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Special Proceedings

G.R. No. 143483 January 31, 2002


REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. COURT OF APPEALS 13.2. Even assuming arguendo that the properties could be subject of escheat
proceedings, the decision is still legally infirm for escheating the properties to an
entity, the Pasay City Government, which is not authorized by law to be the recipient
thereof. The property should have been escheated in favor of the Republic of the
This petition for certiorari seeks to nullify two (2) Resolutions of the Court of Appeals Philippines under Rule 91, Section 1 of the New Rules of Court x x x x
dated 12 November 1998 and 4 May 2000 giving due course to the petition for
annulment of judgment filed by private respondent Amada H. Solano on 3 February On 17 March 1997 the Office of the Solicitor General representing public respondents
1997 and denying petitioner's motion for reconsideration. RTC and the Register of Deeds (herein petitioner) filed an answer setting forth their
affirmative defenses, to wit: (a) lack of jurisdiction over the nature of the action; and,
For more than three (3) decades (from 1952 to 1985) private respondent Amada (b) the cause of action was barred by the statute of limitations.
Solano served as the all-around personal domestic helper of the late Elizabeth
Hankins, a widow and a French national. During Ms. Hankins' lifetime and most Finding no cogent reason to justify the dismissal of the petition for annulment, the
especially during the waning years of her life, respondent Solano was her faithful girl Court of Appeals issued on 12 November 1998 the first of its assailed Resolutions
Friday and a constant companion since no close relative was available to tend to her giving due course to the petition for annulment of judgment and setting the date for
needs. trial on the merits. In upholding the theory of respondent Solano, the Appeals Court
ruled that -
In recognition of Solano's faithful and dedicated service, Ms. Hankins executed in her
favor two (2) deeds of donation involving two (2) parcels of land covered by TCT Nos. Herein petitioner invokes lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter on the part of
7807 and 7808 of the Registry of Deeds. Private respondent alleged that she respondent RTC to entertain the escheat proceedings x x x because the parcels of
misplaced the deeds of donation and were nowhere to be found. land have been earlier donated to herein petitioner in 1983 and 1984 prior to the
death of said Hankins; and therefore, respondent court could not have ordered the
While the deeds of donation were missing, the Republic filed a petition for the escheat escheat of said properties in favor of the Republic of the Philippines, assign them to
of the estate of Elizabeth Hankins before the Regional Trial Court of Pasay City.1 respondent Pasay City government, order the cancellation of the old titles in the name
During the proceedings, a motion for intervention was filed by Romeo Solano, spouse of Hankins and order the properties registered in the name of respondent Pasay City
of private respondent, and one Gaudencio Regosa, but on 24 June 1987 the motion x x x x The 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure specifically laid down the grounds of
was denied by the trial court for the reason that "they miserably failed to show valid annulment filed before this Court, to wit: extrinsic fraud and lack of jurisdiction.
claim or right to the properties in question."2 Since it was established that there were Jurisdiction over the subject matter is conferred by law and this jurisdiction is
no known heirs and persons entitled to the properties of decedent Hankins, the lower determined by the allegations of the complaint. It is axiomatic that the averments of
court escheated the estate of the decedent in favor of petitioner Republic of the the complaint determine the nature of the action and consequently the jurisdiction of
Philippines. the courts. Thus whether or not the properties in question are no longer part of the
estate of the deceased Hankins at the time of her death; and, whether or not the
By virtue of the decision of the trial court, the Registry of Deeds of Pasay City alleged donations are valid are issues in the present petition for annulment which can
cancelled TCT Nos. 7807 and 7808 and issued new ones, TCT Nos. 129551 and be resolved only after a full blown trial x x x x
129552, both in the name of Pasay City.
It is for the same reason that respondents espousal of the statute of limitations
In the meantime, private respondent claimed that she accidentally found the deeds of against herein petition for annulment cannot prosper at this stage of the proceedings.
donation she had been looking for a long time. In view of this development, Indeed, Section 4, Rule 91 of the Revised Rules of Court expressly provides that a
respondent Amada Solano filed on 28 January 1997 a petition before the Court of person entitled to the estate must file his claim with the court a quo within five (5)
Appeals for the annulment of the lower court's decision alleging, among other, that3 - years from the date of said judgment. However, it is clear to this Court that herein
petitioner is not claiming anything from the estate of the deceased at the time of her
13.1. The deceased Elizabeth Hankins having donated the subject properties to the death on September 20, 1985; rather she is claiming that the subject parcels of land
petitioner in 1983 (for TCT No. 7807) and 1984 (for TCT No. 7808), these properties should not have been included as part of the estate of the said decedent as she is the
did not and could not form part of her estate when she died on September 20, 1985. owner thereof by virtue of the deeds of donation in her favor.
Consequently, they could not validly be escheated to the Pasay City Government;
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In effect, herein petitioner, who alleges to be in possession of the premises in The present controversy revolves around the nature of the parcels of land purportedly
question, is claiming ownership of the properties in question and the consequent donated to private respondent which will ultimately determine whether the lower court
reconveyance thereof in her favor which cause of action prescribes ten (10) years had jurisdiction to declare the same escheated in favor of the state.
after the issuance of title in favor of respondent Pasay City on August 7, 1990. Herein
petition was seasonably filed on February 3, 1997 under Article 1144, to wit: We rule for the petitioner. Escheat is a proceeding, unlike that of succession or
assignment, whereby the state, by virtue of its sovereignty, steps in and claims the
Art. 1144. The following actions must be brought within ten years from the time the real or personal property of a person who dies intestate leaving no heir. In the
right of action accrues: (1) Upon a written contract; (2) Upon an obligation created by absence of a lawful owner, a property is claimed by the state to forestall an open
law; (3) Upon a judgment. "invitation to self-service by the first comers."5 Since escheat is one of the incidents
of sovereignty, the state may, and usually does, prescribe the conditions and limits
And Article 1456, to wit: the time within which a claim to such property may be made. The procedure by which
the escheated property may be recovered is generally prescribed by statue, and a
Art. 1456. If property is acquired through mistake or fraud, the person obtaining it is, time limit is imposed within which such action must be brought.
by force of law, considered a trustee of an implied trust for the benefit of the person
from whom the property comes.4 In this jurisdiction, a claimant to an escheated property must file his claim "within five
(5) years from the date of such judgment, such person shall have possession of and
In its Resolution of 4 May 2000 the Court of Appeals denied the motion for title to the same, or if sold, the municipality or city shall be accountable to him for the
reconsideration filed by public respondents Register of Deeds of Pasay City and the proceeds, after deducting the estate; but a claim not made shall be barred forever."6
Presiding judge of the lower court and set the trial on the merits for June 15 and 16, The 5-year period is not a device capriciously conjured by the state to defraud any
2000. claimant; on the contrary, it is decidedly prescribed to encourage would-be claimants
to be punctilious in asserting their claims, otherwise they may lose them forever in a
In its effort to nullify the Resolutions herein before mentioned, petitioner points out final judgment.
that the Court of Appeals committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or
excess of jurisdiction (a) in denying petitioner's affirmative defenses set forth in its Incidentally, the question may be asked: Does herein private respondent, not being
answer and motion for reconsideration, and in setting the case for trial and reception an heir but allegedly a donee, have the personality to be a claimant within the purview
of evidence; and, (b) in giving due course to private respondent's petition for of Sec. 4, Rule 91, of the Revised Rules of Court? In this regard, we agree with the
annulment of decision despite the palpable setting-in of the 5-year statute of Solicitor General that the case of Municipal Council of San Pedro, Laguna v. Colegio
limitations within which to file claims before the court a quo set forth in Rule 91 of the de San Jose, Inc.,7 is applicable at least insofar as it concerns the Court's discussion
Revised Rules of Court and Art. 1014 of the Civil Code. on who is an "interested party" in an escheat proceeding -

Petitioner argues that the lower court had jurisdiction when it escheated the In a special proceeding for escheat under sections 750 and 751 the petitioner is not
properties in question in favor of the city government and the filing of a petition for the sole and exclusive interested party. Any person alleging to have a direct right or
annulment of judgment on the ground of subsequent discovery of the deeds of interest in the property sought to be escheated is likewise an interested party and
donation did not divest the lower court of its jurisdiction on the matter. It further may appear and oppose the petition for escheat. In the present case, the Colegio de
contends that Rule 47 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure only provides for two (2) San Jose, Inc. and Carlos Young appeared alleging to have a material interest in the
grounds for the annulment of judgment, namely: extrinsic fraud and lack of Hacienda de San Pedro Tunasan; the former because it claims to be the exclusive
jurisdiction. As such the discovery of the deeds of donation seven (7) years after the owner of the hacienda, and the latter because he claims to be the lessee thereof
finality of the escheat proceedings is an extraneous matter which is clearly not an under a contract legally entered with the former (underscoring supplied).
instance of extrinsic fraud nor a ground to oust the lower court of its jurisdiction.
In the instant petition, the escheat judgment was handed down by the lower court as
Petitioner also insists that notwithstanding the execution of the deeds of donation in early as 27 June 1989 but it was only on 28 January 1997, more or less seven (7)
favor of private respondent, the 5-year statute of limitations within which to file claims years after, when private respondent decided to contest the escheat judgment in the
before the court a quo as set forth in Rule 91 of the Revised Rules of Court has set in. guise of a petition for annulment of judgment before the Court of Appeals. Obviously,
private respondent's belated assertion of her right over the escheated properties
militates against recovery.
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A judgment in escheat proceedings when rendered by a court of competent


jurisdiction is conclusive against all persons with actual or constructive notice, but not
against those who are not parties or privies thereto. As held in Hamilton v. Brown,8 "a
judgment of escheat was held conclusive upon persons notified by advertisement to
all persons interested. Absolute lack on the part of petitioners of any dishonest intent
to deprive the appellee of any right, or in any way injure him, constitutes due process
of law, proper notice having been observed." With the lapse of the 5-year period
therefore, private respondent has irretrievably lost her right to claim and the supposed
"discovery of the deeds of donation" is not enough justification to nullify the escheat
judgment which has long attained finality.

In the mind of this Court the subject properties were owned by the decedent during
the time that the escheat proceedings were being conducted and the lower court was
not divested of its jurisdiction to escheat them in favor of Pasay City notwithstanding
an allegation that they had been previously donated. We recall that a motion for
intervention was earlier denied by the escheat court for failure to show "valid claim or
right to the properties in question."9 Where a person comes into an escheat
proceeding as a claimant, the burden is on such intervenor to establish his title to the
property and his right to intervene. A fortiori, the certificates of title covering the
subject properties were in the name of the decedent indicating that no transfer of
ownership involving the disputed properties was ever made by the deceased during
her lifetime. In the absence therefore of any clear and convincing proof showing that
the subject lands had been conveyed by Hankins to private respondent Solano, the
same still remained, at least before the escheat, part of the estate of the decedent
and the lower court was right not to assume otherwise. The Court of Appeals
therefore cannot perfunctorily presuppose that the subject properties were no longer
part of the decedent's estate at the time the lower court handed down its decision on
the strength of a belated allegation that the same had previously been disposed of by
the owner. It is settled that courts decide only after a close scrutiny of every piece of
evidence and analyze each case with deliberate precision and unadulterated
thoroughness, the judgment not being diluted by speculations, conjectures and
unsubstantiated assertions.

WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The assailed Resolution of the Court of


Appeals dated 12 November 1998 giving due course to the petition for annulment of
judgment, and its Resolution dated 4 May 2000 denying petitioner's motion for
reconsideration, are SET ASIDE. The decision of the RTC-Br. 114, Pasay City, dated
27 June 1989, is REINSTATED.

SO ORDERED.

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summons and notice were duly published in the August 25, September 1, and
September 8, 1968 issues of the "Philippines Herald" and "El Debate."

