G.R. No. 76714 June 2, 1994 SALUD TEODORO VDA. DE PEREZ, Petitioner, v. HON. ZOTICO A.

TOLETE in his capacity as Presiding Judge, Branch 18, RTC, Bulacan, Respondent. Natividad T. Perez for petitioner.
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Benedicto T. Librojo for private respondents. QUIASON, J.: This is a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Revised Rules of Court to set aside the Order dated November 19, 1986 of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 18, Bulacan presided by respondent Judge Zotico A. Tolete, in Special Proceedings No. 1793-M.
chanroble svirtualawl ibra ryc hanro bles vi rt ual law li bra ry

We grant the petition. II Dr. Jose F. Cunanan and his wife, Dr. Evelyn Perez-Cunanan, who became American citizens, established a successful medical practice in New York, U.S.A. The Cunanans lived at No. 2896 Citation Drive, Pompey, Syracuse, New York, with their children, Jocelyn, 18; Jacqueline, 16; and Josephine, 14.
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On August 23, 1979, Dr. Cunanan executed a last will and testament, bequeathing to his wife "all the remainder" of his real and personal property at the time of his death "wheresoever situated" (Rollo, p. 35). In the event he would survive his wife, he bequeathed all his property to his children and grandchildren with Dr. Rafael G. Cunanan, Jr. as trustee. He appointed his wife as executrix of his last will and testament and Dr. Rafael G. Cunanan, Jr. as substitute executor. Article VIII of his will states: If my wife, EVELYN PEREZ-CUNANAN, and I shall die under such circumstances that there is not sufficient evidence to determine the order of our deaths, then it shall be presumed that I predeceased her, and my estate shall be administered and distributed, in all respects, in accordance with such presumption (Rollo, p. 41). Four days later, on August 27, Dr. Evelyn P. Cunanan executed her own last will and testament containing the same provisions as that of the will of her husband. Article VIII of her will states: If my husband, JOSE F. CUNANAN, and I shall die under such

circumstances that there is not sufficient evidence to determine the order of our deaths, then it shall be presumed that he predeceased me, and my estate shall be administered and distributed in all respects, in accordance with such presumption. (Rollo, p. 31). On January 9, 1982, Dr. Cunanan and his entire family perished when they were trapped by fire that gutted their home. Thereafter, Dr. Rafael G. Cunanan, Jr. as trustee and substitute executor of the two wills, filed separate proceedings for the probate thereof with the Surrogate Court of the County of Onondaga, New York. On April 7, these two wills were admitted to probate and letters testamentary were issued in his favor.
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On February 21, 1983, Salud Teodoro Perez, the mother of Dr. Evelyn P. Cunanan, and petitioner herein, filed with the Regional P. Cunanan, and petitioner herein, filed with the Regional Trial Court, Malolos, Bulacan a petition for the reprobate of the two bills ancillary to the probate proceedings in New York. She also asked that she be appointed the special administratrix of the estate of the deceased couple consisting primarily of a farm land in San Miguel, Bulacan.
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On March 9, the Regional Trial Court, Branch 16, Malolos, Bulacan, presided by Judge Gualberto J. de la Llana, issued an order, directing the issuance of letters of special administration in favor of petitioner upon her filing of a P10,000.00 bond. The following day, petitioner posted the bond and took her oath as special administration.
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As her first act of administration, petitioner filed a motion, praying that the Philippine Life Insurance Company be directed to deliver the proceeds in the amount of P50,000.00 of the life insurance policy taken by Dr. Jose F. Cunanan with Dr. Evelyn Perez-Cunanan and their daughter Jocelyn as beneficiaries. The trial court granted the motion.
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Counsel for the Philippine American Life Insurance Company then filed a manifestation, stating that said company then filed a manifestation, stating that said company had delivered to petitioner the amount of P49,765.85, representing the proceeds of the life insurance policy of Dr. Jose F. Cunanan.
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In a motion dated May 19, 1983, petitioner asked that Dr. Rafael

Cunanan, Sr. be ordered to deliver to her a Philippine Trust Company passbook with P25,594.00 in savings deposit, and the Family Savings Bank time deposit certificates in the total amount of P12,412.52.
chanroble svirtualawl ibra rycha nro bles vi rtua l law lib ra ry

On May 31, Atty. Federico Alday filed a notice of appearance as counsel for the heirs of Dr. Jose F. Cunanan, namely, Dr. Rafael Cunanan, Sr., Priscilla Cunanan Bautista, Lydia Cunanan Ignacio, Felipe F. Cunanan and Loreto Cunanan Concepcion (Cunanan heirs). He also manifested that before receiving petitioner's motion of May 19, 1983, his clients were unaware of the filing of the testate estate case and therefore, "in the interest of simple fair play," they should be notified of the proceedings (Records, p. 110). He prayed for deferment of the hearing on the motions of May 19, 1983.
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Petitioner then filed a counter manifestation dated June 13, 1983, asserting: (1) that the "Cunanan collaterals are neither heirs nor creditors of the late Dr. Jose F. Cunanan" and therefore, they had "no legal or proprietary interests to protect" and "no right to intervene"; (2) that the wills of Dr. Jose F. Cunanan and Dr. Evelyn Perez-Cunanan, being American citizens, were executed in accordance with the solemnities and formalities of New York laws, and produced "effects in this jurisdiction in accordance with Art. 16 in relation to Art. 816 of the Civil Code"; (3) that under Article VIII of the two wills, it was presumed that the husband predeceased the wife; and (4) that "the Cunanan collaterals are neither distributees, legatees or beneficiaries, much less, heirs as heirship is only by institution" under a will or by operation of the law of New York (Records, pp. 112-113).
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On June 23, the probate court granted petitioner's motion of May 19, 1983. However, on July 21, the Cunanan heirs filed a motion to nullify the proceedings and to set aside the appointment of, or to disqualify, petitioner as special administratrix of the estates of Dr. Jose F. Cunanan and Dr. Evelyn Perez-Cunanan. The motion stated: (1) that being the "brothers and sisters and the legal and surviving heirs" of Dr. Jose F. Cunanan, they had been "deliberately excluded" in the petition for the probate of the separate wills of the Cunanan spouses thereby misleading the Bulacan court to believe that petitioner was the sole heir of the spouses; that such "misrepresentation" deprived them of their right to "due process in

violation of Section 4, Rule 76 of the Revised Rules of Court; (2) that Dr. Rafael G. Cunanan, Jr., the executor of the estate of the Cunanan spouses, was likewise not notified of the hearings in the Bulacan court; (3) that the "misrepresentation and concealment committed by" petitioner rendered her unfit to be a special administratrix; (4) that Dr. Rafael G. Cunanan, Jr. had, by virtue of a verified power of attorney, authorized his father, Dr. Rafael Cunanan, Sr., to be his attorney-in-fact; and (5) that Dr. Rafael Cunanan, Sr. is qualified to be a regular administrator "as practically all of the subject estate in the Philippines belongs to their brother, Dr. Jose F. Cunanan" (Records, pp. 118-122). Hence, they prayed: (1) that the proceedings in the case be declared null and void; (2) that the appointment of petitioner as special administratrix be set aside; and (3) that Dr. Rafael Cunanan, Sr. be appointed the regular administrator of the estate of the deceased spouses.
chanroble svirtualawl ibra ryc hanro bles vi rt ual law li bra ry

Thereafter, the Cunanan heirs filed a motion requiring petitioner to submit an inventory or accounting of all monies received by her in trust for the estate.
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In her opposition, petitioner asserted: (1) that she was the "sole and only heir" of her daughter, Dr. Evelyn Perez-Cunanan to the exclusion of the "Cunanan collaterals"; hence they were complete strangers to the proceedings and were not entitled to notice; (2) that she could not have "concealed" the name and address of Dr. Rafael G. Cunanan, Jr. because his name was prominently mentioned not only in the two wills but also in the decrees of the American surrogate court; (3) that the rule applicable to the case is Rule 77, not Rule 76, because it involved the allowance of wills proved outside of the Philippines and that nowhere in Section 2 of Rule 77 is there a mention of notice being given to the executor who, by the same provision, should himself file the necessary ancillary proceedings in this country; (4) that even if the Bulacan estate came from the "capital" of Dr. Jose F. Cunanan, he had willed all his worldly goods to his wife and nothing to his brothers and sisters; and (5) that Dr. Rafael G. Cunanan, Jr. had unlawfully disbursed $215,000.00 to the Cunanan heirs, misappropriated $15,000.00 for himself and irregularly assigned assets of the estates to his American lawyer (Records, pp. 151-160).
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In their reply, the Cunanan heirs stressed that on November 24,

1982, petitioner and the Cunanan heirs had entered into an agreement in the United States "to settle and divide equally the estates," and that under Section 2 of Rule 77 the "court shall fix a time and place for the hearing and cause notice thereof to be given as in case of an original will presented for allowance" (Records, pp. 184-185).
chanroble svirtualawl ibra rycha nro bles vi rtua l law lib ra ry

Petitioner asked that Dr. Rafael G. Cunanan, Jr. be cited for contempt of court for failure to comply with the Order of June 23, 1983 and for appropriating money of the estate for his own benefit. She also alleged that she had impugned the agreement of November 24, 1982 before the Surrogate Court of Onondaga, New York which rendered a decision on April 13, 1983, finding that "all assets are payable to Dr. Evelyn P. Cunanan�s executor to be then distributed pursuant to EPTL4-1.1 subd [a] par [4]" (Rollo, p. 52).
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On their part, the Cunanan heirs replied that petitioner was estopped from claiming that they were heirs by the agreement to divide equally the estates. They asserted that by virtue of Section 2 of Rule 77 of the Rules of Court, the provisions of Sections 3, 4 and 5 of Rule 76 on the requirement of notice to all heirs, executors, devisees and legatees must be complied with. They reiterated their prayer: (1) that the proceedings in the case be nullified; (2) that petitioner be disqualified as special administratrix; (3) that she be ordered to submit an inventory of all goods, chattels and monies which she had received and to surrender the same to the court; and (4) that Dr. Rafael Cunanan, Sr. be appointed the regular administrator.
chanroblesv irt ualawli bra rycha nrob les vi rtua l law lib rary

Petitioner filed a rejoinder, stating that in violation of the April 13, 1983 decision of the American court Dr. Rafael G. Cunanan, Jr. made "unauthorized disbursements from the estates as early as July 7, 1982" (Records, p. 231). Thereafter, petitioner moved for the suspension of the proceedings as she had "to attend to the settlement proceedings" of the estate of the Cunanan spouses in New York (Records, p. 242). The Cunanans heirs opposed this motion and filed a manifestation, stating that petitioner had received $215,000.00 "from the Surrogate�s Court as part of legacy" based on the aforesaid agreement of November 24, 1982 (Records, p. 248).
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issued an order stating that "(W)hen the last will and testament . Malolos. 1984. where she had sufficiently proven the applicable laws of New York governing the execution of last wills and testaments. petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration of the Order dated February 21." the case was terminated and therefore all orders theretofore issued should be given finality. disallowing the reprobate of the two wills. that there were only two witnesses to the wills of the Cunanan spouses and the Philippine law requires three witnesses and that the wills were not signed on each and every page. 1985. 1985. In the absence of such evidence. he noted. . the Cunanans filed a motion for the reconsideration of the objectionable portion of the said order so that it would conform with the pertinent provisions of the Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980 and the Interim Rules of Court. 302). Contending that the second portion of the second order left its finality to the discretion of counsel for petitioner. a requirement of the Philippine law. It considered the proceedings for all intents and purposes. p. Judge de la Llana issued another order. . requiring the submission of petitioner of an inventory of the property received by her as special administratrix and declaring all pending incidents moot and academic.On February 21. chanroblesv irt ualawli bra rycha nrob les vi rtua l law lib rary On the same day. recalling the appointment of petitioner as special administratrix. chan rob lesvi rtualaw lib ra rychan roble s virtual law lib rary On August 27. chanroblesv irtualawli bra rycha nrob les vi rtua l law lib rary . chanroble svirtualawl ibra rych anro bles vi rtua l law lib ra ry On April 30. 1984. However. was denied probate. the respondent Judge of Branch 18 of the Regional Trial Court. to which the reprobate case was reassigned. closed (Records. The same Order amended the February 21. 1984 Order by requiring petitioner to turn over to the estate the inventoried property. Judge de la Llana issued an order. the presumption is that the law of succession of the foreign country is the same as the law of the Philippines. denying the motion of petitioner for the suspension of the proceedings but gave her 15 days upon arrival in the country within which to act on the other order issued that same day. Judge de la Llana reasoned out that petitioner failed to prove the law of New York on procedure and allowance of wills and the court had no way of telling whether the wills were executed in accordance with the law of New York.

alleging that respondent Judge "failed to appreciate the significant probative value of the exhibits .On August 12. denying probate to the wills of the Cunanan spouses. alleging lack of notice to their counsel. the Cunanans heirs filed a motion for reconsideration of the Order of August 19.S. 313-323)." However. respondent Judge granted the motion and reconsidered the Order of April 30. filed a motion praying that since petitioner was ailing in Fort Lee. which all refer to the offer and admission to probate of the last wills of the Cunanan spouses including all procedures undertaken and decrees issued in connection with the said probate" (Records. who happens to be her daughter. After the hearing of the motion on April 25. respondent Judge to which the case was reassigned denied the motion for reconsideration holding that the documents submitted by petitioner proved "that the wills of the testator domiciled abroad were properly executed. Natividad. 1986. U. 1985 on the strength of the February 21. genuine and sufficient to possess real and personal property. On August 19. 1985. 1986. chanroblesvi rt ualawlib ra rychan roble s vi rtual law lib rary Thereafter. New Jersey. chanroblesvi rt ualawlib ra rychan roble s virtua l law lib rary On August 29. petitioner filed a motion to allow her to present further evidence on the foreign law. p. respondent Judge said that the documents did not establish the law of New York on the procedure and allowance of wills (Records.A. petitioner filed a motion praying for the reconsideration of the Order of April 30. and that proceedings were held on a foreign tribunal and proofs taken by a competent judge who inquired into all the facts and circumstances and being satisfied with his findings issued a decree admitting to probate the wills in question. counsel for petitioner. chanrob lesvi rtua lawlib rary chan roble s virtual law l ibra ry On March 31. that letters testamentary were issued. 1984. chanroblesvi rtua lawlib rary chan robles v irt ual law l ibra ry On April 9. 381). and therefore incapacitated to act as special administratrix. She also filed a motion for the reconsideration of the Order of February 21. petitioner filed a motion to resume proceedings on account of the final settlement and termination of the probate cases in New York. 1984 Order granting her a period of 15 days upon arrival in the country within which to act on the denial of probate of the wills of the Cunanan spouses. Three days later. . she (the counsel) should be named substitute special administratrix. respondent Judge issued an order wherein he . 1985. 1986. . pp.

