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2015 UPDATES IN SPECIAL PROCEEDINGS

1) G.R. No. 157912, December 13, 2007, ALAN JOSEPH A. SHEKER,


VS. ESTATE OF ALICE O. SHEKER, VICTORIA S. MEDINA-
ADMINISTRATRIX- Nature of money claim vs. estate

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.

On the issue of filing fees, the Court ruled in Pascual v. Court of Appeals, that the
trial court has jurisdiction to act on a money claim (attorney's fees) against an estate
for services rendered by a lawyer to the administratrix to assist her in fulfilling her
duties to the estate even without payment of separate docket fees because the filing
fees shall 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. Clearly, therefore, non-payment of filing fees for
a money claim against the estate is not one of the grounds for dismissing a money
claim against the estate.

2) G.R. No. 164108, May 08, 2009,ALFREDO HILADO, LOPEZ SUGAR


CORPORATION, FIRST FARMERS HOLDING CORPORATION, VS. THE
HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, THE HONORABLE AMOR A. REYES,
PRESIDING JUDGE, REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF MANILA, BRANCH 21
AND ADMINISTRATRIX JULITA CAMPOS BENEDICTO- Persons with
contingent claim for damages based on torts are entitled to notice/inspect
records, but cannot intervene in the settlement proceedings because they
have to file a separate civil torts action being an action that survive.

Instances where the Rules on Special Proceedings do require notice to any or


all "interested parties" who will be entitled to such notice and notice has to be
given to interested parties are provided in: (1) Sec. 10, Rule 85 in reference
to the time and place of examining and allowing the account of the executor
or administrator; (2) Sec. 7(b) of Rule 89 concerning the petition to authorize
the executor or administrator to sell personal estate, or to sell, mortgage or
otherwise encumber real estates; and; (3) Sec. 1, Rule 90 regarding the
hearing for the application for an order for distribution of the estate residue.

Persons interested in the intestate estate (of Roberto Benedicto), are entitled to such
notices and rights as provided for such interested persons in the Rules on Settlement
of Estates of Deceased Persons under the Rules on Special Proceedings.

3)G.R. No. 171206, September 23, 2013,HEIRS OF THE LATE SPOUSES


FLAVIANO MAGLASANG AND SALUD ADAZA-MAGLASANG, et al., VS.
MANILA BANKING CORPORAT ON, NOW SUBSTITUTED BY FIRST
SOVEREIGN ASSET MANAGEMENT [SPV-AMC], INC. [FSAMI],
PERLAS-BERNABE, J.:

Jurisprudence breaks down the rule under Section 7, Rule 86 and explains that the
secured creditor has three remedies/options that he may alternatively adopt for the
satisfaction of his indebtedness. In particular, he may choose to: (a) waive the
mortgage and claim the entire debt from the estate of the mortgagor as an ordinary
claim; (b) foreclose the mortgage judicially and prove the deficiency as an ordinary
claim; and (c) rely on the mortgage exclusively, or other security and foreclose the
same before it is barred by prescription, without the right to file a claim for any
deficiency. It must, however, be emphasized that these remedies are distinct,
independent and mutually exclusive from each other; thus, the election of one
effectively bars the exercise of the others. With respect to real properties, the Court
in Bank of America v. American Realty Corporation pronounced:

In our jurisdiction, the remedies available to the mortgage creditor are deemed
alternative and not cumulative. Notably, an election of one remedy operates
as a waiver of the other. For this purpose, a remedy is deemed chosen upon the
filing of the suit for collection or upon the filing of the complaint in an action for
foreclosure of mortgage, pursuant to the provision of Rule 68 of the 1997 Rules of
Civil Procedure. As to extrajudicial foreclosure, such remedy is deemed elected by
the mortgage creditor upon filing of the petition not with any court of justice but with
the Office of the Sheriff of the province where the sale is to be made, in accordance
with the provisions of Act No. 3135, as amended by Act No. 4118. (Emphasis
supplied)

Anent the third remedy, it must be mentioned that the same includes the option of
extra-judicially foreclosing the mortgage under Act No. 3135, as availed of by
respondent in this case. However, the plain result of adopting the last mode of
foreclosure is that the creditor waives his right to recover any deficiency from the
estate. These precepts were discussed in the PNB case, citing Perez v. Philippine
National Bank which overturned the earlier Pasno v. Ravina ruling:

Case law now holds that this rule grants to the mortgagee three distinct, independent
and mutually exclusive remedies that can be alternatively pursued by the mortgage
creditor for the satisfaction of his credit in case the mortgagor dies, among them:

(1) to waive the mortgage and claim the entire debt from the estate of the mortgagor
as an ordinary claim;

(2) to foreclose the mortgage judicially and prove any deficiency as an ordinary claim;
and

(3) to rely on the mortgage exclusively, foreclosing the same at any time before it is
barred by prescription without right to file a claim for any deficiency.

In Perez v. Philippine National Bank, reversing Pasno vs. Ravina, we held:

The ruling in Pasno v. Ravina not having been reiterated in any other case, we have
carefully reexamined the same, and after mature deliberation have reached the
conclusion that the dissenting opinion is more in conformity with reason and law. Of
the three alternative courses that section 7, Rule 87 (now Rule 86), offers the
mortgage creditor, to wit, (1) to waive the mortgage and claim the entire debt from
the estate of the mortgagor as an ordinary claim; (2) foreclose the mortgage
judicially and prove any deficiency as an ordinary claim; and (3) to rely on the
mortgage exclusively, foreclosing the same at any time before it is barred by
prescription, without right to file a claim for any deficiency, the majority opinion
in Pasno v. Ravina, in requiring a judicial foreclosure, virtually wipes out the third
alternative conceded by the Rules to the mortgage creditor, and which would
precisely include extra-judicial foreclosures by contrast with the second
alternative.

The plain result of adopting the last mode of foreclosure is that the creditor
waives his right to recover any deficiency from the estate. Following
the Perez ruling that the third mode includes extrajudicial foreclosure sales,
the result of extrajudicial foreclosure is that the creditor waives any further
deficiency claim. x x x. (Emphases and underscoring supplied; italics in the
original)

4) G.R. No. 196049, June 26, 2013,MINORU FUJIKI VS. MARIA PAZ
GALELA MARINAY, SHINICHI MAEKARA, LOCAL CIVIL REGISTRAR OF
QUEZON CITY, AND THE ADMINISTRATOR AND CIVIL REGISTRAR
GENERAL OF THE NATIONAL STATISTICS OFFICE- Application of Rule
108 in foreign divorce.

(1) Whether the Rule on Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void Marriages and
Annulment of Voidable Marriages (A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC) is applicable.

(2) Whether a husband or wife of a prior marriage can file a petition to recognize a
foreign judgment nullifying the subsequent marriage between his or her spouse and
a foreign citizen on the ground of bigamy.

(3) Whether the Regional Trial Court can recognize the foreign judgment in a
proceeding for cancellation or correction of entries in the Civil Registry under Rule
108 of the Rules of Court.

The Ruling of the Court

We grant the petition.

The Rule on Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void Marriages and Annulment of


Voidable Marriages (A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC) does not apply in a petition to recognize
a foreign judgment relating to the status of a marriage where one of the parties is a
citizen of a foreign country. Moreover, in Juliano-Llave v. Republic, this Court held
that the rule in A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC that only the husband or wife can file a
declaration of nullity or annulment of marriage does not apply if the reason behind
the petition is bigamy.

I.

For Philippine courts to recognize a foreign judgment relating to the status of a


marriage where one of the parties is a citizen of a foreign country, the petitioner only
needs to prove the foreign judgment as a fact under the Rules of Court. To be more
specific, a copy of the foreign judgment may be admitted in evidence and proven as
a fact under Rule 132, Sections 24 and 25, in relation to Rule 39, Section 48(b) of
the Rules of Court. Petitioner may prove the Japanese Family Court judgment through
(1) an official publication or (2) a certification or copy attested by the officer
who has custody of the judgment. If the office which has custody is in a foreign
country such as Japan, the certification may be made by the proper diplomatic or
consular officer of the Philippine foreign service in Japan and authenticated by the
seal of office.

To hold that A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC applies to a petition for recognition of foreign
judgment would mean that the trial court and the parties should follow its provisions,
including the form and contents of the petition, the service of summons, the
investigation of the public prosecutor, the setting of pre-trial, the trial and the
judgment of the trial court. This is absurd because it will litigate the case anew. It
will defeat the purpose of recognizing foreign judgments, which is to limit repetitive
litigation on claims and issues. The interpretation of the RTC is tantamount to
relitigating the case on the merits. In Mijares v. Raada, this Court explained that
[i]f every judgment of a foreign court were reviewable on the merits, the plaintiff
would be forced back on his/her original cause of action, rendering immaterial the
previously concluded litigation.

A foreign judgment relating to the status of a marriage affects the civil status,
condition and legal capacity of its parties. However, the effect of a foreign judgment
is not automatic. To extend the effect of a foreign judgment in the Philippines,
Philippine courts must determine if the foreign judgment is consistent with domestic
public policy and other mandatory laws. Article 15 of the Civil Code provides that
[l]aws relating to family rights and duties, or to the status, condition and legal
capacity of persons are binding upon citizens of the Philippines, even though living
abroad. This is the rule of lex nationalii in private international law. Thus, the
Philippine State may require, for effectivity in the Philippines, recognition by
Philippine courts of a foreign judgment affecting its citizen, over whom it exercises
personal jurisdiction relating to the status, condition and legal capacity of such
citizen.

A petition to recognize a foreign judgment declaring a marriage void does not require
relitigation under a Philippine court of the case as if it were a new petition for
declaration of nullity of marriage. Philippine courts cannot presume to know the
foreign laws under which the foreign judgment was rendered. They cannot substitute
their judgment on the status, condition and legal capacity of the foreign citizen who
is under the jurisdiction of another state. Thus, Philippine courts can only recognize
the foreign judgment as a fact according to the rules of evidence.

Section 48(b), Rule 39 of the Rules of Court provides that a foreign judgment or final
order against a person creates a presumptive evidence of a right as between the
parties and their successors in interest by a subsequent title. Moreover, Section 48
of the Rules of Court states that the judgment or final order may be repelled
by evidence of a want of jurisdiction, want of notice to the party, collusion,
fraud, or clear mistake of law or fact. Thus, Philippine courts exercise limited
review on foreign judgments. Courts are not allowed to delve into the merits of a
foreign judgment. Once a foreign judgment is admitted and proven in a Philippine
court, it can only be repelled on grounds external to its merits, i.e. , want of
jurisdiction, want of notice to the party, collusion, fraud, or clear mistake of law or
fact. The rule on limited review embodies the policy of efficiency and the protection
of party expectations, as well as respecting the jurisdiction of other states.

Since 1922 in Adong v. Cheong Seng Gee, Philippine courts have recognized foreign
divorce decrees between a Filipino and a foreign citizen if they are successfully proven
under the rules of evidence. Divorce involves the dissolution of a marriage, but the
recognition of a foreign divorce decree does not involve the extended procedure
under A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC or the rules of ordinary trial. While the Philippines does
not have a divorce law, Philippine courts may, however, recognize a foreign divorce
decree under the second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code, to capacitate a
Filipino citizen to remarry when his or her foreign spouse obtained a divorce decree
abroad.

There is therefore no reason to disallow Fujiki to simply prove as a fact the Japanese
Family Court judgment nullifying the marriage between Marinay and Maekara on the
ground of bigamy. While the Philippines has no divorce law, the Japanese Family
Court judgment is fully consistent with Philippine public policy, as bigamous
marriages are declared void from the beginning under Article 35(4) of the Family
Code. Bigamy is a crime under Article 349 of the Revised Penal Code. Thus, Fujiki
can prove the existence of the Japanese Family Court judgment in accordance with
Rule 132, Sections 24 and 25, in relation to Rule 39, Section 48(b) of the Rules of
Court.

II.

Since the recognition of a foreign judgment only requires proof of fact of the
judgment, it may be made in a special proceeding for cancellation or correction of
entries in the civil registry under Rule 108 of the Rules of Court. Rule 1, Section 3 of
the Rules of Court provides that [a] special proceeding is a remedy by which a party
seeks to establish a status, a right, or a particular fact. Rule 108 creates a remedy
to rectify facts of a persons life which are recorded by the State pursuant to the Civil
Register Law or Act No. 3753. These are facts of public consequence such as birth,
death or marriage, which the State has an interest in recording. As noted by the
Solicitor General, in Corpuz v. Sto. Tomas this Court declared that [t]he recognition
of the foreign divorce decree may be made in a Rule 108 proceeding itself, as the
object of special proceedings (such as that in Rule 108 of the Rules of Court) is
precisely to establish the status or right of a party or a particular fact.

Rule 108, Section 1 of the Rules of Court states:

Sec. 1. Who may file petition. Any person interested in any act, event, order or
decree concerning the civil status of persons which has been recorded in the
civil register, may file a verified petition for the cancellation or correction of any
entry relating thereto, with the Regional Trial Court of the province where the
corresponding civil registry is located. (Emphasis supplied)

Fujiki has the personality to file a petition to recognize the Japanese Family Court
judgment nullifying the marriage between Marinay and Maekara on the ground of
bigamy because the judgment concerns his civil status as married to Marinay. For
the same reason he has the personality to file a petition under Rule 108 to cancel the
entry of marriage between Marinay and Maekara in the civil registry on the basis of
the decree of the Japanese Family Court.

There is no doubt that the prior spouse has a personal and material interest in
maintaining the integrity of the marriage he contracted and the property relations
arising from it. There is also no doubt that he is interested in the cancellation of an
entry of a bigamous marriage in the civil registry, which compromises the public
record of his marriage. The interest derives from the substantive right of the spouse
not only to preserve (or dissolve, in limited instances) his most intimate human
relation, but also to protect his property interests that arise by operation of law the
moment he contracts marriage. These property interests in marriage include the right
to be supported in keeping with the financial capacity of the family and preserving
the property regime of the marriage. Property rights are already substantive rights
protected by the Constitution, but a spouses right in a marriage extends further to
relational rights recognized under Title III (Rights and Obligations between Husband
and Wife) of the Family Code. A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC cannot diminish, increase, or
modify the substantive right of the spouse to maintain the integrity of his
marriage. In any case, Section 2(a) of A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC preserves this
substantive right by limiting the personality to sue to the husband or the wife of the
union recognized by law.

Section 2(a) of A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC does not preclude a spouse of a subsisting
marriage to question the validity of a subsequent marriage on the ground of bigamy.
On the contrary, when Section 2(a) states that [a] petition for declaration of absolute
nullity of void marriage may be filed solely by the husband or the wifeit refers
to the husband or the wife of the subsisting marriage. Under Article 35(4) of the
Family Code, bigamous marriages are void from the beginning. Thus, the parties in
a bigamous marriage are neither the husband nor the wife under the law. The
husband or the wife of the prior subsisting marriage is the one who has the
personality to file a petition for declaration of absolute nullity of void marriage under
Section 2(a) of A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC. Article 35(4) of the Family Code, which
declares bigamous marriages void from the beginning, is the civil aspect of Article
349 of the Revised Penal Code, which penalizes bigamy. Bigamy is a public crime.
Thus, anyone can initiate prosecution for bigamy because any citizen has an interest
in the prosecution and prevention of crimes. If anyone can file a criminal action which
leads to the declaration of nullity of a bigamous marriage, there is more reason to
confer personality to sue on the husband or the wife of a subsisting marriage. The
prior spouse does not only share in the public interest of prosecuting and preventing
crimes, he is also personally interested in the purely civil aspect of protecting his
marriage.

When the right of the spouse to protect his marriage is violated, the spouse is clearly
an injured party and is therefore interested in the judgment of the suit. Juliano-Llave
ruled that the prior spouse is clearly the aggrieved party as the bigamous marriage
not only threatens the financial and the property ownership aspect of the prior
marriage but most of all, it causes an emotional burden to the prior spouse. Being
a real party in interest, the prior spouse is entitled to sue in order to declare a
bigamous marriage void. For this purpose, he can petition a court to recognize a
foreign judgment nullifying the bigamous marriage and judicially declare as a fact
that such judgment is effective in the Philippines. Once established, there should be
no more impediment to cancel the entry of the bigamous marriage in the civil registry.

III.

