[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.
SYLLABUS
1. REMEDIAL LAW; SPECIAL PROCEEDINGS; SETTLEMENT OF DECEDENT’S ESTATE; ALLOWANCE OF
WILLS PROBATED ABROAD; EVIDENCE NECESSARY THEREFOR; CASE AT BAR. — The respective wills of
the Cunanan spouses, who were American citizens, will only be effective in this country upon compliance
with the following provisions of the Civil Code of the Philippines. . . . Thus, proof that both wills conform
with the formalities prescribed by New York laws or by Philippine laws is imperative. 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; (2) the testator has his
domicile in the foreign country and not in the Philippines; (3) the will has been admitted to probate in
such country; (4) the fact that the foreign tribunal is a probate court, and (5) the laws of a foreign country
on procedure and allowance of wills. Except for the first and last requirements, the petitioner submitted all
the needed evidence.
2. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; NOTICE OF TESTATOR’S KNOWN HEIRS, LEGATES, AND DEVISEES, A PREREQUISITE THEREFOR; CASE AT BAR. — This petition cannot be completely resolved without touching on
a very glaring fact — petitioner has always considered herself the sole heir of Dr. Evelyn Perez Cunanan
and because she does not consider herself an heir of Dr. Jose F. Cunanan, she noticeably failed to notify
his heirs of the filing of the proceedings. Thus, even in the instant petition, she only impleaded respondent
Judge, forgetting that a judge whose order is being assailed is merely a nominal or formal party. 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, Rule 27, Section 2) means that
with regard to notices, 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. Accordingly, compliance with Sections 3 and 4 of Rule 76,
which require publication and notice by mail or personally to the "known heirs, legatees, and devisees of
the testator resident in the Philippines" and to the executor, if he is not the petitioner, are required. The
brothers and sisters of Dr. Jose F. Cunanan, contrary to petitioner’s claim are entitled to notices of the
time and place for proving the wills. Under Section 4 of Rule 76 of the Revised Rules of Court, 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, legatees, and devisees of the testator, . . ."cralaw virtua1aw library
3. ID.; ID.; ID.; JOINT PROBATE OF SEPARATE WILLS PROPER IN CASE AT BAR; REASON. — In the case
at bench, the Cunanan spouses executed separate wills. Since the two wills contain essentially the same
provisions and pertain to property which in all probability are conjugal in nature, practical considerations
dictate their joint probate. As this Court has held a number of times, 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.
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. Such view overlooks the provisions of Section 2,
Rule 1 of the Revised Rules of Court, which advise that the rules shall be "liberally construed in order to
promote their object and to assist the parties in obtaining just, speedy, and inexpensive determination of
every action and proceeding." A literal application of the Rules should be avoided if they would only result
in the delay in the administration of justice.

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.
We grant the petition.
I
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.
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 estates:
"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 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.
On February 21, 1983, Salud Teodoro Perez, the mother of Dr. Evelyn P. Cunanan, and petitioner herein,
filed with the Regional Trial Court, Malolos, Bulacan a petition for the reprobate of the two wills 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.
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
administratrix.
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.
Counsel for the Philippine American Life Insurance 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.
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.
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 motion of May 19, 1983.
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).
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 PerezCunanan. 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.chanrobles.com.ph : virtual law library
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.
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 wordly 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).
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). law library
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).
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 provision 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.
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).
On February 21, 1984, Judge de la Llana issued an order, disallowing the reprobate of the two wills,
recalling the appointment of petitioner as special administratrix, 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. Judge de la Llana reasoned out that petitioner failed to prove the law of New York on

that letters testamentary were issued. counsel for petitioner. closed (Records. On August 19. Judge de la Llana issued another order. Thereafter. On August 12. filed a motion praying that since petitioner was ailing in Fort Lee. 1985.A. 302). Natividad. the respondent Judge of Branch 18 of the Regional Trial Court. alleging lack of notice to their counsel. alleging that respondent Judge "failed to appreciate the significant probative value of the exhibits . 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. 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. 1986. denying probate to the wills of the Cunanan spouses.chanrobles law library On August 29. 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. On March 31. 1984. who happens to be her daughter. to which the reprobate case was reassigned. Contending that the second portion of the second order left its finality to the discretion of counsel for petitioner. 1984 Order by requiring petitioner to turn over to the estate the inventoried property. the presumption is that the law of succession of the foreign country is the same as the law of the Philippines. genuine and sufficient to possess real and personal property. However. Three days later. It considered the proceedings for all intents and purposes. On August 27.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. 313-323). She also filed a motion for the reconsideration of the Order of February 21. was denied probate. The same Order amended the February 21. On April 30. U. p. New Jersey. . where she had sufficiently proven the applicable laws of New York governing the execution of last wills and testaments." the case was terminated and therefore all orders theretofore issued should be given finality. issued an order stating that" (W)hen the last will and testament . . . and therefore incapacitated to act as special administratrix. respondent Judge granted the motion and reconsidered the Order of April 30. petitioner filed a motion praying for the reconsideration of the Order of April 30.S. Malolos. 1985 on the strength of the February 21. petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration of the Order dated February 21. 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. 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. pp. . she (the counsel) should be named substitute special administratrix. 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. a requirement of the Philippine law. 1985. the Cunanans heirs filed a motion for reconsideration of the Order of August 19. 1984. petitioner filed a motion to resume proceedings on account of the final settlement and termination of the probate cases in New York. and that proceedings were held on a foreign tribunal and proofs . In the absence of such evidence. 1985. he noted. 1985. On the same day.

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. 1986. 57 Phil. On November 19. would go against "the grain of inexpensive. 1986. 381). which provides that no party may institute more than one suit for a single cause of action. 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. citing Section 3. Rule 2 of the Rules of Court. 1983 sufficiently proved the laws of the State of New York on the allowance of wills. petitioner stated that she had furnished a copy of the motion to the counsel of the Cunanan heirs and reiterated her motion for a "final ruling on her supplemental motion" (Records. 305 (1932) (Records. On August 13. On April 9. 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. 1986 that he found "no compelling reason to disturb its ruling of March 31. respondent Judge issued an order wherein he conceded that insufficiency of evidence to prove the foreign law was not a fatal defect and was curable by adducing additional evidence. 1986. The Order dated June 20.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. II . they were dealt with in separate proceedings" (Records. 411). On July 18. 395). arguing that the evidence offered at the hearing of April 11. p. petitioner filed a motion for the reconsideration of the Order of July 18. 391). In her compliance. respondent Judge ruled in his order dated June 20. Hence. 393). petitioner filed a motion to allow her to present further evidence on the foreign law. petitioner filed a supplement to the motion for reconsideration. 1986" but allowed petitioner to "file anew the appropriate probate proceedings for each of the testator" (Records. 376-378). pp. He granted petitioner 45 days to submit the evidence to that effect. 1986. p. p. p. De La Peña. 1986 prompted petitioner to file a second 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. pp. 1986. just and speedy determination of the proceedings" (Records. petitioner instituted the instant petition. 421). p. However. citing Benigno v. without waiting for petitioner to adduce the additional evidence. On September 11. 405-407). 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. "However." He pointed out that even in New York "where the wills in question were first submitted for probate. and that the separate wills of the Cunanan spouses need not be probated in separate proceedings. p. respondent Judge issued an order. After the hearing of the motion on April 25. respondent Judge said that the documents did not establish the law of New York on the procedure and allowance of wills (Records.

"H-5" and "I-5"). "F-6" and Exh. 816. Reagan is the Surrogate of the County of Onondaga which is a court of record. "H-4" and "I-5"). "H-6" and "I-6")" (Rollo. will only be effective in this country upon compliance with the following provisions of the Civil Code of the Philippines: "Art. The respective wills of the Cunanan spouses. "G-3" — "G-6"). "F" and "G"). The evidence necessary for the reprobate or allowance of wills which have been probated outside of the .Petitioner contends that the following pieces of evidence she had submitted before respondent Judge are sufficient to warrant the allowance of the wills:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library (a) two certificates of authentication of the respective wills of Evelyn and Jose by the Consulate General of the Philippines (Exhs. "F-1" and "G-1"). (k) decrees on probate of the two wills stating that they properly executed. "H-3" and "I10"). that his signature and seal of office are genuine. "H-1" and "I-1"). "H" and "F"). or in conformity with those which this Code prescribes. or according to the formalities observed in his country. (c) two certificates of Judge Reagan and Chief Clerk Donald E. 13-16). (h) certificates of Judge Reagan and the Chief Clerk that letters testamentary were issued to Rafael G. Moore stating that they have in their records and files the said wills which were recorded on April 7. Cunanan (Exhs. 1983 and that the proceedings were terminated on November 29. genuine and valid and that the said instruments were admitted to probate and established as wills valid to pass real and personal property (Exhs. who were American citizens. "H-2" and "I-2").com : virtual law library (f) two certificates of authentication from the Consulate General of the Philippines in New York (Exh. (e) certificates of Judge Reagan and the Chief Clerk certifying to the genuineness and authenticity of the exemplified copies of the two wills (Exhs. Petitioner adds that the wills had been admitted to probate in the Surrogate Court’s Decision of April 13. j) the decrees on probate of the two wills specifying that proceedings were held and proofs duly taken (Exhs. and (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. proof that both wills conform with the formalities prescribed by New York laws or by Philippine laws is imperative. pp. 1982 (Exhs. (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. "F-3". 1984. letters testamentary and proceedings held in their court (Exhs. (d) the respective wills of Evelyn and Jose (Exhs. (b) two certifications from the Secretary of State of New York and Custodian of the Great Seal on the facts that Judge Bernard L. "F-7" and "F-7"). "F-2" and "G-2")." Thus. (g) certifications from the Secretary of State that Judge Reagan is duly authorized to grant exemplified copies of the decree of probate. 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. and that the Surrogate is duly authorized to grant copy of the respective wills of Evelyn and Jose (Exhs. letters testamentary and all proceedings had and proofs duly taken (Exhs. Cunanan as alternate executor (Exhs.chanrobles.

Intermediate Appellate Court. Court of Appeals. Except for the first and last requirements.. Article 818). Since the two wills contain essentially the same provisions and pertain to property which in all probability are conjugal in nature. Rule 1 of the Revised Rules of Court. Fluemer v. even in the instant petition. Rule 27. 95 Phil. 215 SCRA 876 [1992]). 155 SCRA 100 [1987]. 500 [1954]. 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. What the law expressly prohibits is the making of joint wills either for the testators’ reciprocal benefit or for the benefit of a third person (Civil Code of the Philippines. 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. Thus. 419-429. Suntay v. As this Court has held a number of times. Evelyn Perez Cunanan and because she does not consider herself an heir of Dr. Suntay. the goal is to receive the best evidence of which the matter is susceptible before a purported will is probated or denied probate (Vda. the Cunanan spouses executed separate wills. While the probate of a will is a special proceeding wherein courts should relax the rules on evidence. 187 SCRA 743 [1990]). Escolin. 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. (2) the testator has his domicile in the foreign country and not in the Philippines. Leonidas. Jose F. 56 SCRA 266 [1974]). and inexpensive determination of every action and proceeding. Roberts v. forgetting that a judge whose order is being assailed is merely a nominal or formal party (Calderon v. which advise that the rules shall be "liberally construed in order to promote their object and to assist the parties in obtaining just. In the case at bench. Section 2) means that with regard to notices. the will probated abroad should be treated as if it were an "original . Dela Paz. 129 SCRA 33 [1984]). (4) the fact that the foreign tribunal is a probate court. de Ramos v. Solicitor General. she noticeably failed to notify his heirs of the filing of the proceedings. pp." A literal application of the Rules should be avoided if they would only result in the delay in the administration of justice (Acain v. and (5) the laws of a foreign country on procedure and allowance of wills (III Moran Commentaries on the Rules of Court. 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. 54 Phil. the petitioner submitted all the needed evidence. speedy. practical considerations dictate their joint probate. Such view overlooks the provisions of Section 2. 81 SCRA 393 [1978]). Cunanan. This petition cannot be completely resolved without touching on a very glaring fact — petitioner has always considered herself the sole heir of Dr.Philippines are as follows: (1) the due execution of the will in accordance with the foreign laws. 1970 ed. 610 [1930]. she only impleaded respondent Judge. There is merit in petitioner’s insistence that the separate wills of the Cunanan spouses should be probated jointly. 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. Hix. (3) the will has been admitted to probate in such country.

if he is not the petitioner. Under Section 4 of Rule 76 of the Revised Rules of Court. legatees. The brothers and sisters of Dr. which require publication and notice by mail or personally to the "known heirs. Jose F.will" or a will that is presented for probate for the first time. contrary to petitioner’s claim are entitled to notices of the time and place for proving the wills. . Accordingly. WHEREFORE. 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. . and devisees of the testator. the questioned Order is SET ASIDE. and devisees of the testator resident in the Philippines" and to the executor. compliance with Sections 3 and 4 of Rule 76. legatees. Cunanan. 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. Jose F. . ." . Cunanan are given all notices and copies of all pleadings pertinent to the probate proceedings. are required.