petitioner stated that she had furnished a copy of the motion to the counsel of the Cunanan . 405-407). chanroble svirtualawl ibra ryc hanro bles vi rt ual law libra ry On August 13. He granted petitioner 45 days to submit the evidence to that effect.conceded that insufficiency of evidence to prove the foreign law was not a fatal defect and was curable by adducing additional evidence. p. 393). 395). chanrob lesvi rtualaw lib raryc han robles v irt ual law l ibra ry On July 18. In her compliance." He pointed out that even in New York "where the wills in question were first submitted for probate. De La Peña. 1986" but allowed petitioner to "file anew the appropriate probate proceedings for each of the testator" (Records. 1986 prompted petitioner to file a second motion for reconsideration stating that she was "ready to submit further evidence on the law obtaining in the State of New York" and praying that she be granted "the opportunity to present evidence on what the law of the State of New York has on the probate and allowance of wills" (Records. 1986. they were dealt with in separate proceedings" (Records. p. 1986. 1986 that he found "no compelling reason to disturb its ruling of March 31. Rule 2 of the Rules of Court. p. respondent Judge denied the motion holding that to allow the probate of two wills in a single proceeding "would be a departure from the typical and established mode of probate where one petition takes care of one will. petitioner filed a supplement to the motion for reconsideration. but respondent Judge found that this pleading had been filed out of time and that the adverse party had not been furnished with a copy thereof. citing Section 3. chanroble svirtualawl ibra ryc hanro bles vi rtu al law li bra ry The Order dated June 20. which provides that no party may institute more than one suit for a single cause of action. chanroblesvi rtua lawlib rary chan roble s virtual law l ibra ry On September 11. just and speedy determination of the proceedings" (Records. 391). pp. 1986. 305 (1932) (Records. 411). 57 Phil. without waiting for petitioner to adduce the additional evidence. respondent Judge ruled in his order dated June 20. would go against "the grain of inexpensive. chanroblesv irt ualawli bra rychan rob les vi rtual law lib rary However. citing Benigno v. She pointed out that separate proceedings for the wills of the spouses which contain basically the same provisions as they even named each other as a beneficiary in their respective wills. petitioner filed a motion for the reconsideration of the Order of July 18. p.

376-378). "G-3" . chanrobles v irt ual law l ibra ry (f) two certificates of authentication from the Consulate General of the Philippines in New York (Exh. pp. chanrobles vi rtua l law lib rary (b) two certifications from the Secretary of State of New York and Custodian of the Great Seal on the facts that Judge Bernard L. II Petitioner contends that the following pieces of evidence she had submitted before respondent Judge are sufficient to warrant the allowance of the wills: (a) two certificates of authentication of the respective wills of Evelyn and Jose by the Consulate General of the Philippines (Exhs. "F-2" and "G-2"). chanroble s virtual law l ibra ry (c) two certificates of Judge Reagan and Chief Clerk Donald E. chanroblesv irt ualawli bra rycha nrob les vi rtua l law lib rary . 1982 (Exhs. denying the motion for reconsideration filed by petitioner on the grounds that "the probate of separate wills of two or more different persons even if they are husband and wife cannot be undertaken in a single petition" (Records. chanro bles vi rtua l law lib ra ry (e) certificates of Judge Reagan and the Chief Clerk certifying to the genuineness and authenticity of the exemplified copies of the two wills (Exhs. respondent Judge issued an order. that his signature and seal of office are genuine. chanroblesvi rtua lawlib rary chan robles v irt ual law l ibra ry On November 19. "F-6" and Exh. "F-3". chanroble svirtualawl ibraryc hanro bl es virt ual law li bra ry Hence. Moore stating that they have in their records and files the said wills which were recorded on April 7. petitioner instituted the instant petition. arguing that the evidence offered at the hearing of April 11. "F" and "G")."G-6").heirs and reiterated her motion for a "final ruling on her supplemental motion" (Records. "H" and "F"). 1983 sufficiently proved the laws of the State of New York on the allowance of wills. and that the Surrogate is duly authorized to grant copy of the respective wills of Evelyn and Jose (Exhs. "F-7" and "F-7"). Reagan is the Surrogate of the Country of Onondaga which is a court of record. p. and that the separate wills of the Cunanan spouses need not be probated in separate proceedings. "F-1" and "G-1"). chanrobles v irt ual law l ibra ry (d) the respective wills of Evelyn and Jose (Exhs. 421).

"H-6" and "I-6") (Rollo. who were American citizens. or according to the formalities observed in his country. "H-2" and "I-2"). 816. 1983 and that the proceedings were terminated on November 29. chanroble s virtual law l ibra ry (k) decrees on probate of the two wills stating that they were properly executed. Petitioner adds that the wills had been admitted to probate in the Surrogate Court�s Decision of April 13. and chanroble s virtual law li bra ry (l) certificates of Judge Reagan and the Chief Clerk on the genuineness and authenticity of each other�s signatures in the exemplified copies of the decrees of probate. or in conformity with those which this Code prescribes. letters testamentary and all proceedings had and proofs duly taken (Exhs. chanroble svi rtualawl ib raryc hanrobles vi rt ual law li bra ry The respective wills of the Cunanan spouses. "H3" and "I-10"). pp. "H-1" and "I-1"). "H-4" and "I5"). The will of an alien who is abroad produces effect in the Philippines if made with the formalities prescribed by the law of the place in which he resides. chanrobles vi rt ual law li bra ry (j) the decrees on probate of the two wills specifying that proceedings were held and proofs duly taken (Exhs. . 1984. Cunanan as alternate executor (Exhs. 13-16). "H-5" and "I-5"). will only be effective in this country upon compliance with the following provision of the Civil Code of the Philippines: Art. letters testamentary and proceedings held in their court (Exhs.(g) certifications from the Secretary of State that Judge Reagan is duly authorized to grant exemplified copies of the decree of probate. chanroble s virtual law lib rary (i) certification to the effect that it was during the term of Judge Reagan that a decree admitting the wills to probate had been issued and appointing Rafael G. chanroble s virtual law lib rary (h) certificates of Judge Reagan and the Chief Clerk that letters testamentary were issued to Rafael G. genuine and valid and that the said instruments were admitted to probate and established as wills valid to pass real and personal property (Exhs. Cunanan (Exhs.

and inexpensive determination of every action and proceeding. Suntay. Hix. 610 [1930]). which advise that the rules shall be "liberally construed in order to promote their object and to assist the parties in obtaining just.. Escolin. Rule 1 of the Revised Rules of Court." chanro bles vi rtua l law lib ra ry A literal application of the Rules should be avoided if they would . and (5) the laws of a foreign country on procedure and allowance of wills (III Moran Commentaries on the Rules of Court. Fluemer v. 1970 ed. While the probate of a will is a special proceeding wherein courts should relax the rules on evidence. (3) the will has been admitted to probate in such country. (4) the fact that the foreign tribunal is a probate court. 56 SCRA 266 [1974]). pp. Suntay v. chanroble svirtualawl ibra ryc hanro bles vi rtua l law li bra ry The necessity of presenting evidence on the foreign laws upon which the probate in the foreign country is based is impelled by the fact that our courts cannot take judicial notice of them (Philippine Commercial and Industrial Bank v. chanro blesvi rt ualawlib ra rychan roble s virtual law lib rary The evidence necessary for the reprobate or allowance of wills which have been probated outside of the Philippines are as follows: (1) the due execution of the will in accordance with the foreign laws.Thus. proof that both wills conform with the formalities prescribed by New York laws or by Philippine laws is imperative. speedy. Except for the first and last requirements. 95 Phil. the goal is to receive the best evidence of which the matter is susceptible before a purported will is probated or denied probate (Vda. (2) the testator has his domicile in the foreign country and not in the Philippines. de Ramos v. 81 SCRA 393 [1978]). chanroblesv irt ualawli bra rychan rob les vi rtual law lib rary There is merit in petitioner�s insistence that the separate wills of the Cunanan spouses should be probated jointly. the petitioner submitted all the needed evidence. 419-429. 500 [1954]. Such view overlooks the provisions of Section 2. 54 Phil. Respondent Judge�s view that the Rules on allowance of wills is couched in singular terms and therefore should be interpreted to mean that there should be separate probate proceedings for the wills of the Cunanan spouses is too literal and simplistic an approach. virtua l law lib rary chanroble svi rtualawl ib raryc hanrobles Petitioner must have perceived this omission as in fact she moved for more time to submit the pertinent procedural and substantive New York laws but which request respondent Judge just glossed over. Court of Appeals.

the Cunanan spouses executed separate wills. Thus.only result in the delay in the administration of justice (Acain v. Evelyn Perez Cunanan and because she does not consider herself an heir of Dr. she only impleaded respondent Judge. even in the instant petition. contrary to petitioner's claim. the will probated abroad should be treated as if it were an "original will" or a will that is presented for probate for the first time. if he is not the petitioner. Jose F. Under Section 4 of Rule 76 of the Revised Rules of Court. Intermediate Appellate Court. forgetting that a judge whose order is being assailed is merely a nominal or formal party (Calderon v. which require publication and notice by mail or personally to the "known heirs. Article 818). legatees. chanroble svi rtualawl ib raryc hanrobles vi rt ual law li bra ry This petition cannot be completely resolved without touching on a very glaring fact .petitioner has always considered herself the sole heir of Dr. it will always strive to settle the entire controversy in a single proceeding leaving no root or branch to bear the seeds of future litigation (Motoomull v. 129 SCRA 33 [1984]). 215 SCRA 876 [1992]). are required. Solicitor General. chanro blesvi rt ualawlib ra rychan roble s virtual law libra ry The brothers and sisters of Dr. chanroble svirtualawl ibra rycha nrob les vi rtua l law lib rary The rule that the court having jurisdiction over the reprobate of a will shall "cause notice thereof to be given as in case of an original will presented for allowance" (Revised Rules of Court. are entitled to notices of the time and place for proving the wills. 187 SCRA 743 [1990]). Dela Paz. compliance with Sections 3 and 4 of Rule 76. and devisees of the testator resident in the Philippines" and to the executor. Accordingly. she noticeably failed to notify his heirs of the filing of the proceedings. practical considerations dictate their joint probate. Leonidas. In the case at bench. Since the two wills contain essentially the same provisions and pertain to property which in all probability are conjugal in nature. and devisees of the . As this Court has held a number of times. Roberts v. Section 2) means that with regard to notices. Cunanan. 155 SCRA 100 [1987]. the "court shall also cause copies of the notice of the time and place fixed for proving the will to be addressed to the designated or other known heirs. Cunanan. Rule 27. legatees. Jose F. chanrob lesvi rtua lawlib rary chan robles v irtua l law lib ra ry What the law expressly prohibits is the making of joint wills either for the testator�s reciprocal benefit or for the benefit of a third person (Civil Code of the Philippines.

.S. They have an adopted daughter.1 The will was admitted to probate before the Orphan's Court of Baltimore. On October 12.: Spouses Audrey O Neill (Audrey) and W. v. In it.4 As administrator of Audrey's estate in the Philippines. Branch 25. who was also designated as executor. the questioned Order is SET ASIDE. and (3) 64. (2) a current account in Audrey's name with a cash balance of P12.A.2 The court also named Atty.97. Audrey died. Makati. . " chanrobles v irt ual law li bra ry WHEREFORE. 2006] ALONZO Q. Seventh Judicial District. Phillips as executor due to Richard's renunciation of his appointment. Jose F. . she bequeathed her entire estate to Richard. namely. J. DECISION AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ. in Special Proceeding No. Metro Manila. valued at P764. Maryland. Richard married Candelaria Guersey-Dalaygon (respondent) with whom he has two children. ANCHETA. Richard Guersey (Richard) were American citizens who have resided in the Philippines for 30 years.3 In 1981.00 (Makati property).R. Pasig.Respondent. Kimberly and Kevin. [G.testator. 9625. Kyle Guersey Hill (Kyle). Petitioner. Cunanan are given all notices and copies of all pleadings pertinent to the probate proceedings. Respondent Judge shall allow petitioner reasonable time within which to submit evidence needed for the joint probate of the wills of the Cunanan spouses and see to it that the brothers and sisters of Dr. chanroblesvi rtua lawlib rary chan roble s virtual law l ibra ry SO ORDERED. Ancheta (petitioner) of the Quasha Asperilla Ancheta Pena & Nolasco Law Offices as ancillary administrator. 139868 : June 8. 1979.417. which named James N. NO.444 shares of stock in A/G . Forbes Park. leaving a will. CANDELARIA GUERSEYDALAYGON. Alonzo Q.865. 1982. On July 29. Audrey's will was also admitted to probate by the then Court of First Instance of Rizal. U. petitioner filed an inventory and appraisal of the following properties: (1) Audrey's conjugal share in real estate with improvements located at 28 Pili Avenue.

docketed as Special Proceeding No. William Quasha or any member of the Quasha Asperilla Ancheta Pena & Nolasco Law Offices.6 The will was also admitted to probate by the Orphan's Court of Ann Arundel. and directing the Citibank to release the amount of P12.97 to the ancillary administrator for distribution to the heirs.Interiors. Inc.S. 9625. Inc.111 shares to Kyle.7 Atty. Inc. 1988.12 Consequently. and Kyle.. 48. the .49 in cash. to transfer 48. directing the Secretary of A/G Interiors. Richard died.undivided interest in the Makati property.111 shares in A/G Interiors. Richard Guersey (' undivided interest) and Kyle (' undivided interest). save for his rights and interests over the A/G Interiors. 155823 in the names of the Estate of W. leaving a will.333 shares in A/G Interiors.00. worthP64. 1988. a project of partition of Audrey's estate. M-888. designated Atty. the Register of Deeds of Makati issued on June 23. directing the Register of Deeds of Makati to cancel TCT No. and P9.104.417. 1986.10 The motion and project of partition was granted and approved by the trial court in its Order dated February 12. and P3. and James N.9 Petitioner also filed on October 23.A. 69792 in the name of Richard and to issue a new title in the joint names of the Estate of W.5 On July 20. wherein he bequeathed his entire estate to respondent. Quasha was appointed as ancillary administrator on July 24.13 Meanwhile. 1987. shares. petitioner filed in Special Proceeding No. U. Richard's will was then submitted for probate before the Regional Trial Court of Makati.. with Richard being apportioned the undivided interest in the Makati property. Inc. Inc. M888 also filed a project of partition wherein 2/5 of Richard's - . 1987. who in turn. 1984. as ancillary administrator.8 On October 19.333 shares to the Estate of W.48 from the Citibank current account. 1988.444. TCT No. the ancillary administrator in Special Proceeding No. a motion to declare Richard and Kyle as heirs of Audrey. 16. Branch 138. Richard Guersey and Kyle. Richard Guersey and 16.313.11 The trial court also issued an Order on April 7. which he left to Kyle. Phillips was likewise appointed as executor. Maryland.