In Braza v. The City Civil Registrar of Himamaylan City, Negros Occidental, this Court
held that a trial court has no jurisdiction to nullify marriages in a special proceeding
for cancellation or correction of entry under Rule 108 of the Rules of Court. Thus, the
validity of marriage[] x x x can be questioned only in a direct action to nullify the
marriage. The RTC relied on Braza in dismissing the petition for recognition of foreign
judgment as a collateral attack on the marriage between Marinay and Maekara.
Braza is not applicable because Braza does not involve a recognition of a foreign
judgment nullifying a bigamous marriage where one of the parties is a citizen of the
foreign country.

To be sure, a petition for correction or cancellation of an entry in the civil registry


cannot substitute for an action to invalidate a marriage. A direct action is necessary
to prevent circumvention of the substantive and procedural safeguards of marriage
under the Family Code, A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC and other related laws. Among these
safeguards are the requirement of proving the limited grounds for the dissolution of
marriage, support pendente lite of the spouses and children, the liquidation, partition
and distribution of the properties of the spouses, and the investigation of the public
prosecutor to determine collusion. A direct action for declaration of nullity or
annulment of marriage is also necessary to prevent circumvention of the jurisdiction
of the Family Courts under the Family Courts Act of 1997 (Republic Act No. 8369),
as a petition for cancellation or correction of entries in the civil registry may be filed
in the Regional Trial Court where the corresponding civil registry is located. In other
words, a Filipino citizen cannot dissolve his marriage by the mere expedient of
changing his entry of marriage in the civil registry.

However, this does not apply in a petition for correction or cancellation of a civil
registry entry based on the recognition of a foreign judgment annulling a marriage
where one of the parties is a citizen of the foreign country. There is neither
circumvention of the substantive and procedural safeguards of marriage under
Philippine law, nor of the jurisdiction of Family Courts under R.A. No. 8369. A
recognition of a foreign judgment is not an action to nullify a marriage. It is an action
for Philippine courts to recognize the effectivity of a foreign judgment, which
presupposes a case which was already tried and decided under foreign law.
The procedure in A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC does not apply in a petition to recognize a
foreign judgment annulling a bigamous marriage where one of the parties is a citizen
of the foreign country. Neither can R.A. No. 8369 define the jurisdiction of the foreign
court.

Article 26 of the Family Code confers jurisdiction on Philippine courts to extend the
effect of a foreign divorce decree to a Filipino spouse without undergoing trial to
determine the validity of the dissolution of the marriage. The second paragraph of
Article 26 of the Family Code provides that [w]here a marriage between a Filipino
citizen and a foreigner is validly celebrated and a divorce is thereafter validly obtained
abroad by the alien spouse capacitating him or her to remarry, the Filipino spouse
shall have capacity to remarry under Philippine law. In Republic v. Orbecido, this
Court recognized the legislative intent of the second paragraph of Article 26 which is
to avoid the absurd situation where the Filipino spouse remains married to the alien
spouse who, after obtaining a divorce, is no longer married to the Filipino
spouse under the laws of his or her country. The second paragraph of Article 26 of
the Family Code only authorizes Philippine courts to adopt the effects of a foreign
divorce decree precisely because the Philippines does not allow divorce. Philippine
courts cannot try the case on the merits because it is tantamount to trying a case for
divorce.

The second paragraph of Article 26 is only a corrective measure to address the


anomaly that results from a marriage between a Filipino, whose laws do not allow
divorce, and a foreign citizen, whose laws allow divorce. The anomaly consists in the
Filipino spouse being tied to the marriage while the foreign spouse is free to marry
under the laws of his or her country. The correction is made by extending in the
Philippines the effect of the foreign divorce decree, which is already effective in the
country where it was rendered. The second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family
Code is based on this Courts decision in Van Dorn v. Romillo which declared that the
Filipino spouse should not be discriminated against in her own country if the ends of
justice are to be served. The principle in Article 26 of the Family Code applies in a
marriage between a Filipino and a foreign citizen who obtains a foreign judgment
nullifying the marriage on the ground of bigamy. The Filipino spouse may file a
petition abroad to declare the marriage void on the ground of bigamy. The principle
in the second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code applies because the foreign
spouse, after the foreign judgment nullifying the marriage, is capacitated to remarry
under the laws of his or her country. If the foreign judgment is not recognized in the
Philippines, the Filipino spouse will be discriminatedthe foreign spouse can remarry
while the Filipino spouse cannot remarry.

Under the second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code, Philippine courts are
empowered to correct a situation where the Filipino spouse is still tied to the marriage
while the foreign spouse is free to marry. Moreover, notwithstanding Article 26 of the
Family Code, Philippine courts already have jurisdiction to extend the effect of a
foreign judgment in the Philippines to the extent that the foreign judgment does not
contravene domestic public policy. A critical difference between the case of a foreign
divorce decree and a foreign judgment nullifying a bigamous marriage is that bigamy,
as a ground for the nullity of marriage, is fully consistent with Philippine public policy
as expressed in Article 35(4) of the Family Code and Article 349 of the Revised Penal
Code. The Filipino spouse has the option to undergo full trial by filing a petition for
declaration of nullity of marriage under A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC, but this is not the
only remedy available to him or her. Philippine courts have jurisdiction to recognize
a foreign judgment nullifying a bigamous marriage, without prejudice to a criminal
prosecution for bigamy.

In the recognition of foreign judgments, Philippine courts are incompetent to


substitute their judgment on how a case was decided under foreign law. They cannot
decide on the family rights and duties, or on the status, condition and legal capacity
of the foreign citizen who is a party to the foreign judgment. Thus, Philippine courts
are limited to the question of whether to extend the effect of a foreign judgment in
the Philippines. In a foreign judgment relating to the status of a marriage involving
a citizen of a foreign country, Philippine courts only decide whether to extend its
effect to the Filipino party, under the rule of lex nationalii expressed in Article 15 of
the Civil Code.

For this purpose, Philippine courts will only determine (1) whether the foreign
judgment is inconsistent with an overriding public policy in the Philippines; and (2)
whether any alleging party is able to prove an extrinsic ground to repel the foreign
judgment, i.e. want of jurisdiction, want of notice to the party, collusion, fraud, or
clear mistake of law or fact. If there is neither inconsistency with public policy nor
adequate proof to repel the judgment, Philippine courts should, by default, recognize
the foreign judgment as part of the comity of nations. Section 48(b), Rule 39 of the
Rules of Court states that the foreign judgment is already presumptive evidence of
a right between the parties. Upon recognition of the foreign judgment, this right
becomes conclusive and the judgment serves as the basis for the correction or
cancellation of entry in the civil registry. The recognition of the foreign judgment
nullifying a bigamous marriage is a subsequent event that establishes a new status,
right and fact that needs to be reflected in the civil registry. Otherwise, there will be
an inconsistency between the recognition of the effectivity of the foreign judgment
and the public records in the Philippines.

However, the recognition of a foreign judgment nullifying a bigamous marriage is


without prejudice to prosecution for bigamy under Article 349 of the Revised Penal
Code. The recognition of a foreign judgment nullifying a bigamous marriage is not a
ground for extinction of criminal liability under Articles 89 and 94 of the Revised Penal
Code. Moreover, under Article 91 of the Revised Penal Code, [t]he term of
prescription [of the crime of bigamy] shall not run when the offender is absent from
the Philippine archipelago.

Petition granted. Case reinstated for further proceedings.

5) G.R. No. 159130, August 22, 2008,ATTY. GEORGE S. BRIONES, VS.


LILIA J. HENSON-CRUZ, RUBY J. HENSON, AND ANTONIO J. HENSON-
Rule 109

Matter appealed matter was the special administrator's commission, a charge that is
effectively a claim against the estate under administration, while the matter covered
by the petition for certiorari was the appointment of an auditor who would pass upon
the special administrator's final account. By their respective natures, these matters
can exist independently of one another and can proceed separately as envisioned by
the Rules under Rule 109.

6) G.R. No. 189121, July 31, 2013, AMELIA GARCIA-QUIAZON, JENNETH


QUIAZON AND MARIA JENNIFER QUIAZON VS. MA. LOURDES BELEN,
FOR AND IN BEHALF OF MARIA LOURDES ELISE QUIAZON
-Venue means actual residence at the time of death, regardless of
where his death certificate was registered.
It is evident from the records that during his lifetime, Eliseo resided at No. 26
Everlasting Road, Phase 5, Pilar Village, Las Pias City. For this reason, the venue
for the settlement of his estate may be laid in the said city.

In opposing the issuance of letters of administration, the petitioners harp on the entry
in Eliseos Death Certificate that he is a resident of Capas, Tarlac where they insist
his estate should be settled. While the recitals in death certificates can be considered
proofs of a decedents residence at the time of his death, the contents thereof,
however, is not binding on the courts. Both the RTC and the Court of Appeals found
that Eliseo had been living with Lourdes, deporting themselves as husband and wife,
from 1972 up to the time of his death in 1995. This finding is consistent with the
fact that in 1985, Eliseo filed an action for judicial partition of properties against
Amelia before the RTC of Quezon City, Branch 106, on the ground that their marriage
is void for being bigamous. That Eliseo went to the extent of taking his marital feud
with Amelia before the courts of law renders untenable petitioners position that Eliseo
spent the final days of his life in Tarlac with Amelia and her children. It disproves
rather than supports petitioners submission that the lower courts findings arose
from an erroneous appreciation of the evidence on record. Factual findings of the
trial court, when affirmed by the appellate court, must be held to be conclusive and
binding upon this Court.
7) G.R. No. 177099, June 08, 2011,EDUARDO G. AGTARAP VS.
SEBASTIAN AGTARAP, JOSEPH AGTARAP, TERESA AGTARAP, WALTER
DE SANTOS, AND ABELARDO DAGORO-

Probate court has jurisdiction to determine if property is conjugal or not.

An estate is settled and distributed among the heirs only after the payment of the
debts of the estate, funeral charges, expenses of administration, allowance to the
widow, and inheritance tax. The records of these cases do not show that these were
complied with in 1965.

8) G.R. No. 153820, October 16, 2009, DELFIN TAN VS. ERLINDA C.
BENOLIRAO, ANDREW C. BENOLIRAO, ROMANO C. BENOLIRAO, DION
C. BENOLIRAO, SPS. REYNALDO TANINGCO AND NORMA D.
BENOLIRAO, EVELYN T. MONREAL, AND ANN KARINA TANINGCO,

The provision of Section 4, Rule 74 prescribes the procedure to be followed if within


two years after an extrajudicial partition or summary distribution is made, an heir or
other person appears to have been deprived of his lawful participation in the estate,
or some outstanding debts which have not been paid are discovered. When the
lawful participation of the heir is not payable in money, because, for
instance, he is entitled to a part of the real property that has been
partitioned, there can be no other procedure than to cancel the partition so
made and make a new division, unless, of course, the heir agrees to be paid
the value of his participation with interest. But in case the lawful participation
of the heir consists in his share in personal property of money left by the decedent,
or in case unpaid debts are discovered within the said period of two years, the
procedure is not to cancel the partition, nor to appoint an administrator to re-
assemble the assets, as was allowed under the old Code, but the court, after hearing,
shall fix the amount of such debts or lawful participation in proportion to or to the
extent of the assets they have respectively received and, if circumstances require, it
may issue execution against the real estate belonging to the decedent, or both. The
present procedure is more expedient and less expensive in that it dispenses with the
appointment of an administrator and does not disturb the possession enjoyed by the
distributees. [Emphasis supplied.]

An annotation is placed on new certificates of title issued pursuant to the distribution


and partition of a decedent's real properties to warn third persons on the possible
interests of excluded heirs or unpaid creditors in these properties. The annotation,
therefore, creates a legal encumbrance or lien on the real property in favor
of the excluded heirs or creditors. Where a buyer purchases the real
property despite the annotation, he must be ready for the possibility that
the title could be subject to the rights of excluded parties. The cancellation of
the sale would be the logical consequence where: (a) the annotation clearly appears
on the title, warning all would-be buyers; (b) the sale unlawfully interferes with the
rights of heirs; and (c) the rightful heirs bring an action to question the transfer within
the two-year period provided by law.

As we held in Vda. de Francisco v. Carreon:


And Section 4, Rule 74 xxx expressly authorizes the court to give to every heir his
lawful participation in the real estate "notwithstanding any transfers of such real
estate" and to "issue execution" thereon. All this implies that, when within the
amendatory period the realty has been alienated, the court in re-dividing it
among the heirs has the authority to direct cancellation of such alienation
in the same estate proceedings, whenever it becomes necessary to do so. To
require the institution of a separate action for such annulment would run counter to
the letter of the above rule and the spirit of these summary settlements. [Emphasis
supplied.]

Similarly, in Sps. Domingo v. Roces we said:

The foregoing rule clearly covers transfers of real property to any person, as long as
the deprived heir or creditor vindicates his rights within two years from the date of
the settlement and distribution of estate. Contrary to petitioners' contention, the
effects of this provision are not limited to the heirs or original distributees
of the estate properties, but shall affect any transferee of the properties.
[Emphasis supplied.]

Indeed, in David v. Malay, although the title of the property had already been
registered in the name of the third party buyers, we cancelled the sale and ordered
the reconveyance of the property to the estate of the deceased for proper disposal
among his rightful heirs.

8) G.R. No. 204029, June 04, 2014, AVELINA ABARIENTOS


REBUSQUILLO [SUBSTITUTED BY HER HEIRS, EXCEPT EMELINDA R.
GUALVEZ] AND SALVADOR A. OROSCO, PETITIONERS, VS. SPS.
DOMINGO AND EMELINDA REBUSQUILLO GUALVEZ- jurisdiction on
issue of heirship in an ordinary civil action as an exception to the rule.

It has indeed been ruled that the declaration of heirship must be made in a special
proceeding, not in an independent civil action. However, this Court had likewise held
that recourse to administration proceedings to determine who heirs are is sanctioned
only if there is a good and compelling reason for such recourse.Hence, the Court had
allowed exceptions to the rule requiring administration proceedings as when the
parties in the civil case already presented their evidence regarding the issue of
heirship, and the RTC had consequently rendered judgment upon the issues it defined
during the pre-trial. In Portugal v. Portugal-Beltran, this Court held:

In the case at bar, respondent, believing rightly or wrongly that she was the sole heir
to Portugals estate, executed on February 15, 1988 the questioned Affidavit of
Adjudication under the second sentence of Rule 74, Section 1 of the Revised Rules of
Court. Said rule is an exception to the general rule that when a person dies leaving
a property, it should be judicially administered and the competent court should
appoint a qualified administrator, in the order established in Sec. 6, Rule 78 in case
the deceased left no will, or in case he did, he failed to name an executor therein.

Petitioners claim, however, to be the exclusive heirs of Portugal. A probate or


intestate court, no doubt, has jurisdiction to declare who are the heirs of a deceased.

It appearing, however, that in the present case the only property of the
intestate estate of Portugal is the Caloocan parcel of land to still subject it,
under the circumstances of the case, to a special proceeding which could be
long, hence, not expeditious, just to establish the status of petitioners as heirs is
not only impractical; it is burdensome to the estate with the costs and expenses of
an administration proceeding. And it is superfluous in light of the fact that the
parties to the civil case - subject of the present case, could and had already
in fact presented evidence before the trial court which assumed jurisdiction
over the case upon the issues it defined during pre-trial.