U. Inc. directing the Register of Deeds of Makati to cancel TCT No.undivided interest in the Makati property. valued at P764.9 Petitioner also filed on October 23.104..10 The motion and project of partition was granted and approved by the trial court in its Order dated February 12. ANCHETA. 1988.333 shares to the Estate of W. Seventh Judicial District. Richard Guersey and 16.S. wherein he bequeathed his entire estate to respondent. In it. and directing the Citibank to release the amount of P12. Phillips as executor due to Richard's renunciation of his appointment. leaving a will. Richard Guersey (' undivided interest) and Kyle (' undivided interest). 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. and P9. 1988. NO.12 Consequently. in Special Proceeding No. save for his rights and interests over the A/G Interiors. who in turn. Inc. William Quasha or any member of the Quasha Asperilla Ancheta Pena & Nolasco Law Offices.111 shares to Kyle. M-888.2 The court also named Atty. Quasha was appointed as ancillary administrator on July 24.333 shares in A/G Interiors. 1987. which he left to Kyle. 4 As administrator of Audrey's estate in the Philippines. Petitioner. the Register of Deeds of Makati issued on June 23. directing the Secretary of A/G Interiors. Forbes Park. Richard's will was then submitted for probate before the Regional Trial Court of Makati. v. Pasig. On July 29.444.7 Atty. with Richard being apportioned the .R.8 On October 19. 1979. Branch 138. Ancheta (petitioner) of the Quasha Asperilla Ancheta Pena & Nolasco Law Offices as ancillary administrator. Alonzo Q. U. shares.97. she bequeathed her entire estate to Richard. Richard Guersey and Kyle. Kyle Guersey Hill (Kyle). namely.97 to the ancillary administrator for distribution to the heirs. Spouses Audrey O Neill (Audrey) and W. Metro Manila. leaving a will. (2) a current account in Audrey's name with a cash balance of P12.6 The will was also admitted to probate by the Orphan's Court of Ann Arundel. 48.444 shares of stock in A/G Interiors. 1987.1 The will was admitted to probate before the Orphan's Court of Baltimore. Audrey's will was also admitted to probate by the then Court of First Instance of Rizal. which named James N. 9625. Makati.417.49 in cash. and P3. designated Atty.00. 1984. petitioner filed in Special Proceeding No.11 The trial court also issued an Order on April 7.865. Richard died.A. worth P64. Maryland.5 On July 20. 1988. the . 16. Inc. 9625.417. CANDELARIA GUERSEY-DALAYGON. 1982. Inc.undivided interest in the Makati property. They have an adopted daughter. and Kyle. Phillips was likewise appointed as executor.. Kimberly and Kevin. 155823 in the names of the Estate of W. a motion to declare Richard and Kyle as heirs of Audrey.3 In 1981.S.313.13 . and (3) 64. TCT No.A. 2006] ALONZO Q. On October 12. 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. who was also designated as executor.[G. Respondent. Richard Guersey (Richard) were American citizens who have resided in the Philippines for 30 years. to transfer 48.48 from the Citibank current account.111 shares in A/G Interiors.00 (Makati property). as ancillary administrator. Audrey died. Branch 25. 139868 : June 8. docketed as Special Proceeding No. 1986. Maryland. and James N. Inc. Richard married Candelaria Guersey-Dalaygon (respondent) with whom he has two children.

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: . 1993. then his entire undivided interest in the Makati property should be given to respondent. On March 18. while 3/5 thereof were allocated to Richard's three children. "a legacy passes to the legatee the entire interest of the testator in the property subject of the legacy. 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. except for his rights and interests over the A/G Interiors. the assailed Orders of February 12. the CA rendered the assailed Decision annulling the trial court's Orders dated February 12. Petitioner filed his Answer denying respondent's allegations. 9625. 1998 and April 7.thereof. in Special Proceeding No. 9625. 15 On October 20. 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. 1988. then the entire Makati property should now pertain to respondent. the ancillary administrator in Special Proceeding No. The trial court also adjudicated Richard's entire .undivided interest in the Makati property to respondent. This was opposed by respondent on the ground that under the law of the State of Maryland. The trial court found merit in respondent's opposition. SO ORDERED. issued in Special Proceeding No. 18 Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration. 1988 are hereby ANNULLED and. in lieu thereof. then the Makati property should be wholly adjudicated to him. M-888 also filed a project of partition wherein 2/5 of Richard's . 9625." Petitioner also alleged that the orders sought to be annulled are already final and executory. to respondent. Richard Guersey.Meanwhile. and in its Order dated December 6. except for his rights and interests over the A/G Interiors. 1991. respondent filed with the Court of Appeals (CA) an amended complaint for the annulment of the trial court's Orders dated February 12.undivided interest in the Makati property was allocated to respondent. but this was denied by the CA per Resolution dated August 27.. and since Richard left his entire estate. and cannot be set aside. as he had no knowledge of the State of Maryland's laws on testate and intestate succession. Hence. disapproved the project of partition insofar as it affects the Makati property. and not merely . 1988 and April 7."14 Since Richard left his entire estate to respondent. and (b) The cancellation of Transfer Certificate of Title No. Petitioner contended that he acted in good faith in submitting the project of partition before the trial court in Special Proceeding No. Respondent argued that since Audrey devised her entire estate to Richard. Inc. 17 The dispositive portion of the assailed Decision provides: WHEREFORE. Richard Guersey.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. 1988. 1999. Inc. 1999. 15583 of the Makati City Registry and the issuance of a new title in the name of the estate of W.

27 For . in exceptional cases. 1993. B) THE ANCILLARY ADMINISTRATOR HAVING ACTED IN GOOD FAITH. He maintains that at the time of the filing of the project of partition. DID NOT COMMIT FRAUD. he already apprised respondent of the contents of the will and how the estate will be divided.20 Petitioner reiterates his arguments before the CA that the Orders dated February 12. WAS EMPLOYED BY [HIM] IN PROCURING SAID ORDERS. Ancheta filed a project of partition in Special Proceeding No. he was not aware of the relevant laws of the State of Maryland. such that the partition was made in accordance with Philippine laws. According to respondent.A) THE ORDERS OF 12 FEBRUARY 1988 AND 07 APRIL 1988 IN SPECIAL PROCEEDINGS NO. hence.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. 129 (B. 9625 "IN THE MATTER OF THE PETITION FOR PROBATE OF THE WILL OF THE DECEASED AUDREY GUERSEY. M-888 for the settlement of Richard's estate.23 However. Petitioner also imputes knowledge on the part of respondent with regard to the terms of Aubrey's will. A decree of distribution of the estate of a deceased person vests the title to the land of the estate in the distributees. IN THE PERFORMANCE OF HIS DUTIES AS ANCILLARY ADMINISTRATOR OF AUDREY O NEIL GUERSEY'S ESTATE IN THE PHILIPPINES. stating that as early as 1984. 1988 can no longer be annulled because it is a final judgment. Once it becomes final. EITHER EXTRINSIC OR INTRINSIC. 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.P.22 Respondent argues that petitioner's breach of his fiduciary duty as ancillary administrator of Aubrey's estate amounted to extrinsic fraud. Ortuzar.24 Further. a final decree of distribution of the estate may be set aside for lack of jurisdiction or fraud. as far as the parties to the proceedings are concerned. 1988 and April 7. 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. An annulment of judgment filed under B. petitioner was duty-bound to follow the express terms of Aubrey's will. AND THAT NO FRAUD." and the same has already been executed. 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. ANCILLARY ADMINISTRATOR". all matters therein determined. which is "conclusive upon the administration as to all matters involved in such judgment or order. ARE VALID AND BINDING AND HAVE LONG BECOME FINAL AND HAVE BEEN FULLY IMPLEMENTED AND EXECUTED AND CAN NO LONGER BE ANNULLED.21 Petitioner also contends that that he acted in good faith in performing his duties as an ancillary administrator. in Ramon v. if erroneous may be corrected by a timely appeal. 129) or the Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980. EITHER EXTRINSIC OR INTRINSIC. ALONZO Q. its binding effect is like any other judgment in rem. the applicable law is Batas Pambansa Blg. before the issuance of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure.26 The petition for annulment was filed before the CA on October 20. which.P. and will determine for all time and in all courts. ANCHETA.

28 and must be brought within four years from the discovery of the fraud. hence.29 In the present case. or where the defendant never had any . Blg. 9 par. (2). the same has not yet prescribed. or where it operates upon matters.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. omission. Fraud takes on different shapes and faces. M-888. Since the action for annulment was filed in 1993. 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. Petitioner contends that respondent's cause of action had already prescribed because as early as 1984. respondent alleged extrinsic fraud as basis for the annulment of the RTC Orders dated February 12. respondent had no other recourse under the circumstances but to file the annulment case. Records bear the fact that the filing of the project of partition of Richard's estate. or from presenting all of his case to the court. Respondent. In Cosmic Lumber Corporation v. not pertaining to the judgment itself. and it was only after Atty. M-888 that she came to comprehend the ramifications of petitioner's acts.fraud to become a basis for annulment of judgment. 33 the Court stated that "man in his ingenuity and fertile imagination will always contrive new schemes to fool the unwary. the opposition thereto. the four-year period should be counted from the time of respondent's discovery thereof. 1988. 9625.P. 30 and the complaint was filed only in 1993. it is petitioner's failure to introduce in evidence the pertinent law of the State of Maryland that is the fraudulent act. where it is one the effect of which prevents a party from hearing a trial. by fraud or deception practiced on him by his opponent. it has to be extrinsic or actual. clearly. Obviously. 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." There is extrinsic fraud within the meaning of Sec. or real contest. Rather. M-888 were all done in 1991. The CA found merit in respondent's cause and found that petitioner's failure to follow the terms of Audrey's will. a false promise of a compromise. Ancheta filed the project of partition in Special Proceeding No. alleged to have been committed against respondent. reducing her inheritance in the estate of Richard that she was prompted to seek another counsel to protect her interest. Court of Appeals. petitioner should have distributed Aubrey's estate in accordance with the terms of her will. Fraud is extrinsic where the unsuccessful party has been prevented from exhibiting fully his case. amounted to extrinsic fraud. on the other hand. or in this case. but to the manner in which it was procured so that there is not a fair submission of the controversy. Kyle Guersey Hill. it is the national law of the decedent that is applicable. as by keeping him away from court. 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. and the order of the trial court disallowing the project of partition in Special Proceeding No. In other words. extrinsic fraud refers to any fraudulent act of the prevailing party in the litigation which is committed outside of the trial of the case. respondent was already well aware of the terms of Audrey's will. Respondent's knowledge of the terms of Audrey's will is immaterial in this case since it is not the fraud complained of. 129. and therefore. of B.32 Respondent cannot be faulted for letting the assailed orders to lapse into finality since it was only through Special Proceeding No. despite the latter's declaration of good faith. 1988 and April 7. The CA ruled that under Article 16 of the Civil Code.

16. Hence the CA Decision annulling the RTC Orders dated February 12." As a corollary rule. Maryland. U. the intrinsic validity of Audrey's will. Estate. 1988 and April 7. and the will was authenticated by the Secretary of State of Maryland and the Vice Consul of the Philippine Embassy. However. When a will is thus allowed. and such letters testamentary or of administration. Such estate. after the payment of just debts .e.. to wit: Art. 1988. how administered. her Last Will and Testament dated August 18.A. or where an attorney fraudulently or without authority connives at his defeat. Article 1039 of the Civil Code further provides that "capacity to succeed is governed by the law of the nation of the decedent. Section 4. the law of the State of Maryland. intestate and testamentary succession.A. As such. that at the time of Audrey's death.35 Petitioner is the ancillary administrator of Audrey's estate.S. care and judgment which a person of a fair average capacity and ability exercises in similar transactions of his own. U.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. he occupies a position of the highest trust and confidence. must be upheld. U. 1972 was executed and probated before the Orphan's Court in Baltimore. being kept in ignorance by the acts of the plaintiff. It is undisputed that Audrey Guersey was an American citizen domiciled in Maryland. Although he is not a guarantor or insurer of the safety of the estate nor is he expected to be infallible.. 9625. yet the same degree of prudence. which was duly authenticated and certified by the Register of Wills of Baltimore City and attested by the Chief Judge of said court. states: SEC. especially with regard as to who are her heirs. among others.S. 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. i. Real property as well as personal property is subject to the law of the country where it is situated. During the reprobate of her will in Special Proceeding No. as provided in Article 16 of the Civil Code. both with respect to the order of succession and to the amount of successional rights and to the intrinsic validity of testamentary provisions. 4.A. is governed by her national law. 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. or letters of administration with the will annexed. and he is required to exercise reasonable diligence and act in entire good faith in the performance of that trust. Being a foreign national.. serves as the standard by which his conduct is to be judged. 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. the court shall grant letters testamentary. shall extend to all the estate of the testator in the Philippines.knowledge of the suit. it was shown.S. 1979. she was residing in the Philippines but is domiciled in Maryland. Rule 77 of the Rules of Court on Allowance of Will Proved Outside the Philippines and Administration of Estate Thereunder. the will was admitted by the Orphan's Court of Baltimore City on September 7.

with a "big legal staff and a large library. and distributing Audrey's estate according to the project of partition submitted by petitioner. citizen. and the court has the power to except a particular case from the operation of the rule whenever the purposes of justice require it. it was already brought to fore that Audrey was a U. 82 Phil. as well as the citizenship and the . petitioner is a senior partner in a prestigious law firm. It was incumbent upon him to exercise his functions as ancillary administrator with reasonable diligence. This eventually prejudiced respondent and deprived her of her full successional right to the Makati property. In GSIS v. Yatco..37 however. (Emphasis supplied)cralawlibrary While foreign laws do not prove themselves in our jurisdiction and our courts are not authorized to take judicial notice of them.and expenses of administration. and to discharge the trust reposed on him faithfully. Perkins. domiciled in the State of Maryland. whom petitioner believed should equally benefit from the Makati property. petitioner. Unfortunately. Ancheta invokes the principle which presumes the law of the forum to be the same as the foreign law (Beam v.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. 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.. defendant Alonzo H. Petitioner insists that his application of Philippine laws was made in good faith. 1988 and April 7. Moreover. 30. shall be disposed of according to such will. thus: In claiming good faith in the performance of his duties and responsibilities. however. The CA correctly stated. 210). the trial court peremptorily applied Philippine laws and totally disregarded the terms of Audrey's will. 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. Thus. if any. and merely relied on the presumption that such law is the same as the Philippine law on wills and succession. Inc. petitioner failed to perform his fiduciary duties. whether his omission was intentional or not. 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. the fact remains that the trial court failed to consider said law when it issued the assailed RTC Orders dated February 12. Considering the principle established under Article 16 of the Civil Code of the Philippines. In defending his actions in the light of the foregoing principle. as ancillary administrator of Audrey's estate. 1988. was dutybound to introduce in evidence the pertinent law of the State of Maryland. The CA aptly noted that petitioner was remiss in his responsibilities as ancillary administrator of Audrey's estate. declaring Richard and Kyle as Audrey's heirs.38 Petitioner admitted that he failed to introduce in evidence the law of the State of Maryland on Estates and Trusts.S. and the residue. so far as such will may operate upon it. which the Court adopts. 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. 38) in the absence of evidence adduced to prove the latter law (Slade Perkins v. its rigors must be relaxed to admit exceptions thereto and to prevent a miscarriage of justice. Bengson Commercial Bldgs. As asserted by respondent." 39 He had all the legal resources to determine the applicable law. The CA likewise observed that the distribution made by petitioner was prompted by his concern over Kyle. 205. 57 Phil. The Court cannot accept petitioner's protestation.

