be gleaned from the use made therein of the word may. If the intention were otherwise the framer of the rule would have employed the word shall as was done in other provisions that are mandatory in character.

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Pereira v. CA
Gancayco, J.: Quickie: Wife of deceased v Sister of deceased. Both want to be administratrix of estate. Sister won in RTC. SC said this is improper because administration proceedings are not necessary in this case. First, SC said it is not the trier on the question WON deceased left an estate. Assuming there’s an estate, the general rule is that when a person dies leaving property, the same should be judicially administered and the competent court should appoint a qualified administrator, in the order established in Section 6, Rule 78, in case the deceased left no will, or in case he had left one, should he fail to name an executor therein. An exception to this rule is established in Section 1 of Rule 74 which says, when all the heirs are of lawful age and there are no debts due from the estate, they may agree in writing to partition the property without instituting the judicial administration or applying for the appointment of an administrator. While Section 1 allows the heirs to divide the estate among themselves as they may see fit, or to resort to an ordinary action for partition, the said provision does not compel them to do so if they have good reasons to take a different course of action. It should be noted that recourse to an administration proceeding even if the estate has no debts is sanctioned only if the heirs have good reasons for not resorting to an action for partition. Where partition is possible, either in or out of court, the estate should not be burdened with an administration proceeding without good and compelling reasons. Nature: Petition for review on certiorari Facts:  Andres de Guzman Pereira, an employee of the Philippine Air Lines, passed away on January 3, 1983 at Bacoor, Cavite without a will. He was survived by his legitimate spouse of ten months, the herein petitioner Victoria Bringas Pereira, and his sister Rita Pereira Nagac, the herein private respondent.  Nagac instituted before Branch 19 of the Regional Trial Court of Bacoor, Cavite, Special Proceeding No. RTC-BSP-83-4 for the issuance of letters of administration in her favor pertaining to the estate of the deceased Andres de Guzman Pereira.  Nagac: that she and Victoria Bringas Pereira are the only surviving heirs of the deceased; that the deceased left no will; that there are no creditors of the deceased; that the deceased left several properties, namely: death benefits from the Philippine Air Lines (PAL), the PAL Employees Association (PALEA), the PAL Employees Savings and Loan Association, Inc. (PESALA) and the Social Security System (SSS), as well as savings deposits with the Philippine National Bank (PNB) and the Philippine Commercial and Industrial Bank (PCIB), and a 300 square meter lot located at Barangay Pamplona, Las Pinas, Rizal and finally, that the spouse of the deceased (herein petitioner) had been working in London as an auxiliary nurse and as such one-half of her salary forms part of the estate of the deceased.  Pereira filed her opposition and motion to dismiss the petition of private respondent 

174 SCRA 154 (1989)
Pereira that there exists no estate of the deceased for purposes of administration and praying in the alternative, that if an estate does exist, the letters of administration relating to the said estate be issued in her favor as the surviving spouse. RTC: appointed private respondent Nagac administratrix of the intestate estate of Andres de Guzman Pereira upon a bond posted by her in the amount of Pl,000.00. The trial court ordered her to take custody of all the real and personal properties of the deceased and to file an inventory thereof within three months after receipt of the order. CA: affirmed the appointment of private respondent as administratrix

Issue/ Held: Is a judicial administration proceeding necessary when the decedent dies intestate without leaving any debts? – NO Ratio:  Inasmuch as this Court is not a trier of facts, We cannot order an unqualified and final exclusion or non-exclusion of the property involved from the estate of the deceased.  The resolution of this issue is better left to the probate court before which the administration proceedings are pending. The trial court is in the best position to receive evidence on the discordant contentions of the parties as to the assets of the decedent's estate, the valuations thereof and the rights of the transferees of some of the assets, if any.  The function of resolving whether or not a certain property should be included in the inventory or list of properties to be administered by the administrator is one clearly within the competence of the probate court.  However, the court's determination is only provisional in character, not conclusive, and is subject to the final decision in a separate action which may be instituted by the parties.  Assuming, however, that there exist assets of the deceased Andres de Guzman Pereira for purposes of administration, We nonetheless find the administration proceedings instituted by private respondent to be unnecessary as contended by petitioner for the reasons herein below discussed.  The general rule is that when a person dies leaving property, the same should be judicially administered and the competent court should appoint a qualified administrator, in the order established in Section 6, Rule 78, in case the deceased left no will, or in case he had left one, should he fail to name an executor therein. An exception to this rule is established in Section 1 of Rule 74.  Under this exception, when all the heirs are of lawful age and there are no debts due from the estate, they may agree in writing to partition the property without instituting the judicial administration or applying for the appointment of an administrator.  Section 1, Rule 74 of the Revised Rules of Court, however, does not preclude the heirs from instituting administration proceedings, even if the estate has no debts or

4 DE LA CERNA SPECPRO DIGESTS 2011 obligations, if they do not desire to resort for good reasons to an ordinary action for partition. While Section 1 allows the heirs to divide the estate among themselves as they may see fit, or to resort to an ordinary action for partition, the said provision does not compel them to do so if they have good reasons to take a different course of action. It should be noted that recourse to an administration proceeding even if the estate has no debts is sanctioned only if the heirs have good reasons for not resorting to an action for partition. Where partition is possible, either in or out of court, the estate should not be burdened with an administration proceeding without good and compelling reasons. Thus, it has been repeatedly held that when a person dies without leaving pending obligations to be paid, his heirs, whether of age or not, are not bound to submit the property to a judicial administration, which is always long and costly, or to apply for the appointment of an administrator by the Court. It has been uniformly held that in such case the judicial administration and the appointment of an administrator are superfluous and unnecessary proceedings . Now, what constitutes "good reason" to warrant a judicial administration of the estate of a deceased when the heirs are all of legal age and there are no creditors will depend on the circumstances of each case. In one case, We said: Again the petitioner argues that only when the heirs do not have any dispute as to the bulk of the hereditary estate but only in the manner of partition does section 1, Rule 74 of the Rules of Court apply and that in this case the parties are at loggerheads as to the corpus of the hereditary estate because respondents succeeded in sequestering some assets of the intestate. The argument is unconvincing, because, as the respondent judge has indicated, questions as to what property belonged to the deceased (and therefore to the heirs) may properly be ventilated in the partition proceedings, especially where such property is in the hands of one heir. In another case, We held that if the reason for seeking an appointment as administrator is merely to avoid a multiplicity of suits since the heir seeking such appointment wants to ask for the annulment of certain transfers of property, that same objective could be achieved in an action for partition and the trial court is not justified in issuing letters of administration. In still another case, We did not find so powerful a reason the argument that the appointment of the husband, a usufructuary forced heir of his deceased wife, as judicial administrator is necessary in order for him to have legal capacity to appear in the intestate proceedings of his wife's deceased mother, since he may just adduce proof of his being a forced heir in the intestate proceedings of the latter. We see no reason not to apply this doctrine to the case at bar. There are only two surviving heirs, a wife of ten months and a sister, both of age. The parties admit that there are no debts of the deceased to be paid. What is at once apparent is that these two heirs are not in good terms. The only conceivable reason why private respondent seeks appointment as administratrix is for her to obtain possession of the alleged properties of the deceased for her own purposes, since these properties are presently in the hands of petitioner who supposedly disposed of them fraudulently. We are of the opinion that this is not a compelling reason which will necessitate a judicial administration of the estate of the deceased.  AMIN | CHA | JANZ | KRIZEL | VIEN To subject the estate of Andres de Guzman Pereira, which does not appear to be substantial especially since the only real property left has been extrajudicially settled, to an administration proceeding for no useful purpose would only unnecessarily expose it to the risk of being wasted or squandered. In most instances of a similar nature, the claims of both parties as to the properties left by the deceased may be properly ventilated in simple partition proceedings where the creditors, should there be any, are protected in any event. We, therefore, hold that the court below before which the administration proceedings are pending was not justified in issuing letters of administration, there being no good reason for burdening the estate of the deceased Andres de Guzman Pereira with the costs and expenses of an administration proceeding. With the foregoing ruling, it is unnecessary for us to delve into the issue of who, as between the surviving spouse Victoria Bringas Pereira and the sister Rita Pereira Nagac, should be preferred to be appointed as administratrix.

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Guico v. Bautista
Reyes, J.B.L., J. Quickie: Grandchildren (Guico, et al.) filed an action for the partition and liquidation of the estate left by the Spouses Mariano and Gertudes Bautista. The children of the deceased spouses (Bautista, et al.) opposed and moved to dismiss the action on the ground that the same was premature because the deceased left certain outstanding debts that needed to be settled first before partition. TC dismissed. On appeal, the order of dismissal was affirmed. The action for partition was indeed premature. Heirs of a deceased may only be allowed to partition the estate without going through the special proceeding for settlement of estate and the appointment of administrator "if the decedent left no debts and the heirs and legatees are all of age or the minors are represented by their judicial guardians" (Sec. 1, Rule 74). The reason is that were the deceased dies without pending obligations, there is no necessity for the appointment of an administrator to administer the estate for them and to deprive the real owners of their possession to which they are immediately entitled. Nature: Appeal from the Order of Dismissal handed down by the TC of the action for liquidation and partition of the estate left by the Spouses Mariano and Gertudes Bautista filed by plaintiffs Dolores B. Guico, et al (grandchildren) against defendants Pablo G. Bautista, et al. (children) Facts:  Mariano Bautista died intestate on Dec 1947. His properties had already been extrajudicially partitioned among his heirs  His wife Gertrudes later died intestate on Aug 1956 leaving as her legitimate heirs plaintiffs (grandchildren) and defendants (children)  Gertrudes, during her lifetime, made several deeds of donation of some of her properties in favor of all the defendants (children), but did not provide that the properties donated would not be subject to collation, so that the donees are legally bound to bring into the mass of the estate by way of collation the value of the properties received by them in order that the net hereditary estate may be divided equally among the heirs  Gertrudes also left outstanding obligations to the Rehabilitation Finance Corporation and the G.A. Machineries, Inc.  Dolores Guico, et al (grandchildren) thereafter filed an action for liquidation and partition of the estate left by the spouses Mariano and Gertrudes Bautista  Defendants (Pablo et al, children) opposed and filed a motion to dismiss alleging, among other things, that the action was premature because it is admitted in the complaint that the deceased left certain debts. TC dismissed the complaint on that ground without prejudice and without costs ~hence, plaintiffs appealed to this Court, urging that their action for partition and liquidation may be maintained, notwithstanding that there are pending obligations of the estate, subject to the taking of adequate measures either for the payment or security of its creditors.

110 Phil. 584 (1960)
Issue/Held: WON the action for partition and liquidation is premature considering that the deceased left certain outstanding obligations  YES! Until all the debts of the estate in question are paid, the action for partition and liquidation is premature. The appeal is dismissed, TC affirmed. Ratio:  The law allows the partition of the estate of a deceased person by the heirs, extrajudicially or through an ordinary action for petition, without the filing of a special proceeding and the appointment of an administrator for the purpose of the settlement of said estate, but this they may do only "if the decedent left no debts and the heirs and legatees are all of age or the minors are represented by their judicial guardians" (Sec. 1, Rule 74)  The reason is that were the deceased dies without pending obligations, there is no necessity for the appointment of an administrator to administer the estate for them and to deprive the real owners of their possession to which they are immediately entitled  The situation is different, however, where the deceased left pending obligations. In such cases, such obligations must be first paid or compounded with the creditors before the estate can be divided among the heirs; and unless they reach an amicable settlement as to how such obligations should be settled, the estate would inevitably be submitted to administration for the payment of such debts.  As compared to ordinary partition, the regular estate proceeding offer the advantage of requiring all creditors of the deceased to disclose themselves and submit their respective claims within a comparatively short period (12 months under Rule 87, unless claims are contingent), otherwise, they are forever barred; while in ordinary judicial partitions the creditors claims are only extinguished by the expiration of the period of extinctive prescription. An heir, therefore, may have an interest in making sure that the share allocated to him will be freed from invisible claims, so that creditors may not later appear and initiate the very estate proceeding sought to be avoided, and he may properly object to an action for partition this ground. Unless, therefore, all the heirs are agreeable to assuming personal liability for all the decedent's obligations, those known as well as those undisclosed, regular estate proceedings can not be avoided.  Appellants propose that the administration of the estate for the purpose of paying off its debts be accomplished right in this partition suit, with either the Court performing the duties of the administrator, or an administrator appointed to take care of such debts  UNTENABLE. An ordinary action for partition can not be converted into a proceeding for the settlement of the estate of a deceased, without compliance with the procedure outlined by Rules 79-90 of the Rules of Court, especially the provisions on publication and notice to creditors.  Appellants' major objective in filing this action for partition is to have an early determination of

the question whether or not the donation inter vivos received by the defendants from the deceased are subject to collation. But there is no reason why this question can not be determined just as expeditiously in special proceeding, because even before the known debts of the estate are settled and paid and pending the expiration for the filing of other claims, the issue can, upon motion of the heirs, be set for hearing, tried, and definitely settled.

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Rebong v. Ibañez
Feria, J. Nature: Petition for certiorari Facts:  Judge IBAÑEZ denied Peregrina REBONG’S petition for cancellation of the lien or annotation on the certificate of title issued to him of a land extrajudicially inherited by her as the only heir of her predecessors in interest to the effect that the property described in the title is subject to the claims of the creditors and other heirs of the deceased Jose and Maria Rebong within 2 years from July 9, 1947, in accordance with sections 1 and 4, Rule 74.  REBONG based her petition on Sec. 112 of Act No. 496 and offered to file a bond of P5,000, the estimated value of the property to answer for such contingent claims. Issue/Held: WON Judge IBAÑEZ acted in excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion in denying the petition. NO Ratio:  Section 112 of Act No. 496 provides: SEC. 112. ... Any registered owner or other person in interest may at any time apply petition to the court, upon the ground that the registered interests of any description, whether vested, contingent, expectant, or inchoate, have terminated and ceased; or that new interests have arisen or been created which do not appear upon the certificate; ... and the court shall have jurisdiction to hear and determine the petition after notice to all parties in interest, and may order the entry of a new certificate, the entry or cancellation of a memorandum upon a certificate or grant any other relief upon such terms and conditions, requiring security if necessary, as it may deem proper; . . . .  The court "may order the entry of a new certificate, the entry or cancellation of a memorandum upon a certificate or grant any other relief upon such terms and conditions, requiring security if necessary," upon application of a registered owner on "the ground that registered interests of any description, whether vested, contingent, expectant, or inchoate, have terminated and ceased, or that new interests have arisen or been created which do not appear upon the certificate ."  Since the registered or annotated contingent interest of the creditors or other heirs of REBONG's predecessors in interest, established by section 4 of Rule 74 has not yet terminated or ceased, for the period of 2 years from July 9, 1947, have not yet elapsed, Judge IBAÑEZ had no jurisdiction or power to order the cancellation of said lien or annotation as prayed by the petitioner.  Neither section 4, Rule 74, of the Rules of Court, nor section 112 of Act No. 496 authorizes interest of substitution of a bond for a lien or registered interest of any description, whether vested, expedient, inchoate or contingent, which have not yet terminated or ceased.

79 Phil 324 (1947)
Perfecto, concurring:  The petition is for a writ of mandamus because what is sought is that the lower court be ordered to excercise its discretion in allowing REBONG to file a bond of P5,000 and to order the cancellation of the lien appearing at the back of the Torrens title of the property.  There is no law under which the lower court is duty bond to excercise its discretion in the sense prayed for by REBONG.  While no provision of law is invoked, she alleges as reasons, ( a) that the rights of third persons whose claims are cancelled by the lien are merely contingent, expectant and inchoate; (b)that the dominical rights of petitioner would greatly be hampered and she cannot transact or deal with the real estate property with third persons; (c) that the bond, in the event that there exist claims against it within a period of two years will answer for such eventuality, so much so that no right of third persons will really be prejudiced; and (d) in order to mortgage the property to a bank."  If her intention in seeking the cancellation of the annotated lien is to have an opportunity to mortgage the property to a bank so as to obtain a loan, the purpose can be accomplished without the cancellation prayer for. If petitioner can secure sureties willing and able to answer for the amount of P5,000, we do not see any reason why she cannot obtain from a bank a loan with the same sureties.

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McMicking v. Sy Conbieng
Moreland, J. Quickie: This is a case of different sureties to administrators dying. Hahaha. Timeline na lang ang quickie ko: Feb 1902: Margarita dies  April 1902: Palanca appointed administrator, Mariano Ocampo & Dy Cunyao were his sureties  April 1904, Mariano Ocampo died; he was replaced by someone else as Palanca’s surety; later on his estate was settled, with Doroteo Velasco as administrator  Nov. 1905: one of Doroteo’s surety died; said surety’s administrator was Sy Conbieng  1908-1909: Palanca was removed as administrator, having absconded from the Philippines with the estate of Margarita; he was replaced by McMicking. - Mcmicking then instituted a claim against Velasco for the payment of the amount for which he guaranteed Palanca’s faithful execution as admini strator, but since Velasco wasn’t paying, he went after one of Velasco’s surety, who died na rin, so he went after the administrator, which is Sy Conbieng. Committee on claims disallowed such claim - Court said: We are of the opinion that the judgment must be affirmed. We base our affirmance upon the ground that Doroteo Velasco, for whom the deceased Pio de la Guardia Barretto was surety, would not have been liable himself had this action been commenced against him. If the principal is not liable upon the obligation, the surety cannot be. Nature: appeal to the Court of First Instance of the city of Manila from the order of the committee disallowing the claim of McMicking on behalf of Margarita’s estate to Sy Conbieng on behalf of Barretto’s estate. Facts:  On or about the 5th of February, 1902, one Margarita Jose, a native of the Philippine Islands, died at Amoy, in the empire of China  She left an estate consisting of personal property partly in Hongkong and partly in the Philippine Islands.  April 16, 1902: one Engracio Palanca was appointed administrator with the will annexed of the estate of the said Margarita Jose, deceased, by the Court of First Instance of the city of Manila, o Mariano Ocampo Lao Sempco and Dy Cunyao became his sureties and qualified as such in the sum of P60,000. o After the execution of this bond Palanca, as administrator, took possession of all the property of Margarita, amounting in all to $58,820.29 Hongkong currency.  April 22, 1904:one of the sureties, Mariano Ocampo Lao Sempco, died in the city of Manila, testate.  o

21 Phil 211 (1912)
The fact of his death was brought to the attention of the Court of First Instance of said city on the 2nd of November, 1904, by an application made by one of the legatees of Margarita for an order directing said administrator to furnish a new bond. o November 10, 1904: Pursuant to this application the court made an order directing the Palanca to furnish a bond in the sum of P60,000 to take the place of the undertaking upon which said Mariano Ocampo, deceased, and Dy Cunyao were sureties. o The bond thus required was duly filed on the Nov. 22, 1904, the sureties thereon being Juan Fernandez, Luis Saenz de Vismanos and Alejandro Palanca. Meanwhile, on May 11, 1904: one Doroteo Velasco was appointed administrator with the will annexed of said Mariano Ocampo Lao Sempco o On July 7, Mariano Velasco and Pio de la Guardia Barretto qualified as sureties of the said administrator in the sum of P30,000. o Mariano Ocampo Lao Sempco was survived by one daughter, to whom he devised two-thirds of his estate, and three sons in China, to whom he devised the remaining one-third. o July 27, 1904: Doroteo Velasco, as administrator, filed with the court a complete report and inventory of the property of the deceased, together with a statement of all his debts and liabilities.  As a part of this report and inventory said administrator filed an instrument signed by all of the persons interested in the estate of the said Mariano Ocampo agreeing to the partition of the estate among themselves without proceedings in court, at the same time assuming the payment of all obligations against the estate.  This agreement of partition was drawn and executed under sections 596 and 597 of the Code of Civil Procedure for the purposes and to attain the ends therein mentioned. o July 28, 1904: CFI Manila, upon the request of the administrator with the will annexed and of all parties interested in the estate of the said Mariano Ocampo, deceased, entered an order in said agreement.  Pursuant to such agreement and order of the court approving the same, and after all the liabilities under which said estate lay had been fully paid and satisfied, the said Doroteo Velasco, as said administrator, delivered to the devisees and legatees of the said Mariano Ocampo, deceased, all of the property of said decedent pursuant to the terms of said agreement of partition, leaving in the hands of said administrator no property or thing of value whatsoever belonging to the said estate. From that time forward said administrator has not had in his possession or control any of the assets of the said estate and has not had any participation in the management thereof.  At the time the agreement for participation was made and signed and at the time of the distribution of the property of the estate pursuant thereto, no committee had been appointed to hear claims against the estate of the said Mariano Ocampo, deceased, and no notice had been