In fine, under the circumstances of the present case, there being no compelling
reason to still subject Portugals estate to administration proceedings since a
determination of petitioners status as heirs could be achieved in the civil case filed
by petitioners, the trial court should proceed to evaluate the evidence presented by
the parties during the trial and render a decision thereon upon the issues it defined
during pre-trial x xx. (emphasis supplied)

Similar to Portugal, in the present case, there appears to be only one parcel of land
being claimed by the contending parties as the inheritance from Eulalio. It would be
more practical, as Portugal teaches, to dispense with a separate special proceeding
for the determination of the status of petitioner Avelina as sole heir of Eulalio,
especially in light of the fact that respondents spouses Gualvez admitted in
court that they knew for a fact that petitioner Avelina was not the sole heir
of Eulalio and that petitioner Salvador was one of the other living heirs with
rights over the subject land. As confirmed by the RTC in its Decision,respondents
have stipulated and have thereby admitted the veracity of the following facts during
the pre-trial:

IV UNCONTROVERTED FACTS: (Based on the stipulation of facts in the Pre-Trial


Order)

A. x x x

B. [Petitioners] and private [respondents] spouses Gualvez admitted the


following facts:

1. Identity of the parties;

2. Capacity of the [petitioners] and private [respondents] to sue and be


sued;

3. [Petitioner] Avelina Abarientos-Rebusquilllo is not the only


surviving heir of deceased spouses Eulalio and Victoria
Abarientos;

4. Petitioner Salvador Orosco is a co-owner/possessor of a portion


of the subject property;

5. Fortunata Abarientos-Orosco is the sister of Avelina Abarientos;

6. [Respondent] Emelinda Rebusquillo-Gualves is a daughter of


[petitioner] Avelina A. Rebusquillo;

7. [Petitioner] Avelina Rebusquillo was born on Nov. 10, 1923;

8. The existence of Affidavit of Self-Adjudication of Estate of the Deceased


and Deed of Absolute Sale executed by [petitioner] Avelina A.
Rebusquillo on the subject property.[9] (emphasis supplied)

In light of the admission of respondents spouses Gualvez, it is with more reason that
a resort to special proceeding will be but an unnecessary superfluity. Accordingly, the
courta quo had properly rendered judgment on the validity of the Affidavit of Self-
Adjudication executed by Avelina. As pointed out by the trial court, an Affidavit of
Self-Adjudication is only proper when the affiant is the sole heir of the
decedent. The second sentence of Section 1, Rule 74 of the Rules of Court is
patently clear that self-adjudication is only warranted when there is only one heir:

Section 1. Extrajudicial settlement by agreement between heirs.x x x If there is


only one heir, he may adjudicate to himself the entire estate by means of an
affidavit filed in the office of the register of deeds. x x x(emphasis supplied)

As admitted by respondents, Avelina was not the sole heir of Eulalio. In fact, as
admitted by respondents, petitioner Salvador is one of the co-heirs by right of
representation of his mother. Without a doubt, Avelina had perjured herself when
she declared in the affidavit that she is the only daughter and sole heir of spouses
EULALIO ABARIENTOS AND VICTORIA VILLAREAL. The falsity of this claim renders
her act of adjudicating to herself the inheritance left by her father invalid. The RTC
did not, therefore, err in granting Avelinas prayer to declare the affidavit null and
void and so correct the wrong she has committed.

In like manner, the Deed of Absolute Sale executed by Avelina in favor of respondents
was correctly nullified and voided by the RTC Avelina was not in the right position to
sell and transfer the absolute ownership of the subject property to respondents. As
she was not the sole heir of Eulalio and her Affidavit of Self-Adjudication is void, the
subject property is still subject to partition. Avelina, in fine, did not have the absolute
ownership of the subject property but only an aliquot portion. What she could have
transferred to respondents was only the ownership of such aliquot portion. It is
apparent from the admissions of respondents and the records of this case that Avelina
had no intention to transfer the ownership, of whatever extent, over the property to
respondents. Hence, the Deed of Absolute Sale is nothing more than a simulated
contract.

Petition granted.

9) G.R. No. 188773, September 10, 2014,HEIRS OF VALENTIN


BASBAS, et al vs. VS. RICARDO BASBAS AS REPRESENTED BY
EUGENIO BASBAS-)No need for special proceeding to determine heirship if the same
has been stipulated

PEREZ, J.:

In Heirs of Yaptinchay, the complaint for annulment and/or declaration of nullity of


certain TCT's was dismissed for failure of the petitioners to demonstrate "any proof
or even a semblance of it" that they had been declared the legal heirs of the deceased
couple, the spouses Yaptinchay. In stark contrast, the records of this case reveal a
document, an Extrajudicial Settlement of Marcelo Sr.'s estate, which explicitly
recognizes herein respondents as Marcelo Sr.'s legitimate children and heirs. The
same document settles and partitions the estate of Marcelo Sr. specifying Teofista's
paraphernal properties, and separates the properties she owns in common with her
children, herein respondents. Plainly, there is no need to re-declare herein
respondents as heirs of Marcelo Sr., and prolong this case interminably.
Thus, we find no need for a separate proceeding for a declaration of the heirs of
Severo in order to resolve petitioners Action for Annulment of Title and
Reconveyance of the subject property.

10) 1st Div., G.R. No. 188944, July 09, 2014, SPOUSES RODOLFO
BEROT AND LILIA BEROT VS. FELIPE C. SIAPNO- Rule 86, Sec. 7 permits
a mortgagee to file an action for judicial foreclosure against the heirs, executor
or administrator of a deceased mortgagor. The general rule is the estate
cannot be impleaded as defendant, but if there was no objection to such
impleading, it amounts to a waiver because jurisdiction over the person of the
defendant is waivable.

Facts:

On May 23, 2002, Macaria Berot (or Macaria) and spouses Rodolfo A. Berot (or
appellant) and Lilia P. Berot (or Lilia) obtained a loan from Felipe C. Siapno (or
appellee) in the sum of P250,000.00, payable within one year together with interest
thereon at the rate of 2% per annum from that date until fully paid.

As security for the loan, Macaria, appellant and Lilia (or mortgagors, when
collectively) mortgaged to appellee a portion, consisting of 147 square meters (or
contested property), of that parcel of land with an area of 718 square meters,
situated in Banaoang, Calasiao, Pangasinan and covered by Tax Declaration No. 1123
in the names of Macaria and her husband Pedro Berot (or Pedro), deceased. On
June 23, 2003, Macaria died.

Because of the mortgagors default, appellee filed an action against them for
foreclosure of mortgage and damages on July 15, 2004 in the Regional Trial Court of
Dagupan City (Branch 42). The action was anchored on the averment that the
mortgagors failed and refused to pay the abovementioned sum of P250,000.00 plus
the stipulated interest of 2% per month despite lapse of one year from May 23, 2002.

In answer, appellant and Lilia (or Berot spouses, when collectively [referred to])
alleged that the contested property was the inheritance of the former from his
deceased father, Pedro; that on said property is their family home; that the mortgage
is void as it was constituted over the family home without the consent of their
children, who are the beneficiaries thereof; that their obligation is only joint; and that
the lower court has no jurisdiction over Macaria for the reason that no summons was
served on her as she was already dead.

With leave of court, the complaint was amended by substituting the estate of Macaria
in her stead. Thus, the defendants named in the amended complaint are now the
ESTATE OF MACARIA BEROT, represented by Rodolfo A. Berot (son of Macaria),
RODOLFO A. BEROT and LILIA P. BEROT.

After trial, a decision was rendered in favor of plaintiff.

Issue: Whether the court acquire jurisdiction over the person of the estate.

Ruling:
It may be recalled that when the plaintiff filed his Amended Complaint substituting
the estate of Macaria Berot in place of Macaria Berot as party defendant, defendants
made no objections thereto. Not even an amended answer was filed by the
defendants questioning the substitution of the estate of Macaria Berot. For these
reasons, the defendants are deemed to have waived any objection on the personality
of the estate of Macaria Berot. Section 1, Rule 9 of the Rules of Court provides that,
Defenses and objections not pleaded either in a motion to dismiss or in the answer
are deemed waived. x x x. (Underscoring ours).

Indeed, the defense of lack of jurisdiction over the person of the defendant is one
that may be waived by a party to a case. In order to avail of that defense, one must
timely raise an objection before the court.

The records of the case show that on 9 November 2004, a hearing was held on the
Motion for Leave to File filed by respondent to have her amended Complaint admitted.
During the said hearing, the counsel for petitioners did not interpose an objection to
the said Motion for Leave. On 18 March 2005, a hearing was held on respondents
Motion to Admit Amended Complaint, wherein counsel for petitioners again failed to
interpose any objection. Thus, the trial court admitted respondents Amended
Complaint and ordered that a copy and a summons be served anew on petitioners.

In an Order dated 14 April 2005, the RTC noted that petitioners received the
summons and the copy of the amended Complaint on 3 February 2005 and yet they
did not file an Answer. During the trial on the merits that followed, petitioners failed
to interpose any objection to the trial courts exercise of jurisdiction over the estate
of Macaria Berot. Clearly, their full participation in the proceedings of the case can
only be construed as a waiver of any objection to or defense of the trial courts
supposed lack of jurisdiction over the estate.

Xxxx xxxxx

It should be noted that Rodolfo Berot is the son of the deceased Macaria[22] and as
such, he is a compulsory heir of his mother. His substitution is mandated by Section
16, Rule 3 of the Revised Rules of Court. Notably, there is no indication in the records
of the case that he had other siblings who would have been his co-heirs. The lower
and appellate courts veered from the real issue whether the proper parties have been
impleaded. They instead focused on the issue whether there was need for a formal
substitution when the deceased Macaria, and later its estate, was impleaded. As the
compulsory heir of the estate of Macaria, Rodolfo is the real party in interest in
accordance with Section 2, Rule 3 of the Revised Rules of Court. At the time of the
filing of the complaint for foreclosure, as well as the time it was amended to implead
the estate of Macaria, it is Rodolfo as heir who is the real party in interest. He
stands to be benefitted or injured by the judgment in the suit.

Rodolfo is also Macarias co-defendant in the foreclosure proceedings in his own


capacity as co-borrower of the loan. He participated in the proceedings of the case,
from the initial hearing of the case, and most particularly when respondent filed his
amended complaint impleading the estate of Macaria. When respondent amended his
complaint, Rodolfo did not file an amended Answer nor raise any objection, even if
he was also identified therein as the representative of the estate of the deceased
Macaria. The lower court noted this omission by Rodolfo in its Order dated 8
September 2006 ruling on his Motion for Reconsideration to the said courts Decision
dated 30 June 2006. Thus, his continued participation in the proceedings clearly
shows that the lower court acquired jurisdiction over the heir of Macaria.

In Regional Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board v. Court of Appeals, this Court has
ruled that formal substitution of parties is not necessary when the heirs themselves
voluntarily appeared, participated, and presented evidence during the proceedings.

Xxx xxx xxx


In Vda. De Salazar v. Court of Appeals we ruled that a formal substitution of the heirs
in place of the deceased is no longer necessary if the heirs continued to appear and
participated in the proceedings of the case. In the cited case, we explained the
rationale of our ruling and related it to the due process issue, to wit:

We are not unaware of several cases where we have ruled that a party having died
in an action that survives, the trial held by the court without appearance of the
deceased's legal representative or substitution of heirs and the judgment rendered
after such trial, are null and void because the court acquired no jurisdiction over the
persons of the legal representatives or of the heirs upon whom the trial and the
judgment would be binding. This general rule notwithstanding, in denying petitioner's
motion for reconsideration, the Court of Appeals correctly ruled that formal
substitution of heirs is not necessary when the heirs themselves voluntarily appeared,
participated in the case and presented evidence in defense of deceased defendant.
Attending the case at bench, after all, are these particular circumstances which
negate petitioner's belated and seemingly ostensible claim of violation of her rights
to due process. We should not lose sight of the principle underlying the general rule
that formal substitution of heirs must be effectuated for them to be bound by a
subsequent judgment. Such had been the general rule established not because the
rule on substitution of heirs and that on appointment of a legal representative are
jurisdictional requirements per se but because non-compliance therewith results in
the undeniable violation of the right to due process of those who, though not duly
notified of the proceedings, are substantially affected by the decision rendered
therein. Viewing the rule on substitution of heirs in this light, the Court of Appeals,
in the resolution denying petitioner's motion for reconsideration, thus expounded:
Although the jurisprudential rule is that failure to make the substitution is a
jurisdictional defect, it should be noted that the purpose of this procedural rule is to
comply with due process requirements. The original party having died, he could not
continue, to defend himself in court despite the fact that the action survived him. For
the case to continue, the real party in interest must be substituted for the deceased.
The real party in interest is the one who would be affected by the judgment. It could
be the administrator or executor or the heirs. In the instant case, the heirs are the
proper substitutes. Substitution gives them the opportunity to continue the defense
for the deceased. Substitution is important because such opportunity to defend is a
requirement to comply with due process. Such substitution consists of making the
proper changes in the caption of the case which may be called the formal aspect of
it. Such substitution also includes the process of letting the substitutes know that
they shall be bound by any judgment in the case and that they should therefore
actively participate in the defense of the deceased. This part may be called the
substantive aspect. This is the heart of the procedural rule because this substantive
aspect is the one that truly embodies and gives effect to the purpose of the rule. It
is this court's view that compliance with the substantive aspect of the rule despite
failure to comply with the formal aspect may he considered substantial compliance.
Such is the situation in the case at bench because the only inference that could be
deduced from the following facts was that there was active participation of the heirs
in the defense of the deceased after his death:

1. The original lawyer did not stop representing the deceased. It would be absurd to
think that the lawyer would continue to represent somebody if nobody is paying him
his fees. The lawyer continued to represent him in the litigation before the trial court
which lasted for about two more years. A dead party cannot pay him any fee. With
or without payment of fees, the fact remains that the said counsel was allowed by
the petitioner who was well aware of the instant litigation to continue appearing as
counsel until August 23, 1993 when the challenged decision was rendered;

2. After the death of the defendant, his wife, who is the petitioner in the instant case,
even testified in the court and declared that her husband is already deceased. She
knew therefore that there was a litigation against her husband and that somehow her
interest and those of her children were involved;

3. This petition for annulment of judgment was filed only after the appeal was decided
against the defendant on April 3, 1995, more than one and a half year (sic) after the
decision was rendered (even if we were to give credence to petitioner's manifestation
that she was not aware that an appeal had been made);

4. The Supreme Court has already established that there is such a thing as jurisdiction
by estoppel. This principle was established even in cases where jurisdiction over the
subject matter was being questioned. In the instant case, only jurisdiction over the
person of the heirs is in issue. Jurisdiction over the person may be acquired by the
court more easily than jurisdiction over the subject matter. Jurisdiction over the
person may be acquired by the simple appearance of the person in court as did herein
petitioner appear;

5. The case cited by the herein petitioner (Ferreria et al. vs. Manuela Ibarra vda. de
Gonzales, et al.) cannot be availed of to support the said petitioner's contention
relative to non-acquisition of jurisdiction by the court. In that case, Manolita Gonzales
was not served notice and, more importantly, she never appeared in court, unlike
herein petitioner who appeared and even testified regarding the death of her
husband.

In this case, Rodolfos continued appearance and participation in the proceedings of


the case dispensed with the formal substitution of the heirs in place of the deceased
Macaria. The failure of petitioners to timely object to the trial courts exercise of
jurisdiction over the estate of Macaria Berot amounted to a waiver on their part.
Consequently, it would be too late for them at this point to raise that defense to merit
the reversal of the assailed decision of the trial court. We are left with no option
other than to sustain the CAs affirmation of the trial courts Decision on this matter.

Decision affirmed with modification.

11) G.R. No. 174835, March 22, 2010, ANITA REYES-MESUGAS VS.
ALEJANDRO AQUINO REYES and RTC 62, Makati- Upon approval of a
compromise agreement by the settlement court, it loses jurisdiction to act on
a motion to cancel notice of lis pendins, Moreover, even if it has still
jurisdiction, such court has no jurisdiction to enforce an alleged side
agreement to confer right of way because the same is not part of the
compromise agreement. Settlement court has a very limited jurisdiction.
12) G.R. No. 194366, October 10, 2012, NAPOLEON D. NERI, ALICIA
D. NERI-MONDEJAR, VISMINDA D. NERI-CHAMBERS, ROSA D. NERI-
MILLAN, DOUGLAS D. NERI, EUTROPIA D. ILLUT-COCKINOS AND
VICTORIA D. ILLUT-PIALA VS. HEIRS OF HADJI YUSOP UY AND
JULPHA* IBRAHIM UY- Excluded heirs in an extrajudicial settlement are not
bound by the 2 year period and can ask for the annulment of the extrajudicial
settlement within the prescriptive period (10 years in case trust). Sale made
by a legal guardian over minors property under such EJS is unenforceable and
can be ratified by the minors upon reaching legal age.