it goes without saying that the defendant was also duty-bound to prove the pertinent laws of Maryland on the matter. however.444 shares of stock in A/G Interiors. Sub-Title 3 of the Annotated Code of the Public General Laws of Maryland on Estates and Trusts. Well-intentioned though it may be. When Richard subsequently died. Meanwhile. except for his rights and interests over the A/G Interiors.444.417." while Section 4-408 expressly provides that "unless a contrary intent is expressly indicated in the will. the fiduciary nature of the said defendant's position. defendant Alonzo H. to wit: It would seem. the . bequeathed his entire estate to respondent. All these properties passed on to Richard upon Audrey's death. Richard. resulted in the procurement of the subject orders without a fair submission of the real issues involved in the case. who shall hold the legal title for administration and distribution.97. Section 7-101. that no clear effort was made to prove the national law of Audrey O Neill Guersey during the proceedings before the court a quo. Respondent was thus excluded from enjoying full rights to the Makati property through no fault or negligence of her own.avowed domicile of the decedent. In cases like this. worth P64. consisting of the following: (1) Audrey's conjugal share in the Makati property. While such breach of duty admittedly cannot be considered extrinsic fraud under ordinary circumstances. Ancheta's concern that the subject realty equally benefit the plaintiff's adopted daughter Kyle Guersey. which he left to Kyle. on the other hand. 1991 in Special Proceeding No. as follows: Under Section 1-301. It does not rest upon petitioner's pleasure as to which law should be made applicable under the circumstances. Sub-Title 1. that the eventual distribution of the estate of Audrey O Neill Guersey was prompted by defendant Alonzo H. 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. 43 In her will. in sum. Title 3. 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". The end result was a miscarriage of justice. Inc. This is not a simple case of error of judgment or grave abuse of discretion. The record reveals. as well as the resultant frustration of the decedent's last will. 42 The trial court in its Order dated December 6. Audrey devised to Richard her entire estate. While there is claim of good faith in distributing the subject estate in accordance with the Philippine laws. as petitioner's omission was beyond her control. and (3) 64. Ancheta's omission to prove the national laws of the decedent and to follow the latter's last will. His onus is clear. M-888 noted the law of the State of Maryland on Estates and Trusts.00. the defendant appears to put his actuations in a different light as indicated in a portion of his direct examination. Defendant Alonzo H. "all property of a decedent shall be subject to the estate of decedents law. Inc. 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. Title 7. (2) the cash amount of P12. in his will. and upon his death shall pass directly to the personal representative. but a total disregard of the law as a result of petitioner's abject failure to discharge his fiduciary duties. therefore. combine to create a circumstance that is tantamount to extrinsic fraud. shares. Ancheta's action appears to have breached his duties and responsibilities as ancillary administrator of the subject estate.

Vol. then Audrey's and Richard's estate should be distributed according to their respective wills. . especially Section 9905 of the Compiled Nevada Laws of 1925. Specific provisions must prevail over general ones. 1). 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. does not dispute the existence or validity of said law. M-888 appropriately took note of the same in disapproving the proposed project of partition of Richard's estate.n. petitioner's motive in equitably distributing Audrey's estate cannot prevail over Audrey's and Richard's wishes. without proof of such law having been offered at the hearing of the project of partition. Men wished to speak after they were dead and the law. Manarang. In this case. can be taken judicial notice of by us. pp. in his dissenting opinion in Santos v. viz. Compiled Nevada Laws. the amount of successional rights. consulted the records of the case in the court below and we have found that during the hearing on October 4. to the decedent's national Law. the Court may take judicial notice thereof in view of the ruling in Bohanan v." was sufficiently proven in Special Proceeding No.44 Therein. the Court notes the fact that Audrey and Richard Guersey were American citizens who owned real property in the Philippines. 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. Records. Justice Moreland. by the creation of that instrument. 45 wrote: A will is the testator speaking after death. the entire Makati property belongs to respondent. Congress has not intended to extend the same to the succession of foreign nationals.entire Makati property should have then passed on to respondent. however. 24-44.000 as her share. and not according to the project of partition submitted by petitioner. 9625. Court of First Instance). 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. 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. inter alia. 1954 of the motion of Magdalena C. we are constrained to hold that the pertinent law of Nevada.: We have. although records do not show when and how the Guerseys acquired the Makati property. Bellis: 46 x x x whatever public policy or good customs may be involved in our system of legitimes. This. and t. Decades ago. given that the pertinent law of the State of Maryland has been brought to record before the CA. Vol. Nevertheless. For it has specifically chosen to leave. Honorable as it seems. The Court held. 77-79. In addition. 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. the Court took judicial notice of the law of Nevada despite failure to prove the same. not to mention that petitioner or any other interested person for that matter. especially Section 9905. of course. the other appellants. was introduced in evidence by appellants' (herein) counsel as Exhibit "2" (See pp. II. children of the testator. Under all the above circumstances. As stated in Bellis v. the foreign law. Bohanan for withdrawal of P20. Bohanan.47 Before concluding. and the trial court in Special Proceeding No. do not dispute the above-quoted provision of the laws of the State of Nevada. Consequently.s.

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

instead of respondent. the following: 1. petitioner further alleged that respondent. decedent's wife by his second marriage. were destroyed. Caloocan. on March 25. 153798. petitioner likewise averred that she and Francisco had.has not presented the marriage contract between her supposed parents or produced any acceptable document to prove such union. a resident of 71 B. respondent alleged.[G. inter alia. 1998. Angeles (Francisco. v. That there is a need to appoint an administrator of Francisco's estate. Grace Park. September 2. In her reply to opposition. hereinafter). 2005] BELEN SAGAD ANGELES. the corresponding birth certificate was not signed by him. In the petition. respondent filed a petition 2 for letters of administration and her appointment as administratrix of the intestate estate of Francisco M. et al. thereat commenced by the herein respondent Aleli "Corazon" Angeles-Maglaya. Respondent. docketed as Special Proceedings No. be made the administratrix of Francisco's estate. Pressing on.R. among other valuable properties. 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. the January to December 1938 records of marriages of the Civil Registrar of Bacolor. 3. died intestate on January 21. The legal dispute between the partiesstarted when. Yamat. 4 . In this Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. although she was recorded as Francisco's legitimate daughter.R. are the surviving heirs of the decedent. in the Regional Trial Court (RTC) at Caloocan City. 1948 before Judge Lucio M. C-2140 and raffled to Branch 120 of the court. petitioner alleged having married Francisco on August 7. Petitioners. And evidently to debunk respondent's claim of being the only child of Francisco. petitioner Belen Sagad Angeles seeks to set aside the Decision dated May 29. ALELI "CORAZON" ANGELES MAGLAYA. Angeles. respondent alleged.3 In support of her opposition and plea. Petitioner opposed the basic petition and prayed that she. be declared as possessed of the superior right to the administration of his estate. legally adopted Concesa A. In the same reply. That she (respondent) is the sole legitimate child of the deceased and Genoveva Mercado. Petitioner also averred that respondentcould not be the daughter of Francisco for. together with petitioner. Belen S. 1998 in the City of Manila. and that Francisco represented in their marriage contract that he was single at that time. 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. despite her claim of being the legitimate child of Francisco and Genoveva Mercado. leaving behind four (4) parcels of land and a building.. among other things. andcralawlibrary 4. Tianco of the Municipal Court of Rizal. that per certification of the appropriate offices. That Francisco. Serrano St. 20021 of the Court of Appeals in CA G. CV No. a union which was ratified two (2) months later in religious rites at the Our Lady of Grace Parish in Caloocan City. That she has all the qualifications and none of the disqualifications required of an administrator. Petitioner thus urged that she. being the surviving spouse of Francisco. 66037. during their marriage. NO. 2. Pampanga where the alleged 1938 Francisco-Genoveva wedding took place. and.

6 Francisco Yaya. Likewise offered were her scholastic and government service records.R. i. it being her stated position that "[P]etitioner [Corzaon]. dismissed the petition. SO ORDERED. to wit: WHEREFORE.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.11 the trial court. to which respondent countered with a rejoinder. Rule 16 of the Rules of Court. Carreon8 and Paulita Angeles de la Cruz. 1999. Tondo.. Maglaya. Angeles. by her evidence. respondent interposed an opposition. 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".12 Therefrom. as petitioner a quo.14 2.Issues having been joined. commenced the presentation of her evidence by taking the witness stand. followed by petitioner's reply. who died in January 1988. CV No. Respondent. petitioner filed a "Motion to Dismiss" under Section 1(g). it follows that she thereby waived her right to present opposing evidence to rebut respondent's testimonial and documentary evidence. The Trial Court is hereby ordered to appoint petitioner-appellant Aleli "Corazon" Angeles as administratrix of the intestate estate of Francisco Angeles. 66037.e. Angeles and Genoveva Mercado. thus: WHEREFORE. Petitioner's motion being a demurer. (Word in bracket added] Respondent then moved for reconsideration. which motion was denied by the trial court in its Order of December 17."10 To the motion to dismiss. 1999. Petitioner's Motion to Dismiss filed with the trial court. respondent went on appeal to the Court of Appeals where her recourse was docketed as CA-G. and . namely: Tomas Angeles. Eventually. 1939 as the legitimate child of Francisco M.5 She also testified having been in open and continuous possession of the status of a legitimate child. Four (4) other witnesses testified on her behalf. trial ensued.Ã -vis the decedent. She testified having been born on November 20.7 Jose O. Manila. pictures taken during respondent's wedding as bride to Atty. In it. albeit premised on the alleged failure of the underlying petition for letter of administration to state or prove a cause of action. actually partakes of a demurrer to evidence under Section 1 of Rule 33. in an Order dated July 12.9 Respondent also offered in evidence her birth certificate which contained an entry stating that she was born at the Mary Johnston Hospital. to Francisco Angeles and Genoveva Mercado and whereon the handwritten word "Yes" appears on the space below the question "Legitimate? (Legitimo?)". 2002. in its assailed Decision dated May 29. the Court of Appeals. the appealed order of dismissal is REVERSED. and a copy of her marriage contract. failed to establish her filiation vis . After respondent rested her case following her formal offer of exhibits. that she is in fact a legitimate child of Francisco M. the instant petition is hereby ordered DISMISSED for failure of the [respondent] to state a cause of action in accordance with Section 1(g) of Rule 16 of the 1997 Rules of Civil of Procedure. The appellate court predicated its ruling on the interplay of the following main premises: 1. As stated at the threshold hereof. Guillermo T. on its finding that respondentfailed to prove her filiation as legitimate child of Francisco.

therefore. . becomes fixed. on her legitimate filiation to the decedent. the Court of Appeals. Court of Appeals. and can no longer be questioned. The obvious intention of the law is to prevent the status of a child born in wedlock from being in a state of uncertainty. the action to impugn the legitimacy of a child can no longer be bought. and (4) in decreeing respondent's appointment as administratrix of Francisco's intestate estate. Respondent has sufficiently established her legitimate filiation with the deceased Francisco. may still be easily available. Emphasis ours) . Hence. 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 . .16 stated that since petitioner "opted not to present any contrary evidence". therefore. .' 'Only the husband can contest the legitimacy of a child born to his wife . to be precise. and. The status conferred by the presumption. There is no presumption of the law more firmly established and founded on sounder morality and more convincing than the presumption that children born in wedlock are legitimate. We are unable to lend concurrence to the appellate court's conclusion on the legitimate status of respondent. . on the submission that the Court of Appeals erred: (1) in reversing the trial court's order of dismissal. or. (3) in holding that respondentis a legitimate daughter of Francisco. and that civil status cannot be attacked collaterally. . on the basis of such determination. We resolve to grant the petition. . '(Words in bracket added." In finding for respondent. citing and extensibly quoting from Tison v. A legitimate child is a product of."17 Following is an excerpt from Tison: It seems that both the court a quo and respondent appellate court have regrettably overlooked the universally recognized presumption on legitimacy. 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.3. 'Upon the expiration of the periods provided in Article 170 [of the Family Code]. The Court of Appeals resolved the issue in the affirmative and. 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 . petitioner's instant Petition for Review on certiorari. 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. Angeles and Genoveva Mercado. ordered the trial court to appoint respondent as administratrix of Francisco's estate. implies a valid and lawful marriage. the presumption on respondent's legitimacy stands "unrebutted. . 15 (2) in treating her motion to dismiss as a demurrer to evidence. Remove the element of lawful union and there is strictly no legitimate filiation between parents and child. actually fixes a status for the child born in wedlock.