8 DE LA CERNA SPECPRO DIGESTS 2011 published to creditors of the said deceased to present their claims against the said estate in the manner prescribed by law. March 30, 1908: by virtue of an order by CFI Manila, upon application of all parties interested, Engracio Palanca was removed from office as administrator of the estate of Margarita Jose, plaintiff herein, Jose McMicking, was appointed in his stead. o Palanca was removed from office by reason of the fact that he failed and refused to render an account of the property and funds of the estate of the said Margarita Jose, deceased, which has come to his possession as such administrator, and failed and refused, on order of the court, to deliver said property and funds or any portion thereof to the court or to the said Jose McMicking, his successor. Instead of so doing, he retained possession of said property and funds, absconded with the same, and never returned to the Philippine Islands. At the time of his removal he was indebted to the estate in the sum of P41,960.15, no part of which has ever been received by the estate or by its representative. June 30, 1909: Jose McMicking, as administrator, made an application to the court for the appointment of commissioners of the estate of said Mariano Ocampo for the purpose of hearing claims against the estate. o The commission having been appointed and qualified, a claim was presented to it by the plaintiff based upon the defalcation of Palanca, as administration with the will annexed of Margarita o The claim was allowed by said commission and later approved by the court, o Court directed that the said claim be paid by Doroteo Velasco, if he had sufficient funds to make such payment. No part of the sum thus found to be due by the commission has been paid to the representative of the estate of said Margarita Jose, deceased. November 3, 1905: Pio de la Barretto, who, it will be remembered, was one of the sureties on the undertaking of Doroteo Velasco, died in the city of Manila, leaving an estate consisting of real and personal property located in the city. o Said deceased left a will which was admitted to probate by the CFI of Manila on the Feb 3, 1906, and letters of administration with the will annexed were issued to Benito Sy Conbieng, the defendant in this case. o June 4, 1909: upon the application of the plaintiff in this case, a committee was appointed by CFI Manila to appraise the estate of the said Pio de la Guardia Barretto, deceased, and to hear claims presented against his estate.  Thereafter and within the time prescribed by law the plaintiff herein presented to said committee a claim for the sum of P30,000 "based upon the fact that the claim for the larger amount had been allowed in favor of the estate of said Margarita Jose Sempco, deceased ;"  based upon the further fact "that the Court of First Instance had ordered the said Doroteo Velasco, as administrator of the estate of said Mariano Ocampo Lao Sempco, deceased, to pay the said claim if there were funds sufficient to make such payment, but that it has not been paid by the said Doroteo Velasco, or any part thereof,"  The claim so presented against the estate of Pio de la Guardia Barretto, deceased, was disallowed by the committee thereof. The plaintiff herein within the time allowed by law appealed to the Court of First Instance of the city of Manila from the order of the committee disallowing said claim. AMIN | CHA | JANZ | KRIZEL | VIEN Issue/ Held: W/N the committee erred in disallowing the claim of McMicking against Sy Conbieng – NO Ratio:  We are of the opinion that the judgment must be affirmed . We base our affirmance upon the ground that Doroteo Velasco, for whom the deceased Pio de la Guardia Barretto was surety, would not have been liable himself had this action been commenced against him. If the principal is not liable upon the obligation, the surety cannot be.  Code of Civil Procedure, Sec. 596 and 597: SEC. 596. Settlement of intestate estates, without legal proceedings, in certain cases. — Whatever all the heirs of a deceased person are of lawful age and legal capacity, and their are no debts due from the intestate estate, or all the debts have been paid by the heirs, the heirs may, by a family council as shown under Spanish law, or by agreement between themselves, duly executed in writing, apportion and divide the estate among themselves, as they may see fit, without proceedings in court. SEC. 597. In such case distributees liable for debts. — But if it shall appear, at any time within two years after such settlement and distribution of the estate, that there are debts outstanding against the estate which have not been paid, any creditor may compel the settlement of the estate in the courts in the manner hereinafter provided, unless his debt shall be paid, with interest; and the administrator appointed by the court may recover the assets of the estate from those who have received them, for the purpose of paying the debts; and the real estate belonging to the deceased shall remain charged with the liability to creditors for the full period of two years after such distribution, notwithstanding any transfers thereof that may have been made. These sections provide for the voluntary division of the whole property of the decedent without proceedings in court. The provisions which they contain are extremely important. The wisdom which underlies them is apparent. It is the undisputed policy of every people which maintains the principle of private ownership of property that he who owns a thing shall not be deprived of its possession or use except for the most urgent and imperative reason and then only so long as is necessary to make the rights which underlie those reasons effective. It is a principle of universal acceptance which declares that one has the instant right to occupy and use that which he owns, and it is only in the presence of reasons of the strongest and most urgent nature that that principle is prevented from accomplishing the purpose which underlies it. The force which gave birth to this stern and imperious principle is the same force which destroyed the feudal despotism and created the democracy of private owners.

o

o

o

9 DE LA CERNA SPECPRO DIGESTS 2011 o These provisions should, therefore, be given the most liberal construction so that the intent of the framers may be fully carried out. They should not be straitened or narrowed but should rather be given that wideness and fullness of application without which they cannot produce their most beneficial effects. o The purpose which underlies them, as we have already intimated, is to put into one's hands the property which belongs to him not only at the earliest possible moment but also with the least possible expense. By permitting the partition and division without proceedings in court no time is lost and substantially all expense and waste are saved. o The State fails wretchedly in its duty to its citizens if the machinery furnished by it for the division and distribution of the property of a decedent is no cumbersome, unwidely and expensive that a considerable portion of the estate is absorbed in the process of such division. Where administration is necessary, it ought to be accomplished quickly and at very small expense; and a system which consumes any considerable portion of the property which it was designed to distribute is a failure. It being undoubted that the removal of property from the possession of its owner and its deposit in the hands of another for administration is a suspension of some of its most important rights of property and is attended with an expense sometimes entirely useless and unnecessary, such procedure should be avoided whenever and wherever possible. In the case at the bar we are of the opinion that, under the broad and liberal policy which we must adopt in the interpretation and application of the provisions referred to, the decision of the property of Mariano Ocampo, deceased, in the form, in the manner and for the purposes expressed, falls within the provisions of said sections and may be termed, therefore, and we hold it to be, a partition of the property of a decedent without legal proceedings within the meaning of those sections. o The fact of the prior appointment of an administrator and the filing of an inventory before such partition is of no consequence so far as the right of the owners to partition is concerned. The only requisite for such petition prescribed by the law is that "there are no debts . . . or all the debts have been paid by the heirs." When the condition is fulfilled the partition can take place, no matter what stage the administration may have reached. By this it is, of course, not meant that the partition after the appointment of an administrator will interfere with the rights acquired by third person dealing with said administrator within the limits of his authority and prior to the partition; nor that the administrator can be deprived of the property of which he is legally in possession without proper proceedings and the consent of the court. As we have already indicated, the basis of the liability of a surety on an administrators' bond is the fault or failure of the principal. The liability of the principal precedes that of the surety. If Velasco incurred no liability, then his surety incurred none. o When the persons interested in the estate of Mariano Ocampo agreed voluntarily upon a partition and division of the property of said estate and the actual partition followed, the matter passed out of the hands of Velasco as administrator. The parties to the partition stood invoking their rights AMIN | CHA | JANZ | KRIZEL | VIEN under section 596 and 597. Velasco was helpless. He was powerless to prevent the parties from taking the property to which they were entitled under the agreement, it being conceded that they were actually entitled thereto in law. o Those sections were applicable to the situation and there was nothing that Velasco could do to prevent the estate from being divided according to their provisions. In giving his consent to the partition and in assisting the parties to obtain the approval of the court thereto he did no wrong. He simply aided in carrying out the provisions of the sections referred to. It is a universal principle that one who follows a law commits no fault, incurs no failure and wounds no rights. If one obeys the law he is free not only in person but in property. o Observance of the law discharges obligations; it does not create them; and an obligation once discharged cannot be re-acted by the act of others in which the person as to whom it was discharged takes no part. o The instant that the partition occurred, in the form and manner stated, he stood stripped of all responsibility to the estate, to its creditors, to the heirs and to the court. He stood divested o every official duty and obligation, as fully as before his appointment — as completely as if he had not been appointed at all. In law, therefore, he was no longer administrator with the will annexed of the estate of Mariano Ocampo, deceased. He was in effect, discharged. As to him the estate had been wiped out as a legal entity. It had ceased to exist. o And, while at any time within two years after the partition the property, or a portion thereof, then in the possession of the partitioning persons could have been placed in administration upon the happening of certain events, it would not have been the same estate that had been represented by Velasco, nor would Velasco have been the administrator of the estate by virtue of his appointment in the old.  It would have been necessary for the court, upon the proper application setting forth the conditions prescribed by the sections, to appoint another administrator for the purposes specified therein. It might have been Velasco, if he would have accepted the appointment, or it might have been another. The point is that it would have been necessary to appoint a new administrator just as if one had not been named before. The new administrator would have had new duties, some of which would have been quite different from those of the administrator appointed originally. He would have had different sureties, who would have found themselves to different obligations. That on the partition under said section the estate was, in this case, completely wiped out and the administrator as completely discharged cannot be doubted for the following reasons: 1. The whole estate was, by virtue of these sections, taken from the administrator and turned over to the partitioning persons. No security was required or given for its safekeeping or return. 2. The persons to whom the estate was thus turned over became absolute owners of the same, subject to be devastated, wholly or only partly, on the happening of certain events and the taking of certain proceedings thereon. But even such divestiture could not have been avoided by the payment by the parties, or any of them, of the debt which was the moving cause thereof.

10  DE LA CERNA SPECPRO DIGESTS 2011 From these premises it is the merest conclusion to say that the decedent's estate was merged in their partitioning parties; and this no matter whether the partition occurred before or after the appointment of an administrator. o An administrator cannot be held to any accountability for property over which he has absolutely no power or jurisdiction and in which he has not the slightest legal interest. The thing on which he was appointed to operate having been withdrawn wholly beyond his ken by the very power (the law) which appointed him, there is a complete revocation of the appointment. Moreover, the sureties of an administrator so appointed cannot be held liable for property which by force of law has been taken from the principal and its ownership and control turned over to others. o Their obligation is that their principal shall obey the law in the handling and distribution of the estate. o Their obligation is discharged when the estate is legally turned over to those entitled thereto. o Without their consent another obligation could not be imposed upon them in relation to the same principal, and the same property, or apart thereof, especially after the lapse of two years. Their undertaking was that their principal should discharge one obligation, not two. The administration contemplated by section 597 is a new administration and one entirely apart from any other administration theretofore had. This section requires the appointment of a new administrator, with a new undertaking. The administration under the section is distinct and separate from any administration which may have been in progress at the time of the partition and division under section 596. This is clear for the following reasons: After the partition and division provided for in sections 596 and 597 have been fully consummated, no further administration of the estate can be had unless there occur the following requisites: 1. There must have been discovered a claim against the estate "within two years after such settlement and distribution of estate." 2. The creditor holding the claim must be the person who moves the court for the appointment of an administrator. If those requisites are lacking, there can be no administration. When one fails the right too such administration does not arise and any person intersted in the estate may oppose any effort to administer under such circumstances. These requisites combined are that and that alone which give to the administrator when appointed the right to recover the assets from the persons who received them on the a partition. Indeed, if these requisites are lacking no administrator can lawfully be appointed, and, if improperly appointed, he fails of legal power to maintain an action to recover the assets in the hands of those among whom they have partitioned; in other words, he is powerless to administer. o If these requisites fail, then the real estate in the hands either of the persons among whom it has been partitioned or of their assignees is free from the lien created by section 597 and any attempt to enforce such lien can be successfully opposed by any person interested in such property. The appointment of an administrator without the concurrence of these requisites is without warrant of law and the appointee is powerless to perform AMIN | CHA | JANZ | KRIZEL | VIEN any act of administration. The statute must be strictly complied with in every essential before it operates. Every essential requirements must be fulfilled before it will be permitted that a partition which has the clear sanction of the law and which is strictly in accord with the public policy of the estate shall be set aside and destroyed with all the evil consequences thereby entailed. (1) In the case at bar no debt was discovered during the prescribed period. It was nearly four years after the partition of the estate and the taking possession by the heirs of their respective portions before it was even discovered that Palanca had been guilty of converting the property of the estate to his own use; and, so far as the records shows, it was nearly five years before the alleged claim against the estate of Mariano Ocampo was fixed. (2) No creditor made his application. The requirements of section 597 not having been met, there could be no administration under section. Therefore, the appointment of commissioners for the hearing of the claim against the estate of Mariano Ocampo presented by the plaintiff in this case was an appointment without warrant or authority of law.  The necessary conclusion is that the appointment of commissioners to hear the claim above referred to was beyond the powers of the court and was without jurisdiction. The finding of the commissioners had no force or effect. It gave no right against the estate and none against the so-called administrator. o It must be remembered that it is only debts discovered within the prescribed period that can be made the reason for an administration of the estate subsequent to its partition. o The necessary result is t hat a debt not discovered within that period cannot be made the reason for an administration of the estate. o The debt in the case at bar having first discovered more than four years after the partition of the estate of Mariano Ocampo, deceased, an administrator, even though appointed under section 57, would not no authority in law, over the objection of one interested, to pay the debt in question or to maintain an action or other proceeding for the recovery of property for that purpose. This section creates a statute of limitations which deprives all debts which are not discovered within the prescribed time of the power of requiring an administration of the estate. The administration of the estate after the partition under the law has been accomplished depends upon the discovery of the debt "at any time within two years after such settlement and distribution of the estate." The law does not operate unless that discovery is made within the time prescribed. As regard the contention that there was a contingent claim against Ocampo’s estate at the time of the partition, and that contingent claim, being one expressly recognized by sections 746 to 749 of the Code of Civil Procedure as a claim entirely proper to present, no partition of this estate under section 596 and 597 was legally possible until such claim was provided for by the petitioning parties: UNTENABLE o This contention goes upon the assumption that a partition under the sections of the Code of Civil Procedure so often referred to is void unless every debt is paid

11 DE LA CERNA SPECPRO DIGESTS 2011 or provided for by the petitioning parties, and may therefore be entirely disregarded by the creditor holding a claim either unpaid or provided for. We do not believe that this assumption is warranted.  In the first place, we must remember that the partition proceedings in question are proceedings out of court.  Consequently there is no prescribed method of ascertaining and settling claims. The appointment of commissioners, the publication of notice to creditors, and all the other proceedings necessary in cases of administration in court are not required in partition out of court.  The law is silent as to how the claims are to be ascertained, presented and determined. We must assume, therefore, that the method of ascertaining them and determining their validity was left to the good sense and sound judgment of the persons concerned.  In the second place, it must be on served that express provisions is made by sections 596 and 597 for the payment of a claim discovered by them or presented after the partition. That is one of the main provisions. It is a necessary deduction, therefore, that it was not the intention of the law to pronounce the partition void of no effect simply because not all of the debts were paid before the partition was made.  The fact of nonpayment cannot, then, because by the creditor as a reason for attacking the partition directly; that is, by asserting that, inasmuch as a payment of all the debts is a condition precedent to the right of partition, such partition cannot legally and validly take place while a debt is outstanding.  While a partition manifestly fraudulent in inception and result might possibly be attacked directly by an action to set aside, a question which we do not discuss or decide, the manner of attacking the partition prescribed by the law is the one, generally speaking, preferably to be followed; and that is to throw into administration so much of the estate as is necessary to pay the outstanding claim. The method, though indirect, accomplishes a better result than a direct attack. The latter, by destroying the validity of the partition, would throw the whole situation into confusion and uncertainty, something always to be avoided. The former does not produce that result. Where there is no fraud, and possibly where there is, a direct attack on the partition is impossible under the provisions under discussion.  A claim discovered and presented within the two years serves not to destroy, primarily, the partition. It does not even permit the whole estate to be thrown into administration. Only such portion as is necessary to pay the discovered debt can be administered. This is apparent when it is observed that on such administration the administrator is authorized to recover only the amount of property necessary to pay the debt presented, leaving the partitioning parties in undisturbed possession of the remainder. Moreover, the partitioning parties may still pay the debt and preserve undisturbed the partition in all it parts and thus assure and maintain the rights of the parties thereunder. The mere fact, therefore, that a creditor was not paid before the partition took place furnishes no ground for a revocation of the partition. It simply AMIN | CHA | JANZ | KRIZEL | VIEN provides a fact which he may urge as a reason for the appointment of an administrator and the consequent administration of so much of the estate as may be necessary to pay the debt discovered. But, as already seen, in order that it be a reason for such appointment and administration, the claim must be presented within two years from the date of the partition and distribution.

o

Summarizing, we have seen that lack of opportunity, either by want of notice or otherwise, and the consequent failure to present a claim before partition, is, under the sections we are discussing, of no consequence whatever in so far as the validity of the partition is concerned. We have also seen that the fact that there were debts outstanding and unpaid at the time the partition took place is of no importance so far as the validity of the partition is concerned, leaving out account the question of fraud to which we have already adverted and left undecided. We have also seen that the fact such claim exists and is valid and subsistent against the estate is of no consequence whatever with respect to the right of its holder to require an administration of the estate unless such claim is discovered and presented within two years. The fact that the claim in the case at bar was, during a certain period, a contingent one is of no importance. The sections under discussion make no distinction between claims. The creditor himself is not without duties. In the case at bar it was five years after the petition before the alleged creditor made any attempt whatsoever to "discover" or present his claim. He knew of the death of Ocampo very soon after it occurred. He knew that it was among the possibilities that Ocampo's estate might be called upon to respond for the failure of Palanca to perform his duty as administrator. It was his duty to see to it that he would be protected in that event. Nevertheless he permitted the estate of Ocampo to be partitioned and distributed without protest and without the presentation of his contingent claim, and sat quiet and passive for nearly five years thereafter knowing that it was very probable that the property of the estate was being consumed, incumbered, and transferred by the persons among whom it had been distributed. The judgment appealed from is hereby affirmed, without special finding as to costs. Arellano, C.J., Torres, Mapa and Johnson, JJ., concur. Carson and Trent, JJ., concur as to the dispositive part

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Gerona et. al v. de Guzman et. al.
Quickie: de Guzman died. Respondents executed a deed of "extra-judicial settlement of the estate of the deceased Marcelo de Guzman", fraudulently misrepresenting therein that they were the only surviving heirs of the deceased Marcelo de Guzman, although they well knew that petitioners were, also, his forced heirs. Petitioners demanded from respondents their (petitioners) share in said properties, to the extent of 1/8th interest thereon. Respondents argue that petitioners' action is barred by the statute of limitations. The Court held that although, as a general rule, an action for partition among co-heirs does not prescribe, this is true only as long as the defendants do not hold the property in question under an adverse title. The statute of limitations operates as in other cases, from the moment such adverse title is asserted by the possessor of the property Nature: Appeal by certiorari from a decision of the Court of Appeals, affirming that of the Court of First Instance of Bulacan. Facts:  petitioners herein, namely, Ignacio, Maria Concepcion, Francisco and Delfin, all surnamed Gerona, alleged that they are the legitimate children of Domingo Gerona and Placida de Guzman  Placida de Guzman was a legitimate daughter of Marcelo de Guzman and his first wife, Teodora de la Cruz  after the death of his first wife, Marcelo de Guzman married Camila Ramos, who begot him several children, namely, respondents Carmen, Jose, Clemente, Francisco, Rustica, Pacita and Victoria, all surnamed De Guzman  Marcelo de Guzman died  respondents executed a deed of "extra-judicial settlement of the estate of the deceased Marcelo de Guzman", fraudulently misrepresenting therein that they were the only surviving heirs of the deceased Marcelo de Guzman, although they well knew that petitioners were, also, his forced heirs  respondents had thereby succeeded fraudulently in causing the transfer certificates of title to seven (7) parcels of land, issued in the name of said deceased, to be cancelled and new transfer certificates of title to be issued in their own name, in the proportion of 1/7th individual interest for each  petitioners forthwith demanded from respondents their (petitioners) share in said properties, to the extent of 1/8th interest thereon  respondents refused to heed said demand Argument of respondents: petitioners' mother, the deceased Placida de Guzman, was not entitled to share in the estate of Marcelo de Guzman, she being merely a spurious child of the latter, and that petitioners' action is barred by the statute of limitations.

