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REPUBLIC VS CA, MADRONA

G.R. NO. 163604 6 MAY 2005

CARPIO-MORALES, J.:
In In the Matter of Declaration of Presumptive Death of Absentee Spouse Clemente P.
Jomoc, Apolinaria Malinao Jomoc, petitioner, the Ormoc City, Regional Trial Court, Branch 35,
by Order of September 29, 1999,[1] granted the petition on the basis of the Commissioners
Report[2] and accordingly declared the absentee spouse, who had left his petitioner-wife nine
years earlier, presumptively dead.
In granting the petition, the trial judge, Judge Fortunito L. Madrona, cited Article 41, par. 2
of the Family Code. Said article provides that for the purpose of contracting a valid subsequent
marriage during the subsistence of a previous marriage where the prior spouse had been absent
for four consecutive years, the spouse present must institute summary proceedings for the
declaration of presumptive death of the absentee spouse, without prejudice to the effect of the
reappearance of the absent spouse.
The Republic, through the Office of the Solicitor General, sought to appeal the trial courts
order by filing a Notice of Appeal.[3]
By Order of November 22, 1999s,[4] the trial court, noting that no record of appeal was filed
and served as required by and pursuant to Sec. 2(a), Rule 41 of the 1997 Rules of Civil
Procedure, the present case being a special proceeding, disapproved the Notice of Appeal.
The Republics Motion for Reconsideration of the trial courts order of disapproval having
been denied by Order of January 13, 2000,[5] it filed a Petition for Certiorari[6] before the Court
of Appeals, it contending that the declaration of presumptive death of a person under Article 41
of the Family Code is not a special proceeding or a case of multiple or separate appeals requiring
a record on appeal.
By Decision of May 5, 2004,[7] the Court of Appeals denied the Republics petition on
procedural and substantive grounds in this wise:
At the outset, it must be stressed that the petition is not sufficient in form. It failed to attach to its
petition a certified true copy of the assailed Order dated January 13, 2000 [denying its Motion
for Reconsideration of the November 22, 1999 Order disapproving its Notice of Appeal].
Moreover, the petition questioned the [trial courts] Order dated August 15, 1999, which declared
Clemente Jomoc presumptively dead, likewise for having been issued with grave abuse of
discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction, yet, not even a copy could be found in the records.
On this score alone, the petition should have been dismissed outright in accordance with Sec. 3,
Rule 46 of the Rules of Court.

However, despite the procedural lapses, the Court resolves to delve deeper into the substantive
issue of the validity/nullity of the assailed order.
The principal issue in this case is whether a petition for declaration of the presumptive
death of a person is in the nature of a special proceeding. If it is, the period to appeal is 30
days and the party appealing must, in addition to a notice of appeal, file with the trial court a
record on appeal to perfect its appeal. Otherwise, if the petition is an ordinary action, the period
to appeal is 15 days from notice or decision or final order appealed from and the appeal is
perfected by filing a notice of appeal (Section 3, Rule 41, Rules of Court).
As defined in Section 3(a), Rule 1 of the Rules of Court, a civil action is one by which a party
sues another for the enforcement or protection of a right, or the prevention of redress of a wrong
while a special proceeding under Section 3(c) of the same rule is defined as a remedy by which a
party seeks to establish a status, a right or a particular fact (Heirs of Yaptinchay, et al. v. Del
Rosario, et al., G.R. No. 124320, March 2, 1999).
Considering the aforementioned distinction, this Court finds that the instant petition is in the
nature of a special proceeding and not an ordinary action. The petition merely seeks for a
declaration by the trial court of the presumptive death of absentee spouse Clemente Jomoc. It
does not seek the enforcement or protection of a right or the prevention or redress of a wrong.
Neither does it involve a demand of right or a cause of action that can be enforced against any
person.
On the basis of the foregoing discussion, the subject Order dated January 13, 2000 denying
OSGs Motion for Reconsideration of the Order dated November 22, 1999 disapproving its
Notice of Appeal was correctly issued. The instant petition, being in the nature of a special
proceeding, OSG should have filed, in addition to its Notice of Appeal, a record on
appeal in accordance with Section 19 of the Interim Rules and Guidelines to Implement BP Blg.
129 and Section 2(a), Rule 41 of the Rules of Court . . . (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)
The Republic (petitioner) insists that the declaration of presumptive death under Article 41
of the Family Code is not a special proceeding involving multiple or separate appeals where a
record on appeal shall be filed and served in like manner.
Petitioner cites Rule 109 of the Revised Rules of Court which enumerates the cases wherein
multiple appeals are allowed and a record on appeal is required for an appeal to be perfected. The
petition for the declaration of presumptive death of an absent spouse not being included in the
enumeration, petitioner contends that a mere notice of appeal suffices.
By Resolution of December 15, 2004,[8] this Court, noting that copy of the September 27,
2004 Resolution[9] requiring respondent to file her comment on the petition was returned

unserved with postmasters notation Party refused, Resolved to consider that copy deemed served
upon her.
The pertinent provisions on the General Provisions on Special Proceedings, Part II of the
Revised Rules of Court entitled SPECIAL PROCEEDINGS, read:
RULE 72
SUBJECT MATTER AND APPLICABILITY
OF GENERAL RULES
Section 1. Subject matter of special proceedings. Rules of special proceedings are provided for in
the following:
(a) Settlement of estate of deceased persons;
(b) Escheat;
(c) Guardianship and custody of children;
(d) Trustees;
(e) Adoption;
(f) Rescission and revocation of adoption;
(g) Hospitalization of insane persons;
(h) Habeas corpus;
(i) Change of name;
(j) Voluntary dissolution of corporations;
(k) Judicial approval of voluntary recognition of minor natural children;
(l) Constitution of family home;
(m) Declaration of absence and death;
(n) Cancellation or correction of entries in the civil registry.
Sec. 2. Applicability of rules of civil actions. In the absence of special provisions, the rules
provided for in ordinary actions shall be, as far as practicable, applicable in special proceedings.
(Underscoring supplied)
The pertinent provision of the Civil Code on presumption of death provides:
Art. 390. After an absence of seven years, it being unknown whether or not the absentee still
lives, he shall be presumed dead for all purposes, except for those of succession.
x x x (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)
Upon the other hand, Article 41 of the Family Code, upon which the trial court anchored its
grant of the petition for the declaration of presumptive death of the absent spouse, provides:

Art. 41. A marriage contracted by any person during the subsistence of a previous marriage shall
be null and void, unless before the celebration of the subsequent marriage, the prior spouses had
been absent for four consecutive years and the spouse present had a well-founded belief that the
absent spouses was already dead. In case of disappearance where there is danger of death under
the circumstances set forth in the provisions of Article 391 of the Civil Code, an absence of only
two years shall be sufficient.
For the purpose pf contracting the subsequent marriage under the preceding paragraph, the
spouses present must institute a summary proceeding as provided in this Code for the
declaration of presumptive death of the absentee, without prejudice to the effect of a
reappearance of the absent spouse. (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)
Rule 41, Section 2 of the Revised Rules of Court, on Modes of Appeal, invoked by the trial
court in disapproving petitioners Notice of Appeal, provides:
Sec. 2. Modes of appeal. (a) Ordinary appeal. - The appeal to the Court of Appeals in cases decided by the Regional Trial
Court in the exercise of its original jurisdiction shall be taken by filing a notice of appeal with the
court which rendered the judgment or final order appealed from and serving a copy thereof upon
the adverse party. No record on appeal shall be required except in special proceedings and
other cases of multiple or separate appeals where the law or these Rules so require. In such
cases, the record on appeal shall be filed and served in like manner.
By the trial courts citation of Article 41 of the Family Code, it is gathered that the petition of
Apolinaria Jomoc to have her absent spouse declared presumptively dead had for its purpose her
desire to contract a valid subsequent marriage. Ergo, the petition for that purpose is a summary
proceeding, following above-quoted Art. 41, paragraph 2 of the Family Code.
Since Title XI of the Family Code, entitled SUMMARY JUDICIAL PROCEEDING IN
THE FAMILY LAW, contains the following provision, inter alia:
Art. 238. Unless modified by the Supreme Court, the procedural rules in this Title shall apply in
all cases provided for in this Codes requiring summary court proceedings. Such cases shall be
decided in an expeditious manner without regard to technical rules. (Emphasis and
underscoring supplied)
there is no doubt that the petition of Apolinaria Jomoc required, and is, therefore, a summary
proceeding under the Family Code, not a special proceeding under the Revised Rules of Court
appeal for which calls for the filing of a Record on Appeal. It being a summary ordinary
proceeding, the filing of a Notice of Appeal from the trial courts order sufficed.

That the Family Code provision on repeal, Art. 254, provides as follows:
Art. 254. Titles III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, XI and XV of Book I of Republic Act No. 386,
otherwise known as the Civil Code of the Philippines, as amended, and Articles 17, 18, 19, 27,
28, 29, 30, 31, 39, 40, 41 and 42 of Presidential Decree No. 603, otherwise known as the Child
and Youth Welfare Code, as amended, and all laws, decrees, executive orders,
proclamations rules and
regulations,
or
parts
thereof, inconsistent
therewith are
hereby repealed, seals the case in petitioners favor.
Finally, on the alleged procedural flaw in petitioners petition before the appellate court.
Petitioners failure to attach to his petition before the appellate court a copy of the trial
courts order denying its motion for reconsideration of the disapproval of its Notice of Appeal is
not necessarily fatal, for the rules of procedure are not to be applied in a technical sense. Given
the issue raised before it by petitioner, what the appellate court should have done was to direct
petitioner to comply with the rule.
As for petitioners failure to submit copy of the trial courts order granting the petition for
declaration of presumptive death, contrary to the appellate courts observation that petitioner was
also assailing it, petitioners 8-page petition[10] filed in said court does not so reflect, it merely
having assailed the order disapproving the Notice of Appeal.
WHEREFORE, the assailed May 5, 2004 Decision of the Court of Appeals is hereby
REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Let the case be REMANDED to it for appropriate action in light
of the foregoing discussion.
SO ORDERED.

SHEKER VS SHEKER
G.R. NO. 157912 13 DECEMBER 2007
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J.:
This resolves the Petition for Review on Certiorari seeking the reversal of the Order[1] of
the Regional Trial Court of Iligan City, Branch 6 (RTC) dated January 15, 2003 and its Omnibus
Order dated April 9, 2003.
KEY NOTES:
I.

AS FAR AS PRACTICABLE: This means that in the absence of special provisions,


rules in ordinary actions may be applied in special proceedings as much as possible
and where doing so would not pose an obstacle to said proceedings.
RULE 72 SEC 1 NOT MERELY SUPPLETORY

II.

The filing of a money claim against the decedents estate in the probate court is
mandatory.
This requirement is for the purpose of protecting the estate of the deceased by
informing the executor or administrator of the claims against it, The plain and
obvious design of the rule is the speedy settlement of the affairs of the deceased and
the early delivery of the property to the distributees, legatees, or heirs. The law
strictly requires the prompt presentation and disposition of the claims against the
decedent's estate in order to settle the affairs of the estate as soon as possible, pay off
its debts and distribute the residue. The ruling spirit of the probate law is the speedy
settlement of estates of deceased persons for the benefit of creditors and those entitled
to residue by way of inheritance or legacy after the debts and expenses of
administration have been paid

RULE 1 SEC 6: LIBERAL CONSTRUCTION OF RULES FOR SPEEDY JUST


INEXPENSIVE DISPOSITION OF CASES
SUBSTANTIAL JUSTICE
FACTS: Petition for allowance of the decedent Alice Sheker's holographic will was filed to the
RTC, thereafter RTC admitted to probate the holographic will of Alice O. Sheker and thereafter
issued an order for all the creditors to file their respective claims against the estate.

Alan Sheker, petitioner filed a contingent claim for agent's commission due him in the event of
the sale of certain parcels of land belonging to the estate, and reimbursement for expenses
incurred and/or to be incurred by petitioner in the course of negotiating the sale of said realties.
The executrix of the Estate of Alice O. Sheker (respondent Victoria Medina) moved for the
dismissal of said money claim against the estate on the grounds that (1) the requisite docket fee,
as prescribed in Section 7(a), Rule 141 of the Rules of Court, had not been paid; (2) petitioner
failed to attach a certification against non-forum shopping; and (3) petitioner failed to attach a
written explanation why the money claim was not filed and served personally.
RTC issued the assailed Order dismissing without prejudice the money claim based on ALL of
respondents grounds.
ISSUE/HELD:
I. Whether or not the rules in ordinary actions are applicable to special proceedings only in
a suppletory manner?
NO. Section 2, Rule 72, Part II of the same Rules of Court provides:
Sec. 2. Applicability of rules of Civil Actions. - In the absence of special provisions, the rules
provided for in ordinary actions shall be, as far as practicable, applicable in special proceedings.
The word practicable is defined as: possible to practice or perform; capable of being put into
practice, done or accomplished. This means that in the absence of special provisions, rules in
ordinary actions may be applied in special proceedings as much as possible and where doing so
would not pose an obstacle to said proceedings and not merely suppletory.
II. Whether or not attachment of non-forum shopping required for creditor's claim in
probate proceeding?
NO. Although the requirement of Non-forum shopping is applicable if not in conflict or obstacle
to spec. proc., like in probate proceeding. However it only applies to complaint or other initiatory
pleading... the whole probate proceeding was initiated upon the filing of the petition for
allowance of the decedent's will, hence the petition by creditors for their claim against the estate
is merely a motion for creditor's claim (Rule 86, sec 1 and 5).
A money claim is only an incidental matter in the main action for the settlement of the decedent's
estate; more so if the claim is contingent since the claimant cannot even institute a separate
action for a mere contingent claim. Hence, herein petitioner's contingent money claim, not being
an initiatory pleading, does not require a certification against non-forum shopping.
III. Whether or not non-payment of docket/filing fees of creditor's claim in probate
proceeding ground for dismissal?

NO. because the creditor's claim is not initiatory. It is not a ground for dismissal , because such
filing fees constitute a lien on the judgment pursuant to Section 2, Rule 141 of the Rules of
Court, or the trial court may order the payment of such filing fees within a reasonable time. After
all, the trial court had already assumed jurisdiction over the action for settlement of the estate.
IV. Whether or not written explanation of non-personal service of papers a ground for
dismissal?
In the present case, NO. situational.
Petitioner holds office in Salcedo Village, Makati City, while counsel for respondent and the
RTC which rendered the assailed orders are both in Iligan City. The lower court should have
taken judicial notice of the great distance between said cities and realized that it is indeed not
practicable to serve and file the money claim personally. Thus, following Medina v. Court of
Appeals, the failure of petitioner to submit a written explanation why service has not been done
personally, may be considered as superfluous and the RTC should have exercised its discretion
under Section 11, Rule 13, not to dismiss the money claim of petitioner, in the interest of
substantial justice and purpose of probate proceeding for speedy settlement of estate of deceased.
FALLO: WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The Orders of the Regional Trial Court of
Iligan City, are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The Regional Trial Court of Iligan City, Branch
6, is hereby DIRECTED to give due course and take appropriate action on petitioner's money
claim
in
accordance
with
Rule
82
of
the
Rules
of
Court.

REYES VS ENRIQUEZ
G.R. No. 12956 10 APRIL 2008

PUNO, C.J.:
This case is a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Revised Rules of
Court from the decision of the Court of Appeals (CA) dated September 29, 2003 in CA G.R. CV
No. 68147, entitled Peter B. Enriquez, et al. v. Faustino Reyes, et al., reversing the decision of
the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Cebu City, Branch XI dated June 29, 2000, which dismissed
the complaint filed by the respondents herein.[1]
The subject matter of the present case is a parcel of land known as Lot No. 1851 Flr-133
with an aggregate area of 2,017 square meters located in Talisay, Cebu.[2]
According to petitioners Faustino Reyes, Esperidion Reyes, Julieta C. Rivera, and
Eutiquio Dico, Jr., they are the lawful heirs of Dionisia Reyes who co-owned the subject parcel
of land with Anacleto Cabrera as evidenced by Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. RT-3551
(T-8070). On April 17, 1996, petitioners executed an Extrajudicial Settlement with Sale of the
Estate of Dionisia Reyes (the Extra Judicial Settlement) involving a portion of the subject parcel
of land. On March 21, 1997, the petitioners and the known heirs of Anacleto Cabrera executed a
Segregation of Real Estate and Confirmation of Sale (the Segregation and Confirmation) over
the same property. By virtue of the aforestated documents, TCT No. RT-35551 (T-8070) was
cancelled and new TCTs were issued: (1) TCT No. T-98576 in the name of Anacleto Cabrera
covering Lot 1851-A; (2) TCT No. T-98577 covering Lot 1851-B in the name of petitioner
Eutiquio Dico, Jr.; (3) TCT No. T-98578 covering Lot 1851-C in the name of petitioner Faustino
Reyes; (4) TCT No. T-98579 covering Lot 1851-D in the name of petitioner Esperidion Reyes;
(5) TCT No. T-98580 covering Lot 1851-E in the name of petitioner Julieta G. Rivera; (6) TCT
No. T-98581 covering Lot 1851-F in the name of Felipe Dico; and (7) TCT No. T-98582
covering Lot 1851-G in the name of Archimedes C. Villaluz.[3]
Respondents Peter B. Enriquez (Peter) for himself and on behalf of his minor daughter
Deborah Ann C. Enriquez (Deborah Ann), also known as Dina Abdullah Enriquez Alsagoff, on
the other hand, alleges that their predecessor-in-interest Anacleto Cabrera and his wife Patricia
Seguera Cabrera (collectively the Spouses Cabrera) owned pro-indiviso share in the subject
parcel of land or 1051 sq. m. They further allege that Spouses Cabrera were survived by two
daughters Graciana, who died single and without issue, and Etta, the wife of respondent Peter
and mother of respondent Deborah Ann who succeeded their parents rights and took possession
ofthe 1051 sq. m. of the subject parcel of land. During her lifetime, Graciana sold her share over
the land to Etta. Thus, making the latter the sole owner of the one-half share of the subject parcel
of land. Subsequently, Etta died and the property passed on to petitioners Peter and Deborah Ann

by virtue of an Extra-Judicial Settlement of Estate. On June 19, 1999, petitioners Peter and
Deborah Ann sold 200 sq. m. out of the 1051 sq. m. for P200,000.00 to Spouses Dionisio and
Catalina Fernandez (Spouses Fernandez), also their co-respondents in the case at bar. After the
sale, Spouses Fernandez took possession of the said area in the subject parcel of land.[4]
When Spouses Fernandez, tried to register their share in the subject land, they discovered
that certain documents prevent them from doing so: (1) Affidavit by Anacleto Cabrera dated
March 16, 1957 stating that his share in Lot No. 1851, the subject property, is approximately 369
sq. m.; (2) Affidavit by Dionisia Reyes dated July 13, 1929 stating that Anacleto only owned of
Lot No. 1851, while 302.55 sq. m. belongs to Dionisia and the rest of the property is co-owned
by Nicolasa Bacalso, Juan Reyes, Florentino Reyes and Maximiano Dico; (3) Extra-Judicial
Settlement with Sale of the Estate of Dionisia Reyes dated April 17, 1996; (4) certificates of title
in the name of the herein petitioners; and (5) Deed of Segregation of Real Estate and
Confirmation of Sale dated March 21, 1997 executed by the alleged heirs of Dionisia Reyes and
Anacleto Cabrera. Alleging that the foregoing documents are fraudulent and fictitious, the
respondents filed a complaint for annulment or nullification of the aforementioned documents
and for damages. [5] They likewise prayed for the repartition and resubdivision of the subject
property.[6]
The RTC, upon motion of the herein petitioners, dismissed the case on the ground that
the respondents-plaintiffs were actually seeking first and foremost to be declared heirs of
Anacleto Cabrera since they can not demand the partition of the real property without first being
declared as legal heirs and such may not be done in an ordinary civil action, as in this case, but
through a special proceeding specifically instituted for the purpose.[7]
On appeal, the Court of Appeals (CA) reversed the RTC and directed the trial court to
proceed with the hearing of the case.[8] The Motion for Reconsideration filed by the herein
petitioners was similarly denied.[9]
Hence this petition.
The primary issue in this case is whether or not the respondents have to institute a special
proceeding to determine their status as heirs of Anacleto Cabrera before they can file an ordinary
civil action to nullify the affidavits of Anacleto Cabrera and Dionisia Reyes, the Extra-Judicial
Settlement with the Sale of Estate of Dionisia Reyes, and the Deed of Segregation of Real Estate
and Confirmation of Sale executed by the heirs of Dionisia Reyes and the heirs of Anacleto
Cabrera, as well as to cancel the new transfer certificates of title issued by virtue of the abovequestioned documents.
We answer in the affirmative.