On October 5,1968, private respondent Bank filed before the CFI a motion to dismiss
the complaint as against it on the ground of improper venue. Opposed by the
petitioner, the motion to dismiss was granted in the first assailed Order. Its motion for
reconsideration of said dismissal order having been denied in the second assailed
G.R. No. L-30381August 30, 1988 order, petitioner interposed the instant appeal on pure questions of law, to wit:
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE OF MANILA
a. Whether or not Pres. Roxas Rural Bank is a real party in interest in the
The instant appeal by certiorari seeks (1) to annul and set aside the Orders dated escheat proceedings or in Civil Case No. 73707 of the Court of First Instance of
October 26,1968 and March 1, 1969 of the then Court of First Instance (CFI) of Manila.
Manila, Branch XIII in Civil Case No. 73707 entitled "Republic of the Philippines,
Plaintiff, versus Bank of America, et al., Defendants," which orders respectively b. Whether or not venue of action in Civil Case No. 73707 has been properly
dismissed herein petitioner's complaint for escheat as against private respondent laid in the City of Manila, since all defendant banks, wherever they may be found,
Pres. Roxas Rural Bank for improper venue and denied petitioner's motion for could be included in one single action, pursuant to the provisions of Act No. 3936.
reconsideration of such dismissal order; and (2) the reinstatement of the aforesaid
against private respondent. c. Whether or not Section 2(b), Rule 4 of the Revised Rules of Court on venue,
likewise, governs escheat proceedings instituted by the Republic in the Court of First
The antecedents are as follows: Instance of Manila.

Pursuant to Section 2 of Act No. 3936, otherwise known as the Unclaimed Balance It is petitioner's contention that private respondent bank, being a mere nominal party,
Law, some 31 banks including herein private respondent Pres. Roxas Rural Bank could not file a motion to dismiss on the ground of improper venue, the real party in
forwarded to the Treasurer of the Philippines in January of 1968 separate statements interest being the depositors themselves; that the avowed purpose of Act No. 3936 is
under oath by their respective managing officers of all deposits and credits held by to benefit the government by escheating unto itself dormant bank deposits and that
them in favor, or in the names of such depositors or creditors known to be dead, or this purpose will be defeated if escheat proceedings will have to be instituted in each
who have not been heard from, or who have not made further deposits or withdrawals and every province or city where a bank is located because of the publication
during the preceding ten years or more. In the sworn statement submitted by private expense; that the convenience or inconvenience of the depositors is not the
respondent Bank, only two (2) names appeared: Jesus Ydirin with a balance of determining factor as to venue of action, but that in view of Rule 144 of the Revised
P126.54 and Leonora Trumpeta with a deposit of P62.91. Rules of Court, which provides that all cases brought after the effectivity of the Rules
on January 1, 1964 shall be governed by the provisions of the Rules of Court, Section
Upon receipt of these sworn statements, the Treasurer of the Philippines caused the 2(b) of Rule 4 on venue is made applicable and available to the Republic in the
same to be published in the February 25, March 3 and March 10, 1968 issues of the instant case.
"Philippines Herald", an English newspaper, and the"El Debate", a Spanish
newspaper, both of general circulation in the Philippines. We find these contentions unmeritorious.

Thereafter, or on July 25, 1968, the Republic of the Philippines instituted before the A "real party in interest" has been defined as the party who would be benefitted or
CFI of Manila a complaint for escheat against the aforesaid 31 banks, including injured by the judgment of the suit or the party entitled to avail of the suit. 1 There can
herein private respondent. Likewise named defendants therein were the individual be no doubt that private respondent bank falls under this definition for the escheat of
depositors and/or creditors reported in the sworn statements and listed in Annex "A" the dormant deposits in favor of the government would necessarily deprive said bank
of the complaint. Summonses were accordingly issued to defendant banks and the of the use of such deposits. It is in this sense that it stands to be "injured by the
creditors/depositors requiring them to file severally their answers to the complaint judgment of the suit;" and it is for this reason that Section 3 of Act No. 3936
within 60 days after the first publication of the summons with notice that should they specifically provides that the bank shall be joined as a party in the action for escheat,
fail to file their answers, plaintiff would take judgment against them by default. The thus:
aforesaid complaint, list of depositors-creditors (Annex "A"of the complaint),
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Section 3. Whenever the Attorney General shall be informed of such failure to file their answers. Considering that the complaint in Civil Case No. 73707
unclaimed balances, he shall commence an action or actions in the name of the states a common cause of action against private respondent bank and its depositors-
People of the Philippines in the Court of First Instance of the province where the bank co-defendants, and considering further that the motion to dismiss filed by private
is located, in which shall be joined as parties the bank and such creditors or respondent bank alleged facts 3 that would warrant dismissal of the complaint against
depositors. All or any member of such creditors or depositors or banks, may be said co-defendants, we apply by analogy Section 4 of Rule 18 of the Rules of Court, 4
included in one action. (Emphasis supplied.) thereby decreeing the benefits of the dismissal of the complaint to extend to private
respondent bank's co-defendants Jose Ydirin and Leonora Trumpeta and their
Indeed, if the bank were not a real party in interest, the legislature would not have successors- in-interest.
provided for its joining as a party in the escheat proceedings.
WHEREFORE, the instant appeal by certiorari is hereby denied. No costs.
Besides, under Section 2, Rule 3 of the Rules of Court, private respondent bank is a
real party in interest as its presence in the action is necessary for a complete SO ORDERED.
determination and settlement of the questions involved therein. Private respondent
bank being a real party in interest, it may and can file a motion to dismiss on the
ground of improper venue.

In defense of the second issue raised, petitioner points to the last sentence of Section
3 of Act No. 3936 above-quoted as authority for saying that the venue of the escheat
proceedings was properly laid in the City of Manila. Petitioner's reliance on said
sentence is patently misplaced, the same having been obviously read out of context
instead of in relation to the sentence preceding it.

The first sentence of Section 3 of Act No. 3936 directs the Attorney General, now
Solicitor General, to commence an action or actions in the name of the People of the
Philippines in the Court of First Instance of the province where the bank is located.
The phrase "or actions" in this section is very significant. It manifests awareness on
the part of the legislators that a single action to cover all banks wherever located in
the Philippines would not be legally feasible in view of the venue prescribed for such
action under the same section, i.e., the province where the bank is located. Thus, the
addition of the last sentence, which the lower court had correctly interpreted to mean
"that for escheat of unclaimed bank balances all banks located in one and the same
province where the Court of First Instance concerned is located may be made parties
defendant "in one action" 2 was clearly intended to save on litigation and publication
expenses, but certainly not as authority for the lumping together of all banks wherever
found in the Philippines in one single escheat proceedings.

Anent the third issue raised, suffice it to say that Section 2(b) of Rule 4 of the Revised
Rules of Court cannot govern escheat proceedings principally because said section
refers to personal actions. Escheat proceedings are actions in rem which must be
brought in the province or city where the rem in this case the dormant deposits, is
located.

We note that while private respondent bank's motion to dismiss was granted, the trial
court in a subsequent order dated November 16, 1968 declared private respondent
bank's depositors and co-defendants Jose Ydirin and Leonora Trumpeta in default for
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reported by him in his inventory. The respondent Judge found the claim to be true,
and, in his order of April 17, 1980 relieved the petitioner as guardian.

On motion of petitioner, however, the respondent Judge reconsidered his finding,


relying on the deed of sale as the best evidence of the price paid for the sale of the
land. in his order dated September 12, 1980, respondent judge acknowledged that his
finding was "rather harsh and somewhat unfair to the said guardian." Nevertheless,
respondent Judge ordered the retirement of petitioner on the ground of old age. The
order states in part as follows:

"... considering the rather advanced age of the present guardian, this Court is inclined
G.R. No. L-57438January 3, 1984 and so decrees, that he should nevertheless be, as he is hereby, retired to take effect
FELICIANO FRANCISCO vs. HON. COURT OF APPEALS and PELAGIO upon the appointment by this court and the assumption of office of his replacement,
FRANCISCO who shall be taken from the recommendees of the parties herein. For this purpose,
the present guardian is hereby given twenty (20) days from receipt of a copy of this
order within which to submit his proposal for a replacement for himself and to
This petition for review on certiorari seeks the annulment of the decision and comment on petitioner's recommendee and the latter a like period within which to
resolution of the defunct Court of Appeals, now Intermediate Appellate Court, dated comment on the present guardian's proposed substitute, after which the matter will be
April 27, 1981. and June 26, 1981. respectively, dismissing the petition for certiorari deemed submitted for resolution and final action by the court.
filed by petitioner Feliciano Francisco docketed as CA-G.R. No. 12172 entitled
"Feliciano Francisco versus Judge Jesus R. De Vega and Pelagio Francisco". In the SO ORDERED."
said petition for certiorari, petitioner Feliciano Francisco challenged the validity of the
Order of the Court of First Instance of Bulacan, Fifth Judicial District, Branch II, now Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration, contending that he was only 72 years of
Regional Trial Court, granting execution pending appeal of its decision by relieving age and still fit to continue with the management of the estate of his ward as he had
petitioner Feliciano Francisco as guardian of incompetent Estefania San Pedro and done with zeal for the past twelve years. In an order dated November 13, 1980 the
appointing respondent herein, Pelagio Francisco, in his instead. court denied his motion. Accordingly, on December 17, 1980, petiti/ner filed a notice
of appeal 'from the order issued by the court on November 13, 1980' and paid the
The antecedent facts as recited in the appealed decision of the Court of Appeals appeal bond. On February 2, 1981 he filed the record on appeal. 1
showed that:
Meanwhile, on January 27, 1981, the court, on motion of private respondent, required
Petitioner is the duly appointed guardian of the incompetent Estefania San Pedro in petitioner to submit within three days his nomination for guardian of Estefania San
Special Proceedings No. 532 of the Court of First Instance of Bulacan presided over Pedro as required in its order of September 12, 1980. In issuing the order, the court
by respondent Judge. On August 30, 1974 respondent Pelagio Francisco, claiming to stated that 'an indefinite discontinuance in office would defeat the intent and purpose
be a first cousin of Estefania San Pedro, together with two others, said to be nieces of of the said order of September 12, 1980 relieving the present guardian.
the incompetent, petitioned the court for the removal of petitioner and for the
appointment in his stead of respondent Pelagio Francisco. Among other grounds, the Petitioner's motion for reconsideration was denied. Hence, this petition. (referring to
petition was based on the failure of the guardian to submit an inventory of the estate CA-G.R. No. SP-1217)"
of his ward and to render an accounting.
On December 5, 1980, before the appeal was perfected, Pelagio Francisco filed an
It would seem that petitioner subsequently rendered an accounting but failed to "Omnibus Motion" with the court a quo with the prayer (1) to restrain guardian from
submit an inventory, for which reason the court on March 20, 1975 gave petitioner ten exercising office; (2) order guardian to surrender to court all properties of the ward;
(10) days within which to do so, otherwise he would be removed from guardianship and (3) appoint new guardian . 2
Petitioner thereafter submitted an inventory to which respondent Pelagio Francisco
filed an objection on the ground that petitioner actually received P14,000.00 for the Petitioner, on December 9, 1980 filed his opposition to the omnibus motion claiming
sale of a residential land and not P12,000.00 only as stated in the deed of sale and that the same was premature. 3 The trial court, however, disregarded the opposition
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and required petitioner on January 27, 1981 to submit within three (3) days his SO ORDERED. 8
nomination for guardian of Estefania San Pedro as required in its order of September
12, 1980, the court holding that "an indefinite continuance in office would defeat the Petitioner subsequently filed another motion for reconsideration advancing the
intent and purpose of the said order of September 12, 1980, relieving the present following arguments: that to grant execution pending appeal would render petitioner's
guardian." 4 appeal moot and academic that "advanced age" was not one of the, grounds raised
by private respondent in the court below; that the court a quo abuse its discretion in
Petitioner moved for reconsideration of the said order, 5 but the trial court overruled appointing respondent as guardian despite the fact that private respondent is five (5)
the same on March 4, 1981. Subsequently, on March 11, 1981, 6 the court a quo years older than petitioner. 9
appointed respondent Pelagio Francisco as the new guardian of the person and
property of the incompetent Estefania San Pedro. 7 The respondent appellate court, in its resolution dated June 26, 1981, denied
petitioner's motion for reconsideration, the court finding it unnecessary to repeat the
On March 13, 1981, petitioner filed with the defunct Court of Appeals a petition for discussion of the arguments which it had already considered and only entertained the
certiorari challenging the validity of the order of the trial court granting the execution argument regarding the competency of the respondent as the new guardian. On this
pending appeal of its decision and appointing respondent Pelagio Francisco as the point, respondent Court ruled:
new guardian despite the fact that respondent is five (5) years older than petitioner,
docketed as CA-G.R. No. 12172. The order of March 11, 1981 appointing respondent Francisco as guardian was never
assailed in the petition in this case. As already stated, this case concerns the validity
The Court of Appeals dismissed the petition on April 23, 1981, the pertinent portion of only of the orders of January 27, 1981 and March 4, 1981 which required petitioner to
its decision reading as follows: recommend his own replacement, otherwise the court would appoint a new guardian.
It does not appear that petitioner objected to the appointment of respondent
The Rules of Court authorizes executions pending appeal "upon good reasons to be Francisco on the ground now invoked, namely, that Francisco is in fact older than
stated in a special order." (Rule 39, Sec. 2). In the case at bar, the retirement of petitioner. Nor does it appear that petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration of the
petitioner was ordered on the ground of old age. When this ground is considered in order of March 11, 1981, calling attention to the fact that respondent Francisco is
relation to the delay of the petitioner in the making of an accounting and the older than petitioner, In short, the point now raised does not appear to have been
submission of an inventory, the order amounts to a finding that petitioner, considering urged in the lower court so that the latter could have rectified the error, if it was error
his "rather advanced age," was no longer capable of managing the estate of his ward. at all, For this reason, it is not proper ground for certiorari before this Court, much less
Rule 97, Sec. 2). Given this finding, it is clear that petitioner's continuance in office for a motion for reconsideration.
would not be in the best interest of the ward.
WHEREFORE, the motion for reconsideration is DENIED for lack of merit.
It is of course true that the order of removal is not yet final. Considering the time -it
normally takes for appeals to be finally determined as well as the purpose of the order SO ORDERED. 10
under appeal, which would be frustrated if it is not immediately executed, we cannot
say that respondent acted with grave and irreparable damage and that the order of In the petition at bar, petitioner contends that (a) The Honorable Court of Appeals has
September 12, 1980 is not yet final, petitioner has not demonstrated that in ordering committed grave abuse of discretion in holding that the removal of petitioner as
execution pending appeal, the respondent Judge committed a grave abuse of guardian of the ward Estefania San Pedro on the ground of old age is a good ground
discretion. for the execution of the decision pending appeal; and (b) The Honorable Court of
Appeals committed grave misapprehension and misinterpretation of facts when it
Indeed, the granting of execution pending appeal ties within the sound discretion of a declared that petitioner did not question the appointment of private respondent as
court. Appellate courts win not interfere to discretion, unless it modify control or guardian in his stead on the ground that the latter is older than the former by five (5)
inquire into the exercise of this be shown that there has been an abuse of that years.
discretion. (2 Moran, Comments on the Rules of Court, 260 [1979].
A guardianship is a trust relation of the most sacred character, in which one person,
WHEREFORE, the petition for certiorari is DISMISSED, without pronouncement as to called a "guardian" acts for another called the "ward" whom the law regards as
costs. incapable of managing his own affairs.11 A guardianship is designed to further the
ward's well-being, not that of the guardian, It is intended to preserve the ward's
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property, as wen as to render any assistance that the ward may personally require. It agree with the reason given by the appellate court in sustaining execution pending
has been stated that while custody involves immediate care and control, guardianship appeal that "an indefinite continuance in office would defeat the intent and purpose of
indicates not only those responsibilities, but those of one in loco parentis as well. 12 the order of September 12, 1980, relieving the present guardian (Feliciano
Francisco)."
Having in mind that guardianship proceeding is instituted for the benefit and welfare
of the ward, the selection of a guardian must, therefore, suit this very purpose. Thus, As to the issue concerning the appointment of respondent Pelagio Francisco as the
in determining the selection of a guardian, the court may consider the financial new guardian, We likewise agree with the respondent appellate court in denying in its
situation, the physical condition, the sound judgment, prudence and trustworthiness, resolution of June 26, 1981 for lack of merit the motion for reconsideration filed by
the morals, character and conduct, and the present and past history of a prospective petitioner questioning the appointment of private respondent Pelagio Francisco. We
appointee, as wen as the probability of his, being able to exercise the powers and also find no abuse of discretion committed by the appellate court.
duties of guardian for the full period during which guardianship will be necessary. 13
The rule is well-established that appellate courts may not entertain issues brought
A guardian is or becomes incompetent to serve the trust if he is so disqualified by before it for the first time on appeal. (Jose Matienzo vs. Martin Servidad, 107 SCRA
mental incapacity, conviction of crime, moral delinquency or physical disability as to 276; Garcian vs. Court of Appeals, 102 SCRA 597; Director of Lands vs. Dano 96
be prevented from properly discharging the duties of his office. 14 A guardian, once SCRA 160).
appointed may be removed in case he becomes insane or otherwise incapable of
discharging his trust or unsuitable therefor, or has wasted or mismanaged the estate, WHEREFORE, IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the assailed decision and resolution
or failed for thirty (30) days after it is due to render an account or make a return.15 of the respondent court dated April 27, 1981 and June 26, 1981, respectively, are
hereby AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioner.
We agree with the trial court and the appellate court that there is need for petitioner
Feliciano Francisco to be retired from the guardianship over the person and property SO ORDERED.
of incompetent Estefania San Pedro. The conclusion reached by the trial court about
the "rather advanced age" of petitioner at 72 years old (petitioner is now 76 years old)
finding him unfit to continue the trust cannot be disturbed. As correctly pointed out by
the appellate court, this finds direct support in the delay of the accounting and
inventory made by petitioner. To sustain petitioner as guardian would, therefore, be
detrimental to the ward. While age alone is not a control criterion in determining a
person's fitness or qualification to be appointed or be retained as guardian, it may be
a factor for consideration. 16

Considering the difficult and complicated responsibilities and duties of a guardian, We


sustain the immediate retirement of petitioner Feliciano Francisco as guardian,
affirming thereby the rulings of both the trial court and the appellate court.

With respect to the issue of execution pending appeal in appointing respondent


Pelagio Francisco as guardian to succeed petitioner while the latter's appeal was still
pending, We hold and rule that respondent appellate court correctly sustained the
propriety of said execution pending appeal. Upon urgent and compelling reasons,
execution pending appeal is a matter of sound discretion on the part of the trial court,
17 and the appellate court will not interfere, control or inquire into the exercise of this
discretion, unless there has been an abuse thereof, 18 which We find none herein.

Inasmuch as the primary objective for the institution of guardianship is for the
protection of the ward, there is more than sufficient reason for the immediate
execution of the lower court's judgment for the replacement of the first guardian. We
8
Special Proceedings
of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, with lewd and unchaste design, by
means of force, threat and intimidation, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and
feloniously lay with and have carnal knowledge of one MARITES WATIWAT, his 10-year-
old niece living in his own house and therefore a guardian and relative within the third civil
degree, against her will and without her consent, to the damage and prejudice of the
Offended Party.

CONTRARY TO ART. 335 OF THE RPC, AS AMENDED BY R.A. 7659.[3]

Upon being arraigned, with the assistance of his counsel, appellant pleaded not guilty to
the charge. Thereafter, trial ensued.
Evidence for the prosecution shows that Marites Watiwat, complaining witness, was born
on April 7, 1986, as shown by her Certificate of Live Birth,[4] to her mentally deranged
mother, Adoracion Areglado. Since her father was already dead, appellant caused its
registration and had Watiwat recorded as her surname.[5] Marites grew with the belief that
he was her uncle, being the husband of her mothers sister, Ineseria.
When Marites was one month old, she lived with appellant and his family in Bato, Bansud,
Oriental Mindoro. When she reached the age of three, her grandfather Cipriano Areglado
G.R. No. 139400. September 3, 2003 took her under his custody in Batangas where she studied. She returned to appellants
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, vs. MAURICIO WATIWAT, appellant. house when she was already in Grade III.
In March 1996, while Marites was sleeping in the house of appellant, he brought her to
another room and undressed her. He then took off his clothes, placed himself on top of her
Rape is a repulsive crime done only by the most morally depraved individuals. When and forcibly inserted his penis into her genitals. She felt pain. She could only beg and
committed against a child of tender years, especially against an orphan born with nothing mutter huwag. Her plea, however, was unheeded. Appellant succumbed to his lustful
but hope and yearning for affection, the despicable lechery swells into manifest desires and completely penetrated her private part, making a pumping motion. The
heartlessness that must be condemned. incident was repeated several times. He stopped molesting her only in November 1996
For automatic review is the Decision[1] dated April 22, 1999 of the Regional Trial Court of when her grandfather Cipriano brought her to Hilaria Amparos house at Villapag-asa,
Pinamalayan, Oriental Mindoro in Criminal Case No. P-5690, Branch 42, the dispositive Bansud.[6] Hilaria is Marites grandaunt, being Ciprianos sister.
portion of which states: Hilaria observed that Marites seemed to be always lost in her thoughts and would
ACCORDINGLY, accused MAURICIO WATIWAT is hereby found GUILTY beyond constantly complain of pains in her stomach and head. On July 7, 1997, or after more than
reasonable doubt, as principal, of the heinous crime of RAPE, defined and penalized under one (1) year from the incident, she finally revealed her harrowing experience to Hilaria who
Art. 335 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by R.A. 7659, and hereby sentences him immediately brought her to Dr. Preciosa Soller for examination.[7] She issued a Medico-
to suffer the supreme penalty of DEATH. Legal Report[8] with the following findings:
1. Breasts not developed.
Additionally, accused is ordered to indemnify the victim MARITES WATIWAT, the amount 2. Perineum No pubic hair
of P50,000.00. Labia majora not developed
skin in labial area congested.
Let the complete record of this case together wit the transcript of stenographic notes be 3. Hymen complete old healed lacerations at 6
forwarded to the Honorable Supreme Court, for automatic review pursuant to Sec. 10, Rule oclock, 9 oclock, 11 oclock and 12
122 of the Revised Rules of Court. oclock.
Incomplete old healed laceration at 5
SO ORDERED.[2] oclock and 3 oclock

The accusatory portion of the Amended Information against appellant Mauricio Watiwat REMARKS: Physical virginity lost
reads:
That on or about the month of March, 1996 and subsequent thereto in barangay Bato, Thereafter, Hilaria reported the matter to the police.
municipality of Bansud, province of Oriental Mindoro, Philippines and within the jurisdiction Eventually, an Information for rape was filed against appellant.