11 SCRA 153 (1964)
Argument of petitioners: since they and respondents are co-heirs of the deceased Marcelo de Guzman, the present action for partition of the latter's estate is not subject to the statute of limitations of action; that, if affected by said statute, the period of four (4) years therein prescribed did not begin to run until actual discovery of the fraud perpetrated by respondents, which, it is claimed, took place in 1956 or 1957; and that accordingly, said period had not expired when the present action was commenced on November 4, 1958. Held: Petitioners' contention is untenable. Although, as a general rule, an action for partition among co-heirs does not prescribe, this is true only as long as the defendants do not hold the property in question under an adverse title. The statute of limitations operates as in other cases, from the moment such adverse title is asserted by the possessor of the property   an action for reconveyance of real property based upon a constructive or implied trust, resulting from fraud, may be barred by the statute of limitations Inasmuch as petitioners seek to annul the aforementioned deed of "extra-judicial settlement" upon the ground of fraud in the execution thereof, the action therefor may be filed within four (4) years from the discovery of the fraud. Such discovery is deemed to have taken place, in the case at bar, on June 25, 1948, when said instrument was filed with the Register of Deeds and new certificates of title were issued in the name of respondents exclusively, for the registration of the deed of extra-judicial settlement constitute constructive notice to the whole world plaintiffs learned at least constructively, of the alleged fraud committed against them by defendants on 25 June 1948 when the deed of extra-judicial settlement of the estate of the deceased Marcelo de Guzman was registered in the registry of deeds of Bulacan, Plaintiffs' complaint in this case was not filed until 4 November 1958, or more than 10 years thereafter. Plaintiff Ignacio Gerona became of age on 3 March 1948. He is deemed to have discovered defendants' fraud on 25 June 1948 and had, therefore, only 4 years from the said date within which to file this action. Plaintiff Maria Concepcion Gerona became of age on 8 December 1949 or after the registration of the deed of extra-judicial settlement. She also had only the remainder of the period of 4 years from December 1949 within which to commence her action. Plaintiff Francisco Gerona became of age only on 9 January 1952 so that he was still a minor when he gained knowledge (even if only constructive) of the deed of extrajudicial settlement on 25 June 1948.

 

13  DE LA CERNA SPECPRO DIGESTS 2011 Likewise, plaintiff Delfin Gerona became of legal age on 5 August 1954, so that he was also still a minor at the time he gained knowledge (although constructive) of the deed of extra-judicial settlement on 25 June 1948. Francisco Gerona and Delfin Gerona had, therefore, two years after the removal of their disability within which to commence their action (Section 45, paragraph 3, in relation to Section 43, Act 190), that is, January 29, 1952, with respect to Francisco, and 5 August 1954, with respect to Delfin. AMIN | CHA | JANZ | KRIZEL | VIEN

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Pedrosa v. CA, et. al.
Quisumbing , J. Quickie: Relatives of Miguel wanted to annul adoption of Elena. Another relative (Pilar) died. Extrajudicial partition of Pilar’s esate was done, but no share was given to Elena and mom because of evil auntie. Court said partition was not binding because it is fraudulent. Elena and mom, representing Miguel, excluded other relatives according to rules on succession. Relatives cannot say they didn’t know Elena to be adopted since they even filed cases to annul her adoption. Nor can she be represented in the partition by evil auntie because she was not a minor anymore at that time. Side issues: prescription and entitlement to recovery ( 4 years, not 2) (SC cannot decide issue on validity of titles) Nature: Petition assailing CA decision (certiorari?) Facts:  Spouses Rodriguez initiated proceedings before the CFI of Ozamiz City for the legal adoption of herein petitioner, Maria Elena Rodriguez Pedrosa.  CFI: granted the petition and declared petitioner Pedrosa the adopted child of Miguel and Rosalina.  Miguel died intestate.  Thereafter, petitioner and Rosalina entered into an extrajudicial settlement of Miguel's estate, adjudicating between themselves in equal proportion the estate of Miguel.  Private respondents filed an action to annul the adoption of petitioner before the CFI of Ozamiz City  CFI: denied the petition and upheld the validity of the adoption.  Thereafter, the private respondents appealed said decision to the Court of Appeals.  While said appeal was pending, the Rodriguezes entered into an extrajudicial settlement with respondent Rosalina for the partition of the estate of Miguel and of another sister, Pilar.  Rosalina acted as the representative of the heirs of Miguel Rodriguez. Pilar had no heirs except his brothers and sisters.  Armed with the Deed of Extrajudicial Settlement and Partition, respondents were able to secure new Transfer Certificates of Title (TCTs) and were able to transfer some parcels to the other respondents herein.  Parties in the earlier appeal which sought to annul the adoption of petitioner Pedrosa filed a joint Motion to Dismiss.  CA: dismissed the appeal but upheld the validity of the adoption of petitioner.  Thereafter, petitioner sent her daughter, Loreto Jocelyn, to claim their share of the properties from the respondents. The latter refused saying that Maria Elena and Loreto were not heirs since they were not their blood relatives.  Petitioner, then, filed a complaint to annul the 1983 partition. The Said complaint was later amended on March 25, 1987 to include the allegation "that earnest efforts toward a compromise were made between the plaintiffs and the defendants, but the same failed."  

353 SCRA 620 (2001)
RTC: dismissed the complaint. CA: affirmed the decision of the trial court

Issues/ Held: 1) whether or not the complaint for annulment of the "Deed of Extrajudicial Settlement and Partition" had already prescribed- NO 2) whether or not said deed is valid- NO 3) whether or not the petitioner is entitled to recover the lots which had already been transferred to the respondent buyers - SC did not decide Ratio:  Section 4, Rule 7418 provides for a two year prescriptive period (1) to persons who have participated or taken part or had notice of the extrajudicial partition, and in addition (2) when the provisions of Section 119 of Rule 74 have been strictly complied with, i.e., that all the persons or heirs of the decedent have taken part in the extrajudicial settlement or are represented by themselves or through guardians.  Petitioner, as the records confirm, did not participate in the extrajudicial partition. Patently then, the two-year prescriptive period is not applicable in her case.  The applicable prescriptive period here is four (4) years as provided in Gerona vs. De Guzman-“[The action to annul] a deed of "extrajudicial settlement" upon the ground of fraud...may be filed within four years from the discovery of the fraud. “  Section 1 of Rule 74 of the Rules of Court is the applicable rule on publication of extrajudicial settlement. It states:  The fact of the extrajudicial settlement or administration shall be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the manner provided in the next succeeding section; but no extrajudicial settlement shall be binding upon any person who has not participated therein or had no notice thereof.  The provision of Section 4, Rule 74 will also not apply when the deed of extrajudicial partition is sought to be annulled on the ground of fraud. A deed of extrajudicial partition executed without including some of the heirs, who had no knowledge of and consent to the same, is fraudulent and vicious.  Maria Elena is an heir of Miguel together with her adopting mother, Rosalina. Being the lone descendant of Miguel, she excludes the collateral relatives of Miguel from participating in his estate, following the provisions of Article 1003 of the Civil Code.  The private respondent Rodriguezes cannot claim that they were not aware of Maria Elena's adoption since they even filed an action to annul the decree of adoption. Neither can they claim that their actions were valid since the adoption of Maria Elena was still being questioned at the time they executed the deed of partition.  The complaint seeking to annul the adoption was filed only twenty six (26) years after the decree of adoption, patently a much delayed response to prevent Maria Elena from inheriting from her adoptive parents. The decree of adoption was valid and existing. With this factual setting, it is patent that private respondents executed the deed of partition in bad faith with intent to defraud Maria Elena.

15  DE LA CERNA SPECPRO DIGESTS 2011 It is clear that Section 1 of Rule 74 does not apply to the partition in question which was null and void as far as the plaintiffs were concerned. The rule covers only valid partitions. The partition in the present case was invalid because it excluded six of the nine heirs who were entitled to equal shares in the partitioned property. Under the rule, "no extrajudicial settlement shall be binding upon any person who has not participated therein or had no notice thereof." As the partition was a total nullity and did not affect the excluded heirs, it was not correct for the trial court to hold that their right to challenge the partition had prescribed after two years from its execution in 1941.25 To say that Maria Elena was represented by Rosalina in the partitioning is imprecise. Maria Elena, the adopted child, was no longer a minor at the time Miguel died. Rosalina, only represented her own interests and not those of Maria Elena. Since Miguel predeceased Pilar, a sister, his estate automatically vested to his child and widow, in equal shares. Respondent Rodriguezes' interests did not include Miguel's estate but only Pilar's estate. Could petitioner still redeem the properties from buyers? Given the circumstances in this case, we are constrained to hold that this is not the proper forum to decide this issue. The properties sought to be recovered by the petitioner are now all registered under the name of third parties. Well settled is the doctrine that a Torrens Title cannot be collaterally attacked. The validity of the title can only be raised in an action expressly instituted for such purpose. Petitioner asks for the award of damages. No receipts, agreements or any other documentary evidence was presented to justify such claim for damages. Actual damages, to be recoverable, must be proved with a reasonable degree of certainty. Courts cannot simply rely on speculation, conjecture or guesswork in determining the fact and amount of damages. The same is true for moral damages. These cannot be awarded in the absence of any factual basis.2 The unsubstantiated testimony of Loreto Jocelyn Pedrosa is hearsay and has no probative value. It is settled in jurisprudence that damages may not be awarded on the basis of hearsay evidence. Nonetheless, the failure of the petitioner to substantiate her claims for damages does not mean that she will be totally deprived of any damages. Under the law, nominal damages are awarded, so that a plaintiff's right, which has been invaded or violated by defendants may be vindicated and recognized. Considering that (1) technically, petitioner sustained injury but which, unfortunately, was not adequately and properly proved, (2) petitioner was unlawfully deprived of her legal participation in the partition of the estate of Miguel, her adoptive father, (3) respondents had transferred portions of the properties involved to third parties, and (4) this case has dragged on for more than a decade, we find it reasonable to grant in petitioner's favor nominal damages in recognition of the existence of a technical injury. The amount to be awarded as such damages should at least commensurate to the injury sustained by the petitioner considering the concept and purpose of said damages.Such award is given in view of the peculiar circumstances cited and the special reasons extant in this case. AMIN | CHA | JANZ | KRIZEL | VIEN

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Thus, the grant of ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND (P100,000.00) PESOS to petitioner as damages is proper in view of the technical injury she has suffered.

16 DE LA CERNA SPECPRO DIGESTS 2011 AMIN | CHA | JANZ | KRIZEL | VIEN

Pada-Kilario v. CA
De Leon, Jr., J. Quickie: JACINTO owned a parcel of residential and coconut land. With his permission, his brother FELICIANO occupied and built his residence in the northern portion of said land. When FELICIANO died, he was survived by VERONA who continued to live in the same parcel of land. Then, JACINTO died intestate. His children thereafter partitioned his estate extrajudicially but did not register the same in the Register of Deeds. The land in question was given to MARCIANO and ANANIAS after partition. Their respective heirs, MARIA and JUANITA, subsequently sold their co-owned portions in the land in question. Their vendees, in turn, demanded that VERONA vacate the parcel of land in question. Ejectment suit was eventually filed. VERONA avers that MARIA and JUANITA did not have right to sell ownership rights over the land in dispute since the extrajudicial partition from which they source their right to sell is void and ineffectual since the extrajudicial partition was never registered in the Register of Deeds. HELD: The extrajudicial partition is valid, albeit executed in an unregistered private document. No law requires partition among heirs to be in writing and be registered in order to be valid. The requirement in Sec. 1, Rule 74 of the Revised Rules of Court that a partition be put in a public document and registered, has for its purpose the protection of creditors and the heirs themselves against tardy claims. The object of registration is to serve as constructive notice to others. Hence, the intrinsic validity of partition itself, even if not executed with the prescribed formalities, is not undermined when no creditors are involved. Nature: Appeal from the decision of the CA affirming the RTC which overturned the Order of dismissal issued by the MCTC in an ejectment case, and ordered instead that petitioner vacate the premises. Facts:  JACINTO Pada had 6 children, namely: Marciano, Ananias, Amador, Higino, Valentina and Ruperta. He died intestate. His estate included a parcel of land of residential and coconut land located at Poblacion, Matalom, Leyte. It is the northern portion of said land (“the Lot”) which is the subject of the instant controversy.  During the lifetime of JACINTO, his half-brother, FELICIANO, obtained permission from him to build a house on the northern portion of the Lot. When Feliciano died, his son, PASTOR, continued living in the house together with his eight children. Petitioner VERONA Pada-Kilario, one of PASTOR's children, has been living in that house since 1960.  Sometime in 1951, the heirs of JACINTO entered into an extra-judicial partition of his estate. But not all the children were present. MARCIANO, HIGINO and AMADOR were represented by their children only. In the partition, they executed a private document which they, however, never registered in the Office of the Registrar of Deeds of Leyte. 

322 SCRA 481 (2000)
It was to ANANIAS and MARCIANO that the Lot was allocated during the said partition. When ANANIAS died, his daughter, JUANITA, succeeded to his right as coowner of said property. MARCIANO, meanwhile, was succeeded by his daughter MARIA JUANITA sold to PAREDES the portion she co-owned of the Lot. MARIA sold her coownership right to SILVERIO (herein private respondent) Thereafter, SILVERIO demanded that VERONA vacate the northern portion of the Lot so that his family can utilize the said area. They went through a series of meetings with the barangay officials concerned for the purpose of amicable settlement, but all earnest efforts toward that end, failed. Thus, SILVERIO filed in the MCTC of Matalom, Leyte, a complaint for ejectment with prayer for damages against VERONA IN THE MEANTIME, the heirs of AMADOR (another son of JACINTO) executed a Deed of Donation transferring to VERONA, their respective shares as co-owners of the Lot. Thus, when VERONA filed her Answer, she averred that the northern portion of the Lot had already been donated to her by the heirs of AMADOR. VERONA further contended that the extra-judicial partition of the estate of JACINTO executed in 1951 was invalid and ineffectual since no special power of attorney was executed by MARCIANO, AMADOR or HIGINO in favor of their respective children who represented them in the extra-judicial partition. Moreover, it was effectuated only through a private document that was never registered in the office of the Registrar of Deeds of Leyte. MCTC rendered judgment in favor of VERONA and dismissed the ejectment case. It ruled that SILVERIO failed to establish his ownership over the Lot while VERONA successfully proved by preponderance of evidence that said property is still under a community of ownership among the heirs of the late JACINTO who died intestate SILVERIO appealed to the RTC. There, he got a reversal of the MCTC. RTC held that the conveyances executed by JUANITA and MARIA were never questioned or assailed by their co-heirs for more than 40 years, thereby lending credence to the fact that the two vendors were indeed legal and lawful owners of properties ceded or sold, from which flows the legality of SILVERIO’s claim of ownership over the Lot. Whatever rights the other heirs of JACINTO may have were lost by prescription, if not laches or estoppel. VERONA appealed to the CA, but the RTC was affirmed. CA held that in an ejectment suit, the only issue is possession de facto or physical or material possession and not de jure. And in this regard, CA noted that SILVERIO successfully based his claim for possession on the Deed of Sale executed in his favor by MARIA, whose right to sell the property was derived from the extra-judicial partition executed in May 1951 among the heirs of JACINTO wherein the subject land was adjudicated to MARCIANO, MARIA’s father. Although the authenticity and genuineness of the extra judicial partition is now being questioned, no action was ever previously filed in court to question the validity of such partition. VERONA filed an MR but it was denied ~hence this petition

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17 Issue/s and Held: 1. WON the extrajudicial partition of JACINTO’s estate is valid  YES! (1.a.) WON the conveyances made by JUANITA and MARIA of ownership rights over the Lot is valid  YES! 2. WON VERONA cannot be ejected considering that the heirs of JACINTO donated to her their undivided interest in the property in dispute.  NO. She can be ejected. Ratio: (1) The extrajudicial partition of the estate of JACINTO among his heirs made in 1951 is VALID, albeit executed in an unregistered private document. No law requires partition among heirs to be in writing and be registered in order to be valid  The requirement in Sec. 1, Rule 74 of the Revised Rules of Court that a partition be put in a public document and registered, has for its purpose the protection of creditors and the heirs themselves against tardy claims. The object of registration is to serve as constructive notice to others.  Hence, the intrinsic validity of partition itself, even if not executed with the prescribed formalities, is not undermined when no creditors are involved  Without creditors, it is competent for the heirs of an estate to enter into an agreement for distribution thereof in a manner and upon a plan different from those provided by the rules from which, in the first place, nothing can be inferred that a writing or other formality is essential for the partition to be valid. The partition of inherited property need not be embodied in a public document so as to be effective as regards the heirs that participated therein  The requirement of Article 1358 of the Civil Code that acts which have for their object the creation, transmission, modification or extinguishment of real rights over immovable property, must appear in a public instrument, is only for convenience, non-compliance with which does not affect the validity or enforceability of the acts of the parties as among themselves  Neither does the Statute of Frauds under Article 1403 of the New Civil Code apply because partition among heirs is not legally deemed a conveyance of real property, considering that it involves not a transfer of property from one to the other but rather, a confirmation or ratification of title or right of property that an heir is renouncing in favor of another heir who accepts and receives the inheritance (1.a.) The 1951 extrajudicial partition of JACINTO's estate being legal and effective as among his heirs, the subsequent conveyances made by JUANITA and MARIA are thus equally valid. Hence, they also validly transferred ownership rights over the Lot to their buyers PAREDES and private respondent SILVERIO  The extrajudicial partition which the heirs of JACINTO executed voluntarily and spontaneously in 1951 has produced a legal status. And when they discussed and agreed on the division of the estate of JACINTO, it is presumed that they did so in furtherance of their mutual interests. As such, their division is conclusive, unless and until it is shown that there were debts existing against the estate which had not been paid. No showing, however, has been made of any unpaid charges against the estate of JACINTO. Thus, there is no reason why the heirs should not be bound by their voluntary acts. DE LA CERNA SPECPRO DIGESTS 2011 AMIN | CHA | JANZ | KRIZEL | VIEN (2) The belated act of AMADOR’s heirs in donating the subject property to VERONA after 44 years of never having disputed the validity of the 1951 extrajudicial partition that allocated the Lot to Marciano and Ananias, produced no legal effect  In the extrajudicial partition, what was allocated to AMADOR was not the Lot but another parcel of coconut land in Sabang, Matalom, Leyte. The donation made by his heirs to VERONA of the Lot, thus, is void for they were not the owners thereof  At any rate, it is too late in the day for the heirs of AMADOR to repudiate the legal effects of the 1951 extrajudicial partition as prescription and laches have equally set in.  Also, VERONA is estopped from impugning the extrajudicial partition executed by the heirs of JACINTO after she explicitly admitted in her Answer that she had been occupying the subject property since 1960 without ever paying any rental as they only relied on the liberality and tolerance of the JACINTO. Their admissions are evidence of a high order and bind them insofar as the character of their possession of the subject property is concerned.  Considering that VERONA was in possession of the Lot by sheer tolerance of its owners, they knew that their occupation of the premises may be terminated any time. Persons who occupy the land of another at the latter's tolerance or permission, without any contract between them, is necessarily bound by an implied promise that they will vacate the same upon demand, failing in which a summary action for ejectment is the proper remedy against them. Thus, they cannot be considered possessors nor builders in good faith  It is well-settled that the New Civil Code which allows full reimbursement of useful improvements and retention of the premises until reimbursement is made applies only to a possessor in good faith, i.e., one who builds on land with the belief that he is the owner thereof. Verily, persons whose occupation of a realty is by sheer tolerance of its owners are not possessors in good faith  Neither did the “donation” of the Lot by AMADOR’s heirs to VERONA convert the latter into a builder in good faith for at the time the improvements were built on the premises, the (ostensible) “donation” was yet to be fulfilled, i.e., it was a mere expectancy of ownership that may or may not be realized. More importantly, even as that promise was fulfilled, the donation is void for AMADOR’s heirs were not the owners of the Lot