HABEAS CORPUS

13) G.R. No. 197597, April 08, 2015, IN THE MATTER OF THE PETITION
FOR HABEAS CORPUS OF DATUKAN MALANG SALIBO, DATUKAN
MALANG SALIBO VS. WARDEN, QUEZON CITY JAIL ANNEX, BJMP
BUILDING, CAMP BAGONG DIWA, TAGUIG CITY AND ALL OTHER
PERSONS ACTING ON HIS BEHALF AND/OR HAVING CUSTODY OF
DATUKAN MALANG SALIBO- A person detained but has proof that he is not the person
charged in the information can avail habeas corpus; CA granted writ of HC returnable to RTC, the
latters decision in the HC case is appealable to the CA. Habeas corpus is the proper remedy
for a person deprived of liberty due to mistaken identity. In such cases, the person
is not under any lawful process and is continuously being illegally detained.

Facts:

On August 3, 2010, Salibo learned that police officers of Datu Hofer Police Station in
Maguindanao suspected him to be Butukan S. Malang. Butukan S. Malang was one
of the 197 accused of 57 counts of murder for allegedly participating in the November
23, 2009 Maguindanao Massacre. He had a pending warrant of arrest issued by the
trial court in People of the Philippines v. Datu Andal Ampatuan, Jr., et al. Salibo
presented himself before the police officers of Datu Hofer Police Station to clear his
name. There, he explained that he was not Butukan S. Malang and that he could not
have participated in the November 23, 2009 Maguindanao Massacre because he was
in Saudi Arabia at that time. To support his allegations, Salibo presented to the police
"pertinent portions of his passport, boarding passes and other documents" tending
to prove that a certain Datukan Malang Salibo was in Saudi Arabia from November 7
to December 19, 2009.

The police officers initially assured Salibo that they would not arrest him because he
was not Butukan S. Malang. Afterwards, however, the police officers apprehended
Salibo and tore off page two of his passport that evidenced his departure for Saudi
Arabia on November 7, 2009. They then detained Salibo at the Datu Hofer Police
Station for about three (3) days. The police officers transferred Salibo to the Criminal
Investigation and Detection Group in Cotabato City, where he was detained for
another 10 days. While in Cotabato City, the Criminal Investigation and Detention
Group allegedly made him sign and affix his thumbprint on documents.

On August 20, 2010, Salibo was finally transferred to the Quezon City Jail Annex,
Bureau of Jail Management and Penology Building, Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig City,
where he is currently detained.
Salibo filed a habeas corpus petition with the CA and the latter granted the
writ, made it returnable to the Vice- EJ of RTC Pasig.

During the hearing, the OSG argued that SALIBO cannot avail habeas corpus
as he was charged under a valid Information and Warrant of Arrest was issued for
his detention.

Salibo countered that the Information, Amended Information, Warrant of Arrest, and
Alias Warrant of Arrest referred to by the Warden all point to Butukan S. Malang, not
Datukan Malang Salibo, as accused. Reiterating that he was not Butukan S. Malang
and that he was in Saudi Arabia on the day of the Maguindanao Massacre.

Ruling of the RTC

The trial court found that Salibo was not "judicially charged" under any resolution,
information, or amended information. The Resolution, Information, and Amended
Information presented in court did not charge Datukan Malang Salibo as an accused.
He was also not validly arrested as there was no Warrant of Arrest or Alias Warrant
of Arrest against Datukan Malang Salibo. Salibo, the trial court ruled, was not
restrained of his liberty under process issued by a court.

The trial court was likewise convinced that Salibo was not the Butukan S. Malang
charged with murder in connection with the Maguindanao Massacre. The National
Bureau of Investigation Clearance dated August 27, 2009 showed that Salibo has not
been charged of any crime as of the date of the certificate. A Philippine passport
bearing Salibo's picture showed the name "Datukan Malang Salibo."

Moreover, the trial court said that Salibo "established that [he] was out of the
country" from November 7, 2009 to December 19, 2009. This fact was supported by
a Certification from Saudi Arabian Airlines confirming Salibo's departure from and
arrival in Manila on board its flights. A Flight Manifest issued by the Bureau of
Immigration and Saudi Arabian Airlines Ticket No. 0652113 also showed this fact.

Thus, in the Decision dated October 29, 2010, the trial court granted Salibo's Petition
for Habeas Corpus and ordered his immediate release from detention.

The ruling was appealed to the CA.

Ruling of the CA

The Court of Appeals reversed the RTC and found that Salibo's arrest and subsequent
detention were made under a valid Information and Warrant of Arrest. It held that
even assuming that Salibo was not the Butukan S. Malang named in the Alias Warrant
of Arrest, "[t]he orderly course of trial must be pursued and the usual remedies
exhausted before the writ [of habeas corpus] may be invoked[.]" According to the
Court of Appeals, Salibo's proper remedy was a Motion to Quash Information and/or
Warrant of Arrest. Salibo filed a Motion for Reconsideration, which the Court of
Appeals denied in the Resolution dated July 6, 2011.

Salibo filed petition before SC.

Issues:
1) Whether the appeal should be to the CA;
2) Whether habeas corpus is the remedy.

SC Held:

Issue No. 1-

The return of the writ may be heard by a court apart from that which issued the writ.
Should the court issuing the writ designate a lower court to which the writ is made
returnable, the lower court shall proceed to decide the petition of habeas corpus. By
virtue of the designation, the lower court "acquire[s] the power and authority to
determine the merits of the [petition for habeas corpus.]" Therefore, the decision on
the petition is a decision appealable to the court that has appellate jurisdiction over
decisions of the lower court.

In Saulo v. Brig. Gen. Cruz, etc, "a petition for habeas corpus was filed before this
Court . . . [o]n behalf of. . . Alfredo B. Saulo [(Saulo)]." This court issued a Writ of
Habeas Corpus and ordered respondent Commanding General of the Philippine
Constabulary to file a Return of the Writ. This court made the Writ returnable to the
Court of First Instance of Manila.

After hearing the Commanding General on the Return, the Court of First Instance
denied Saulo's Petition for Habeas Corpus.

Saulo appealed before this court, arguing that the Court of First Instance heard the
Petition for Habeas Corpus "not by virtue of its original jurisdiction but merely
delegation[.]" Consequently, "this Court should have the final say regarding the
issues raised in the petition, and only [this court's decision] . . . should be regarded
as operative."

This court rejected Sciulo's argument and stated that his "logic is more apparent than
real." It ruled that when a superior court issues a writ of habeas corpus, the superior
court only resolves whether the respondent should be ordered to show cause why
the petitioner or the person in whose behalf the petition was filed was being detained
or deprived of his or her liberty. However, once the superior court makes the writ
returnable to a lower court as allowed by the Rules of Court, the lower court
designated "does not thereby become merely a recommendatory body, whose
findings and conclusion[s] are devoid of effect[.]" The decision on the petition for
habeas corpus is a decision of the lower court, not of the superior court.

In Medina v. Gen. Yan, Fortunato Medina (Medina) filed before this court a Petition
for Habeas Corpus. This court issued a Writ of Habeas Corpus, making it returnable
to the Court of First Instance of Rizal, Quezon City. After trial on the merits, the Court
of First Instance granted Medina's Petition for Habeas Corpus and ordered that
Medina be released from detention. The Office of the Solicitor General filed a Notice
of Appeal before the Court of Appeals. Atty. Amelito Mutuc, counsel for Medina, filed
before the Court of Appeals a "Motion for Certification of Appeal to the Supreme
Court." The Court of Appeals, however, denied the Motion. This court ruled that the
Court of Appeals correctly denied the "Motion for Certification of Appeal to the
Supreme Court," citing Saulo as legal basis. The Court of First Instance of Rizal, in
deciding Medina's Petition for Habeas Corpus, "acquired the power and authority to
determine the merits of the case[.]" Consequently, the decision of the Court of First
Instance of Rizal on Medina's Petition for Habeas Corpus was appealable to the Court
of Appeals.

In this case, petitioner Salibo filed his Petition for Habeas Corpus before the Court of
Appeals. The Court of Appeals issued a Writ of Habeas Corpus, making it returnable
to the Regional Trial Court, Branch 153, Pasig City. The trial court then heard
respondent Warden on his Return and decided the Petition on the merits.

Applying Saulo and Medina, we rule that the trial court "acquired the power and
authority to determine the merits" of petitioner Salibo's Petition. The decision on the
Petition for Habeas Corpus, therefore, was the decision of the trial court, not of the
Court of Appeals. Since the Court of Appeals is the court with appellate jurisdiction
over decisions of trial courts, respondent Warden correctly filed the appeal before the
Court of Appeals.

Issue No. 2-

Called the "great writ of liberty[,]" the writ of habeas corpus "was devised and exists
as a speedy and effectual remedy to relieve persons from unlawful restraint, and as
the best and only sufficient defense of personal freedom." The remedy of habeas
corpus is extraordinary and summary in nature, consistent with the law's "zealous
regard for personal liberty." Under Rule 102, Section 1 of the Rules of Court, the writ
of habeas corpus "shall extend to all cases of illegal confinement or detention by
which any person is deprived of his liberty, or by which the rightful custody of any
person is withheld from the person entitled thereto." The primary purpose of the writ
"is to inquire into all manner of involuntary restraint as distinguished from voluntary,
and to relieve a person therefrom if such restraint is illegal." "Any restraint which will
preclude freedom of action is sufficient."
The nature of the restraint of liberty need not be related to any offense so as to
entitle a person to the efficient remedy of habeas corpus. It may be availed of as a
post-conviction remedy or when there is an alleged violation of the liberty of
abode. In other words, habeas corpus effectively substantiates the implied autonomy
of citizens constitutionally protected in the right to liberty in Article III, Section 1 of
the Constitution. Habeas corpus being a remedy for a constitutional right, courts
must apply a conscientious and deliberate level of scrutiny so that the substantive
right to liberty will not be further curtailed in the labyrinth of other processes.

In Gumabon, et al. v. Director of the Bureau of Prisons, Mario Gumabon (Gumabon),


Bias Bagolbagol (Bagolbagol), Gaudencio Agapito (Agapito), Epifanio Padua (Padua),
and Paterno Palmares (Palmares) were convicted of the complex crime of rebellion
with murder. They commenced serving their respective sentences of reclusion
perpetua. While Gumabon, Bagolbagol, Agapito, Padua, and Palmares were serving
their sentences, this court promulgated People v. Hernandez in 1956, ruling that the
complex crime of rebellion with murder does not exist.

Based on the Hernandez ruling, Gumabon, Bagolbagol, Agapito, Padua, and Palmares
filed a Petition for Habeas Corpus. They prayed for their release from incarceration
and argued that the Hernandez doctrine must retroactively apply to them.

This court ruled that Gumabon, Bagolbagol, Agapito, Padua, and Palmares properly
availed of a petition for habeas corpus. Citing Harris v. Nelson, this court said:
1) [T]he writ of habeas corpus is the fundamental instrument for safeguarding
individual freedom against arbitrary and lawless state action. . . . The scope
and flexibility of the writ its capacity to reach all manner of illegal detention
its ability to cut through barriers of form and procedural mazes have
always been emphasized and jealously guarded by courts and lawmakers. The
very nature of the writ demands that it be administered with the initiative and
flexibility essential to insure that miscarriages of justice within its reach are
surfaced and corrected.
In Rubi v. Provincial Board of Mindoro, the Provincial Board of Mindoro issued
Resolution No. 25, Series of 1917. The Resolution ordered the Mangyans
removed from their native habitat and compelled them to permanently settle
in an 800-hectare reservation in Tigbao. Under the Resolution, Mangyans who
refused to establish themselves in the Tigbao reservation were imprisoned.

An application for habeas corpus was filed before this court on behalf of Rubi
and all the other Mangyans being held in the reservation. Since the application
questioned the legality of deprivation of liberty of Rubi and the other
Mangyans, this court issued a Writ of Habeas Corpus and ordered the Provincial
Board of Mindoro to make a Return of the Writ.

A Writ of Habeas Corpus was likewise issued in Villavicencio v. Lukban. "[T]o


exterminate vice,"[101] Mayor Justo Lukban of Manila ordered the brothels in
Manila closed. The female sex workers previously employed by these brothels
were rounded up and placed in ships bound for Davao. The women were
expelled from Manila and deported to Davao without their consent.

On application by relatives and friends of some of the deported women, this


court issued a Writ of Habeas Corpus and ordered Mayor Justo Lukban, among
others, to make a Return of the Writ. Mayor Justo Lukban, however, failed to
make a Return, arguing that he did not have custody of the women.

This court cited Mayor Justo Lukban in contempt of court for failure to make a
Return of the Writ. As to the legality of his acts, this court ruled that Mayor
Justo Lukban illegally deprived the women he had deported to Davao of their
liberty, specifically, of their privilege of domicile. It said that the women,
"despite their being in a sense lepers of society[,] are nevertheless not chattels
but Philippine citizens protected by the same constitutional guaranties as are
other citizens[.]" The women had the right "to change their domicile from
Manila to another locality."

The writ of habeas corpus is different from the final decision on the petition for
the issuance of the writ. It is the writ that commands the production of the
body of the person allegedly restrained of his or her liberty. On the other hand,
it is in the final decision where a court determines the legality of the restraint.

Between the issuance of the writ and the final decision on the petition for its
issuance, it is the issuance of the writ that is essential. The issuance of the writ
sets in motion the speedy judicial inquiry on the legality of any deprivation of
liberty. Courts shall liberally issue writs of habeas corpus even if the petition
for its issuance "on [its] face [is] devoid of merit[.]" Although the privilege of
the writ of habeas corpus may be suspended in cases of invasion, rebellion, or
when the public safety requires it, the writ itself may not be suspended.
It is true that a writ of habeas corpus may no longer be issued if the person
allegedly deprived of liberty is restrained under a lawful process or order of
the court. The restraint then has become legal, and the remedy of habeas
corpus is rendered moot and academic. Rule 102, Section 4 of the Rules of
Court provides:
SEC. 4. When writ not allowed or discharge authorized.If it
appears that the person alleged to be restrained of his liberty is in the
custody of an officer under process issued by a court or judge or by
virtue of a judgment or order of a court of record, and that the court or
judge had jurisdiction to issue the process, render the judgment, or
make the order, the writ shall not be allowed; or if the jurisdiction
appears after the writ is allowed, the person shall not be discharged by
reason of any informality or defect in the process, judgment, or order.
Nor shall anything in this rule be held to authorize the discharge of a
person charged with or convicted of an offense in the Philippines, or of
a person suffering imprisonment under lawful judgment.
In Ilagan v. Hon. Ponce Enrile, elements of the Philippine Constabulary-
Integrated National Police arrested Atty. Laurente C. Ilagan (Atty. Ilagan) by
virtue of a Mission Order allegedly issued by then Minister of National Defense,
Juan Ponce Enrile (Minister Enrile). On the day of Atty. Ilagan's arrest, from
the Integrated Bar of the Philippines Davao Chapter visited Atty. Ilagan in
Camp Catitipan, where he was detained. Among Atty. Ilagan's visitors was
Atty. Antonio Arellano (Atty. Arellano). Atty. Arellano, however, no longer left
Camp Catitipan as the military detained and arrested him based on an
unsigned Mission Order. Three (3) days after the arrest of Attys. Ilagan and
Arellano, the military informed the Integrated Bar of the Philippines Davao
Chapter of the impending arrest of Atty. Marcos Risonar (Atty. Risonar). To
verify his arrest papers, Atty. Risonar went to Camp Catitipan. Like Atty.
Arellano, the military did not allow Atty. Risonar to leave. He was arrested
based on a Mission Order signed by General Echavarria, Regional Unified
Commander. The Integrated Bar of the Philippines, the Free Legal Assistance
Group, and the Movement of Attorneys for Brotherhood, Integrity and
Nationalism filed before this court a Petition for Habeas Corpus in behalf of
Attys. Ilagan, Arellano, and Risonar.

This court issued a Writ of Habeas Corpus and required Minister Enrile, Armed
Forces of the Philippines Acting Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Fidel V.
Ramos (General Ramos), and Philippine Constabulary-Integrated National
Police Regional Commander Brigadier General Dionisio Tan-Gatue (General
Tan-Gatue) to make a Return of the Writ. This court set the hearing on the
Return on May 23, 1985. In their Return, Minister Enrile, General Ramos, and
General Tan-Gatue contended that the privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus
was suspended as to Attys. Ilagan, Arellano, and Risonar by virtue of
Proclamation No. 2045-A. The lawyers, according to respondents, allegedly
"played active roles in organizing mass actions of the Communist Party of the
Philippines and the National Democratic Front." After hearing respondents on
their Return, this court ordered the temporary release of Attys. Ilagan,
Arellano, and Risonar on the recognizance of their counsels, retired Chief
Justice Roberto Concepcion and retired Associate Justice Jose B.L. Reyes.