1999. 9625. Petitioner alleged that he believed that it is to the "best interests of the surviving children that Philippine law be applied as they would receive their just shares. shares. 1988. Inc. and since Richard left his entire estate. in Special Proceeding No. 1993. issued in Special Proceeding No. Petitioner contended that he acted in good faith in submitting the project of partition before the trial court in Special Proceeding No. and cannot be set aside. 1988 and April 7. then his entire . and not merely . the CA rendered the assailed Decision annulling the trial court's Orders dated February 12. 9625." Petitioner also alleged that the orders sought to be annulled are already final and executory.16 Respondent contended that petitioner willfully breached his fiduciary duty when he disregarded the laws of the State of Maryland on the distribution of Audrey's estate in accordance with her will. while 3/5 thereof were allocated to Richard's three children."14 Since Richard left his entire estate to respondent. Petitioner filed his Answer denying respondent's allegations. and in its Order dated December 6. to respondent.undivided interest in the Makati property should be given to respondent. Inc. except for his rights and interests over the A/G Interiors..undivided interest in the Makati property was allocated to respondent. then the Makati property should be wholly adjudicated to him.15 On October 20. The trial court also adjudicated Richard's entire . This was opposed by respondent on the ground that under the law of the State of Maryland.undivided interest in the Makati property to respondent. as he had no knowledge of the State of Maryland's laws on testate and intestate succession. disapproved the project of partition insofar as it affects the Makati property. On March 18. respondent filed with the Court of Appeals (CA) an amended complaint for the annulment of the trial court's Orders dated February 12. except for his rights and interests over the A/G Interiors. 1988 and April 7.17 The dispositive portion of the . Respondent argued that since Audrey devised her entire estate to Richard. 1988. 9625. "a legacy passes to the legatee the entire interest of the testator in the property subject of the legacy. The trial court found merit in respondent's opposition. 1991. then the entire Makati property should now pertain to respondent.thereof.

18 Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration.19 Hence. AND THAT NO FRAUD. the herein Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court alleging that the CA gravely erred in not holding that: A) THE ORDERS OF 12 FEBRUARY 1988 AND 07 APRIL 1988 IN SPECIAL PROCEEDINGS NO. EITHER EXTRINSIC OR INTRINSIC. B) THE ANCILLARY ADMINISTRATOR HAVING ACTED IN GOOD FAITH. 9625 "IN THE MATTER OF THE PETITION FOR PROBATE OF THE WILL OF THE DECEASED AUDREY GUERSEY. as far as the parties to the proceedings are concerned. and cralawlib rary (b) The cancellation of Transfer Certificate of Title No.21 . and will determine for all time and in all courts. ALONZO Q. in lieu thereof.20 Petitioner reiterates his arguments before the CA that the Orders dated February 12. ANCHETA. ANCILLARY ADMINISTRATOR".assailed Decision provides: WHEREFORE. IN THE PERFORMANCE OF HIS DUTIES AS ANCILLARY ADMINISTRATOR OF AUDREY O NEIL GUERSEY'S ESTATE IN THE PHILIPPINES. 1988 are hereby ANNULLED and. EITHER EXTRINSIC OR INTRINSIC. SO ORDERED. which is "conclusive upon the administration as to all matters involved in such judgment or order. 1999. 15583 of the Makati City Registry and the issuance of a new title in the name of the estate of W. Richard Guersey. all matters therein determined. Richard Guersey. 1988 can no longer be annulled because it is a final judgment. DID NOT COMMIT FRAUD. WAS EMPLOYED BY [HIM] IN PROCURING SAID ORDERS." and the same has already been executed. 1998 and April 7. the assailed Orders of February 12. but this was denied by the CA per Resolution dated August 27. ARE VALID AND BINDING AND HAVE LONG BECOME FINAL AND HAVE BEEN FULLY IMPLEMENTED AND EXECUTED AND CAN NO LONGER BE ANNULLED. a new one is entered ordering: (a) The adjudication of the entire estate of Audrey O Neill Guersey in favor of the estate of W. 1988 and April 7.

he was not aware of the relevant laws of the State of Maryland. the applicable law is Batas Pambansa Blg. he already apprised respondent of the contents of the will and how the estate will be divided. petitioner was duty-bound to follow the express terms of Aubrey's will. such that the partition was made in accordance with Philippine laws. 129 may be based on the ground that a judgment is void for want of jurisdiction or that the judgment was obtained by . a final decree of distribution of the estate may be set aside for lack of jurisdiction or fraud. hence. Ancheta filed a project of partition in Special Proceeding No.26 The petition for annulment was filed before the CA on October 20. in exceptional cases. Ortuzar. in Ramon v. According to respondent.P. which. Respondent also states that she was not able to file any opposition to the project of partition because she was not a party thereto and she learned of the provision of Aubrey's will bequeathing entirely her estate to Richard only after Atty. Once it becomes final. 129) or the Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980.P. A decree of distribution of the estate of a deceased person vests the title to the land of the estate in the distributees.22 Respondent argues that petitioner's breach of his fiduciary duty as ancillary administrator of Aubrey's estate amounted to extrinsic fraud.25 the Court ruled that a party interested in a probate proceeding may have a final liquidation set aside when he is left out by reason of circumstances beyond his control or through mistake or inadvertence not imputable to negligence. Petitioner also imputes knowledge on the part of respondent with regard to the terms of Aubrey's will. 1993. if erroneous may be corrected by a timely appeal. and his denial of knowledge of the laws of Maryland cannot stand because petitioner is a senior partner in a prestigious law firm and it was his duty to know the relevant laws. He maintains that at the time of the filing of the project of partition.23 However. 129 (B. stating that as early as 1984. M-888 for the settlement of Richard's estate. before the issuance of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure.24 Further. An annulment of judgment filed under B. its binding effect is like any other judgment in rem.Petitioner also contends that that he acted in good faith in performing his duties as an ancillary administrator.

respondent was already well aware of the terms of Audrey's will. 1988. Records bear the fact that the filing of the project of partition of Richard's estate. reducing her inheritance in the estate of Richard that she was prompted to seek another counsel to protect her interest. it has to be extrinsic or actual. Respondent. Petitioner contends that respondent's cause of action had already prescribed because as early as 1984. Kyle Guersey Hill. Rather. The CA ruled that under Article 16 of the Civil Code. amounted to extrinsic fraud.28 and must be brought within four years from the discovery of the fraud. and the order of the trial court disallowing the project of partition in Special Proceeding No. Ancheta filed the project of partition in Special Proceeding No. . The CA also found that petitioner was prompted to distribute Audrey's estate in accordance with Philippine laws in order to equally benefit Audrey and Richard Guersey's adopted daughter. despite the latter's declaration of good faith. hence. alleged to have been committed against respondent. Respondent's knowledge of the terms of Audrey's will is immaterial in this case since it is not the fraud complained of. respondent alleged extrinsic fraud as basis for the annulment of the RTC Orders dated February 12.27 For fraud to become a basis for annulment of judgment. the opposition thereto. The CA found merit in respondent's cause and found that petitioner's failure to follow the terms of Audrey's will.30 and the complaint was filed only in 1993.29 In the present case. M-888. it is petitioner's failure to introduce in evidence the pertinent law of the State of Maryland that is the fraudulent act. the four-year period should be counted from the time of respondent's discovery thereof. 1988 and April 7. petitioner should have distributed Aubrey's estate in accordance with the terms of her will. omission. and therefore. 9625.extrinsic fraud. on the other hand.31 It should be pointed out that the prescriptive period for annulment of judgment based on extrinsic fraud commences to run from the discovery of the fraud or fraudulent act/s. or in this case. it is the national law of the decedent that is applicable. justified her lack of immediate action by saying that she had no opportunity to question petitioner's acts since she was not a party to Special Proceeding No. and it was only after Atty.

or from presenting all of his case to the court. and he is required to exercise reasonable diligence and act in entire good faith . 129. a false promise of a compromise. the same has not yet prescribed. he occupies a position of the highest trust and confidence. In Cosmic Lumber Corporation v. (2). M-888 that she came to comprehend the ramifications of petitioner's acts. or where it operates upon matters. but to the manner in which it was procured so that there is not a fair submission of the controversy. or where the defendant never had any knowledge of the suit. As such.32 Respondent cannot be faulted for letting the assailed orders to lapse into finality since it was only through Special Proceeding No. 9 par. or real contest. In other words. being kept in ignorance by the acts of the plaintiff. extrinsic fraud refers to any fraudulent act of the prevailing party in the litigation which is committed outside of the trial of the case.33 the Court stated that "man in his ingenuity and fertile imagination will always contrive new schemes to fool the unwary. Fraud takes on different shapes and faces. Court of Appeals. not pertaining to the judgment itself. Fraud is extrinsic where the unsuccessful party has been prevented from exhibiting fully his case. whereby the defeated party has been prevented from exhibiting fully his side of the case by fraud or deception practiced on him by his opponent. by fraud or deception practiced on him by his opponent." There is extrinsic fraud within the meaning of Sec.M-888 were all done in 1991. Blg.P.35 Petitioner is the ancillary administrator of Audrey's estate. as by keeping him away from court. of B. these and similar cases which show that there has never been a real contest in the trial or hearing of the case are reasons for which a new suit may be sustained to set aside and annul the former judgment and open the case for a new and fair hearing. where it is one the effect of which prevents a party from hearing a trial. clearly. Since the action for annulment was filed in 1993.34 The overriding consideration when extrinsic fraud is alleged is that the fraudulent scheme of the prevailing litigant prevented a party from having his day in court. Obviously. respondent had no other recourse under the circumstances but to file the annulment case. or where an attorney fraudulently or without authority connives at his defeat.

which was duly authenticated and certified by the Register of Wills of Baltimore City and attested by the Chief Judge of said court. she was residing in the Philippines but is domiciled in Maryland. Maryland. Real property as well as personal property is subject to the law of the country where it is situated. It is undisputed that Audrey Guersey was an American citizen domiciled in Maryland.S. to wit: Art. among others. yet the same degree of prudence. as provided in Article 16 of the Civil Code. 1972 was executed and probated before the Orphan's Court in Baltimore.. care and judgment which a person of a fair average capacity and ability exercises in similar transactions of his own.e. 9625. 1988 and April 7. intestate and testamentary succession. U.. and the will was authenticated by the Secretary of State of Maryland and the Vice Consul of the Philippine Embassy. her Last Will and Testament dated August 18. is governed by her national law. whatever may be the nature of the property and regardless of the country wherein said property may be found. U. 1979. 16. During the reprobate of her will in Special Proceeding No.36 Petitioner's failure to proficiently manage the distribution of Audrey's estate according to the terms of her will and as dictated by the applicable law amounted to extrinsic fraud. that at the time of Audrey's death. shall be regulated by the national law of the person whose succession is under consideration. the law of the State of Maryland. must be upheld. especially with regard as to who are her heirs. 1988. the intrinsic validity of Audrey's will. it was shown. However. serves as the standard by which his conduct is to be judged. U. i.S.A. both with respect to the order of succession and to the amount of successional rights and to the intrinsic validity of testamentary provisions. Being a foreign national. Although he is not a guarantor or insurer of the safety of the estate nor is he expected to be infallible.in the performance of that trust.A. the will was admitted by the Orphan's Court of Baltimore City on September 7.S. Hence the CA Decision annulling the RTC Orders dated February 12. (Emphasis supplied) cralawl ibra ry Article 1039 of the Civil Code further provides that "capacity to ..A.

and the residue. Such estate. shall extend to all the estate of the testator in the Philippines. The Court cannot accept petitioner's protestation." As a corollary rule. and merely relied on the presumption that such law is the same as the Philippine law on wills and succession. was duty-bound to introduce in evidence the pertinent law of the State of Maryland.succeed is governed by the law of the nation of the decedent.38 Petitioner admitted that he failed to introduce in evidence the law of the State of Maryland on Estates and Trusts. Rule 77 of the Rules of Court on Allowance of Will Proved Outside the Philippines and Administration of Estate Thereunder. with a "big legal staff and a large library. states: SEC. Thus. Petitioner insists that his application of Philippine laws was made in good faith. if any. (Emphasis supplied) cralawlib rary While foreign laws do not prove themselves in our jurisdiction and our courts are not authorized to take judicial notice of them. Section 4. and such letters testamentary or of administration. When a will is thus allowed. domiciled in the State of Maryland. 4. the trial court peremptorily applied Philippine laws and totally disregarded the terms of Audrey's will. petitioner is a senior partner in a prestigious law firm. How can petitioner honestly presume that Philippine laws apply when as early as the reprobate of Audrey's will before the trial court in 1982. so far as such will may operate upon it. citizen."39 He had all the legal resources to determine the applicable law. it was already brought to fore that Audrey was a U. It was incumbent upon him to exercise his functions as ancillary administrator with reasonable .S. or letters of administration with the will annexed. as ancillary administrator of Audrey's estate. after the payment of just debts and expenses of administration. Estate. The obvious result was that there was no fair submission of the case before the trial court or a judicious appreciation of the evidence presented.37 however. how administered. petitioner. the court shall grant letters testamentary. shall be disposed of as is provided by law in cases of estates in the Philippines belonging to persons who are inhabitants of another state or country. shall be disposed of according to such will. As asserted by respondent.