18 DE LA CERNA SPECPRO DIGESTS 2011 AMIN | CHA | JANZ | KRIZEL | VIEN

Tan v. Benolirao et. al.
Brion, J. Quickie: Contract to sell a parcel of land between TAN (buyer) and CO-OWNERS. LAMBERTO (coowner) died. Extrajudicial partition between the heirs. New certificate of title was issued in favour of the original CO-OWNERS minus LAMBERTO plus his CHILDREN with annotation pursuant to Sec. 4, Rule 74. TAN refused to pay the balance of the purchase price claiming that the annotation on the title constituted an encumbrance on the property that would prevent the vendors from delivering a clean title to him. TAN filed a complaint. HELD: By the time Tan’s obligation to pay the balance of the purchase price arose on May 21, 1993 (on account of the extensions granted), a new certificate of title covering the property had already been issued on March 26, 1993, which contained the encumbrance on the property; the encumbrance would remain so attached until the expiration of the 2 year period. Clearly, the vendors could no longer compel Tan to pay the balance of the purchase since considering they themselves could not fulfill their obligation to transfer a clean title over the property to Tan. Nature: petition for review on certiorari Facts:  SPS. Lamberto and Erlinda BENOLIRAO and the SPS. Reynaldo and Norma TANINGCO were CO-OWNERS of parcel of land located in Tagaytay City  The CO-OWNERS executed a Deed of Conditional Sale over the property in favor of Delfin TAN for P1,378,000  The deed stated: (1) initial down-payment of P200,000 upon signing; (2) remaining balance - payable within 150 days from date hereof without interest; (3) BUYER fails to pay the remaining balance within the period, the BUYER shall have a grace period of 60 days within which to make the payment, provided that there shall be an interest of 15% per annum on the balance amount due (4) BUYER fails to comply with the terms and conditions within the grace period, then the SELLERS shall have the right to forfeit the down payment, and to rescind this conditional sale without need of judicial action; (5) BUYER have complied with the terms and conditions of this contract, then the SELLERS shall execute and deliver to the BUYER the appropriate Deed of Absolute Sale;  TAN issued and delivered to the CO-OWNERS a check for P200,000 as down payment, for which the vendors issued a corresponding receipt.  LAMBERTO died intestate. ERLINDA AND HER CHILDREN, as heirs of the deceased, executed an extrajudicial settlement of Lamberto’s estate.  A new certificate of title over the property was issued in the names of the SPS. TANINGCO and ERLINDA and her children. Pursuant to Section 4, Rule 74, the following annotation was made on the TCT: any liability to creditors, excluded heirs and other persons having right to the property, for a period of 2 years, with respect only to the share of Erlinda, Andrew, Romano and Dion, all surnamed Benolirao 

604 SCRA 36 (2009)
TAN had until March 15, 1993 to pay the balance of the purchase price. By agreement of the parties, the period to pay the balance was extended by 2 months. Tan failed to pay and asked for another extension, which the vendors again granted. Tan still failed to pay. The vendors thus wrote him a letter demanding payment within 5 days from notice; otherwise, they would declare the rescission of the conditional sale and the forfeiture of his down payment. TAN refused to comply with the vendors’ demand and instead wrote them a letter claiming that the annotation on the title constituted an encumbrance on the property that would prevent the vendors from delivering a clean title to him. He alleged that he could no longer be required to pay the balance and demanded the return of his down payment. When the vendors refused to refund the down payment. TAN sent another demand letter and he vendors still refused to heed Tan’s demand TAN filed a complaint with the RTC of Pasay City for specific performance against the vendors, including Andrew, Romano, Dion as heirs of Lamberto, together with Evelyn Monreal and Ann Karina Taningco (RESPONDENTS) o there was a novation of the Deed of Conditional Sale done without his consent since the annotation on the title created an encumbrance over the property. o prayed for refund and rescission of the contract. o amended his Complaint - contending that if the respondents insist on forfeiting the down payment, he would be willing to pay the balance provided there is reformation of the Deed of Conditional Sale. TAN caused the annotation on the title of a notice of lis pendens. RESPONDENTS executed a Deed of Absolute Sale over the property in favor of Hector DE GUZMAN for P689,000 RESPONDENTS moved for the cancellation of the notice of lis pendens on the ground that it was inappropriate since the case that Tan filed was a personal action which did not involve either title to, or possession of, real property. The RTC issued an order granting the motion to cancel the lis pendens annotation on the title. DE GUZMAN registered the property and a TCT was issued in his name. TAN then filed a motion to carry over the lis pendens annotation to the TCT registered in de Guzman’s name – denied. RTC rendered judgment ruling that the forfeiture of Tan’s down payment was proper in accordance with the terms and conditions of the contract between the parties. CA affirmed.

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Issue/Held: Is an annotation made pursuant to Section 4, Rule 74 on a certificate of title covering real property considered an encumbrance on the property? YES

19 Ratio: Lis pendens annotation is not proper in personal actions  Section 14, Rule 13 enumerates the instances when a notice of lis pendens can be validly annotated on the title to real property: Sec. 14. Notice of lis pendens. In an action affecting the title or the right of possession of real property, the plaintiff and the defendant, when affirmative relief is claimed in his answer, may record in the office of the registry of deeds of the province in which the property is situated a notice of the pendency of the action. Said notice shall contain the names of the parties and the object of the action or defense, and a description of the property in that province affected thereby. Only from the time of filing such notice for record shall a purchaser, or encumbrancer of the property affected thereby, be deemed to have constructive notice of the pendency of the action, and only of its pendency against the parties designated by their real names. The notice of lis pendens hereinabove mentioned may be cancelled only upon order of the court, after proper showing that the notice is for the purpose of molesting the adverse party, or that it is not necessary to protect the rights of the party who caused it to be recorded. The litigation subject of the notice of lis pendens must directly involve a specific property which is necessarily affected by the judgment.  Tan’s complaint is an in personam action, as Tan asked the court to compel the respondents to do something – either to rescind the contract and return the down payment, or to reform the contract by extending the period given to pay the remaining balance of the purchase price. Either way, Tan wants to enforce his personal rights against the respondents, not against the property subject of the Deed.  Domagas v. Jensen - The settled rule is that the aim and object of an action determine its character. Whether a proceeding is in rem, or in personam, or quasi in rem for that matter, is determined by its nature and purpose, and by these only. A proceeding in personam is a proceeding to enforce personal rights and obligations brought against the person and is based on the jurisdiction of the person, although it may involve his right to, or the exercise of ownership of, specific property, or seek to compel him to control or dispose of it in accordance with the mandate of the court. The purpose of a proceeding in personam is to impose, through the judgment of a court, some responsibility or liability directly upon the person of the defendant. Of this character are suits to compel a defendant to specifically perform some act or actions to fasten a pecuniary liability on him. The Contract is a mere contract to sell  The contract between the parties was merely a contract to sell where the vendors retained title and ownership to the property until Tan had fully paid the purchase price. Since Tan had no claim of ownership or title to the property yet, he obviously had no right to ask for the annotation of a lis pendens notice on the title of the property. Section 4, Rule 74 annotation is an encumbrance on the property  While Tan admits that he refused to pay the balance of the purchase price, he claims that he had valid reason to do so – the sudden appearance of an annotation on the DE LA CERNA SPECPRO DIGESTS 2011 AMIN | CHA | JANZ | KRIZEL | VIEN title pursuant to Section 4, Rule 74 of the Rules, which Tan considered an encumbrance on the property - MERITORIOUS The annotation was placed on the new title issued to reflect the extrajudicial partition of Lamberto Benolirao’s estate among his heirs Section 4, Rule 74 of the Rules: Liability of distributees and estate. - If it shall appear at any time within 2 years after the settlement and distribution of an estate in accordance with the provisions of either of the first two sections of this rule, that an heir or other person has been unduly deprived of his lawful participation in the estate, such heir or such other person may compel the settlement of the estate in the courts in the manner hereinafter provided for the purpose of satisfying such lawful participation. And if within the same time of 2 years, it shall appear that there are debts outstanding against the estate which have not been paid, or that an heir or other person has been unduly deprived of his lawful participation payable in money, the court having jurisdiction of the estate may , by order for that purpose, after hearing, settle the amount of such debts or lawful participation and order how much and in what manner each distributee shall contribute in the payment thereof, and may issue execution, if circumstances require, against the bond provided in the preceding section or against the real estate belonging to the deceased, or both. Such bond and such real estate shall remain charged with a liability to creditors, heirs, or other persons for the full period of 2 years after such distribution, notwithstanding any transfers of real estate that may have been made. Francisco - The provision of Section 4, Rule 74 prescribes the procedure to be followed if within 2 years after an extrajudicial partition is made, an heir or other person appears to have been deprived of his lawful participation in the estate, or some outstanding debts which have not been paid are discovered. o When the lawful participation of the heir is not payable in money, there can be no other procedure than to cancel the partition so made and make a new division, unless, of course, the heir agrees to be paid the value of his participation with interest. o When lawful participation of the heir consists in his share in personal property of money left by the decedent, or in case unpaid debts are discovered within the said period of 2 years, the procedure is not to cancel the partition, nor to appoint an administrator to re-assemble the assets, but the court, after hearing, shall fix the amount of such debts or lawful participation in proportion to or to the extent of the assets they have respectively received and, if circumstances require, it may issue execution against the real estate belonging to the decedent, or both. o An annotation is placed on new certificates of title issued pursuant to the distribution and partition of a decedent’s real properties to warn third persons on the possible interests of excluded heirs or unpaid creditors in these properties. The annotation creates a legal encumbrance or lien on the real property in favor of the excluded heirs or creditors o The cancellation of the sale would be the logical consequence where: (a) the annotation clearly appears on the title, warning all would-be buyers; (b) the sale unlawfully interferes with the rights of heirs; and (c) the rightful heirs bring an action to question the transfer within the 2-year period provided by law.

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20   DE LA CERNA SPECPRO DIGESTS 2011 Contract to sell is not rescinded but terminated. The remedy of rescission under Article 1191 cannot apply to mere contracts to sell. The contract to sell was terminated when the vendors could no longer legally compel Tan to pay the balance of the purchase price as a result of the legal encumbrance which attached to the title of the property. Since Tan’s refusal to pay was due to the supervening event of a legal encumbrance on the property and not through his own fault or negligence, we find and so hold that the forfeiture of Tan’s down payment was clearly unwarranted. AMIN | CHA | JANZ | KRIZEL | VIEN

21 DE LA CERNA SPECPRO DIGESTS 2011 AMIN | CHA | JANZ | KRIZEL | VIEN

Sampilo v. CA, et. al.
Labrador, J. Quickie: Wife executed affidavit stating she was sole heir. Wife sold lots to Sampilo. Sampilo sold to Salacup. Affidavit and both sales were registered with the Register of Deed in Pangasinan. Sale of land to Salacup happened a few days before institution of intestate proceedings by Felisa and the annotation of notice of lis pendens. CFI and CA both held the affidavit of adjudication null and void. Sampilo et. al said the action has already prescribed for having been outside the 2-year period allowed in Rule 74 Sec. 4. Court held that the 2-year prescriptive period is applicable only with regard to persons who took part in the prior settlement and distribution of the estate. To extend the effects of the settlement to them, to those who did not take part or had no knowledge thereof, without any express legal provision to that effect, would be violative of the fundamental right to due process of law. Nature: Certiorari against decision of the Court of Appeals, Third Division, affirming with slight modification a judgment of the Court of First Instance of Pangasinan, declaring plaintiffs owners of one-half portion of four parcels of land described in the complaint, with costs. The judgment was rendered in an action instituted by Felisa Sinopera, administrative of the estate of Teodoro Tolete, to recover from defendants one-half share of the aforesaid parcels of land, which, it is alleged belong to the deceased Teodoro Tolete. Facts:  Teodoro Tolete died intestate in January, 1945. He left four parcels of land1 in San Manuel, Pangasinan.  HEIRS: his widow, Leoncia de Leon, and several nephews and nieces, children of deceased brothers and sisters.  July 25, 1946  without any judicial proceedings, his widow executed an affidavit basically saying that she was the only heir of the deceased2 o This affidavit was registered in the Office of the Register of Deeds of Pangasinan.  On the same day, she executed a deed of sale of all the above parcels of land in favor of Benny Sampilo for the sum of P10,000. This sale was also registered in the Office of the Register of Deeds of Pangasinan.  June 17, 1950: Benny Sampilo, in turn, sold the said parcels of land to Honorato Salacup for P50,000 and this sale was also registered in the Office of the Register of Deeds of Pangasinan  

103 Phil 70 (1958)
March 1950: Felisa Sinopera instituted proceedings for the administration of the estate of Teodoro Tolete (Special Proceeding No. 3694, Pangasinan), and having secured her appointment as administratrix, brought the present action on June 20, 1950. Notice of lis pendens was filed in the Office of the Register of Deeds and said notice was recorded on certificates of title covering the said properties on June 26, 1950. This notice, however, was subsequent to the registration of the deed of sale, in favor of Honorato Salacup, which took place on June 17, 1950. The complaint alleges that the widow Leoncia de Leon, had no right to execute the affidavit of adjudication and that Honorato Salacup acquired no rights to the lands sold to him, and that neither had Benny Sampilo acquired any right to the said properties. Sampilo and Salacup filed an amended answer alleging that the complaint states no cause of action; that if such a cause exists the same is barred by the statute of limitations; that defendants are innocent purchasers for value; and that the complaint is malicious, frivolous and spurious, intended to harass and inconvenience the defendants. CFI rendered judgment in favor of Felisa Sinopera, declaring that the affidavit and the 2 sales null and void; o Also, declaring plaintiff owner of one-half portion of the four parcels of land in question, and finally declaring that the usufructuary rights of Leoncia de Leon to said properties are terminated. CA upheld the annulment of the affidavit, but only held the sales null and void as to the ½ portion

Issues/Held: 1) W/N that the action has prescribed because it was instituted 4 years after the execution of the affidavit, thereby violating the 2-year prescriptive period in Rule74 Sec. 4– NO. 2) W/N the action is barred by the statute of limitations – NO. 3) W/N Sampilo and Salacup were buyers in good faith – NO. Ratio: 1) 

Section 4 of Rule 74 provides, in part, as follows: SEC. 4. Liability of distributees and estate. — If it shall appear at any time within two years after the settlement and distribution of an estate in accordance with the provisions of either of the first two sections of this rule, that an heir or other has been unduly deprived of his lawful participation of the such heir or such other person may compel the settlement estate in the courts in the manner hereinafter provided for the purpose of satisfying such lawful participation. . . .

lots Nos. 12006, 119967, 14352 and 12176 of the cadastral survey of San Manuel, Pangasinan "the deceased Teodoro Tolete left no children or respondent neither ascendants or acknowledged natural children neither brother, sisters, nephews or nieces, but the, widow Leoncia de Leon, the legitimate wife of the deceased, the one and only person to inherit the above properties"
1 2

Section 1, which is mentioned in Section 4, reads as follows:

22 DE LA CERNA SPECPRO DIGESTS 2011 SEC. 1. Extrajudcial settlement by agreement between the heirs. — If the decedent left no debts and the heirs and legatees are all of age, or the minors are represented by their judicial guardians, the parties may, without securing letters of administration, divide the estate among themselves as they see fit by means of a public instrument filed in the office of the register of deeds, and should they disagree, they may do so in an ordinary action of partition. If there is only one heir or one legatee, he may adjudicate to himself the entire estate by means of an affidavit filed in the office of the register of deeds. It shall be presumed that the decedent left no debts if no creditor files a petition for letters of administration within two years after the death of the decedent. We notice two significant provisions in Sections 1 and 4 of Rule 74. o In Section 1, it is required that if there are two or more heirs, both or all of them should take part in the extrajudicial settlement. o By the title of Section 4, the "distributees and estate" indicates the persons to answer for rights violated by the extrajudicial settlement. On the other hand, it is also significant that no mention is made expressly of the effect of the extrajudicial settlement on persons who did not take part therein or had no notice or knowledge thereof. o There cannot be any doubt that those who took part or had knowledge of the extrajudicial settlement are bound thereby. As to them the law is clear that if they claim to have been in any manner deprived of their lawful right or share in the estate by the extrajudicial settlement, they may demand their rights or interest within the period of two years, and both the distributes and estate would be liable to them for such rights or interest. Evidently, they are the persons in accordance with the provision, may seek to remedy, the prejudice to their rights within the two-year period. But as to those who did not take part in the settlement or had no notice of the death of the decedent or of the settlement, there is no direct or express provision is unreasonable and unjust that they also be required to assert their claims within the period of two years. o To extend the effects of the settlement to them, to those who did not take part or had no knowledge thereof, without any express legal provision to that effect, would be violative of the fundamental right to due process of law. The procedure outlined in Section 1 of Rule 74 of extrajudicial settlement, or by affidavit, is an ex parte proceeding. It cannot by any reason or logic be contended that such settlement or distribution would affect third persons who had no knowledge either of the death of the decedent or of the extrajudicial settlement or affidavit, especially as no mention of such effect is made, either directly or by implication. We have examined the two cases cited by appellants and there is no similarity at all between the circumstances on which the ruling therein had been predicated and those of the case at bar. AMIN | CHA | JANZ | KRIZEL | VIEN partition, and, in addition, (2) when the provisions of Section 1 of Rule 74 have been strictly complied with, i.e., that all the persons or heirs of the decedent have taken part in the extrajudicial settlement or are represented by themselves or through guardians.  The case at bar fails to comply with both requirements because not all the heirs interested have participated in the extrajudicial settlement, the Court of Appeals having found that the decedent left aside from his widow, nephews and nieces living at the time of his death. 2) The origin of the Provision (Section 4, Rule 74), upon which this contention is predicated, which is Section 596 of Act No. 190, fails to support the contention.  In the first place, there is nothing therein, or in its source which shows clearly a statute of limitations and a bar of action against third person's. It is only a bar against the parties who had taken part in the extrajudicial proceedings but not against third persons not Parties thereto.  In the second place, the statute of limitations is contained in a different chapter of Act No. 190, Chapter XL, and if Section 596 of the Act had been meant to be a statute of limitations, it would naturally have been included in the chapter which defines the statute.  But even if Section 4 of Rule 74 is a statute of limitations, it is still unavailing to the defendants. The action is one based on fraud, as the widow of the deceased owner of the lands had declared in her affidavit of partition that the deceased left no nephews or niece, or other heirs except herself. Plaintiff's right which is based on fraud and which has a period of four years (Section 43, par. 3, Act no. 190; Article 1146, Civil Code), does not appear to have lapsed the action was instituted. Judicial proceedings where instituted in March, 1950 and these proceedings must have been instituted soon after the discovery of fraud. In any case, the defendants have the burden of proof as to their claim of the statute of limitations, which is their defense, and they have not proved that when the action was instituted, four years had already elapsed from the date that the interested parties had actual knowledge of the fraud. The claim that defendants-appellants did not have sufficient knowledge or notice of the claim of the heirs of Teodoro Tolete, deceased, over the land in question does not find support in the evidence of record.  As regards defendant Benny Sampilo, it is an admitted fact that he is a nephew of Leoncia de Leon and he had been living with the latter. Both Benny Sampilo and the heirs of the deceased who are claiming the property are residents of San Manuel, Pangasinan. It is hard, therefore, to believe that Benny Sampilo did not know the existence of said heirs, and that he was not aware that they were nephews and nieces, children of the deceased brothers, of the deceased Teodoro Tolete.  The fact furthermore that Benny Sampilo accompanied his aunt Leoncia de Leon to Sison, Pangasinan, when the latter saw Notary Public Ladislao Villamil, who was the former's uncle, to have him prepare the affidavit of adjudication and the deed of conveyance by which on the same date she conveyed to Sampilo all the property which she had adjudicated to herself, both of which she acknowledged before said notary public, coupled with the fact that there is