An ordinary civil action is one by which a party sues another for the enforcement or
protection of a right, or the prevention or redress of a wrong.[10] A special proceeding, on the
other hand, is a remedy by which a party seeks to establish a status, a right or a particular fact.[11]
The Rules of Court provide that only a real party in interest is allowed to prosecute and
defend an action in court.[12] A real party in interest is the one who stands to be benefited or
injured by the judgment in the suit or the one entitled to the avails thereof.[13] Such interest, to be
considered a real interest, must be one which is present and substantial, as distinguished from a
mere expectancy, or a future, contingent, subordinate or consequential interest. [14] A plaintiff is a
real party in interest when he is the one who has a legal right to enforce or protect, while a
defendant is a real party in interest when he is the one who has a correlative legal obligation to
redress a wrong done to the plaintiff by reason of the defendants act or omission which had
violated the legal right of the former.[15] The purpose of the rule is to protect persons against
undue and unnecessary litigation.[16] It likewise ensures that the court will have the benefit of
having before it the real adverse parties in the consideration of a case.[17] Thus, a plaintiffs right
to institute an ordinary civil action should be based on his own right to the relief sought.
In cases wherein alleged heirs of a decedent in whose name a property was registered sue
to recover the said property through the institution of an ordinary civil action, such as a
complaint for reconveyance and partition,[18] or nullification of transfer certificate of titles and
other deeds or documents related thereto,[19] this Court has consistently ruled that a declaration of
heirship is improper in an ordinary civil action since the matter is within the exclusive
competence of the court in a special proceeding. [20] In the recent case of Portugal v. PortugalBeltran,[21] the Court had the occasion to clarify its ruling on the issue at hand, to wit:
The common doctrine in Litam, Solivio and Guilas in which the adverse
parties are putative heirs to the estate of a decedent or parties to the special
proceedings for its settlement is that if the special proceedings are pending, or if
there are no special proceedings filed but there is, under the circumstances of
the case, a need to file one, then the determination of, among other issues,
heirship should be raised and settled in said special proceedings. Where
special proceedings had been instituted but had been finally closed and
terminated, however, or if a putative heir has lost the right to have himself
declared in the special proceedings as co-heir and he can no longer ask for its reopening, then an ordinary civil action can be filed for his declaration as heir in
order to bring about the annulment of the partition or distribution or adjudication
of a property or properties belonging to the estate of the deceased.[22]
In the instant case, while the complaint was denominated as an action for the Declaration
of Non-Existency[sic], Nullity of Deeds, and Cancellation of Certificates of Title, etc., a review
of the allegations therein reveals that the right being asserted by the respondents are their right as

heirs of Anacleto Cabrera who they claim co-owned one-half of the subject property and not
merely one-fourth as stated in the documents the respondents sought to annul. As correctly
pointed out by the trial court, the ruling in the case of Heirs of Guido Yaptinchay v. Hon. Roy
del Rosario[23] is applicable in the case at bar. In the said case, the petitioners therein, claiming
to be the legal heirs of the late Guido and Isabel Yaptinchay filed for annulment of the transfer
certificates of title issued in the name of Golden Bay Realty Corporation on the ground that the
subject properties rightfully belong to the petitioners predecessor and by virtue of succession
have passed on to them. In affirming the trial court therein, this Court ruled:
...(T)he plaintiffs who claimed to be the legal heirs of the said Guido and
Isabel Yaptinchay have not shown any proof or even a semblance of it except the
allegations that they are the legal heirs of the aforementioned Yaptinchays that
they have been declared the legal heirs of the deceased couple. Now, the
determination of who are the legal heirs of the deceased couple must be made in
the proper special proceedings in court, and not in an ordinary suit for
reconveyance of property. This must take precedence over the action for
reconveyance.[24]
In the same manner, the respondents herein, except for their allegations, have yet to
substantiate their claim as the legal heirs of Anacleto Cabrera who are, thus, entitled to the
subject property. Neither is there anything in the records of this case which would show that a
special proceeding to have themselves declared as heirs of Anacleto Cabrera had been
instituted. As such, the trial court correctly dismissed the case for there is a lack of cause of
action when a case is instituted by parties who are not real parties in interest. While a declaration
of heirship was not prayed for in the complaint, it is clear from the allegations therein that the
right the respondents sought to protect or enforce is that of an heir of one of the registered coowners of the property prior to the issuance of the new transfer certificates of title that they seek
to cancel. Thus, there is a need to establish their status as such heirs in the proper forum.
Furthermore, in Portugal,[25] the Court held that it would be superfluous to still subject
the estate to administration proceedings since a determination of the parties' status as heirs could
be achieved in the ordinary civil case filed because it appeared from the records of the case that
the only property left by the decedent was the subject matter of the case and that the parties have
already presented evidence to establish their right as heirs of the decedent. In the present case,
however, nothing in the records of this case shows that the only property left by the deceased
Anacleto Cabrera is the subject lot, and neither had respondents Peter and Deborah Ann
presented any evidence to establish their rights as heirs, considering especially that it appears
that there are other heirs of Anacleto Cabrera who are not parties in this case that had signed one
of the questioned documents. Hence, under the circumstances in this case, this Court finds that a
determination of the rights of respondents Peter and Deborah Ann as heirs of Anacleto Cabrera
in a special proceeding is necessary.

IN VIEW WHEREOF, the petition is GRANTED. The decision of the Court of


Appeals is hereby REVERSED and the decision of the Regional Trial Court datedJune 29,
2000 DISMISSING the complaint is REINSTATED. No costs.
SO ORDERED.

CHING ET.AL VS RODRIGUEZ


GR 192828 28 NOVEMBER 2011
REYES, J.:
Before us is a Petition for Review on Certiorari[1] under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court
assailing the December 14, 2009 Decision[2] and July 8, 2010 Resolution[3]of the Court of
Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. SP No. 99856. The dispositive portion of the assailed Decision reads:
FACTS: The respondents filed a Complaint against the petitioners and Stroghold Insurance
Company, Global Business Bank, Inc. (formerly PhilBank), Elena Tiu Del Pilar, Asia Atlantic
Resources Ventures, Inc., Registers of Deeds of Manila and Malabon, and all persons claiming
rights or titles from Ramon Ching (Ramon).
The Complaint was captioned as one for "Disinheritance, Declaration of Nullity of Agreement
and Waiver, Affidavit of Extra-Judicial Settlement, Deed of Absolute Sale, Transfer Certificates
of Title with Prayer for [the] Issuance of [a] Temporary Restraining Order and [a] Writ of
Preliminary Injunction." In the complaint, the respondents alleged that (1) they are the heirs of
Antonio Ching and that Ramon misrepresented himself as Antonios son when he was, in fact,
adopted and his birth certificated merely simulated; (2) Antonio was killed with Ramon as the
prime suspect and prior to the conclusion of the investigations, Ramon made an inventory of the
formers estate and illegally transferred to his name the titles to Antonios properties; (3) Ramon
sweet-talked respondent Mercedes into surrendering to him a Certificate of Time Deposit of
P4,000,000.00 in the name of Antonio and the TCTs of two condo units registered under Ramons
name; (4) Ramon illegally transferred to his own name through a forged document 40,000 shares
in Po Wing Corporation; (5) Ramon executed an Affidavit of Extra-Judicial Settlement of Estate
adjudicating solely to himself Antonio's entire estate to the prejudice of the respondents; and (6)
Ramon sold Antonio's two parcels of land in Navotas to co-defendant Asia Atlantic Business
Ventures, Inc. Another parcel of land, which was part of Antonio's estate, was sold by Ramon to
co-defendant Elena Tiu Del Pilar at an unreasonably low price.
The respondents thus prayed for the (1) issuance of a TRO to restrain Ramon or his
representatives from disposing or selling any property that belongs to the estate of Antonio; (2)
that Ramon be declared as disqualified from inheriting from Antonio Ching; and (3) declaring
null the unauthorized transfers made by Ramon.
The RTC denied the petitioners Motion to Dismiss and subsequent Motion for Reconsideration.
ISSUE: Whether or not the RTC should have granted the Motion to Dismiss with regard to the
issues which could only be resolved in a special proceeding and not in an ordinary civil action

HELD: No reversible errors were committed by the RTC and the CA when they both ruled that
the denial of the petitioners' second motion to dismiss was proper.

An action for reconveyance and annulment of title with damages is a civil action, whereas
matters relating to settlement of the estate of a deceased person such as advancement of property
made by the decedent, partake of the nature of a special proceeding, which concomitantly
requires the application of specific rules as provided for in the Rules of Court.
Under Article 916 of the NCC, disinheritance can be effected only through a will wherein the
legal cause therefor shall be specified. This Court agrees with the RTC and the CA that while the
respondents in their Complaint and Amended Complaint sought the disinheritance of Ramon, no
will or any instrument supposedly effecting the disposition of Antonio's estate was ever
mentioned. Hence, despite the prayer for Ramon's disinheritance, the case filed does not partake
of the nature of a special proceeding and does not call for the probate court's exercise of its
limited jurisdiction.
Even without the necessity of being declared as heirs of Antonio, the respondents have the
standing to seek for the nullification of the instruments in the light of their claims that there was
no consideration for their execution, and that Ramon exercised undue influence and committed
fraud against them. Consequently, the respondents then claimed that the Affidavit of ExtraJudicial Settlement of Antonios estate executed by Ramon, and the TCTs issued upon the
authority of the said affidavit, are null and void as well. Ramon's averment that a resolution of
the issues raised shall first require a declaration of the respondents' status as heirs is a mere
defense which is not determinative of which court shall properly exercise jurisdiction.
In sum, this Court agrees with the CA that the nullification of the documents subject of the civil
case could be achieved in an ordinary civil action, which in this specific case was instituted to
protect the respondents from the supposedly fraudulent acts of Ramon. In the event that the RTC
will find grounds to grant the reliefs prayed for by the respondents, the only consequence will be
the reversion of the properties subject of the dispute to the estate of Antonio. The civil case was
not instituted to conclusively resolve the issues relating to the administration, liquidation and
distribution of Antonio's estate, hence, not the proper subject of a special proceeding for the
settlement of the estate of a deceased person under Rules 73-91 of the Rules of Court.
The respondents' resort to an ordinary civil action before the RTC may not be strategically
sound, because a settlement proceeding should thereafter still follow, if their intent is to recover
from Ramon the properties alleged to have been illegally transferred in his name. Be that as it
may, the RTC, in the exercise of its general jurisdiction, cannot be restrained from taking
cognizance of respondents' Complaint and Amended Complaint as the issues raised and the
prayers indicated therein are matters which need not be threshed out in a special proceeding

MENDOZA VS TEH et.al


G.R. No. 122646 March 14, 1997
FRANCISCO, J.:
On October 28, 1994, petitioner "for herself and as administratrix of the intestate estate" of her
deceased husband Norberto Mendoza filed before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Batangas a
complaint for "reconveyance of title (involving parcels of lot in Batangas) and damages with
petition for preliminary injunction" docketed as Civil Case No. R94-009. 1 Paragraphs 2 and 3 of
said complaint states:
2. That Adelia C. Mendoza likewise represents her co-plaintiff, the Intestate
Estate of the late Norberto B. Mendoza in her capacity as the surviving wife of the
deceased Norberto B. Mendoza who died on December 29, 1993;
3. That Adelia C. Mendoza should be appointed by this Honorable Court as the
judicial administratrix of her co-plaintiff for purposes of this case; 2
Private respondents filed on January 21, 1995 3 their "answer with motion to dismiss" 4 alleging
among others that the complaint states no cause of action and that petitioner's demand had
already been paid. 5 On February 17, 1995, private respondents filed another pleading entitled
"motion to dismiss" invoking, this time, lack of jurisdiction, lack of cause of action, estoppel,
laches and prescription. In support of their argument of lack of jurisdiction, private respondents
contend that a special proceedings case for appointment of administratrix of an estate cannot be
incorporated in the ordinary action for reconveyance. In her opposition to the motions, petitioner
asserts among others, that the allegation seeking appointment as administratrix is only an
incidental matter which is not even prayed for in the complaint. Replying to the opposition,
private respondents argued that since petitioner's husband resided in Quezon City at the time of
his death, the appointment of the estate administratrix should be filed in the RTC of that place in
accordance with Section 1 Rule 73 of the Rules of Court. Accordingly, it is their argument that
the RTC of Batangas has no jurisdiction over the case.
In a Resolution dated June 14, 1995, the RTC of Batangas thru respondent Judge Teh "dismissed
without prejudice" the complaint for lack of jurisdiction "on the ground that the rules governing
an ordinary civil action and a special proceeding are different." Accordingly, the lower court
found it unnecessary to discuss the other grounds raised in the motion to dismiss. 6 Upon denial
of petitioner's motion for reconsideration, he filed this petition under Rule 45 on pure questions
of law. The Court thereafter gave due course to the petition.
The issue is whether or not in an action for reconveyance, an allegation seeking appointment as
administratrix of an estate, would oust the RTC of its jurisdiction over the whole case?

We rule in the negative. First, Section 19 of B.P. 129 as amended by RA 7691 provides:
Jurisdiction in Civil Cases. Regional Trial Courts shall exercise exclusive
original jurisdiction:
(1) In all civil actions in which the subject of the litigation is incapable of
pecuniary estimation;
(2) In all civil actions which involve the title to, or possession of, real property, or
any interest therein, where the assessed value of property involved exceeds
Twenty thousand pesos (P20,000.00). . .
(4) In all matters of probate, both testate and intestat . . . .
Likewise, Section 33 of the same law provides that:
Metropolitan Trial Court shall exercise:
(1) Exclusive original jurisdiction over civil actions and probate
proceedings, testate and intestate . . . (emphasis ours).
The above law is clear. An action for reconveyance, which involves title to property
worth millions of pesos, such as the lots subject of this case, is cognizable by the RTC.
Likewise falling within its jurisdiction are actions "incapable of pecuniary estimation,"
such as the appointment of an administratrix for an estate. Even the Rules on venue of
estate proceedings (Section 1 of Rule 73 7) impliedly recognizes the jurisdiction of the
RTC over petitions for granting of letters of administration. On the other hand, probate
proceedings for the settlement of estate are within the ambit of either the RTC or MTC
depending on the net worth of the estate. By arguing that the allegation seeking such
appointment as administratrix ousted the RTC of its jurisdiction, both public and private
respondents confuse jurisdiction with venue. Section 2 of Rule 4 as revised by Circular
13-95 8 provides that actions involving title to property shall be tried in the province
where the property is located, in this case, Batangas. The mere fact that petitioner's
deceased husband resides in Quezon City at the time of his death affects only the venue
but not the jurisdiction of the Court. 9
Second, the cases cited 10 by private respondents are not at point as they involve settlement of
estate where the probate court was asked to resolve questions of ownership of certain
properties.In the present suit, no settlement of estate is involved, but merely an allegation
seeking appointment as estate administratrix which does not necessarily involve settlement of
estate that would have invited the exercise of the limited jurisdiction of a probate court. The
above allegation is not even a jurisdictional fact which must be stated in an action for

reconveyance. The Court therefore, should have at least, proceeded with the reconveyance suit
rather than dismiss the entire case.
Third, jurisprudential rulings that a probate court cannot generally decide questions of ownership
or title to property 11 is not applicable in this case, because: there is no settlement of estate
involved and the RTC of Batangas was not acting as a probate court. It should be clarified that
whether a particular matter should be resolved by the RTC in the exercise of its general
jurisdiction or its limited probate jurisdiction, is not a jurisdictional issue but a mere question of
procedure. 12 Moreover, the instant action for reconveyance does not even invoke the limited
jurisdiction of a probate court.13 Considering that the RTC has jurisdiction, whether it be on the
reconveyance suit or as to the appointment of an administratrix, it was improper for respondent
judge to dismiss the whole complaint for alleged lack of jurisdiction.
Finally, judges should not dismiss with precipitate haste, complaints or petitions filed before
them, just so they can comply with their administrative duty to dispose cases within 90 days at
the expense of their judicial responsibility.
WHEREFORE, the Resolutions dated June 14, 1995 and November 14, 1995 of the RTC of
Batangas are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The trial court is ordered to immediately proceed
with the disposition of the case in accordance with this Decision. SO ORDERED.

REPUBLIC VS VILLARAMA
G.R. No. 117733. September 5, 1997
DAVIDE, JR., J.:
This is a special civil action for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court to reverse the
2 November 1994 Order [1] of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 156, Pasig City (hereafter,
probate court), in Special Proceedings No. 10279 entitled In the Matter of the Probate of the Will
of Ferdinand E. Marcos/Petition for Issuance of Letters of Administration. The assailed order
lifted the temporary restraining order issued on 25 October 1994, and denied petitioner's (1)
petition for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction and (2) motion to cite Mr. Robert
Swift, Atty. Rodrigo Domingo, and other persons in contempt of court.
Petitioner Republic of the Philippines is the petitioner in Special Proceedings No.
10279. The petition, filed on 16 October 1992, alleged that during his exile the late President
Ferdinand E. Marcos executed his last will and testament [2] in Hawaii, United States of America,
with his wife Imelda Trinidad R. Marcos and son Ferdinand R. Marcos II as executors. Petitioner
justified its action in filing the petition by claiming neglect on the part of the testators heirs to
initiate testate proceedings and the need to protect the interest of the Philippine government in
assessing and collecting the taxes due the estate.It moved that Mrs. Marcos and Ferdinand II be
declared incompetent as executors and prayed that letters of administration be issued in favor of
petitioners nominee.
Mrs. Imelda Marcos and Ferdinand Marcos II filed an Opposition/ Comment on the
petition. [3]
On 7 June 1993, petitioner sent a notice [4] of Commencement of Probate Proceedings in
Philippine Court to the United States (U.S.) District Court of Hawaii, where a class
action [5] docketed as MDL No. 840 was previously filed against former President Marcos.[6] The
action sought damages against the latter for human rights violations he allegedly committed
during his authoritarian rule.
After establishing the jurisdictional facts and concluding its presentation of evidence in the
probate court, petitioner filed an Urgent Motion for Appointment of Special
Administrator/s [7] citing the following grounds in support thereof:
(1) The probate court has failed to appoint an administrator of the estate since the filing of the
petition.
(2) The US District Court of Hawaii awarded in favor of the claimants the amount of US$1.2
Billion as exemplary damages against the estate of Ferdinand E. Marcos.