40 the Court held that when the rule that the negligence or mistake of counsel binds the client deserts its proper office as an aid to justice and becomes a great hindrance and chief enemy. 210). 82 Phil. it goes without saying that the defendant was also duty-bound to prove the pertinent laws of Maryland on the matter. Considering the principle established under Article 16 of the Civil Code of the Philippines. The CA correctly stated. 1988. 30. and distributing Audrey's estate according to the project of partition submitted by petitioner. Bengson Commercial Bldgs. Inc. The record reveals. however. as well as the citizenship and the avowed domicile of the decedent. 38) in the absence of evidence adduced to prove the latter law (Slade Perkins v. In defending his actions in the light of the foregoing principle. The CA aptly noted that petitioner was remiss in his responsibilities as ancillary administrator of Audrey's estate. its rigors must be relaxed to admit exceptions thereto and to prevent a miscarriage of justice. it appears that the defendant lost sight of the fact that his primary responsibility as ancillary administrator was to distribute the subject estate in accordance with the will of Audrey O Neill Guersey. This eventually prejudiced respondent and deprived her of her full successional right to the Makati property. Yatco. and the court has the power to except a particular case from the operation of the rule whenever the purposes of justice require it. 1988 and April 7. which the Court adopts. Ancheta invokes the principle which presumes the law of the forum to be the same as the foreign law (Beam v. whom petitioner believed should equally benefit from the Makati property. Unfortunately.. The CA likewise observed that the distribution made by petitioner was prompted by his concern over Kyle. that no clear effort was made to prove . the fact remains that the trial court failed to consider said law when it issued the assailed RTC Orders dated February 12.diligence. Perkins. thus: In claiming good faith in the performance of his duties and responsibilities. and to discharge the trust reposed on him faithfully. petitioner failed to perform his fiduciary duties. declaring Richard and Kyle as Audrey's heirs. defendant Alonzo H. Moreover.. 57 Phil. however. 205. whether his omission was intentional or not. In GSIS v.

combine to create a circumstance that is tantamount to extrinsic fraud. the courts have the legal and moral duty to provide judicial aid to parties who are deprived of their rights. Ancheta's concern that the subject realty equally benefit the plaintiff's adopted daughter Kyle Guersey.42 The trial court in its Order dated December 6. Ancheta's omission to prove the national laws of the decedent and to follow the latter's last will. in sum. the defendant appears to put his actuations in a different light as indicated in a portion of his direct examination.the national law of Audrey O Neill Guersey during the proceedings before the court a quo. In cases like this. It does not rest upon petitioner's pleasure as to which law should be made applicable under the circumstances. She was in no position to analyze the legal implications of petitioner's omission and it was belatedly that she realized the adverse consequence of the same. Ancheta's action appears to have breached his duties and responsibilities as ancillary administrator of the subject estate. M-888 noted the law of the State of Maryland on . therefore. resulted in the procurement of the subject orders without a fair submission of the real issues involved in the case. that the eventual distribution of the estate of Audrey O Neill Guersey was prompted by defendant Alonzo H.41 (Emphasis supplied) cralawlib rary This is not a simple case of error of judgment or grave abuse of discretion. Defendant Alonzo H. 1991 in Special Proceeding No. as well as the resultant frustration of the decedent's last will. His onus is clear. Well-intentioned though it may be. The end result was a miscarriage of justice. Respondent was thus excluded from enjoying full rights to the Makati property through no fault or negligence of her own. but a total disregard of the law as a result of petitioner's abject failure to discharge his fiduciary duties. defendant Alonzo H. to wit: xxx It would seem. the fiduciary nature of the said defendant's position. While such breach of duty admittedly cannot be considered extrinsic fraud under ordinary circumstances. as petitioner's omission was beyond her control. While there is claim of good faith in distributing the subject estate in accordance with the Philippine laws.

Estates and Trusts.417. Title 3. and (3) 64. viz. II. worth P64.444. Audrey devised to Richard her entire estate. who shall hold the legal title for administration and distribution. was introduced in evidence by appellants' (herein) counsel as Exhibit "2" (See pp.43 In her will. the foreign law. and upon his death shall pass directly to the personal representative." while Section 4-408 expressly provides that "unless a contrary intent is expressly indicated in the will. on the other hand.97. All these properties passed on to Richard upon Audrey's death. Nevertheless. Bohanan.000 as her share. however.444 shares of stock in A/G Interiors. bequeathed his entire estate to respondent. Vol.n.00. (2) the cash amount of P12. and t. especially Section 9905. Richard. which he left to Kyle.44 Therein. Inc. as follows: Under Section 1-301. a legacy passes to the legatee the entire interest of the testator in the property which is the subject of the legacy". shares. Title 7. consisting of the following: (1) Audrey's conjugal share in the Makati property. 1954 of the motion of Magdalena C. This. Sub-Title 1. declares that "a personal representative is a fiduciary" and as such he is "under the general duty to settle and distribute the estate of the decedent in accordance with the terms of the will and the estate of decedents law as expeditiously and with as little sacrifice of value as is reasonable under the circumstances". except for his rights and interests over the A/G Interiors. Bohanan for withdrawal of P20. the Court took judicial notice of the law of Nevada despite failure to prove the same. consulted the records of the case in the court below and we have found that during the hearing on October 4. the entire Makati property should have then passed on to respondent. Sub-Title 3 of the Annotated Code of the Public General Laws of Maryland on Estates and Trusts. 77-79. The Court held." was sufficiently proven in Special Proceeding No.s. the Court may take judicial notice thereof in view of the ruling in Bohanan v. Section 7-101. assumes the proposition that the law of the State of Maryland which allows "a legacy to pass to the legatee the entire estate of the testator in the property which is the subject of the legacy.: We have. Meanwhile. in his will. When Richard subsequently died. 9625. . "all property of a decedent shall be subject to the estate of decedents law. Inc. Compiled Nevada Laws. of course.

Justice Moreland. can be taken judicial notice of by us. then Audrey's and Richard's estate should be distributed according to their respective wills. Records. Vol. the entire Makati property belongs to respondent. without proof of such law having been offered at the hearing of the project of partition. Court of First Instance). M-888 appropriately took note of the same in disapproving the proposed project of partition of Richard's estate. given that the pertinent law of the State of Maryland has been brought to record before the CA. children of the testator. Bellis:46 x x x whatever public policy or good customs may be involved in our . not to mention that petitioner or any other interested person for that matter. In this case. 24-44. Consequently. we are constrained to hold that the pertinent law of Nevada. Its provisions have substantially the same force and effect in the probate court as if the testator stood before the court in full life making the declarations by word of mouth as they appear in the will. Decades ago. Honorable as it seems. and not according to the project of partition submitted by petitioner. 1950 before Judge Rafael Amparo (see Records. permitted them to do so x x x All doubts must be resolved in favor of the testator's having meant just what he said.45 wrote: A will is the testator speaking after death. Manarang. Under all the above circumstances. in his dissenting opinion in Santos v. by the creation of that instrument. As stated in Bellis v.pp. Court of First Instance. That was the special purpose of the law in the creation of the instrument known as the last will and testament. Men wished to speak after they were dead and the law. 1). does not dispute the existence or validity of said law. especially Section 9905 of the Compiled Nevada Laws of 1925. do not dispute the above-quoted provision of the laws of the State of Nevada. Again said law was presented by the counsel for the executor and admitted by the Court as Exhibit "B" during the hearing of the case on January 23. and the trial court in Special Proceeding No. the other appellants. In addition. petitioner's motive in equitably distributing Audrey's estate cannot prevail over Audrey's and Richard's wishes.

system of legitimes. Under Article XIII. The prohibition against acquisition of private lands by aliens was carried on to the 1973 Constitution under Article XIV. then whatever flaw. Sections 1 and 4 of the 1935 Constitution. Article XIV. the amount of successional rights. Quasha. and other natural resources of the Philippines.49 In this case. since the Makati property had already passed on to respondent who is a Filipino. inter alia. the Court has also ruled that if land is invalidly transferred to an alien who subsequently becomes a citizen or transfers it to a citizen. the disposition. the Court notes the fact that Audrey and Richard Guersey were American citizens who owned real property in the Philippines. exploitation. as provided in Section 15. The Decision dated March 18. . if any. does not include the acquisition or exploitation of private agricultural lands. development and utilization of natural resources of the Philippines. As it now stands. Sections 7 and 8 of the 1986 Constitution explicitly prohibits nonFilipinos from acquiring or holding title to private lands or to lands of the public domain. that attended the acquisition by the Guerseys of the Makati property is now inconsequential. which re-opened to American citizens and business enterprises the right in the acquisition of lands of the public domain. Section 14. In Republic v. Specific provisions must prevail over general ones. to the decedent's national Law. although records do not show when and how the Guerseys acquired the Makati property.47 Before concluding. Congress has not intended to extend the same to the succession of foreign nationals. For it has specifically chosen to leave. as the objective of the constitutional provision to keep our lands in Filipino hands has been achieved. the privilege to acquire and exploit lands of the public domain. WHEREFORE.48 the Court clarified that the Parity Rights Amendment of 1946. Article XII. except only by way of legal succession or if the acquisition was made by a former natural-born citizen. In any case. were reserved to Filipinos and entities owned or controlled by them. the flaw in the original transaction is considered cured and the title of the transferee is rendered valid. with the exception of private lands acquired by hereditary succession and when the transfer was made to a former natural-born citizen. and to operate public utilities. the petition is denied.

1998. 1999 of the Court of Appeals are AFFIRMED. respondent alleged. Petitioner is ADMONISHED to be more circumspect in the performance of his duties as an official of the court.R. BELEN SAGAD ANGELES. SO ORDERED. 153798 Petitioner. 2. and 4. [3] In support of her opposition and plea. among other valuable properties. The legal dispute between the parties started when. G. CV No. decedent's wife by his second marriage. leaving behind four (4) parcels of land and a building. died intestate on January 21. together with petitioner. in the Regional Trial Court (RTC) at Caloocan City. Serrano St. No. be made the administratrix of Francisco's estate. 2005 In this' petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules' of Court. That there is a need to appoint an administrator of Francisco's estate. ALELI 'CORAZON ANGELES MAGLAYA. Respondent. September 2. among other things. and. respondent filed a petition [2] for letters of administration and her appointment as administratrix of the intestate estate of Francisco M. a resident of 71 B. Angeles (Francisco. 2002 [1] of the Court of Appeals in CA G.1999 and the Resolution dated August 27. reversing an earlier Order of the Regional Trial Court at Caloocan City which dismissed the petition for the settlement of the intestate estate of Francisco Angeles. That Francisco. docketed as Special Proceedings No. thereat commenced by the herein respondent Aleli 'Corazon Angeles-Maglaya. on March 25. petitioner Belen Sagad Angeles seeks to set aside the Decision dated May 29. In the petition. Belen S. 1998 in the City of Manila. Caloocan. petitioner alleged having married Francisco on August 7. Petitioner opposed the basic petition and prayed that she. No pronouncement as to costs. Tianco of the Municipal .R. 1948 before Judge Lucio M. the following: 1. are the surviving heirs of the decedent. Grace Park. instead of respondent. That she has all the qualifications and none of the disqualifications required of an administrator. C-2140 and raffled to Branch 120 of the court. hereinafter). 3. 66037. That she (respondent) is the sole legitimate child of the deceased and Genoveva Mercado. Angeles..

she prayed for the dismissal of the petition for letters of administration on the ground that the petition failed 'to state or prove a cause of action'. Angeles and Genoveva Mercado. be declared as possessed of the superior right to the administration of his estate. respondent interposed an opposition. Carreon [8] and Paulita Angeles de la Cruz. has not presented the marriage contract between her supposed parents or produced any acceptable document to prove such union. the instant petition is hereby ordered DISMISSED for failure of the .[9] Respondent also offered in evidence her birth certificate which contained an entry stating that she was born at the Mary Johnston Hospital. despite her claim of being the legitimate child of Francisco and Genoveva Mercado. in an Order dated July 12. After respondent rested her case following her formal offer of exhibits. Four (4) other witnesses testified on her behalf. during their marriage. She testified having been born on November 20. 1999. Pampanga where the alleged 1938 Francisco-Genoveva wedding took place. legally adopted Concesa A. namely: Tomas Angeles. to which respondent countered with a rejoinder. Manila. inter alia. that she is in fact a legitimate child of Francisco M. and a copy of her marriage contract. were destroyed. thus: WHEREFORE. [10] To the motion to dismiss. and that Francisco represented in their marriage contract that he was single at that time. it being her stated position that '[P]etitioner [Corzaon]. 1939 as the legitimate child of Francisco M. pictures taken during respondent's wedding as bride to Atty.Court of Rizal. [7] Jose O. Petitioner also averred that respondent could not be the daughter of Francisco for. Likewise offered were her scholastic and government service records. dismissed the petition. Tondo. who died in January 1988. a union which was ratified two (2) months later in religious rites at the Our Lady of Grace Parish in Caloocan City. Respondent. et al. followed by petitioner's reply.. respondent alleged. [4] Issues having been joined. Pressing on. on its finding that respondent failed to prove her filiation as legitimate child of Francisco. respondent dismissed as of little consequence the adoption adverted to owing to her having interposed with the Court of Appeals a petition to nullify the decree of adoption entered by the RTC at Caloocan. as petitioner a quo. In the same reply. petitioner further alleged that respondent. i. [6] Francisco Yaya. petitioner likewise averred that she and Francisco had. Eventually. Yamat. although she was recorded as Francisco's legitimate daughter. Rule 16 of the Rules of Court. the corresponding birth certificate was not signed by him. [11] the trial court. failed to establish her filiation vis--vis the decedent. by her evidence. to Francisco Angeles and Genoveva Mercado and whereon the handwritten word 'Yes appears on the space below the question 'Legitimate? (Legitimo?). Guillermo T.e. In it. Angeles. trial ensued. Maglaya. petitioner filed a 'Motion to Dismissunder Section 1(g). the January to December 1938 records of marriages of the Civil Registrar of Bacolor. commenced the presentation of her evidence by taking the witness stand. [5] She also testified having been in open and continuous possession of the status of a legitimate child. In her reply to opposition. And evidently to debunk respondent's claim of being the only child of Francisco. being the surviving spouse of Francisco. that per certification of the appropriate offices. Petitioner thus urged that she.