3)

We are of the opinion and so hold that the provisions of Section 4 of Rule 74, barring distributees or heirs from objecting to an extrajudicial partition after the expiration of two years from such extrajudicial partition, is applicable only (1) to persons who have participated or taken part or had notice of the extrajudicial

23 DE LA CERNA SPECPRO DIGESTS 2011 no sufficient showing that the consideration for the conveyance of P10,000 had in fact been paid, strengthens our belief that said Benny Sampilo knew that the deceased Teodoro Tolete had other heirs who may claim the property, and that the immediate conveyance thereof to him was a strategem concocted to defeat the former's rights. And as regards Honorato Salacup, while the claim that no notice of lis pendens appeared annotated in the certificates of title issued to Benny Sampilo when he acquired the property might be true, for he purchased the property on June 17, 1950, and the notice of lis pendens was noted on said certificates of title on June 26, 1950, nevertheless, he cannot claim that he was a purchaser in good faith for value of the property. It is wellsettled rule in this jurisdiction that a purchaser of registered lands who has knowledge of facts which should put him upon inquiry and investigate as to the possible defects of the title of the vendor and fails to make such inquiry and investigation cannot claim that he as a purchaser in good faith for value and he had acquired a valid title thereto. AMIN | CHA | JANZ | KRIZEL | VIEN

Finding no error in the decision of the Court of Appeals, we hereby affirm it in toto, with costs against the petitioners. So ordered. Paras, C.J., Bengzon, Padilla, Montemayor, Reyes, A., Bautista Angelo, Concepcion, Reyes, J.B.L., Endencia and Felix, JJ., concur.

24 DE LA CERNA SPECPRO DIGESTS 2011 AMIN | CHA | JANZ | KRIZEL | VIEN

Sps. Pastor v. CA, et. al.
Quickie: Pastor Sr. died. One of his surviving heirs is an illegitimate child, Quemada. Quemada filed a petition for the probate and allowance of an alleged holographic will. Quemada also instituted an action for reconveyance of alleged properties of the estate against Pastor Jr. and his wife. Probate court issued an order allowing the will to probate. While the reconveyance suit was still being litigated, the PROBATE COURT issued the now assailed Order of Execution and Garnishment, resolving the question of ownership of the royalties payable by ATLAS and ruling in effect that the legacy to QUEMADA was not inofficious. The argument of petitioners is that the Orders for the payment of the legacy in alleged implementation of the Probate Order of 1972 are unwarranted for lack of basis because the questions of ownership of the mining properties and the intrinsic validity of the holographic will must first be resolved with finality. The Court held that the Probate Order not resolving the question of ownership of the properties listed in the estate inventory was appropriate, considering that the issue of ownership was the very subject of controversy in the reconveyance suit that was still pending in Branch IX of the Court of First Instance of Cebu. Re: the issue of intrinsic validity of the holographic will, it was not possible to determine whether the legacy of QUEMADA would produce an impairment of the legitime of the compulsory heirs, there has been no liquidation of conjugal partnership and prior definitive determination of the assets of the estate of PASTOR, SR yet. Nature: This is a case of hereditary succession. Facts:  Alvaro Pastor, Sr. (PASTOR, SR.), a Spanish subject, died in Cebu City on June 5, 1966, survived by his Spanish wife Sofia Bossio (who also died on October 21, 1966), their two legitimate children Alvaro Pastor, Jr. (PASTOR, JR.) and Sofia Pastor de Midgely (SOFIA), and an illegitimate child, not natural, by the name of Lewellyn Barlito Quemada QUEMADA PASTOR, JR. is a Philippine citizen, having been naturalized in 1936. SOFIA is a Spanish subject. QUEMADA is a Filipino by his mother's citizenship.  QUEMADA filed a petition for the probate and allowance of an alleged holographic will of PASTOR  will contained only one testamentary disposition: a legacy in favor of QUEMADA consisting of 30% of PASTOR, SR.'s 42% share in the operation by Atlas Consolidated Mining and Development Corporation (ATLAS) of some mining claims in Pina-Barot, Cebu.  QUEMADA as special administrator, instituted against PASTOR, JR. and his wife an action for reconveyance of alleged properties of the estate, which included the properties subject of the legacy and which were in the names of the spouses PASTOR, JR. and his wife, Maria Elena Achaval de Pastor, who claimed to be the owners thereof in their own rights, and not by inheritance.  PROBATE COURT issued an order allowing the will to probate (December 5, 1972) 

122 SCRA 885 (1983)
On August 20, 1980 ,while the reconveyance suit was still being litigated in Branch IX of the Court of First Instance of Cebu, the PROBATE COURT issued the now assailed Order of Execution and Garnishment, resolving the question of ownership of the royalties payable by ATLAS and ruling in effect that the legacy to QUEMADA was not inofficious. [There was absolutely no statement or claim in the Order that the Probate Order of December 5, 1972 had previously resolved the issue of ownership of the mining rights of royalties thereon, nor the intrinsic validity of the holographic will.] o order of August 20, 1980 found that as per the holographic will and a written acknowledgment of PASTOR, JR. dated June 17, 1962, of the above 60% interest in the mining claims belonging to the Pastor Group, 42% belonged to PASTOR, SR. and only 33% belonged to PASTOR, JR. The remaining 25% belonged to E. Pelaez, also of the Pastor Group. o The PROBATE COURT thus directed ATLAS to remit directly to QUEMADA the 42% royalties due decedent's estate, of which QUEMADA was authorized to retain 75% for himself as legatee and to deposit 25% with a reputable banking institution for payment of the estate taxes and other obligations of the estate. o The 33% share of PASTOR, JR. and/or his assignees was ordered garnished to answer for the accumulated legacy of QUEMADA from the time of PASTOR, SR.'s death, which amounted to over two million pesos.

Issues: 1) validity of the Order of execution and garnishment dated August 20, 1980 as well as the Orders subsequently issued allegedly to implement the Probate Order of December 5, 1972, to wit: the Order of November 11, 1980 declaring that the Probate Order of 1972 indeed resolved the issues of ownership and intrinsic validity of the will, and reiterating the Order of Execution dated August 20, 1980; and the Order of December 17, 1980 reducing to P2,251,516.74 the amount payable to QUEMADA representing the royalties he should have received from the death of PASTOR, SR. in 1966 up to February 1980.

Argument of petitioners: Before the provisions of the holographic win can be implemented, the questions of ownership of the mining properties and the intrinsic validity of the holographic will must first be resolved with finality.  the Probate Order could not have resolved and actually did not decide QUEMADA's entitlement to the legacy. This being so, the Orders for the payment of the legacy in alleged implementation of the Probate Order of 1972 are unwarranted for lack of basis.

25 DE LA CERNA SPECPRO DIGESTS 2011 2) whether the Probate Order of December 5, 1972 resolved with finality the questions of ownership and intrinsic validity.  A negative finding will necessarily render moot and academic the other issues raised by the parties, such as the jurisdiction of the Probate Court to conclusively resolve title to property, and the constitutionality and repercussions of a ruling that the mining properties in dispute, although in the name of PASTOR, JR. and his wife, really belonged to the decedent despite the latter's constitutional disqualification as an alien. Held: 1) Issue of Ownership a. As a rule, the question of ownership is an extraneous matter which the Probate Court cannot resolve with finality. Thus, for the purpose of determining whether a certain property should or should not be included in the inventory of estate properties, the Probate Court may pass upon the title thereto, but such determination is provisional, not conclusive, and is subject to the final decision in a separate action to resolve title. b. Nowhere in the dispositive portion is there a declaration of ownership of specific properties. On the contrary, it is manifest therein that ownership was not resolved. For it confined itself to the question of extrinsic validity of the win, and the need for and propriety of appointing a special administrator. c. That the Probate Order did not resolve the question of ownership of the properties listed in the estate inventory was appropriate, considering that the issue of ownership was the very subject of controversy in the reconveyance suit that was still pending in Branch IX of the Court of First Instance of Cebu. d. What, therefore, the Court of Appeals and, in effect, the Supreme Court affirmed en toto when they reviewed the Probable Order were only the matters properly adjudged in the said Order. e. In an attempt to justify the issuance of the Order of execution dated August 20, 1980, the Probate Court in its Order of November 11, 1980 explained that the basis for its conclusion that the question of ownership had been formally resolved by the Probate Order of 1972 are the findings in the latter Order that (1) during the lifetime of the decedent, he was receiving royalties from ATLAS; (2) he had resided in the Philippines since pre-war days and was engaged in the mine prospecting business since 1937 particularly in the City of Toledo; and (3) PASTOR, JR. was only acting as dummy for his father because the latter was a Spaniard. f. It was, therefore, error for the assailed implementing Orders to conclude that the Probate Order adjudged with finality the question of ownership of the mining properties and royalties, and that, premised on this conclusion, the AMIN | CHA | JANZ | KRIZEL | VIEN dispositive portion of the said Probate Order directed the special administrator to pay the legacy in dispute. Issue of Intrinsic Validity of the Holographic Will a. When PASTOR, SR. died in 1966, he was survived by his wife, aside from his two legitimate children and one illegitimate son. There is therefore a need to liquidate the conjugal partnership and set apart the share of PASTOR, SR.'s wife in the conjugal partnership preparatory to the administration and liquidation of the estate of PASTOR, SR. which will include, among others, the determination of the extent of the statutory usufructuary right of his wife until her death. * i. When the disputed Probate order was issued on December 5, 1972, there had been no liquidation of the community properties of PASTOR, SR. and his wife. b. Also, there had been no prior definitive determination of the assets of the estate of PASTOR, SR. i. There was an inventory of his properties presumably prepared by the special administrator, but it does not appear that it was ever the subject of a hearing or that it was judicially approved. ii. The reconveyance or recovery of properties allegedly owned but not in the name of PASTOR, SR. was still being litigated in another court. c. There was no appropriate determination, much less payment, of the debts of the decedent and his estate. Indeed, it was only in the Probate Order of December 5, 1972 where the Probate Court ordered that... a notice be issued and published pursuant to the provisions of Rule 86 of the Rules of Court, requiring all persons having money claims against the decedent to file them in the office of the Branch Clerk of this Court." d. e. f. Nor had the estate tax been determined and paid, or at least provided for, as of December 5, 1972. The net assets of the estate not having been determined, the legitime of the forced heirs in concrete figures could not be ascertained. All the foregoing deficiencies considered, it was not possible to determine whether the legacy of QUEMADA - a fixed share in a specific property rather than an aliquot part of the entire net estate of the deceased - would produce an impairment of the legitime of the compulsory heirs.

2)

Finally, there actually was no determination of the intrinsic validity of the will in other respects. It was obviously for this reason that as late as March 5, 1980 - more than 7 years after the Probate Order was issued the Probate Court scheduled on March 25, 1980 a hearing on the intrinsic validity of the will.

26 DE LA CERNA SPECPRO DIGESTS 2011 AMIN | CHA | JANZ | KRIZEL | VIEN

In re Estate of Johnson
Street , J.: Quickie: Hay naku, long case with many issues pero yung relevant to the topic konti lang tapos sa dulo pa. Sensya na sa haba, Daughter from first wife appeared three months after will was admitted to probate. She now seeks to annul the decree of probate and put the estate into intestate administration, thus preparing the way for the establishment of the claim of the petitioner as the sole legitimate heir of her father. Court said this can’t be done because she didn’t file within 6 months an application from relief of judgment. Also, the probate of the will does not affect the intrinsic validity of its provisions, the decree of probate being conclusive only as regards the due execution of the will. If, therefore, upon the distribution of this estate, it should appear that any legacy given by the will or other disposition made therein is contrary to the law applicable in such case, the will must necessarily yield upon that point and the law must prevail. Nevertheless, it should not be forgotten that the intrinsic validity of the provisions of this will must be determined by the law of Illinois and not, as the appellant apparently assumes, by the general provisions here applicable in such matters Nature: Motion to vacate order of trial court Facts:  Emil H. Johnson, a native of Sweden and a naturalized citizen of the United States, died in the city of Manila, leaving a will by which he disposed of an estate, the value of which, as estimated by him, was P231,800.  The biographical facts relative to the deceased necessary to an understanding of the case are these: o Emil H. Johnson ;born in Sweden; emigrated to the United States and lived in Chicago, Illinois; married to Rosalie Ackeson, and immediately thereafter embarked for the Philippine Islands as a soldier in the Army of the United States. ; daughter, named Ebba Ingeborg  This document is an holographic instrument, being written in the testator's own handwriting, and is signed by himself and two witnesses only, instead of three witnesses required by section 618 of the Code of Civil Procedure.  This will, therefore, was not executed in conformity with the provisions of law generally applicable to wills executed by inhabitants of these Islands, and hence could not have been proved under section 618.  Petition was presented in the Court of First Instance of the city of Manila for the probate of this will, on the ground that Johnson was at the time of his death a citizen of the State of Illinois, United States of America; that the will was duly executed in accordance with the laws of that State; and hence could properly be probated here pursuant to section 636 of the Code of Civil Procedure.     o

39 Phil 156 (1918)
This section reads as follows: Will made here by alien. — A will made within the Philippine Islands by a citizen or subject of another state or country, which is executed in accordance with the law of the state or country of which he is a citizen or subject, and which might be proved and allowed by the law of his own state or country, may be proved, allowed, and recorded in the Philippine Islands, and shall have the same effect as if executed according to the laws of these Islands. Document was declared to be legal and was admitted to probate. At the same time an order was made nominating Victor Johnson and John T. Pickett as administrators of the estate, with the sill annexed. Shortly thereafter Pickett signified his desire not to serve, and Victor Johnson was appointed sole administrator. After Johnson was discharged as a soldier from the service of the United States he continued to live in the Philippine Islands, and wife, Rosalie Johnson, was granted a decree of divorce from him in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, on the ground of desertion. A little later Johnson appeared in the United States on a visit and procured a certificate of naturalization at Chicago. From Chicago he appears to have gone to Sweden, where a photograph, exhibited in evidence in this case, was taken. When this visit was concluded, the deceased returned to Manila, where he prospered in business and continued to live until his death. In this city he appears to have entered into marital relations with Alejandra Ibañez, by whom he had three children Three months after the will had been probated, the attorneys for Ebba Ingeborg Johnson entered an appearance in her behalf and noted an exception to the other admitting the will to probate. Same attorneys moved the court to vacate the order ; motion denied As will be discerned, the purpose of the proceeding on behalf of the petitioner is to annul the decree of probate and put the estate into intestate administration, thus preparing the way for the establishment of the claim of the petitioner as the sole legitimate heir of her father.

 

Issues/ Held: 1) WON CFI of Manila’ proceedings on the probate of the will were valid and regular- YES; 6 months may be insufficient time for travel, but there are other remedies provided in the law 2) WON testator was a resident of the State of Illinois and that the will was made in conformity with the laws of that State- YES Ratio:  In re Davis (136 Cal., 590, 596), "the proceeding as to the probate of a will is essentially one in rem, and in the very nature of things the state is allowed a wide latitude in determining the character of the constructive notice to be given to the world in a proceeding where it has absolute possession of the res. It would be an exceptional case where a court would declare a statute void, as depriving a party of