9
Special Proceedings
Appellant vehemently denied the charge. He testified that prior to the incident, he and his Where accused was positively identified by the victim of the rape herself who harbored no
children transferred their residence from Bato, Bansud to Salcedo, also of the same town, ill motive against the accused, the defense of alibi must fail. (People vs. Canada, 253
after he separated from his live-in partner Ineseria Areglado in 1992. As proof that he was SCRA 256)
then residing in Salcedo, he presented a bible, Transfer Form of Application of Voters, and
a Certification by the Commission on Elections attesting that he is a voter of Salcedo. Bare alibi and denial cannot prevail over the positive identification of the accused as the
While there, he cultivated the farm of Alberto Evangelista. perpetrator of the crime. (People vs. Alimon, 257 SCRA 658) (People vs. Nazareno, 260
Alberto corroborated appellants testimony. SCRA 256) (Emphasis supplied)
Simeon Mores, the Barangay Captain of Barangay Batu, controverted appellants claim that
he resided in Barangay Salcedo from 1992-1998. Simeon presented the 1995 Census In his brief, appellant ascribes to the trial court the following errors:
Files of Barangay Batu wherein appellant was enlisted as one if its residents[9] and a
yellow pad paper containing a mortgage agreement[10] between him and one Salustiano I
Gupit prepared by Alfredo Gonzales, councilor of Barangay Batu. THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN FINDING THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT
In convicting appellant, the trial court held: GUILTY BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT OF THE CRIME, AS DEFINED AND
While there is delay in reporting the incident in question, the story Marites presented is PUNISHED UNDER ARTICLE 335 OF THE REVISED PENAL CODE, AS AMENDED BY
credible and consistent. Her testimony withstood the test of cross-examination and there is R.A. 7659.
no cogent reason why she should not be believed as the defense had not even shown any
reason at all why a ten (10) year old Marites would fabricate a story of rape upon herself II
and impute it to a person whom she looks up to as her very own father if her story were not ASSUMING FOR THE SAKE OF ARGUMENT ONLY THAT THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT
true. IS GUILTY AS CHARGED, THE TRIAL COURT STILL ERRED IN IMPOSING THE
SUPREME PENALTY OF DEATH.[11]
When there is no evidence to show any improper motive on the part of the prosecution
witness to testify falsely against an accused or to falsely implicate him in the commission of Appellant contends that Marites failure to report the matter immediately to the authorities
a crime, the logical conclusion is that no such improper motive exists and that the casts doubt on her credibility. Moreover, when the incident took place in March 1996, she
testimony is worthy of full faith and credit (People vs. Tabao, G.R. No. 111290, Jan. 30, was no longer living with his family in Bato, Bansud. As early as 1992, her grandfather
1995, 240 SCRA 758). brought her to Batangas. He, on the other hand, transferred residence to Barangay
Salcedo. And even assuming that he is guilty of rape, the imposition of the death penalty
There is an explanation why there was such a delay. There is no one close to her and no upon him is erroneous since the qualifying circumstance of relationship was not proved.
shoulder to lean on so to speak, except the accused himself. Marites had no family to cling Neither can he be considered her guardian. Thus, he should not be convicted of qualified
to. Besides, accused and Marites are not strangers to each other, the former being the rape and that the penalty that should have been imposed against him should be reclusion
guardian, while the latter the ward, living under he same roof. Had it not been for a mere perpetua.
coincidence that she was taken by her Nanay Laling to live with her in her house, there The law governing the instant case is Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended
could have no chance for Marites to divulge her painful and horrifying ordeal. She could by Section 11 of Republic Act No. 7659,[12] the pertinent portions of which provide:
have kept for herself forever the humiliating secret. Thus, it would not be proper to apply SEC. 11. Article 335 of the same [Revised Penal] Code is hereby amended to read as
the norms of behavior expected under the circumstances from mature women. follows:

A ten-year old girl, like Marites, unlike a mature woman, cannot be expected to have the Article 335. When and how rape is committed. Rape is committed by having carnal
courage and intelligence to immediately report a sexual assault committed against her knowledge of a woman under any of the following circumstances:
especially when the offender is one she looks up to as her very own father.
1. By using force or intimidation;
Marites should be looked upon despite her minority considering her courage and
determination to seek justice and plea for redress for a crime of such a nature that is 2. When the woman is deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious; and
otherwise better left forgotten. She could have chosen to keep numb and silent and forget
the whole incident, but she did not. It is a clear manifestation of her intent to pursue her 3. When the woman is under twelve years of age or is demented.
morbid cry for the injustice committed against her, at the opportune time (People vs.
Guererro, 242 SCRA 606). The crime of rape shall be punished by reclusion perpetua.

xxx

10
Special Proceedings
The death penalty shall also be imposed if the crime of rape is committed with any of the Q. After your shorts and panty were removed by the accused, what else did he do if any?
following attendant circumstances: A. He undressed himself and put himself on top of me, sir. (Naghubo po siya at
pagkatapos ay pumatong sa akin.)
1. when the victim is under eighteen (18) years of age and the offender is a parent, FISCAL (Continuing):
ascendant, step-parent, guardian, relative by consanguinity or affinity within the third civil Q. After he placed himself on top of you, what else did he do?
degree, or the common-law-spouse of the parent of the victim. A. He insisted in inserting his penis inside me. (Pilit po niyang ipinasok ang kanyang ari sa
akin.)
X x x (Emphasis supplied) Q. When he forcibly tried to insert his penis to your body, what did you feel?
A. I was hurt, sir.
The trial court held that Marites was telling the truth when she testified that she was Q. And because you were hurt, what, if any, did you plea or say to your uncle?
sexually abused by appellant. We see no reason to differ from such finding. A. I told him, huwag, but he continued to insert his penis in my private part, sir.
For one, it is well entwined into the bedrock of our jurisprudence that the trial judges Q. Will you please tell the Court if your uncle Muling was successful in completely inserting
evaluation of the testimony of a witness and its factual findings are accorded not only the his penis towards your sexual organ?
highest respect, but also finality, unless some weighty circumstance has been ignored or A. Yes, sir.
misunderstood which could alter the result of the judgment rendered. Given the direct Q. What else did your uncle Muling do after he was able to insert his penis to your sexual
opportunity to observe the witness on the stand, the trial judge was in a vantage position to organ?
assess his demeanor and determine if he was telling the truth or not.[13] Thus: A. (No answer)
In the resolution of the factual issues, the Court relies heavily on the trial court for its Note: After a few seconds she answered: Siya po ay nagkakayod. (He made a pumping
evaluation of the witnesses and their credibility. Having the opportunity to observe them on motion.)[15]
the stand, the trial judge is able to detect that sometimes thin line between fact and Indeed, complainants testimony, stamped with consistency and accuracy, must be given
prevarication that will determine the guilt or innocence of the accused. That line may not be full faith and credit.[16] When a woman testifies that she has been raped, she says in
discernible from a mere reading of the impersonal record by the reviewing court. The effect, all that is necessary to show that rape has been committed, for as long as her
record will not reveal those tell-tale signs that will affirm the truth or expose the testimony meets the test of credibility.[17]
contrivance, like the angry flush of an insisted assertion or the sudden pallor of a Also, Marites does not appear to have any strong reason or fiendish motive to fabricate
discovered lie or the tremulous mutter of a reluctant answer or the forthright tone of a such a grave charge against appellant and thus expose herself and her family to shame
ready reply. The record will not show if the eyes have darted in evasion or looked down in and scandal. A victim of sexual assault would certainly not be willing to undergo the
confession or gazed steadily with a serenity that has nothing to distort or conceal. The humiliation of a public trial, let alone testify on the details of her torment, if she had reasons
record will not show if tears were shed in anger, or in shame, or in remembered pain, or in other than her natural passion to avenge her honor and to decry a grave injustice done to
feigned innocence. Only the judge trying the case can see all these and on the basis of his her.[18] To be sure, complainants testimony, which is untainted with any proof of ill motive,
observations arrive at an informed and reasoned verdict.[14] bears the hallmarks of truth.
For his part, appellant assails Marites inaction in reporting the crime for more than one
For another, complainant never wavered in her assertion that appellant raped her. Her year. It is not uncommon for young girls to conceal for some time the assault against their
testimony is clear, positive, and convincing. Indeed, the fact of rape and the identity of virtue.[19] Barely out of childhood, Marites could be easily intimidated and cowed into
appellant as the malefactor were sufficiently and convincingly established by the silence.[20] While it is true that it took her a long time to report her defloration, it must be
prosecution through her straightforward narration, thus: stressed that she was merely 10 years old when she was subjected to bestial abuse. Afraid
Q. Why did you file the case against your Kakang Muling or Mauricio Watiwat? and with no family to assist her, she could not report the incident to the authorities. It was
A. Because I was raped, sir. only when her grandaunt took care of her that she had the courage to do so. Under the
Q. Do you still remember the date and month when you were raped by this Kakang Muling circumstances, it is unreasonable to judge her action by the norms of behavior expected of
or Mauricio Watiwat? mature individuals.[21] The delay in reporting the incident of rape ought not to be taken
A. It was in March, 1996, sir. against her and cannot be used to weaken her credibility.
Q. In that particular month of March, 1996, how old were you if you still remember? Appellants defense merely consists of alibi and bare denial. His claim that he was residing
A. I was less than 10 years old, sir. in another place during the incident does not persuade us. We have held that an accused
Q. Tell us how you were raped by your Kakang Muling or Mauricio Watiwat? who raises the defense of alibi must not only prove his presence at another place at the
A. I was then living in his house and while I was sleeping beside with other children, I was time of commission of the crime, he must also establish that it would be physically
carried by the accused to the other room, sir. impossible for him to be at the scene of the crime during the incident. It must be observed
Q. After you were lifted and carried to the other room, what else was done by your Ka that Barangay Salcedo and Barangay Bato are both within the municipality of Bansud.
Muling? Clearly, it is safe to conclude that it was not physically impossible for him to be at the
A. He took off my shorts and panty, sir. scene of the crime at that time.
11
Special Proceedings
Moreover, firmly established is the rule that alibi and denial are inherently weak and have
always been viewed with disfavor by the courts due to the facility with which they can be xxx
concocted.[22] Such defense warrants the least credibility or none at all[23] and cannot
prevail over the positive identification of the accused by the prosecution witness.[24] Denial The law requires a legal or judicial guardian since it is the consanguineous relation or the
is a self-serving negative evidence that cannot be given greater weight than the declaration solemnity of judicial appointment which impresses upon the guardian the lofty purpose of
of a credible witness who testified on affirmative matters.[25] his office and normally deters him from violating its objectives. Such considerations do not
The prosecution has not only established beyond reasonable doubt that appellant had obtain in appellants case or, for that matter, any person similarly circumstanced as a mere
carnal knowledge of Marites, it has likewise proved that, at the time the offense was custodian of a ward or anothers property. The fiduciary powers granted to a real guardian
committed, she was only 10 years old as shown by her Certificate of Live Birth. Thus, warrant the exacting sanctions should he betray the trust. (Emphasis supplied)
appellant must be held guilty of statutory rape under paragraph 1, No. 3, Article 335 of the
Revised Penal Code, as amended by R.A. 7659, quoted earlier, the victim being under A guardian is a person lawfully invested with the power and charged with the duty of taking
twelve years of age. It bears stressing that the Information specifically alleges that Marites care of the person and managing the property and rights of another person who, for defect
was 10 years old when appellant sexually abused her in March 1996. Consequently, he of age, understanding, or self-control, is considered incapable of administering his own
must be sentenced to reclusion perpetua. affairs.[27]
The trial court imposed upon appellant the death penalty on the basis of its conclusion that There are three kinds of guardians under the law: (a) the legal guardian, who is such by
he is her guardian. We hold that the lower court erred in this point. provision of law without the need of judicial appointment, as in the case of the parents over
In People vs. Garcia,[26] we held: the persons of their minor children, or the father, or in his absence the mother, with respect
In the law on rape, the role of a guardian is provided for in Article 344 of the Revised Penal to the property of the minor children not exceeding P50,000.00 in value;[28] (b) the
Code, specifically as one who, aside from the offended party, her parents or grandparents, guardian ad litem, a competent person appointed by the court for purposes of a particular
is authorized to file the sworn written complaint to commence the prosecution for that action or proceeding involving a minor; and (c) the judicial guardian, one appointed by the
crime. In People vs. De la Cruz (59 Phil. 531 [1934]), it was held that the guardian referred court over the person and/or property of the ward to represent the latter in all his civil acts
to in the law is either a legal or judicial guardian as understood in the rules on civil and transaction.[29]
procedure. As shown by the facts in this case, appellant is not Marites guardian, whether natural, legal
or judicial. That he allowed his surname to be used as her surname in her Certificate of
xxx Live Birth is inconsequential. It appears that such arrangement was merely upon Ciprianos
request.
It would not be logical to say that the word guardian in the third paragraph of Article 344 At most, appellant was only an uncommitted caretaker of Marites over a limited period of
which is mentioned together with parents and grandparents of the offended party would time. Clearly, he cannot be considered a guardian falling within the ambit of the
have a concept different from the guardian in the recent amendments of Article 335 where amendatory provision of Section 11, Republic Act No. 7659.
he is also mentioned in the company of parents and ascendants of the victim. In Article Neither is Marites the niece of appellant and hence, a relative within the third civil degree,
344, the inclusion of the guardian is only to invest him with the power to sign a sworn as alleged in the Information. The prosecution utterly failed to prove that appellant is legally
written complaint to initiate the prosecution of four crimes against chastity, while his married to Marites aunt. In fact, it did not present the marriage contract between them to
inclusion in the enumeration of the offenders in Article 335 is to authorize the imposition of establish that Marites is appellants niece, a relative within the third civil degree by affinity.
the death penalty on him. With much more reason, therefore, should the restrictive concept Relationship, as a qualifying circumstance in rape, must not only be alleged clearly; it must
announced in De la Cruz, that is, that he be a legal or judicial guardian, be required in the also be proved beyond reasonable doubt, just as the crime itself.[30]
latter article. In view of the failure of the prosecution to prove the qualifying circumstance of
guardianship or relationship, it is error for the trial court to convict appellant for qualified
The Court notes from the transcripts of the proceedings in Congress on this particular point rape and impose upon him the supreme penalty of death.
that the formulators were not definitive on the concept of guardian as it now appears in the Anent the award of damages, we observed that the trial court failed to award moral
attendant circumstances added to the original provisions of Article 335 of the Code. They damages to Marites.
took note of the status of a guardian as contemplated in the law on rape but, apparently on Moral damages are additionally awarded without need of pleading or proof of the basis
pragmatic considerations to be determined by the courts on an ad hoc basis, they agreed thereof.[31] This is because it is recognized that the victim's injury necessarily results from
to just state guardian without the qualification that he should be a legal or judicial guardian. an abysmal crime to warrant by itself the award of moral damages. The anguish and the
It was assumed, however, that he should at the very least be a de facto guardian. Indeed, pain she has to endure are evident. Indeed, the offended party in a rape case is a victim
they must have been aware of jurisprudence that the guardian envisaged in Article 335 of many times over. In our culture, which puts a premium on the virtue of purity or virginity,
the Code, even after its amendment by Republic Act No. 4111, would either be a natural rape stigmatizes the victim more than the perpetrator.[32]
guardian, sometimes referred to as a legal or statutory guardian, or a judicial guardian WHEREFORE, the appealed Decision dated April 22, 1999 of the Regional Trial Court,
appointed by the court over the person of the ward. Branch 42, Pinamalayan, Oriental Mindoro in Criminal Case No. P-5690, is MODIFIED in
12
Special Proceedings
the sense that appellant MAURICIO WATIWAT is found GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt 1984 before the Regional Trial Court of Calamba, Laguna presided over by Judge
of the crime of statutory rape and is hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of RECLUSION Salvador P. de Guzman, Jr., docketed as Civil Case No. 675-84-C against Nelly S.
PERPETUA and to pay the victim Marites Watiwat P50,000.00 as moral damages, in Nave [Nave], owner of a parcel of land located in Calamba, Laguna covered by TCT
addition to the civil indemnity of P50,000.00 awarded by the trial court. No. T-3317 (27604). [Fernando] alleged that on January 3, 1984, a handwritten
Costs against appellant. "Kasunduan Sa Pagbibilihan" (Contract to Sell) was entered into by and between him
SO ORDERED and [Nave] involving said parcel of land. However, [Nave] reneged on their agreement
when the latter refused to accept the partial down payment he tendered to her as
previously agreed because she did not want to sell her property to him anymore.
[Fernando] prayed that after trial on the merits, [Nave] be ordered to execute the
corresponding Deed of Sale in his favor, and to pay attorneys fees, litigation
expenses and damages.