i. Else. respondent had declared that her mother Genoveva died in 1988. He need not introduce evidence to prove that fact.23In all. that while a fact thus prima facie established by legal presumption shall. as here.22 And one Jose Carreon would testify seeing respondent in 1948 in Francisco's house in Caloocan. let alone affirm. it could not have possibly done so. if one had been solemnized 21 . As it were.. quite clearly. the presumption of law that a child is legitimate does not arise. should flow from a lawful marriage between Francisco and Genevova. it cannot be over-emphasized. in its decision under review. for all her unyielding stance that her mother and Francisco Angeles were married in 1938. Ironical as it may seem. thru the years. if. or prior to Genoveva's death. no evidence whatsoever was presented of the execution of the Francisco AngelesGenoveva Mercado marriage contract.Contextually. no marriage certificate or marriage contract doubtless the best evidence of Francisco's and Genoveva's marriage. the Court of Appeals erred in crediting respondent with the legal presumption of legitimacy which. and like significant details. the correct lesson of Tison. there was really nothing for petitioner to rebut. therefore. which the appellate court evidently misapplied. Now. At best. a presumption is prima facie proof of the fact presumed. it follows that the marriage of Francisco to petitioner Belen Angeles in 1948.that Francisco was legally married to Genoveva. 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 man-and-wife. absent such a marriage. respondent never. Angeles in 1948. As may be recalled. A party in whose favor the legal presumption exists may rely on and invoke such legal presumption to establish a fact in issue. as above explained. therefore. there is absolutely no proof of the decedent's marriage to respondent's mother. then.was offered in evidence. In the case at bench. is that: (a) a child is presumed legitimate only if conceived or born in wedlock. that supposed marriage.e. judge. the persons present. None of the four (4) witnesses respondent presented could say anything about. did not categorically state from what facts established during the trial was the presumption of respondent's supposed legitimacy arose. unless overthrown. and (b) the presumptive legitimacy of such child cannot be attacked collaterally. Genoveva Mercado. implying. there is no presumption of legitimacy and. that when Francisco contracted marriage with petitioner Belen S. For.24 in which case petitioner could not . While perhaps not determinative of the issue of the existence of marriage between Francisco and Genoveva. No priest. To stress. the Court of Appeals. that Genoveva Mercado and Francisco were married in 1938. when and where their marriage was solemnized. However. 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. 19 the presumption of legitimacy under Article 164 of the Family Code20 may be availed only upon convincing proof of the factual basis therefor. who are both Francisco's siblings. stand as proved. even question what would necessarily be a bigamous Francisco-Belen Sagad marriage. To reiterate. Clearly. the identity of the solemnizing officer. would necessarily have to be bigamous. she made certain judicial admission negating her own assertion . Genoveva and Francisco were already "spouses". told them so. that the child's parents were legally married and that his/her conception or birth occurred during the subsistence of that marriage. or other solemnizing authority was called to the witness box to declare that he solemnized the marriage between the two. But even if perhaps it wanted to. as respondent maintained despite utter lack of evidence. For example. Parenthetically.18 For.as well as the appellate court's conclusion . the same Francisco who used to court Genoveva before the war. save for respondent's gratuitous assertion and an entry in her certificate of birth. mayor. respondent herself undermined her very own case. their testimonies proved that respondent was Francisco's daughter. hence void.

Angeles by his second marriage. a copy of her Birth Certificate dated November 23. Such certificate. "E"). We quote the pertinent allegation: 4. . Here. as respondent alleged in her petition for letters of administration. Rule 132 of the Rules of Court. The filiation of legitimate children is established by any of the following: 1. or by the mother alone if the father refuses. the appellate court regarded such certificate as defining proof of filiation. or 2. commenting on the probative value of the entries in a certificate of birth. . albeit considered a public record of a private document is. to be considered as validating proof of paternity and as an instrument of recognition. in support of her claim of legitimacy.25 Jurisprudence teaches that a birth certificate.not only respondent's filiation to Francisco but even her being a legitimate daughter of Francisco and Genoveva. the surviving spouse of deceased Francisco M. 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. In it. . under Section 23. . evidence only of the fact which gave rise to its execution: the fact of birth of a child. An admission of legitimate filiation in a public document or a private handwritten instrument and signed by the parent concerned. . It was signed by the attending physician. Not even by Genoveva. or 2. who is about 77 years old . who certified to having attended the birth of a child. establishes . Arturo Tolentino. that "[I]t was error for the Court of Appeals to have ruled . . her birth was recorded as the legitimate child of Francisco Angeles and Genoveva Mercado. 172. the legitimate filiation shall be proved by: 1. wrote: xxx if the alleged father did not intervene in the making of the birth certificate. 1939 issued by the Civil Registrar of the City of Manila (Exh. Said article 172 reads: Art. The contention commends itself for concurrence. that [respondent's] Birth Certificate indubitably establishes that she is the legitimate daughter of Francisco and Genoveva who are legally married".be. and not . must be signed by the father and mother jointly. the signature of the alleged father is necessary. contends.and "indubitably" at that . and BELEN S. however. taxes credulity to the limit. unsigned as it were by Francisco and Genoveva. In the absence of the foregoing evidence. a "surviving spouse" of the decedent. Any other means allowed by the Rules of Court and special laws. citing jurisprudence. The open and continuous possession of the status of a legitimate child. " We can concede. In a very real sense. The reason is as simple as it is elementary: the Birth Certificate presented was not signed by Francisco against whom legitimate filiation is asserted. because Article 172 of the Family Code appears to say so. Angeles.YEARS OLD . one Rebecca De Guzman. 27 The conclusion reached by the Court of Appeals that the Birth Certificate of respondent. . respondent presented. the putting of his name by the mother or doctor or registrar is void. Petitioner.26 Dr. And the word "married" is written in the certificate to indicate the union of Francisco and Genoveva. The surviving heirs of decedent are the petitioner [Corazon] herself who is 58 years old. The record of birth appearing in the civil registeror a final judgments.

the Court of Appeals referred the aforementioned annulment case to RTC. Angeles for the adoption of Concesa A. 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 . propositions which we have earlier refuted herein. In that petition. For. .when and if the "father" dies in ignorance of the fraudulent design xxx30 Just like her Birth Certificate. 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. Angeles". respondent can hardly derive comfort from her marriage contract to Atty. Genoveva. or at issue in the case before us. . . The same holds true for her wedding pictures which showed Francisco giving respondent's hands in marriage. Hon Jaime T. as the decision under review seems to suggest. respondent peremptorily predicated her petition for letters of administration on her being a legitimate child of Francisco who was legally married to her mother. unsigned as they are by Francisco or the execution of which he had no part. the appellate court. 29 It cannot. respondent. A long time past. be made dependent on the declaration of the attending physician or midwife. that angle is not an. Eventually. during the pendency of the proceedings at the trial court. 2003. For then. In the apt words of petitioner. 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. ".M. 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.Francisco and Genoveva'. Teodora A. Franco Angeles and Belen S. this Court cautioned against according a similar unsigned birth certificate prima facie evidentiary value of filiation: Give this certificate evidential relevancy. Yamat and two others. or that of the mother of the newborn child. in a Decision 32 dated December 17. SP No. with or without the participation of a doctor or midwife. created " a marriage that of . Unfortunately. Following a legal skirmish. 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. are not sufficient evidence of filiation or recognition. The argument may be advanced that the aforesaid wedding pictures. If on the foregoing score alone. And any lawyer with sufficient imagination will realize the exciting possibilities from such mischief of such prima facie evidence . 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. 31 And needless to stress. respondent alleged that as legitimate daughter of Francisco.just filiation but of legitimate filiation. she should have been notified of the adoption proceedings. Santos. the Court of . Maglaya and from her student and government records which indicated or purported to show that Francisco Angeles is her father. As may be recalled. an unwed mother. 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. could veritably invest legitimate status to her offspring through the simple expedient of writing the putative father's name in the appropriate space in the birth certificate. Caloocan for reception of evidence. The Court can even concede that respondent may have been the natural child of Francisco with Genoveva. they cannot support a finding of the legitimate union of Francisco and Genoveva. 47832 and captioned "Aleli 'Corazon' Angeles Maglaya v.R. Hamoy. Yamat. These papers or documents. by inferring from it that Francisco and Genoveva are legally married. docketed with the appellate court as CA-G. Consesa A.

33 and Resolution dated October 20. all these lacked the signatures of both Francisco and Genoveva .34 denying with "FINALITY" her motion for reconsideration. inter alia. . other than the self-serving declaration of the petitioner. .R. as affirmed with finality by this Court in G. . 47832. Angeles and Genoveva Y. Angeles and Genoveva Y. 163124. nor "a child of a lawful wedlock between Francisco M. words in bracket added) Significantly. Angeles and Genoveva Y. . . herein respondent is precluded from claiming that she is the legitimate daughter of Francisco and Genoveva Mercado. Mercado.Appeals dismissed CA-G. 2004.. Having failed to prove that she is the legitimate daughter or acknowledged natural child of the late Francisco M. . i. Mercado". that herein respondent is not. SP No. as her consent thereto is not essential or required. . Equally inconsequential are petitioner's school records . contrary to the claim of petitioner that Francisco M. Mercado. virtually confirms the ratio of the trial court's order of dismissal in Special Proceedings (SP) No. To be sure. Mercado were married in 1938 While petitioner may have submitted certifications to the effect that the records of marriages during the war years . In fine. 2004 in G. 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. the question of whether or not the Motion to Dismiss37 interposed by herein . Reason: These documents were not signed by Francisco . Accordingly. the issue of herein respondent's legitimate filiation to Francisco and the latter's marriage to Genoveva.36 Lest it be overlooked. . SP No. very little comfort is provided by petitioner's birth certificate and even her marriage contract. there can be no serious objection to applying in this case the rule on conclusiveness of judgment. the aforesaid December 17. a "legitimate daughter" of Francisco. 2003 Decision of the appellate court in CA-G. 47832.R.R.R. 163124. having been judicially determined in a final judgment by a court of competent jurisdiction. denying Aleli "Corazon" Maglaya's petition for Review on Certiorari.R. . there is nothing in the record to support petitioner's claim that she is indeed a legitimate child of the late Francisco M. . SP No. . 163124. x x x However. Angeles and Genoveva Y. No. (Emphasis in the original. even as no witness was presented to confirm the celebration of such marriage . . Angeles was never married before or at anytime prior to his marriage to Belen Sagad. Francisco M. No. the same ruling of the appellate court in CA-G. . . regardless of the form of the latter. No. Angeles. as sustained by this Court in G. 47832 on the ground. . Angeles and Genoveva Y. were totally destroyed. Another Resolution dated January 24. .e. C-2140.35 one of two (2) concepts embraced in the res judicata principle. no secondary evidence was presented by petitioner to prove the existence of the marriage between Francisco M. 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. contrary to her claim. . SP No.R. Following the rule on conclusiveness of judgment. In the light of the ruling of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.47832 was effectively affirmed by this Court via its Resolution dated August 9. Mercado . 2005 resolved to "NOTE WITHOUT ACTION" Maglaya's second motion for reconsideration. . . petitioner cannot be a real party in interest in the adoption proceedings. xxx In other words. that respondent failed to establish that she is in fact a legitimate child of Francisco. In the case at bench. Petitioner presented pictures.R. it is already settled law that photographs are not sufficient evidence of filiation or acknowledgment.

Finally.39 one whose relationship is such that he is entitled to share in the estate as distributed. Upon this consideration. the trial court acted within bounds when it looked into and pass upon the claimed relationship of respondent to the late Francisco Angeles. and the order of the trial court dismissing Special Proceedings No. In resolving. under the statute of distribution. therefore. to the decedent's property. as respondent in SP No. C-2140 REINSTATED. the reference is to those who are entitled. It need not detain us any minute further. A separate action will only result in a multiplicity of suits. WHEREFORE. ANCHETA V. an heir.petitioner. in short. the surviving spouse is preferred over the next of kin of the decedent.40 or. the probate court perforce has to determine and pass upon the issue of filiation. 38 When the law speaks of "next of kin". the issue of whether an applicant for letters of administration is a next of kin or an heir of the decedent. is in the nature of a demurer to evidence has become moot and academic. C-2140. the herein assailed decision of the Court of Appeals is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. GUERSEY-DALAYGON . it should be noted that on the matter of appointment of administrator of the estate of the deceased.

Richard died and left a will wherein he bequeathed his entire estate to respondent. 1988 and April 7. a legacy passes to the legatee the entire interest of the testator in the property subject to the legacy. 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. However. while 3/5 thereof was allocated to their three children.Binding Effect of Judgments 490 SCRA 140 June 8. Held: A decree of distribution of the estate of a deceased person vests the title to the land of the estate in the distributees. They have an adopted daughter. in exceptional cases. must be upheld. if erroneous may be corrected by a timely appeal. 1988. The motion and project of partition were granted. in Ramon vs. Ortuzar. filed a motion to declare Richard and Kyle as heirs of Audrey and a project of partition of Audrey’s estate. Two years after her death. its binding effect is like any other judgment in rem. Issue: Whether or not the decree of distribution may still be annulled under the circumstances. which he left to his adopted daughter. leaving 2/5 of Richard’s undivided interest in the Forbes property was allocated to respondent Candelaria. Meanwhile. Richard Guersey (Richard) were American citizens who have resided in the Philippines for 30 years. . except for his shares in A/G. Once it becomes final. Audrey died in 1979. 2006 Facts: Spouses Audrey O’Neill (Audrey) and W. Hence the CA Decision annulling the RTC Orders dated February 12. Petitioner. as ancillary administrator in the court where Audrey’s will was admitted to probate. Kyle Guersey Hill (Kyle). She left a will wherein she bequeathed her entire estate to Richard consisting of Audrey’s conjugal share in real estate improvements at Forbes Park. which. where Richard was a native of. Richard married Candelaria Guersey-Dalaygon. Respondent opposed on the ground that under the law of the State of Maryland. current account with cash balance and shares of stock in A/G Interiors. Four years thereafter. 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. a final decree of distribution of the estate may be set aside for lack of jurisdiction or fraud. Further. the ancillary administrator with regards to Richard’s will also filed a project of partition.