27 DE LA CERNA SPECPRO DIGESTS 2011 his property without due process of law, the proceeding being strictly in rem, and the res within the state, upon the ground that the constructive notice prescribed by the statute was unreasonably short." The laws of these Islands, in contrast with the laws in force in perhaps all of the States of the American Union, contain no special provision, other than that allowing an appeal in the probate proceedings, under which relief of any sort can be obtained from an order of a court of first instance improperly allowing or disallowing a will. We do, however, have a provision of a general nature authorizing a court under certain circumstances to set aside any judgment, order, or other proceeding whatever. This provision is found in section 113 of the Code of Civil Procedure, which reads as follows: “Upon such terms as may be just the court may relieve a party or his legal representative from a judgment, order or other proceeding taken against him through his mistake, inadvertence, surprise or excusable neglect; Provided, That application therefor be made within a reasonable time, but in no case exceeding six months after such judgment, order, or proceeding was taken. ” The utility of the provision is not limited to actions proper but extends to all sorts of judicial proceedings. In the second section of the Code of Civil Procedure it is declared that the provisions of this Code shall be liberally construed to promote its object and to assist the parties in obtaining speedy justice. We think that the intention thus exhibited should be applied in the interpretation of section 113; and we hold that the word "party," used in this section, means any person having an interest in the subject matter of the proceeding who is in a position to be concluded by the judgment, order, to other proceeding taken. The petitioner, therefore, in this case could have applied, under the section cited, at any time within six months for March 16, 1916, and upon showing that she had been precluded from appearing in the probate proceedings by conditions over which she had no control and that the order admitting the will to probate had been erroneously entered upon insufficient proof or upon a supposed state of facts contrary to the truth, the court would have been authorized to set the probate aside and grant a rehearing. It is no doubt true that six months was, under the circumstances, a very short period of time within which to expect the petitioner to appear and be prepared to contest the probate with the proof which she might have desired to collect from remote countries. Nevertheless, although the time allowed for the making of such application was inconveniently short, the remedy existed; and the possibility of its use is proved in this case by the circumstance that on June 12, 1916, she in fact here appeared in court by her attorneys and excepted to the order admitting the will to probate. It results that, in conformity with the doctrine announced in the Davis case, above cited, the proceedings in the court below were conducted in such manner as to constitute due process of law. The law supplied a remedy by which the petitioner might have gotten a hearing and have obtained relief from the order by which she is supposed to have been injured; and though the period within which the application should have been made was short, the remedy was both possible and practicable. From what has been said it follows that the order of March 16, 1916, admitting the will of Emil H. Johnson to probate cannot be declared null and void merely because AMIN | CHA | JANZ | KRIZEL | VIEN the petitioner was unavoidably prevented from appearing at the original hearing upon the matter of the probate of the will in question. Intimately connected with the question of the jurisdiction of the court, is another matter which may be properly discussed at this juncture. This relates to the interpretation to be placed upon section 636 of the Code of Civil Procedure. We are of the opinion that, by the most reasonable interpretation of the language used in the statute, the words "another state or country" include the United States and the States of the American Union, and that the operation of the statute is not limited to wills of aliens. It is a rule of hermeneutics that punctuation and capitalization are aids of low degree in interpreting the language of a statute and can never control against the intelligible meaning of the written words. Furthermore, the epigraph, or heading,, of a section, being nothing more than a convenient index to the contents of the provision, cannot have the effect of limiting the operative words contained in the body of the text. It results that if Emil H. Johnson was at the time of his death a citizen of the United States and of the State of Illinois, his will was provable under this section in the courts of the Philippine Islands, provided the instrument was so executed as to be admissible to probate under the laws of the State of Illinois. The order of the Court of First Instance admitting the will to probate recites, among other things: That upon the date when the will in question was executed Emil H. Johnson was a citizen of the United States, naturalized in the State of Illinois, County of Cook, and that the will in question was executed in conformity with the dispositions of the law f the State of Illinois. We consider this equivalent to a finding that upon the date of the execution of the will the testator was a citizen of the State of Illinois and that the will was executed in conformity with the laws of that State. Upon the last point the finding is express; and in our opinion the statement that the testator was a citizen of the United States, naturalized in the State of Illinois, should be taken to imply that he was a citizen of the State of Illinois, as well as of the United States. The naturalization laws of the United States require, as a condition precedent to the granting of the certificate of naturalization, that the applicant should have resided at least five years in the United States and for one year within the State or territory where the court granting the naturalization papers is held; and in the absence of clear proof to the contrary it should be presumed that a person naturalized in a court of a certain State thereby becomes a citizen of that State as well as of the United States. In this connection it should be remembered that the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States declares, in its opening words, that all persons naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. It is noteworthy that the petition by which it is sought to annul the probate of this will does not assert that the testator was not a citizen of Illinois at the date when the will was executed. The most that is said on this point is he was "never a resident of the State of Illinois after the year 1898, but became and was a resident of the city of Manila," etc. But residence in the Philippine Islands is compatible with citizenship in Illinois; and it must be considered that the allegations of the petition on this point

 

 

 

28 DE LA CERNA SPECPRO DIGESTS 2011 are, considered in their bearing as an attempt to refute citizenship in Illinois, wholly insufficient. As the Court of First Instance found that the testator was a citizen of the State of Illinois and that the will was executed in conformity with the laws of that State, the will was necessarily and properly admitted to probate. In Section 625 of the Code of Civil Procedure it is declared that "the allowance by the court of a will of real or personal property shall be conclusive as to its due execution." The due execution of a will involves conditions relating to a number of matters, such as the age and mental capacity of the testator, the signing of the document by the testator, or by someone in his behalf, and the acknowledgment of the instrument by him in the presence of the required number of witnesses who affix their signatures to the will to attest the act. The proof of all these requisites is involved in the probate; and as to each and all of them the probate is conclusive. Our reported cases do not contain the slightest intimation that a will which has been probated according to law, and without fraud, can be annulled, in any other proceeding whatever, on account of any supposed irregularity or defect in the execution of the will or on account of any error in the action of the court upon the proof adduced before it. This court has never been called upon to decide whether, in case the probate of a will should be procured by fraud, relief could be granted in some other proceeding; and no such question is now presented. But it is readily seen that if fraud were alleged, this would introduce an entirely different factor in the case. The circumstance that the judgment of the trial court recites that the will was executed in conformity with the law of Illinois and also, in effect, that the testator was a citizen of that State places the judgment upon an unassailable basis so far as any supposed error apparent upon the fact of the judgment is concerned. It is, however, probable that even if the judgment had not contained these recitals, there would have been a presumption from the admission of the will to probate as the will of a citizen of Illinois that the facts were as recited in the order of probate. The Court of First Instance is a court of original and general jurisdiction; and there is no difference in its faculties in this respect whether exercised in matters of probate or exerted in ordinary contentious litigation. The trial court therefore necessarily had the power to determine the facts upon which the propriety of admitting the will to probate depended; and the recital of those facts in the judgment was probably not essential to its validity. No express ruling is, however, necessary on this point. What has been said effectually disposes of the petition considered in its aspect as an attack upon the order of probate for error apparent on the face of the record. But the petitioner seeks to have the judgment reviewed, it being asserted that the findings of the trial court — especially on the question of the citizenship of the testator — are not supported by the evidence. It needs but a moment's reflection, however, to show that in such a proceeding as this it is not possible to reverse the original order on the ground that the findings of the trial court are unsupported by the proof adduced before that court. The only proceeding in which a review of the evidence can be secured is by appeal, and the case is not before us upon appeal from the original order admitting the will to probate. The present proceedings by petition to set aside the order of probate, and the appeal herein is from the order denying this relief. It is obvious that on appeal from AMIN | CHA | JANZ | KRIZEL | VIEN an order refusing to vacate a judgment it is not possible to review the evidence upon which the original judgment was based. To permit this would operate unduly to protract the right of appeal. The principal controversy is over the citizenship of the testator. The evidence adduced upon this point in the trial court consists of the certificate of naturalization granted upon January 10, 1903, in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, in connection with certain biographical facts contained in the oral evidence. The certificate of naturalization supplies incontrovertible proof that upon the date stated the testator became a citizen of the United States, and inferentially also a citizen of said State. In the testimony submitted to the trial court it appears that, when Johnson first came to the United States as a boy, he took up his abode in the State of Illinois and there remained until he came as a soldier in the United States Army to the Philippine Islands. Although he remained in these Islands for sometime after receiving his discharge, no evidence was adduced showing that at the time he returned to the United States, in the autumn of 1902, he had then abandoned Illinois as the State of his permanent domicile, and on the contrary the certificate of naturalization itself recites that at that time he claimed to be a resident of Illinois. Now, if upon January 10, 1903, the testator became a citizen of the United States and of the State of Illinois, how has he lost the character of citizen with respect to either of these jurisdictions? There is no law in force by virtue of which any person of foreign nativity can become a naturalized citizen of the Philippine Islands; and it was, therefore, impossible for the testator, even if he had so desired, to expatriate himself from the United States and change his political status from a citizen of the United States to a citizen of these Islands. This being true, it is to be presumed that he retained his citizenship in the State of Illinois along with his status as a citizen of the United States. It would be novel doctrine to Americans living in the Philippine Islands to be told that by living here they lose their citizenship in the State of their naturalization or nativity. We are not unmindful of the fact that when a citizen of one State leaves it and takes up his abode in another State with no intention of returning, he immediately acquires citizenship in the State of his new domicile. This is in accordance with that provision of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States which says that every citizen of the United States is a citizen of the State where in he resides. The effect of this provision necessarily is that a person transferring his domicile from one State to another loses his citizenship in the State of his original above upon acquiring citizenship in the State of his new abode. The acquisition of the new State citizenship extinguishes the old. That situation, in our opinion, has no analogy to that which arises when a citizen of an American State comes to reside in the Philippine Islands. Here he cannot acquire a new citizenship; nor by the mere change of domicile does he lose that which he brought with him. The proof adduced before the trial court must therefore be taken as showing that, at the time the will was executed, the testator was, as stated in the order of probate, a citizen of the State of Illinois. This, in connection with the circumstance that the petition does not even so much as deny such citizenship but only asserts that the testator was a resident of the Philippine Islands, demonstrates the impossibility of setting the probate aside for lack of the necessary citizenship on the part of the testator.

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29  DE LA CERNA SPECPRO DIGESTS 2011 The trial judge no doubt was satisfied that the will was properly executed by examining section 1874 of the Revised Statutes of Illinois, as exhibited in volume 3 of Starr & Curtis's Annotated Illinois Statutes, 2nd ed., p. 426; and he may have assumed that he could take judicial notice of the laws of Illinois under section 275 of the Code of Civil Procedure. If so, he was in our opinion, mistaken. that section authorizes the courts here to take judicial notice, among other things, of the acts of the legislative department of the United States. These words clearly have reference to Acts of the Congress of the United States; and we would hesitate to hold that our courts can, under this provision, take judicial notice of the multifarious laws of the various American States. Nor do we think that any such authority can be derived from the broader language, used in the same action, where it is said that our courts may take judicial notice of matters of public knowledge "similar" to those therein enumerated. The proper rule we think is to require proof of the statutes of the States of the American Union whenever their provisions are determinative of the issues in any action litigated in the Philippine courts. Though the trial court may have acted upon pure conjecture as to the law prevailing in the State of Illinois, its judgment could not be set aside, even upon application made within six months under section 113 of the Code of Civil procedure, unless it should be made to appear affirmatively that the conjecture was wrong. The affidavits by which the petition is accompanied contain no reference to the subject, and we are cited to no authority in the appellant's brief which might tent to raise a doubt as to the correctness of the conclusion of the trial court. It is very clear, therefore, that this point cannot be urged as of serious moment. It is sufficient to say that the probate of the will does not affect the intrinsic validity of its provisions, the decree of probate being conclusive only as regards the due execution of the will. If, therefore, upon the distribution of this estate, it should appear that any legacy given by the will or other disposition made therein is contrary to the law applicable in such case, the will must necessarily yield upon that point and the law must prevail. Nevertheless, it should not be forgotten that the intrinsic validity of the provisions of this will must be determined by the law of Illinois and not, as the appellant apparently assumes, by the general provisions here applicable in such matters; for in the second paragraph of article 10 of the Civil Code it is declared that "legal and testamentary successions, with regard to the order of succession, as well as to the amount of the successional rights and to the intrinsic validity of their provisions, shall be regulated by the laws of the nation of the person whose succession is in question, whatever may be the nature of the property and the country where it may be situate." From what has been said, it is, we think, manifest that the petition submitted to the court below on October 31, 1916, was entirely insufficient to warrant the setting aside of the other probating the will in question, whether said petition be considered as an attack on the validity of the decree for error apparent, or whether it be considered as an application for a rehearing based upon the new evidence submitted in the affidavits which accompany the petition. And in this latter aspect the petition is subject to the further fatal defect that it was not presented within the time allowed by law. AMIN | CHA | JANZ | KRIZEL | VIEN

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30 DE LA CERNA SPECPRO DIGESTS 2011 AMIN | CHA | JANZ | KRIZEL | VIEN

Manahan v. Manahan
Imperial, J. Quickie: ENGRACIA Manahan is the sister of the decedent DONATA. She was named in the will as executrix of the will, although the same will did not institute her as an heir. TIBURCIA thereafter sought probate of the same will. CFI Bulacan admitted the will into probate, after publication and notice requirements and after no opposition was filed in the same court. ENGRACIA moved for reconsideration contending that she was not notified of the probate of the will and that the same will did not comply with the extrinsic formalities prescribed by the Civil Code. HELD: Once a will has been authenticated and admitted to probate, questions relative to the validity thereof can no more be raised on appeal. The decree of probate is conclusive with respect to the due execution thereof and it cannot impugned on any of the grounds authorized by law, except that of fraud, in any separate or independent action or proceedings Nature: This is an appeal taken by Engracia Manahan from the order of the CFI Bulacan in the matter of the will of the deceased Donata Manahan, denying her motion for reconsideration and new trial. Facts:  On Aug 1930, TIBURCIA Manahan instituted Special Proceedings No. 4162, for the probate of the will of the deceased DONATA Manahan, who died in Bulacan on Aug 3, 1930  The petitioner herein (ENGRACIA), niece of the testatrix DONATA, was named the executrix in said will  CFI Bulacan set the date for the hearing and the necessary notice required by law was accordingly published  On the day of the hearing, no opposition thereto was filed and, after the evidence was presented, the court entered the decree admitting the will to probate as prayed for. The will was probated on Sept 22, 1930  CFI appointed the herein petitioner (ENGRACIA) as executrix with a bond of P1,000, and likewise appointed the committee on claims and appraisal, whereupon the testamentary proceedings followed the usual course  One year and seven months later, ENGRACIA filed a motion for reconsideration and a new trial, praying that the order admitting the will to probate be vacated and the authenticated will declared null and void ab initio. She contends that she should have been notified during the probate of the will, being an interested party and that in any case, the same will was void ab initio for failing to comply with the external formalities prescribed by the Civil Code  TIBURCIA, naturally filed her opposition to the petition and, after the corresponding hearing thereof, the CFI denied ENGRACIA’s motions ~hence, this appeal by ENGRACIA from the judgment admitting the will to probate and questioned orders of the CFI Bulacan

58 Phil 448 (1933)
Issue/s and Held: WON the probate of the will should be overturned because (1) ENGRACIA was not notified; (2) CFI ruled only on the authenticity but did not pronounce the probate of the will; and (2) for failure of will to comply with the formalities prescribed by the Civil Code  (1) No; (2) No; and (2) No. The probate of the will is affirmed. Ratio: (1) ENGRACIA was not entitled to notification of the probate of the will and neither had she the right to expect it, inasmuch as she was not an interested party, not having filed an opposition to the petition for the probate thereof. Her allegation that she had the status of an heir, being the deceased's sister, did not confer on her the right to be notified on the ground that the testatrix died leaving a will in which the appellant has not been instituted heir. Furthermore, not being a forced heir, she did not acquire any successional right. (2) The court decreed both the authentication and probate of the will in question, which is the only pronouncement required of the trial court by the law in order that the will may be considered valid and duly executed in accordance with the law. There is no essential difference between the authentication of a will and the probate thereof. The words authentication and probate are synonymous in this case. (3) Once a will has been authenticated and admitted to probate, questions relative to the validity thereof can no more be raised on appeal. The decree of probate is conclusive with respect to the due execution thereof and it cannot impugned on any of the grounds authorized by law, except that of fraud, in any separate or independent action or proceedings  Inasmuch as the proceedings followed in a testamentary case are in rem, the trial court's decree admitting the will to probate was effective and conclusive against her, in accordance with the provisions of Section 306 of the Code of Civil Procedure which reads as follows: “In case of a judgment or order against a specific thing, or in respect to the probate of a will, or the administration of the estate of a deceased person… the judgment or order is conclusive upon the title of the thing, the will or administration, or the condition or relation of the person: Provided, That the probate of a will or granting of letters of administration shall only be prima facie evidence of the death of the testator or intestate;”  Also, this appeal is erroneous since the orders of the trial court denying her motion for reconsideration and a new trial are interlocutory in character. She should not have been allowed to appeal until after the testamentary proceedings have been concluded. It is not timely to discuss on appeal of such interlocutory orders the validity and sufficiency of the execution of the will in question. This question should be raised in the trial court. But after due hearing, the CFI already found that the will in question was valid and effective and hence ordered it admitted to probate. Thus promulgated, such a ruling should be accepted and respected by all. The probate of the will in question now constitutes res judicata.

31 DE LA CERNA SPECPRO DIGESTS 2011 AMIN | CHA | JANZ | KRIZEL | VIEN

Balanay, Jr. v. Martinez
Aquino, J. Quickie: In a will, wife disposed of her husband’s ½-share of the conjugal assets and provided for the distribution of the properties among her children. Husband and one of the children opposed the probate of the will. Later on, husband withdrew his opposition and signed an instrument waiving his hereditary rights in favour of his 6 children and confirming that he and his wife agreed that their conjugal properties would be partitioned in the manner indicated in her will. CFI declared that the will as void. HELD: In view of certain unusual provisions of the will and because of the motion to withdraw the petition for probate, the trial court acted correctly in passing upon the will's intrinsic validity even before its formal validity had been established. The probate court erred in declaring that the will was void and in converting the testate proceeding into an intestate proceeding notwithstanding the fact that in its order, it gave effect to the surviving husband's conformity to the will and to his renunciation of his hereditary rights which presumably included his one-half share of the conjugal estate. The invalidity of one of several dispositions contained in a will does not result in the invalidity of the other dispositions, unless it is to be presumed that the testator would not have made such other dispositions if the first invalid disposition had not been made. Nature: appeal by certiorari Facts:  Leodegaria Julian, a native of Sta. Maria, Ilocos Sur, died on February 12, 1973 in Davao City at the age of 67. She was survived by her husband, FELIX Balanay, SR., and by their 6 legitimate children named FELIX Balanay, JR., AVELINA B. Antonio, Beatriz B. Solamo, Carolina B. Manguiob, DELIA B. Lanaban and Emilia B. Pabaonon.  Balanay, Jr. filed in the lower court a petition for the probate of his mother's notarial will dated September 5, 1970 which is written in English.  In that will Leodegaria declared (a) that she was the owner of the southern half of 9 conjugal lots; (b) that she was the absolute owner of 2 parcels of land which she inherited from her father, and (c) that it was her desire that her properties should not be divided among her heirs during her husband's lifetime and that their legitimes should be satisfied out of the fruits of her properties (d) that after her husband's death (82 years old in 1973) her paraphernal lands and all the conjugal lands (which she described as "my properties") should be divided and distributed in the manner set forth in that part of her will. She devised and partitioned the conjugal lands as if they were all owned by her. She disposed of in the will her husband's ½ share of the conjugal assets.  FELIX SR. and AVELINA opposed the probate of the will on the grounds of lack of testamentary capacity, undue influence, preterition of the husband and alleged improper partition of the conjugal estate.    