Instead of releasing Attys. Ilagan, Arellano, and Risonar, however, Minister


Enrile, General Ramos, and General Tan-Gatue filed a Motion for
Reconsideration. They filed an Urgent Manifestation/Motion stating that
Informations for rebellion were filed against Attys. Ilagan, Arellano, and
Risonar. They prayed that this court dismiss the Petition for Habeas Corpus for
being moot and academic. The Integrated Bar of the Philippines, the Free Legal
Assistance Group, and the Movement of Attorneys for Brotherhood, Integrity
and Nationalism opposed the motion. According to them, no preliminary
investigation was conducted before the filing of the Information. Attys. Ilagan,
Arellano, and Risonar were deprived of their right to due process.
Consequently, the Information was void. This court dismissed the Petition for
Habeas Corpus, ruling that it became moot and academic with the filing of the
Information against Attys. Ilagan, Arellano, and Risonar in court:
As contended by respondents, the petition herein has been
rendered moot and academic by virtue of the filing of an Information
against them for Rebellion, a capital offense, before the Regional Trial
Court of Davao City and the issuance of a Warrant of Arrest against
them. The function of the special proceeding ofhabeas corpus is to
inquire into the legality of one's detention. Now that the detained
attorneys' incarceration is by virtue of a judicial order in relation to
criminal cases subsequently filed against them before the Regional Trial
Court of Davao City, the remedy of habeas corpus no longer lies. The
Writ had served its purpose. (Citations omitted)
2) This court likewise dismissed the Petitions for habeas corpus in Umil v. Ramos.
Roberto Umil, Rolando Dural, Renato Villanueva, Amelia Roque, Wilfredo
Buenaobra, Atty. Domingo Anonuevo, Ramon Casiple, Vicky A. Ocaya,
Deogracias Espiritu, and Narciso B. Nazareno were all arrested without a
warrant for their alleged membership in the Communist Party of the
Philippines/New People's Army. During the pendency of the habeas corpus
proceedings, however, Informations against them were filed before this court.
The filing of the Informations, according to this court, rendered the Petitions
for habeas corpus moot and academic, thus:
It is to be noted that, in all the petitions here considered, criminal
charges have been filed in the proper courts against the petitioners. The
rule is, that if a person alleged to be restrained of his liberty is in the
custody of an officer under process issued by a court or judge, and that
the court or judge had jurisdiction to issue the process or make the
order, or if such person is charged before any court, the writ of habeas
corpus will not be allowed. (Emphasis in the original)
In such cases, instead of availing themselves of the extraordinary remedy of a
petition for habeas corpus, persons restrained under a lawful process or order
of the court must pursue the orderly course of trial and exhaust the usual
remedies. This ordinary remedy is to file a motion to quash the information or
the warrant of arrest.

3) In filing a motion to quash, the accused "assails the validity of a criminal


complaint or information filed against him [or her] for insufficiency on its face
in point of law, or for defects which are apparent in the face of the
information."[136] If the accused avails himself or herself of a motion to quash,
the accused "hypothetical[ly] admits the facts alleged in the
information."[137] "Evidence aliunde or matters extrinsic from the information
are not to be considered."[138]
"If the motion to quash is based on an alleged defect of the complaint or
information which can be cured by amendment, the court shall order [the]
amendment [of the complaint or information]."[139] If the motion to quash is
based on the ground that the facts alleged in the complaint or information do
not constitute an offense, the trial court shall give the prosecution "an
opportunity to correct the defect by amendment."[140] If after amendment, the
complaint or information still suffers from the same defect, the trial court shall
quash the complaint or information.[141]
4) IV
5)
However, Ilagan[142] and Umil do not apply to this case. Petitioner Salibo was
not arrested by virtue of any warrant charging him of an offense. He was not
restrained under a lawful process or an order of a court. He was illegally
deprived of his liberty, and, therefore, correctly availed himself of a Petition
for Habeas Corpus.

The Information and Alias Warrant of Arrest issued by the Regional Trial Court,
Branch 221, Quezon City in People of the Philippines v. Datu Andal Ampatuan,
Jr., et al. charged and accused Butukan S. Malang, not Datukan Malang Salibo,
of 57 counts of murder in connection with the Maguindanao Massacre.

Furthermore, petitioner Salibo was not validly arrested without a warrant. Rule
113, Section 5 of the Rules of Court enumerates the instances when a
warrantless arrest may be made:
6) SEC. 5. Arrest without warrant; when lawful.A peace officer or a private
person may, without a warrant, arrest a person:
(a) When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually committing, or is
attempting to commit an offense;
(b) When an offense has just been committed and he has probable cause to believe based on-
personal knowledge of facts or circumstances that the person to be arrested has committed it;
(c) When the person to be arrested is a prisoner who has escaped from a penal establishment or
place where he is serving final judgment or is temporarily confined while his case is pending,
or has escaped while being transferred from one confinement to another.
In cases falling under paragraphs (a) and (b) above, the person arrested
without a warrant shall be forthwith delivered to the nearest police station or
jail and shall be proceeded against in accordance with section 7 of Rule 112.
It is undisputed that petitioner Salibo presented himself before the Datu Hofer
Police Station to clear his name and to prove that he is not the accused Butukan
S. Malang. When petitioner Salibo was in the presence of the police officers of
Datu Hofer Police Station, he was neither committing nor attempting to commit
an offense. The police officers had no personal knowledge of any offense that
he might have committed. Petitioner Salibo was also not an escapee prisoner.

The police officers, therefore, had no probable cause to arrest petitioner Salibo
without a warrant. They deprived him of his right to liberty without due process
of law, for which a petition for habeas corpus may be issued.

The arrest of petitioner Salibo is similar to the arrest of Atty. Risonar in the
"disturbing"[143] case of Ilagan.[144] Like petitioner Salibo, Atty. Risonar went to
Camp Catitipan to verify and contest any arrest papers against him. Then and
there, Atty. Risonar was arrested without a warrant. In his dissenting opinion
in Ilagan,[145] Justice Claudio Teehankee stated that the lack of preliminary
investigation deprived Atty. Risonar, together with Attys. Ilagan and Arellano,
of his right to due process of law a ground for the grant of a petition for
habeas corpus:[146]

The majority decision holds that the filing of the information without
preliminary investigation falls within the exceptions of Rule 112, sec. 7 and
Rule 113, sec. 5 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure. Again, this is
erroneous premise. The fiscal misinvoked and misapplied the cited rules. The
petitioners are not persons "lawfully arrested without a warrant." The fiscal
could not rely on the stale and inoperative PDA of January 25, 1985. Otherwise,
the rules would be rendered nugatory, if all that was needed was to get a PDA
and then serve it at one's whim and caprice when the very issuance of the PDA
is premised on its imperative urgency and necessity as declared by the
President himself. The majority decision then relies on Rule 113, Sec. 5 which
authorizes arrests without warrant by a citizen or by a police officer who
witnessed the arrestee in flagrante delicto, viz. in the act of committing the
offense. Quite obviously, the arrest was not a citizen's arrest nor were they
caught in flagrante delicto violating the law. In fact, this Court in promulgating
the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure have tightened and made the rules more
strict. Thus, the Rule now requires that an offense "has in fact just been
committed."This connotes immediacy in point of time and excludes cases
under the old rule where an offense "has in fact been committed" no matter
how long ago. Similarly, the arrestor must have "personal knowledge of
facts indicating that the [arrestee] has committed it" (instead of just
"reasonable ground to believe that the [arrestee] has committed it" under the
old rule). Clearly, then, an information could not just be filed against the
petitioners without due process and preliminary investigation.[147] (Emphasis
in the original, citation omitted)

Petitioner Salibo's proper remedy is not a Motion to Quash Information and/or


Warrant of Arrest. None of the grounds for filing a Motion to Quash Information
apply to him. Even if petitioner Salibo filed a Motion to Quash, the defect he
alleged could not have been cured by mere amendment of the Information
and/or Warrant of Arrest. Changing the name of the accused appearing in the
Information and/or Warrant of Arrest from "Butukan S. Malang" to "Datukan
Malang Salibo" will not cure the lack of preliminary investigation in this case.

A motion for reinvestigation will' not cure the defect of lack of preliminary
investigation. The Information and Alias Warrant of Arrest were issued on the
premise that Butukan S. Malang and Datukan Malang Salibo are the same
person. There is evidence, however, that the person detained by virtue of these
processes is not Butukan S. Malang but another person named Datukan Malang
Salibo.

Petitioner Salibo presented in evidence his Philippine passport,[148] his


identification card from the Office on Muslim Affairs,[149] his Tax Identification
Number card,[150] and clearance from the National Bureau of
Investigation [151]
all bearing his picture and indicating the name "Datukan
Malang Salibo." None of these government-issued documents showed that
petitioner Salibo used the alias "Butukan S. Malang."

Moreover, there is evidence that petitioner Salibo was not in the country on
November 23, 2009 when the Maguindanao Massacre occurred.
A Certification[152] from the Bureau of Immigration states that petitioner Salibo
departed for Saudi Arabia on November 7, 2009 and arrived in the Philippines
only on December 20, 2009. A Certification[153] from Saudi Arabian Airlines
attests that petitioner Salibo departed for Saudi Arabia on board Saudi Arabian
Airlines Flight SV869 on November 7, 2009 and that he arrived in the
Philippines on board Saudi Arabian Airlines SV870 on December 20, 2009.
V

People of the Philippines v. Datu Andal Ampatuan, Jr., et al. is probably the most
complex case pending in our courts. The case involves 57 victims[154] and 197
accused, two (2) of which have become state witnesses.[155] As of November 23,
2014, 111 of the accused have been arraigned, and 70 have filed petitions for bail of
which 42 have already been resolved.[156] To require petitioner Salibo to undergo trial
would be to further illegally deprive him of his liberty. Urgency dictates that we
resolve his Petition in his favor given the strong evidence that he is not Butukan S.
Malang.

In ordering petitioner Salibo's release, we are prejudging neither his guilt nor his
innocence. However, between a citizen who has shown that he was illegally deprived
of his liberty without due process of law and the government that has all the
"manpower and the resources at [its] command"[157] to properly indict a citizen but
failed to do so, we will rule in favor of the citizen.

Should the government choose to prosecute petitioner Salibo, it must pursue the
proper remedies against him as provided in our Rules. Until then, we rule that
petitioner Salibo is illegally deprived of his liberty. His Petition for Habeas Corpus
must be granted.

WHEREFORE, the Petition for Review on Certiorari is GRANTED. The Court of


Appeals Decision dated April 19, 2011 is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Respondent
Warden, Quezon City Jail Annex, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology Building,
Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig, is ORDERED to immediately RELEASE petitioner
Datukan Maiang Salibo from detention.

14)3rd Div.,G.R. No. 210636, July 28, 2014, MA. HAZELINA


A. TUJAN-MILITANTE IN BEHALF OF THE MINOR CRISELDA
M. CADA, VS. RAQUEL M. CADA-DEAPERA-

At the core of this controversy is the issue of whether or not the RTC-Caloocan has
jurisdiction over the habeas corpus petition filed by respondent and, assuming
arguendo it does, whether or not it validly acquired jurisdiction over petitioner and
the person of Criselda. Likewise pivotal is the enforceability of the writ issued by RTC-
Caloocan in Quezon City where petitioner was served a copy thereof.

The Courts Ruling


The petition lacks merit. The RTC-Caloocan correctly took cognizance of the habeas
corpus petition. Subsequently, it acquired jurisdiction over petitioner when the latter
was served with a copy of the writ in Quezon City.

Arguing that the RTC-Caloocan lacked jurisdiction over the case, petitioner relies on
Section 3of A.M. No. 03-04-04-SC and maintains that the habeas corpus petition
should have been filed before the family court that has jurisdiction over her place of
residence or that of the minor or wherever the minor may be found.[18] As to
respondent, she asserts, among others, that the applicable rule is not Section 3 but
Section 20 of A.M. No. 03-04-04-SC.

We find for respondent.

In the case at bar, what respondent filed was a petition for the issuance of a writ of
habeas corpus under Section 20 of A.M. No. 03-04-04-SC and Rule 102 of the Rules
of Court.[20]As provided:

Section 20. Petition for writ of habeas corpus. - A verified petition for
a writ of habeas corpus involving custody of minors shall be filed with
the Family Court. The writ shall be enforceable within its judicial
region to which the Family Court belongs.

However, the petition may be filed with the regular court in the absence of the
presiding judge of the Family Court, provided, however, that the regular court
shall refer the case to the Family Court as soon as its presiding judge returns
to duty.

The petition may also be filed with the appropriate regular courts in places
where there are no Family Courts.

The writ issued by the Family Court or the regular court shall be enforceable
in the judicial region where they belong.

The petition may likewise be filed with the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals,
or with any of its members and, if so granted, the writ shall be enforceable
anywhere in the Philippines. The writ may be made returnable to a Family
Court or to any regular court within the region where the petitioner resides or
where the minor may be found for hearing and decision on the merits.

Upon return of the writ, the court shall decide the issue on custody of minors.
The appellate court, or the member thereof, issuing the writ shall be furnished
a copy of the decision. (emphasis added)

Considering that the writ is made enforceable within a judicial region, petitions
for the issuance of the writ of habeas corpus, whether they be filed
under Rule 102 of the Rules of Court or pursuant to Section 20 of A.M. No. 03-
04-04-SC, may therefore be filed with any of the proper RTCs within the
judicial region where enforcement thereof is sought.

On this point, Section 13 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129 (BP 129), otherwise
known as the Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980, finds relevance. Said
provision, which contains the enumeration of judicial regions in the
country,states:
Section 13. Creation of Regional Trial Courts. There are hereby created
thirteen Regional Trial Courts, one for each of the following judicial regions:

x x x x

The National Capital Judicial Region, consisting of the cities of


Manila,Quezon, Pasay, Caloocan and Mandaluyong, and the municipalities of
Navotas, Malabon, San Juan, Makati, Pasig, Pateros, Taguig, Marikina,
Paraaque, Las Pias, Muntinlupa, and Valenzuela.(emphasis ours)

In view of the afore-quoted provision, it is indubitable that the filing of a petition


for the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus before a family court in any of the
cities enumerated is proper as long as the writ is sought to be enforced within the
National Capital Judicial Region, as here.

In the case at bar, respondent filed the petition before the family court of Caloocan
City. Since Caloocan City and Quezon City both belong to the same judicial region,
the writ issued by the RTC-Caloocan can still be implemented in Quezon City.
Whether petitioner resides in the former or the latter is immaterial in view of the
above rule.

Anent petitioners insistence on the application of Section 3 of A.M. No. 03-04-04-


SC, a plain reading of said provision reveals that the provision invoked only applies
to petitions for custody of minors, and not to habeas corpus petitions. Thus:

Section 3. Where to file petition. - The petition for custody of


minorsshall be filed with the Family Court of the province or city where the
petitioner resides or where the minor may be found.(emphasis added)

Lastly, as regards petitioners assertion that the summons was improperly served,
suffice it to state that service of summons, to begin with, is not required in a
habeas corpus petition, be it under Rule 102 of the Rules of Court or A.M. No. 03-
04-04-SC. As held inSaulo v. Cruz, a writ of habeas corpus plays a role somewhat
comparable to a summons, in ordinary civil actions, in that, by service of said writ,
the court acquires jurisdiction over the person of the respondent.

15) G.R. No. 198010, August 12, 2013,REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES


VS. DR. NORMA S. LUGSANAY UY-
respondent should have impleaded and notified not only the Local Civil Registrar but
also her parents and siblings as the persons who have interest and are affected by
the changes or corrections respondent wanted to make.