(3) In its order of 19 November 1991 the said court granted a preliminary injunction against the
estate to prevent any transfer, encumbrance, conversion, or disposition of the funds and assets of
the estate.
(4) On the premise that no probate proceeding was pending anywhere, said Court modified on 16
November 1992 its preliminary injunction to include certain Swiss Banks.
(5) In July 1994, the plaintiffs in MDL No. 840 filed with the Hawaii District Court a motion to
further modify the preliminary injunction to identify the Republic of the Philippines as agent,
representative, aide, and abettor of the defendant Estate, notice of which was received by the
Office of the Solicitor General on 25 July 1994.
(6) There was a need to preserve the estate, considering that it was the subject of protracted
litigation both here and abroad. Petitioner nominated Commissioner of Internal Revenue
Liwayway Vinzons-Chato as administrator of the estate.
Ferdinand R. Marcos II opposed the motion claiming that the Commissioner of Internal
Revenue was not a suitable person to act as administrator of the estate.
In its Order [8] of 9 September 1994, the probate court, per public respondent Judge
Villarama, granted the motion and appointed Commissioner Liwayway Vinzons-Chato as
Special Administrator of the estate of Ferdinand E. Marcos. Citing Section 1 of Rule 73 of the
Rules of Court, the order also declared that upon the filing of the petition for probate of the will,
the probate court acquired jurisdiction over the estate to the exclusion of all other courts; and that
the U.S. District Court of Hawaii cannot assert its jurisdiction over the assets of the estate and
exclude the jurisdiction already vested in [the probate court]. He directed that a copy of the order
be furnished the U.S. District Court of Hawaii through the Department of Foreign Affairs.
On 24 October 1994, petitioner filed in the probate court a Petition for the Issuance of a Writ
of Preliminary Injunction with Urgent Ex-Parte Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order. [9] It
alleged that in the class action the U.S. District Court of Hawaii issued sometime in October
1994 a Reference Order [10] appointing special masters for the purpose of obtaining depositions
in the Philippines on the following matters: (1) whether the victims identified in the claim forms
suffered torture, summary execution, or disappearance; and (2) the extent of damages
sustained. The Reference Order prescribed the procedure, including the availment of local court
reporters and interpreters as might be required. Petitioner asserted that the Reference Order
impinged on the exclusive jurisdiction of the probate court and disregarded the claim of the
Philippine government against the Marcos estate. It also contended that the claim against the
estate should be filed before the probate court and that the Philippine government should be
accorded first preference in the priority list of the estates creditors.
On 25 October 1994, respondent Judge Villarama issued a temporary restraining
order [11] against the special masters and persons acting in their stead, and set for hearing the

petition for the preliminary injunction. The sheriffs return [12] indicated that service of the order
was attempted upon the resident manager of New World Hotel, Makati City, where Mr. Swift
and the other special masters were billeted. However, the sheriff was referred to the guest
services manager, who refused to accept a copy of the order.
Before the hearing on the preliminary injunction could take place, petitioner filed an
urgent ex-parte motion [13] to cite herein private respondents, Mr. Robert Swift, Atty. Rodrigo
Domingo, and other concerned persons in contempt of court based on media reports that they
vowed to continue the taking of depositions notwithstanding the issuance of a temporary
restraining order. Petitioner also questioned the legal practice in the Philippines of Mr. Swift, an
American counsel who had no special work permit and license to practice.
On 28 October 1994, respondent Judge Villarama issued an order [14] directing private
respondents to comment on petitioner's motion and to show cause why they should not be cited
for contempt. The sheriffs return [15] confirmed that the order was served upon Mr. Swift through
the senior guest services officer of the New World Hotel, Makati City, and personally upon Atty.
Domingo at his office.
In the meantime, the Movement of Attorneys for Brotherhood, Integrity and Nationalism,
Inc., (MABINI) filed in SP Proc. No. 10279 a petition for leave to intervene asamicus
curiae and pro se ex abundanti cautela. [16] It noted the hostile, if not indifferent, attitude the
Philippine government continued to display towards its citizens whose human rights were
violated; and just when the victims had been vindicated by the ruling of the U.S. Court District
of Hawaii, it was the Philippine government which would serve as an obstruction to their
attainment of justice by suppressing their freedom to express the ordeal they had
suffered. MABINI underscored that the taking of the depositions was a compassionate remedy
granted to the Filipino victims, who were spared the burden of testifying in a foreign court.
Likewise, the Samahan ng Mga Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Para sa Amnestiya
(SELDA), a human rights non-government organization, filed its special appearance with motion
to dissolve the temporary restraining order and to deny writ of preliminary injunction. [17]
In his Opposition [18] Atty. Domingo asserted that the real motive of petitioner was to
prevent the human rights victims from recovering what was due them and that it forgot or
conveniently chose not to remember that in February 1987, it asked the U.S. Court of Appeals
for the Ninth Circuit to allow the human rights suits against Marcos to proceed to trial. He also
contended that the motion for issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction was grossly
insufficient both in form and substance, since it was not verified and was deficient and baseless.;
and that petitioners reliance on Section 1, Rule 73 of the Rules of Court is misplaced. The words
exclusive jurisdiction found therein should be limited to proceedings concerning the probate of
the will and settlement of the estate of the decedent and should not include other litigation for or
against the estate. He argued that MDL No. 840 is an action for recovery of damages arising out
of the late President's tortuous violation of international law. The action is totally unrelated to the

probate proceedings. He reasoned that the probate court is of limited jurisdiction and that it can
only exercise jurisdiction over the property of the estate in the Philippines. Moreover, the probate
court failed to acquire jurisdiction over the special masters, since they were never properly
summoned.
Anent petitioners motion to cite them in contempt of court, Atty. Domingo alleged that said
motion, which was litigious in nature, was a useless scrap of paper for lack of the three-day
notice for hearing. Besides, the temporary restraining order could not be directed to him because
he was neither a special master nor a representative thereof. He was a lawyer for the human
rights claimants.
In his pleading [19] Mr. Swift joined Atty. Domingo in the latters opposition and further
alleged that the petition for preliminary injunction became moot and academic, as the special
masters voluntarily left the country on 26 October 1994, without having been served a copy of
the temporary restraining order. He also raised the settled principle of comity, which required the
probate court to avoid interference in the conduct of judicial proceedings in a foreign country;
warned that petitioner was courting danger in encouraging the probate court to collaterally attack
the jurisdiction of the U.S. District Court of Hawaii in violation of said principle; and claimed
that the temporary restraining order could not be directed to him, since he was neither a special
master nor a representative thereof but a counsel of the human rights victims.
On 2 November 1994, public respondent Judge Villarama issued the assailed Order[20] lifting
the 25 October 1995 Temporary Restraining Order and denying the motion for the issuance of a
writ of preliminary injunction on the ground that petitioner has failed to show by convincing
proof the existence of a clear and positive right which should be protected. The said order also
denied, on equity considerations, the motion to cite private respondents in contempt of court.
Petitioner no longer sought a reconsideration of the Order for the following reasons: (a) such
motion would serve no useful purpose because it would raise the same points stated in the
rejected motions; (b) the error committed by respondent Judge was grave and patent as to make
the questioned order void; (c) the relief sought in this petition is extremely urgent because the
Special Masters or the persons acting in their stead were taking the depositions in furtherance
and in implementation of the foreign courts directive; and (d) the issue raised is purely a question
of law. [21]
Instead, petitioner filed the instant petition for certiorari alleging that the trial court
committed grave abuse of discretion in failing to consider that the issuance and implementation
of the reference order of the Hawaii court violated the sovereignty of the Philippines and
impinged on the exclusive jurisdiction of the probate court.
In support thereof, petitioner invokes Section 1 of Rule 73 of the Rules of Court, which
provides in part as follows:

SEC. 1. Where estate of deceased person settled. xxx The court first taking cognizance of the
settlement of the estate of the decedent shall exercise jurisdiction to the exclusion of all other
courts. The jurisdiction assumed by a court, so far as it depends on the place of residence of the
decedent, or of the location of his estate, shall not be contested in a suit or proceeding, except in
an appeal from that court, in the original case, or when the want of jurisdiction appears on the
record.
It raises a contradiction in public respondent Judge Villaramas actuation in that in his Order
of 9 September 1994 he declared that the U.S. District Court of Hawaii could not assert its
jurisdiction over the assets of the estate and exclude the jurisdiction vested in the probate
court. Said respondent was aware that the purpose of the reference order was to determine the
amount of compensatory damages to be charged against the estate; however, he chose to ignore
that it is the probate court which exercises exclusive jurisdiction over the estate. He cannot,
therefore, claim that petitioner failed to prove a clear and positive right which should be
protected.
Anent the issue of contempt, petitioner argues that the following documentary evidence
presented before the probate court proved that Messrs. Swift and Domingo and other concerned
persons defied the probate court's temporary restraining order: (1) Special Master Order No. 4
issued by the Supervising Special Master, which confirmed notice of the probate court's
temporary restraining order; and (2) letters [22] of Mr. Swift to Mr. James Linn, American counsel
of Mrs. Marcos (a) indicating that the plaintiffs in MDL No. 840 would proceed with the taking
of the depositions on 27 October 1994 at the office of Atty. Domingo and the New World Hotel,
(b) giving notice that he would take the depositions of some class members on 28 October 1994,
and (c) notifying the continuation of his taking of the depositions on 29 October 1994. These
notwithstanding, respondent Judge denied petitioner's motion to cite Messrs. Swift and Domingo
and other concerned persons in contempt of court due to equity considerations. The denial was
tainted with grave abuse of discretion.
In his comment filed on his behalf and as counsel for the other private respondents, Atty.
Domingo argues that the petition is moot and academic and without merit. The act primarily
sought to be restrained, which was the taking of the depositions, was accomplished as of 27
November 1994; and the transcripts had been submitted to the U.S. District Court of Hawaii.
Furthermore, the probate court had no jurisdiction to adjudicate matters which had no reference
or bearing to the probate, such as MDL No. 840. Besides, there was no law which prohibited the
taking of depositions in the Philippines for evidentiary use in a pending case abroad. The estate
of Ferdinand E. Marcos even financed the taking of the depositions. Lastly, Atty. Domingo
reiterated that he could not be cited for contempt for not having been served a copy of the
temporary restraining order.
Mrs. Marcos subsequently filed a motion for leave to intervene and to admit its petition in
intervention, citing that petitioner failed to defend the interest of the estate of her late husband.

She claims that the proceeding undertaken by the special masters by virtue of the reference order
was a continuation of the trial of MDL No. 840, considering that (1) a reference is the trial and
determination of questions arising in litigation by a person appointed for that purpose by the
court wherein the case is pending; [23] (2) a special master is an officer of the appointing court;
and (3) the applicable law pertaining to a reference and a master is Section 53 of the U.S. Rules
of Civil Procedure for the District Courts. Public respondent Judge then erred in considering the
proceeding as one for deposition as a mode of discovery. Accordingly, in denying the petition for
injunction he abdicated the jurisdiction of the probate court in favor of the U.S. District Court of
Hawaii; he even made a turn-about since earlier, in his 9 September 1994 Order, he ruled that the
Hawaii Court could not assert jurisdiction over the Marcos assets.
In a Comment submitted on 5 September 1995 in compliance with our resolution, petitioner
offered no objection to the intervention of Mrs. Marcos.
On 4 December 1995, we required the parties to submit their respective memoranda on why
this petition should not be dismissed for having become moot and academic considering that the
taking of the depositions by the special masters appointed pursuant to the Reference Order issued
by the District Court of Hawaii had been completed on 27 November 1994.
Petitioner filed its Memorandum urging us to decide this case on the merits even if the act to
be enjoined had already been consummated in view of the transcendental importance of the
issues involved: sovereignty of the Philippines and the exclusive jurisdiction of the probate court
of the Philippines. There is a compelling need to seek an incisive ruling from the highest tribunal
of the land to uphold the exclusive jurisdiction of the probate court and to protect this nations
sovereignty from foreign transgressions and preserve the same as supreme and inviolable. To
buttress its plea, it cites Salonga v. Cruz Pano [24] where we resolved the case on its merits even
if the issue raised had become moot and academic.
Private respondents in their memorandum, reiterate that the petition for the issuance of a
writ of preliminary injunction lacked the verification required under Section 4, Rule 58 of the
Rules of Court. They likewise submit that aside from the undisputed fact that the act sought to be
enjoined had already been completed, the judgment in MDL No. 840 became final on 27 January
1995 and that the estate of Ferdinand E. Marcos was adjudged to pay close to US$2 billion in
damages.
We dismiss the petition not only on the ground of mootness which, generally, would justify
dismissal. [25] We dismiss it also for lack of merit.
It is settled that where the ground invoked in a special civil action for certiorari under Rule
65 of the Rules of Court is abuse of discretion --as in this case -- the abuse must be grave as
where the power is exercised in an arbitrary or despotic manner by reason of passion or personal
hostility; or, it must be so patent and gross as to amount to an evasion of positive duty or to a
virtual refusal to perform the duty enjoined or to act at all in contemplation of law. [26] This
remedy then is extraordinary, and its use is restricted to truly extraordinary cases. [27]

The pleadings of the parties in this case and the record of SP. Proc. No. 10279 fail to show
that respondent Judge Villarama had, as charged by petitioner, committed grave abuse of
discretion in denying the petition for a writ of preliminary injunction against the special masters.
In the first place, the petition for a writ of preliminary injunction was not verified.Section 4
of Rule 58 of the Rules of Court is very explicit in its requirement that a preliminary injunction
may be granted only when the complaint is verified. Absence of verification makes an
application or petition for preliminary injunction patently insufficient both in form and
substance. [28]
In the second place, even if we disregard the requirement of verification or consider the
adverse parties in estoppel from raising the issue when they allowed the petitioner to present
evidence on the petition, we find that respondent Judge Villarama committed no error in holding
that petitioner failed to prove that it had a clear and positive right to be protected.
Section 3, Rule 58 of the Rules of Court enumerates the grounds for the issuance of a
preliminary injunction:
(a) That the plaintiff is entitled to the relief demanded, and the whole or part of such relief
consists in restraining the commission or continuance of the acts complained of, or in the
performance of an act or acts, either for a limited period or perpetually;
(b) That the commission or continuance of some act complained of during the litigation or the
non-performance thereof would probably work injustice to the plaintiff; or
(c) That the defendant is doing, threatens, or is about to do, or is procuring or suffering to be
done, some act probably in violation of the plaintiff's rights respecting the subject of the action,
and tending to render the judgment ineffectual.
Under this rule, a clear and positive right especially calling for judicial protection must be
shown. Injunction is not a remedy to protect or enforce contingent, abstract, or future rights; it
will not issue to protect a right not in esse and which may never arise, or to restrain an act which
does not give rise to a cause of action. There must exist an actual right. [29]
We fail to comprehend what clear and positive right petitioner has which may be violated by
the issuance and implementation of the Reference Order by the District Court of
Hawaii. Petitioner seeks to establish such a right by claiming that since the probate court was the
first to take cognizance of the settlement of the Marcos estate then pursuant to Section 1 of Rule
73 of the Rules of Court, it exercises jurisdiction thereon to the exclusion of all other courts; and
that, accordingly, the District Court of Hawaii cannot assert jurisdiction over the assets of said
estate. The argument is like a loose cannon ball way off its target.
For one, petitioner is unable to distinguish between the exclusive right on jurisdiction of the
probate court and the right contemplated by the law on injunction. For another, Section 1 of Rule

73 refers to courts in the Philippines and simply means that once a special proceeding for the
settlement of the estate of a decedent is filed in one of such courts, that court has exclusive
jurisdiction over said estate and no other special proceedings involving the same subject matter
may be filed before any other court. Since foreign courts are not contemplated in Section 1, in no
way then can it be validly maintained that the District Court of Hawaii has encroached upon, or
impinged on, the jurisdiction of the probate court by the issuance of the Reference Order. The
Reference Order cannot be construed as concerning or affecting the Marcos estate within the
exclusive jurisdiction of the probate court. The duties of the special masters as defined in the
Reference Order were to prepare written findings for submission to the jury regarding (a)
whether the victims identified in the claim forms suffered torture, summary execution or
disappearance, and (b) the extent of the damages sustained. No extravagant imagination can lead
us to a conclusion that such duties do not involve any issue cognizable by the probate court.
Neither is there merit to the claim that the issuance and implementation of the Reference
Order violated the sovereignty of the Philippines.
It is noteworthy that petitioner was aware of the pendency of MDL No. 840 of the District
Court of Hawaii. In fact, it did not oppose the action; on the contrary, it urged the U.S. Court of
Appeals for the Ninth District to allow the trial of the human rights litigation against the former
strongman. Petitioner even exhorted the human rights victims to pursue the justice which has
eluded them for many years. In its Amicus Curiae Brief [30] filed before the U.S. District Court of
Hawaii, petitioner declared:
The government of the Republic of the Philippines support of their claims. Because the
international law principles are clear and agreed upon by all nations, this judicial action does not
have the capacity of disrupting foreign relations between the concerned countries. The
Government of the Republic of the Philippines can state without hesitation or reservation that its
foreign relations with the United States will not be adversely affected if these human rights
claims against Ferdinand Marcos are heard in U.S. courts; and, in fact, relations may well be
improved if Filipino citizens see that justice is available in U.S. courts. The Philippine
Government has previously expressed its deep concern to the U.S. Government about the need
for a just solution to the present suits against ex-President Marcos. See Opinion No. 34, s. 1986,
Ministry of Justice, Republic of the Philippines, dated April 23, 1986, attached hereto as Exhibit
A. The Philippine Government now respectfully requests this Honorable Court to allow the
present suits to proceed to trial.
As regards the denial of the motion to cite Messrs. Swift and Domingo in contempt of court,
we rule that the same was not tainted with grave abuse of discretion. It must be recalled that they
were not served a copy of the temporary restraining order which they allegedly defied.
WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DISMISSED and the Order of 2 November 1992 of
the Regional Trial Court, Branch 156, Pasig City, is AFFIRMED in toto. SO ORDERED.

MALOLES II VS PHILIPPS
G.R. No. 129505. January 31, 2000
These are petitions for review on certiorari of the decisions of the Thirteenth and the Special Eighth
Divisions of the Court of Appeals which ruled that petitioner has no right to intervene in the settlement of
the estate of Dr. Arturo de Santos. The cases were consolidated considering that they involve the same
parties and some of the issues raised are the same.

FACTS: In 1995, Dr. Arturo De Los Santos filed a petition for probate of his will. He declared
that he has no compulsory heirs and that he is naming as sole devisee and legatee the Arturo de
Santos Foundation, Inc. (ASF). The named executrix is Pacita De Los Reyes Phillips. The
petition was filed in RTC Makati Branch 61. Judge Fernando Gorospe of said court determined
that Arturo is of sound mind and was not acting in duress when he signed his last will and
testament and so Branch 61 allowed the last will and testament on February 16, 1996.
Ten days from the allowance, Arturo died. Thereafter, Pacita, as executrix, filed a motion for the
issuance of letters of testamentary with Branch 61. She however withdrew the motion but later
on refilled it with RTC Makati Branch 65.
Meanwhile, a certain Octavio Maloles II filed a motion for intervention with Branch 61 claiming
that as a next of kin (him being the full blooded nephew of Arturo) he should be appointed as the
administrator of the estate and that he is an heir.
Judge Abad Santos of Branch 65 issued an order transferring the motion filed by Pacita to
Branch 61. Judge Santos ratiocinated that since the probate proceeding started in Branch 61, then
it should be the same court which should hear Pacitas motion. Branch 61 however refused to
consolidate and referred the case back to Branch 65. Branch 65 subsequently consolidated the
case per refusal of Branch 61. Eventually, Branch 65 allowed the motion for intervention filed by
Octavio.
ISSUE: Whether or not Octavio Maloles II has the right to intervene in the probate proceeding.
HELD: No. The Supreme Court first clarified that the probate of will filed in Branch 61 has
already terminated upon the allowance of the will. Hence when Pacita filed a motion with
Branch 65, the same is already a separate proceeding and not a continuance of the now
concluded probate in Branch 61. There is therefore no reason for Branch 65 to refer back the
case to Branch 61 as it initially did. Further even if the probate was terminated, under Rule 73 of
the Rules of Court concerning the venue of settlement of estates, it is provided that when a case
is filed in one branch, jurisdiction over the case does not attach to the branch or judge alone, to
the exclusion of the other branches.

Anent the issue of Octavio being an heir, such contention has no merit. He is not an heir. Arturo
died testate. Next of kins may only inherit if a person dies intestate. In this case, Arturo left a
valid will which expressly provided that ASF is the sole legatee and devisee of his estate.