2007] EDGAR SAN LUIS. The instant case involves the settlement of the estate of Felicisimo T. On December 17. both conjugal and exclusive. Before us are consolidated petitions for review assailing the February 4. Virginia predeceased Felicisimo. FELICIDAD SAN LUIS. Five years later. at the time of his death. 1994. 1963. Respondent. 1993. On February 28. filed a Complaint for Divorce 5 before the Family Court of the First Circuit. M-3708 which was raffled to Branch 146 thereof. Edgar. Respondent prayed that the conjugal partnership assets be liquidated and that letters of administration be issued to her. at the time of his death. 1971. Minister of the United Presbyterian at Wilshire Boulevard. However. His first marriage was with Virginia Sulit on March 17. Emilita and Manuel. Alabang.304. Merry Lee. U. filed a motion to dismiss9 on the grounds of improper venue and failure to state a cause of action. Proc.A.A.[G. on May 1.S. the decedent was residing at 100 San Juanico Street. which issued a Decree Granting Absolute Divorce and Awarding Child Custody on December 14. on October 15. 19963 Resolutions of the Regional Trial Court of Makati City. that the decedent does not have any unpaid debts. an American citizen. On August 11. 1968. respondent sought the dissolution of their conjugal partnership assets and the settlement of Felicisimo's estate. that.00 more or less. On February 15. Linda invoked the same grounds and joined her brother Rodolfo in seeking the dismissal10 of the petition. 133743 : February 6.R. 52647. New Alabang Village. Branch 134 in SP.S. was still legally married to Merry Lee. No. one of the children of Felicisimo by his first marriage. Petitioner. valued at P30. petitioner Rodolfo San Luis.R. the trial court issued an Order 11 denying the two motions to dismiss. before Rev. .178. 1974. Felicisimo married Merry Lee Corwin.6 On June 20. Felicisimo married respondent Felicidad San Luis. 1973. 1994. Tobias. 1992. that the decedent left real properties. and son by his second marriage. docketed as SP. 1994. which reversed and set aside the September 12. CV No. Linda. namely: Rodolfo. He further claimed that respondent has no legal personality to file the petition because she was only a mistress of Felicisimo since the latter. with whom he had a son. that the decedent's surviving heirs are respondent as legal spouse. No. 1942 out of which were born six children. Rodolfo claimed that the petition for letters of administration should have been filed in the Province of Laguna because this was Felicisimo's place of residence prior to his death. During his lifetime. who was the former governor of the Province of Laguna. v. United States of America (U. State of Hawaii. Thereafter. Los Angeles. California. On February 4.). 1998 Resolution4 denying petitioners' motion for reconsideration. 1998 Decision1 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. and its May 15. M-3708. Metro Manila. Respondent alleged that she is the widow of Felicisimo. NO. Fr. she filed a petition for letters of administration 8 before the Regional Trial Court of Makati City.7 He had no children with respondent but lived with her for 18 years from the time of their marriage up to his death on December 18. Mila. Proc. San Luis (Felicisimo). 1995 2 and January 31. his six children by his first marriage. then surnamed Sagalongos. Felicisimo contracted three marriages. William Meyer.

Article 26 of the Family Code cannot be retroactively applied because it would impair the vested rights of Felicisimo's legitimate children. 1995. void ab initio. The case was re-raffled to Branch 134 presided by Judge Paul T. at the time of his death.13 Article 26 of the Family Code and the doctrine laid down in Van Dorn v. as widow of the decedent. Article 26 of the Family Code cannot be given retroactive effect to validate respondent's bigamous marriage with Felicisimo because this would impair vested rights in derogation of Article 25616 of the Family Code. another daughter of Felicisimo from his first marriage. the petition should have been filed in Sta. Jr. Cruz. 1994. It held that. 24 and June 20. Edgar manifested23 that he is adopting the arguments and evidence set forth in his previous motion for reconsideration as his position paper. filed a motion to disqualify Acting Presiding Judge Anthony E. Felicisimo was the duly elected governor and a resident of the Province of Laguna. On October 24.25 1995. Judge Tensuan issued an Order21 granting the motion for inhibition. 1994. Edgar also filed a motion for reconsideration20 from the Order denying their motion for reconsideration arguing that it does not state the facts and law on which it was based. the trial court dismissed the petition for letters of administration. It found that the decree of absolute divorce dissolving Felicisimo's marriage to Merry Lee was not valid in the Philippines and did not bind Felicisimo who was a Filipino citizen. Linda. 1994. Tensuan pending the resolution of said motion. Mila. she claimed that Felicisimo had the legal capacity to marry her by virtue of paragraph 2. he regularly went home to their house in New Alabang Village. Respondent moved for reconsideration26 and for the disqualification27 of Judge Arcangel but said motions were denied. she presented the decree of absolute divorce issued by the Family Court of the First Circuit. On April 24. It ruled that respondent. On April 21. It also ruled that paragraph 2. separately filed motions for reconsideration from the Order denying their motions to dismiss. 1994 her opposition12 thereto.22 the trial court required the parties to submit their respective position papers on the twin issues of venue and legal capacity of respondent to file the petition. the trial court issued an Order17 denying the motions for reconsideration. thus. Arcangel. the motion for disqualification was deemed moot and academic18 because then Acting Presiding Judge Santos was substituted by Judge Salvador S. On even date. Further. 1995. Rodolfo and herein petitioner Edgar San Luis. On November 25.Unaware of the denial of the motions to dismiss. respondent filed on March 5.14 Thereafter. possessed the legal standing to file the petition and that venue was properly laid.28 . On September 12. 1994. On May 5. Thus. Respondent and Rodolfo filed their position papers on June 14. 15 They asserted that paragraph 2. 1995. Metro Manila which they bought sometime in 1982. Meanwhile. Romillo. Laguna and not in Makati City. Hence. Mila filed a motion for inhibition19 against Judge Tensuan on November 16. respectively. State of Hawaii to prove that the marriage of Felicisimo to Merry Lee had already been dissolved. Santos from hearing the case. Alabang. She submitted documentary evidence showing that while Felicisimo exercised the powers of his public office in Laguna. It also ruled that respondent was without legal capacity to file the petition for letters of administration because her marriage with Felicisimo was bigamous.

227.35 Rodolfo later filed a manifestation and motion to adopt the said petition which was granted. Rule 73 of the Rules of Court. the Orders dated February 28 and October 24. Cruz. No.38 "residence" is synonymous with "domicile" which denotes a fixed permanent residence to which when absent. of the Family Code of the Philippines. Muntinlupa. "shall x x x have capacity to remarry under Philippine laws". Since Felicisimo never changed his domicile. Br. The foreign divorce having been obtained by the Foreigner on December 14. and Rodolfo filed separate motions for reconsideration 34 which were denied by the Court of Appeals. 36 In the instant consolidated petitions.sweeping statement . Tacloban City. . par. They contend that pursuant to our rulings in Nuval v. Article 26 cannot be retroactively applied because it would impair vested rights and ratify the void . IbaySomera. or actual residence or place of abode of a person as distinguished from legal residence or domicile.32 the Filipino divorcee." Indeed. Article 26.there is no justiciable reason to sustain the individual view . courts cannot deny what the law grants.express mandate of paragraph 2.Respondent appealed to the Court of Appeals which reversed and set aside the orders of the trial court in its assailed Decision dated February 4. Article 26.O. contravenes the basic policy of our state against divorce in any form whatsoever. Pilapil. Romillo. the petition for letters of administration should have been filed in Sta. Petitioners also contend that respondent's marriage to Felicisimo was void and bigamous because it was performed during the subsistence of the latter's marriage to Merry Lee.of Judge Arc[h]angel. under Article 130 of the Family Code. Edgar and Rodolfo insist that the venue of the subject petition for letters of administration was improperly laid because at the time of his death. the Orders dated September 12. actual or physical habitation. 1996 are hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. 1998. the term "place of residence" of the decedent. Guray37 and Romualdez v.30and Pilapil v. The Court of Appeals also held that Felicisimo had legal capacity to marry respondent by virtue of paragraph 2. Therefore. Laguna. 1998. the petitioner as the surviving spouse can institute the judicial proceeding for the settlement of the estate of the deceased. Edgar appealed to this Court via the instant Petition for Review on Certiorari . 7. that "Article 26. he actually resided in Alabang. one intends to return. Linda. for purposes of fixing the venue of the settlement of his estate. 1995 and January 31. refers to the personal. For this reason. They claim that a person can only have one domicile at any given time. the dispositive portion of which states: WHEREFORE. the doctrines in Van Dorn.29 The appellante court ruled that under Section 1. Jr. Thus. Cruz. All that the courts should do is to give force and effect to the express mandate of the law. On July 2. Felicisimo was capacitated to contract a subsequent marriage with respondent. They argue that paragraph 2. State of Hawaii. 2 of the Family Code. and the records of the case is REMANDED to the trial court for further proceedings. under paragraph 2. Felicisimo was a resident of Sta. As a result. the marriage between the deceased and petitioner should not be denominated as "a bigamous marriage. Edgar. It noted that although Felicisimo discharged his functions as governor in Laguna. Laguna. RTC. and the reason and philosophy behind the enactment of E. 1992.31 It found that the marriage between Felicisimo and Merry Lee was validly dissolved by virtue of the decree of absolute divorce issued by the Family Court of the First Circuit. Article 26 of the Family Code and the rulings in Van Dorn v. the petition for letters of administration was properly filed in Makati City. 1994 are REINSTATED. Thus' With the well-known rule .

40 we laid down the doctrinal rule for determining the residence . Under Section 1. for purposes of fixing venue under the Rules of Court." The rulings in Nuval and Romualdez are inapplicable to the instant case because they involve election cases. In election cases. No particular length of time of residence is required though. Muntinlupa. Even where the statute uses the word "domicile" still it is construed as meaning residence and not domicile in the technical sense. which may not necessarily be his legal residence or domicile provided he resides therein with continuity and consistency.43 Hence. or actual residence or place of abode. 1983 showing that the deceased purchased the aforesaid property. hence. Inc. As such. Respondent submitted in evidence the Deed of Absolute Sale 44 dated January 5. In this popular sense. that is." In the case of Garcia Fule v. Ayala Alabang Village." . Cruz. Muntinlupa" while his office/provincial address is in "Provincial Capitol.bigamous marriage. actual or physical habitation of a person. The issues for resolution: (1) whether venue was properly laid. and (2) whether respondent has legal capacity to file the subject petition for letters of administration." This term "resides. the term means merely residence.of the decedent for purposes of fixing the venue of the settlement of his estate: [T]he term "resides" connotes ex vi termini "actual residence" as distinguished from "legal residence or domicile. Court of Appeals. Ayala Alabang. that is. In the instant case. "resides" should be viewed or understood in its popular sense. she has no legal capacity to file the petition for letters of administration. however. it is possible that a person may have his residence in one place and domicile in another. not legal residence or domicile.41 (Emphasis supplied)cralawlibrary It is incorrect for petitioners to argue that "residence. Residence simply requires bodily presence as an inhabitant in a given place.residence rather than domicile is the significant factor. the residence must be more than temporary. the petition for letters of administration of the estate of Felicisimo should be filed in the Regional Trial Court of the province "in which he resides at the time of his death. Sta. Cruz. Laguna. Muntinlupa from 1982 up to the time of his death. meaning. Some cases make a distinction between the terms "residence" and "domicile" but as generally used in statutes fixing venue. one has the intention of returning." Respondent also presented proof of membership of the deceased in the Ayala Alabang Village Association 46 and Ayala Country Club. the fixed permanent residence to which when absent. is synonymous with "domicile. actual or physical habitation. while domicile requires bodily presence in that place and also an intention to make it one's domicile." In other words. She also presented billing statements 45 from the Philippine Heart Center and Chinese General Hospital for the period August to December 1992 indicating the address of Felicisimo at "100 San Juanico. In the application of venue statutes and rules ." for purposes of fixing the venue of the settlement of the estate of Felicisimo. Laguna. the "residence" of a person is his personal. personal residence.as contradistinguished from domicile . the terms are synonymous." like the terms "residing" and "residence. the personal. and convey the same meaning as the term "inhabitant. "residence" and "domicile" are treated as synonymous terms. Rule 73 of the Revised Rules of Court is of such nature .Section 1. actual residence or place of abode. there is a distinction between "residence" for purposes of election laws and "residence" for purposes of fixing the venue of actions.39 Rule 73 of the Rules of Court. The petition lacks merit. respondent cannot be considered the surviving wife of Felicisimo. respondent proved that he also maintained a residence in Alabang. and the deceased's calling cards49 stating that his home/city address is at "100 San Juanico. while petitioners established that Felicisimo was domiciled in Sta. 42 However." is elastic and should be interpreted in the light of the object or purpose of the statute or rule in which it is employed.. Needless to say.47 letter-envelopes48 from 1988 to 1990 sent by the deceased's children to him at his Alabang address. It signifies physical presence in a place and actual stay thereat.