[Nave] filed a Motion to Dismiss averring that she could not be ordered to execute the
corresponding Deed of Sale in favor of [Fernando] based on the following grounds:
(1) she was not fully apprised of the nature of the piece of paper [Fernando] handed
to her for her signature on January 3, 1984. When she was informed that it was for
the sale of her property in Calamba, Laguna covered by TCT No. T-3317 (27604), she
immediately returned to [Fernando] the said piece of paper and at the same time
repudiating the same. Her repudiation was further bolstered by the fact that when
G.R. No. 151243 April 30, 2008 [Fernando] tendered the partial down payment to her, she refused to receive the
LOLITA R. ALAMAYRI vs. ROMMEL, ELMER, ERWIN, ROILER and AMANDA, all
same; and (2) she already sold the property in good faith to Rommel, Elmer, Erwin,
surnamed PABALE Roller and Amanda, all surnamed Pabale [the Pabale siblings] on February 20, 1984
after the complaint was filed against her but before she received a copy thereof.
Before this Court is a Petition for Review on Certiorari 1 under Rule 45 of the Rules of Moreover, she alleged that [Fernando] has no cause of action against her as he is
Court filed by petitioner Lolita R. Alamayri (Alamayri) seeking the reversal and setting
suing for and in behalf of S.M. Fernando Realty Corporation who is not a party to the
aside of the Decision,2 dated 10 April 2001, of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV alleged Contract to Sell. Even assuming that said entity is the real party in interest,
No. 58133; as well as the Resolution,3 dated 19 December 2001 of the same court
still, [Fernando] cannot sue in representation of the corporation there being no
denying reconsideration of its aforementioned Decision. The Court of Appeals, in its evidence to show that he was duly authorized to do so.
assailed Decision, upheld the validity of the Deed of Absolute Sale, dated 20
February 1984, executed by Nelly S. Nave (Nave) in favor of siblings Rommel, Elmer, Subsequently, [the Pabale siblings] filed a Motion to Intervene alleging that they are
Erwin, Roiler and Amanda, all surnamed Pabale (the Pabale siblings) over a piece of
now the land owners of the subject property. Thus, the complaint was amended to
land (subject property) in Calamba, Laguna, covered by Transfer Certificate of Title include [the Pabale siblings] as party defendants. In an Order dated April 24, 1984,
(TCT) No. T-3317 (27604); and, thus, reversed and set aside the Decision,4 dated 2
the trial court denied [Naves] Motion to Dismiss prompting her to file a Manifestation
December 1997, of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Pasay City, Branch 119 in Civil and Motion stating that she was adopting the allegations in her Motion to Dismiss in
Case No. 675-84-C.5 The 2 December 1997 Decision of the RTC declared null and
answer to [Fernandos] amended complaint.
void the two sales agreements involving the subject property entered into by Nave
with different parties, namely, Sesinando M. Fernando (Fernando) and the Pabale
Thereafter, [Nave] filed a Motion to Admit her Amended Answer with Counterclaim
siblings; and ordered the reconveyance of the subject property to Alamayri, as Naves and Cross-claim praying that her husband, Atty. Vedasto Gesmundo be impleaded as
successor-in-interest.
her co-defendant, and including as her defense undue influence and fraud by reason
of the fact that she was made to appear as widow when in fact she was very much
There is no controversy as to the facts that gave rise to the present Petition,
married at the time of the transaction in issue. Despite the opposition of [Fernando]
determined by the Court of Appeals to be as follows: and [the Pabale siblings], the trial court admitted the aforesaid Amended Answer with
Counterclaim and Cross-claim.
This is a Complaint for Specific Performance with Damages filed by Sesinando M.
Fernando, representing S.M. Fernando Realty Corporation [Fernando] on February 6,

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Special Proceedings
Still unsatisfied with her defense, [Nave] and Atty. Vedasto Gesmundo filed a Motion In the meantime, [Nave] died on December 9, 1992. On September 20, 1993, Atty.
to Admit Second Amended Answer and Amended Reply and Cross-claim against [the Vedasto Gesmundo, [Naves] sole heir, she being an orphan and childless, executed
Pabale siblings], this time including the fact of her incapacity to contract for being an Affidavit of Self-Adjudication pertaining to his inherited properties from [Nave].
mentally deficient based on the psychological evaluation report conducted on
December 2, 1985 by Dra. Virginia P. Panlasigui, M. A., a clinical psychologist. On account of such development, a motion for the dismissal of the instant case and
Finding the motion unmeritorious, the same was denied by the court a quo. for the issuance of a writ of execution of the Decision dated June 22, 1988 in SP No.
146-86-C (petition for guardianship) was filed by Atty. Vedasto Gesmundo on
[Nave] filed a motion for reconsideration thereof asseverating that in Criminal Case February 14, 1996 with the court a quo. [The Pabale siblings] filed their Opposition to
No. 1308-85-C entitled "People vs. Nelly S. Nave" she raised therein as a defense the motion on grounds that (1) they were not made a party to the guardianship
her mental deficiency. This being a decisive factor to determine once and for all proceedings and thus cannot be bound by the Decision therein; and (2) that the
whether the contract entered into by [Nave] with respect to the subject property is null validity of the Deed of Absolute Sale executed by the late [Nave] in their favor was
and void, the Second Amended Answer and Amended Reply and Cross-claim against never raised in the guardianship case.
[the Pabale siblings] should be admitted.
The case was then set for an annual conference. On January 9, 1997, Atty. Vedasto
Before the motion for reconsideration could be acted upon, the proceedings in this Gesmundo filed a motion seeking the courts permission for his substitution for the
case was suspended sometime in 1987 in view of the filing of a Petition for late defendant Nelly in the instant case. Not long after the parties submitted their
Guardianship of [Nave] with the Regional Trial Court, Branch 36 of Calamba, Laguna, respective pre-trial briefs, a motion for substitution was filed by Lolita R. Alamayre
docketed as SP No. 146-86-C with Atty. Vedasto Gesmundo as the petitioner. On (sic) [Alamayri] alleging that since the subject property was sold to her by Atty.
June 22, 1988, a Decision was rendered in the said guardianship proceedings, the Vedasto Gesmundo as evidenced by a Deed of Absolute Sale, she should be
dispositive portion of which reads: substituted in his stead. In refutation, Atty. Vedasto Gesmundo filed a Manifestation
stating that what he executed is a Deed of Donation and not a Deed of Absolute Sale
"Under the circumstances, specially since Nelly S. Nave who now resides with the in favor of [Alamayri] and that the same was already revoked by him on March 5,
Brosas spouses has categorically refused to be examined again at the National 1997. Thus, the motion for substitution should be denied.
Mental Hospital, the Court is constrained to accept the Neuro-Psychiatric Evaluation
report dated April 14, 1986 submitted by Dra. Nona Jean Alviso-Ramos and the On July 29, 1997, the court a quo issued an Order declaring that it cannot make a
supporting report dated April 20, 1987 submitted by Dr. Eduardo T. Maaba, both of the ruling as to the conflicting claims of [Alamayri] and Atty. Vedasto Gesmundo. After the
National Mental Hospital and hereby finds Nelly S. Nave an incompetent within the case was heard on the merits, the trial court rendered its Decision on December 2,
purview of Rule 92 of the Revised Rules of Court, a person who, by reason of age, 1997, the dispositive portion of which reads:
disease, weak mind and deteriorating mental processes cannot without outside aid
take care of herself and manage her properties, becoming thereby an easy prey for "WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered as follows:
deceit and exploitation, said condition having become severe since the year 1980.
She and her estate are hereby placed under guardianship. Atty. Leonardo C. Paner is 1. Declaring the handwritten Contract to Sell dated January 3, 1984 executed by Nelly
hereby appointed as her regular guardian without need of bond, until further orders S. Nave and Sesinando Fernando null and void and of no force and effect;
from this Court. Upon his taking his oath of office as regular guardian, Atty. Paner is
ordered to participate actively in the pending cases of Nelly S. Nave with the end in 2. Declaring the Deed of Absolute Sale dated February 20, 1984 executed by Nelly S.
view of protecting her interests from the prejudicial sales of her real properties, from Nave in favor of the [Pabale siblings] similarly null and void and of no force and effect;
the overpayment in the foreclosure made by Ms. Gilda Mendoza-Ong, and in
recovering her lost jewelries and monies and other personal effects. 3. Recognizing Ms. Lolita P. [Alamayri] as the owner of the property covered by TCT
No. 111249 of the land records of Calamba, Laguna;
SO ORDERED."
4. Ordering the [Pabale siblings] to execute a transfer of title over the property in favor
Both [Fernando] and [the Pabale siblings] did not appeal therefrom, while the appeal of Ms. Lolita P. [Alamayri] in the concept of reconveyance because the sale in their
interposed by spouses Juliano and Evangelina Brosas was dismissed by this Court favor has been declared null and void;
for failure to pay the required docketing fees within the reglementary period.