and (4) in decreeing respondent's appointment as administratrix of Francisco's intestate estate. to be precise. which motion was denied by the trial court in its Order of December 17. it follows that she thereby waived her right to present opposing evidence to rebut respondents' testimonial and documentary evidence. albeit premised on the alleged failure of the underlying petition for letter of administration to state or prove a cause of action. We resolve to grant the petition. [14] 2. Petitioner's motion being a demurer. SO ORDERED. [17] Following is an excerpt from Tison: It seems that both the court a quo and respondent appellate court have regrettably overlooked . 2002. Remove the element of lawful union and there is strictly no legitimate filiation between parents and child. 1999. We are unable to lend concurrence to the appellate court's conclusion on the legitimate status of respondent. CV No. and 3. implies a valid and lawful marriage. on the submission that the Court of Appeals erred: (1) in reversing the trial court's order of dismissal. and. (Word in bracket added] Respondent then moved for reconsideration.R. A legitimate child is a product of. on the basis of such determination. 66037. ordered the trial court to appoint respondent as administratrix of Francisco's estate. (3) in holding that respondent is a legitimate daughter of Francisco. [15] (2) in treating her motion to dismiss' as' a demurrer to evidence.[16] stated that since petitioner 'opted not to present any contrary evidence'. petitioners' instant petition for review on certiorari. actually partakes of a demurrer to evidence under Section 1 of Rule 33. [13]reversed and set aside the trial court's order of dismissal and directed it to appoint respondent as administratrix of the estate of Francisco. The Trial Court is hereby ordered to appoint petitioner-appellant Aleli 'Corazon Angeles as administratrix of the intestate estate of Francisco Angeles. the Court of Appeals. In finding for respondent. [12] Therefrom. 'the presumption on respondent's legitimacy stands 'unrebutted. the appealed order of dismissal is REVERSED. Hence. As stated at the threshold hereof. citing and extensibly quoting from Tison vs. or. Respondent has sufficiently established her legitimate filiation with the deceased Francisco. to wit: WHEREFORE. Angeles and Genoveva Mercado. in its assailed Decision dated May 29. the Court of Appeals. on her legitimate filiation to the decedent.[respondent] to state a cause of action in accordance with Section 1(g) of Rule 16 of the 1997 Rules of Civil of Procedure. Article 164 of the Family Code cannot be more emphatic on the matter: 'Children conceived or born during the marriage of the parents are legitimate. therefore. Court of Appeals. respondent went on appeal to the Court of Appeals where her recourse was docketed as CA-G. The principal issue tendered in this case boils down to the question of whether or not respondent is the legitimate child of decedent Francisco M. The Court of Appeals resolved the issue in the affirmative and. Petitioner's Motion to Dismiss filed with the trial court. The appellate court predicated its ruling on the interplay of the following main premises: 1.

did not categorically state from what facts established during the trial was the presumption of respondent's supposed legitimacy arose. Emphasis ours) Contextually. No priest. actually fixes a status for the child born in wedlock. it cannot be over-emphasized. There is no presumption of the law more firmly established and founded on sounder morality and more convincing than the presumption thatchildren born in wedlock are legitimate.the universally recognized presumption on legitimacy. [19] the presumption of legitimacy under Article 164 of the Family Code [20] may be availed only upon convincing proof of the factual basis therefor. . i. that while a fact thus prima facie established by legal presumption shall. However. . the presumption of law that a child is legitimate does not arise. judge. . For. stand as proved. . But even if perhaps it wanted to. save for respondent's gratuitous' assertion and an entry in her certificate of birth.. may still be easily available. and can no longer be questioned. He need not introduce evidence to prove that fact. if one had been solemnized [21] ' was offered in evidence. in its decision under review. Else. the Court of Appeals. therefore. . there is absolutely no proof of the decedent's marriage to respondent's mother. becomes fixed. xxxxxxxxx Only the husband can contest the legitimacy of a child born to his wife . and (b) the presumptive legitimacy of such child cannot be attacked collaterally. The status conferred by the presumption. xxx xxx xxx xxx Upon the expiration of the periods provided in Article 170 [of the Family Code]. unless overthrown. which the appellate court evidently misapplied. . the correct lesson of Tison. it could not have possibly done so. the action to impugn the legitimacy of a child can no longer be bought. or other solemnizing authority was called to the witness box to declare that he .e. To stress.(Words in bracket added. a presumption is prima facie proof of the fact presumed. A party in whose favor the legal presumption exists may rely on and invoke such legal presumption to establish a fact in issue. And well-settled is the rule that the issue of legitimacy cannot be attacked collaterally. The rationale for this rule has been explained in this wise: 'The presumption of legitimacy in the Family Code . . It also aims to force early action to settle any doubt as to the paternity of such child so that the evidence material to the matter . and that civil status cannot be attacked collaterally. mayor. is that: (a) a child is presumed legitimate only if conceived or born in wedlock. no marriage certificate or marriage contract ' doubtless the best evidence of Francisco's and Genoveva's marriage. In the case at bench. that the child's parents were legally married and that his/her conception or birth occurred during the subsistence of that marriage. The obvious intention of the law is to prevent the status of a child born in wedlock from being in a state of uncertainty. Genoveva Mercado. [18] For.

thru the years. Angeles. who is about 77 years old . or An admission of legitimate filiation in a public document or a private handwritten instrument and signed by the parent concerned. In the absence of the foregoing evidence. . there was really nothing for petitioner to rebut. Ironical as it may seem. therefore. While perhaps not determinative of the issue of the existence of marriage between Francisco and Genoveva. that when Francisco contracted marriage with petitioner Belen S. it follows that the marriage of Francisco to petitioner Belen Angeles in 1948. [24] in which case petitioner could not be. None of the four (4) witnesses respondent presented could say anything about. hence void.YEARS OLD . as here. or prior to Genoveva's death. no evidence whatsoever was presented of the execution of the Francisco Angeles-Genoveva Mercado marriage contract. . Angeles by his second marriage. At best.solemnized the marriage between the two. Now. we can even go to the extent of saying that respondent has not even presented a witness to testify that her putative parents really held themselves out to the public as manand-wife. and like significant details. absent such a marriage. Genoveva and Francisco were already spouses. For example. let alone affirm. she made certain judicial admission negating her own assertion ' as well as the appellate court's conclusion . The surviving heirs of decedent are the petitioner [Corazon] herself who is 58 years old. respondent had declared that her mother Genoveva died in 1988. for all her unyielding stance that her mother and Francisco Angeles were married in 1938. therefore. a 'surviving spouse of the decedent. Angeles in 1948. respondent never. that Genoveva Mercado and Francisco were married in 1938. as above explained. should flow from a lawful marriage between Francisco and Genevova. told them so. . As may be recalled. when and where their marriage was solemnized. even question what would necessarily be a bigamous Francisco-Belen Sagad marriage. Tomas Angeles and Paulita Angeles de la Cruz testified that they know respondent to be their cousin because his (Tomas') father and her (Paulita's ) mother. if. the identity of the solemnizing officer. We quote the pertinent allegation: 4. their testimonies proved that respondent was Francisco's daughter. then. Clearly. as respondent maintained despite utter lack of evidence. As it were. because Article 172 of the Family Code appears to say so. 172. ' (Emphasis and word in bracket added) We can concede. quite clearly. implying.that Francisco was legally married to Genoveva. would necessarily have to be bigamous. the surviving spouse of deceased Francisco M. the Court of Appeals erred in crediting respondent with the legal presumption of legitimacy which. the legitimate filiation shall be proved . and BELEN S. the same Francisco who used to court Genoveva before the war. there is no presumption of legitimacy and. Parenthetically. To reiterate. . [23] In all. [22] And one Jose Carreon would testify seeing respondent in 1948 in Francisco's house in Caloocan. the persons present. that the legitimate filiation of a child can be established by any of the modes therein defined even without direct evidence of the marriage of his/her supposed parents. The filiation of legitimate children is established by any of the following: • • The record of birth appearing in the civil register or a final judgments. respondent herself undermined her very own case. who are both Francisco's siblings. that supposed marriage. as respondent alleged in her petition for letters of administration. Said article 172 reads: Art. .

the appellate court. or by the mother alone if the father refuses.M. Any other means allowed by the Rules of Court and special laws. [26] Dr. [25] Jurisprudence teaches that a birth certificate. a copy of her Birth Certificate dated November 23. Such certificate. Not even by Genoveva. be made dependent on the declaration of the attending physician or midwife. that [respondent's ] Birth Certificate indubitably establishes that she is the legitimate daughter of Francisco and Genoveva who are legally married. commenting on the probative value of the entries in a certificate of birth. taxes credulity to the limit. albeit considered a public record of a private document is. contends. the putting of his name by the mother or doctor or registrar is void. And the word 'married is written in the certificate to indicate the union of Francisco and Genoveva. wrote: xxx if the alleged father did not intervene in the making of the birth certificate. that ' [I]t was error for the Court of Appeals to have ruled . however. and filiation (that said child) is the daughter of 'Francisco [28] It cannot be over-emphasized that the legitimate filiation of a child is a matter fixed by law itself. evidence only of the fact which gave rise to its execution: the fact of birth of a child. In it.not only respondent's filiation to Francisco but even her being a legitimate daughter of Francisco and Genoveva. one Rebecca De Guzman. in support of her claim of legitimacy. to be considered as validating proof of paternity and as an instrument of recognition. under Section 23. out of a Birth Certificate signed by a physician who merely certified having attended 'the birth of a child who was born alive at 3:50 P. with or without the participation of a doctor or midwife. who certified to having attended the birth of a child. establishes ' and 'indubitably at that . created ' a marriage that of ' Francisco and Genoveva'. [29] It cannot. Here. her birth was recorded as the legitimate child of Francisco Angeles and Genoveva Mercado. and not just filiation but of legitimate filiation. . or that of the mother of the newborn child.[27] The conclusion reached by the Court of Appeals that the Birth Certificate of respondent. Arturo Tolentino. In the apt words of petitioner. . 'E'). by inferring from it that Francisco and Genoveva are legally married. or 2. the signature of the alleged father is necessary.by: 1. ' . citing jurisprudence. must be signed by the father and mother jointly. The open and continuous possession of the status of a legitimate child. the appellate court regarded such certificate as defining proof of filiation. Rule 132 of the Rules of Court. It was signed by the attending physician. an unwed mother. respondent presented. The reason is as simple as it is elementary: the Birth Certificate presented was not signed by Francisco against whom legitimate filiation is asserted. could veritably invest legitimate status to her offspring through the simple expedient of writing the . 1939 issued by the Civil Registrar of the City of Manila (Exh. In a very real sense. as the decision under review seems to suggest. Petitioner. unsigned as it were by Francisco and Genoveva. For then. The contention commends itself for concurrence.

Caloocan for reception of evidence. propositions which we have earlier refuted herein. Maglaya and from her student and government records' which indicated or purported to show that Francisco Angeles is her father. in a Decision [32] dated December 17. however. filed with the Court of Appeals a petition for the annulment of the decision of the RTC Caloocan granting the petition of spouses Francisco Angeles and petitioner Belen S. or at issue in the case before us. Angeles for the adoption of Concesa A. The argument may be advanced that the aforesaid wedding pictures. In that petition. a 'legitimate daughter of Francisco. 2003. . Hon Jaime T. Angeles' . Yamat. inter alia. [31] And needless to stress. nor 'a child . she should have been notified of the adoption proceedings. As may be recalled. they cannot support a finding of the legitimate union of Francisco and Genoveva. unsigned as they are by Francisco or the execution of which he had no part.putative father's name in the appropriate space in the birth certificate.R. respondent alleged that as legitimate daughter of Francisco. during the pendency of the proceedings at the trial court. Unfortunately. that herein respondent is not. are not sufficient evidence of filiation or recognition. Santos. A long time past. These papers or documents. If on the foregoing score alone. and we thereby pave the way for any scheming unmarried mother to extort money for her child (and herself) from any eligible bachelor or affluent pater familias. respondent peremptorily predicated her petition for letters of administration on her being a legitimate child of Francisco who was legally married to her mother. that angle is not an. Hamoy. the Court of Appeals dismissed CA-G. How? She simply causes the midwife to state in the birth certificate that the newborn babe is her legitimate offspring with that individual and the certificate will be accepted for registration . Yamat and two others. . For. docketed with the appellate court as CA-G. SP No. respondent. Consesa A. respondent can hardly derive comfort from her marriage contract to Atty. the Court of Appeals referred the aforementioned annulment case to RTC. Eventually. Teodora A. Genoveva. this Court could very well end this disposition were it not for another compelling consideration which petitioner has raised and which we presently take judicially notice of. the school and service records and the testimony of respondent's witnesses lend support to her claim of enjoying open and continuous possession of the status of a child of Francisco. SP No. The same holds true for her wedding pictures which showed Francisco giving respondent's hands in marriage. . And any lawyer with sufficient imagination will realize the exciting possibilities from such mischief of such prima facie evidence ' when and if the 'father dies in ignorance of the fraudulent design xxx [30] Just like her Birth Certificate. Following a legal skirmish. this Court cautioned against according a similar unsigned birth certificate prima facie evidentiary value of filiation: Give this certificate evidential relevancy. Franco Angeles and Belen S.R. contrary to her claim. 47832 and captioned 'Aleli 'Corazon Angeles Maglaya vs. The Court can even concede that respondent may have been the natural child of Francisco with Genoveva. 47832 on the ground.