The latter should not continue to be one of her heirs with possible rights to conjugal property. 799: "The purpose and effect of a decree of divorce from the bond of matrimony by a competent jurisdiction are to change the existing status or domestic relation of husband and wife. we need not retroactively apply the provisions of the Family Code. Consequently. the divorce in Nevada released private respondent from the marriage from the standards of American law. and render support to private respondent. is still absolutely freed from the bond of the former marriage. petitioner has to be considered still married to private respondent and still subject to a wife's obligations under Article 109. which marriage was subsequently dissolved through a divorce obtained abroad by the latter. et. the subject petition was validly filed before the Regional Trial Court of Makati City. private respondent is no longer the husband of petitioner. that. As stated by the Federal Supreme Court of the United States in Atherton v. 794.51 Thus. As he is bound by the Decision of his own country's Court. or before the Family Code took effect on August 3. par. when thus severed as to one party. and to free them both from the bond. of the Civil Code cannot be just. (2) considering that there is sufficient jurisprudential basis allowing us to rule in the affirmative. as well as the other. He would have no standing to sue in the case below as petitioner's husband entitled to exercise control over conjugal assets. however. under our laws. we must first resolve the issue of whether a Filipino who is divorced by his alien spouse abroad may validly remarry under the Civil Code. pursuant to his national law. Further. the subject petition for letters of administration was validly filed in the Regional Trial Court50 which has territorial jurisdiction over Alabang. Petitioner should not be obliged to live together with. ceases to bind either. Romillo. recognized the validity of the divorce and held that the alien spouse had no interest in the properties acquired by the Filipino wife after the divorce. 1988." Thus. Anent the issue of respondent Felicidad's legal personality to file the petition for letters of administration. It held: To maintain. and whose decision he does not repudiate.From the foregoing. seq. the Court ruled that she should no longer be considered married to the alien spouse. When the law provides. The marriage tie. the alien spouse alleged that his interest in the properties from their conjugal partnership should be protected. She should not be . we find that Felicisimo was a resident of Alabang. Ed. Muntinlupa. Claiming that the divorce was not valid under Philippine law. that party.52 involved a marriage between a foreigner and his Filipino wife. At that time. 26. The Court. he is estopped by his own representation before said Court from asserting his right over the alleged conjugal property. In resolving this issue. Muntinlupa was still a municipality and the branches of the Regional Trial Court of the National Capital Judicial Region which had territorial jurisdiction over Muntinlupa were then seated in Makati City as per Supreme Court Administrative Order No. as private respondent does. particularly Art. she should not be required to perform her marital duties and obligations. Atherton. observe respect and fidelity. in the nature of a penalty. 1974. 53 As to the effect of the divorce on the Filipino wife. 3. 1993. A husband without a wife. which validly exercised jurisdiction over him. The subject petition was filed on December 17. Thus: In this case. is unknown to the law. considering that Felicidad's marriage to Felicisimo was solemnized on June 20. under which divorce dissolves the marriage. Jr. The case of Van Dorn v. 45 L. or a wife without a husband. that the guilty party shall not marry again. Muntinlupa for purposes of fixing the venue of the settlement of his estate.

then President Corazon Aquino signed into law Executive Order No. 1988. Article 26 of the Family Code were discussed. Orbecido III. In his treatise. and valid there as such. a member of the Civil Code Revision Committee. (4). 36. hence the actuations of one would not affect or cast obloquy on the other.57 the Court stated that where a Filipino is divorced by his naturalized foreign spouse. the Filipino spouse shall have capacity to remarry under Philippine law. (Emphasis supplied) Legislative Intent Records of the proceedings of the Family Code deliberations showed that the intent of Paragraph 2 of Article 26. it now provides: ART. in Quita v.62 the historical background and legislative intent behind paragraph 2. As so amended. and valid there as such. shall also be valid in this country. The ruling has long been interpreted as severing marital ties between parties in a mixed marriage and capacitating the Filipino spouse to remarry as a necessary consequence of upholding the validity of a divorce obtained abroad by the alien spouse. the ruling in Van Dorn applies. except those prohibited under Articles 35(1).58 Although decided on December 22. 26. Executive Order No. On July 17.60 the Court likewise cited the aforementioned case in relation to Article 26. Court of Appeals. it was held that the alien spouse is not a proper party in filing the adultery suit against his Filipino wife. Ibay-Somera55 where the Court recognized the validity of a divorce obtained abroad. 209. (5) and (6). Recio. 1987. The significance of the Van Dorn case to the development of limited recognition of divorce in the Philippines cannot be denied. Article 26 thereof states: All marriages solemnized outside the Philippines in accordance with the laws in force in the country where they were solemnized. shortly after the signing of the original Family Code. 37 and 38. Tolentino cited Van Dorn stating that "if the foreigner obtains a valid foreign divorce. The Court stated that "the severance of the marital bond had the effect of dissociating the former spouses from each other."56 Likewise. Where a marriage between a Filipino citizen and a foreigner is validly celebrated and a divorce is thereafter validly obtained abroad by the alien spouse capacitating him or her to remarry.54 (Emphasis added) This principle was thereafter applied in Pilapil v. the divorce in the said case was obtained in 1954 when the Civil Code provisions were still in effect. A second paragraph was added to Article 26. to wit: Brief Historical Background On July 6. 37.discriminated against in her own country if the ends of justice are to be served. 36. 1998. shall also be valid in this country. and 39 of the Family Code. 1987.61 In the recent case of Republic v."59 In Garcia v. except those prohibited under Articles 35. All marriages solemnized outside the Philippines in accordance with the laws in force in the country where they were solemnized. Arturo M. otherwise known as the "Family Code. the Filipino spouse shall have capacity to remarry under Philippine law." which took effect on August 3. according to Judge Alicia Sempio-Diy. and 38. In the said case. is to . amending Articles 26. Dr. 227 was likewise signed into law.

our lawmakers codified the law already established through judicial precedent." More than twenty centuries ago. Thus when the facts warrants. the Filipino spouse is capacitated to remarry under Philippine law. With the enactment of the Family Code and paragraph 2. we are not bound. the law should never be interpreted in such a way as to cause injustice as this is never within the legislative intent.67 In Alonzo v. we interpret the law in a way that will render justice. Justice is always an essential ingredient of its decisions." That wish continues to motivate this Court when it assesses the facts and the law in every case brought to it for decision. for we presume the good motives of the legislature. may seem arbitrary when applied in a particular case because of its peculiar circumstances. Thus. We do not and must not unfeelingly apply the law as it is worded. Article 26 thereof. Interestingly.63 (Emphasis added) As such. It is a cardinal rule that. relief in some way should be obtainable. because only of our nature and functions. as in this case. to apply them just the same. we are not automatons. Unquestionably. ω lιbrαrÿ Indeed." so we are warned. and consequently. yielding like robots to the literal command without regard to its cause and consequence. that the law be dispensed with justice. in fact. there are some laws that. we test a law by its results. Intermediate Appellate Court. presuming that it was the intention of the lawmaker. we interpret and apply the law not independently of but in consonance with justice.68 the Court stated: But as has also been aptly observed. after obtaining a divorce. Justinian defined justice "as the constant and perpetual wish to render every one his due. Jr. An indispensable part of that intent. that justice may be done even as the law is obeyed.64 Marriage. cannot possibly be productive of any good to the society where one is considered released from the marital bond while the other remains bound to it. being a mutual and shared commitment between two parties. "where these words import a policy that goes beyond them. the first concern of the judge should be to discover in its provisions the intent of the lawmaker. when the object of a marriage is defeated by rendering its continuance intolerable to one of the parties and productive of no possible good to the community. In such a situation. we may add. and likewise. Paragraph 2 of Article 26 traces its origin to the 1985 case of Van Dorn v.avoid the absurd situation where the Filipino spouse remains married to the alien spouse who. the Filipino spouse should not be discriminated against in his own country if the ends of justice are to be served. the Van Dorn case is sufficient basis in resolving a situation where a divorce is validly obtained abroad by the alien spouse. by its purposes. However. To be sure. by Justice Holmes again. is no longer married to the Filipino spouse. to begin with. in seeking the meaning of the law. The Court held therein that a divorce decree validly obtained by the alien spouse is valid in the Philippines. 69 . and we must keep them so. "Courts are apt to err by sticking too closely to the words of a law. Law and justice are inseparable. Romillo. Such is the state of affairs where the alien spouse obtains a valid divorce abroad against the Filipino spouse. Petitioners cite Articles 1565 and 1766 of the Civil Code in stating that the divorce is void under Philippine law insofar as Filipinos are concerned. As judges. is to render justice. The Van Dorn case involved a marriage between a Filipino citizen and a foreigner. while generally valid. What we do instead is find a balance between the word and the will. in light of this Court's rulings in the cases discussed above. in slavish obedience to their language.

would have vested Felicidad with the legal personality to file the present petition as Felicisimo's surviving spouse. it is not necessary that the property be acquired through their joint labor. as far as known to the petitioner: x x x.S.Applying the above doctrine in the instant case.A petition for letters of administration must be filed by an interested person and must show. or their marriage is void from the beginning.S. the divorce decree allegedly obtained by Merry Lee which absolutely allowed Felicisimo to remarry. In a co-ownership. 2. she submitted photocopies of the Marriage Certificate and the annotated text72 of the Family Law Act of California which purportedly show that their marriage was done in accordance with the said law. the records show that there is insufficient evidence to prove the validity of the divorce obtained by Merry Lee as well as the marriage of respondent and Felicisimo under the laws of the U. It provides that the property acquired by either or both of them through their work or industry or their wages and salaries shall be governed by the rules on co-ownership. efforts and industry. Under Sections 24 and 25 of Rule 132. the Court cannot take judicial notice of foreign laws as they must be alleged and proved. .73 Therefore. It held that presentation solely of the divorce decree is insufficient and that proof of its authenticity and due execution must be presented. The interest must be material and direct. As stated in Garcia.. a writing or document may be proven as a public or official record of a foreign country by either (1) an official publication or (2) a copy thereof attested by the officer having legal custody of the document. If the record is not kept in the Philippines. such as a creditor. however. respondent would qualify as an interested person who has a direct interest in the estate of Felicisimo by virtue of their cohabitation. nevertheless. the existence of which was not denied by petitioners. This provision governs the property relations between parties who live together as husband and wife without the benefit of marriage. Section 6. then she may be considered as a co-owner under Article 14476 of the Civil Code. Section 2. An "interested person" has been defined as one who would be benefited by the estate. as she may be considered the co-owner of Felicisimo as regards the properties that were acquired through their joint efforts during their cohabitation.A.74 Rule 78 of the Rules of Court states that letters of administration may be granted to the surviving spouse of the decedent. Contents of petition for letters of administration.. However.A. or one who has a claim against the estate. Even assuming that Felicisimo was not capacitated to marry respondent in 1974. Recio.S. this case should be remanded to the trial court for further reception of evidence on the divorce decree obtained by Merry Lee and the marriage of respondent and Felicisimo.70 the Court laid down the specific guidelines for pleading and proving foreign law and divorce judgments.71 With regard to respondent's marriage to Felicisimo allegedly solemnized in California. Any property . and not merely indirect or contingent.A. However. but fails to prove that her marriage with him was validly performed under the laws of the U. U. we find that the latter has the legal personality to file the subject petition for letters of administration. such copy must be (a) accompanied by a certificate issued by the proper diplomatic or consular officer in the Philippine foreign service stationed in the foreign country in which the record is kept and (b) authenticated by the seal of his office. such as an heir. In Garcia v.75 In the instant case. Rule 79 thereof also provides in part: SEC. If she proves the validity of the divorce and Felicisimo's capacity to remarry.

Contentions must be proved by competent evidence and reliance must be had on the strength of the party's own evidence and not upon the weakness of the opponent's defense. Co-ownership will only be up to the extent of the proven actual contribution of money. Court of Appeals. property or industry. Palang. their contributions and corresponding shares shall be presumed to be equal. we ruled that proof of actual contribution in the acquisition of the property is essential. 77 Meanwhile. Let this case be REMANDED to the trial court for further proceedings. the petition is DENIED. WHEREFORE.80 The Court described the property regime under this provision as follows: The regime of limited co-ownership of property governing the union of parties who are not legally capacitated to marry each other. the burden of proof rests upon the party who. as determined by the pleadings or the nature of the case. unless the contrary is proven. x x x As in other civil cases. x x x81 In view of the foregoing. . Article 148 governs. which involved the issue of co-ownership of properties acquired by the parties to a bigamous marriage and an adulterous relationship.79 we held that even if the cohabitation or the acquisition of property occurred before the Family Code took effect. Absent proof of the extent thereof. 1994 Order of the Regional Trial Court which denied petitioners' motion to dismiss and its October 24. if respondent fails to prove the validity of both the divorce and the marriage. we find that respondent's legal capacity to file the subject petition for letters of administration may arise from her status as the surviving wife of Felicisimo or as his co-owner under Article 144 of the Civil Code or Article 148 of the Family Code. Hence.acquired during the union is prima faciepresumed to have been obtained through their joint efforts. In the cases of Agapay v. applies to properties acquired during said cohabitation in proportion to their respective contributions. asserts an affirmative issue. the portions belonging to the co-owners shall be presumed equal. respectively. the applicable provision would be Article 148 of the Family Code which has filled the hiatus in Article 144 of the Civil Code by expressly regulating the property relations of couples living together as husband and wife but are incapacitated to marry. 1994 Order which dismissed petitioners' motion for reconsideration is AFFIRMED. Fernandez. but who nonetheless live together as husband and wife. The Decision of the Court of Appeals reinstating and affirming the February 28.78 In Saguid v. and Tumlos v.