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5. Ordering the [Pabale siblings] to surrender possession over the property to Ms. February 1984, which she executed over the subject property in favor of the Pabale
[Alamayri] and to account for its income from the time they took over possession to siblings.
the time the same is turned over to Ms. Lolita [Alamayri], and thereafter pay the said
income to the latter; According to Alamayri, the Pabale siblings should be bound by the findings of the
RTC in its 22 June 1988 Decision in SP. PROC. No. 146-86-C, having participated in
6. Ordering [Fernando] and the [Pabale siblings], jointly and severally, to pay Ms. the said guardianship proceedings through their father Jose Pabale. She pointed out
[Alamayri]: that the RTC explicitly named in its orders Jose Pabale as among those present
during the hearings held on 30 October 1987 and 19 November 1987 in SP. PROC.
a. attorneys fees in the sum of P30,000.00; and No. 146-86-C. Alamayri thus filed on 21 November 2001 a Motion to Schedule
Hearing to Mark Exhibits in Evidence so she could mark and submit as evidence
b. the costs.6 certain documents to establish that the Pabale siblings are indeed the children of
Jose Pabale.
S.M. Fernando Realty Corporation, still represented by Fernando, filed an appeal with
the Court of Appeals, docketed as CA-G.R. CV No. 58133, solely to question the Atty. Gesmundo, Naves surviving spouse, likewise filed his own Motion for
portion of the 2 December 1997 Decision of the RTC ordering him and the Pabale Reconsideration of the 10 April 2001 Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV
siblings to jointly and severally pay Alamayri the amount of P30,000.00 as attorneys No. 58133, asserting Naves incompetence since 1980 as found by the RTC in SP.
fees. PROC. No. 146-86-C, and his right to the subject property as owner upon Naves
death in accordance with the laws of succession. It must be remembered that Atty.
The Pabale siblings intervened as appellants in CA-G.R. CV No. 58133 averring that Gesmundo disputed before the RTC the supposed transfer of his rights to the subject
the RTC erred in declaring in its 2 December 1997 Decision that the Deed of Absolute property to Alamayri, but the court a quo refrained from ruling thereon.
Sale dated 20 February 1984 executed by Nave in their favor was null and void on
the ground that Nave was found incompetent since the year 1980. In a Resolution, dated 19 December 2001, the Court of Appeals denied for lack of
merit the Motions for Reconsideration of Alamayri and Atty. Gesmundo.
The Court of Appeals, in its Decision, dated 10 April 2001, granted the appeals of
S.M. Fernando Realty Corporation and the Pabale siblings. It ruled thus: Hence, Alamayri comes before this Court via the present Petition for Review on
Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, with the following assignment of errors:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the appeal filed by S. M. Fernando Realty
Corporation, represented by its President, Sesinando M. Fernando as well as the I
appeal interposed by Rommel, Elmer, Erwin, Roller and Amanda, all surnamed
Pabale, are hereby GRANTED. The Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Pasay THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE FINDING THAT NELLY
City, Branch 119 in Civil Case No. 675-84-C is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE S. NAVE WAS INCOMPETENT IN SPECIAL PROCEEDING NO. 146-86-C ON JUNE
and a new one rendered upholding the VALIDITY of the Deed of Absolute Sale dated 22, 1988 CANNOT RETROACT TO AFFECT THE VALIDITY OF THE DEED OF
February 20, 1984. SALE SHE EXECUTED ON FEBRUARY 20, 1984 IN FAVOR OF RESPONDENTS
PABALES.
No pronouncements as to costs.7
II
Alamayri sought reconsideration of the afore-quoted Decision of the appellate court,
invoking the Decision,8 dated 22 June 1988, of the RTC in the guardianship THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE DECISION IN
proceedings, docketed as SP. PROC. No. 146-86-C, which found Nave incompetent, SPECIAL PROCEEDING NO. 146-86-C DATED JUNE 22, 1988 IS NOT BINDING
her condition becoming severe since 1980; and thus appointed Atty. Leonardo C. ON RESPONDENTS PABALES.
Paner as her guardian. Said Decision already became final and executory when no
one appealed therefrom. Alamayri argued that since Nave was already judicially III
determined to be an incompetent since 1980, then all contracts she subsequently
entered into should be declared null and void, including the Deed of Sale, dated 20 THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN DENYING PETITIONERS MOTION TO
SCHEDULE HEARING TO MARK DOCUMENTARY EXHIBITS IN EVIDENCE TO
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ESTABLISH THE IDENTITY OF JOSE PABALE AS THE FATHER OF therein and cannot again be litigated between the parties and their privies whether or
RESPONDENTS PABALES.9 not the claims or demands, purposes, or subject matters of the two suits are the
same. These two main rules mark the distinction between the principles governing the
It is Alamayris position that given the final and executory Decision, dated 22 June two typical cases in which a judgment may operate as evidence.11 In speaking of
1988, of the RTC in SP. PROC. No. 146-86-C finding Nave incompetent since 1980, these cases, the first general rule above stated, and which corresponds to the afore-
then the same fact may no longer be re-litigated in Civil Case No. 675-84-C, based on quoted paragraph (b) of Section 47, Rule 39 of the Rules of Court, is referred to as
the doctrine of res judicata, more particularly, the rule on conclusiveness of judgment. "bar by former judgment"; while the second general rule, which is embodied in
paragraph (c) of the same section and rule, is known as "conclusiveness of
This Court is not persuaded. judgment."

Res judicata literally means "a matter adjudged; a thing judicially acted upon or The Resolution of this Court in Calalang v. Register of Deeds provides the following
decided; a thing or matter settled by judgment." Res judicata lays the rule that an enlightening discourse on conclusiveness of judgment:
existing final judgment or decree rendered on the merits, and without fraud or
collusion, by a court of competent jurisdiction, upon any matter within its jurisdiction, The doctrine res judicata actually embraces two different concepts: (1) bar by former
is conclusive of the rights of the parties or their privies, in all other actions or suits in judgment and (b) conclusiveness of judgment.
the same or any other judicial tribunal of concurrent jurisdiction on the points and
matters in issue in the first suit.10 The second concept conclusiveness of judgment states that a fact or question
which was in issue in a former suit and was there judicially passed upon and
It is espoused in the Rules of Court, under paragraphs (b) and (c) of Section 47, Rule determined by a court of competent jurisdiction, is conclusively settled by the
39, which read: judgment therein as far as the parties to that action and persons in privity with them
are concerned and cannot be again litigated in any future action between such parties
SEC. 47. Effect of judgments or final orders. The effect of a judgment or final order or their privies, in the same court or any other court of concurrent jurisdiction on either
rendered by a court of the Philippines, having jurisdiction to pronounce the judgment the same or different cause of action, while the judgment remains unreversed by
or final order, may be as follows: proper authority. It has been held that in order that a judgment in one action can be
conclusive as to a particular matter in another action between the same parties or
xxxx their privies, it is essential that the issue be identical. If a particular point or question is
in issue in the second action, and the judgment will depend on the determination of
(b) In other cases, the judgment or final order is, with respect to the matter directly that particular point or question, a former judgment between the same parties or their
adjudged or as to any other matter that could have been raised in relation thereto, privies will be final and conclusive in the second if that same point or question was in
conclusive between the parties and their successors in interest by title subsequent to issue and adjudicated in the first suit (Nabus vs. Court of Appeals, 193 SCRA 732
the commencement of the action or special proceeding, litigating the same thing and [1991]). Identity of cause of action is not required but merely identity of issues.
under the same title and in the same capacity; and
Justice Feliciano, in Smith Bell & Company (Phils.), Inc. vs. Court of Appeals (197
(c) In any other litigation between the same parties or their successors in interest, that SCRA 201, 210 [1991]), reiterated Lopez vs. Reyes (76 SCRA 179 [1977]) in regard
only is deemed to have been adjudged in a former judgment or final order which to the distinction between bar by former judgment which bars the prosecution of a
appears upon its face to have been so adjudged, or which was actually and second action upon the same claim, demand, or cause of action, and conclusiveness
necessarily included therein or necessary thereto. of judgment which bars the relitigation of particular facts or issues in another litigation
between the same parties on a different claim or cause of action.
The doctrine of res judicata thus lays down two main rules which may be stated as
follows: (1) The judgment or decree of a court of competent jurisdiction on the merits The general rule precluding the relitigation of material facts or questions which were
concludes the parties and their privies to the litigation and constitutes a bar to a new in issue and adjudicated in former action are commonly applied to all matters
action or suit involving the same cause of action either before the same or any other essentially connected with the subject matter of the litigation. Thus, it extends to
tribunal; and (2) Any right, fact, or matter in issue directly adjudicated or necessarily questions necessarily implied in the final judgment, although no specific finding may
involved in the determination of an action before a competent court in which a have been made in reference thereto and although such matters were directly
judgment or decree is rendered on the merits is conclusively settled by the judgment referred to in the pleadings and were not actually or formally presented. Under this
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rule, if the record of the former trial shows that the judgment could not have been to read and write, those who are of unsound mind, even though they have lucid
rendered without deciding the particular matter, it will be considered as having settled intervals, and persons not being of unsound mind, but by reason of age, disease,
that matter as to all future actions between the parties and if a judgment necessarily weak mind, and other similar causes, cannot, without outside aid, take care of
presupposes certain premises, they are as conclusive as the judgment itself.12 themselves and manage their property, becoming thereby an easy prey for deceit and
exploitation."14
Another case, Oropeza Marketing Corporation v. Allied Banking Corporation, further
differentiated between the two rules of res judicata, as follows: Rule 93 of the Rules of Court governs the proceedings for the appointment of a
guardian, to wit:
There is "bar by prior judgment" when, as between the first case where the judgment
was rendered and the second case that is sought to be barred, there is identity of Rule 93
parties, subject matter, and causes of action. In this instance, the judgment in the first
case constitutes an absolute bar to the second action. Otherwise put, the judgment or APPOINTMENT OF GUARDIANS
decree of the court of competent jurisdiction on the merits concludes the litigation
between the parties, as well as their privies, and constitutes a bar to a new action or SECTION 1. Who may petition for appointment of guardian for resident. Any
suit involving the same cause of action before the same or other tribunal. relative, friend, or other person on behalf of a resident minor or incompetent who has
no parent or lawful guardian, or the minor himself if fourteen years of age or over,
But where there is identity of parties in the first and second cases, but no identity of may petition the court having jurisdiction for the appointment of a general guardian for
causes of action, the first judgment is conclusive only as to those matters actually and the person or estate, or both, of such minor or incompetent. An officer of the Federal
directly controverted and determined and not as to matters merely involved therein. Administration of the United States in the Philippines may also file a petition in favor
This is the concept of res judicata known as "conclusiveness of judgment." Stated of a ward thereof, and the Director of Health, in favor of an insane person who should
differently, any right, fact, or matter in issue directly adjudicated or necessarily be hospitalized, or in favor of an isolated leper.
involved in the determination of an action before a competent court in which judgment
is rendered on the merits is conclusively settled by the judgment therein and cannot SEC. 2. Contents of petition. A petition for the appointment of a general guardian
again be litigated between the parties and their privies whether or not the claim, must show, so far as known to the petitioner:
demand, purpose, or subject matter of the two actions is the same.13
(a) The jurisdictional facts;
In sum, conclusiveness of judgment bars the re-litigation in a second case of a fact or
question already settled in a previous case. The second case, however, may still (b) The minority or incompetency rendering the appointment necessary or convenient;
proceed provided that it will no longer touch on the same fact or question adjudged in
the first case. Conclusiveness of judgment requires only the identity of issues and (c) The names, ages, and residences of the relatives of the minor or incompetent, and
parties, but not of causes of action. of the persons having him in their care;

Contrary to Alamayris assertion, conclusiveness of judgment has no application to (d) The probable value and character of his estate;
the instant Petition since there is no identity of parties and issues between SP. PROC.
No. 146-86-C and Civil Case No. 675-84-C. (e) The name of the person for whom letters of guardianship are prayed.