47832 was effectively affirmed by this Court via its Resolution dated August 9. there is nothing in the record to support petitioner's claim that she is indeed a legitimate child of the late Francisco M.R. Angeles and Genoveva Y. [35] one of two (2) concepts embraced in the res judicata principle. In the light of the ruling of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. as her consent thereto is not essential or required. [33] and Resolution dated October 20. . . very little comfort is provided by petitioner's birth certificate and even her marriage contract. In fine. . .R. No. . all these lacked the signatures of both Francisco and Genoveva . . SP No. Mercado were married in 1938 While petitioner may have submitted certifications to the effect that the records of marriages during the war years . Having failed to prove that she is the legitimate daughter or acknowledged natural child of the late Francisco M. Angeles. xxx In other words. [34] denying with 'FINALITY her motion for reconsideration.R. Another Resolution dated January 24. x x x However. Angeles and Genoveva Y. there can be no serious objection to applying in this case the rule on conclusiveness of judgment. petitioner cannot be a real party in interest in the adoption proceedings. . . contrary to the claim of petitioner that Francisco M. as affirmed with finality by this Court in G. .of a lawful wedlock between Francisco M. 2004. Angeles and Genoveva Y. Mercado. . no secondary evidence was presented by petitioner to prove the existence of the marriage between Francisco M. . Mercado. even as no witness was presented to confirm the celebration of such marriage . .. . Equally inconsequential are petitioner's school records . 47832. having been judicially determined in a final judgment by a court . 2004 in G. it is already settled law that photographs are not sufficient evidence of filiation or acknowledgment. (Emphasis in the original. Angeles and Genoveva Y. Mercado. . In the case at bench. Angeles and Genoveva Y. . Reason: These documents were not signed by Francisco . Francisco M. . Following the rule on conclusiveness of judgment. Mercado . 2005 resolved to 'NOTE WITHOUT ACTION Maglaya's second motion for reconsideration. No. denying Aleli 'Corazon Maglaya's petition for Review on Certiorari. Petitioner presented pictures. words in bracket added) Significantly. To be sure. . SP No. . Wrote the appellate court in that case: Petitioner [Aleli 'Corazon Maglaya] belabors with repetitious persistence the argument that she is a legitimate child or the only daughter of Francisco M. other than the self-serving declaration of the petitioner. 163124. 163124.R. 2003 Decision of the appellate court in CA-G. the aforesaid December 17. . herein respondent is precluded from claiming that she is the legitimate daughter of Francisco and Genoveva Mercado. the issue of herein respondent's legitimate filiation to Francisco and the latter's marriage to Genoveva. Angeles was never married before or at anytime prior to his marriage to Belen Sagad. were totally destroyed.

2006] ALONZO Q. an heir. the question of whether or not the Motion to Dismiss [37] interposed by herein petitioner. virtually confirms the ratio of the trial court's order of dismissal in Special Proceedings (SP) No. 47832. 163124.Respondent. is in the nature of a demurer to evidence has become moot and academic. Accordingly. WHEREFORE. SO ORDERED. No. the issue of whether an applicant for letters of administration is a next of kin or an heir of the decedent. therefore. NO.R. ANCHETA. it should be noted that on the matter of appointment of administrator of the estate of the deceased. C2140 REINSTATED.of competent jurisdiction. [39] one whose relationship is such that he is entitled to share in the estate as distributed. the reference is to those who are entitled. the trial court acted within bounds when it looked into and pass upon the claimed relationship of respondent to the late Francisco Angeles. CANDELARIA GUERSEYDALAYGON. that respondent failed to establish that she is in fact a legitimate child of Francisco. Finally.R. i. the surviving spouse is preferred over the next of kin of the decedent. Upon this consideration. C-2140. In resolving. as sustained by this Court in G. C2140. Petitioner. [40] or. and the order of the trial court dismissing Special Proceedings No. [38] When the law speaks of 'next of kin'. 139868 : June 8. regardless of the form of the latter. has thereby become res judicata and may not again be resurrected or litigated between herein petitioner and respondent or their privies in a subsequent action. It need not detain us any minute further. as respondent in SP No. SP No.e. the probate court perforce has to determine and pass upon the issue of filiation. the herein assailed decision of the Court of Appeals is hereby REVERSED 'and SET ASIDE.R. under the statute of distribution. in short. to the decedent's property. the same ruling of the appellate court in CA-G. DECISION . [G. [36] Lest it be overlooked. No costs. v. A separate action will only result in a multiplicity of suits.

865.444 shares of stock in A/G Interiors. Branch 25. Maryland.417. 1986.A.AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ.7 Atty. and (3) 64. leaving a will. J. Phillips as executor due to Richard's renunciation of his appointment. as ancillary administrator. Alonzo Q. Quasha was appointed as ancillary administrator on July 24.1 The will was admitted to probate before the Orphan's Court of Baltimore. she bequeathed her entire estate to Richard. Kimberly and Kevin. On July 29. On October 12. save for his rights and interests over the A/G Interiors.S. designated Atty. In it.S. M-888. worthP64. petitioner filed an inventory and appraisal of the following properties: (1) Audrey's conjugal share in real estate with improvements located at 28 Pili Avenue.444. and James N. 1982.8 . Richard married Candelaria Guersey-Dalaygon (respondent) with whom he has two children. Audrey died. who was also designated as executor.3 In 1981. 1979. 1984. U. Ancheta (petitioner) of the Quasha Asperilla Ancheta Pena & Nolasco Law Offices as ancillary administrator. namely. Kyle Guersey Hill (Kyle).6 The will was also admitted to probate by the Orphan's Court of Ann Arundel.5 On July 20. They have an adopted daughter.97. Richard died. wherein he bequeathed his entire estate to respondent. (2) a current account in Audrey's name with a cash balance of P12. Forbes Park.00 (Makati property). valued at P764.2 The court also named Atty.4 As administrator of Audrey's estate in the Philippines. U. Phillips was likewise appointed as executor. shares. Branch 138. in Special Proceeding No. docketed as Special Proceeding No. Inc. Pasig.A. leaving a will. which named James N. 9625. who in turn.00. Metro Manila. Audrey's will was also admitted to probate by the then Court of First Instance of Rizal. Inc. Makati. Richard's will was then submitted for probate before the Regional Trial Court of Makati. Richard Guersey (Richard) were American citizens who have resided in the Philippines for 30 years. which he left to Kyle. Maryland. William Quasha or any member of the Quasha Asperilla Ancheta Pena & Nolasco Law Offices.: Spouses Audrey O Neill (Audrey) and W. Seventh Judicial District.

and Kyle. with Richard being apportioned the undivided interest in the Makati property. the . 1988.10 The motion and project of partition was granted and approved by the trial court in its Order dated February 12. "a legacy passes to the legatee the entire interest of the testator in the property subject of the legacy. Inc.111 shares in A/G Interiors.On October 19. then his entire . Inc.9 Petitioner also filed on October 23.11 The trial court also issued an Order on April 7. Richard Guersey (' undivided interest) and Kyle (' undivided interest).undivided interest in the Makati property should be given to respondent.12 Consequently.111 shares to Kyle. The trial court found merit in respondent's opposition. This was opposed by respondent on the ground that under the law of the State of Maryland.49 in cash.104. disapproved the project of partition insofar as it affects the Makati property.undivided interest in the Makati property.48 from the Citibank current account.. Richard Guersey and 16. a motion to declare Richard and Kyle as heirs of Audrey.97 to the ancillary administrator for distribution to the heirs. 155823 in the names of the Estate of W. Richard Guersey and Kyle. 1991. to transfer 48. the Register of Deeds of Makati issued on June 23. TCT No.417."14 Since Richard left his entire estate to respondent. directing the Secretary of A/G Interiors. 16. and in its Order dated December 6. the ancillary administrator in Special Proceeding No. Inc. 69792 in the name of Richard and to issue a new title in the joint names of the Estate of W. a project of partition of Audrey's estate. and P3. and P9. petitioner filed in Special Proceeding No. directing the Register of Deeds of Makati to cancel TCT No. 9625. 48. while 3/5 thereof were allocated to Richard's three children.333 shares in A/G Interiors. except for his rights and interests over the A/G Interiors..313. 1987.13 Meanwhile. 1988. 1988. Inc.333 shares to the Estate of W. and directing the Citibank to release the amount of P12.undivided interest in the Makati property to respondent. M888 also filed a project of partition wherein 2/5 of Richard's undivided interest in the Makati property was allocated to respondent. The trial court also adjudicated Richard's entire . 1987.15 . shares.

Petitioner alleged that he believed that it is to the "best interests of the surviving children that Philippine law be applied as they would receive their just shares.17 The dispositive portion of the assailed Decision provides: WHEREFORE. in Special Proceeding No. then the Makati property should be wholly adjudicated to him. in lieu thereof. and since Richard left his entire estate. respondent filed with the Court of Appeals (CA) an amended complaint for the annulment of the trial court's Orders dated February 12. 9625. 1999. and cannot be set aside. as he had no knowledge of the State of Maryland's laws on testate and intestate succession. Richard Guersey. 1993. SO ORDERED. 9625.thereof.19 . 1988. to respondent." Petitioner also alleged that the orders sought to be annulled are already final and executory. but this was denied by the CA per Resolution dated August 27. Inc. 15583 of the Makati City Registry and the issuance of a new title in the name of the estate of W. and cralawlib rary (b) The cancellation of Transfer Certificate of Title No.. 1988 and April 7. On March 18.16 Respondent contended that petitioner willfully breached his fiduciary duty when he disregarded the laws of the State of Maryland on the distribution of Audrey's estate in accordance with her will. Petitioner filed his Answer denying respondent's allegations. 9625. Richard Guersey. a new one is entered ordering: (a) The adjudication of the entire estate of Audrey O Neill Guersey in favor of the estate of W. and not merely . issued in Special Proceeding No.18 Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration. 1988 and April 7.On October 20. except for his rights and interests over the A/G Interiors. 1988. then the entire Makati property should now pertain to respondent. 1988 are hereby ANNULLED and. Petitioner contended that he acted in good faith in submitting the project of partition before the trial court in Special Proceeding No. 1998 and April 7. 1999. the assailed Orders of February 12. the CA rendered the assailed Decision annulling the trial court's Orders dated February 12. Respondent argued that since Audrey devised her entire estate to Richard.

and will determine for all time and in all courts. which is "conclusive upon the administration as to all matters involved in such judgment or order. DID NOT COMMIT FRAUD.Hence.21 Petitioner also contends that that he acted in good faith in performing his duties as an ancillary administrator. WAS EMPLOYED BY [HIM] IN PROCURING SAID ORDERS. ANCILLARY ADMINISTRATOR"." and the same has already been executed. ARE VALID AND BINDING AND HAVE LONG BECOME FINAL AND HAVE BEEN FULLY IMPLEMENTED AND EXECUTED AND CAN NO LONGER BE ANNULLED. 9625 "IN THE MATTER OF THE PETITION FOR PROBATE OF THE WILL OF THE DECEASED AUDREY GUERSEY. EITHER EXTRINSIC OR INTRINSIC. and his denial of knowledge of .20 Petitioner reiterates his arguments before the CA that the Orders dated February 12.22 Respondent argues that petitioner's breach of his fiduciary duty as ancillary administrator of Aubrey's estate amounted to extrinsic fraud. 1988 can no longer be annulled because it is a final judgment. he already apprised respondent of the contents of the will and how the estate will be divided. he was not aware of the relevant laws of the State of Maryland. B) THE ANCILLARY ADMINISTRATOR HAVING ACTED IN GOOD FAITH. He maintains that at the time of the filing of the project of partition. as far as the parties to the proceedings are concerned. ALONZO Q. Petitioner also imputes knowledge on the part of respondent with regard to the terms of Aubrey's will. According to respondent. IN THE PERFORMANCE OF HIS DUTIES AS ANCILLARY ADMINISTRATOR OF AUDREY O NEIL GUERSEY'S ESTATE IN THE PHILIPPINES. petitioner was duty-bound to follow the express terms of Aubrey's will. AND THAT NO FRAUD. all matters therein determined. 1988 and April 7. the herein Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court alleging that the CA gravely erred in not holding that: A) THE ORDERS OF 12 FEBRUARY 1988 AND 07 APRIL 1988 IN SPECIAL PROCEEDINGS NO. EITHER EXTRINSIC OR INTRINSIC. ANCHETA. stating that as early as 1984. such that the partition was made in accordance with Philippine laws.

P. the applicable law is Batas Pambansa Blg. respondent alleged extrinsic fraud as basis for the annulment of the RTC Orders dated February 12. Ancheta filed a project of partition in Special Proceeding No. its binding effect is like any other judgment in rem. despite the latter's declaration of good faith. 129) or the Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980. Ortuzar. hence. in exceptional cases. M-888 for the settlement of Richard's estate.23 However. before the issuance of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure. if erroneous may be corrected by a timely appeal. The CA found merit in respondent's cause and found that petitioner's failure to follow the terms of Audrey's will.27 For fraud to become a basis for annulment of judgment. petitioner should have distributed Aubrey's estate in accordance with the terms of her will. A decree of distribution of the estate of a deceased person vests the title to the land of the estate in the distributees.25 the Court ruled that a party interested in a probate proceeding may have a final liquidation set aside when he is left out by reason of circumstances beyond his control or through mistake or inadvertence not imputable to negligence. amounted to extrinsic fraud.P. Respondent also states that she was not able to file any opposition to the project of partition because she was not a party thereto and she learned of the provision of Aubrey's will bequeathing entirely her estate to Richard only after Atty. 1988. it is the national law of the decedent that is applicable. The CA ruled that under Article 16 of the Civil Code. which. a final decree of distribution of the estate may be set aside for lack of jurisdiction or fraud. 1993.26 The petition for annulment was filed before the CA on October 20. 129 (B. An annulment of judgment filed under B.28 and must be brought within four years from the discovery of the fraud.24 Further. 1988 and April 7. in Ramon v. Once it becomes final. 129 may be based on the ground that a judgment is void for want of jurisdiction or that the judgment was obtained by extrinsic fraud. it has to be extrinsic or actual.29 In the present case. The CA also found that petitioner was prompted to distribute Audrey's estate in accordance with Philippine laws in order to .the laws of Maryland cannot stand because petitioner is a senior partner in a prestigious law firm and it was his duty to know the relevant laws. hence.

reducing her inheritance in the estate of Richard that she was prompted to seek another counsel to protect her interest.33 the Court stated that "man in his ingenuity and fertile imagination will always contrive new schemes to fool the unwary. Petitioner contends that respondent's cause of action had already prescribed because as early as 1984." .32 Respondent cannot be faulted for letting the assailed orders to lapse into finality since it was only through Special Proceeding No.equally benefit Audrey and Richard Guersey's adopted daughter.30 and the complaint was filed only in 1993. respondent had no other recourse under the circumstances but to file the annulment case.31 It should be pointed out that the prescriptive period for annulment of judgment based on extrinsic fraud commences to run from the discovery of the fraud or fraudulent act/s. Respondent's knowledge of the terms of Audrey's will is immaterial in this case since it is not the fraud complained of. the four-year period should be counted from the time of respondent's discovery thereof. Ancheta filed the project of partition in Special Proceeding No. Respondent. respondent was already well aware of the terms of Audrey's will. omission. Obviously. clearly. Rather. Records bear the fact that the filing of the project of partition of Richard's estate. M-888. M-888 were all done in 1991. Kyle Guersey Hill. Fraud takes on different shapes and faces. the same has not yet prescribed. justified her lack of immediate action by saying that she had no opportunity to question petitioner's acts since she was not a party to Special Proceeding No. In Cosmic Lumber Corporation v. or in this case. and it was only after Atty. Since the action for annulment was filed in 1993. Court of Appeals. 9625. M-888 that she came to comprehend the ramifications of petitioner's acts. and the order of the trial court disallowing the project of partition in Special Proceeding No. and therefore. it is petitioner's failure to introduce in evidence the pertinent law of the State of Maryland that is the fraudulent act. the opposition thereto. on the other hand. alleged to have been committed against respondent.