MALOLES II VS COURT OF APPEALS, Gorospe


GR No. 129505. 31 January 2000
MENDOZA, J.:
These are petitions for review on certiorari of the decisions of the Thirteenth and the Special
Eighth Divisions of the Court of Appeals which ruled that petitioner has no right to intervene in
the settlement of the estate of Dr. Arturo de Santos. The cases were consolidated considering that
they involve the same parties and some of the issues raised are the same.
The facts which gave rise to these two petitions are as follows:
On July 20, 1995, Dr. Arturo de Santos, Filipino and a resident of Makati City, filed a petition
for probate of his will[1] in the Regional Trial Court, Branch 61, Makati, docketed as Sp. Proc.
No. M-4223. In his petition, Dr. De Santos alleged that he had no compulsory heirs; that he had
named in his will as sole legatee and devisee the Arturo de Santos Foundation, Inc.; that he
disposed by his will his properties with an approximate value of not less than P2,000,000.00; and
that copies of said will were in the custody of the named executrix, private respondent Pacita de
los Reyes Phillips. A copy of the will[2] was annexed to the petition for probate.
On February 16, 1996, Judge Fernando V. Gorospe, Jr. of RTC-Makati, Branch 61 issued an
order granting the petition and allowing the will. The order reads:
On 03 August 1995, the Court issued an Order setting the hearing of the petition on 12
September 1995, at 8:30 oclock in the morning, copies of which were served to Arturo de Santos
Foundation, Inc. and Ms. Pacita de los Reyes Phillips (Officers Return, dated 04 September 1995
attached to the records). When the case was called for hearing on the date set, no oppositor
appeared nor any written opposition was ever filed and on motion of petitioner, he was allowed
to adduce his evidence in support of the petition.
Petitioner personally appeared before this Court and was placed on the witness stand and was
directly examined by the Court through "free wheeling" questions and answers to give this Court
a basis to determine the state of mind of the petitioner when he executed the subject will. After
the examination, the Court is convinced that petitioner is of sound and disposing mind and not
acting on duress, menace and undue influence or fraud, and that petitioner signed his Last Will
and Testament on his own free and voluntary will and that he was neither forced nor influenced
by any other person in signing it.
Furthermore, it appears from the petition and the evidence adduced that petitioner in his lifetime,
executed his Last Will and Testament (Exhs. "A", "A-1", "A-2", "A-4", "A-5") at his residence
situated at 9 Bauhinia corner Intsia Streets, Forbes Park, Makati City; said Last Will and
Testament was signed in the presence of his three (3) witnesses, namely, to wit: Dr. Elpidio
Valencia (Exhs. "A-6", "A-7", "A-8", "A-16", "A-16-A"), Atty. Edward J. Berenguer (Exhs. "A3", "A-3-A", "A-9", "A-10", & "A-11"), and Atty. Victoria C. delos Reyes (Exhs. "A-12", "A13", "A-14", "A-17", & "A-18"), who in turn, in the presence of the testator and in the presence
of each and all of the witnesses signed the said Last Will and Testament and duly notarized

before Notary Public Anna Melissa L. Rosario (Exh. "A-15"); on the actual execution of the Last
Will and Testament, pictures were taken (Exhs. "B" to "B-3").
Petitioner has no compulsory heirs and Arturo de Santos Foundation, Inc., with address at No. 9
Bauhinia corner Intsia Streets, Forbes Park, Makati City has been named as sole legatee and
devisee of petitioners properties, real and personal, approximately valued at not less than P2
million, Ms. Pacita de los Reyes Phillips was designated as executor and to serve as such without
a bond.
From the foregoing facts, the Court finds that the petitioner has substantially established the
material allegations contained in his petition. The Last Will and Testament having been executed
and attested as required by law; that testator at the time of the execution of the will was of sane
mind and/or not mentally incapable to make a Will; nor was it executed under duress or under
the influence of fear or threats; that it was in writing and executed in the language known and
understood by the testator duly subscribed thereof and attested and subscribed by three (3)
credible witnesses in the presence of the testator and of another; that the testator and all the
attesting witnesses signed the Last Will and Testament freely and voluntarily and that the testator
has intended that the instrument should be his Will at the time of affixing his signature thereto.
WHEREFORE, as prayed for by the petitioner (testator himself) the petition for the allowance of
the Last Will and Testament of Arturo de Santos is hereby APPROVED and ALLOWED.
Shortly after the probate of his will, Dr. De Santos died on February 26, 1996.
On April 3, 1996, petitioner Octavio S. Maloles II filed a motion for intervention claiming that,
as the only child of Alicia de Santos (testators sister) and Octavio L. Maloles, Sr., he was the sole
full-blooded nephew and nearest of kin of Dr. De Santos. He likewise alleged that he was a
creditor of the testator. Petitioner thus prayed for the reconsideration of the order allowing the
will and the issuance of letters of administration in his name. Mis spped
On the other hand, private respondent Pacita de los Reyes Phillips, the designated executrix of
the will, filed a motion for the issuance of letters testamentary with Branch 61. Later, however,
private respondent moved to withdraw her motion. This was granted, while petitioner was
required to file a memorandum of authorities in support of his claim that said court (Branch 61)
still had jurisdiction to allow his intervention.
Petitioner filed his memorandum of authorities on May 13, 1996. On the other hand, private
respondent, who earlier withdrew her motion for the issuance of letters testamentary in Branch
61, refiled a petition for the same purpose with the Regional Trial Court, Makati, which was
docketed as Sp. Proc. No. M-4343 and assigned to Branch 65.
Upon private respondents motion, Judge Salvador Abad Santos of Branch 65 issued an order,
dated June 28, 1996, appointing her as special administrator of Dr. De Santos estate.
On July 29, 1996, petitioner sought to intervene in Sp. Proc. No. M-4343 and to set aside the
appointment of private respondent as special administrator. He reiterated that he was the sole and
full blooded nephew and nearest of kin of the testator; that he came to know of the existence of
Sp. Proc. No. M-4343 only by accident; that the probate proceedings in Sp. Proc. No. M-4223

before Branch 61 of the same court was still pending; that private respondent misdeclared the
true worth of the testators estate; that private respondent was not fit to be the special
administrator of the estate; and that petitioner should be given letters of administration for the
estate of Dr. De Santos.
On August 28, 1996, Judge Abad Santos ordered the transfer of Sp. Proc. No. M-4343 to Branch
61, on the ground that "[it] is related to the case before Judge Gorospe of RTC Branch 61 . . ."
It appears, however, that in Sp. Proc. No. M-4223, Judge Gorospe had denied on August 26,
1996 petitioners motion for intervention. Petitioner brought this matter to the Court of Appeals
which, in a decision promulgated on February 13, 1998, upheld the denial of petitioners motion
for intervention.
Meanwhile, Judge Gorospe issued an order, dated September 4, 1996, returning the records of
Sp. Proc. No. M-4343 to Branch 65 on the ground that there was a pending case involving the
Estate of Decedent Arturo de Santos pending before said court. The order reads: Spped
Acting on the ORDER dated 28 August 1996 of Branch 65, this Court, transferring this case to
this Branch 61 on the ground that this case is related with a case before this Court, let this case
be returned to Branch 65 with the information that there is no related case involving the
ESTATE OF DECEDENT ARTURO DE SANTOS pending before this Branch.
There is, however, a case filed by ARTURO DE SANTOS, as petitioner under Rule 76 of the
Rules of Court for the Allowance of his will during his lifetime docketed as SP. PROC. NO. M4223 which was already decided on 16 February 1996 and has become final.
It is noted on records of Case No. M-4223 that after it became final, herein Petitioner Pacita de
los Reyes Phillips filed a MOTION FOR THE ISSUANCE OF LETTERS TESTAMENTARY,
which was subsequently withdrawn after this Court, during the hearing, already ruled that the
motion could not be admitted as the subject matter involves a separate case under Rule 78 of the
Rules of Court, and movant withdrew her motion and filed this case (No. 4343).
Octavio de Santos Maloles [II] filed a MOTION FOR INTERVENTION before Case No. M4223 and this motion was already DENIED in the order (Branch 61) of 26 August 1996 likewise
for the same grounds that the matter is for a separate case to be filed under Rule 78 of the Rules
of Court and cannot be included in this case filed under Rule 76 of the Rules of Court.
It is further noted that it is a matter of policy that consolidation of cases must be approved by the
Presiding Judges of the affected Branches.
Initially, in his decision dated September 23, 1996, Judge Abad Santos appeared firm in his
position that "
. . . it would be improper for (Branch 65) to hear and resolve the petition (Sp. Proc. No. M4343)," considering that the probate proceedings were commenced with Branch 61. He thus
ordered the transfer of the records back to the latter branch. However, he later recalled his
decision and took cognizance of the case "to expedite the proceedings." Thus, in his Order, dated
October 21, 1996, he stated:

Considering the refusal of the Hon. Fernando V. Gorospe, Jr. of Branch 61 to continue hearing
this case notwithstanding the fact that said branch began the probate proceedings of the estate of
the deceased and must therefore continue to exercise its jurisdiction to the exclusion of all
others, until the entire estate of the testator had been partitioned and distributed as per Order
dated 23 September 1996, this branch (Regional Trial Court Branch 65) shall take cognizance of
the petition if only to expedite the proceedings, and under the concept that the Regional Trial
Court of Makati City is but one court.
Furnish a copy of this order to the Office of the Chief justice and the Office of the Court
Administrator, of the Supreme Court; the Hon. Fernando V. Gorospe, Jr.; Pacita De Los Reyes
Phillips, Petitioner; and Octavio de Santos Maloles, Intervenor.
On November 4, 1996, Judge Abad Santos granted petitioners motion for intervention. Private
respondent moved for a reconsideration but her motion was denied by the trial court. She then
filed a petition for certiorari in the Court of Appeals which, on February 26, 1997, rendered a
decision[6] setting aside the trial courts order on the ground that petitioner had not shown any
right or interest to intervene in Sp. Proc. No. M-4343.
ISSUES:
1. Whether or not the Honorable Regional Trial Court - Makati, Branch 61 has lost jurisdiction to
proceed with the probate proceedings upon its issuance of an order allowing the will of Dr.
Arturo de Santos
2. Whether or not the Honorable (Regional Trial Court - Makati, Branch 65) acquired jurisdiction
over the petition for issuance of letters testamentary filed by (private) respondent.
3. Whether or not the petitioner, being a creditor of the late Dr. Arturo de Santos, has a right to
intervene and oppose the petition for issuance of letters testamentary filed by the respondent.
4. Whether or not (private) respondent is guilty of forum shopping in filing her petition for
issuance of letters testamentary with the Regional Trial Court - Makati, Branch 65 knowing fully
well that the probate proceedings involving the same testate estate of the decedent is still pending
with the Regional Trial Court - Makati, Branch 61.
HELD: First. Petitioner contends that the probate proceedings in Branch 61 of RTC-Makati did
not terminate upon the issuance of the order allowing the will of Dr. De Santos. Citing the cases
of Santiesteban v. Santiesteban[7] and Tagle v. Manalo, he argues that the proceedings must
continue until the estate is fully distributed to the lawful heirs, devisees, and legatees of the
testator, pursuant to Rule 73, 1 of the Rules of Court. Consequently, petitioner contends that
Branch 65 could not lawfully act upon private respondents petition for issuance of letters
testamentary.
The contention has no merit.

In cases for the probate of wills, it is well-settled that the authority of the court is limited to
ascertaining the extrinsic validity of the will, i.e., whether the testator, being of sound mind,
freely executed the will in accordance with the formalities prescribed by law.
Ordinarily, probate proceedings are instituted only after the death of the testator, so much so that,
after approving and allowing the will, the court proceeds to issue letters testamentary and settle
the estate of the testator. The cases cited by petitioner are of such nature. In fact, in most
jurisdictions, courts cannot entertain a petition for probate of the will of a living testator under
the principle of ambulatory nature of wills.
However, Art. 838 of the Civil Code authorizes the filing of a petition for probate of the will
filed by the testator himself. It provides:
Civil Code, Art. 838. No will shall pass either real or personal property unless it is proved and
allowed in accordance with the Rules of Court.
The testator himself may, during his lifetime, petition the court having jurisdiction for the
allowance of his will. In such case, the pertinent provisions of the Rules of Court for the
allowance of wills after the testators death shall govern. Miso
The Supreme Court shall formulate such additional Rules of Court as may be necessary for the
allowance of wills on petition of the testator.
Subject to the right of appeal, the allowance of the will, either during the lifetime of the testator
or after his death, shall be conclusive as to its due execution.
Rule 76, 1 likewise provides:
Sec. 1 Who may petition for the allowance of will. - Any executor, devisee, or legatee named in a
will, or any other person interested in the estate, may, at any time after the death of the testator,
petition the court having jurisdiction to have the will allowed, whether the same be in his
possession or not, or is lost or destroyed.
The testator himself may, during his lifetime, petition in the court for the allowance of his will.
The rationale for allowing the probate of wills during the lifetime of testator has been explained
by the Code Commission thus:
Most of the cases that reach the courts involve either the testamentary capacity of the testator or
the formalities adopted in the execution of wills. There are relatively few cases concerning the
intrinsic validity of testamentary dispositions. It is far easier for the courts to determine the
mental condition of a testator during his lifetime than after his death. Fraud, intimidation and
undue influence are minimized. Furthermore, if a will does not comply with the requirements
prescribed by law, the same may be corrected at once. The probate during the testators life,
therefore, will lessen the number of contest upon wills. Once a will is probated during the
lifetime of the testator, the only questions that may remain for the courts to decide after the
testators death will refer to the intrinsic validity of the testamentary dispositions. It is possible, of
course, that even when the testator himself asks for the allowance of the will, he may be acting
under duress or undue influence, but these are rare cases.

After a will has been probated during the lifetime of the testator, it does not necessarily mean
that he cannot alter or revoke the same before his death. Should he make a new will, it would
also be allowable on his petition, and if he should die before he has had a chance to present such
petition, the ordinary probate proceeding after the testators death would be in order.
Thus, after the allowance of the will of Dr. De Santos on February 16, 1996, there was nothing
else for Branch 61 to do except to issue a certificate of allowance of the will pursuant to Rule 73,
12 of the Rules of Court. There is, therefore, no basis for the ruling of Judge Abad Santos of
Branch 65 of RTC-Makati that Branch 61 of the Regional Trial Court of Makati having begun
the probate proceedings of the estate of the deceased, it continues and shall continue to exercise
said jurisdiction to the exclusion of all others. It should be noted that probate proceedings do not
cease upon the allowance or disallowance of a will but continues up to such time that the entire
estate of the testator had been partitioned and distributed.
The fact that the will was allowed during the lifetime of the testator meant merely that the
partition and distribution of the estate was to be suspended until the latters death. In other words,
the petitioner, instead of filing a new petition for the issuance of letters testamentary, should
have simply filed a manifestation for the same purpose in the probate court.
Petitioner, who defends the order of Branch 65 allowing him to intervene, cites Rule 73, 1 which
states:
Where estate of deceased persons settled. - If the decedent is an inhabitant of the Philippines at
the time of his death, whether a citizen or an alien, his will shall be proved, or letters of
administration granted, and his estate settled, in the Court of First Instance in the province in
which he resides at the time of his death, and if he is an inhabitant of a foreign country, the Court
of First Instance of any province in which he had estate. The court first taking cognizance of the
settlement of the estate of a decedent, shall exercise jurisdiction to the exclusion of all other
courts. The jurisdiction assumed by a court, so far as it depends on the place of residence of the
decedent, or of the location of his estate, shall not be contested in a suit or proceeding, except in
an appeal from that court, in the original case, or when the want of jurisdiction appears on the
record.
The above rule, however, actually provides for the venue of actions for the settlement of the
estate of deceased persons. In Garcia Fule v. Court of Appeals, it was held:
The aforequoted Section 1, Rule 73 (formerly Rule 75, Section 1), specifically the clause "so far
as it depends on the place of residence of the decedent, or of the location of the state," is in
reality a matter of venue, as the caption of the Rule indicates: "Settlement of Estate of Deceased
Persons. Venue and Processes." It could not have been intended to define the jurisdiction over
the subject matter, because such legal provision is contained in a law of procedure dealing
merely with procedural matters. Procedure is one thing, jurisdiction over the subject matter is
another. The power or authority of the court over the subject matter "existed was fixed before
procedure in a given cause began." That power or authority is not altered or changed by
procedure, which simply directs the manner in which the power or authority shall be fully and
justly exercised. There are cases though that if the power is not exercised conformably with the

provisions of the procedural law, purely, the court attempting to exercise it loses the power to
exercise it legally. However, this does not amount to a loss of jurisdiction over the subject
matter. Rather, it means that the court may thereby lose jurisdiction over the person or that the
judgment may thereby be rendered defective for lack of something essential to sustain it. The
appearance of this provision in the procedural law at once raises a strong presumption that it has
nothing to do with the jurisdiction of the court over the subject matter. In plain words, it is just a
matter of method, of convenience to the parties.
Indeed, the jurisdiction over probate proceedings and settlement of estates with approximate
value of over P100,000.00 (outside Metro Manila) or P200,000.00 (in Metro Manila) belongs to
the regional trial courts under B.P. Blg. 129, as amended. The different branches comprising
each court in one judicial region do not possess jurisdictions independent of and incompatible
with each other.
It is noteworthy that, although Rule 73, 1 applies insofar as the venue of the petition for probate
of the will of Dr. De Santos is concerned, it does not bar other branches of the same court from
taking cognizance of the settlement of the estate of the testator after his death. As held in the
leading case of Bacalso v. Ramolote:
The various branches of the Court of First Instance of Cebu under the Fourteenth Judicial
District, are a coordinate and co-equal courts, and the totality of which is only one Court of First
Instance. The jurisdiction is vested in the court, not in the judges. And when a case is filed in one
branch, jurisdiction over the case does not attach to the branch or judge alone, to the exclusion of
the other branches. Trial may be held or proceedings continue by and before another branch or
judge. It is for this reason that Section 57 of the Judiciary Act expressly grants to the Secretary of
Justice, the administrative right or power to apportion the cases among the different branches,
both for the convenience of the parties and for the coordination of the work by the different
branches of the same court. The apportionment and distribution of cases does not involve a grant
or limitation of jurisdiction, the jurisdiction attaches and continues to be vested in the Court of
First Instance of the province, and the trials may be held by any branch or judge of the court.
Necessarily, therefore, Branch 65 of the RTC of Makati City has jurisdiction over Sp. Proc. No.
M-4343.
Second. Petitioner claims the right to intervene in and oppose the petition for issuance of letters
testamentary filed by private respondent. He argues that, as the nearest next of kin and creditor of
the testator, his interest in the matter is material and direct. In ruling that petitioner has no right
to intervene in the proceedings before Branch 65 of RTC-Makati City, the Court of Appeals
held:
The private respondent herein is not an heir or legatee under the will of the decedent Arturo de
Santos. Neither is he a compulsory heir of the latter. As the only and nearest collateral relative
of the decedent, he can inherit from the latter only in case of intestacy. Since the decedent has
left a will which has already been probated and disposes of all his properties the private
respondent can inherit only if the said will is annulled. His interest in the decedents estate is,
therefore, not direct or immediate.

His claim to being a creditor of the estate is a belated one, having been raised for the first time
only in his reply to the opposition to his motion to intervene, and, as far as the records show, not
supported by evidence.
. . . . [T]he opposition must come from one with a direct interest in the estate or the will, and the
private respondent has none. Moreover, the ground cited in the private respondents opposition,
that the petitioner has deliberately misdeclared the truth worth and value of the estate, is not
relevant to the question of her competency to act as executor. Section 2, Rule 76 of the Rules of
Court requires only an allegation of the probable value and character of the property of the
estate. The true value can be determined later on in the course of the settlement of the estate.
Rule 79, 1 provides:
Opposition to issuance of letters testamentary. Simultaneous petition for administration. - Any
person interested in a will may state in writing the grounds why letters testamentary should not
issue to the persons named therein as executors, or any of them, and the court, after hearing
upon notice, shall pass upon the sufficiency of such grounds. A petition may, at the same time, be
filed for letters of administration with the will annexed.
Under this provision, it has been held that an "interested person" is one who would be benefited
by the estate, such as an heir, or one who has a claim against the estate, such as a creditor, and
whose interest is material and direct, not merely incidental or contingent.
Even if petitioner is the nearest next of kin of Dr. De Santos, he cannot be considered an "heir"
of the testator. It is a fundamental rule of testamentary succession that one who has no
compulsory or forced heirs may dispose of his entire estate by will. Thus, Art. 842 of the Civil
Code provides:
One who has no compulsory heirs may dispose by will of all his estate or any part of it in favor
of any person having capacity to succeed.
One who has compulsory heirs may dispose of his estate provided he does not contravene the
provisions of this Code with regard to the legitimate of said heirs.
Compulsory heirs are limited to the testators (1) Legitimate children and descendants, with respect to their legitimate parents and
ascendants;
(2) In default of the foregoing, legitimate parents and ascendants, with respect to their
legitimate children and descendants;
(3) The widow or widower;
(4) Acknowledged natural children, and natural children by legal fiction;
(5) Other illegitimate children referred to in Article 287 of the Civil Code.
Petitioner, as nephew of the testator, is not a compulsory heir who may have been preterited in
the testators will.