the trial court issued an order setting the said petition for hearing on February 11. Milagros. Antonio Manalo. 19 Calavite Street. Vda. 1993 seeking: (1) to set aside and reconsider the Order of the trial court dated July 9. Amalia. 1992. Pilar S. et. Amalia Manalo. No. namely: Purita M. Jayme. He was survived by his wife. Orillano. Tinio Street.R. Belen M. Manila died intestate on February 14. HON. Terre. Roberto Manalo. who are eight (8) of the surviving children of the late Troadio Manalo. culminating in the filing of an Omnibus Motion 8 on July 23. Valenzuela. Isabelita Manalo. as administrator thereof. Belen. Metro Manila. At the time of his death on February 14. DE MANALO v. January 16. Orlando Manalo and Imelda Manalo. a resident of 1966 Maria Clara Street. (3) to declare that the trial court did not acquire jurisdiction over the persons of the oppositors. On December 15. namely: Purita. Arty Subdivision. Acuin. 1992. Romeo Manalo. However. Manalo. The antecedent facts 5 are as follows: chanrob1es virtua1 law library chanrob1es virtual 1aw library Troadio Manalo. 1993. VDA. COURT OF APPEALS This is a petition for review on certiorari filed by petitioners Pilar S. the date set for hearing of the petition. the trial court issued an order "declaring the whole world in default. this order of general default was set aside by the trial court upon motion of herein petitioners (oppositors therein) namely: Pilar S. 1992. Vda. Isabelita and Orlando who were granted ten (10) days within which to file their opposition to the petition. who are all of legal age. and Imelda filed a petition 6 with the respondent Regional Trial Court of Manila 7 for the judicial settlement of the estate of their late father. La Loma. Antonio. and (4) for the immediate inhibition of the presiding judge. and further directing service by registered mail of the said order upon the heirs named in the petition at their respective addresses mentioned therein. except the government. Rosalina.. 129242. 2001. Romeo. 1992. 1993. and for the appointment of their brother. De Manalo. and his eleven (11) children. 1993 which denied the motion for additional extension of time to file opposition. On February 11. 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 petitioners’ motion for reconsideration. (2) to set for preliminary hearing their affirmative defenses as grounds for dismissal of the case. Quezon City and at No. herein respondents. De Manalo. Milagros M. 1993. Several pleadings were subsequently filed by herein petitioners. al. 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. Rosalina M. thus: chanrob1es virtual 1aw library . 45 Gen. Sampaloc. Troadio Manalo. 1993 and directing the publication of the order for three (3) consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation in Metro Manila.] PILAR S.[G." and set the reception of evidence of the petitioners therein on March 16. Romeo Manalo. Roberto. On November 26. through counsel. On July 30. the trial court issued an order 9 which resolved.

chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary E.000.A. In their petition for certiorari with the appellate court. Par. . 13 Consequently. . without proper accounting. No. To deny the prayer of the oppositors for a preliminary hearing of their affirmative defenses as ground for the dismissal of this proceeding. 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 . 7. .00 and engaged the services of herein counsel committing to pay P200. the said surviving son continued to manage and control the properties aforementioned. PROC.000. For the protection of their rights and interests. Par. One of the surviving sons. had not made any settlement. . to his own benefit and advantage. docketed as CA-G. To admit the so-called Opposition filed by counsel for the oppositors on July 20. 92-63626 is actually an ordinary civil action involving members of the same family. 14. . and (5) no certification of non-forum shopping was attached to the petition. 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 filing of the petition but that the same have failed. 8. . after their motion for reconsideration of the Order dated July 30. Finding the contentions untenable. 39851. PROC. SP. 1993 at 2:00 o’clock in the afternoon. . (3) the share of the surviving spouse was included in the intestate proceedings. according to herein petitioners. 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. On May 6. TROADIO MANALO. 1996.00 as and for attorney’s fees plus honorarium of P2. to wit: chanrob1es virtual 1aw library Par. Par. P250. Herein petitioners claim that the petition in SP. To declare that this court has acquired jurisdiction over the persons of the oppositors. D. TROADIO MANALO. since the death of his father. only for the purpose of considering the merits thereof. . 12.00 per appearance in court . C.500. 1993. No. To deny the motion of the oppositors for the inhibition of this Presiding Judge. .R. according to them. 1993. said affirmative defenses being irrelevant and immaterial to the purpose and issue of the present proceeding. No. 92-63626. . are indicative of its adversarial nature. the Court of Appeals dismissed the petition for certiorari in its Resolution 11 promulgated on September 30. (2) the trial court did not acquire jurisdiction over their persons. Herein petitioners filed a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court with the Court of Appeals. 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. . They point out that it contains certain averments which. 1993 was denied by the trial court in its Order 10 dated September 15. 1997 the motion for reconsideration of the said resolution was likewise dismissed. ANTONIO MANALO. the same should be dismissed under Rule 16. . (4) there was absence of earnest efforts toward compromise among members of the same family. they contend that: (1) the venue was improperly laid in SP. judicial or extra-judicial of the properties of the deceased father. Section 1(j) of the . B.

PROC. sitting as a probate court. if any. A careful scrutiny of the Petition for Issuance of Letters of Administration. The fact of death of the decedent and of his residence within the country are foundation facts upon which all the subsequent proceedings in the administration of the estate rest. 92-63626.Revised Rules of Court which provides that a motion to dismiss a complaint may be filed on the ground that a condition precedent for filing the claim has not been complied with. 1992. Herein petitioners. as oppositors therein. the petition in SP. moral and exemplary damages. No. PROC. The instant petition is not impressed with merit. No. has limited and special jurisdiction 20 . that is. The said petition contains sufficient jurisdictional facts required in a petition for the settlement of estate of a deceased person such as the fact of death of the late Troadio Manalo on February 14. 92-63626 belies herein petitioners’ claim that the same is in the nature of an ordinary civil action. No. It is a fundamental rule that. as in the case at bar. the averments 15 and the character of the relief sought 16 in the complaint. Section 1(j) of the Rules of Court vis-a-vis. 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. No. 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.00 and attorney’s fees in the amount of P300. in the determination of the nature of an action or proceeding. shall be controlling.000.500. 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 are irrelevant and immaterial to the said petition. that earnest efforts toward a compromise have been made involving members of the same family prior to the filing of the petition pursuant to Article 222 14 of the Civil Code of the Philippines.000. (b) That after all the properties of the deceased TROADIO MANALO have been inventoried and expenses and just debts. 17 The petition in SP. c) That the litigation expenses of these proceedings in the amount of P250. In addition. that the said estate of TROADIO MANALO be settled and distributed among the legal heirs all in accordance with law. premises considered. Troadio Manalo.00 plus honorarium of P2. have been paid and the legal heirs of the deceased fully determined. Settlement and Distribution of Estate in SP. PROC. the reliefs 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. or petition. 18 Concededly. as well as his residence in the City of Manila at the time of his said death. that the petitioners therein failed to aver in the petition in SP. is actually an Answer containing admissions and denials. took advantage of the said defect in the petition and filed their so-called Opposition thereto which.00 per appearance in court in the hearing and trial of this case and costs of suit be taxed solely against ANTONIO MANALO. Article 222 of the Civil Code. PROC. to wit: chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary PRAYER WHEREFORE. it is respectfully prayed for of this Honorable Court: chanrob1es virtual 1aw library (a) That after due hearing. 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. It must be emphasized that the trial court. as observed by the trial court. 92-63626 contains certain averments which may be typical of an ordinary civil action. special and affirmative defenses and compulsory counterclaims for actual.

as well as the concomitant nature of an action. it is a remedy whereby the petitioners therein seek to establish a status. subject to the limitations in Article 2035 (Emphasis supplied). Settlement and Distribution of Estate in SP.and cannot hear and dispose of collateral matters and issues which may be properly threshed out only in an ordinary civil action. Rule 16. WHEREFORE. PROC. 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. 21 So it should be in the instant petition for settlement of estate. whereby a party sues another for the enforcement of a right. 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. 92-63626 were to be considered as a special proceeding for the settlement of estate of a deceased person. This is clear from the term "suit" that it refers to an action by one person or persons against another or others 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. 92-63626 for any cause of action as in fact no defendant was impleaded therein. but that the same have failed. is determined by the averments in the complaint and not by the defenses contained in the answer. of the Rules of Court to justify the invocation of Article 222 of the Civil Code of the 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. It is necessary that every effort should be made toward a compromise before a litigation is allowed to breed hate and passion in the family. 26 The petitioners therein (private respondents herein) merely seek to establish the fact 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. Section 2. a right. Herein petitioners argue that even if the petition in SP. to wit: chanrob1es virtual 1aw library ARTICLE 222. 24 Besides. Section 1 (j) of the Rules of Court vis-a-vis Article 222 of the Civil Code of the Philippines would nevertheless apply as a ground for the dismissal of the same by virtue of Rule 1. the petition in the above entitled case. or a particular fact.25 cralaw:red It must be emphasized that the oppositors (herein petitioners) are not being sued in SP. Herein petitioners may not validly take refuge under the provisions of Rule 1. It is known that lawsuit between close relatives generates deeper bitterness than strangers. PROC. 92-63626 is a special proceeding and. is DENIED for lack of merit. or the prevention or redress of a wrong. speedy and inexpensive determination of every action and proceeding. . No. PROC. it would not be too difficult to have a case either thrown out of court or its proceedings unduly delayed by simple stratagem. No. an excerpt from 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: cralaw : red It is difficult to imagine a sadder and more tragic spectacle than a litigation between members of the same family. whether at law or in equity. Costs against petitioners. The argument is misplaced." Petitioners contend that the term "proceeding" is so broad that it must necessarily include special proceedings. as such. In addition. The Petition for Issuance of Letters of Administration. No. If it were otherwise. 23 A civil action is thus an action filed in a court of justice. the rule has always been to the effect that the jurisdiction of a court. 22 The above-quoted provision of the law is applicable only to ordinary civil actions.

5. among other reasons. FIDEL P. ALLEGATION THAT A PETITIONER SEEKING LETTERS OF ADMINISTRATION IS AN INTERESTED PERSON IS NOT AMONG THE JURISDICTIONAL FACTS UNDER PARAGRAPH (A). it goes without saying that a motion to dismiss may lie not on the basis of lack of jurisdiction on the part of the court. if he is an inhabitant of a foreign country. not only had the administrator and the rest of the private respondents voluntarily submitted to the jurisdiction of the trial court. The Opposition also proposed that Bonifacio Canonoy.R. REMEDIAL LAW. he is a stranger to the estate. 44888. they instead filed an Opposition which. (Citing Trillana v. and all objections not so included shall be deemed waived. These facts are amply enumerated in the petition filed by Gonzalez. — Clearly. such as an heir. No. Crisostomo. 70 Phil. and that if the intestate was not an inhabitant of the state at the time of his death.] PILIPINAS SHELL PETROLEUM CORPORATION v. be appointed administrator of the latter’s intestate estate. private respondents have in fact approved or ratified the filing of the petition by the latter. his residence at the time of his death in the province where the probate court is sitting or. DUMLAO SYLLABUS 1. No. — Of course. the allegation that a petitioner seeking letters of administration is an interested person. but rather on the ground of lack of legal capacity to institute the proceedings. AN OBJECTION TO THE PETITION ON GROUND THAT IT WAS NOT FILED BY AN INTERESTED PERSON MAY BE BARRED BY WAIVER OR ESTOPPEL. A PARTY WHO HAS AFFIRMED OR INVOKED JURISDICTION OF A COURT CANNOT AFTERWARDS DENY THAT SAME JURISDICTION. — An interested person is one who would be benefited by the estate. 1992. PETITION FILED NOT BY AN INTERESTED PERSON MAY BE DISMISSED ON GROUND OF LACK OF LEGAL CAPACITY TO INSTITUTE PROCEEDINGS. RULE 79. NOT ON THE BASIS OF LACK OF JURISDICTION. Rule 15 of the Rules of Court provides that: "A motion attacking a pleading or a proceeding shall include all objections then available. unfortunately. Gonzalez. Clearly. L-3378. since the opening sentence of the section requires that the petition must be filed by an interested person. does not fall within the enumeration of jurisdictional facts. The failure to move for a dismissal amounted to a waiver of the above-mentioned ground. 2. and left no assets in the state. therefore. The fact of death of the intestate and of his residence within the country are foundation facts upon which all the subsequent proceedings in the administration of the estate rest. did not ask for the dismissal of the petition but merely opposed the issuance of letters of administration in favor of Gonzalez because. and none came into it afterwards. 3. Espinosa v. not merely indirect or contingent.[G.R. his having left his estate in such province. or one who has a claim against the estate. no jurisdiction is conferred on the court to grant letters of administration in any county. Section 8. Barrios. one of the children of the deceased Regino Canonoy. this interest must be material and direct. 311) 4. they even expressly affirmed and invoked such jurisdiction ." By proposing that Bonifacio Canonoy be appointed as administrator instead of Mr. G. SEC. 22 August 1951. — The jurisdictional facts alluded to are: the death of the testator. February 7. — Private respondents herein did not file a motion to dismiss the petition filed by Gonzalez on the ground of lack of capacity to sue. DEFINED. 2. such as a creditor. SPECIAL CIVIL ACTION. INTERESTED PERSON.