The fact that the notice of hearing was published in a newspaper of general circulation
and notice thereof was served upon the State will not change the nature of the
proceedings taken.[37] A reading of Sections 4 and 5, Rule 108 of the Rules of Court
shows that the Rules mandate two sets of notices to different potential oppositors:
one given to the persons named in the petition and another given to other persons
who are not named in the petition but nonetheless may be considered interested or
affected parties.[38]Summons must, therefore, be served not for the purpose of
vesting the courts with jurisdiction but to comply with the requirements of fair play
and due process to afford the person concerned the opportunity to protect his interest
if he so chooses.[39]

While there may be cases where the Court held that the failure to implead and notify
the affected or interested parties may be cured by the publication of the notice of
hearing, earnest efforts were made by petitioners in bringing to court all possible
interested parties.[40] Such failure was likewise excused where the interested parties
themselves initiated the corrections proceedings;[41] when there is no actual or
presumptive awareness of the existence of the interested parties;[42] or when a party
is inadvertently left out.[43]

It is clear from the foregoing discussion that when a petition for cancellation or
correction of an entry in the civil register involves substantial and controversial
alterations, including those on citizenship, legitimacy of paternity or filiation, or
legitimacy of marriage, a strict compliance with the requirements of Rule 108 ofthe
Rules of Court is mandated.[44] If the entries in the civil register could be corrected
or changed through mere summary proceedings and not through appropriate action
wherein all parties who may be affected by the entries are notified or represented,
the door to fraud or other mischief would be set open, the consequence of which
might be detrimental and far reaching.[45]

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is hereby GRANTED. The Court of


Appeals Decision dated February 18, 2011 and Resolution dated July 27, 20011 in
CA-G.R. CV No. 00238-MIN, are SET ASIDE. Consequently, the June 28, 2004 Order
of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 27, Gingoog City, in Spl. Proc. No. 230-2004
granting the Petition for Correction of Entry of Certificate of Live Birth filed by
respondent Dr. Norma S. Lugsanay Uy, is NULLIFIED.

16) G.R. No. 189538, February 10, 2014, REPUBLIC OF THE


PHILIPPINES VS. MERLINDA L. OLAYBAR-Rule 108 used to annul a
marriage certificate falsely EXECUTED as there was no marriage at all
because the wife did not enter into such marriage and her signature
therein was forged.

Peralta, J.:

Facts:

Respondent requested from the National Statistics Office (NSO) a Certificate of No


Marriage (CENOMAR) as one of the requirements for her marriage with her
boyfriend of five years. Upon receipt thereof, she discovered that she was already
married to a certain Ye Son Sune, a Korean National, on June 24, 2002, at the
Office of the Municipal Trial Court in Cities (MTCC), Palace of Justice. She denied
having contracted said marriage and claimed that she did not know the alleged
husband; she did not appear before the solemnizing officer; and, that the signature
appearing in the marriage certificate is not hers.[4] She, thus, filed a Petition for
Cancellation of Entries in the Marriage Contract, especially the entries in the wife
portion thereof.[5] Respondent impleaded the Local Civil Registrar of Cebu City, as
well as her alleged husband, as parties to the case.

During trial, respondent testified on her behalf and explained that she could not
have appeared before Judge Mamerto Califlores, the supposed solemnizing officer,
at the time the marriage was allegedly celebrated, because she was then in Makati
working as a medical distributor in Hansao Pharma. She completely denied having
known the supposed husband, but she revealed that she recognized the named
witnesses to the marriage as she had met them while she was working as a
receptionist in Tadels Pension House. She believed that her name was used by a
certain Johnny Singh, who owned a travel agency, whom she gave her personal
circumstances in order for her to obtain a passport.[6]Respondent also presented as
witness a certain Eufrocina Natinga, an employee of MTCC, Branch 1, who
confirmed that the marriage of Ye Son Sune was indeed celebrated in their office,
but claimed that the alleged wife who appeared was definitely not
respondent.[7]Lastly, a document examiner testified that the signature appearing in
the marriage contract was forged.[8]

On May 5, 2009, the RTC rendered the assailed Decision, the dispositive portion of
which reads:

WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered, the petition is granted in favor of the


petitioner, Merlinda L. Olaybar. The Local Civil Registrar of Cebu City is directed to
cancel all the entries in the WIFE portion of the alleged marriage contract of the
petitioner and respondent Ye Son Sune.

Issue:

Whether the petition under Rule 108 could prosper.

Ruling:

In this case, the entries made in the wife portion of the certificate of marriage are
admittedly the personal circumstances of respondent. The latter, however, claims
that her signature was forged and she was not the one who contracted marriage
with the purported husband. In other words, she claims that no such marriage was
entered into or if there was, she was not the one who entered into such contract. It
must be recalled that when respondent tried to obtain a CENOMAR from the NSO, it
appeared that she was married to a certain Ye Son Sune. She then sought the
cancellation of entries in the wife portion of the marriage certificate.

In filing the petition for correction of entry under Rule 108, respondent made the
Local Civil Registrar of Cebu City, as well as her alleged husband Ye Son Sune, as
parties-respondents. It is likewise undisputed that the procedural requirements set
forth in Rule108 were complied with. The Office of the Solicitor General was
likewise notified of the petition which in turn authorized the Office of the City
Prosecutor to participate in the proceedings. More importantly, trial was conducted
where respondent herself, the stenographer of the court where the alleged
marriage was conducted, as well as a document examiner, testified. Several
documents were also considered as evidence. With the testimonies and other
evidence presented, the trial court found that the signature appearing in the
subject marriage certificate was different from respondents signature appearing in
some of her government issued identification cards.[23] The court thus made a
categorical conclusion that respondents signature in the marriage certificate was
not hers and, therefore, was forged. Clearly, it was established that, as she claimed
in her petition, no such marriage was celebrated.

Indeed the Court made a pronouncement in the recent case of Minoru Fujiki v.
Maria Paz Galela Marinay, Shinichi Maekara, Local Civil Registrar of Quezon City,
and the Administrator and Civil Registrar General of the National Statistics
Office[24] that:

To be sure, a petition for correction or cancellation of an entry in the civil registry


cannot substitute for an action to invalidate a marriage. A direct action is necessary
to prevent circumvention of the substantive and procedural safeguards of marriage
under the Family Code, A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC and other related laws. Among these
safeguards are the requirement of proving the limited grounds for the dissolution of
marriage, support pendente lite of the spouses and children, the liquidation,
partition and distribution of the properties of the spouses and the investigation of
the public prosecutor to determine collusion. A direct action for declaration of nullity
or annulment of marriage is also necessary to prevent circumvention of the
jurisdiction of the Family Courts under the Family Courts Act of 1997 (Republic Act
No. 8369), as a petition for cancellation or correction of entries in the civil registry
may be filed in the Regional Trial Court where the corresponding civil registry is
located. In other words, a Filipino citizen cannot dissolve his marriage by the mere
expedient of changing his entry of marriage in the civil registry.[25]

Aside from the certificate of marriage, no such evidence was presented to show the
existence of marriage. Rather, respondent showed by overwhelming evidence that
no marriage was entered into and that she was not even aware of such existence.
The testimonial and documentary evidence clearly established that the only
evidence of marriage which is the marriage certificate was a forgery. While we
maintain that Rule 108cannot be availed of to determine the validity of marriage,
we cannot nullify the proceedings before the trial court where all the parties had
been given the opportunity to contest the allegations of respondent; the procedures
were followed, and all the evidence of the parties had already been admitted and
examined. Respondent indeed sought, not the nullification of marriage as there was
no marriage to speak of, but the correction of the record of such marriage to reflect
the truth as set forth by the evidence. Otherwise stated, in allowing the correction
of the subject certificate of marriage by cancelling the wife portion thereof, the trial
court did not, in any way, declare the marriage void as there was no marriage to
speak of.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is DENIED for lack of merit. The
Regional Trial Court Decision dated May 5, 2009 and Order dated August 25, 2009
in SP. Proc. No. 16519-CEB, are AFFIRMED.

17) G.R. No. 197174, September 10, 2014, FRANCLER P. ONDE, VS.
THE OFFICE OF THE LOCAL CIVIL REGISTRAR OF LAS PIAS CITY-R.A.
9048 and Rule 108.

Facts:

Petitioner filed a petition[2] for correction of entries in his certificate of live birth
before the RTC and named respondent Office of the Local Civil Registrar of Las
Pias City as sole respondent. Petitioner alleged that he is the illegitimate child of
his parents Guillermo A. Onde and Matilde DC Pakingan, but his birth certificate
stated that his parents were married. His birth certificate also stated that his
mothers first name is Tely and that his first name is Franc Ler. He prayed that the
following entries on his birth certificate be corrected as follows:

Entry From To
1) Date and place of marriage of his parents December 23, 1983 Not married
Bicol
2) First name of his mother Tely Matilde
3) His first name Franc Ler Francler
In its Order dated October 7, 2010, the RTC dismissed the petition for correction of
entries on the ground that it is insufficient in form and substance.

Ruling:

On the first issue, we agree with the RTC that the first name of petitioner and his
mother as appearing in his birth certificate can be corrected by the city civil
registrar under R.A. No. 9048. We note that petitioner no longer contested the
RTCs ruling on this point.[4] Indeed, under Section 1[5] of R.A. No. 9048, clerical or
typographical errors on entries in a civil register can be corrected and changes of
first name can be done by the concerned city civil registrar without need of a
judicial order. Aforesaid Section 1, as amended by R.A. No. 10172, now reads:

SECTION 1. Authority to Correct Clerical or Typographical Error and Change of First


Name or Nickname. No entry in a civil register shall be changed or
corrected without a judicial order, except for clerical or typographical
errors and change of first name or nickname, the day and month in the date of
birth or sex of a person where it is patently clear that there was a clerical or
typographical error or mistake in the entry, which can be corrected or changed
by the concerned city or municipal civil registrar or consul general in
accordance with the provisions of this Act and its implementing rules and
regulations. (Emphasis supplied.)

In Silverio v. Republic,[6] we held that under R.A. No. 9048, jurisdiction over
applications for change of first name is now primarily lodged with administrative
officers. The intent and effect of said law is to exclude the change of first name
from the coverage of Rules 103 (Change of Name) and 108 (Cancellation or
Correction of Entries in the Civil Registry) of the Rules of Court, until and unless an
administrative petition for change of name is first filed and subsequently
denied. The remedy and the proceedings regulating change of first name are
primarily administrative in nature, not judicial. In Republic v. Cagandahan,[7]we
said that under R.A. No. 9048, the correction of clerical or typographical errors can
now be made through administrative proceedings and without the need for a
judicial order. The law removed from the ambit of Rule 108 of the Rules of
Court the correction of clerical or typographical errors. Thus petitioner can avail of
this administrative remedy for the correction of his and his mothers first name.

On the second issue, we also agree with the RTC in ruling that correcting the
entry on petitioners birth certificate that his parents were married on December
23, 1983 in Bicol to not married is a substantial correction requiring adversarial
proceedings. Said correction is substantial as it will affect his legitimacy and
convert him from a legitimate child to an illegitimate one. In Republic v. Uy,[8] we
held that corrections of entries in the civil register including those on citizenship,
legitimacy of paternity or filiation, orlegitimacy of marriage, involve substantial
alterations. Substantial errors in a civil registry may be corrected and the true
facts established provided the parties aggrieved by the error avail themselves of
the appropriate adversary proceedings.[9]

On the third issue, we likewise affirm the RTC in dismissing the petition for
correction of entries. As mentioned, petitioner no longer contested the RTC ruling
that the correction he sought on his and his mothers first name can be done by the
city civil registrar. Under the circumstances, we are constrained to deny his prayer
that the petition for correction of entries before the RTC be reinstated since the
same petition includes the correction he sought on his and his mothers first name.

We clarify, however, that the RTCs dismissal is without prejudice. As we said,


petitioner can avail of the administrative remedy for the correction of his and his
mothers first name. He can also file a new petition before the RTC to correct the
alleged erroneous entry on his birth certificate that his parents were married on
December 23, 1983 in Bicol. This substantial correction is allowed
under Rule 108 of the Rules of Court. As we reiterated in Eleosida v. Local Civil
Registrar of Quezon City:[10]

x x x This is our ruling in Republic vs. Valencia where we held that even
substantial errors in a civil registry may be corrected and the true facts
established under Rule 108 [of the Rules of Court] provided the parties
aggrieved by the error avail themselves of the appropriate adversary proceeding. x
xx

xxxx

It is true in the case at bar that the changes sought to be made by petitioner are
not merely clerical or harmless errors but substantial ones as they would affect the
status of the marriage between petitioner and Carlos Borbon, as well as the
legitimacy of their son, Charles Christian. Changes of such nature, however,
are now allowed under Rule 108 in accordance with our ruling inRepublic vs.
Valencia provided that the appropriate procedural requirements are complied
with. x x x (Emphasis supplied.)

We also stress that a petition seeking a substantial correction of an entry in a civil


register must implead as parties to the proceedings not only the local civil registrar,
as petitioner did in the dismissed petition for correction of entries, but also all
persons who have or claim any interest which would be affected by the
correction. This is required by Section 3, Rule 108 of the Rules of Court:

SEC. 3. Parties. When cancellation or correction of an entry in the civil register is


sought, the civil registrar and all persons who have or claim any interest
which would be affected thereby shall be made parties to the
proceeding. (Emphasis supplied.)

In Eleosida,[11] we cited Section 3, and Sections 4 and 5 of Rule 108 of the Rules of
Court, as the procedural requirements laid down by the Court to make the
proceedings underRule 108 adversary. In Republic v. Uy,[12] we have similarly
ruled that when a petition for cancellation or correction of an entry in the civil
register involves substantial and controversial alterations, including those on
citizenship, legitimacy of paternity or filiation, or legitimacy of marriage, a strict
compliance with the requirements of the Rules of Court is mandated. Thus, in his
new petition, petitioner should at least implead his father and mother as parties
since the substantial correction he is seeking will also affect them.

In view of the foregoing discussion, it is no longer necessary to dwell on the last


issue as petitioner will have his opportunity to prove his claim that his parents
were not married on December 23, 1983 when he files the new petition for the
purpose.
WHEREFORE, we DENY the petition and AFFIRM the Orders dated October 7,
2010 and March 1, 2011 of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 201, Las Pias City, in
Special Proceedings Case No. 10-0043. The dismissal ordered by the Regional Trial
Court is, however, declared to be without prejudice.

18) G.R. No. 187567, February 15, 2012, THE REPUBLIC OF THE
PHILIPPINES VS. NORA FE SAGUN- Declaration and election of
Philipppine Citizenship not permitted under Rule 108.

Facts:

Respondent is the legitimate child of Albert S. Chan, a Chinese national, and Marta
Borromeo, a Filipino citizen. She was born on August 8, 1959 in Baguio City[3] and
did not elect Philippine citizenship upon reaching the age of majority. In 1992, at
the age of 33 and after getting married to Alex Sagun, she executed an Oath of
Allegiance[4] to the Republic of the Philippines. Said document was notarized by
Atty. Cristeta Leung on December 17, 1992, but was not recorded and registered
with the Local Civil Registrar of Baguio City.

Sometime in September 2005, respondent applied for a Philippine passport. Her


application was denied due to the citizenship of her father and there being no
annotation on her birth certificate that she has elected Philippine
citizenship. Consequently, she sought a judicial declaration of her election of
Philippine citizenship and prayed that the Local Civil Registrar of Baguio City be
ordered to annotate the same on her birth certificate.

In her petition, respondent averred that she was raised as a Filipino, speaks Ilocano
and Tagalog fluently and attended local schools in Baguio City, including Holy
Family Academy and the Saint Louis University. Respondent claimed that despite
her part-Chinese ancestry, she always thought of herself as a Filipino. She is a
registered voter of Precinct No. 0419A of Barangay Manuel A. Roxas in Baguio City
and had voted in local and national elections as shown in the Voter
Certification[5] issued by Atty. Maribelle Uminga of the Commission on Elections of
Baguio City.

She asserted that by virtue of her positive acts, she has effectively elected
Philippine citizenship and such fact should be annotated on her record of birth so as
to entitle her to the issuance of a Philippine passport.

On August 7, 2007, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) entered its appearance
as counsel for the Republic of the Philippines and authorized the City Prosecutor of
Baguio City to appear in the above mentioned case.[6] However, no comment was
filed by the City Prosecutor.

After conducting a hearing, the trial court rendered the assailed Decision on April 3,
2009 granting the petition and declaring respondent a Filipino citizen. The fallo of
the decision reads:

WHEREFORE, the instant petition is hereby GRANTED. Petitioner Nora Fe Sagun y


Chan is hereby DECLARED [a] FILIPINO CITIZEN, having chosen or elected Filipino
citizenship.
Upon payment of the required fees, the Local Civil Registrar of Baguio City is hereby
directed to annotate [on] her birth certificate, this judicial declaration of Filipino
citizenship of said petitioner.