Nor does he have any right to intervene in the settlement proceedings based on his allegation that
he is a creditor of the deceased. Since the testator instituted or named an executor in his will, it is
incumbent upon the Court to respect the desires of the testator. As we stated in Ozaeta v. Pecson:
The choice of his executor is a precious prerogative of a testator, a necessary concomitant of his
right to dispose of his property in the manner he wishes. It is natural that the testator should
desire to appoint one of his confidence, one who can be trusted to carry out his wishes in the
disposal of his estate. The curtailment of this right may be considered a curtailment of the right
to dispose.
Only if the appointed executor is incompetent, refuses the trust, or fails to give bond may the
court appoint other persons to administer the estate. None of these circumstances is present in
this case.
Third. Petitioner contends that private respondent is guilty of forum shopping when she filed the
petition for issuance of letters testamentary (Sp. Proc. No. M-4343) while the probate
proceedings (Sp. Proc. No. M-4223) were still pending. According to petitioner, there is identity
of parties, rights asserted, and reliefs prayed for in the two actions which are founded on the
same facts, and a judgment in either will result in res judicata in the other.
This contention has no merit. As stated earlier, the petition for probate was filed by Dr. De
Santos, the testator, solely for the purpose of authenticating his will. Upon the allowance of his
will, the proceedings were terminated.
On the other hand, the petition for issuance of letters testamentary was filed by private
respondent, as executor of the estate of Dr. De Santos, for the purpose of securing authority from
the Court to administer the estate and put into effect the will of the testator. The estate settlement
proceedings commenced by the filing of the petition terminate upon the distribution and delivery
of the legacies and devises to the persons named in the will. Clearly, there is no identity between
the two petitions, nor was the latter filed during the pendency of the former. There was,
consequently, no forum shopping.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED and the decisions of the Court of Appeals are hereby
AFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED.

NITTSCHER VS DR NITTSCHER
G.R. No. 160530 20 November 2007
QUISUMBING, J.:
For review on certiorari are the Decision[1] dated July 31, 2003 and Resolution[2]dated October
21, 2003 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 55330, which affirmed the Order[3] dated
September 29, 1995 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 59, Makati City, in SP Proc. No.
M-2330 for the probate of a will.
The facts are as follows.
On January 31, 1990, Dr. Werner Karl Johann Nittscher filed with the RTC of Makati City a
petition for the probate of his holographic will and for the issuance of letters testamentary to
herein respondent Atty. Rogelio P. Nogales.
On September 19, 1991, after hearing and with due notice to the compulsory heirs, the probate
court issued an order allowing the said holographic will, thus:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Holographic Will of the petitionertestator Dr. Werner J. Nittscher executed pursuant to the provision of the second
paragraph of Article 838 of the Civil Code of the Philippines on January 25, 1990
in Manila, Philippines, and proved in accordance with the provision of Rule 76 of
the Revised Rules of Court is hereby allowed.
SO ORDERED.[4]
On September 26, 1994, Dr. Nittscher died. Hence, Atty. Nogales filed a petition for letters
testamentary for the administration of the estate of the deceased. Dr. Nittschers surviving spouse,
herein petitioner Cynthia V. Nittscher, moved for the dismissal of the said petition. However, the
court in its September 29, 1995 Order denied petitioners motion to dismiss, and granted
respondents petition for the issuance of letters testamentary, to wit:
In view of all the foregoing, the motion to dismiss is DENIED. The petition for
the issuance of Letters Testamentary, being in order, is GRANTED.
Section 4, Rule 78 of the Revised Rules of Court, provides when a will has been
proved and allowed, the court shall issue letters testamentary thereon to the
person named as executor therein, if he is competent, accepts the trust and gives a
bond as required by these rules. In the case at bar, petitioner Atty. Rogelio P.
Nogales of the R.P. Nogales Law Offices has been named executor under the
Holographic Will of Dr. Werner J. Nittscher. As prayed for, let Letters
Testamentary be issued to Atty. Rogelio P. Nogales, the executor named in the
Will, without a bond.
Petitioner moved for reconsideration, but her motion was denied for lack of merit. OnMay 9,
1996, Atty. Nogales was issued letters testamentary and was sworn in as executor.

Petitioner appealed to the Court of Appeals alleging that respondents petition for the issuance of
letters testamentary should have been dismissed outright as the RTC had no jurisdiction over the
subject matter and that she was denied due process.
The appellate court dismissed the appeal, thus:
WHEREFORE, the foregoing considered, the appeal is hereby DISMISSED and
the assailed Order is AFFIRMED in toto. The court a quo is ordered to proceed
with dispatch in the proceedings below.
Petitioners motion for reconsideration of the aforequoted decision was denied for lack of
merit. Hence, the present petition anchored on the following grounds:
I.

BOTH THE CA AND THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN NOT


DISMISSING OUTRIGHT THE PETITION FOR LETTERS
TESTAMENTARY
FILED
BY
ATTY. NOGALES WHEN,
OBVIOUSLY, IT WAS FILED IN VIOLATION OF REVISED
CIRCULAR NO. 28-91 AND ADMINISTRATIVE CIRCULAR NO. 0494 OF THIS HONORABLE COURT.

II.

THE CA ERRED IN NOT DECLARING THAT THE LOWER


COURT [HAS] NO JURISDICTION OVER THE SUBJECT MATTER
OF THE PRESENT SUIT.

III.

THE CA ERRED IN CONCLUDING THAT SUMMONS WERE


PROPERLY ISSUED TO THE PARTIES AND ALL PERSONS
INTERESTED IN THE PROBATE OF THE HOLOGRAPHIC WILL OF
DR. NITTSCHER.

IV.

THE CA ERRED IN CONCLUDING THAT THE PETITIONER WAS


NOT DEPRIVED OF DUE PROCESS OF LAW BY THE LOWER
COURT.

Petitioner contends that respondents petition for the issuance of letters testamentary
lacked a certification against forum-shopping. She adds that the RTC has no jurisdiction
over the subject matter of this case because Dr. Nittscher was allegedly not a resident of
the Philippines; neither did he leave real properties in the country.Petitioner claims that
the properties listed for disposition in her husbands will actually belong to her. She insists
she was denied due process of law because she did not receive by personal service the
notices of the proceedings.
Respondent Atty. Nogales, however, counters that Dr. Nittscher did reside and own real
properties in Las Pias, Metro Manila. He stresses that petitioner was duly notified of the probate
proceedings. Respondent points out that petitioner even appeared in court to oppose the petition
for the issuance of letters testamentary and that she also filed a motion to dismiss the said
petition. Respondent maintains that the petition for the issuance of letters testamentary need not

contain a certification against forum-shopping as it is merely a continuation of the original


proceeding for the probate of the will.
We resolve to deny the petition.
As to the first issue, Revised Circular No. 28-91[8] and Administrative Circular No. 04-94[9] of
the Court require a certification against forum-shopping for all initiatory pleadings filed in
court. However, in this case, the petition for the issuance of letters testamentary is not an
initiatory pleading, but a mere continuation of the original petition for the probate of Dr.
Nittschers will. Hence, respondents failure to include a certification against forum-shopping in
his petition for the issuance of letters testamentary is not a ground for outright dismissal of the
said petition.
Anent the second issue, Section 1, Rule 73 of the Rules of Court provides:
SECTION 1. Where estate of deceased persons settled. If the decedent is an
inhabitant of the Philippines at the time of his death, whether a citizen or an
alien, his will shall be proved, or letters of administration granted, and his
estate settled, in the Court of First Instance (now Regional Trial Court) in
the province in which he resides at the time of his death, and if he is an
inhabitant of a foreign country, the Court of First Instance (now Regional Trial
Court) of any province in which he had estate.
In this case, the RTC and the Court of Appeals are one in their finding that Dr. Nittscher
was a resident of Las Pias, Metro Manila at the time of his death. Such factual finding,
which we find supported by evidence on record, should no longer be disturbed. Time and
again we have said that reviews on certiorari are limited to errors of law. Unless there is a
showing that the findings of the lower court are totally devoid of support or are glaringly
erroneous, this Court will not analyze or weigh evidence all over again.[10]
Hence, applying the aforequoted rule, Dr. Nittscher correctly filed in the RTC of Makati
City, which then covered Las Pias, Metro Manila, the petition for the probate of his will
and for the issuance of letters testamentary to respondent.
Regarding the third and fourth issues, we note that Dr. Nittscher asked for the allowance
of his own will. In this connection, Section 4, Rule 76 of the Rules of Court states:
SEC. 4. Heirs, devisees, legatees, and executors to be notified by mail or
personally.
If the testator asks for the allowance of his own will, notice shall be sent only to
his compulsory heirs.
In this case, records show that petitioner, with whom Dr. Nittscher had no child, and Dr.
Nittschers children from his previous marriage were all duly notified, by registered mail,
of the probate proceedings. Petitioner even appeared in court to oppose respondents
petition for the issuance of letters testamentary and she also filed a motion to dismiss the

said petition. She likewise filed a motion for reconsideration of the issuance of the letters
testamentary and of the denial of her motion to dismiss.We are convinced petitioner was
accorded every opportunity to defend her cause.Therefore, petitioners allegation that she
was denied due process in the probate proceedings is without basis.
As a final word, petitioner should realize that the allowance of her husbands will is
conclusive only as to its due execution.[11] The authority of the probate court is limited to
ascertaining whether the testator, being of sound mind, freely executed the will in
accordance with the formalities prescribed by law.[12] Thus, petitioners claim of title to
the properties forming part of her husbands estate should be settled in an ordinary action
before the regular courts.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED for lack of merit. The assailed Decision dated July 31,
2003 and Resolution dated October 21, 2003 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 55330,
which affirmed the Order dated September 29, 1995 of the Regional Trial Court, Branch
59, Makati City, in SP Proc. No. M-2330 are AFFIRMED.No pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED.

CORTES VS CA
G.R. No. 117417 21 September 21 2000
BUENA, J.:
FACTS: Menandro A. Reselva, Milagros R. Cortes, and Florante Reselva are brothers and sister
and childrenheirs of the late spouses Teodoro T. Reselva and Lucrecia Aguirre Reselva, who
died. Lucrecia Aguirre Reselva died ahead of Teodoro T. Re-selva. Teodoro executed a
holographic will which was probated, with Milagros R. Cortes, as the appointed Execu-trix. She
filed a motion before the probate court praying that Menandro A. Reselva, the occupant of the
property, be ordered to vacate which was granted. In the Appellate Court, RTCs order was set
aside for having been issued beyond the latters limited jurisdiction as a probate court.
ISSUE:
HELD: Probate courts, or those in charge of proceedings whether testate or intestate, cannot
adjudicate or determine title to properties claimed to be part of the estate and which are claimed
to belong to outside parties. Claims for title to, or right of possession of, personal or real
property, made by the heirs themselves, by title adverse to that of the deceased, or made by third
persons, cannot be entertained by the (probate) court.
Menandro A. Reselva, who refused to vacate the house and lot being eyed as part of the estate of
the late
Teodoro T. Reselva, cannot be considered an outside party for he is one of the three
compulsory heirs involved in the settlement of Teodoros estate. By way of exception when the
parties are all heirs of the decedent, it is optional upon them to submit to the probate court the
question of title to property. Here, the probate court is competent to decide the question of
ownership. More so, when the opposing parties belong to the poor stratum of society and a
separate action would be most expensive. Menandros claim is not at all adverse to the decedent
as he merely advances co-ownership with the latter.
When the controversy is whether the property in issue belongs to the conjugal partnership or
exclusively to the decedent, it is within the jurisdiction of the probate court, which necessarily
has to liquidate the conjugal partnership in order to determine the estate of the decedent. The
case at bar falls squarely under Rule 73, Section 2 of the Revised Rules of Court
Where estate upon dissolution of marriage.When the marriage is dissolved by the death of the
husband or wife, the community property shall be inventoried, administered, and liquidated, and
the debts thereof paid, in the testate or intestate proceedings of the deceased spouse. If both
spouses have died, the conjugal partnership shall be liqui-dated in the testate or intestate
proceedings of either.
This case before us should be returned to the probate court for the liquidation of the conjugal
partnership prior to the settlement of the estate of Teodoro.

NERI, ET AL. VS HEIRS OF UY


GR NO. 194366 10 OCTOBER 2012
PERLAS-BERNABE, J.:
In this Petition for Review on Certiorari1 under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, petitioners
Napoleon D. Neri (Napoleon), Alicia D. Neri-Mondejar (Alicia), Visminda D. Neri-Chambers
(Visminda), Rosa D. Neri-Millan (Rosa), Douglas D. Neri (Douglas), Eutropia D. Illut-Cockinos
(Eutropia), and Victoria D. Illut-Piala (Victoria) seek to reverse and set aside the April 27, 2010
Decision2 and October 18, 2010 Resolution3 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CV No.
01031-MIN which annulled the October 25, 2004 Decision4 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC)
of Panabo City, Davao del Norte and instead, entered a new one dismissing petitioners
complaint for annulment of sale, damages and attorneys feesagainst herein respondents heirs of
spouses Hadji Yusop Uy and Julpha Ibrahim Uy (heirs of Uy).
The Facts
During her lifetime, Anunciacion Neri (Anunciacion) had seven children, two (2) from her first
marriage with Gonzalo Illut (Gonzalo), namely: Eutropia and Victoria, and five (5) from her
second marriage with Enrique Neri (Enrique), namely: Napoleon, Alicia, Visminda, Douglas and
Rosa. Throughout the marriage of spouses Enrique and Anunciacion, they acquired several
homestead properties with a total area of 296,555 square meters located in Samal, Davao del
Norte, embraced by Original Certificate of Title (OCT) Nos. (P-7998) P-21285, (P-14608) P51536 and P-20551 (P-8348)7issued on February 15, 1957, August 27, 1962 and July 7, 1967,
respectively.
On September 21, 1977, Anunciacion died intestate. Her husband, Enrique, in his personal
capacity and as natural guardian of his minor children Rosa and Douglas, together with
Napoleon, Alicia, and Vismindaexecuted an Extra-Judicial Settlement of the Estate with
Absolute Deed of Sale8 on July 7, 1979, adjudicating among themselves the said homestead
properties, and thereafter, conveying themto the late spouses Hadji Yusop Uy and Julpha
Ibrahim Uy (spouses Uy)for a consideration of P 80,000.00.
On June 11, 1996, the children of Enrique filed a complaint for annulment of saleof the said
homestead properties against spouses Uy (later substituted by their heirs)before the RTC,
docketed as Civil Case No.96-28, assailing the validity of the sale for having been sold within
the prohibited period. Thecomplaint was later amended to include Eutropia and Victoriaas
additional plaintiffs for having been excluded and deprived of their legitimes as childrenof
Anunciacion from her first marriage.
In their amended answer with counterclaim, the heirs of Uy countered that the sale took place
beyond the 5-year prohibitory period from the issuance of the homestead patents. They also

denied knowledge of Eutropia and Victorias exclusionfrom the extrajudicial settlement and sale
of the subject properties, and interposed further the defenses of prescription and laches.
THE RTC RULING. On October 25, 2004, the RTC rendered a decision ordering, among
others, the annulment of the Extra-Judicial Settlement of the Estate with Absolute Deed of Sale.
It ruled that while the sale occurred beyond the 5-year prohibitory period, the sale is still void
because Eutropia and Victoria were deprived of their hereditary rights and that Enrique had no
judicial authority to sell the shares of his minor children, Rosa and Douglas.
Consequently, it rejected the defenses of laches and prescription raised by spouses Uy, who
claimed possession of the subject properties for 17 years, holding that co-ownership rights are
imprescriptible.
THE CA RULING. On appeal, the CAreversed and set aside the ruling of the RTC in its April
27, 2010 Decision and dismissed the complaint of the petitioners. It held that, while Eutropia and
Victoria had no knowledge of the extrajudicial settlement and sale of the subject properties and
as such, were not bound by it, the CA found it unconscionable to permit the annulment of the
sale considering spouses Uys possession thereof for 17 years, and thatEutropia and
Victoriabelatedlyfiled their actionin 1997, ormore than two years fromknowledge of their
exclusion as heirs in 1994 when their stepfather died. It, however, did not preclude the excluded
heirs from recovering their legitimes from their co-heirs.
Similarly, the CA declared the extrajudicial settlement and the subsequent saleas valid and
binding with respect to Enrique and hischildren, holding that as co-owners, they have the right to
dispose of their respective shares as they consider necessary or fit.While recognizing Rosa and
Douglas to be minors at that time, they were deemed to have ratified the sale whenthey failed to
question it upon reaching the age of majority.Italso found laches to have set in because of their
inaction for a long period of time.
ISSUES
I. WHEN IT UPHELDTHE VALIDITY OF THE "EXTRA JUDICIAL SETTLEMENT OF
THE ESTATE WITH ABSOLUTE DEED OF SALE" AS FAR AS THE SHARES OF
EUTROPIA AND VICTORIA WERE CONCERNED, THEREBY DEPRIVING THEM OF
THEIR INHERITANCE;
II. WHEN IT DID NOT NULLIFY OR ANNUL THE "EXTRA JUDICIAL SETTLEMENT OF
THE ESTATE WITH ABSOLUTE DEED OF SALE" WITH RESPECT TO THE SHARESOF
ROSA AND DOUGLAS, THEREBY DEPRIVING THEM OF THEIR INHERITANCE; and
III. WHEN IT FOUND THAT LACHES OR PRESCRIPTION HAS SET IN.

The Ruling of the Court


The petitionis meritorious.
It bears to stress that all the petitioners herein are indisputably legitimate children of
Anunciacion from her first and second marriages with Gonzalo and Enrique, respectively, and
consequently, are entitled to inherit from her in equal shares, pursuant to Articles 979 and 980 of
the Civil Code which read:
ART. 979. Legitimate children and their descendants succeed the parents and other ascendants,
without distinction as to sex or age, and even if they should come from different marriages.
ART. 980. The children of the deceased shall always inherit from him in their own right, dividing
the inheritance in equal shares.
As such, upon the death of Anunciacion on September 21, 1977, her children and Enrique
acquired their respective inheritances,9 entitling them to their pro indiviso shares in her whole
estate, as follows:
Enrique: 9/16 (1/2 of the conjugal assets + 1/16); Eutropia: 1/16;Victoria: 1/16; Napoleon:
1/16; Alicia: 1/16; Visminda: 1/16; Rosa: 1/16 and Douglas 1/16
Hence, in the execution of the Extra-Judicial Settlement of the Estate with Absolute Deed of Sale
in favor of spouses Uy, all the heirs of Anunciacionshould have participated. Considering that
Eutropia and Victoria were admittedly excluded and that then minors Rosa and Douglas were not
properly represented therein, the settlement was not valid and binding uponthem and
consequently, a total nullity.
Section 1, Rule 74 of the Rules of Court provides:
SECTION 1. Extrajudicial settlement by agreement between heirs.
The fact of the extrajudicial settlement or administration shall be published in a newspaper of
general circulation in the manner provided in the next succeeding section; but no extrajudicial
settlement shall be binding upon any person who has not participated therein or had no notice
thereof. (Underscoring added)
The effect of excluding the heirs in the settlement of estate was further elucidated in Segura v.
Segura, thus:
It is clear that Section 1 of Rule 74 does not apply to the partition in question which was null and
void as far as the plaintiffs were concerned. The rule covers only valid partitions. The partition

in the present case was invalid because it excluded six of the nine heirs who were entitled to
equal shares in the partitioned property. Under the rule "no extrajudicial settlement shall be
binding upon any person who has not participated therein or had no notice thereof." As the
partition was a total nullity and did not affect the excluded heirs, it was not correct for the trial
court to hold that their right to challenge the partition had prescribed after two years from its
execution
However, while the settlement of the estate is null and void, the subsequent sale of the subject
propertiesmade by Enrique and his children, Napoleon, Alicia and Visminda, in favor of the
respondents isvalid but only with respect to their proportionate shares therein.It cannot be denied
that these heirs have acquired their respective shares in the properties of Anunciacion from the
moment of her death11and that, as owners thereof, they can very well sell their undivided share in
the estate.
With respect to Rosa and Douglas who were minors at the time of the execution of the settlement
and sale, their natural guardian and father, Enrique, represented them in the transaction.
However, on the basis of the laws prevailing at that time, Enrique was merely clothed with
powers of administration and bereft of any authority to dispose of their 2/16 shares in the estate
of their mother, Anunciacion.
Articles 320 and 326 of the Civil Code, the laws in force at the time of the execution of the
settlement and sale, provide:
ART. 320. The father, or in his absence the mother, is the legal administrator of the property
pertaining to the child under parental authority. If the property is worth more than two thousand
pesos, the father or mother shall give a bond subject to the approval of the Court of First
Instance.
ART. 326. When the property of the child is worth more than two thousand pesos, the father or
mother shall be considered a guardian of the childs property, subject to the duties and
obligations of guardians under the Rules of Court.
Corollarily, Section 7, Rule 93 of the Rules of Court also provides:
SEC. 7. Parents as Guardians. When the property of the child under parental authority is
worth two thousand pesos or less, the father or the mother, without the necessity of court
appointment, shall be his legal guardian. When the property of the child is worth more than two
thousand pesos, the father or the mother shall be considered guardian of the childs property,
with the duties and obligations of guardians under these Rules, and shall file the petition required
by Section 2 hereof. For good reasons, the court may, however, appoint another suitable persons.