64 SCRA 452 (1975)
FELIX JR. in his reply to the opposition, attached an affidavit of FELIX SR. wherein he withdrew his opposition to the probate of the will and affirmed that he was interested in its probate. FELIX SR. signed an instrument captioned "Conformation of Division and Renunciation of Hereditary Rights" wherein he manifested that out of respect for his wife's will he "waived and renounced' his hereditary rights in her estate in favor of their 6 children. In that same instrument he confirmed the agreement, which he and his wife had perfected before her death, that their conjugal properties would be partitioned in the manner indicated in her will. AVELINA contended that the affidavit and "conformation" of Felix Balanay, Sr. were void. CFI Davao denied the opposition o gave effect to the affidavit and conformity of Felix Sr o appointed its branch clerk of court as special administrator AVELINA’s MR (a) that the testatrix illegally claimed that she was the owner of the southern half of the conjugal lots and (b) that she could not partition the conjugal estate by allocating portions of the 9 lots to her children. FELIX JR., through his counsel, Hermenegildo CABREROS, opposed that motion. CFI denied. Another lawyer appeared in the case. David O. MONTAÑA, Sr., claiming to be the lawyer of Felix Jr. (his counsel of record was Atty. Cabreros), filed a motion for leave of court to withdraw probate of alleged will of Leodegaria and requesting authority to proceed by intestate estate proceeding. o Claimed lawyer not only of Felix Jr. but also of Felix Sr., Beatriz B. Solamo, Carolina B. Manguiob and Emilia B. Pabaonon o assailed the provision of the will which partitioned the conjugal assets or allegedly effected a compromise of future legitimes. o prayed that the probate of the will be withdrawn and that the proceeding be converted into an intestate proceeding o asked that the corresponding notice to creditors be issued. AVELINA and DELIA, through Atty. Jose B. Guyo, manifested their conformity with the motion for the issuance of a notice to creditors. They prayed that the will be declared void for being contrary to law and that an intestacy be declared. CFI assumed that the issuance of a notice to creditors was in order since the parties had agreed on that point. It adopted the view that the will was void. Dismissed the petition for the probate, converted the testate proceeding into an intestate proceeding, ordered the issuance of a notice to creditors and set the intestate proceeding for hearing FELIX JR., through a new counsel, Roberto M. SARENAS, in a verified motion asked for MR of the order on the ground that Atty. Montaña had no authority to withdraw the petition for the allowance of the will. Attached was a copy of a letter addressed to Atty. Montaña and signed by Felix Jr., Beatriz V. Solamo, Carolina B. Manguiob and Emilia B. Pabaonon, wherein they terminated Montaña's services and informed him that his withdrawal of the petition for the probate of the will was without their

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32 DE LA CERNA SPECPRO DIGESTS 2011 consent and was contrary to their repeated reminder to him that their mother's will was "very sacred" to them. CFI denied the motion. It declared the will void on the basis of its own independent assessment of its provisions and not because of Atty. Montaña's arguments. AMIN | CHA | JANZ | KRIZEL | VIEN share in the conjugal estate (Art. 1060[1] CC), it should be subject to the limitations prescribed in articles 750 and 752 of the Civil Code. A portion of the estate should be adjudicated to the widower for his support and maintenance. Or at least his legitime should be respected. Subject to the foregoing observations and the rules on collation, the will is intrinsically valid and the partition therein may be given effect if it does not prejudice the creditors and impair the legitimes. The distribution and partition would become effective upon the death of Felix Sr. In the meantime, the net income should be equitably divided among the children and the surviving spouse. It should be stressed that by reason of the surviving husband's conformity to his wife's will and his renunciation of his hereditary rights, his ½ conjugal share became a part of his deceased wife's estate. His conformity had the effect of validating the partition made in the will without prejudice, of course, to the rights of the creditors and the legitimes of the compulsory heirs. Art. 793 CC provides that "property acquired after the making of a will shall only pass thereby, as if the testator had it at the time of making the will, should it expressly appear by the will that such was his intention". Under Art. 930 CC "the legacy or devise of a thing belonging to another person is void, if the testator erroneously believed that the thing pertained to him. But if the thing bequeathed, though not belonging to the testator when he made the will, afterwards becomes his, by whatever title, the disposition shall take effect." The testatrix and her husband intended to partition the conjugal estate in the manner set forth in the will. It is true that she could dispose of by will only her half of the conjugal estate (Art. 170 CC) but since the husband, after the dissolution of the conjugal partnership, had assented to her testamentary partition of the conjugal estate, such partition has become valid, assuming that the will may be probated. different from the Nuguid case - where the testatrix instituted as heir her sister and preterited her parents. Her will was intrinsically void because it preterited her compulsory heirs in the direct line. Art. 854 CC provides that "the preterition or omission of one, some, or all of the compulsory heirs in the direct line, whether living at the time of the execution of the will or born after the death of the testator, shall annul the institution of heir; but the devises and legacies, shall be valid insofar as they are not inofficious." Since the preterition of the parents annulled the institution of the sister of the testatrix and there were no legacies and devises, total intestacy resulted (Art. 960[2], Civil Code). In the instant case, the preterited heir was the surviving spouse. His preterition did not produce intestacy. Moreover, he signified his conformity to his wife's will and renounced his hereditary rights. It results that the lower court erred in not proceeding with the probate of the will. Save in an extreme case where the will on its face is intrinsically void, it is the probate court's duty to pass first upon the formal validity of the will. Generally, the probate of the will is mandatory (Art. 838, Civil Code). Testacy is preferable to intestacy. An interpretation that will render a testamentary disposition operative takes precedence over a construction that will nullify a provision of the will (Arts. 788 and 791, CC). Testacy is favored. Doubts are resolved in favor of testacy especially where the will evinces an intention on the part of the testator to dispose of practically his whole estate. Two other errors of the lower court may be noticed. It erred in issuing a notice to creditors although no executor or regular administrator has been appointed. The

Issues/Held: (1) WON the probate court erred in passing upon the intrinsic validity of the will, before ruling on its allowance or formal validity? NO (2) WON the will is void? NO Ratio: (1) In view of certain unusual provisions of the will and because of the motion to withdraw the petition for probate, the trial court acted correctly in passing upon the will's intrinsic validity even before its formal validity had been established.  The probate of a will might become an idle ceremony if on its face it appears to be intrinsically void. Where practical considerations demand that the intrinsic validity of the will be passed upon, even before it is probated, the court should meet the issue (2) The probate court erred in declaring that the will was void and in converting the testate proceeding into an intestate proceeding notwithstanding the fact that in its order, it gave effect to the surviving husband's conformity to the will and to his renunciation of his hereditary rights which presumably included his one-half share of the conjugal estate.  The rule is that "the invalidity of one of several dispositions contained in a will does not result in the invalidity of the other dispositions, unless it is to be presumed that the testator would not have made such other dispositions if the first invalid disposition had not been made" (Art. 792, Civil Code). o The statement of the testatrix that she owned the "southern half of the conjugal lands is contrary to law because, although she was a co-owner thereof, her share was inchoate and proindiviso. But that illegal declaration does not nullify the entire will. It may be disregarded. o The provision of the will that the properties of the testatrix should not be divided among her heirs during her husband's lifetime but should be kept intact and that the legitimes should be paid in cash is contrary to article 1080 CC. The testatrix in her will made a partition of the entire conjugal estate among her 6 children (her husband had renounced his hereditary rights and his one-half conjugal share). She did not assign the whole estate to one or more children as envisaged in article 1080. Hence, she had no right to require that the legitimes be paid in cash. o Her estate may remain undivided only for a period of 20 years. So, the provision that the estate should not be divided during her husband's lifetime would at most be effective only for 20 years from the date of her death unless there are compelling reasons for terminating the coownership (Art. 1083, Civil Code). o Felix Sr. could validly renounce his hereditary rights and his one-half share of the conjugal partnership (Arts. 179[1] and 1041, CC) but insofar as said renunciation partakes of a donation of his hereditary rights and his ½

33 DE LA CERNA SPECPRO DIGESTS 2011 record reveals that it appointed a special administrator. A notice to creditors is not in order if only a special administrator has been appointed. Section 1, Rule 86 , in providing that "immediately after granting letters of testamentary or of administration, the court shall issue a notice requiring all persons having money claims against the decedent to file them in the office of the clerk of said court" clearly contemplates the appointment of an executor or regular administrator and not that of a special administrator. It is the executor or regular administrator who is supposed to oppose the claims against the estate and to pay such claims when duly allowed (See. 10, Rule 86 and sec. 1, Rule 88). We also take this occasion to point out that the probate court's appointment of its branch clerk of court as special administrator is not a salutary practice because it might engender the suspicion that the probate Judge and his clerk of court are in cahoots in milking the decedent's estate. Should the branch clerk of court commit any abuse in the course of his administration, the probate Judge might find it difficult to hold him to a strict accountability. A court employee should devote his official time to his official duties and should not have as a sideline the administration of a decedent's estate. AMIN | CHA | JANZ | KRIZEL | VIEN

34 DE LA CERNA SPECPRO DIGESTS 2011 AMIN | CHA | JANZ | KRIZEL | VIEN

Maninang v. CA
Melencio-Herrera, J: Quickie: Succession case. Decedent left a holographic will bequeathing all her properties to her doctor. Adopted son opposed on ground of preterition. Maninang opposed motion to dismiss on ground that the issue cannot be resolved in the probate proceedings. Court said: As a general rule, the probate court's authority is limited only to the extrinsic validity of the will, the due execution thereof, the testatrix's testamentary capacity and the compliance with the requisites or solemnities prescribed by law. The intrinsic validity of the will normally comes only after the court has declared that the will has been duly authenticated. However, where practical considerations demand that the intrinsic validity of the will be passed upon, even before it is probated, the court should meet the issue. BUT in CASE AT BAR, we gather from the assailed Order of the trial Court that its conclusion was that respondent Bernardo has been preterited We are of opinion, however, that from the face of the Will, that conclusion is not indubitable Nature: Petition to Review the Decision of April 28, 1981 of respondent Appellate Court in CA-G.R. No. 12032-R entitled "Rafael E. Maninang and Soledad L. Maninang vs. Hon. Ricardo Pronove, Judge of the Court of First Instance of Rizal, Pasig, Branch XI, and Bernardo S. Aseneta". Facts:  May 21, 1977  Clemencia Aseneta, single, died at the Manila Sanitarium Hospital at age 81. She left a holographic will, the pertinent portions of which are quoted hereunder: xxx xxx xxx It is my will that all my real properties located in Manila, Makati, Quezon City, Albay and Legaspi City and all my personal properties shall be inherited upon my death by Dra. Soledad L. Maninang with whose family I have lived continuously for around the last 30 years now. Dra. Maninang and her husband Pamping have been kind to me. ... I have found peace and happiness with them even during the time when my sisters were still alive and especially now when I am now being troubled by my nephew Bernardo and niece Salvacion. I am not incompetent as Nonoy would like me to appear. I know what is right and wrong. I can decide for myself. I do not consider Nonoy as my adopted son. He has made me do things against my will. [emphasis supplied] xxx xxx xxx   June 9, 1977: petitioner Soledad Maninang filed a Petition for probate of the Will of the decedent with the Court of First Instance-Branch IV, Quezon City (Sp. Proc. No. Q-23304, hereinafter referred to as the Testate Case). 

114 SCRA 478 (1982)
July 25, 1977: herein respondent Bernardo Aseneta, who, as the adopted son, claims to be the sole heir of decedent Clemencia Aseneta, instituted intestate proceedings with the Court of First Instance-Branch XI, Pasig, Rizal (Sp. Proc. No. 8569, called hereinafter the Intestate Case" for brevity). December 23, 1977: the Testate and Intestate Cases were ordered consolidated before Branch XI, presided by respondent Judge. Respondent Bernardo then filed a Motion to Dismiss the Testate Case on the ground that the holographic will was null and void because he, as the only compulsory heir, was preterited and, therefore, intestacy should ensue. In her Opposition to said Motion to Dismiss, petitioner Soledad averred that it is still the rule that in a case for probate of a Will, the Court's area of inquiry is limited to an examination of and resolution on the extrinsic validity of the will; and that respondent Bernardo was effectively disinherited by the decedent. September 8, 1980: lower Court ordered the dismissal of the Testate Case December 19, 1980: MR denied, and in the same Order appointed Bernardo as the administrator of the intestate estate of the deceased Clemencia Aseneta "considering that he is a forced heir of said deceased while oppositor Soledad Maninang is not, and considering further that Bernardo Aseneta has not been shown to be unfit to perform the duties of the trust. " CA: April 28, 1981denied certiorari and ruled that the trial Judge's Order of dismissal was final in nature as it finally disposed of the Testate Case and, therefore, appeal was the proper remedy, which petitioners failed to avail of. Continuing, it said that even granting that the lower Court committed errors in issuing the questioned Orders, those are errors of judgment reviewable only by appeal and not by Certiorari.

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Issue/Held: W/N Court a quo acted in excess of jurisdiction when it dismissed the testate case – YES. Ratio:  Generally, the probate of a Will is mandatory. o The law enjoins the probate of the Will and public policy requires it, because unless the Will is probated and notice thereof given to the whole world, the right of a person to dispose of his property by Will may be rendered nugatory.  Normally, the probate of a Will does not look into its intrinsic validity. ... The authentication of a will decides no other question than such as touch upon the capacity of the testator and the compliance with those requisites or solemnities which the law prescribes for the validity of wills. It does not determine nor even by implication prejudge the validity or efficiency (sic) of the provisions, these may be impugned as being vicious or null, notwithstanding its authentication. The que0stions relating to these points remain entirely unaffected, and may be raised even after the will has been authenticated .... 6

35 DE LA CERNA SPECPRO DIGESTS 2011 Opposition to the intrinsic validity or legality of the provisions of the will cannot be entertained in Probate proceeding because its only purpose is merely to determine if the will has been executed in accordance with the requirements of the law. 7 Respondent Bernardo, however, relies on the pronouncement in Nuguid vs. Nuguid, reading: In a proceeding for the probate of a will, the Court's area of inquiry is limited to an examination of, and resolution on, the extrinsic validity of the will, the due execution thereof, the testatrix's testamentary capacity and the compliance with the requisites or solemnities prescribed by law. The intrinsic validity of the will normally comes only after the court has declared that the will has been duly authenticated. However, where practical considerations demand that the intrinsic validity of the will be passed upon, even before it is probated, the Court should meet that issue. (Emphasis supplied)  The Nuguid and the Balanay cases provide the exception rather than the rule. The intrinsic validity of the Wills in those cases was passed upon even before probate because "practical considerations" so demanded. Moreover, for the parties in the Nuguid case, the "meat of the controversy" was the intrinsic validity of the Will; in fact, the parties in that case "shunted aside the question of whether or not the Will should be allowed probate." Not so in the case before us now where the probate of the Will is insisted on by petitioners and a resolution on the extrinsic validity of the Will demanded. Moreover, in the Nuguid case, this Court ruled that the Will was intrinsically invalid as it completely preterited the parents of the testator. In the instant case, a crucial issue that calls for resolution is whether under the terms of the decedent's Will, private respondent had been preterited or disinherited, and if the latter, whether it was a valid disinheritance. Preterition and disinheritance are two diverse concepts. ... Preterition "consists in the omission in the testator's will of the forced heirs or anyone of them, either because they are not mentioned therein, or, though mentioned, they are neither instituted as heirs nor are expressly disinherited." (Neri vs. Akutin, 72 Phil. 325). Disinheritance, in turn, "is a testamentary disposition depriving any compulsory heirs of his share in the legitimate for a cause authorized by law." (Justice J.B.L. Reyes and R.C. Puno, "An Outline of Philippine Civil Law", 1956 ed., Vol. III, p. 8, citing cases) Disinheritance is always "voluntary", preterition upon the other hand, is presumed to be "involuntary" (Sanchez Roman, Estudios de Derecho Civil 2nd edition, Volume 2.o p. 1131).  The effects of preterition and disinheritance are also totally different. ... The effects flowing from preterition are totally different from those of disinheritance. Pretention under Article 854 of the New Civil Code shall annul the institution of heir. This annulment is in toto, unless in the wail there are, in addition, testamentary dispositions in the form of devises or legacies. In ineffective disinheritance under Article 918 of the same Code, such disinheritance shall also AMIN | CHA | JANZ | KRIZEL | VIEN "annul the institution of heirs", but only "insofar as it may prejudice the person disinherited", which last phrase was omitted in the case of preterition (III Tolentino, Civil Code of the Philippines, 1961 Edition, p. 172). Better stated yet, in disinheritance the nullity is limited to that portion of the estate of which the disinherited heirs have been illegally deprived. By virtue of the dismissal of the Testate Case, the determination of that controversial issue has not been thoroughly considered. We gather from the assailed Order of the trial Court that its conclusion was that respondent Bernardo has been preterited We are of opinion, however, that from the face of the Will, that conclusion is not indubitable. WHEREFORE, the Decision in question is set aside and the Orders of the Court of First Instance-Branch XI, Rizal, dated September 8, 1980 and December 19, 1980, are nullified. Special Proceeding No. Q-23304 is hereby remanded to said Court of First InstanceBranch XI. Rizal, therein to be reinstated and consolidated with Special Proceeding No. 8569 for further proceedings. No pronouncement as to costs. SO ORDERED. Teehankee (Chairman), Makasiar, Plana and Relova JJ., concur. Vasquez, J., took no part. Gutierrez, Jr., J., I concur.

36 DE LA CERNA SPECPRO DIGESTS 2011 AMIN | CHA | JANZ | KRIZEL | VIEN

Fernandez et. al. v. Dimagiba
Quickie: Respondent filed a petition for the probate of the purported will of the late Benedicta de los Reyes. Oppositors Fernandez and Reyes objected insisting that the issues of estoppel and revocation be considered and resolved. The court held that the will to probate finally and definitively settles all questions concerning capacity of the testator and the proper execution and witnessing of his last will and testament, irrespective of whether its provisions are valid and enforceable or otherwise. Furthermore, the will was not impliedly revoked by the execution of deeds of conveyance in favor of proponent considering that the subsequent alienations in 1943 and 1944 were executed in favor of the legatee herself, appellee Dimagiba. Facts:  Ismaela Dimagiba, now respondent, submitted to the Court of First Instance a petition for the probate of the purported will of the late Benedicta de los Reyes, executed on October 22, 1930, and annexed to the petition.  The will instituted the petitioner as the sole heir of the estate of the deceased.  Dionisio Fernandez, Eusebio Reyes and Luisa Reyes and one month later, Mariano, Cesar, Leonor and Paciencia, all surnamed Reyes, all claiming to be heirs intestate of the decedent, filed oppositions to the probate asked. o Grounds: forgery, vices of consent of the testatrix, estoppel by laches of the proponent and revocation of the will by two deeds of conveyance of the major portion of the estate made by the testatrix in favor of the proponent in 1943 and 1944, but which conveyances were finally set aside by this Supreme Court in a decision promulgated on August 3, 1954, in cases G.R. Nos. L-5618 and L5620 (unpublished).  Court of First Instance, by decision of June 20, 1958, found that the will was genuine and properly executed; but deferred resolution on the questions of estoppel and revocation "until such time when we shall pass upon the intrinsic validity of the provisions of the will or when the question of adjudication of the properties is opportunely presented."  Oppositors Fernandez and Reyes petitioned for reconsideration, and/or new trial, insisting that the issues of estoppel and revocation be considered and resolved; whereupon, on July 27, 1959, the Court overruled the claim that proponent was in estoppel to ask for the probate of the will, but "reserving unto the parties the right to raise the issue of implied revocation at the opportune time." Issues: (a) whether or not the decree of the Court of First Instance allowing the will to probate had become final for lack of appeal; a. argument of appellants: the order allowing the will to probate should be considered interlocutory, because it fails to resolve the issues of estoppel and revocation propounded in their opposition b.

21 SCRA 428 (1967)
held: argument untenable i. It is elementary that a probate decree finally and definitively settles all questions concerning capacity of the testator and the proper execution and witnessing of his last will and testament, irrespective of whether its provisions are valid and enforceable or otherwise. ii. As such, the probate order is final and appealable; and it is so recognized by express provisions of Section 1 of Rule 109, that specifically prescribes that "any interested person may appeal in special proceedings from an order or judgment . . . where such order or judgment: (a) allows or disallows a will." (b) whether or not the order of the Court of origin dated July 27, 1959, overruling the estoppel invoked by oppositors-appellants had likewise become final; and a. Held: the presentation and probate of a will are requirements of public policy, being primarily designed to protect the testator's, expressed wishes, which are entitled to respect as a consequence of the decedent's ownership and right of disposition within legal limits. i. Evidence of it is the duty imposed on a custodian of a will to deliver the same to the Court, and the fine and imprisonment prescribed for its violation (Revised Rule 75). ii. It would be a non sequitur to allow public policy to be evaded on the pretext of estoppel. iii. Whether or not the order overruling the allegation of estoppel is still appealable or not, the defense is patently unmeritorious and the Court of Appeals correctly so ruled. (c) whether or not the 1930 will of Benedicta de los Reyes had been impliedly revoked by her execution of deeds of conveyance in favor of the proponent on March 26, 1943 and April 3, 1944. a. the existence of any such change or departure from the original intent of the testatrix, expressed in her 1930 testament, is rendered doubtful by the circumstance that the subsequent alienations in 1943 and 1944 were executed in favor of the legatee herself, appellee Dimagiba. b. "no consideration whatever was paid by respondent Dimagiba" on account of the transfers, thereby rendering it even more doubtful whether in conveying the property to her legatee, the testatrix merely intended to comply in advance with what she had ordained in her testament, rather than an alteration or departure therefrom.