Ruling:

For sure, this Court has consistently ruled that there is no proceeding established
by law, or the Rules for the judicial declaration of the citizenship of an
individual.[13] There is no specific legislation authorizing the institution of a judicial
proceeding to declare that a given person is part of our citizenry.[14] This was our
ruling in Yung Uan Chu v. Republic[15] citing the early case of Tan v. Republic of the
Philippines,[16] where we clearly stated:

Under our laws, there can be no action or proceeding for the judicial declaration of
the citizenship of an individual. Courts of justice exist for settlement of justiciable
controversies, which imply a given right, legally demandable and enforceable, an
act or omission violative of said right, and a remedy, granted or sanctioned by law,
for said breach of right. As an incident only of the adjudication of the rights of the
parties to a controversy, the court may pass upon, and make a pronouncement
relative to their status. Otherwise, such a pronouncement is beyond judicial power.
xxx

Clearly, it was erroneous for the trial court to make a specific declaration of
respondents Filipino citizenship as such pronouncement was not within the courts
competence.

As to the propriety of respondents petition seeking a judicial declaration of election


of Philippine citizenship, it is imperative that we determine whether respondent is
required under the law to make an election and if so, whether she has complied
with the procedural requirements in the election of Philippine citizenship.

When respondent was born on August 8, 1959, the governing charter was the 1935
Constitution, which declares as citizens of the Philippines those whose mothers are
citizens of the Philippines and elect Philippine citizenship upon reaching the age of
majority. Sec. 1, Art. IV of the 1935 Constitution reads:

Section 1. The following are citizens of the Philippines:

xxxx

(4) Those whose mothers are citizens of the Philippines and, upon reaching the age
of majority, elect Philippine citizenship.

Under Article IV, Section 1(4) of the 1935 Constitution, the citizenship of a
legitimate child born of a Filipino mother and an alien father followed the citizenship
of the father, unless, upon reaching the age of majority, the child elected Philippine
citizenship. The right to elect Philippine citizenship was recognized in the 1973
Constitution when it provided that [t]hose who elect Philippine citizenship pursuant
to the provisions of the Constitution of nineteen hundred and thirty-five are
citizens of the Philippines.[17] Likewise, this recognition by the 1973
Constitution was carried over to the 1987 Constitution which states that [t]hose
born before January 17, 1973 of Filipino mothers, who elect Philippine citizenship
upon reaching the age of majority are Philippine citizens.[18] It should be noted,
however, that the 1973 and 1987 Constitutional provisions on the election of
Philippine citizenship should not be understood as having a curative effect on any
irregularity in the acquisition of citizenship for those covered by the 1935
Constitution. If the citizenship of a person was subject to challenge under the old
charter, it remains subject to challenge under the new charter even if the judicial
challenge had not been commenced before the effectivity of the new
Constitution.[19]

Being a legitimate child, respondents citizenship followed that of her father who is
Chinese, unless upon reaching the age of majority, she elects Philippine
citizenship. It is a settled rule that only legitimate children follow the citizenship of
the father and that illegitimate children are under the parental authority of the
mother and follow her nationality.[20] An illegitimate child of Filipina need not
perform any act to confer upon him all the rights and privileges attached to citizens
of the Philippines; he automatically becomes a citizen himself.[21] But in the case of
respondent, for her to be considered a Filipino citizen, she must have validly elected
Philippine citizenship upon reaching the age of majority.

Commonwealth Act (C.A.) No. 625,[22] enacted pursuant to Section 1(4), Article IV
of the1935 Constitution, prescribes the procedure that should be followed in order
to make a valid election of Philippine citizenship, to wit:

Section 1. The option to elect Philippine citizenship in accordance with subsection


(4), [S]ection 1, Article IV, of the Constitution shall be expressed in a statement to
be signed and sworn to by the party concerned before any officer authorized to
administer oaths, and shall be filed with the nearest civil registry. The said party
shall accompany the aforesaid statement with the oath of allegiance to the
Constitution and the Government of the Philippines.

Based on the foregoing, the statutory formalities of electing Philippine citizenship are:
(1) a statement of election under oath; (2) an oath of allegiance to the Constitution
and Government of the Philippines; and (3) registration of the statement of election
and of the oath with the nearest civil registry.[23]

Furthermore, no election of Philippine citizenship shall be accepted for registration


under C.A. No. 625 unless the party exercising the right of election has complied with
the requirements of the Alien Registration Act of 1950. In other words, he should
first be required to register as an alien.[24] Pertinently, the person electing Philippine
citizenship is required to file a petition with the Commission of Immigration and
Deportation (now Bureau of Immigration) for the cancellation of his alien certificate
of registration based on his aforesaid election of Philippine citizenship and said Office
will initially decide, based on the evidence presented the validity or invalidity of said
election.[25] Afterwards, the same is elevated to the Ministry (now Department) of
Justice for final determination and review.[26]

It should be stressed that there is no specific statutory or procedural rule which


authorizes the direct filing of a petition for declaration of election of Philippine
citizenship before the courts. The special proceeding provided under Section
2, Rule 108 of the Rules of Courton Cancellation or Correction of Entries in the Civil
Registry, merely allows any interested party to file an action for cancellation or
correction of entry in the civil registry, i.e., election, loss and recovery of citizenship,
which is not the relief prayed for by the respondent.

Be that as it may, even if we set aside this procedural infirmity, still the trial courts
conclusion that respondent duly elected Philippine citizenship is erroneous since the
records undisputably show that respondent failed to comply with the legal
requirements for a valid election. Specifically, respondent had not executed a sworn
statement of her election of Philippine citizenship. The only documentary evidence
submitted by respondent in support of her claim of alleged election was her oath of
allegiance, executed 12 years after she reached the age of majority, which was
unregistered. As aptly pointed out by the petitioner, even assuming arguendo that
respondents oath of allegiance suffices, its execution was not within a reasonable
time after respondent attained the age of majority and was not registered with the
nearest civil registry as required under Section 1 of C.A. No. 625. The phrase
reasonable time has been interpreted to mean that the election should be made
generally within three (3) years from reaching the age of majority.[27] Moreover,
there was no satisfactory explanation proffered by respondent for the delay and the
failure to register with the nearest local civil registry.

Based on the foregoing circumstances, respondent clearly failed to comply with the
procedural requirements for a valid and effective election of Philippine citizenship.
Respondent cannot assert that the exercise of suffrage and the participation in
election exercises constitutes a positive act of election of Philippine citizenship since
the law specifically lays down the requirements for acquisition of citizenship by
election. The mere exercise of suffrage, continuous and uninterrupted stay in the
Philippines, and other similar acts showing exercise of Philippine citizenship cannot
take the place of election of Philippine citizenship. Hence, respondent cannot now be
allowed to seek the intervention of the court to confer upon her Philippine citizenship
when clearly she has failed to validly elect Philippine citizenship. As we held in
Ching,[28] the prescribed procedure in electing Philippine citizenship is certainly not a
tedious and painstaking process. All that is required of the elector is to execute an
affidavit of election of Philippine citizenship and, thereafter, file the same with the
nearest civil registry. Having failed to comply with the foregoing requirements,
respondents petition before the trial court must be denied.

WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The Decision dated April 3, 2009 of the
Regional Trial Court, Branch 3 of Baguio City in Spcl. Pro. Case No. 17-R
is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The petition for judicial declaration of election of
Philippine citizenship filed by respondent Nora Fe Sagun is hereby DISMISSED for
lack of merit.

19) [ G.R. No. 156407, January 15, 2014 ]


THELMA M. ARANAS VS. TERESITA V. MERCADO, FELIMON V. MERCADO,
CARMENCITA M. SUTHERLAND, RICHARD V. MERCADO, MA. TERESITA M.
ANDERSON, AND FRANKLIN L. MERCADO, RESPONDENTS.

DECISION

BERSAMIN, J.:

The probate court is authorized to determine the issue of ownership of properties for
purposes of their inclusion or exclusion from the inventory to be submitted by the
administrator, but its determination shall only be provisional unless the interested
parties are all heirs of the decedent, or the question is one of collation or
advancement, or the parties consent to the assumption of jurisdiction by the probate
court and the rights of third parties are not impaired. Its jurisdiction extends to
matters incidental or collateral to the settlement and distribution of the estate, such
as the determination of the status of each heir and whether property included in the
inventory is the conjugal or exclusive property of the deceased spouse.

Facts:

Emigdio S. Mercado (Emigdio) died intestate on January 12, 1991, survived by his
second wife, Teresita V. Mercado (Teresita), and their five children, namely: Allan V.
Mercado, Felimon V. Mercado, Carmencita M. Sutherland, Richard V. Mercado, and
Maria Teresita M. Anderson; and his two children by his first marriage, namely:
respondent Franklin L. Mercado and petitioner Thelma M. Aranas (Thelma).

Emigdio inherited and acquired real properties during his lifetime. He owned
corporate shares in Mervir Realty Corporation (Mervir Realty) and Cebu Emerson
Transportation Corporation (Cebu Emerson). He assigned his real properties in
exchange for corporate stocks of Mervir Realty, and sold his real property in Badian,
Cebu (Lot 3353 covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. 3252) to Mervir Realty.

On June 3, 1991, Thelma filed in the Regional Trial Court (RTC) in Cebu City a petition
for the appointment of Teresita as the administrator of Emigdios estate (Special
Proceedings No. 3094-CEB).[1] The RTC granted the petition considering that there
was no opposition. The letters of administration in favor of Teresita were issued on
September 7, 1992.

As the administrator, Teresita submitted an inventory of the estate of Emigdio on


December 14, 1992 for the consideration and approval by the RTC. She indicated in
the inventory that at the time of his death, Emigdio had left no real properties but
only personal properties worth P6,675,435.25 in all, consisting of cash of
P32,141.20; furniture and fixtures worth P20,000.00; pieces of jewelry valued at
P15,000.00; 44,806 shares of stock of Mervir Realty worth P6,585,585.80; and 30
shares of stock of Cebu Emerson worth P22,708.25.[2]

Claiming that Emigdio had owned other properties that were excluded from the
inventory, Thelma moved that the RTC direct Teresita to amend the inventory, and
to be examined regarding it. The RTC granted Thelmas motion through the order of
January 8, 1993.
On January 21, 1993, Teresita filed a compliance with the order of January 8,
1993,[3]supporting her inventory with copies of three certificates of stocks covering
the 44,806 Mervir Realty shares of stock;[4] the deed of assignment executed by
Emigdio on January 10, 1991 involving real properties with the market value of
P4,440,651.10 in exchange for 44,407 Mervir Realty shares of stock with total par
value of P4,440,700.00;[5] and the certificate of stock issued on January 30, 1979 for
300 shares of stock of Cebu Emerson worth P30,000.00.[6]

On January 26, 1993, Thelma again moved to require Teresita to be examined under
oath on the inventory, and that she (Thelma) be allowed 30 days within which to file
a formal opposition to or comment on the inventory and the supporting documents
Teresita had submitted.

On February 4, 1993, the RTC issued an order expressing the need for the parties to
present evidence and for Teresita to be examined to enable the court to resolve the
motion for approval of the inventory.[7]

On April 19, 1993, Thelma opposed the approval of the inventory, and asked leave
of court to examine Teresita on the inventory.

With the parties agreeing to submit themselves to the jurisdiction of the court on the
issue of what properties should be included in or excluded from the inventory, the
RTC set dates for the hearing on that issue.[8]

Ruling of the RTC

After a series of hearings that ran for almost eight years, the RTC issued on March
14, 2001 an order finding and holding that the inventory submitted by Teresita had
excluded properties that should be included, and accordingly ruled:

WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing premises and considerations, the Court
hereby denies the administratrixs motion for approval of inventory. The Court hereby
orders the said administratrix to re-do the inventory of properties which are supposed
to constitute as the estate of the late Emigdio S. Mercado by including therein the
properties mentioned in the last five immediately preceding paragraphs hereof and
then submit the revised inventory within sixty (60) days from notice of this order.

The Court also directs the said administratrix to render an account of her
administration of the estate of the late Emigdio S. Mercado which had come to her
possession. She must render such accounting within sixty (60) days from notice
hereof.

SO ORDERED.[9]

Ruling:

The prevailing rule is that for the purpose of determining whether a certain property
should or should not be included in the inventory, the probate court may pass
upon the title thereto but such determination is not conclusive and is subject
to the final decision in a separate action regarding ownership which may be
instituted by the parties (3 Morans Comments on the Rules of Court, 1970 Edition,
pages 448-9 and 473; Lachenal vs. Salas, L-42257, June 14, 1976, 71 SCRA 262,
266).[18] (Bold emphasis supplied)

To the same effect was De Leon v. Court of Appeals,[19] where the Court declared
that a probate court, whether in a testate or intestate proceeding, can only pass
upon questions of title provisionally, and reminded, citing Jimenez v. Court of
Appeals, that the patent reason is the probate courts limited jurisdiction and the
principle that questions of title or ownership, which result in inclusion or exclusion
from the inventory of the property, can only be settled in a separate action. Indeed,
in the cited case of Jimenez v. Court of Appeals,[20] the Court pointed out:

All that the said court could do as regards the said properties is determine whether
they should or should not be included in the inventory or list of properties to be
administered by the administrator. If there is a dispute as to the ownership,
then the opposing parties and the administrator have to resort to an
ordinary action for a final determination of the conflicting claims of title
because the probate court cannot do so. (Bold emphasis supplied)

On the other hand, an appeal would not be the correct recourse for Teresita, et al. to
take against the assailed orders. The final judgment rule embodied in the first
paragraph of Section 1, Rule 41, Rules of Court,[21] which also governs appeals in
special proceedings, stipulates that only the judgments, final orders (and resolutions)
of a court of law that completely disposes of the case, or of a particular matter
therein when declared by these Rules to be appealable may be the subject of an
appeal in due course. The same rule states that an interlocutory order or resolution
(interlocutory because it deals with preliminary matters, or that the trial on the merits
is yet to be held and the judgment rendered) is expressly made non-appealable.

Multiple appeals are permitted in special proceedings as a practical recognition of the


possibility that material issues may be finally determined at various stages of the
special proceedings. Section 1, Rule 109 of the Rules of Court enumerates the
specific instances in which multiple appeals may be resorted to in special
proceedings, viz:

Section 1. Orders or judgments from which appeals may be taken. - An interested


person may appeal in special proceedings from an order or judgment rendered by a
Court of First Instance or a Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court, where such order
or judgment:

(a) Allows or disallows a will;

(b) Determines who are the lawful heirs of a deceased person, or the distributive
share of the estate to which such person is entitled;

(c) Allows or disallows, in whole or in part, any claim against the estate of a deceased
person, or any claim presented on behalf of the estate in offset to a claim against it;

(d) Settles the account of an executor, administrator, trustee or guardian;

(e) Constitutes, in proceedings relating to the settlement of the estate of a deceased


person, or the administration of a trustee or guardian, a final determination in the
lower court of the rights of the party appealing, except that no appeal shall be allowed
from the appointment of a special administrator; and
(f) Is the final order or judgment rendered in the case, and affects the substantial
rights of the person appealing, unless it be an order granting or denying a motion for
a new trial or for reconsideration.

Clearly, the assailed orders of the RTC, being interlocutory, did not come under any
of the instances in which multiple appeals are permitted.

II
Did the RTC commit grave abuse of discretion
in directing the inclusion of the properties
in the estate of the decedent?

In its assailed decision, the CA concluded that the RTC committed grave abuse of
discretion for including properties in the inventory notwithstanding their having been
transferred to Mervir Realty by Emigdio during his lifetime, and for disregarding the
registration of the properties in the name of Mervir Realty, a third party, by applying
the doctrine of piercing the veil of corporate fiction.

Was the CA correct in its conclusion?

The answer is in the negative. It is unavoidable to find that the CA, in reaching its
conclusion, ignored the law and the facts that had fully warranted the assailed orders
of the RTC.