Administration includes all acts for the preservation of the property and the receipt of fruits
according to the natural purpose of the thing. Any act of disposition or alienation, or any
reduction in the substance of the patrimony of child, exceeds the limits of administration.13 Thus,
a father or mother, as the natural guardian of the minor under parental authority, does not have
the power to dispose or encumber the property of the latter. Such power is granted by law only to
a judicial guardian of the wards property and even then only with courts prior approval secured
in accordance with the proceedings set forth by the Rules of Court.14
Consequently, the disputed sale entered into by Enrique in behalf of his minor children without
the proper judicial authority, unless ratified by them upon reaching the age of majority,15 is
unenforceable in accordance with Articles 1317 and 1403(1) of the Civil Code which provide:
ART. 1317. No one may contract in the name of another without being authorized by the latter or
unless he has by law a right to represent him.
A contract entered into in the name of another by one who has no authority or legal
representation, or who has acted beyond his powers, shall be unenforceable, unless it is ratified,
expressly or impliedly, by the person on whose behalf it has been executed, before it is revoked
by the other contracting party.
ART. 1403. The following contracts are unenforceable, unless they are ratified:
(1) Those entered into the name of another person by one who has been given no authority or
legal representation, or who has acted beyond his powers;
Ratification means that one under no disability voluntarily adopts and gives sanction to some
unauthorized act or defective proceeding, which without his sanction would not be binding on
him. It is this voluntary choice, knowingly made, which amounts to a ratification of what was
theretofore unauthorized, and becomes the authorized act of the party so making the
ratification.16 Once ratified, expressly or impliedly such as when the person knowingly received
benefits from it, the contract is cleansed from all its defects from the moment it was
constituted,17 as it has a retroactive effect.
Records, however, show that Rosa had ratified the extrajudicial settlement of the estate with
absolute deed of sale. In Napoleon and Rosas Manifestation18 before the RTC dated July 11,
1997,they stated:
"Concerning the sale of our parcel of land executed by our father, Enrique Neri concurred in
and conformed to by us and our other two sisters and brother (the other plaintiffs), in favor of
Hadji Yusop Uy and his spouse Hadja Julpa Uy on July 7, 1979, we both confirmed that the

same was voluntary and freely made by all of us and therefore the sale was absolutely valid and
enforceable as far as we all plaintiffs in this case are concerned;"
In their June 30, 1997 Joint-Affidavit,19 Napoleon and Rosa also alleged:
"That we are surprised that our names are included in this case since we do not have any
intention to file a case against Hadji Yusop Uy and Julpha Ibrahim Uy and their family and we
respect and acknowledge the validity of the Extra-Judicial Settlement of the Estate with Absolute
Deed of Sale dated July 7, 1979;"
Clearly, the foregoing statements constitutedratification of the settlement of the estate and the
subsequent sale, thus, purging all the defects existing at the time of its execution and legitimizing
the conveyance of Rosas 1/16 share in the estate of Anunciacion to spouses Uy. The same,
however, is not true with respect to Douglas for lack of evidence showing ratification.
Considering, thus, that the extrajudicial settlement with sale is invalid and therefore, not binding
on Eutropia, Victoria and Douglas, only the shares ofEnrique, Napoleon, Alicia, Visminda and
Rosa in the homestead properties have effectivelybeen disposed in favor of spouses Uy. "A
person can only sell what he owns, or is authorized to sell and the buyer can as a consequence
acquire no more than what the sellercan legally transfer."20 On this score, Article 493 of the Civil
Codeis relevant, which provides:
Each co-owner shall have the full ownership of his part and of the fruits and benefits pertaining
thereto, and he may therefore alienate, assign or mortgage it, and even substitute another person
in its enjoyment, except when personal rights are involved. But the effect of the alienation or the
mortgage, with respect to the co-owners, shall be limited to the portion which may be allotted to
him in the division upon the termination of the co-ownership.
Consequently, spouses Uy or their substituted heirs became pro indiviso co-owners of the
homestead properties with Eutropia, Victoria and Douglas, who retained title to their respective
1/16 shares. They were deemed to be holding the 3/16 shares of Eutropia, Victoria and Douglas
under an implied constructive trust for the latters benefit, conformably with Article 1456 of the
Civil Code which states:"if property is acquired through mistake or fraud, the person obtaining it
is, by force of law, considered a trustee of an implied trust for the benefit of the person from
whom the property comes." As such, it is only fair, just and equitable that the amount paid for
their shares equivalent to P 5,000.0021 each or a total of P 15,000.00 be returned to spouses Uy
with legal interest.
On the issue of prescription, the Court agrees with petitioners that the present action has not
prescribed in so far as it seeks to annul the extrajudicial settlement of the estate. Contrary to the
ruling of the CA, the prescriptive period of 2 years provided in Section 1 Rule 74 of the Rules of

Court reckoned from the execution of the extrajudicial settlement finds no application to
petitioners Eutropia, Victoria and Douglas, who were deprived of their lawful participation in the
subject estate. Besides, an "action or defense for the declaration of the inexistence of a contract
does not prescribe" in accordance with Article 1410 of the Civil Code.
However, the action to recover property held in trust prescribes after 10 years from the time the
cause of action accrues,22 which is from the time of actual notice in case of unregistered
deed.23 In this case, Eutropia, Victoria and Douglas claimed to have knowledge of the
extrajudicial settlement with sale after the death of their father, Enrique, in 1994 which spouses
Uy failed to refute. Hence, the complaint filed in 1997 was well within the prescriptive period of
10 years.
WHEREFORE, the instant petition is GRANTED. The April 27, 2010 Decision and October
18, 2010 Resolution of the Court of Appeals are REVERSED and SET ASIDE and a new
judgment is entered:
1. Declaring the Extra-Judicial Settlement of the Estate of Anunciacion
Neri NULL and VOID;
2. Declaring the Absolute Deed of Sale in favor of the late spouses Hadji Yusop Uy and
Julpha Ibrahim Uy as regards the 13/16 total shares of the late Enrique Neri, Napoleon
Neri, Alicia D. Neri-Mondejar, Visminda D. Neri-Chambers and Rosa D. NeriMillan VALID;
3. Declaring Eutropia D. Illut-Cockinos, Victoria D. Illut-Piala and Douglas D. Neri as
the LAWFUL OWNERSof the 3/16 portions of the subject homestead properties,
covered by Original Certificate of Title Nos. (P-7998) P-2128, (P-14608) P-5153 and P20551 (P-8348); and
4. Ordering the estate of the late Enrique Neri, as well as Napoleon Neri, Alicia D. NeriMondejar, Visminda D. Neri-Chambers and Rosa D. Neri-Millan to return to the
respondents jointly and solidarily the amount paid corresponding to the 3/16 shares of
Eutropia, Victoria and Douglas in the total amount of P 15,000.00, with legal interest at
6% per annum computed from the time of payment until finality of this decision and 12%
per annum thereafter until fully paid. No pronouncement as to costs. SO ORDERED.

NERI, ET AL. VS HEIRS OF UY


GR NO. 194366 10 OCTOBER 2012
FACTS: Anunciacion Neri had seven children: first marriage with Gonzalo Illut, namely:
Eutropia and Victoria and second marriage with Enrique Neri, namely: Napoleon, Alicia,
Visminda, Douglas and Rosa.
Throughout the marriage of spouses Enrique and Anunciacion, they acquired several homestead
properties located in Samal, Davao del Norte.
In 1977, Anunciacion died intestate. Enrique, in his personal capacity and as natural guardian of
his minor children Rosa and Douglas, with Napoleon, Alicia, and Visminda executed an ExtraJudicial Settlement of the Estate with Absolute Deed of Sale on 7/7/1979, adjudicating among
themselves the said homestead properties and thereafter, conveying them to the late spouses Uy
for a consideration of P 80,000.00.
In June 1996, the children of Enrique filed a complaint for annulment of sale of the
homestead properties against spouses Uy before the RTC, assailing the validity of the sale for
having been sold within the prohibited period. The complaint was later amended to include
Eutropia and Victoria additional plaintiffs for having been excluded and deprived of their
legitimes as children of Anunciacion from her first marriage.
RTC RULING: Rendered the sale void because Eutropia and Victoria were deprived of their
hereditary rights and that Enrique had no judicial authority to sell the shares of his minor
children, Rosa and Douglas.
CA RULING: Reversed the RTC ruling and declared the extrajudicial settlement and sale valid.
While recognizing Rosa and Douglas to be minors at that time, they were deemed to have
ratified the sale when they failed to question it upon reaching the age of majority. It also found
laches to have set in because of their inaction for a long period of time.
ISSUES: Whether the father or mother, as the natural guardian of the minor under parental
authority, has the power to dispose or encumber the property of the minor?
RULING: All the petitioners are legitimate children of Anunciacion from her first and second
marriages and consequently, they are entitled to inherit from her in equal shares, pursuant to
Articles 979 and 980 of the Civil Code. In the execution of the Extra-Judicial Settlement of the
Estate with Absolute Deed of Sale in favor of spouses Uy, all the heirs of Anunciacion should
have participated. Considering that Eutropia and Victoria were admittedly excluded and that then
minors Rosa and Douglas were not properly represented therein, the settlement was not valid and
binding upon them.
While the settlement of the estate is null and void, the subsequent sale of the properties made by
Enrique and his children, Napoleon, Alicia and Visminda, in favor of the spouses is valid but
only with respect to their proportionate shares.
With respect to Rosa and Douglas who were minors at the time of the execution of the
settlement and sale, their natural guardian and father, Enrique, represented them in the
transaction. However, on the basis of the laws prevailing at that time, Enrique was merely

clothed with powers of administration and bereft of any authority to dispose of their 2/16
shares in the estate of their mother.
Administration includes all acts for the preservation of the property and the receipt of fruits
according to the natural purpose of the thing. Any act of disposition or alienation, or any
reduction in the substance of the patrimony of child, exceeds the limits of administration.
Thus, A FATHER OR MOTHER, as the natural guardian of the minor under parental
authority, does not have the power to dispose or encumber the property of the latter. Such
power is granted by law only to a judicial guardian of the wards property and even then only
with courts prior approval secured in accordance with the proceedings set forth by theRules of
Court.
Consequently, the disputed sale entered into by Enrique in behalf of his minor children
without the proper judicial authority, unless ratified by them upon reaching the age of
majority, is unenforceable in accordance with Articles 1317 and 1403(1) of the Civil Code.
However, records show that Napoleon and Rosa had ratified the extrajudicial settlement of
the estate with absolute deed of sale. In their Joint-Affidavit and Manifestation before the RTC,
they both confirmed, respect and acknowledge the validity of the Extra-Judicial Settlement of
the Estate with Absolute Deed of Sale in 1979. The ratification thus purged all the defects
existing at the time of its execution and legitimizing the conveyance of Rosas 1/16 share in the
estate of Anunciacion to spouses Uy. The same, however, is not true with respect to Douglas for
lack
of
evidence
showing
ratification.

HEIRS OF TEVES VS CA, HEIRS OF IT IT


G.R. No. 109963. October 13, 1999]
GONZAGA-REYES, J.:
Before us is a petition for review on certiorari assailing the decision[1] of the Court of
Appeals which was promulgated on August 18, 1992 affirming the July 11, 1991 decision[2] of
Branch 38 of the Regional Trial Court of Negros Oriental in favor of defendants-appellees.
The facts, as culled from the pleadings of the parties herein and the decision of the lower
courts, are as follows:
Marcelina Cimafranca and Joaquin Teves had nine children, namely Teotimo, Felicia,
Pedro, Andres, Asuncion, Gorgonio, Cresenciano, Arcadia and Maria. Andres, however,
predeceased both his parents and died without issue. After Marcelina Cimafranca and Joaquin
Teves died, intestate and without debts, in 1943 and 1953, respectively, their children executed
extrajudicial settlements purporting to adjudicate unto themselves the ownership over two
parcels of land belonging to their deceased parents and to alienate their shares thereto in favor of
their sister Asuncion Teves. The validity of these settlements executed pursuant to section 1 of
Rule 74 of the Rules of Court is the primary issue in the present case.
On May 9, 1984, plaintiffs-appellants Ricardo and Arcadia Teves filed a complaint with the
Regional Trial Court of Negros Oriental for the partition and reconveyance of two parcels of
land located in Dumaguete, designated as Lots 769-A and 6409, against the heirs of Asuncion
Teves. The complaint was subsequently amended to include Maria Teves and the heirs of
Teotimo, Felicia, Pedro, and Gorgonio Teves as plaintiffs and the spouses Lucresio Baylosis and
Pacita Nocete, and Cecilia Cimafranca-Gamos and Cecilia Flor Cimafranca as
defendants.[3] Plaintiffs-appellants alleged that defendants-appellees, without any justifiable
reason, refused to partition the said parcels of land and to convey to plaintiffs their rightful
shares.[4]
Lot 769, covered by Original Certificate of Title (OCT) No. 4682-A,[5] is registered in the
names of Urbana Cimafranca, one-fourth (1/4) share, Marcelina Cimafranca, the wife of Joaquin
Teves, one-fourth (1/4) share, Domingo Villahermosa, one-eighth (1/8) share, Antero
Villahermosa, one-eighth (1/8) share, Cecilia Cimafranca, one-eighth (1/8) share and Julio
Cimafranca, one-eighth (1/8) share. The present controversy involves only Marcelina
Cimafrancas one-fourth (1/4) share in the land, designated as Lot 769-A.
On June 13, 1956, Teotimo, Felicia, Pedro, Asuncion, Gorgonio and Arcadia Teves
executed a document entitled "Settlement of Estate and Sale,"[6] adjudicating unto themselves, in
equal shares, Lot 769-A and conveying their shares, interests and participations over the same in
favor of Asuncion Teves for the consideration of P425.00. A similar deed denominated
"Extrajudicial Settlement and Sale"[7]was signed by Maria Teves on April 21, 1959. Under such
deed, Maria conveys her own share over Lot 769-A in favor of Asuncion Teves for the

consideration of P80.00. The two settlements were denounced by the plaintiffs as spurious. The
trial court summarized the claims of the plaintiffs, viz
Maria Teves Ochotorena herself, denied having executed this Extrajudicial Settlement and Sale
over her share or interest in Lot 769 claiming that her signature in said document is a
forgery. She disowns her signature declaring that as a married woman she always signs a
document in her husbands family name. Further, she declared that on the date she purportedly
signed said document in Dumaguete City before the notary public, she was in her home in
Katipunan, Zamboanga del Norte.
On Exhibit "G" which is likewise offered as Exhibit "3" for the defendants, plaintiffs hold that
said document is spurious claiming that the signatures of Pedro Teves, Felicia Teves and
Gorgonio Teves are all forgeries. To support this allegation, Helen T. Osmena, daughter of
Felicia Teves and Erlinda Teves, daughter of Gorgonio Teves were presented as
witnesses. Being allegedly familiar with the style and character of the handwriting of their
parents these witnesses declared unequivocally that the signatures of their parents appearing on
the document are forgeries.
In sum, plaintiffs argue that these fraudulent documents which defendants rely in claiming
ownership to the disputed properties are all nullities and have no force in law and could not be
used as basis for any legal title. Consequently, in their view, they are entitled to the reliefs
demanded particularly, to their respective shares of the disputed properties.[8]
The other property in dispute is Lot 6409 which was originally covered by OCT No.
9091[9] and was registered in the name of Joaquin Teves and his two sisters, Matea and Candida
Teves. However, Matea and Candida died without issue, causing the entire property to pass to
Joaquin Teves. On December 14, 1971, Lot 6409 was adjudicated and divided in equal shares in
a "Deed of Extrajudicial Settlement & Sale"[10] executed by Joaquin Teves children - Asuncion,
Teotimo, Felisia, Gorgonio, Arcadia and Maria Teves. In the same deed, the shares of these same
heirs in Lot 6409 were sold to Asuncion Teves for P100.00. Asuncion Teves took possession of
the land and acquired title[11] over the same on March 22, 1972. After her death in 1981, her
children, defendants-appellees It-it herein, extrajudicially settled Asuncion Teves property,
adjudicating unto themselves Lot 6409.[12] On July 20, 1983 a new transfer certificate of
title[13] was issued in the names of Asuncion Teves children, namely Elisa, Susana, Norberto,
Isaac, Jaime, Felicitas, Teresita, Corazon, and Danilo, all surnamed It-it. On July 2, 1984, the Itits sold Lot 6409 to defendants-appellees Lucrecio Baylosis, Sr. and Pacita Nocete-Baylosis for
P20,000.00[14] and a transfer certificate of title[15] was issued in the name of the Baylosis couple.
Plaintiffs-appellants claim that the Deed of Extrajudicial Settlement & Sale covering Lot
6409 is also spurious. Their arguments were discussed in the trial courts decision as follows Presented as Exhibit "D" and "1" for both the plaintiffs and defendants respectively, is a
document denominated as "Extrajudicial Settlement and Sale" executed on December 4, 1971 by

and among the heirs of Joaquin Teves and Marcelina Cimafranca. This document which gave
birth to TCT No. 5761 over Lot 6409 registered in the name of Asuncion Teves It-it is
questioned by the plaintiffs as spurious for the following reasons:
1. Erasure of the word "quitclaim" is superimposed with the word "sale" in handwriting.
2. The consideration of "One peso" stated in the document is intercalated with the word
"hundred" in handwriting.
3. The signature of Maria Teves Ochotorena, Pedro Teves and Felicia Teves are
forgeries.
4. The thumbmark imposed on the name of Gorgonio Teves does not actually belong to
Gorgonio Teves who was an educated man and skilled in writing according to his
daughter.
Aside from these defects which would make said document null and void, Arcadia Teves who is
one of the living sisters of the mother of the principal defendants although confirming the
authenticity of her signature averred that in reality no consideration was ever given to her and
that her impression of the said document was that she was only giving her consent to sell her
share of the land.
Plaintiffs likewise contend that as regards the share of Ricardo Teves, son of Crescenciano Teves
who predeceased Joaquin and Marcelina, it was not at all affected in that extrajudicial settlement
and sale since neither Crescenciano Teves nor his son Ricardo Teves participated in its
execution.
Likewise, plaintiffs offered TCT No. 5761 for Lot 6409 registered in the name of Asuncion
Teves It-it as Exhibit "B" as proof that said property was later titled in trust for all the heirs of
Joaquin Teves and which was used later as basis in effecting a deed of sale in favor of codefendant Lucresio Baylosis. In this light, the plaintiffs argue that the sale of said property is a
nullity for it was not only attended with bad faith on the part of both the vendor and the vendee
but primarily the vendor had no right at all to part with said property which is legally owned by
others.[16]
In answer to plaintiffs-appellants charges of fraud, defendants-appellees maintained that the
assailed documents were executed with all the formalities required by law and are therefore
binding and legally effective as bases for acquiring ownership or legal title over the lots in
question. Furthermore, it is contended that plaintiffs-appellants have slept on their rights and
should now be deemed to have abandoned such rights.[17]
The trial court ruled in favor of defendants-appellees and rendered judgment dismissing the
complaint with costs against plaintiffs-appellants. As regards Lot 6409, the court declared that
the Extrajudicial Settlement and Sale executed by the heirs of Joaquin Teves and Marcelina