No identity of parties The petition shall be verified; but no defect in the petition or verification shall render
void the issuance of letters of guardianship.
SP. PROC. No. 146-86-C was a petition filed with the RTC by Atty. Gesmundo for the
appointment of a guardian over the person and estate of his late wife Nave alleging SEC. 3. Court to set time for hearing. Notice thereof. When a petition for the
her incompetence. appointment of a general guardian is filed, the court shall fix a time and place for
hearing the same, and shall cause reasonable notice thereof to be given to the
A guardian may be appointed by the RTC over the person and estate of a minor or an persons mentioned in the petition residing in the province, including the minor if
incompetent, the latter being described as a person "suffering the penalty of civil above 14 years of age or the incompetent himself, and may direct other general or
interdiction or who are hospitalized lepers, prodigals, deaf and dumb who are unable special notice thereof to be given.
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minor or incompetent is actually capacitated to enter into contracts, so as to preserve
SEC. 4. Opposition to petition. Any interested person may, by filing a written the validity of said contracts and keep the supposed minor or incompetent obligated
opposition, contest the petition on the ground of majority of the alleged minor, to comply therewith.
competency of the alleged incompetent, or the unsuitability of the person for whom
letters are prayed, and may pray that the petition be dismissed, or that letters of Hence, it cannot be presumed that the Pabale siblings were given notice and actually
guardianship issue to himself, or to any suitable person named in the opposition. took part in SP. PROC. No. 146-86-C. They are not Naves relatives, nor are they the
ones caring for her. Although the rules allow the RTC to direct the giving of other
SEC. 5. Hearing and order for letters to issue. At the hearing of the petition the general or special notices of the hearings on the petition for appointment of a
alleged incompetent must be present if able to attend, and it must be shown that the guardian, it was not established that the RTC actually did so in SP. PROC. No. 146-
required notice has been given. Thereupon the court shall hear the evidence of the 86-C.
parties in support of their respective allegations, and, if the person in question is a
minor or incompetent it shall appoint a suitable guardian of his person or estate, or Alamayris allegation that the Pabale siblings participated in SP. PROC. No. 146-86-C
both, with the powers and duties hereinafter specified. rests on two Orders, dated 30 October 198715 and 19 November 1987,16 issued by
the RTC in SP. PROC. No. 146-86-C, expressly mentioning the presence of a Jose
xxxx Pabale, who was supposedly the father of the Pabale siblings, during the hearings
held on the same dates. However, the said Orders by themselves cannot confirm that
SEC. 8. Service of judgment. Final orders or judgments under this rule shall be Jose Pabale was indeed the father of the Pabale siblings and that he was authorized
served upon the civil registrar of the municipality or city where the minor or by his children to appear in the said hearings on their behalf.
incompetent person resides or where his property or part thereof is situated.
Alamayri decries that she was not allowed by the Court of Appeals to submit and
A petition for appointment of a guardian is a special proceeding, without the usual mark additional evidence to prove that Jose Pabale was the father of the Pabale
parties, i.e., petitioner versus respondent, in an ordinary civil case. Accordingly, SP. siblings.
PROC. No. 146-86-C bears the title: In re: Guardianship of Nelly S. Nave for
Incompetency, Verdasto Gesmundo y Banayo, petitioner, with no named It is true that the Court of Appeals has the power to try cases and conduct hearings,
respondent/s. receive evidence and perform any and all acts necessary to resolve factual issues
raised in cases falling within its original and appellate jurisdiction, including the power
Sections 2 and 3 of Rule 93 of the Rules of Court, though, require that the petition to grant and conduct new trials or further proceedings. In general, however, the Court
contain the names, ages, and residences of relatives of the supposed minor or of Appeals conducts hearings and receives evidence prior to the submission of the
incompetent and those having him in their care, so that those residing within the case for judgment.17 It must be pointed out that, in this case, Alamayri filed her
same province as the minor or incompetent can be notified of the time and place of Motion to Schedule Hearing to Mark Exhibits in Evidence on 21 November 2001. She
the hearing on the petition. thus sought to submit additional evidence as to the identity of Jose Pabale, not only
after CA-G.R. CV No. 58133 had been submitted for judgment, but after the Court of
The objectives of an RTC hearing a petition for appointment of a guardian under Rule Appeals had already promulgated its Decision in said case on 10 April 2001.
93 of the Rules of Court is to determine, first, whether a person is indeed a minor or
an incompetent who has no capacity to care for himself and/or his properties; and, The parties must diligently and conscientiously present all arguments and available
second, who is most qualified to be appointed as his guardian. The rules reasonably evidences in support of their respective positions to the court before the case is
assume that the people who best could help the trial court settle such issues would deemed submitted for judgment. Only under exceptional circumstances may the court
be those who are closest to and most familiar with the supposed minor or receive new evidence after having rendered judgment;18 otherwise, its judgment may
incompetent, namely, his relatives living within the same province and/or the persons never attain finality since the parties may continually refute the findings therein with
caring for him. further evidence. Alamayri failed to provide any explanation why she did not present
her evidence earlier. Merely invoking that the ends of justice would have been best
It is significant to note that the rules do not necessitate that creditors of the minor or served if she was allowed to present additional evidence is not sufficient to justify
incompetent be likewise identified and notified. The reason is simple: because their deviation from the general rules of procedure. Obedience to the requirements of
presence is not essential to the proceedings for appointment of a guardian. It is procedural rules is needed if the parties are to expect fair results therefrom, and utter
almost a given, and understandably so, that they will only insist that the supposed disregard of the rules cannot justly be rationalized by harking on the policy of liberal
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construction.19 Procedural rules are tools designed to facilitate the adjudication of In SP. PROC. No. 146-86-C, the main issue was whether Nave was incompetent at
cases. Courts and litigants alike are thus enjoined to abide strictly by the rules. And the time of filing of the petition with the RTC in 1986, thus, requiring the appointment
while the Court, in some instances, allows a relaxation in the application of the rules, of a guardian over her person and estate.
this, we stress, was never intended to forge a bastion for erring litigants to violate the
rules with impunity. The liberality in the interpretation and application of the rules In the cross-claim of Nave and Atty. Gesmundo against the Pabale siblings in Civil
applies only to proper cases and under justifiable causes and circumstances. While it Case No. 675-84-C, the issue was whether Nave was an incompetent when she
is true that litigation is not a game of technicalities, it is equally true that every case executed a Deed of Sale of the subject property in favor of the Pabale siblings on 20
must be prosecuted in accordance with the prescribed procedure to insure an orderly February 1984, hence, rendering the said sale void.
and speedy administration of justice.20
While both cases involve a determination of Naves incompetency, it must be
Moreover, contrary to Alamayris assertion, the Court of Appeals did not deny her established at two separate times, one in 1984 and the other in 1986. A finding that
Motion to Schedule Hearing to Mark Exhibits in Evidence merely for being late. In its she was incompetent in 1986 does not automatically mean that she was so in 1984.
Resolution, dated 19 December 2001, the Court of Appeals also denied the said In Carillo v. Jaojoco,22 the Court ruled that despite the fact that the seller was
motion on the following grounds: declared mentally incapacitated by the trial court only nine days after the execution of
the contract of sale, it does not prove that she was so when she executed the
While it is now alleged, for the first time, that the [herein respondents Pabale siblings] contract. Hence, the significance of the two-year gap herein cannot be gainsaid since
participated in the guardianship proceedings considering that the Jose Pabale Naves mental condition in 1986 may vastly differ from that of 1984 given the
mentioned therein is their late father, [herein petitioner Alamayri] submitting herein intervening period.
documentary evidence to prove their filiation, even though admitted in evidence at
this late stage, cannot bind [the Pabale siblings] as verily, notice to their father is not Capacity to act is supposed to attach to a person who has not previously been
notice to them there being no allegation to the effect that he represented them before declared incapable, and such capacity is presumed to continue so long as the
the Calamba Court.21 contrary be not proved; that is, that at the moment of his acting he was incapable,
crazy, insane, or out of his mind.23 The burden of proving incapacity to enter into
As the appellate court reasoned, even if the evidence Alamayri wanted to submit do contractual relations rests upon the person who alleges it; if no sufficient proof to this
prove that the Jose Pabale who attended the RTC hearings on 30 October 1987 and effect is presented, capacity will be presumed.24
19 November 1987 in SP. PROC. No. 146-86-C was the father of the Pabale siblings,
they would still not confirm his authority to represent his children in the said Nave was examined and diagnosed by doctors to be mentally incapacitated only in
proceedings. Worth stressing is the fact that Jose Pabale was not at all a party to the 1986, when the RTC started hearing SP. PROC. No. 146-86-C; and she was not
Deed of Sale dated 20 February 1984 over the subject property, which was executed judicially declared an incompetent until 22 June 1988 when a Decision in said case
by Nave in favor of the Pabale siblings. Without proper authority, Jose Pabales was rendered by the RTC, resulting in the appointment of Atty. Leonardo C. Paner as
presence at the hearings in SP. PROC. No. 146-86-C should not bind his children to her guardian. Thus, prior to 1986, Nave is still presumed to be capacitated and
the outcome of said proceedings or affect their right to the subject property. competent to enter into contracts such as the Deed of Sale over the subject property,
which she executed in favor of the Pabale siblings on 20 February 1984. The burden
Since it was not established that the Pabale siblings participated in SP. PROC. No. of proving otherwise falls upon Alamayri, which she dismally failed to do, having relied
146-86-C, then any finding therein should not bind them in Civil Case No. 675-84-C. entirely on the 22 June 1988 Decision of the RTC in SP. PROC. No. 146-86-C.