Under Section 6(a), Rule 78 of the Rules of Court, the letters of administration may
be granted at the discretion of the court to the surviving spouse, who is competent
and willing to serve when the person dies intestate. Upon issuing the letters of
administration to the surviving spouse, the RTC becomes duty-bound to direct the
preparation and submission of the inventory of the properties of the estate, and the
surviving spouse, as the administrator, has the duty and responsibility to submit the
inventory within three months from the issuance of letters of administration pursuant
to Rule 83 of the Rules of Court, viz:

Section 1. Inventory and appraisal to be returned within three months. Within three
(3) months after his appointment every executor or administrator shall return to the
court a true inventory and appraisal of all the real and personal estate of the
deceased which has come into his possession or knowledge. In the
appraisement of such estate, the court may order one or more of the inheritance tax
appraisers to give his or their assistance.

The usage of the word all in Section 1, supra, demands the inclusion of all the real
and personal properties of the decedent in the inventory.[22] However, the word all is
qualified by the phrase which has come into his possession or knowledge, which
signifies that the properties must be known to the administrator to belong to the
decedent or are in her possession as the administrator. Section 1 allows no exception,
for the phrase true inventory implies that no properties appearing to belong to the
decedent can be excluded from the inventory, regardless of their being in the
possession of another person or entity.

The objective of the Rules of Court in requiring the inventory and appraisal of the
estate of the decedent is to aid the court in revising the accounts and determining
the liabilities of the executor or the administrator, and in making a final and equitable
distribution (partition) of the estate and otherwise to facilitate the administration of
the estate.[23]Hence, the RTC that presides over the administration of an estate is
vested with wide discretion on the question of what properties should be included in
the inventory. According to Peralta v. Peralta,[24] the CA cannot impose its judgment
in order to supplant that of the RTC on the issue of which properties are to be included
or excluded from the inventory in the absence of positive abuse of discretion, for in
the administration of the estates of deceased persons, the judges enjoy ample
discretionary powers and the appellate courts should not interfere with or attempt to
replace the action taken by them, unless it be shown that there has been a positive
abuse of discretion.[25] As long as the RTC commits no patently grave abuse of
discretion, its orders must be respected as part of the regular performance of its
judicial duty.

There is no dispute that the jurisdiction of the trial court as an intestate court is
special and limited. The trial court cannot adjudicate title to properties claimed to be
a part of the estate but are claimed to belong to third parties by title adverse to that
of the decedent and the estate, not by virtue of any right of inheritance from the
decedent. All that the trial court can do regarding said properties is to determine
whether or not they should be included in the inventory of properties to be
administered by the administrator. Such determination is provisional and may be still
revised. As the Court said in Agtarap v. Agtarap:[26]

The general rule is that the jurisdiction of the trial court, either as a probate court or
an intestate court, relates only to matters having to do with the probate of the will
and/or settlement of the estate of deceased persons, but does not extend to the
determination of questions of ownership that arise during the proceedings. The patent
rationale for this rule is that such court merely exercises special and limited
jurisdiction. As held in several cases, a probate court or one in charge of estate
proceedings, whether testate or intestate, cannot adjudicate or determine title to
properties claimed to be a part of the estate and which are claimed to belong to
outside parties, not by virtue of any right of inheritance from the deceased but by
title adverse to that of the deceased and his estate. All that the said court could do
as regards said properties is to determine whether or not they should be included in
the inventory of properties to be administered by the administrator. If there is no
dispute, there poses no problem, but if there is, then the parties, the administrator,
and the opposing parties have to resort to an ordinary action before a court exercising
general jurisdiction for a final determination of the conflicting claims of title.

However, this general rule is subject to exceptions as justified by expediency and


convenience.

First, the probate court may provisionally pass upon in an intestate or a


testate proceeding the question of inclusion in, or exclusion from, the
inventory of a piece of property without prejudice to final determination of
ownership in a separate action. Second, if the interested parties are all heirs to
the estate, or the question is one of collation or advancement, or theparties consent
to the assumption of jurisdiction by the probate court and the rights of third
parties are not impaired, then the probate court is competent to resolve
issues on ownership. Verily, its jurisdiction extends to matters incidental or
collateral to the settlement and distribution of the estate, such as the determination
of the status of each heir and whether the property in the inventory is conjugal
or exclusive property of the deceased spouse.[27] (Italics in the original; bold
emphasis supplied)

It is clear to us that the RTC took pains to explain the factual bases for its directive
for the inclusion of the properties in question in its assailed order of March 14,
2001, viz:

In the first place, the administratrix of the estate admitted that Emigdio Mercado was
one of the heirs of Severina Mercado who, upon her death, left several properties as
listed in the inventory of properties submitted in Court in Special Proceedings No.
306-R which are supposed to be divided among her heirs. The administratrix
admitted, while being examined in Court by the counsel for the petitioner, that she
did not include in the inventory submitted by her in this case the shares of Emigdio
Mercado in the said estate of Severina Mercado. Certainly, said properties
constituting Emigdio Mercados share in the estate of Severina Mercado should be
included in the inventory of properties required to be submitted to the Court in this
particular case.

In the second place, the administratrix of the estate of Emigdio Mercado also
admitted in Court that she did not include in the inventory shares of stock of Mervir
Realty Corporation which are in her name and which were paid by her from money
derived from the taxicab business which she and her husband had since 1955 as a
conjugal undertaking. As these shares of stock partake of being conjugal in character,
one-half thereof or of the value thereof should be included in the inventory of the
estate of her husband.

In the third place, the administratrix of the estate of Emigdio Mercado admitted, too,
in Court that she had a bank account in her name at Union Bank which she opened
when her husband was still alive. Again, the money in said bank account partakes of
being conjugal in character, and so, one-half thereof should be included in the
inventory of the properties constituting as estate of her husband.

In the fourth place, it has been established during the hearing in this case that Lot
No. 3353 of Pls-657-D located in Badian, Cebu containing an area of 53,301 square
meters as described in and covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. 3252 of the
Registry of Deeds for the Province of Cebu is still registered in the name of Emigdio
S. Mercado until now. When it was the subject of Civil Case No. CEB-12690 which
was decided on October 19, 1995, it was the estate of the late Emigdio Mercado
which claimed to be the owner thereof. Mervir Realty Corporation never intervened
in the said case in order to be the owner thereof. This fact was admitted by Richard
Mercado himself when he testified in Court. x x x So the said property located in
Badian, Cebu should be included in the inventory in this case.

Fifthly and lastly, it appears that the assignment of several parcels of land by the late
Emigdio S. Mercado to Mervir Realty Corporation on January 10, 1991 by virtue of
the Deed of Assignment signed by him on the said day (Exhibit N for the petitioner
and Exhibit 5 for the administratrix) was a transfer in contemplation of death. It was
made two days before he died on January 12, 1991. A transfer made in contemplation
of death is one prompted by the thought that the transferor has not long to live and
made in place of a testamentary disposition (1959 Prentice Hall, p. 3909). Section
78 of the National Internal Revenue Code of 1977 provides that the gross estate of
the decedent shall be determined by including the value at the time of his death of
all property to the extent of any interest therein of which the decedent has at any
time made a transfer in contemplation of death. So, the inventory to be approved in
this case should still include the said properties of Emigdio Mercado which were
transferred by him in contemplation of death. Besides, the said properties actually
appeared to be still registered in the name of Emigdio S. Mercado at least ten (10)
months after his death, as shown by the certification issued by the Cebu City
Assessors Office on October 31, 1991 (Exhibit O).[28]

Thereby, the RTC strictly followed the directives of the Rules of Court and the
jurisprudence relevant to the procedure for preparing the inventory by the
administrator. The aforequoted explanations indicated that the directive to include
the properties in question in the inventory rested on good and valid reasons, and
thus was far from whimsical, or arbitrary, or capricious.

Firstly, the shares in the properties inherited by Emigdio from Severina Mercado
should be included in the inventory because Teresita, et al. did not dispute the fact
about the shares being inherited by Emigdio.

Secondly, with Emigdio and Teresita having been married prior to the effectivity of
theFamily Code in August 3, 1988, their property regime was the conjugal
partnership of gains.[29] For purposes of the settlement of Emigdios estate, it was
unavoidable for Teresita to include his shares in the conjugal partnership of gains.
The party asserting that specific property acquired during that property regime did
not pertain to the conjugal partnership of gains carried the burden of proof, and that
party must prove the exclusive ownership by one of them by clear, categorical, and
convincing evidence.[30] In the absence of or pending the presentation of such proof,
the conjugal partnership of Emigdio and Teresita must be provisionally liquidated to
establish who the real owners of the affected properties were,[31] and which of the
properties should form part of the estate of Emigdio. The portions that pertained to
the estate of Emigdio must be included in the inventory.

Moreover, although the title over Lot 3353 was already registered in the name of
Mervir Realty, the RTC made findings that put that title in dispute. Civil Case No.
CEB-12692, a dispute that had involved the ownership of Lot 3353, was resolved in
favor of the estate of Emigdio, and Transfer Certificate of Title No. 3252 covering Lot
3353 was still in Emigdios name. Indeed, the RTC noted in the order of March 14,
2001, or ten years after his death, that Lot 3353 had remained registered in the
name of Emigdio.

Interestingly, Mervir Realty did not intervene at all in Civil Case No. CEB-12692. Such
lack of interest in Civil Case No. CEB-12692 was susceptible of various
interpretations, including one to the effect that the heirs of Emigdio could have
already threshed out their differences with the assistance of the trial court. This
interpretation was probable considering that Mervir Realty, whose business was
managed by respondent Richard, was headed by Teresita herself as its President. In
other words, Mervir Realty appeared to be a family corporation.

Also, the fact that the deed of absolute sale executed by Emigdio in favor of Mervir
Realty was a notarized instrument did not sufficiently justify the exclusion from the
inventory of the properties involved. A notarized deed of sale only enjoyed the
presumption of regularity in favor of its execution, but its notarization did not per
se guarantee the legal efficacy of the transaction under the deed, and what the
contents purported to be. The presumption of regularity could be rebutted by clear
and convincing evidence to the contrary.[32] As the Court has observed in Suntay v.
Court of Appeals:[33]

x x x. Though the notarization of the deed of sale in question vests in its favor the
presumption of regularity, it is not the intention nor the function of the notary public
to validate and make binding an instrument never, in the first place, intended to have
any binding legal effect upon the parties thereto. The intention of the parties still
and always is the primary consideration in determining the true nature of a
contract. (Bold emphasis supplied)

It should likewise be pointed out that the exchange of shares of stock of Mervir Realty
with the real properties owned by Emigdio would still have to be inquired into. That
Emigdio executed the deed of assignment two days prior to his death was a
circumstance that should put any interested party on his guard regarding the
exchange, considering that there was a finding about Emigdio having been sick of
cancer of the pancreas at the time.[34] In this regard, whether the CA correctly
characterized the exchange as a form of an estate planning scheme remained to be
validated by the facts to be established in court.

The fact that the properties were already covered by Torrens titles in the name of
Mervir Realty could not be a valid basis for immediately excluding them from the
inventory in view of the circumstances admittedly surrounding the execution of the
deed of assignment. This is because:

The Torrens system is not a mode of acquiring titles to lands; it is merely a system
of registration of titles to lands. However, justice and equity demand that the
titleholder should not be made to bear the unfavorable effect of the mistake or
negligence of the States agents, in the absence of proof of his complicity in a fraud
or of manifest damage to third persons. The real purpose of the Torrens system is to
quiet title to land and put a stop forever to any question as to the legality of the title,
except claims that were noted in the certificate at the time of registration or that may
arise subsequent thereto. Otherwise, the integrity of the Torrens system shall forever
be sullied by the ineptitude and inefficiency of land registration officials, who are
ordinarily presumed to have regularly performed their duties.[35]

Assuming that only seven titled lots were the subject of the deed of assignment of
January 10, 1991, such lots should still be included in the inventory to enable the
parties, by themselves, and with the assistance of the RTC itself, to test and resolve
the issue on the validity of the assignment. The limited jurisdiction of the RTC as an
intestate court might have constricted the determination of the rights to the
properties arising from that deed,[36] but it does not prevent the RTC as intestate
court from ordering the inclusion in the inventory of the properties subject of that
deed. This is because the RTC as intestate court, albeit vested only with special and
limited jurisdiction, was still deemed to have all the necessary powers to exercise
such jurisdiction to make it effective.[37]

Lastly, the inventory of the estate of Emigdio must be prepared and submitted for
the important purpose of resolving the difficult issues of collation and advancement
to the heirs. Article 1061 of the Civil Code required every compulsory heir and the
surviving spouse, herein Teresita herself, to bring into the mass of the estate any
property or right which he (or she) may have received from the decedent, during the
lifetime of the latter, by way of donation, or any other gratuitous title, in order that
it may be computed in the determination of the legitime of each heir, and in the
account of the partition. Section 2, Rule 90 of the Rules of Court also provided that
any advancement by the decedent on the legitime of an heir may be heard and
determined by the court having jurisdiction of the estate proceedings, and the final
order of the court thereon shall be binding on the person raising the questions and
on the heir. Rule 90 thereby expanded the special and limited jurisdiction of the RTC
as an intestate court about the matters relating to the inventory of the estate of the
decedent by authorizing it to direct the inclusion of properties donated or bestowed
by gratuitous title to any compulsory heir by the decedent.[38]

The determination of which properties should be excluded from or included in the


inventory of estate properties was well within the authority and discretion of the RTC
as an intestate court. In making its determination, the RTC acted with
circumspection, and proceeded under the guiding policy that it was best to include
all properties in the possession of the administrator or were known to the
administrator to belong to Emigdio rather than to exclude properties that could turn
out in the end to be actually part of the estate. As long as the RTC commits no patent
grave abuse of discretion, its orders must be respected as part of the regular
performance of its judicial duty. Grave abuse of discretion means either that the
judicial or quasi-judicial power was exercised in an arbitrary or despotic manner by
reason of passion or personal hostility, or that the respondent judge, tribunal or board
evaded a positive duty, or virtually refused to perform the duty enjoined or to act in
contemplation of law, such as when such judge, tribunal or board exercising judicial
or quasi-judicial powers acted in a capricious or whimsical manner as to be equivalent
to lack of jurisdiction.[39]

In light of the foregoing, the CAs conclusion of grave abuse of discretion on the part
of the RTC was unwarranted and erroneous.

WHEREFORE, the Court GRANTS the petition for review


on certiorari; REVERSES andSETS ASIDE the decision promulgated on May 15,
2002; REINSTATES the orders issued on March 14, 2001 and May 18, 2001 by the
Regional Trial Court in Cebu; DIRECTS the Regional Trial Court in Cebu to proceed
with dispatch in Special Proceedings No. 3094-CEB entitled Intestate Estate of the
late Emigdio Mercado, Thelma Aranas, petitioner, and to resolve the case;
and ORDERS the respondents to pay the costs of suit.

20)1stDiv., G.R. No. 164255, September 07, 2011, SPOUSES ELBE


LEBIN AND ERLINDA LEBIN VS. VILMA S. MIRASOL, AND REGIONAL
TRIAL COURT OF ILOILO, BRANCH XXVII.

BERSAMIN, J.:

The perfection of an appeal in the manner and within the period laid down by law is
mandatory and jurisdictional. Here, the although the notice of appeal of an order
covered by Rule 109-e of the ROC was filed within 30 days, the record on appeal
was filed beyond the 30 day period. Hence, appeal was dismissed.

DECLARATION OF ABSENCE VS. PRESUMPTIVE DEATH


REPUBLIC VS. YOLANDA CADACIO GRANADA, G.R. NO. 187512, JUNE
13, 2012-

SERENO, J.:

An action for declaration of death or absence underRule 72, Section 1(m), expressly
falls under the category of special proceedings. On the other hand, a petition for
declaration of presumptive death under Article 41 of the Family Code is a summary
proceeding, as provided for by Article 238 of the same Code. It is not a special
proceeding, since its purpose was to enable petitioner to contract a subsequent valid
marriage. Rather, it is a summary proceeding based on Article 41 of the Family Code,
rather than a special proceeding underRule 72 of the Rules of Court.

Under Article 41 of the Family Code, the losing party in a summary proceeding for
the declaration of presumptive death may file a petition for certiorari with the CA on
the ground that, in rendering judgment thereon, the trial court committed grave
abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction. From the decision of the CA, the
aggrieved party may elevate the matter to this Court via a petition for review on
certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court.

Evidently then, the CA did not commit any error in dismissing the Republics Notice
of Appeal on the ground that the RTC judgment on the Petition for Declaration of
Presumptive Death of respondents spouse was immediately final and executory and,
hence, not subject to ordinary appeal.

=END=