Cimafranca was duly executed with all the formalities required by law, thus, validly conveying
Lot 6409 in favor of Asuncion Teves. Moreover, it stated that, even granting the truth of the
imputed infirmities in the deed, the right of plaintiffs-appellants to bring an action for partition
and reconveyance was already barred by prescription. An action for the annulment of a partition
must be brought within four years from the discovery of the fraud, while an action for the
reconveyance of land based upon an implied or constructive trust prescribes after ten years from
the registration of the deed or from the issuance of the title. The complaint in this case was filed
on May 9, 1984, exactly 12 years, 1 month and 17 days after the issuance of the transfer
certificate of title in the name of Asuncion Teves on March 22, 1972. Thus, ownership over Lot
6409 rightfully belonged to defendants-appellees It-it.
Moreover, the trial court held that the extrajudicial settlements over both Lots 6409 and 769,
having been prepared and acknowledged before a notary public, are public documents, vested
with public interest, the sanctity of which deserves to be upheld unless overwhelmed by clear
and convincing evidence. The evidence presented by the plaintiffs to support their charges of
forgery was considered by the court insufficient to rebut the legal presumption of validity
accorded to such documents.[18]
The Court of Appeals upheld the trial courts decision affirming the validity of the
extrajudicial statements, with a slight modification. It disposed of the case, thus WHEREFORE, premises considered, the decision appealed from is AFFIRMED with the
modification in that herein defendant-appellees are hereby ORDERED to partition Lot 769-A
and deliver to plaintiff-appellant Ricardo Teves one-eight (sic) (1/8) portion thereof
corresponding to the share of his deceased father Cresenciano Teves. No costs.
The appellate court said that plaintiffs-appellants biased and interested testimonial evidence
consisting of mere denials of their signatures in the disputed instruments is insufficient to prove
the alleged forgery and to overcome the evidentiary force of the notarial documents. It also ruled
that the plaintiffs-appellants claim over Lot 6409 was barred by prescription after the lapse of ten
years from the issuance of title in favor of Asuncion Teves, while their claim over Lot 769-A is
barred by laches since more than 25 years has intervened between the sale to Asuncion Teves
and the filing of the present case in 1984.
The appellate court noted that the conveyance of Lot 769-A in favor of Asuncion Teves did
not affect the share of Cresenciano Teves as he was not a signatory to the settlements. It also
found that Ricardo Teves, Cresencianos heir, is in possession of a portion of Lot 769-A and that
defendants-appellees do no not claim ownership over such portion. Thus, the defendantsappellees It-it were ordered to partition and convey to Ricardo Teves his one-eighth share over
Lot 769-A.
As regards the extrajudicial settlement involving Lot 6409, although it was found by the
appellate court that Cresenciano Teves was also not a signatory thereto, it held that it could not
order the reconveyance of the latters share in such land in favor of his heir Ricardo Teves

because Cresenciano had predeceased Joaqin Teves. Moreover, Ricardo Teves, by a deed simply
denominated as Agreement executed on September 13, 1955 wherein he was represented by his
mother, authorized the heirs of Joaquin Teves to sell his share in Lot 6409.[19]
Plaintiffs-appellants assailed the appellate courts decision upon the following grounds I. IN CONSIDERING RICARDO TEVES AS BOUND BY THE SIGNATURE OF HIS MOTHER,
INSPITE OF DEATH OF CRESENCIANO TEVES IN 1944; AND UNDER THE OLD CIVIL CODE
THE SPOUSE CANNOT INHERIT EXCEPT THE USUFRUCT;
II. IN UPHOLDING SWEEPINGLY THE PRESUMPTION OF REGULARITY OF NOTARIZED
DEED, DESPITE CLEAR, CONVINCING, SUBSTANTIAL AND SUFFICIENT EVIDENCE THAT
MARIA OCHOTORENA WAS IN MINDANAO; THE NOTARY PULIC DID NOT KNOW MARIA
OCHOTORENA AND THE SIGNATURES OF THE OTHER HEIRS IN THE QUESTIONED
DOCUMENT ARE BELIED BY COMPARISON WITH THE GENUINE SIGNATURE IN EXH. E;
III. IN VALIDATING THE ONE PESO CONSIDERATION, INSPITE OF NO OTHER VALUABLE
CONSIDERATION, THE SUPERIMPOSED P100 WAS UNILATERALLY INSERTED, SHOWING
FICTITIOUS AND SIMULATED CONSIDERATION; AND
IV. PRESCRIPTION DOES NOT START FROM A VOID CONTRACT.[20]

We affirm that the extrajudicial settlements executed by the heirs of Joaquin Teves and
Marcelina Cimafranca are legally valid and binding.
The extrajudicial settlement of a decedents estate is authorized by section 1 of Rule 74 of the
Rules of Court, which provides in pertinent part that If the decedent left no will and no debts and the heirs are all of age, or the minors are represented
by their judicial or legal representatives duly authorized for the purpose, the parties may, without
securing letters of administration, divide the estate among themselves as they see fit by means of
a public instrument filed in the office of the register of deeds,
Thus, for a partition pursuant to section 1 of Rule 74 to be valid, the following conditions must
concur: (1) the decedent left no will; (2) the decedent left no debts, or if there were debts left, all
had been paid; (3) the heirs are all of age, or if they are minors, the latter are represented by their
judicial guardian or legal representatives; (4) the partition was made by means of a public
instrument or affidavit duly filed with the Register of Deeds.[21]
We uphold, finding no cogent reason to reverse, the trial and appellate courts factual finding
that the evidence presented by plaintiffs-appellants is insufficient to overcome the evidentiary
value of the extrajudicial settlements. The deeds are public documents and it has been held by
this Court that a public document executed with all the legal formalities is entitled to a
presumption of truth as to the recitals contained therein.[22] In order to overthrow a certificate of
a notary public to the effect that the grantor executed a certain document and acknowledged the
fact of its execution before him, mere preponderance of evidence will not suffice. Rather, the
evidence must be so clear, strong and convincing as to exclude all reasonable dispute as to the

falsity of the certificate. When the evidence is conflicting, the certificate will be upheld.[23] The
appellate courts ruling that the evidence presented by plaintiffs-appellants does not constitute the
clear, strong, and convincing evidence necessary to overcome the positive value of the
extrajudicial settlements executed by the parties, all of which are public documents, being
essentially a finding of fact, is entitled to great respect by the appellate court and should not be
disturbed on appeal.[24]
It is noted that the Deed of Extrajudicial Settlement & Sale covering Lot 6409 purports to
divide Joaquin Teves estate among only six of his heirs, namely Asuncion, Teotimo, Felisia,
Gorgonio, Arcadia and Maria Teves.[25] It does not mention nor bear the signatures of either
Pedro or Cresenciano Teves although they are both intestate heirs of Joaquin Teves and as such,
are entitled to a proportionate share of the decedents estate. Contrary to the ruling of the
appellate court, the fact that Cresenciano predeceased Joaquin Teves does not mean that he or,
more accurately, his heirs, lose the right to share in the partition of the property for this is a
proper case for representation, wherein the representative is raised to the place and degree of the
person represented and acquires the rights which the latter would have if he were living.[26]
However, notwithstanding their non-inclusion in the settlement, the action which Pedro and
Cresenciano might have brought for the reconveyance of their shares in the property has already
prescribed.An action for reconveyance based upon an implied trust pursuant to article 1456 of
the Civil Code prescribes in ten years from the registration of the deed or from the issuance of
the title.[27] Asuncion Teves acquired title over Lot 6409 in 1972, but the present case was only
filed by plaintiffs-appellants in 1984, which is more than 10 years from the issuance of title.[28]
The division of Lot 769-A, on the other hand, was embodied in two deeds. The first
extrajudicial settlement was entered into by Teotimo, Felicia, Pedro, Gorgonio, Arcadia and
Asuncion Teves in 1956[29], while the second deed was executed in 1959 by Maria
Teves.[30] Cresenciano was not a signatory to either settlement. However, in contrast to the
extrajudicial settlement covering Lot 6409, the two extrajudicial settlements involving Lot 769-A
do not purport to exclude Cresenciano from his participation in Lot 769-A or to cede his share
therein in favor of Asuncion. The settlement clearly adjudicated the property in equal shares in
favor of the eight heirs of Marcelina Cimafranca. Moreover, the deeds were intended to convey
to Asuncion Teves only the shares of those heirs who affixed their signatures in the two
documents. The pertinent portions of the extrajudicial settlement executed in 1956, of which
substantively identical provisions are included in the 1959 deed, provide 5. That by virtue of the right of succession the eight heirs above mentioned inherit and adjudicate
unto themselves in equal shares Lot No. 769-A and our title thereto is evidenced by the O.C. of
Title No. 4682-A of the Land Records of Negros Oriental.
THAT FOR AND IN CONSIDERATION of the sum of FOUR HUNDRED TWENTY-FIVE
(P425.00) PESOS, Philippine Currency which we have received from ASUNCION TEVES; WE,
Teotimo, Felicia, Pedro, Gorgonio and Arcadia, all surnamed Teves, do hereby sell, transfer and

convey unto Asuncion Teves, married to Isaac Itit, Filipino, of legal age and resident of and with
postal address in the City of Dumaguete, all our shares, interests and participations over Lot 769A of the subdivision plan, Psd, being a portion of Lot No. 769 of the Cadastral Survey of
Dumaguete, her heirs, successors and assigns, together with all the improvements thereon.
It has even been admitted by both parties that Ricardo Teves is in possession of an undetermined
portion of Lot 769-A and defendants-appellees It-it do not claim ownership over his share in the
land.[31]Thus, contrary to the appellate courts ruling, there is no basis for an action for
reconveyance of Ricardo Teves share since, in the first place, there has been no
conveyance. Ricardo Teves is entitled to the ownership and possession of one-eighth of Lot 769A.
Neither does Ricardo Teves have a right to demand partition of Lot 769-A because the two
extrajudicial settlements have already effectively partitioned such property. Every act which is
intended to put an end to indivision among co-heirs and legatees or devisees is deemed to be a
partition, although it should purport to be a sale, an exchange, a compromise, or any other
transaction.[32] The extrajudicial settlements executed in 1956 and 1959 adjudicated Lot 769-A in
equal shares unto the eight heirs of Marcelina Cimafranca. Such a partition, which was legally
made, confers upon each heir the exclusive ownership of the property adjudicated to
him.[33] Although Cresenciano, Ricardos predecessor-in-interest, was not a signatory to the
extrajudicial settlements, the partition of Lot 769-A among the heirs was made in accordance
with their intestate shares under the law.[34]
With regards to the requisite of registration of extrajudicial settlements, it is noted that the
extrajudicial settlements covering Lot 769-A were never registered. However, in the case of Vda.
de Reyes vs. CA,[35] the Court, interpreting section 1 of Rule 74 of the Rules of Court, upheld the
validity of an oral partition of the decedents estate and declared that the non-registration of an
extrajudicial settlement does not affect its intrinsic validity. It was held in this case that
[t]he requirement that a partition be put in a public document and registered has for its purpose
the protection of creditors and at the same time the protection of the heirs themselves against
tardy claims. The object of registration is to serve as constructive notice to others. It follows then
that the intrinsic validity of partition not executed with the prescribed formalities does not come
into play when there are no creditors or the rights of creditors are not affected. Where no such
rights are involved, it is competent for the heirs of an estate to enter into an agreement for
distribution in a manner and upon a plan different from those provided by law.
Thus, despite its non-registration, the extrajudicial settlements involving Lot 769-A are legally
effective and binding among the heirs of Marcelina Cimafranca since their mother had no
creditors at the time of her death.
Except for the portion of Lot 769-A occupied by Ricardo Teves, both parcels of land have
been and continue to be in the possession of Asuncion Teves and her successors-in-

interest.[36] Despite this, no explanation was offered by plaintiffs-appellants as to why they


instituted the present action questioning the extrajudicial settlements only in 1984, which is more
than 25 years after the assailed conveyance of Lot 769-A and more than 10 years after the
issuance of a transfer certificate of title over Lot 6409, both in favor of Asuncion Teves. Such
tardiness indubitably constitutes laches, which is the negligence or omission to assert a right
within a reasonable time, warranting a presumption that the party entitled to assert it either has
abandoned it or declined to assert it.[37] Thus, even assuming that plaintiffs-appellants had a
defensible cause of action, they are barred from pursuing the same by reason of their long and
inexcusable inaction.
An extrajudicial settlement is a contract and it is a well-entrenched doctrine that the law
does not relieve a party from the effects of a contract, entered into with all the required
formalities and with full awareness of what he was doing, simply because the contract turned out
to be a foolish or unwise investment.[38] Therefore, although plaintiffs-appellants may regret
having alienated their hereditary shares in favor of their sister Asuncion, they must now be
considered bound by their own contractual acts. WHEREFORE, the August 18, 1992 decision
of the Court of Appeals is hereby AFFIRMED. No pronouncements as to costs. SO ORDERED.

TAN VS. BENOLIRAO


GR NO. 153820 16 OCTOBER 2009
FACTS: Spouses Lamberto and Erlinda Benolirao and the Spouses Reynaldo and Norma
Taningco were the co-owners of a parcel of land located in Tagaytay City. On October 6, 1992,
the co-owners executed a Deed of Conditional Sale over the property in favor of Tan for the
price of P1,378,000.00. The deed stated:
A. An initial down-payment of TWO HUNDRED (P200,000.00) THOUSAND PESOS, upon
signing of the contract; then the remaining balance of ONE MILLION ONE HUNDRED
SEVENTY EIGHT THOUSAND (P1,178,000.00) PESOS, shall be payable within a period of
one hundred fifty (150) days from date hereof without interest;
B. That for any reason, BUYER fails to pay the remaining balance within above mentioned period,
the BUYER shall have a grace period of sixty (60) days within which to make the payment,
provided that there shall be an interest of 15% per annum on the balance amount due from the
SELLERS;
C. That should in case (sic) the BUYER fails to comply with the terms and conditions within the
above stated grace period, then the SELLERS shall have the right to forfeit the down payment,
and to rescind this conditional sale without need of judicial action;
D. That in case, BUYER have complied with the terms and conditions of this contract, then the
SELLERS shall execute and deliver to the BUYER the appropriate Deed of Absolute Sale;

Tan issued and delivered to the co-owners/vendors check for P200,000 as down payment for the
property, respective receipt issued by vendors.
On November 6, 1992, Lamberto Benolirao died intestate. The heirs of the deceased executed an
extrajudicial settlement of Lambertos estate on January 20, 1993. A new certificate of title over
the property was issued on March 26, 1993 in the names of the Spouses Reynaldo and Norma
Taningco and Erlinda Benolirao and her children.
As stated in the Deed of Conditional Sale, Tan had until March 15, 1993 to pay the balance of
the purchase price. This period was extended by two months as agreed by the parties, Tan had
until May 15, 1993 to pay the balance. Tan failed to pay and another extension was granted by
the vendors. Tan still failed to pay the remaining balance due on May 21, 1993. The vendors
demanded payment of the balance of the purchase price within five (5) days from notice;
otherwise, they would declare the rescission of the conditional sale and the forfeiture of his down
payment based on the terms of the contract.
Tan refused to comply with the vendors demand and instead wrote them a letter dated May 28,
1993 claiming that the annotation on the title constituted an encumbrance on the property that
would prevent the vendors from delivering a clean title to him. Thus, he alleged that he could no
longer be required to pay the balance of the purchase price and demanded the return of his down
payment.

The vendors refused to refund the down payment, Tan, through counsel, sent another demand
letter to the vendors on June 18, 1993. The vendors still refused to heed Tans demand,
prompting Tan to file on
June 19, 1993 a complaint with the RTC for specific performance against the vendors. Tan
alleged that there was a novation of the Deed of Conditional Sale done without his consent since
the annotation on the title created an encumbrance over the property. Tan prayed for the refund
of the down payment and the rescission of the contract.
On August 9, 1993, Tan amended his Complaint, contending that if the respondents insist on
forfeiting the down payment, he would be willing to pay the balance of the purchase price
provided there is reformation of the Deed of Conditional Sale. In the meantime, Tan caused the
annotation on the title of a notice of lis pendens.
On August 21, 1993, the respondents the property to Hector de Guzman (de Guzman) for
P689,000.
The respondents moved for the cancellation of the notice of lis pendens on the ground that it was
inappropriate since the case that Tan filed was a personal action which did not involve either title
to, or possession of, real property. The RTC issued an order dated October 22, 1993 granting
the respondents motion to cancel the lis pendens annotation on the title.
Meanwhile, based on the Deed of Absolute Sale in his favor, de Guzman registered the property
and TCT No. 28104 was issued in his name. Tan then filed a motion to carry over the lis
pendens annotation to TCT No. 28104 registered in de Guzmans name, but the RTC
denied the motion.
On September 8, 1995, after due proceedings, the RTC rendered judgment ruling that the
respondents forfeiture of Tans down payment was proper in accordance with the terms
and conditions of the contract between the parties.The RTC ordered Tan to pay the
respondents the amount of P30,000.00, plus P1,000.00 per court appearance, as attorneys
fees, and to pay the cost of suit.
On appeal, the CA dismissed the petition and affirmed the ruling of the trial court in toto.
Hence, the petition.
ISSUE:Whether or not the contract between the parties is a contract of sale or a contract of sale.
RULING: The petition is granted.
The contract between the parties was merely a contract to sell where the vendors retained
title and ownership to the property until Tan had fully paid the purchase price. Since Tan
had no claim of ownership or title to the property yet, he obviously had no right to ask for
the annotation of a lis pendens notice on the title of the property.

A contract is what the law defines it to be, taking into consideration its essential elements, and
not what the contracting parties call it as stated by Article 1485 of the Civil Code
The very essence of a contract of sale is the transfer of ownership in exchange for a price paid or
promised.
In contrast, a contract to sell is defined as a bilateral contract whereby the prospective seller,
while expressly reserving the ownership of the property despite delivery thereof to the
prospective buyer, binds himself to sell the property exclusively to the prospective buyer upon
fulfilment of the condition agreed, i.e., full payment of the purchase price. A contract to sell may
not even be considered as a conditional contract of sale where the seller may likewise reserve
title to the property subject of the sale until the fulfilment of a suspensive condition, because in a
conditional contract of sale, the first element of consent is present, although it is conditioned
upon the happening of a contingent event which may or may not occur.
Jurisprudence has established that where the seller promises to execute a deed of absolute sale
upon the completion by the buyer of the payment of the price, the contract is only a contract to
sell. Thus, while the contract is denominated as a Deed of Conditional Sale, the presence of the
above-quoted provision identifies the contract as being a mere contract to sell.
Contract to sell is not rescinded but terminated. What then happens to the contract?
We have held in numerous cases that the remedy of rescission under Article 1191 cannot apply
to mere contracts to sell. We explained the reason for this in Santos v. Court of Appeals,19 where
we said:
[I]n a contract to sell, title remains with the vendor and does not pass on to the vendee
until the purchase price is paid in full. Thus, in a contract to sell, the payment of the
purchase price is a positive suspensive condition. Failure to pay the price agreed upon
is not a mere breach, casual or serious, but a situation that prevents the obligation
of the vendor to convey title from acquiring an obligatory force. This is entirely
different from the situation in a contract of sale, where non-payment of the price is a
negative resolutory condition. The effects in law are not identical. In a contract of sale,
the vendor has lost ownership of the thing sold and cannot recover it, unless the contract
of sale is rescinded and set aside. In a contract to sell, however, the vendor remains the
owner for as long as the vendee has not complied fully with the condition of paying the
purchase price. If the vendor should eject the vendee for failure to meet the condition
precedent, he is enforcing the contract and not rescinding it. x x x Article 1592 speaks of
non-payment of the purchase price as a resolutory condition. It does not apply to a
contract to sell. As to Article 1191, it is subordinated to the provisions of Article 1592
when applied to sales of immovable property. Neither provision is applicable [to a
contract to sell].