the administrator." They. Echavez. The duly appointed administrator. On 23 November 1973." and he is an employee of Shell Philippines.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary Ricardo M. and so "he would not be able to properly and effectively protect the interest of the estate in case of conflicts. at petitioner’s expense. the bulk of which is located in Butuan City. allowances for salaries and wages of service attendants. Petition for Letters of Administration. an alleged creditor of the estate. 5 On 12 May 1975. Inc. lighting allowances. then known as Shell Philippines. 6 On 20 May 1975. sales commission due the deceased Regino Canonoy and reasonable attorney a fees. a party who has affirmed and invoked it in a particular matter to secure an affirmative relief cannot be allowed to afterwards deny that same jurisdiction to escape penalty. Ricardo M. Petitioner" with the then Court of First Instance (now Regional Trial Court) of Agusan del Norte and Butuan City. they cannot now be heard to question the jurisdiction of the trial court.m. (c) denial of petitioner Shell’s amended claim against the estate. Bonifacio Canonoy. Inc. The case was docketed as SP PROC. however. and (3) ordering that copies of the order be sent by registered mail or personal delivery. (b) appointment of Bonifacio Canonoy as administrator. of Branch II issued an Order (1) setting the hearing on the petition for 23 March 1973 at 3:30 a. Gonzalez. (2) directing that the order be published.49 representing rentals for land occupied by the Shell Service Station. within the periods prescribed by Section 4. he is "not even a creditor" of the estate. once a week for three (3) consecutive weeks in a newspaper with a nationwide circulation published regularly by a government agency or entity. Brought to focus in this petition are the following issues: (a) whether the jurisdictional facts that need to be stated in a petition for letters of administration under Section 2(a). Rule 76 of the Rules of Court. Gonzalez. Inc. Jr. praying therein that he be appointed judicial administrator of the estate of the deceased Regino Canonoy. he filed an Answer to the amended claim filed by Shell. Shell likewise filed an amended claim against the estate.in praying for reliefs and remedies in their favor. "propose" and pray that since Bonifacio Canonoy. namely: (a) denial of Gonzalez’ prayer to be appointed as administrator. the trial court appointed-Bonifacio Canonoy as administrator of the intestate estate of Regino Canonoy. filed on 8 January 1973 a petition entitled "In the Matter of the Intestate Estate of the deceased Regino Canonoy. after due hearing. allege that Gonzalez "is a complete stranger to the intestate estate" of Regino Canonoy. No. filed his Reply to the Opposition to Motion to Dismiss. enjoys preference in appointment pursuant to Section 6.. filed on 9 October 1974 a Motion to Dismiss the claim of Shell 4 which the latter contested by filing an Opposition. to each of all the known heirs of the deceased Regino Canonoy. 3 having found him competent to act as such. he should "be appointed administrator of the said intestate estate and the corresponding letters of administration be issued in his favor. 343 and was raffled to Branch II of the trial court. Rule 79 of the Rules of Court include the specific assertion that the petitioner therein is an "interested person". .423. Hence. 2 private respondents. District Manager of Shell Philippines. one of Regino’s sons. he is a resident of Davao City and thus if appointed as administrator of the estate.. Rule 78 of the Rules of Court. On 27 January 1973. and (b) whether the administration court may properly and validly dismiss a petition for letters of administration filed by one who is not an "interested person" after having appointed an heir of the decedent as administrator of the latter’s intestate estate and set for pre-trial a claim against the said estate. 1 In their Opposition to the issuance of letters of administration to Gonzalez filed on 21 March 1973. for Mindanao (hereinafter referred to as Shell). who are heirs of Regino Canonoy. or in any newspaper published and edited in any part of the country which is in operation during the existence of the present national emergency and of general circulation in the province of Agusan del Norte and in Butuan City. While it may be true that jurisdiction may be raised at any stage of the proceedings. Judge Vicente B. filed its claim against the estate of the deceased Regino Canonoy. and (d) the granting of the counterclaim. None of the parties moved to reconsider this Order or appealed therefrom. "he would not be able to perform his duties efficiently. 7 In the said Answer.. at the petitioner’s expense. favor. he interposes compulsory counterclaims for the estate in the amount of P659. if any there be. Petitioner filed an Answer to the Counterclaim. herein petitioner Shell." On 25 July 1973.

Under the peculiar circumstances of the case. since such interest is a jurisdictional requirement. 15 Shell filed the instant petition which it denominated as a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. 17 Thereafter. this time presided over by respondent Judge Fidel P. and residences of the heirs. (c) The probable value and character of the property of the estate. Section 2. (d) The name of the person for whom letters of administration are prayed. 10 At the pre-trial held on 23 September 19757 counsel for the administrator requested for time to file a Motion to Dismiss the case. of the decedent. serves only to compound the error. — A petition for letters of administration must be filed by an interested person and must show. to treat the petition for review as a special civil action under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court and require the parties to submit their respective Memoranda. inter alia. the trial court. and the names and residences of the creditors. is not the "interested person" contemplated by Section 2. the trial court clearly acted with grave abuse of discretion when it dismissed SP PROC. finding the motion to be well-taken and meritorious." and that. it must perforce be granted. 16 the latter complied with the same on 31 January 1977. Rule 79 of the Rules of Court. opposing counsel was likewise-given ten (10) days from receipt of the same to file whatever pleading he may deem proper to file. so far as known to the petitioner: chanrob1es virtual 1aw library (a) The jurisdictional facts. 343 after having set for pre-trial petitioner’s amended claim against the estate. Dumlao. the trial court acquired no jurisdiction over the case. 20 The petition is impressed with merit. 12 Shell filed its Opposition to the Motion on 16 October 1975 13 on the ground that the trial court had acquired jurisdiction over the case to issue letters of administration as the interest of Gonzalez in the estate is not a jurisdictional fact that needs to be alleged in the petition. 11 The motion was filed on 30 September 1975.Upon joinder of the issues on Shell’s claim. petitioner filed a motion to require the judicial administrator to file an inventory of the properties of the deceased. Gonzalez. after which the motion shall be deemed submitted for resolution. In an Order dated 8 November 1975. Mr. dismissed the case." cralaw virtua1aw library . No. Rule 79 of the Rules of Court provides: chanrob1es virtual 1aw library "SEC. But no defect in the petition shall render void the issuance of letters of administration. Contents of petition for letters of administration. (b) The names. this Court resolved. 9 On 18 August 1975. ages. the court granted him ten (10) days to file the motion. 8 This was later re-set to 23 September 1975. In an Order issued on that date. this Court required the respondents to comment on the petition. If at all. 18 petitioner filed its Memorandum on 4 April 1977 19 while the respondents filed theirs on 3 June 1977. on 7 February 1977. Gonzalez’ lack of interest in the estate of the deceased only affected his competence to be appointed administrator. is not an "interested person. 14 The motion for its reconsideration having been denied by the trial court on 23 January 1976. set the pre-trial for 15 August 1975. respondent Judge. 2. It alleges that the court did not acquire jurisdiction over the subject matter and nature thereof because the petitioner therein. That said dismissal was predicated solely on the ground that petitioner therein. 1. In the Resolution dated 6 December 1976. Ricardo Gonzalez.

this interest must be material and direct. Rule 15 of the Rules of Court provides that: chanrobles." 25 In the said case. among other reasons.The jurisdictional facts alluded to are: the death of the testator.. or at the trial on the merits. 30 this Court ruled: "Finally. this Court defined an interested party as one who would be benefited by the estate. The Opposition also proposed that Bonifacio Canonoy. such as a creditor. These should have been asserted in the motion to dismiss filed by defendant below. 22 The fact of death of the intestate and of his residence within the country are foundation facts upon which all the subsequent proceedings in the administration of the estate rest. and (b) lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter of the action. one of the children of the deceased Regino Canonoy. 24 where the dismissal of a petition for letters of administration was affirmed because the petitioner "is not an heir of her deceased sister and. however. it goes without saying that a motion to dismiss may lie not on the basis of lack of jurisdiction on the part of the court. the allegation that a petitioner seeking letters of administration is an interested person. Sharp & Co.F. Inc. but rather on the ground of lack of legal capacity to institute the proceedings. 29 subject to the exception as hereinafter discussed. and none came into it afterwards. he is a stranger to the estate. be appointed administrator of the latter’s intestate estate. This is precisely what happened in Saguinsin v. C. they are now barred by the rule on omnibus motion. without exception. 28 Excepted from the above rules are the following grounds: (a) failure to state a cause of action which may be alleged in a later pleading if one is permitted. Gonzalez.com : virtual law library "A motion attacking a pleading or a proceeding shall include all objections then available. has no material and direct interest in her estate. such as an heir. does not fall within the enumeration of jurisdictional facts. or one who has a claim against the estate. unfortunately. and left no assets in the state. Lindayag. or by a motion for judgment on the pleadings. 23 Clearly. Section 8. 26 The Saguinsin doctrine is not.. and that if the intestate was not an inhabitant of the state at the time of his death." cralaw virtua1aw library However. not merely indirect or contingent. except for improper venue. may be pleaded as an affirmative defense. private respondents have in fact approved or ratified the filing of the petition by the latter. his having left his estate in such province. In Insurance Company of North America v. therefore. if he is an inhabitant of a foreign country. appellant would contend that plaintiff has no capacity to sue and is not the real party in interest. any of the grounds available for such a motion. An objection to a petition for letters of administration on that ground may be barred by waiver or estoppel. did not ask for the dismissal of the petition but merely opposed the issuance of letters of administration in favor of Gonzalez because. and all objections not so included shall be deemed waived." cralaw virtua1aw library By proposing that Bonifacio Canonoy be appointed as administrator instead of Mr. no jurisdiction is conferred on the court to grant letters of administration in any county. if a motion to dismiss is not filed. his residence at the time of his death in the province where the probate court is sitting or. 21 These facts are amply enumerated in the petition filed by Gonzalez. Of course. since the opening sentence of the section requires that the petition must be filed by an interested person. Not having been included therein. as what obtains in this case. The failure to move for a dismissal amounted to a waiver of the above-mentioned ground. 27 they instead filed an Opposition which. and a preliminary hearing thereon may be had as if a motion to dismiss had been filed. . It is now too late to raise these objections here. Private respondents herein did not file a motion to dismiss the petition filed by Gonzalez on the ground of lack of capacity to sue.

In Tijam. No. claiming to have the right as surviving spouse to be appointed as such administrator.49.423.. Al. as cured. Rule 79 of the Rules of Court by issuing the Order dated 27 January 1973. the said amount be deducted from the above-mentioned sum and. thereafter.000." cralaw virtua1aw library Clearly. By this act of Domingo Valmores. and (d) the granting of the counterclaim. Hence.com.In Eusebio v. such defect would authorize the dismissal of the proceedings especially in view of the fact that the surviving spouse of Rosalia Saquitan had filed an affidavit of adjudication under the provisions of Section 1 of Rule 74 of the Rules. the reasonable attorney’s fees for the prosecution of this counterclaim and costs. 33 a Reply to the Opposition to the motion to dismiss 34 and an Answer to petitioner’s amended claim against the estate wherein he interposed a counterclaim. therefore. it is most respectfully prayed of this Honorable Court to dismiss the above-mentioned ‘Amended Claim Against the Estate’ and to order the claimant to pay unto the intestate estate of Regino Canonoy the said sum of P659. the trial court complied with Section 3. Et. not only had the administrator and the rest of the private respondents voluntarily submitted to the jurisdiction of the trial court. 35 praying thus: jgc:chanrobles.00. 36 this Court held: . and that he take his oath of office after putting up a surety or property bond in the amount of P5. (b) appointment of Bonifacio Canonoy as administrator. had not objected to the application for the appointment of an administrator. IN THE ALTERNATIVE. to order the claimant to pay the balance remaining unto the said intestate estate of Regino Canonoy. Valmores. they cannot now be heard to question the jurisdiction of the trial court. While it may be true that jurisdiction may be raised at any stage of the proceedings. it heard the evidence on the qualifications and competence of Bonifacio Canonoy. a party who has affirmed and invoked it in a particular matter to secure an affirmative relief cannot be allowed to afterwards deny that same jurisdiction to escape penalty. Et Al. however. in the event that any sum is found due from and payable by the said intestate estate of Regino Canonoy in favor of the said claimant. he only objected to the appointment of the said stranger Eulogio Eusebio as administrator. Counsel for Domingo Valmores. v. There can be no dispute that the trial court had acquired jurisdiction over SP PROC." 2. together with interest thereon at the legal rate beginning from date hereof. the fatal defect in the petition may be considered. Sibonghanoy. (c) denial of petitioner Shell’s amended claim against the estate. and costs. 32 It is to be presumed that Bonifacio Canonoy immediately qualified as administrator because in that capacity. petitioner Gonzalez established the jurisdictional requirements by submitting in evidence proof of publication and service of notices of the petition. At the initial hearing on 25 July 1973. 343.ph "WHEREFORE. and for this reason the proceedings may not be dismissed. therefore. surviving spouse of the deceased. together with the interest thereon at the legal rate beginning from the date hereof. the filing of the petition for the appointment of an administrator may be considered as having been ratified by the surviving husband. he filed a motion to dismiss petitioner’s claim against the estate. Under ordinary circumstances. In other words. Domingo Valmores. he did not have any interest in the properties of the deceased Rosalia Saquitan. the reasonable attorney’s fees for the prosecution of this counterclaim. hence. OR. 31 We held that: chanrob1es virtual 1aw library "The evidence submitted in the hearing does not satisfactorily prove that the petitioner was legally adopted. they even expressly affirmed and invoked such jurisdiction in praying for reliefs and remedies in their favor namely: (a) denial of Gonzalez prayer to be appointed as administrator. ‘then appointed him as administrator and finally directed that letters of administration be issued to him. Thereafter. Immediately after the filing of the case.

37 S. it has also been held that after voluntarily submitting a cause and encountering an adverse decision on the merits. chanrobles law library Furthermore. 141 U." cralaw virtua1aw library The respondent Judge should have lent his ears to Tijam v. 127. 343 is hereby SET ASIDE. No. 35 L.L. Rathbun-Hones etc. St. 243 U. Costs against private respondents. after obtaining or failing to obtain such relief. 61 L.Ed. 283. 79). WHEREFORE. it was further said that the question whether (sic) the court had jurisdiction either of the subject-matter of the action or of the parties was not important in such cases because the party is barred from such conduct not because the judgment or order of the court is valid and conclusive as an adjudication. He exhibited undue haste in removing the case from his docket and in abdicating judicial authority and responsibility. In the case just cited. but for the reason that such a practice can not be tolerated — obviously for reasons of public policy. 16 Wyo. to afterwards deny that same jurisdiction to escape a penalty. it is too late for the loser to question the jurisdiction or power of the court (Pease v. by way of explaining the-rule. Louis etc. and to conduct therein further proceedings pursuant to the Rules of Court until the case is closed and terminated."It has been held that a party can not invoke the jurisdiction of a court to secure affirmative relief against his opponent and.Ct. repudiate or question that same jurisdiction (Dean v. The court below is further ordered to hear and decide petitioner’s claim against the estate in said case. 273. v. the Court said that it is not right for a party who has affirmed and invoked the jurisdiction of a court in a particular matter to secure an affirmative relief. And in Littleton v.Ed. 715.S. 58.R. the instant petition is hereby GRANTED and the Order of respondent Judge of 8 November 1975 in SP PROC. unless supervening events had occurred making it unnecessary. Sibonghanoy instead of peremptorily granting the motion to dismiss in an Order which does not even care to expound on why the court found the said motion to be meritorious.S. 136 Or. 659). McBride. Burgess. 694. Dean. Howsoever viewed. 86 A. . he committed grave abuse of discretion.

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