37 c. DE LA CERNA SPECPRO DIGESTS 2011 Revocation being an exception, we believe, with the Courts below, that in the circumstances of the particular case, Article 9573 of the Civil Code of the Philippines, does not apply to the case at bar. Not only that, but even if it were applicable, the annulment of the conveyances would not necessarily result in the revocation of the legacies, if we bear in mind that the findings made in the decision decreeing the annulment of the subsequent 1943 and 1944 deeds of sale were also that it was the moral influence, originating from their confidential relationship, which was the only cause for the execution of Exhs. A and B (the 1943 and 1944 conveyances) AMIN | CHA | JANZ | KRIZEL | VIEN

d.

3

Art. 957. The legacy or devise shall be without effect:

(1) . . . . (2) If the testator by any title or for any cause alienates the thing bequeathed or any part thereof, it being understood that in the latter case the legacy or devise shall be without effect only with respect to the part thus alienated. If after the alienation the thing should again belong to the testator, even if it be by reason of nullity of the contract, the legacy or devise shall not thereafter be valid, unless the reacquisition shall have been effected by virtue of the exercise of the right of repurchase;

38 DE LA CERNA SPECPRO DIGESTS 2011 AMIN | CHA | JANZ | KRIZEL | VIEN

Betts v. CA
Guerrero, J: Quickie: Mom and dad extrajudicially partitioned their properties. Then they made wills in accordance with the partition. Wife died, then dad cancelled his former will and made a new one na super favorable to one daughter. At probate proceedings of dad’s will, other children question the validity of the will. Court said probate proceedings involve public interest, so principle of estoppel (as to other children on issue of competency of dad) will not apply. Sc also declared partition null and void, because partition inter vivos requires a completed will first. Effect of this is that free portion of mom’s estate goes to dad alone. Also, the disallowance of the trial court of dad’s will is based on pure speculations. (side issue not included here: annulment of deeds of sale; insufficient consideration does not warrant annulment of sales made by dad to daughter) Nature : appeal by certiorari Facts:  Don Jesus Alsua and his wife, Doñ;a Florentina Rella, both of Ligao, Albay, together with all their living children, Francisca Alsua-Betts, Pablo Alsua, Fernando Alsua thru this judicial guardian Clotilde Samson, and Amparo Alsua de Buenviaje, entered into a duly notarized agreement, Escritura de Particion Extrajudicial, over the then present and existing properties of the spouses Don Jesus and Doñ;a Florentina enumerated in a prepared inventory  Don Jesus and Doñ;a Florentina, also known as Doñ;a Tinay separately executed their respective holographic wills the provisions of which were in conformity and in implementation of the extrajudicial partition  Their holographic wills similarly provided for the institution of the other to his or her share in the conjugal properties, the other half of the conjugal assets having been partitioned to constitute their legitime among their four living children in the Extrajudicial Partition of 1949. The wills also declared that in the event of future acquisitions of other properties by either of them, one-half thereof would belong to the other spouse, and the other half shall be divided equally among the four children.  Don Jesus executed also a separate but similar codicil in exactly the same terms and conditions as the above codicil of his wife.  Also on the same day the spouses Don Jesus and Doñ;a Tinay both filed their respective supplemental petitions for the probate of their respective codicils in the probate proceedings earlier filed.  Their respective holographic wills and the codicils thereto were duly admitted to probate.  Upon the death of Doña Tinay, Don Jesus was named executor  Don Jesus cancelled his holographic will in the presence of his bookkeeper and secretary  His lawyer, Atty. Gregorio imperial Sr. was then instructed to draft a new will which was duly signed by Don Jesus and his attesting witnesses 

92 SCRA 332 (1979)
This notarial will and testament of Don Jesus executed on November 14, 1959 had three essential features: (a) it expressly cancelled, revoked and annulled all the provisions of Don Jesus' holographic will of January 5, 1955 and his codicil of August 14, 1956; (b) it provided for the collation of all his properties donated to his four living children by virtue of the "Escritura de Particion Extra. judicial" of 1949, and that such properties be taken into account in the partition of his estate among the children; and (c) it instituted his children as legatees/devisees of certain specific properties, and as to the rest of the properties and whatever may be subsequently acquired in the future, before his death, were to be given to Francisca and Pablo, naming Francesca as executrix to serve without a bond. As to Probate of mom: On July 6, 1960, the court approved the partition of 1959 and on January 6, 1961 declared the termination of the proceedings on the estate of Doña Tinay. Don Jesus Alsua died so, petitioner herein Francisca Alsua Betts, as the executrix named in the will of November 14, 1959, filed a petition for the probate of said new will of Don Jesus Alsua before the Court of First Instance of Albay Oppositions thereto were filed by Pablo, Amparo and Fernando, thru his judicial guardian Clotilde Samson, on the following grounds: (a) that Don Jesus was not of sound and disposing mind at the time of the execution of the alleged will; (b) that the will was executed under duress or influence of fear or threats; or it was procured by undue and improper pressure and influence on the part of the main beneficiaries and of person or persons in collusion with them, or the signature of the testator was secured by or thru fraud; (c) that the will was not executed according to the formal requirements of the law; and (d) that the alleged will subject of probate contravened the Extrajudicial Partition of 1949 agreed upon by him, his deceased spouse, Doñ;a Tinay, and all his children, Francisco, Pablo, Amparo and Fernando thru his judicial guardian Clotilde Samson, and also contravened Don Jesus' own probated holographic will and codicil of 1955 and 1956, respectively, essentially confirming and implementing the said partition of 1949 which had already been partially executed by all the signatories thereto in the partition of the estate of Doñ;a Tinay in December, 1959. On the basis of Francisca's designation as executrix in the new will, the Probate Court appointed her Administratrix of the estate of her late father, Don Jesus Alsua. She then filed with the Probate Court an inventory of the properties of the estate which, according to the oppositors therein did not include some properties appearing in the agreement or in the inventory attached in the "Escritura de Particion" of December 19, 1959 as belonging to or should pertain to Don Jesus. CFI: APPROVES and ALLOWS the Will executed by Don Jesus Alsua at Ligao, Albay; CA: reversed

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Issues/ Held: 1) WON there was estoppels on the part of respondents as to the competency of the father- NO 2) WON Don Jesus’ will must be disallowed- NO 3) WON Don Jesus’ will must be admitted to probate- YES

39 DE LA CERNA SPECPRO DIGESTS 2011 Ratio:  The controversy as to the competency or incompetency of Don Jesus Alsua to execute his will cannot be determined by acts of the herein private respondents as oppositors to the will in formally agreeing in writing jointly with the petitioner Francisca Alsua de Betts that their father, Don Jesus Alsua, be appointed by the court executor of the will of their mother and in subsequently petitioning the court not to require Don Jesus Alsua to file any accounting as executor in the proceedings, which petitioners claim and was upheld by the trial court as constituting estoppel on the part of the private respondents from questioning the competence of Don Jesus Alsua.  The principle of estoppel is not applicable in probate proceedings, a ruling laid down in the case of Testate Estate of the Late Procopia Apostol Benedicta Obispo, et al vs. Remedios Obispo.  Probate proceedings involve public interest, and the application therein of estoppel, when it will block the ascertainment of the truth as to the circumstances surrounding the execution of a testament, would seem inimical to public policy. Over and above the interest of private parties is that of the state to see that testamentary dispositions be carried out if, and only if, executed conformably to law.  One of the most fundamental conceptions of probate law, is that it is the duty of the court to effectuate, in so far as may be compatible with the public interest, the devolutionary wishes of a deceased person  Re: disallowance: The issue under consideration appears to Us to have been answered by the respondent court itself when it accepted the findings of the trial court on the due execution of the questioned will and testament of Don Jesus  Appealed decision accepts as a fact that the findings of the lower court declaring the contested will as having been executed with all the formal requirements of a valid will, are supported by the evidence. This finding is conclusive upon this Tribunal and We cannot alter, review or revise the same.  Hence, there is no further need for Us to dwell on the matter as both the lower court and the respondent appellate court have declared that these are the facts and such facts are fully borne and supported by the records. We find no error in the conclusion arrived at that the contested will was duly executed in accordance with law. We rule that the questioned last will and testament of Don Jesus Alsua fully complied with the formal requirements of the law.  We hold that the Extrajudicial Partition of November 25, 1949 is null and void under Article 1056 in relation to Article 1271 of the old Civil Code which are applicable hereto. These Articles provide as follows: o Art. 1056. If the testator should make a partition of his property by an act inter vivos, or by will, such partition shall stand in so far as it does not prejudice the legitime of the forced heirs. ... o Art. 1271. All things, even future ones, which are not excluded from the commerce of man, may be the subject-matter of contracts. o Nevertheless, no contract may be entered into with respect to future inheritances, except those the object of which is to make a division inter vivos of an estate, in accordance with Article 1056. o All services not contrary to law or to good morals may also be the subjectmatter of contract.  AMIN | CHA | JANZ | KRIZEL | VIEN Article 1056 specifically uses the word "testator" from which the clear intent of the law may be deduced that the privilege of partitioning one's estate by acts inter vivos is restricted only to one who has made a prior will or testament. In other words, Article 1056 being an exception cannot be given a wider scope as to include in the exception any person whether he has made a will or not. In Legasto vs. Verzosa, supra, the Supreme Court categorically declared the necessity of a prior will before the testator can partition his properties among his heirs Manresa comments :” A distinction must be made between the disposition of property and its division; and the provision of article 1056 authorizing the testator to dispose of his property by acts inter vivos or by last will, must be understood in accordance with this distinction. The Idea is to divide the estate among the heirs designated by the testator. This designation constitutes the disposition of the properties to take effect after his death, and said act must necessarily appear in the testament because it is the expression of the testator's last will and must be surrounded by appropriate formalities. Then comes the second part, to wit, the division in conformity with that disposition, and the testator may make this division in the same will or in another will, or by an act inter vivos. With these words, the law, in article 1056 as well as in article 1057, which we shall hereafter examine, makes allusion to the forms or manner of making the partition and not to the effects thereof, which means that, for purposes of partition the formal solemnities which must accompany every testament or last will are not necessary. Neither is it necessary to observe the special for. realities required in case of donations, because it is not a matter of disposing gratuitously of properties, but of dividing those which already have been legally disposed of. “ Considering that the document, the extrajudicial partition of November 25, 1949, contained specific designation of properties allotted to each child, We rule that there was substantial compliance with the rules on donations inter vivos under the old Civil Code (Article 633). On the other hand, there could have been no valid donation to the children of the other half reserved as the free portion of Don Jesus and Doña Tinay which, as stated in the deed, was to be divided equally among the children for the simple reason that the property or properties were not specifically described in the public instrument, an essential requirement under Article 633 It must be stressed here that the distribution of her properties was subject to her holographic will and codicil, independently of the holographic will and codicil of Don Jesus executed by him on the same date. This is fundamental because otherwise, to consider both wills and codicils jointly would be to circumvent the prohibition of the Civil Code on joint wills (Art. 818) and secondly because upon the death of Doña Tinay, only her estate was being settled, and not that of Don Jesus. We have carefully examined the provisions of the holographic will and codicil of Doñ;a Tinay and We find no indication whatsoever that Doña Tinay expressly or impliedly instituted both the husband and her children as heirs to her free portion of her share in the conjugal assets Likewise, the codicil of Doñ;a Tinay instituted her husband as sole heir to her share in the free portion of the conjugal assets, and We quote that part of the codicil Considering now the efficacy of Don Jesus' last will and testament in view of Our holding that Doñ;a Tinay's wig and codicil did not stipulate that Don Jesus will bestow the properties equally to the children, it follows that all the properties of

 

 

40 DE LA CERNA SPECPRO DIGESTS 2011 Doñ;a Tinay bequeathed to Don Jesus under her holographic win and codicil became part of Don Jesus' estate unburdened by any condition obligation or proviso. The last Will and Testament of Don Jesus executed on November 14, 1959 contained an express revocation of his holographic wig of January 5, 1955 and the codicil of August 14, 1956; a statement requiring that all of his properties donated to his children in the Deed of 1949 be collated and taken into account in the partition of his estate; the institution of all his children as devisees and legatees to certain specific properties; a statement bequeathing the rest of his properties and all that may be acquired in the future, before his death, to Pablo and Francesca; and a statement naming Francesca as executrix without bond. Considering these testamentary provisions, a close scrutiny of the properties distributed to the children under the Deed of 1949 and those distributed under the contested will of Don Jesus does not show that the former had in fact been included in the latter. This being so, it must be presumed that the intention of Don Jesus in his last win was not to revoke the donations already made in the Deed of 1949 but only to redistribute his remaining estate, or that portion of the conjugal assets totally left to his free disposal and that which he received as his inheritance from Doña Tinay. The legitimes of the forced heirs were left unimpaired, as in fact, not one of said forced heirs claimed or intimated otherwise. The properties that were disposed of in the contested will belonged wholly to Don Jesus Alsua's free portion and may be diamond of by him to whomsoever he may choose. If he now favored Francesca more, as claimed by private respondents, or Pablo as in fact he was, We cannot and may not sit in judgment upon the motives and sentiments of Don Jesus in doing so. It would be a dangerous precedent to strain the interpretation of a will in order to effect what the court believes to be an equitable division of the estate of a deceased person. The only functions of the courts in these cases is to carry out the intention of the deceased as manifested in the will. The test of testamentary capacity is at the time of the making of the will. Mere weakness of mind or partial imbecility from disease of body or from age-does not render a person incapable of making a will. Between the highest degree of soundness of mind and memory which unquestionably carries with it full testamentary capacity, and that degrees of mental aberration generally known as insanity or Idiocy, there are numberless degrees of mental capacity or incapacity and while on one hand it has been held that mere weakness of mind, or partial imbecility from disease of body, or from age, will not render a person incapable of making a will; a weak or feebleminded person may make a valid will, provided he has understanding and memory sufficient to enable him to know what he is about to do and how or to whom he is disposing of his property. To constitute a sound and disposing mind, it is not necessary that the mind be unbroken or unimpaired or unshattered by disease or otherwise. It has been held that testamentary incapacity does not necessarily require that a person shall actually be insane or of unsound mind. (Bugnao vs. Ubag, 14 Phil. 163). The Civil Code itself provides under Article 798 that in order to make a will, it is essential that the testator be of sound mind at the time of its execution, and under Article 800, the law presumes that every person is of sound mind in the absence of proof to the contrary.  AMIN | CHA | JANZ | KRIZEL | VIEN We agree with the petitioner that the details which respondent court found difficult to reconcile with the ordinary course of things and of life are mere conjectures, surmises or speculations which, however, do not warrant or justify disallowance of the probate of the will of Don Jesus.

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41 DE LA CERNA SPECPRO DIGESTS 2011 AMIN | CHA | JANZ | KRIZEL | VIEN

Casiano, et. al. v. Maloto, et. al.
Fernandez, J. Quickie: Niece and 3 nephews of decedent commenced an INTESTATE PROCEEDING. They executed an extrajudicial partition of the estate which was approved by the court. A will was delivered to the CFI. The will named the 4 as heirs but gave the 2 bigger and more valuable shares. The 2 filed a motion for annulment of the proceedings and for the allowance of the will. CFI denied the motion. They reached the SC. SC dismissed the petition but noted that it is more appropriate for petitioners to initiate a separate proceeding for the probate of the will. Petitioners commenced a PROCEEDING FOR THE PROBATE OF THE WILL. Probate court dismissed the petition based on the fact that the ORDER OF CFI IN THE INTESTATE PROCEEDING denying the motion to reopen is a bar to the present petition. HELD: The order in Special Proceeding No. 1736 is NOT A BAR to the present petition for the probate of the alleged will of Adriana. CFI and SC said before that it is more appropriate for petitioners to initiate a separate proceeding for the probate of the alleged will. Nature: petition to review the order of the CFI of Iloilo Facts:  ADRIANA Maloto died on October 20, 1963 in Iloilo City, her place of residence.  ALDINA Maloto Casiano, CONSTANCIO Maloto, PANFILO Maloto, and FELINO Maloto, niece and nephews Adriana Maloto. In the belief that decedent died intestate, they commenced in CFI iloilo an intestate proceeding docketed as Special Proceeding No. 1736. In the course of the proceeding, they executed an extrajudicial Partition of the estate of ADRIANA whereby they adjudicated said estate unto themselves in the proportion of 1/4 share for each. CFI approved the extrajudicial partition.  A document dated January 3, 1940 purporting to be the last with and testament of Adriana was delivered to the Clerk of Court of CFI of Iloilo. It appears that 4 are named as heirs but ALDINA and CONSTANCIO allegedly have shares in said with which are bigger, different and more valuable than what they obtained in the extrajudicial partition. The said will also allegedly made dispositions to certain devisees and/or legatees, among whom being the Asilo de Molo, the Roman Catholic Church of Molo, and Purificacion Miraflor.  ALDINA and MALOTO filed in Special Proceeding No. 1736 a motion (1) for reconsideration; (2) annulment of the proceedings; and (3) for the allowance of the last will and testament of Adriana. The Asilo de Molo, the Roman Catholic Church of Molo, and Purificacion Miraflor also filed in Special Proceeding No. 1736 petitions for the allowance of the will of Adriana  PANFILO and FELINO opposed the motion.  Nov. 16, 1968 - CFI issued an order denying the motion to reopen the proceedings on the ground that the said motion had been filed out of time. MR denied.   

79 SCRA 232 (1977)
Petitioners appealed the order of denial.CFI dismissed the appeal on the ground that it was filed late. MR was denied. A supplemental order was issued stating as additional ground that the appeal is improper. The petitioners filed a petition for certiorari and mandamus with the SC. SC dismissed the petition without passing on the issue of whether or not the petitioners appeal from the order of November 16, 1968 was made on time, it appearing that the more appropriate remedy of petitioners in the premises stated in the petition is for petitioners to initiate a separate proceeding for the probate of the alleged will in question. SC clarified that the matter of whether or not the pertinent findings of facts of respondent Judge in his order of November 16, 1968 constitute res adjudicata may be raised in the proceedings for probate of the alleged will in question wherein such matter will be more appropriately determined. Petitioners commenced Special Proceeding No. 2176 in the CFI of Iloilo for the probate of the alleged last will and testament of Adriana . PANFILO Maloto and FELINO Maloto filed an opposition with a motion to dismiss (1) that the alleged will sought to be probated had been destroyed and revoked by the testatrix; (2) that the instant petition for probate is now barred by prior judgment or order (or res judicata) (3) that the estate of the late adriana maloto had already passed out of existence and title thereto had already arrested in the distributees of their assigns and (4) that petitioners aldina and constancio are now estopped from seeking the remedy tender this proceeding, they having ceased to be interested parties. The probate court dismissed the petition for the probate of the with on the basis of the finding of said court in Special Proceeding No. 1736 that the alleged will sought to be probated had been destroyed and revoked by the testatrix. The petition for probate is now barred by the order of November 16, 1968 in the intestate estate proceeding, Special Proceeding No. 1736.

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Issues/Held: WON the order of Nov. 16, 1968 in Special Proceeding No. 1736 is a bar to the present petition for the probate of the alleged will of Adriana? NO Ratio:  The court had no jurisdiction to entertain the petition for the probate of the alleged will of Adriana in the Special Proceeding No. 1736. o The motion to reopen was denied because the same was filed out of time. o It is not proper to make a finding in an intestate estate proceeding that the discovered will has been revoked.  The court stated in the order of Nov. 16, 1968 that "movants should have filed a separate action for the probate of the Will."  SC said in the resolution: “The more appropriate remedy of the petitioners in the premises stated in the petition is for petitioners to initiate a separate proceeding for the probate of the alleged will in question."

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