We, therefore, hold that the contract to sell was terminated when the vendors could no longer
legally compel Tan to pay the balance of the purchase price as a result of the legal encumbrance
which attached to the title of the property. Since Tans refusal to pay was due to the supervening
event of a legal encumbrance on the property and not through his own fault or negligence, we
find and so hold that the forfeiture of Tans down payment was clearly unwarranted.

REILLO et. al vs SAN JOSE


GR 166393 18 JUNE 2009
FACTS: Quiterio San Jose and Antonina Espiritu Santo are husband and wife. Both died
intestate in 1970 and 1976 respectively. They have five children, to wit: Virginia, Virgilio,
Galicano, Victoria, and Catalina.
In 1998, Virginia with the help of her husband (Zosimo Fernando, Sr.) and her children (Cristina
Reillo et al) executed a Deed of Extrajudicial Settlement of Estate where they made it appear that
Virginia was the only heir of the spouses Quiterio and Antonina. They adjudicated among
themselves the estate and then later sold it to Ma. Teresa Pion.
Later, the other siblings found out about what Virginia did and so in October 1999, they filed a
complaint in RTC-Rizal for the annulment of the deed of extrajudicial settlement as well as the
subsequent deed of sale.
In their answer, Reillo et al (children of the now deceased Virginia) admitted that their
grandparents
(Quiterio and Antonina) indeed had five children and that their mom isnt the only heir.
However, they alleged that what their mom adjudicated to herself is her inheritance; that other
than the parcel of land their mom adjudicated to herself, their grandparents have 12 other parcels
of land which are under the possession of Galicano et al; that as such, they are filing a
compulsory counterclaim for the partition of the other 12 parcels of land.
Galicano et al then filed a motion for the court to render judgment on the pleadings. The trial
court granted the motion. The RTC ruled that the admission of Reillo et al that there are 4 other
heirs is proof that the extrajudicial settlement is void because the other heirs were excluded. The
RTC also ruled that
Reillo et als counterclaim is not compulsory but rather it is a permissive counterclaim. As such,
Reillo et al should have paid docket fees therefor but they failed to do so hence their
counterclaim is dismissed. The RTC then ordered the heirs to partition the estate according to the
laws of intestate succession. On appeal, the Court of Appeals (CA) affirmed the decision of the
RTC.
Reillo et al appealed the decision of the CA on the ground that the judgment on the pleading is
void; that it is the RTCs fault why they failed to pay the docket fees for its failure to direct them;
and that the order for partition is void because it does not come with an order of publication
pursuant to Rule 74 of the Rules of Court.
ISSUE: Whether or not the order for partition issued by the trial court is void because there was
no corresponding order for publication pursuant to the provisions of Rule 74 of the Rules of
Court.

HELD: No. The applicable rule is Rule 69 of the Rules of Court. Since the extrajudicial
settlement is void, the property is reverted back to its previous state which is: that it is part of the
estate of Quiterio and Antonina. As such, the estate is deemed undivided among the heirs. And
every action to end an in division among heirs is deemed an action for partition. Therefore Rule
69 applies and under this rule, there is no need to publish the partition in a newspaper of general
circulation.
Anent the issue of the judgment on the pleadings, the same is valid because Reillo et al failed to
raise an issue when they already admitted that there are other heirs which were excluded in the
deed of extrajudicial settlement. Their allegation that the parcel of land adjudicated by their
mother is her inheritance is not tenable because the same was not indicated in the deed of
extrajudicial settlement. In fact, what was stated was that she was the sole heir.
Anent the issue of the counterclaim, Reillo et als counterclaim is permissive in nature and not a
compulsory one because their claim is not necessarily connected with the transaction or
occurrence constituting the subject matter of the opposing partys claim. Their counterclaim
consists of a claim that there are 12 other parcels of land owned by Quiterio and Antonina. Such
allegation is already entirely different from the action brought by Galicano et al., hence it is
permissive and it can even be brought in a separate proceeding. As a permissive pleading, it
requires the payment of docket fees and the RTC cannot be faulted for not directing Reillo et al
to do so. The payment is incumbent upon Reillo et al and the obligation cannot be shifted to the
RTC.

ANTONIO BALTAZAR et al. VS. LORENZO LAXA,


GR NO. 174489, 11 APRIL 2012
FACTS: Pacencia was a 78 year old spinster when she made her last will and testament entitled
"Tauli Nang Bilin o Testamento Miss Pacencia Regala" on September 30,1981.
The will was executed in the house of retired Judge Limpin, witnessed by Dra. Maria Limpin,
Francisco Garcia and Faustino Mercado.
The will was read twice to the testatrix. Her signature was afrixed at the end of the said
document on page 3 and on the left margin of 1, 2 and 4 thereof.
The witnesses affixed their signatures below its attestation clause and on the left margins of page
1,2 and 4 thereof in the presence of Pacencia and of Judge Limpin who acted as notary public.
All properties were bequeathed to respondent Lorenzo Laxa, and his wife Corazon Laxa and
their children Luna and Katherine. Lorenzo is Pacencia's nephew whom she treated as her own
son.
Six days after the execution of the will, Pacencia left for the United States, there, she resided
with Lorenzo and his family until her death on January 4, 1996
On April 27,2000, Lorenzo filed a petition with the RTC of Guagua , Pampanga for the probate
of will of Pacencia and the issuance of the letters of administration in his favor
The RTC issued an Order allowing Lorenzo to present evidence on June 22,2000
Dra. Limpin testified as to the execution of the last will of Pacencia and attested to the present
condition of his father retired Judge Limpin who acted as the notary public
On June 23,2000, petitioner Antonio filed an oppositioj which was joined by the other petitioners
contending that Pacencia's will was null and void and because ownership of the properties had
not been transferred to Pacencia before her death and that Lorenzo is disqualifiedto be appointed,
he being a citizen and resident of USA.
On January 29, 2001, the RTC issued an order denying both of their requests. Proceedings on the
petition for the probate of will continued, and Dra Limpin was called again for crossexamination
Also, Monico Mercado testified as to his fathers (Faustino) condition that his father can no
longer talk and express himself due to brain damage. On the part of Antonio, he presented Rosie.
Rosie testified that Pacencia is in the state of being "magulyan" or forgetful based on her
personal assessment
Antonio testified that the execution of will was attended with force

The RTC denied the petition giving weight to the testimony of Rosie that Pacencia is forgetful,
hence she is unfit to execute a will.
On appeal to the CA, it was reversed. The CA ruled that" the state of being magulyan or
forgetful does not make a person mentally unsound so as to render Pacencia unfit for executing a
will.
ISSUES:
1) Whether or not the will complied with the requirements of law
2) Whether or not the will complied with requirements set forth in Section 11, Rule 76 of the
Rules of Court
HELD:
1. YES. Under Section 1, Rule 75:" Allowance necessary. Conclusive as to the execution. No
will shall be passed either real or personal estate unless it is proved and allowed in the proper
court. Subject to the right of appeal, such allowance of the will shall be valid as to its execution.
" Due execution of the will or its extrinsic validity pertains to whether the testator, being of
sound mind freely executed the will in accordance with the formalities prescribed by law. Upon
examination of the will, it shows that the formalities laid down by the law is faithfully complied
with. Furthermore, the burden to prove that Pacencia was of unsound mind at the time of the
execution of the will lies on the shoulder of the petitioners. There was no substantial evidence
presented that will show that Pacencia was of unsound min at the time of the execution of the
will.
2. Yes. Section 11, Rule 76 states that " If the will is contested, all the subscribing witnesses and
the notary public in the case of the wills executed under the Civil Code of the Philippines, if
present in the Philippines and not insane, must be produced and examined, and the death,
absence, or insanity of any of them must be satisfactorily shown to the court. " Applying it to the
foregoing, the inability of Faustino and Judge Limpin to appear and testify before the court was
satisfactorily explained during the probate proceedings. Thus, the SC hold that, for all intents and
purposes, Lorenzo was able to satisfactorily account for the incapacity and failure of the said
subscribing witness and of the notary public to testify in court. It is an established rule, that a
testament, may not be disallowed just because the attesting witnesses declare against its due
execution; neither does it have to be necessarily allowed just because all the attesting witnesses
declare in favor of its legalization.

UY KIAO ENG vs. NIXON LEE


G.R.No. 176831 15 January 2010

FACTS: Respondent Nixon Lee filed a petition for mandamus with damages against his mother
Uy Kiao Eng, herein petitioner, before the RTC of Manila to compel petitioner to produce the
holographic will of his father so that probate proceedings for the allowance thereof could be
instituted. Respondent had already requested his mother to settle and liquidate the patriarchs
estate and to deliver to the legal heirs their respective inheritance, but petitioner refused to do so
without any justifiable reason. Petitioner denied that she was in custody of the original
holographic will and that she knew of its whereabouts. The RTC heard the case. After the
presentation and formal offer of respondents evidence, petitioner demurred, contending that her
son failed to prove that she had in her custody the original holographic will. The RTC, at first,
denied the demurrer to evidence. However, it granted the same on petitioners motion for
reconsideration. Respondents motion for reconsideration of this latter order was denied. Hence,
the petition was dismissed. Aggrieved, respondent sought review from the appellate court. The
CA initially denied the appeal for lack of merit. Respondent moved for reconsideration. The
appellate court granted the motion, set aside its earlier ruling, issued the writ, and ordered the
production of the will and the payment of attorneys fees. It ruled this time that respondent was
able to show by testimonial evidence that his mother had in her possession the holographic will.
Dissatisfied with this turn of events, petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration. The appellate
court denied this motion. Left with no other recourse, petitioner brought the matter before this
Court, contending in the main that the petition for mandamus is not the proper remedy and that
the testimonial evidence used by the appellate court as basis for its ruling is inadmissible.
ISSUE: Whether or not mandamus is the proper remedy of the respondent.
HELD: The Court cannot sustain the CAs issuance of the writ.
Mandamus is a command issuing from a court of law of competent jurisdiction, in the name of
the state or the sovereign, directed to some inferior court, tribunal, or board, or to some
corporation or person requiring the performance of a particular duty therein specified, which
duty results from the official station of the party to whom the writ is directed or from operation
of law. This definition recognizes the public character of the remedy, and clearly excludes the
idea that it may be resorted to for the purpose of enforcing the performance of duties in which
the public has no interest. The writ is a proper recourse for citizens who seek to enforce a public
right and to compel the performance of a public duty, most especially when the public right
involved is mandated by the Constitution. As the quoted provision instructs, mandamus will lie if
the tribunal, corporation, board, officer, or person unlawfully neglects the performance of an act
which the law enjoins as a duty resulting from an office, trust or station.
The writ of mandamus, however, will not issue to compel an official to do anything which is not
his duty to do or which it is his duty not to do, or to give to the applicant anything to which he is

not entitled by law. Nor will mandamus issue to enforce a right which is in substantial dispute or
as to which a substantial doubt exists, although objection raising a mere technical question will
be disregarded if the right is clear and the case is meritorious. As a rule, mandamus will not lie in
the absence of any of the following grounds: [a] that the court, officer, board, or person against
whom the action is taken unlawfully neglected the performance of an act which the law
specifically enjoins as a duty resulting from office, trust, or station; or [b] that such court, officer,
board, or person has unlawfully excluded petitioner/relator from the use and enjoyment of a right
or office to which he is entitled. On the part of the relator, it is essential to the issuance of a writ
of mandamus that he should have a clear legal right to the thing demanded and it must be the
imperative duty of respondent to perform the act required.
Recognized further in this jurisdiction is the principle that mandamus cannot be used to enforce
contractual obligations. Generally, mandamus will not lie to enforce purely private contract
rights, and will not lie against an individual unless some obligation in the nature of a public or
quasi-public duty is imposed. The writ is not appropriate to enforce a private right against an
individual.] The writ of mandamus lies to enforce the execution of an act, when, otherwise,
justice would be obstructed; and, regularly, issues only in cases relating to the public and to the
government; hence, it is called a prerogative writ. To preserve its prerogative character,
mandamus is not used for the redress of private wrongs, but only in matters relating to the public.
Moreover, an important principle followed in the issuance of the writ is that there should be no
plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law other than the remedy of
mandamus being invoked. In other words, mandamus can be issued only in cases where the usual
modes of procedure and forms of remedy are powerless to afford relief. Although classified as a
legal remedy, mandamus is equitable in its nature and its issuance is generally controlled by
equitable principles. Indeed, the grant of the writ of mandamus lies in the sound discretion of the
court.
In the instant case, the Court, without unnecessarily ascertaining whether the obligation involved
here the production of the original holographic willis in the nature of a public or a private
duty, rules that the remedy of mandamus cannot be availed of by respondent Lee because there
lies another plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law. Let it be noted that
respondent has a photocopy of the will and that he seeks the production of the original for
purposes of probate. The Rules of Court, however, does not prevent him from instituting probate
proceedings for the allowance of the will whether the same is in his possession or not.
There being a plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law for the
production of the subject will, the remedy of mandamus cannot be availed of. Suffice it to state
that respondent Lee lacks a cause of action in his petition. Thus, the Court grants the demurrer.

PALAGANAS VS PALAGANAS
G.R. No. 169144 26 JANUARY 2011
FACTS: This case is about the probate before Philippine court a will executed by Ruperta C.
Palaganas, a foreigner although it has not been probated in its place of execution.
Respondent filled with the RTC of Malolos, Bulacan a petition for the probate of Ruperta s will
and for his appointment as the special administrator of her estate. However, petitioners oppose
on the petition arguing that an unprobated will executed by an American citizen in the U.S.
cannot be probated for the first time in the Philippines.
ISSUE: Whether or not a will executed by a foreigner abroad may be probated in the Philippines
although it has not been previously probated and allowed in the country where it was executed.
HELD: Our laws do not prohibit the probate of wills executed by foreigners abroad although the
same have not as yet been probated and allowed in the countries of their execution. A foreign
will can be given legal effects in our jurisdiction. Article 816 of the Civil Code states that the
will of an alien who is abroad produces effect in the Philippines if made in accordance with the
formalities prescribed by the law of the place where he resides, or according to the formalities
observed in his country.
In this connection, Section 1, Rule 73 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure provides that if the
decedent is an inhabitant of a foreign country, the RTC of the province where he has an estate
may take cognizance of the settlement of such estate. Sections 1 and 2 of Rule 76 further state
that the executor, devisee, or legatee named in the will, or any other person interested in the
estate, may, at any time after the death of the testator, petition the court having jurisdiction to
have the will allowed, whether the same be in his possession or not, or is lost or destroyed.
Our rules require merely that the petition for the allowance of a will must show, so far as known
to the petitioner: (a) the jurisdictional facts; (b) the names, ages, and residences of the heirs,
legatees, and devisees of the testator or decedent; (c) the probable value and character of the
property of the estate;
(d) the name of the person for whom letters are prayed; and (e) if the will has not been delivered
to the court, the name of the person having custody of it. Jurisdictional facts refer to the fact of
death of the decedent, his residence at the time of his death in the province where the probate
court is sitting, or if he is an inhabitant of a foreign country, the estate he left in such province.7
The rules do not require proof that the foreign will has already been allowed and probated in the
country of its execution.

DY YIENG SEANGIO, et al. vs. REYES, et al.


G.R. NO. 140371-72 / 27 NOVEMBER 2006
FACTS: There was a petition for the probate of an alleged holographic will which was
denominated as Kasulatan sa pag-aalis ng mana. The private respondents moved for the
dismissal of the probate proceedings primarily on the ground that the document purporting to be
the holographic will of Segundo did not contain any disposition of the estate of the deceased and
thus did not meet the definition of a will under Article 783 of the Civil Code. According to
private respondents, the will only showed an alleged act of disinheritance by the decedent of his
eldest son, Alfredo, and nothing else; that all other compulsory heirs were not named nor
instituted as heir, devisee or legatee, hence there was preterition which would result to intestacy.
Such being the case, private respondents maintained that while procedurally the court is called
upon to rule only on the extrinsic validity of the will, it is not barred from delving into the
intrinsic validity of the same, and ordering the dismissal of the petition for probate when on the
face of the will it is clear that it contains no testamentary disposition of the property of the
decedent.
Petitioners filed their opposition to the motion to dismiss contending that: (1) generally, the
authority of the probate court is limited only to a determination of the extrinsic validity of the
will; (2) private respondents question the intrinsic and not the extrinsic validity of the will; (3)
disinheritance constitutes a disposition of the estate of a decedent; and (4) the rule on preterition
did not apply because
Segundos will did not constitute a universal heir or heirs to the exclusion of one or more
compulsory heirs.
The RTC issued an order dismissing the petition for probate proceedings, hence, a petition for
certiorari was filed where petitioners argued as follows:
First, respondent judge did not comply with Sections 3 and 4 of the Rule 76 of the Rules of
Court which respectively mandate the court to: (a) fix the time and place for proving the will
when all concerned may appear to contest the allowance thereof, and cause notice of such time
and place to be published three weeks successively previous to the appointed time in a
newspaper of general circulation; and (b) cause the mailing of said notice to the heirs, legatee
and devisees of the testator Segundo;
Second, the holographic will does not contain any institution of an heir, but rather, as its
title clearly states, Kasulatan ng Pag-alis ng Mana, simply contains a disinheritance of a
compulsory heir. Thus, there is no preterition in the decedents will and the holographic will on
its face is not intrinsically void;
Third, the testator intended all his compulsory heirs, petitioners and private respondents
alike, with the sole exception of Alfredo, to inherit his estate. None of the compulsory heirs in the

direct line of Segundo were preterited in the holographic will since there was no institution of an
heir;
Fourth, as it clearly appears from the face of the holographic will that it is both
intrinsically and extrinsically valid, respondent judge was mandated to proceed with the hearing
of the testate case; and,
Lastly, the continuation of the proceedings in the intestate case will work injustice to
petitioners, and will render nugatory the disinheritance of Alfredo.
ISSUE: Whether the document executed by Segundo can be considered as a holographic will.
HELD: A holographic will, as provided under Article 810 of the Civil Code, must be entirely
written, dated, and signed by the hand of the testator himself. It is subject to no other form, and
may be made in or out of the Philippines, and need not be witnessed.
The document, although it may initially come across as a mere disinheritance instrument,
conforms to the formalities of a holographic will prescribed by law. It is written, dated and
signed by the hand of the testator himself. An intent to dispose mortis causa (Article 783) can be
clearly deduced from the terms of the instrument, and while it does not make an affirmative
disposition of the latters property, the disinheritance of the son nonetheless, is an act of
disposition in itself. In other words, the disinheritance results in the disposition of the property of
the testator in favor of those who would succeed in the absence of the eldest son.
Moreover, it is a fundamental principle that the intent or the will of the testator, expressed in the
form and within the limits prescribed by law, must be recognized as the supreme law in
succession. All rules of construction are designed to ascertain and give effect to that intention. It
is only when the intention of the testator is contrary to law, morals, or public policy that it cannot
be given effect.
Holographic wills, therefore, being usually prepared by one who is not learned in the law should
be construed more liberally than the ones drawn by an expert, taking into account the
circumstances surrounding the execution of the instrument and the intention of the testator. In
this regard, the document, even if captioned as Kasulatan ng Pag-alis ng Mana, was intended by
the testator to be his last testamentary act and was executed by him in accordance with law in the
form of a holographic will. Unless the will is probated, the disinheritance cannot be given effect.

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