Hence the CA Decision annulling the RTC Orders dated February 12. In other words.34 The overriding consideration when extrinsic fraud is alleged is that the fraudulent scheme of the prevailing litigant prevented a party from having his day in court. where it is one the effect of which prevents a party from hearing a trial. or real contest. 1988. must be upheld.36 Petitioner's failure to proficiently manage the distribution of Audrey's estate according to the terms of her will and as dictated by the applicable law amounted to extrinsic fraud. extrinsic fraud refers to any fraudulent act of the prevailing party in the litigation which is committed outside of the trial of the case. or where it operates upon matters. by fraud or deception practiced on him by his opponent. serves as the standard by which his conduct is to be judged. Blg. or where the defendant never had any knowledge of the suit. care and judgment which a person of a fair average capacity and ability exercises in similar transactions of his own. a false promise of a compromise. (2). or from presenting all of his case to the court. 9 par.There is extrinsic fraud within the meaning of Sec. Although he is not a guarantor or insurer of the safety of the estate nor is he expected to be infallible. whereby the defeated party has been prevented from exhibiting fully his side of the case by fraud or deception practiced on him by his opponent. these and similar cases which show that there has never been a real contest in the trial or hearing of the case are reasons for which a new suit may be sustained to set aside and annul the former judgment and open the case for a new and fair hearing. as by keeping him away from court. yet the same degree of prudence. and he is required to exercise reasonable diligence and act in entire good faith in the performance of that trust. but to the manner in which it was procured so that there is not a fair submission of the controversy. 1988 and April 7. As such. .P. 129. or where an attorney fraudulently or without authority connives at his defeat. of B.35 Petitioner is the ancillary administrator of Audrey's estate. being kept in ignorance by the acts of the plaintiff. Fraud is extrinsic where the unsuccessful party has been prevented from exhibiting fully his case. he occupies a position of the highest trust and confidence. not pertaining to the judgment itself.

the court shall grant letters testamentary. U. 1972 was executed and probated before the Orphan's Court in Baltimore. it was shown. intestate and testamentary succession. how administered.S. so far as such will may operate upon it. Section 4. among others. especially with regard as to who are her heirs. and the will was authenticated by the Secretary of State of Maryland and the Vice Consul of the Philippine Embassy. i. Being a foreign national. she was residing in the Philippines but is domiciled in Maryland.It is undisputed that Audrey Guersey was an American citizen domiciled in Maryland. which was duly authenticated and certified by the Register of Wills of Baltimore City and attested by the Chief Judge of said court.S. Such estate. shall be regulated by the national law of the person whose succession is under consideration. whatever may be the nature of the property and regardless of the country wherein said property may be found. states: SEC. both with respect to the order of succession and to the amount of successional rights and to the intrinsic validity of testamentary provisions. 9625. as provided in Article 16 of the Civil Code. the intrinsic validity of Audrey's will. (Emphasis supplied) cralawl ibra ry Article 1039 of the Civil Code further provides that "capacity to succeed is governed by the law of the nation of the decedent. Rule 77 of the Rules of Court on Allowance of Will Proved Outside the Philippines and Administration of Estate Thereunder. When a will is thus allowed. However.. U.. the will was admitted by the Orphan's Court of Baltimore City on September 7. During the reprobate of her will in Special Proceeding No. Real property as well as personal property is subject to the law of the country where it is situated. shall be disposed of according to such will. her Last Will and Testament dated August 18.A.S. the law of the State of Maryland. and the .A. and such letters testamentary or of administration. 4. Maryland. 16. 1979. or letters of administration with the will annexed.A. Estate. to wit: Art. shall extend to all the estate of the testator in the Philippines. after the payment of just debts and expenses of administration. U.e.." As a corollary rule. that at the time of Audrey's death. is governed by her national law.

petitioner failed to perform his fiduciary duties.. petitioner. The obvious result was that there was no fair submission of the case before the trial court or a judicious appreciation of the evidence presented. and distributing Audrey's estate according to the project of partition submitted by petitioner. In GSIS v. It was incumbent upon him to exercise his functions as ancillary administrator with reasonable diligence. How can petitioner honestly presume that Philippine laws apply when as early as the reprobate of Audrey's will before the trial court in 1982. 1988 and April 7. The Court cannot accept petitioner's protestation.37 however. This eventually prejudiced respondent and deprived her of her full successional right to the Makati property. as ancillary administrator of Audrey's estate. Unfortunately.residue. domiciled in the State of Maryland. and merely relied on the presumption that such law is the same as the Philippine law on wills and succession."39 He had all the legal resources to determine the applicable law.40 the Court held that when the rule that the negligence or mistake of counsel binds the . was duty-bound to introduce in evidence the pertinent law of the State of Maryland. citizen. Petitioner insists that his application of Philippine laws was made in good faith. with a "big legal staff and a large library. shall be disposed of as is provided by law in cases of estates in the Philippines belonging to persons who are inhabitants of another state or country. As asserted by respondent. (Emphasis supplied) cralawlib rary While foreign laws do not prove themselves in our jurisdiction and our courts are not authorized to take judicial notice of them.S. 1988. Moreover. if any. and to discharge the trust reposed on him faithfully. petitioner is a senior partner in a prestigious law firm. the fact remains that the trial court failed to consider said law when it issued the assailed RTC Orders dated February 12. Inc. Bengson Commercial Bldgs. it was already brought to fore that Audrey was a U. the trial court peremptorily applied Philippine laws and totally disregarded the terms of Audrey's will.38 Petitioner admitted that he failed to introduce in evidence the law of the State of Maryland on Estates and Trusts. whether his omission was intentional or not.. Thus. declaring Richard and Kyle as Audrey's heirs.

to wit: xxx It would seem. . which the Court adopts. whom petitioner believed should equally benefit from the Makati property. therefore. Considering the principle established under Article 16 of the Civil Code of the Philippines. that the eventual distribution of the estate of Audrey O Neill Guersey was prompted by defendant Alonzo H. however. 57 Phil. it goes without saying that the defendant was also duty-bound to prove the pertinent laws of Maryland on the matter. 38) in the absence of evidence adduced to prove the latter law (Slade Perkins v. Perkins. The CA likewise observed that the distribution made by petitioner was prompted by his concern over Kyle. Ancheta invokes the principle which presumes the law of the forum to be the same as the foreign law (Beam v. as well as the citizenship and the avowed domicile of the decedent. 82 Phil. thus: In claiming good faith in the performance of his duties and responsibilities. and the court has the power to except a particular case from the operation of the rule whenever the purposes of justice require it. defendant Alonzo H. The record reveals. that no clear effort was made to prove the national law of Audrey O Neill Guersey during the proceedings before the court a quo. it appears that the defendant lost sight of the fact that his primary responsibility as ancillary administrator was to distribute the subject estate in accordance with the will of Audrey O Neill Guersey. The CA correctly stated. however. 205. Ancheta's concern that the subject realty equally benefit the plaintiff's adopted daughter Kyle Guersey. Yatco. 210). its rigors must be relaxed to admit exceptions thereto and to prevent a miscarriage of justice. the defendant appears to put his actuations in a different light as indicated in a portion of his direct examination. 30. The CA aptly noted that petitioner was remiss in his responsibilities as ancillary administrator of Audrey's estate.client deserts its proper office as an aid to justice and becomes a great hindrance and chief enemy. In defending his actions in the light of the foregoing principle. While there is claim of good faith in distributing the subject estate in accordance with the Philippine laws.

resulted in the procurement of the subject orders without a fair submission of the real issues involved in the case. Sub-Title 3 of the Annotated Code of the Public General Laws of Maryland on Estates and Trusts. In cases like this. who shall hold the legal title for administration and distribution. Title 3. Sub-Title 1. combine to create a circumstance that is tantamount to extrinsic fraud. in sum. as follows: Under Section 1-301. a legacy passes to the legatee the entire interest of the testator in the property which is the subject of the legacy". the courts have the legal and moral duty to provide judicial aid to parties who are deprived of their rights. declares that "a personal representative is a . Respondent was thus excluded from enjoying full rights to the Makati property through no fault or negligence of her own.Well-intentioned though it may be. She was in no position to analyze the legal implications of petitioner's omission and it was belatedly that she realized the adverse consequence of the same. Title 7. defendant Alonzo H. Ancheta's omission to prove the national laws of the decedent and to follow the latter's last will. "all property of a decedent shall be subject to the estate of decedents law. Defendant Alonzo H. The end result was a miscarriage of justice. Ancheta's action appears to have breached his duties and responsibilities as ancillary administrator of the subject estate.41 (Emphasis supplied) cralawlib rary This is not a simple case of error of judgment or grave abuse of discretion. and upon his death shall pass directly to the personal representative. His onus is clear.42 The trial court in its Order dated December 6. on the other hand. as petitioner's omission was beyond her control. It does not rest upon petitioner's pleasure as to which law should be made applicable under the circumstances. Section 7-101. M-888 noted the law of the State of Maryland on Estates and Trusts." while Section 4-408 expressly provides that "unless a contrary intent is expressly indicated in the will. as well as the resultant frustration of the decedent's last will. While such breach of duty admittedly cannot be considered extrinsic fraud under ordinary circumstances. the fiduciary nature of the said defendant's position. but a total disregard of the law as a result of petitioner's abject failure to discharge his fiduciary duties. 1991 in Special Proceeding No.

n. In addition. except for his rights and interests over the A/G Interiors. Audrey devised to Richard her entire estate. Bohanan. 1950 before Judge Rafael Amparo (see Records. When Richard subsequently died. Inc.000 as her share. shares. All these properties passed on to Richard upon Audrey's death.00. Bohanan for withdrawal of P20.: We have. (2) the cash amount of P12. This. especially Section 9905 of the Compiled Nevada Laws of 1925." was sufficiently proven in Special Proceeding No. 9625.44 Therein. Compiled Nevada Laws. and t. Vol. Richard. Vol.97. Nevertheless. the entire Makati property should have then passed on to respondent. do not dispute the above-quoted provision of the laws of the State of Nevada. viz. Court of First Instance). the foreign law. of course. consisting of the following: (1) Audrey's conjugal share in the Makati property. and (3) 64.fiduciary" and as such he is "under the general duty to settle and distribute the estate of the decedent in accordance with the terms of the will and the estate of decedents law as expeditiously and with as little sacrifice of value as is reasonable under the circumstances". which he left to Kyle.s. children of the testator. pp. worth P64. II. was introduced in evidence by appellants' (herein) counsel as Exhibit "2" (See pp. however. bequeathed his entire estate to respondent. the other appellants. consulted the records of the case in the court below and we have found that during the hearing on October 4.444. The Court held. 24-44. assumes the proposition that the law of the State of Maryland which allows "a legacy to pass to the legatee the entire estate of the testator in the property which is the subject of the legacy. we are constrained to hold that the pertinent law of Nevada. Meanwhile. Under all the above circumstances. Court of First Instance. 1).417. can be taken judicial notice of . especially Section 9905.43 In her will. 77-79. Records. Again said law was presented by the counsel for the executor and admitted by the Court as Exhibit "B" during the hearing of the case on January 23.444 shares of stock in A/G Interiors. in his will. Inc. the Court may take judicial notice thereof in view of the ruling in Bohanan v. 1954 of the motion of Magdalena C. the Court took judicial notice of the law of Nevada despite failure to prove the same.

permitted them to do so x x x All doubts must be resolved in favor of the testator's having meant just what he said. the amount of successional rights.47 Before concluding. to the decedent's national Law. petitioner's motive in equitably distributing Audrey's estate cannot prevail over Audrey's and Richard's wishes.45 wrote: A will is the testator speaking after death. Its provisions have substantially the same force and effect in the probate court as if the testator stood before the court in full life making the declarations by word of mouth as they appear in the will. without proof of such law having been offered at the hearing of the project of partition. and not according to the project of partition submitted by petitioner. Manarang. the Court notes the fact that Audrey and Richard Guersey were American citizens who owned real property in the Philippines. Consequently. . Specific provisions must prevail over general ones. Bellis:46 x x x whatever public policy or good customs may be involved in our system of legitimes. the entire Makati property belongs to respondent. That was the special purpose of the law in the creation of the instrument known as the last will and testament. given that the pertinent law of the State of Maryland has been brought to record before the CA. inter alia. and the trial court in Special Proceeding No.by us. Decades ago. in his dissenting opinion in Santos v. M-888 appropriately took note of the same in disapproving the proposed project of partition of Richard's estate. Congress has not intended to extend the same to the succession of foreign nationals. Honorable as it seems. not to mention that petitioner or any other interested person for that matter. then Audrey's and Richard's estate should be distributed according to their respective wills. Justice Moreland. For it has specifically chosen to leave. although records do not show when and how the Guerseys acquired the Makati property. does not dispute the existence or validity of said law. by the creation of that instrument. In this case. As stated in Bellis v. Men wished to speak after they were dead and the law.

ORLANDO S. development and utilization of natural resources of the Philippines. the petition is denied. except only by way of legal succession or if the acquisition was made by a former natural-born citizen. Petitioner is ADMONISHED to be more circumspect in the performance of his duties as an official of the court. 2001 PILAR S. Sections 1 and 4 of the 1935 Constitution. and other natural resources of the Philippines.R. the disposition. and ISABELITA MANALO . that attended the acquisition by the Guerseys of the Makati property is now inconsequential. with the exception of private lands acquired by hereditary succession and when the transfer was made to a former natural-born citizen. Section 14. exploitation. were reserved to Filipinos and entities owned or controlled by them. since the Makati property had already passed on to respondent who is a Filipino. as the objective of the constitutional provision to keep our lands in Filipino hands has been achieved. which re-opened to American citizens and business enterprises the right in the acquisition of lands of the public domain. As it now stands. ANTONIO S. the privilege to acquire and exploit lands of the public domain. as provided in Section 15. G. Article XIV. SO ORDERED. The Decision dated March 18. Article XII. 1999 and the Resolution dated August 27. . In any case. The prohibition against acquisition of private lands by aliens was carried on to the 1973 Constitution under Article XIV. 129242 January 16. NO.49 In this case.48 the Court clarified that the Parity Rights Amendment of 1946. WHEREFORE. Sections 7 and 8 of the 1986 Constitution explicitly prohibits nonFilipinos from acquiring or holding title to private lands or to lands of the public domain. and to operate public utilities. the flaw in the original transaction is considered cured and the title of the transferee is rendered valid. Quasha. DE MANALO.Under Article XIII. In Republic v. MANALO. VDA. the Court has also ruled that if land is invalidly transferred to an alien who subsequently becomes a citizen or transfers it to a citizen.petitioners. MANALO. 1999 of the Court of Appeals are AFFIRMED. then whatever flaw. does not include the acquisition or exploitation of private agricultural lands. if any. No pronouncement as to costs.

DE LEON. Orlando Manalo and Imelda Manalo. On December 15. On February 11. 1993. 1992. through counsel. On July 30. Manila died intestate on February 14. JAYME. 45 General Tinio Street. Vda. Isabelita Manalo. Vda De Manalo. Quezon City and at NO. HON. Valenzuela. and for the appointment of their brother. ROSALINA M. PURITA S.. ACUIN. Sampaloc. MANALO. De Manalo. except the government. Romeo. Metro Manila. who are all of legal age. 19 Calavite Street. 1992. To deny the prayer of the oppositors for a preliminary hearing of their affirmative defenses as ground for the dismissal of this proceeding. said affirmative defenses being irrelevant and immaterial to the purpose and issue of the present proceeding. Terre. the trial court upon motion of set this order of general default aside herein petitioners (oppositors therein) namely: Pilar S. Purita. Acuin. Amalia Manalo. Rosalina M. Romeo Manalo. the trial court issued an order 'declaring the whole world in default." and set the reception of evidence of the petitioners therein on March 16. However. culminating in the filling of an Omnibus Motion8 on July 23. Antonio Manalo. Milagros M. To admit the so-called Opposition filed by counsel for the oppositors on July 20. Pilar S. Jayme. 1992. ROMEO S. 1993 which denied the motion for additional extension of time file opposition. (1) to seat aside and reconsider the Order of the trial court dated July 9. and (4) for the immediate inhibition of the presiding judge. MILAGROS M. On November 26. Belen Rocalina.nêt At the time of his death on February 14. 1âwphi1. (2) to set for preliminary hearing their affirmative defenses as grounds for dismissal of the case. Belen M. 1992. He was survived by his wife. and further directing service by registered mail of the said order upon the heirs named in the petition at their respective addresses mentioned therein. La Loma. thus: A. et. BELEN M. the trial court issued an order9 which resolved. Orillano. Several pleadings were subsequently filed by herein petitioners. MANALO. JR. who are eight (8) of the surviving children of the late Troadio Manalo. To declare that this court has acquired jurisdiction over the persons of the oppositors. Al. ORILLANO. Isabelita and Orlando who were granted then (10) days within which to file their opposition to the petition. seeking to annul the Resolution 1 of the Court of Appeals 2 affirming the Orders 3 of the Regional Trial Court and the Resolution 4 which denied petitioner' motion for reconsideration. Milagros. HON. 1993. the date set for hearing of the petition. B. respondents. Antonio. AMALIA MANALO and IMELDA MANALO. J. 1993. as administrator thereof.vs. C. Romeo Manalo. namely.. Arty Subdivision. (3) to declare that the trial court did not acquire jurisdiction over the persons of the oppositors. herein respondents. The antecedent facts 5 are as follows: Troadio Manalo. the trial court issued an order setting the said petition for hearing on February 11. 1993 and directing the publication of the order for three (3) consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation in Metro Manila. COURT OF APPEALS. 1993. namely: Purita M. Roberto. a resident of 1996 Maria Clara Street. . and his eleven (11) children. and Imelda filed a petition 6 with the respondent Regional Trial Court of Manila 7 of the judicial settlement of the estate of their late father. Roberto Manalo. Amalia. only for the purpose of considering the merits thereof.: This is a petition for review on certiorari filed by petitioners Pilar S. Troadio Manalo left several real properties located in Manila and in the province of Tarlac including a business under the name and style Manalo's Machine Shop with offices at No. TERRE. ROBERTO S. 1993 seeking. Manalo. Troadio Manalo. REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF MANILA (BRANCH 35).

Par.00 and engaged the services of herein counsel committing to pay P200. docketed as CA-G. No. Herein petitioners claim that the petition in SP. 1993. It is a fundamental rule that in the determination of the nature of an action or proceeding. E.000. 39851. SP. 1993 at 2:00 o'clock in the afternoon. judicial or extra-judicial of the properties of the deceased father TROADIO MANALO. 92-63626 belies herein petitioners' claim that the same is in the nature of an ordinary civil action. ANTONIO MANALO. that is. Settlement and Distribution of Estatein SP. The said petition contains sufficient jurisdictional facts required in a petition for the settlement of estate of a deceased person such as the fat of death of the late Troadio Manalo on February 14. (4) there was absence of earnest efforts toward compromise among members of the same family. (3) the share of the surviving spouse was included in the intestate proceedings. 1992. A careful srutiny of the Petition for Issuance of Letters of Administration. For the protection of their rights and interests. Par. No. as well as his residence in the City of Manila at the . No. that earnest efforts toward a compromise have been made involving members of the same family prior to the filling of the petition pursuant to Article 222 14 of the Civil Code of the Philippines. xxx the said surviving son continued to manage and control the properties aforementioned. 1996. that the petitioners therein failed to aver in the petition in SP. No. according to them. 92-63626. 8. They point out that it contains certain averments.R. according to herein petitioners.500.00 per appearance in court. Consequently. The instant petition is not impressed with merit. 7. 14. On May 6. or petition.00 as and attorney's fees plus honorarium of P2. To set the application of Romeo Manalo for appointment as regular administrator in the intestate estate of the deceased Troadio Manalo for hearing on September 9. shall be controlling. To deny the motion of the oppositors for the inhibition of this Presiding Judge. to wit: Par. PROC.D. 1997 the motion for reconsideration of the said resolution was likewise dismissed. PROC. without proper accounting. as in the case at bar. are indicative of its adversarial nature. Herein petitioners filed a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court with the Court of Appeals. One of the surviving sons.12 The only issue raised by herein petitioners in the instant petition for review is whether or not the respondent Court of Appeals erred in upholding the questioned orders of the respondent trial court which denied their motion for the outright dismissal of the petition for judicial settlement of estate despite the failure of the petitioners therein to aver that earnest efforts toward a compromise involving members of the same family have been made prior to the filling of the petition but that the same have failed. since the death of his father. No. Par. and (5) no certification of non-forum shopping was attached to the petition. 92-63626 is actually an ordinary civil action involving members of the same family. after the trial court in its Order 10 dated September 15. (2) the trial court did not acquire jurisdiction over their persons.000. 92-63626. That said ANTONIO MANALO is managing and controlling the estate of the deceased TROADIO MANALO to his own advantage and to the damage and prejudice of the herein petitioners and their co-heirs. had not made any settlement. which. Finding the contentions untenable. In their petition for improperly laid in SP. 12. Section 1(j) of the Revised Rules of Court which provides that a motion to dismiss a complaint may be filed on the ground that a condition precedent for filling the claim has not been complied with. the averments15 and the character of the relief sought 16 in the complaint. the Court of Appeals dismissed the petition for certiorari in its Resolution11promulgated on September 30. the same should be dismissed under Rule 16. PROC. to his own benefit and advantage xxx. PROC. petitioners were compelled to bring this suit and were forced to litigate and incur expenses and will continue to incur expenses of not less than. P250. TROADIO MANALO.

letters of administration be issued to petitioner ROMEO MANALO for the administration of the estate of the deceased TROADIO MANALO upon the giving of a bond in such reasonable sum that this Honorable Court may fix.PROC No. That the litigation expenses of these proceedings in the amount of P250. 92-63626 also contains an enumeration of the names of his legal heirs including a tentative list of the properties left by the deceased which are sought to be settled in the probate proceedings. c. If it were otherwise. took advantage of the said defect in the petition and filed their so-called Opposition thereto which. as oppositors therein. to wit. the rule has always been to the effect that the jurisdiction of a court. is actually an Answer containing admissions and denials. 92-63626 contains certain averments which may be typical of an ordinary civil action.00 and attorney's fees in the amount of P300. It is our view that herein petitioners may not be allowed to defeat the purpose of the essentially valid petition for the settlement of the estate of the late Troadio Manalo by raising matters that as irrelevant and immaterial to the said petition.000.500. it is respectfully prayed for of this Honorable Court: a.time of his said death. of the Rules of Court to justify the invocation of Article 222 of the Civil Code of the . That after all the properties of the deceased TROADIO MANALO have been inventoried and expenses and just debts. PROC. 92-63626 were to be considered as a special proceeding for the settlement of estate of a deceased person. the petition in SP. have been paid and the legal heirs of the deceased fully determined. That after due hearing.21 So it should be in the instant petition for settlement of estate. is determined by the averments in the complaint and not by the defenses contained in the answer. No. Section 1(j) of the Rules of Court vis-à-visArticle 222 of the Civil Code of the Philippines would nevertheless apply as a ground for the dismissal of the same by virtue of ule 1.18 Concededly. Herein petitioners argue that even if the petition in SP. The fact of death of the decedent and of his residence within he country are foundation facts upon which all the subsequent proceedings in the administration of the estate rest. moral and exemplary damages. Section 1(j) of the Rules of Court vis-à-vis. as observed by the trial court. as well as the concomitant nature of an action. Section 2 of the Rules of Court which provides that the 'rules shall be liberally construed in order to promote their object and to assist the parties in obtaining just. Rule 16. No. In addition. special and affirmative defenses and compulsory counterclaims for actual. it would not be too difficult to have a case either thrown out of court or its proceedings unduly delayed by simple strategem. if any.000. Article 222 of civil of the Civil Code.00 per appearance in court in the hearing and trial of this case and costs of suit be taxed solely against ANTONIO MANALO. has limited and special jurisdiction 20 and cannot hear and dispose of collateral matters and issues which may be properly threshed out only in an ordinary civil action. Troadio Manalo. PROC. The argument is misplaced. the relief's prayed for in the said petition leave no room for doubt as regard the intention of the petitioners therein (private respondents herein) to seek judicial settlement of the estate of their deceased father. In addition. Herein petitioners may not validly take refuge under the provisions of Rule 1. PRAYER WHEREFORE. premises considered. that the said estate of TROADIO MANALO be settled and distributed among the legal heirs all in accordance with law.17The petition is SP. It must be emphasized that the trial court. speedy and inexpensive determination of every action and proceedings. b. Herein petitioners.' Petitioners contend that the term "proceeding" is so broad that it must necessarily include special proceedings.00 plus honorarium of P2. Section 2. plus attorney's fees and costs 19 in an apparent effort to make out a case of an ordinary civil action and ultimately seek its dismissal under Rule 16. siting as a probate court.

No. It is necessary that every effort should be made toward a compromise before litigation is allowed to breed hate and passion in the family.25 It must be emphasized that the oppositors (herein petitioners) are not being sued in SP. This is clear from the term 'suit' that it refers to an action by one person or persons against another or other in a court of justice in which the plaintiff pursues the remedy which the law affords him for the redress of an injury or the enforcement of a right. is DENIED for lack of merit. whereby a party sues another for the enforcement of a right. as such. a right. PROC. No. The Petition for issuance of letters of Administration. PROC. SO ORDERED.Philippines for the dismissal of the petition for settlement of the estate of the deceased Troadio Manalo inasmuch as the latter provision is clear enough. or the prevention or redress of a wrong. Costs against petitioners. 222. but that the same have failed. Settlement and Distribution of Estate in SP. 26 the petitioners therein (private respondents herein) merely seek to establish the fat of death of their father and subsequently to be duly recognized as among the heirs of the said deceased so that they can validly exercise their right to participate in the settlement and liquidation of the estate of the decedent consistent with the limited and special jurisdiction of the probate court.22 The above-quoted provision of the law is applicable only to ordinary civil actions. or a particular fact. No suit shall be filed or maintained between members of the same family unless it should appear that earnest efforts toward a compromise have been made. whether at law or in equity. an excerpt form the Report of the Code Commission unmistakably reveals the intention of the Code Commission to make that legal provision applicable only to civil actions which are essentially adversarial and involve members of the same family. thus: It is difficult to imagine a sadder and more tragic spectacle than a litigation between members of the same family.nêt WHEREFORE. 1âw phi 1. 92-63626 for any cause of action as in fact no defendant was imploded therein. To wit: Art. 23 A civil action is thus an action filed in a court of justice.24 Besides. the petition in the above-entitled case. subject to the limitations in Article 2035(underscoring supplied). . it is a remedy whereby the petitioners therein seek to establish a status. It is know that lawsuit between close relatives generates deeper bitterness than stranger. 9263626 is a special proceeding and.