No identity of issues Alamayri capitalizes on the declaration of the RTC in its Decision dated 22 June 1988
in SP. PROC. No. 146-86-C on Naves condition "having become severe since the
Neither is there identity of issues between SP. PROC. No. 146-86-C and Civil Case year 1980."25 But there is no basis for such a declaration. The medical reports
No. 675-84-C that may bar the latter, by conclusiveness of judgment, from ruling on extensively quoted in said Decision, prepared by: (1) Dr. Nona Jean Alviso-Ramos,
Naves competency in 1984, when she executed the Deed of Sale over the subject dated 14 April 1986,26 and (2) by Dr. Eduardo T. Maaba, dated 20 April 1987,27 both
property in favor the Pabale siblings. stated that upon their examination, Nave was suffering from "organic brain syndrome
secondary to cerebral arteriosclerosis with psychotic episodes," which impaired her
judgment. There was nothing in the said medical reports, however, which may shed
light on when Nave began to suffer from said mental condition. All they said was that
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it existed at the time Nave was examined in 1986, and again in 1987. Even the RTC amount claimed. On December 23, 1936, a motion under section 113 of Act No. 190
judge was only able to observe Nave, which made him realize that her mind was very was filed by the general guardian of the defendant, praying that all the proceedings
impressionable and capable of being manipulated, on the occasions when Nave had against the defendant be declared null and void for lack of jurisdiction over her
visited the court from 1987 to 1988. Hence, for this Court, the RTC Decision dated 22 person. The motion was denied; hence, this appeal.
June 1988 in SP. PROC. No. 146-86-C may be conclusive as to Naves incompetency
from 1986 onwards, but not as to her incompetency in 1984. And other than invoking There is no question about the facts. On May 18, 1936, that is, nine days prior to the
the 22 June 1988 Decision of the RTC in SP. PROC. No. 146-86-C, Alamayri did not institution of the action against the defendant, a petition for guardianship was filed
bother to establish with her own evidence that Nave was mentally incapacitated when with the lower court in favor of the defendant, on the ground that she was
she executed the 20 February 1984 Deed of Sale over the subject property in favor of incompetent to manage her estate by reason of her physical and mental incapacity.
the Pabale siblings, so as to render the said deed void. After hearing the petition, wherein the depositions of alienists were presented, the
court issued an order declaring that the defendant Manuela Sarte "se halla ficica y
All told, there being no identity of parties and issues between SP. PROC. No. 146-86- mentalmente incacitada para administrar sus bienes poe razon de debelidad senil,
C and Civil Case No. 675-84-C, the 22 June 1988 Decision in the former on Naves cuya inteligencia si bien le permite sostener una conversacion por algunos minutos
incompetency by the year 1986 should not bar, by conclusiveness of judgment, a de una manera satisfactoria, no tiene la consistencia necesaria para atender a sus
finding in the latter case that Nave still had capacity and was competent when she necesidas y administrar sus propios bienes."
executed on 20 February 1984 the Deed of Sale over the subject property in favor of
the Pabale siblings. Therefore, the Court of Appeals did not commit any error when it Although this order was issued on December 3, 1936, it relates to the incapacity
upheld the validity of the 20 February 1984 Deed of Sale. alleged in the petition of May 18, 1936. Consequently, the incapacity thus declared
existed at least at the date of the filing of the petition, that is, on May 18, 1936, nine
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant Petition for Review is hereby days prior to the institution of the action in the present case. In fact, according to the
DENIED. The Decision, dated 10 April 2001, of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV evidence relied upon by the lower court, the defendant was incompetent to manage
No. 58133, is hereby AFFIRMED in toto. Costs against the petitioner Lolita R. her affairs for about two or three years prior to her examination by the alienists. It
Alamayri. appears thus clear that during all the proceedings in the case at bar, from the time of
the filing of the complaint to the rendition of the judgment, the defendant was
SO ORDERED. physically and mentally unfit to manage her affairs, and there having been no
summons and notices of the proceedings served her and her guardian, because no
guardian was then appointed for her, the court trying the action acquired no
jurisdiction over her person (sec. 396, No. 4, of Act No. 190).

It is argued that Attorney Gregorio A. Sabater appeared for the defendant in the case
and filed an answer in her behalf and that the attorney's authority is presumed as well
as the capacity of the defendant giving the authority. But this presumption is
disputable and it is here entirely rebutted by no less than an order of the same court
declaring the defendant physically and mentally unfit to manage her estate since at
G.R. No. L-45622 May 5, 1939 least May 18, 1936. If the defendant was thus incompetent, she could not have validly
JUAN GOROSTIAGA vs. MANUELA SARTE authorized the attorney to represent her. And if the authority was given by her
relatives, it was not sufficient except to show the attorney's good faith in appearing in
the case.
On May 27, 1936, Juan Gorostiaga, plaintiff-appellee, institutes an action against
Manuela Sarte to recover the sum of P2,285.51. An answer was filed by Attorney It is contended that the issue as to the incapacity of the defendant was pleaded in
Gregorio A. Sabater in the name of the defendant, wherein a general denial was defendant's answer and was squarely decided and that therefore it cannot be
made, and several defenses interposed, among them, that the defendant was reopened unless on the ground of newly discovered evidence. That answer was,
physically and mentally incompetent to manage her estate. At the trial, the defendant however, filed by an attorney not validly authorized to appear for the defendant who
did not appear in court and her non-appearance had no been accounted for. On had never been in court except when her guardian filed a motion to quash all the
September 21, 1996, judgment was rendered sentencing the defendant to pay the proceedings for lack of jurisdiction. In matters of this kind, affecting the jurisdiction of
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Special Proceedings
the court and the validity of all proceedings, the court, instead of observing a passive in favor of co-petitioners, their daughter and son in law, for the ostensible purpose of
attitude, should take the initiative of, and exercise utmost care in, ascertaining the "financial need in the personal, business and medical expenses of her incapacitated
facts. And although the evidence gathered at the trial is insufficient, if, after judgment, husband."
the lack of jurisdiction is clearly shown, and there has been no waiver thereof, as in
this case where a waiver could not have been possible, it is the duty of the court to The facts, as found by the Court of Appeals, are as follows:
set aside all the proceedings, take the necessary steps to acquire jurisdiction, and
"This case is a dispute between Teodoro L. Jardeleza (herein respondent) on the one
grant a new trial. The position taken by the lower court in this case can hardly be
hand, against his mother Gilda L. Jardeleza, and sister and brother-in-law, the spouses
reconciled with its position in the guardianship proceedings.
Jose Uy and Glenda Jardeleza (herein petitioners) on the other hand. The controversy
came about as a result of Dr. Ernesto Jardeleza, Sr.s suffering of a stroke on March 25,
Appellee contends that in the motion filed by the guardian under section 113 there is 1991, which left him comatose and bereft of any motor or mental faculties. Said Ernesto
no showing of mistake, inadvertence, surprise or excusable negligence as grounds Jardeleza, Sr. is the father of herein respondent Teodoro Jardeleza and husband of herein
for relief provided therein. It is, however, more than a surprise to the defendant that private respondent Gilda Jardeleza.
she be tried and sentenced without valid summons or notice. And as to the affidavits
of merit required to be attached to a motion under section 113, they are not "Upon learning that one piece of real property belonging to the senior Jardeleza spouses
necessary, as we have already held, where the court acted without jurisdiction over was about to be sold, petitioner Teodoro Jardeleza, on June 6, 1991, filed a petition (Annex
the defendant's person. (Coombs vs. Santos, 24 Phil., 446.) "A") before the R.T.C. of Iloilo City, Branch 25, where it was docketed as Special
Proceeding No. 4689, in the matter of the guardianship of Dr. Ernesto Jardeleza, Sr. The
Judgment is reversed, all the proceedings had in the lower court are hereby declared petitioner averred therein that the present physical and mental incapacity of Dr. Ernesto
null and void, and the case is remanded to the court below for new trial after the Jardeleza, Sr. prevent him from competently administering his properties, and in order to
guardian making him a party defendant. With costs against appellee. prevent the loss and dissipation of the Jardelezas real and personal assets, there was a
need for a court-appointed guardian to administer said properties. It was prayed therein
that Letters of Guardianship be issued in favor of herein private respondent Gilda Ledesma
Jardeleza, wife of Dr. Ernesto Jardeleza, Sr. It was further prayed that in the meantime, no
property of Dr. Ernesto Jardeleza, Sr. be negotiated, mortgaged or otherwise alienated to
third persons, particularly Lot No. 4291 and all the improvements thereon, located along
Bonifacio Drive, Iloilo City, and covered by T.C.T. No. 47337.

"A few days later, or on June 13, 1991, respondent Gilda L. Jardeleza herself filed a
petition docketed as Special Proceeding NO. 4691, before Branch 32 of the R.T.C. of Iloilo
City, regarding the declaration of incapacity of Ernesto Jardeleza, Sr., assumption of sole
powers of administration of conjugal properties, and authorization to sell the same (Annex
"B"). Therein, the petitioner Gilda L. Jardeleza averred the physical and mental incapacity
of her husband, who was then confined for intensive medical care and treatment at the
Iloilo Doctors Hospital. She signified to the court her desire to assume sole powers of
administration of their conjugal properties. She also alleged that her husbands medical
treatment and hospitalization expenses were piling up, accumulating to several hundred
thousands of pesos already. For this, she urgently needed to sell one piece of real
G.R. No. 109557 November 29, 2000 property, specifically Lot No. 4291 and its improvements. Thus, she prayed for
JOSE UY and his Spouse GLENDA J. UY and GILDA L. JARDELEZA vs. COURT authorization from the court to sell said property.
OF APPEALS
"The following day, June 14, 1991, Branch 32 of the R.T.C. of Iloilo City issued an Order
(Annex "C") finding the petition in Spec. Proc. No. 4691 to be sufficient in form and
The case is an appeal via certiorari from the decision1 of the Court of Appeals and its
substance, and setting the hearing thereof for June 20, 1991. The scheduled hearing of the
resolution denying reconsideration2 reversing that of the Regional Trial Court, Iloilo,
petition proceeded, attended by therein petitioner Gilda Jardeleza, her counsel, her two
Branch 323 and declaring void the special proceedings instituted therein by petitioners to
children, namely Ernesto Jardeleza, Jr., and Glenda Jardeleza Uy, and Dr. Rolando
authorize petitioner Gilda L. Jardeleza, in view of the comatose condition of her husband,
Padilla, one of Ernesto Jardeleza, Sr.s attending physicians.
Ernesto Jardeleza, Sr., with the approval of the court, to dispose of their conjugal property

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Special Proceedings
"On that same day, June 20, 1991, Branch 32 of the RTC of Iloilo City rendered its
Decision (Annex "D"), finding that it was convinced that Ernesto Jardeleza, Sr. was truly "Teodoro Jardeleza also questioned the propriety of the sale of Lot No. 4291 and the
incapacitated to participate in the administration of the conjugal properties, and that the improvements thereon supposedly to pay the accumulated financial obligations arising
sale of Lot No. 4291 and the improvements thereon was necessary to defray the mounting from Ernesto Jardeleza, Sr.s hospitalization. He alleged that the market value of the
expenses for treatment and Hospitalization. The said court also made the pronouncement property would be around Twelve to Fifteen Million Pesos, but that he had been informed
that the petition filed by Gilda L. Jardeleza was "pursuant to Article 124 of the Family Code, that it would be sold for much less. He also pointed out that the building thereon which
and that the proceedings thereon are governed by the rules on summary proceedings houses the Jardeleza Clinic is a monument to Ernesto Jardeleza Sr.s industry, labor and
sanctioned under Article 253 of the same Code x x x. service to his fellowmen. Hence, the said property has a lot of sentimental value to his
family. Besides, argued Teodoro Jardeleza, then conjugal partnership had other liquid
"The said court then disposed as follows: assets to pay off all financial obligations. He mentioned that apart from sufficient cash,
Jardeleza, Sr. owned stocks of Iloilo Doctors Hospital which can be off-set against the cost
"WHEREFORE, there being factual and legal bases to the petition dated June 13, 1991, of medical and hospital bills. Furthermore, Ernesto Jardeleza, Sr. enjoys certain privileges
the Court hereby renders judgment as follows: at the said hospital which allows him to pay on installment basis. Moreover, two of Ernesto
Jardeleza Sr.s attending physicians are his own sons who do not charge anything for their
"1) declaring Ernesto Jardeleza, Sr., petitioners husband, to be incapacitated and unable professional services.
to participate in the administration of conjugal properties;
"On July 4, 1991, Teodoro Jardeleza filed in Spec. Proc. No. 4691 a supplement to his
"2) authorizing petitioner Gilda L. Jardeleza to assume sole powers of administration of motion for reconsideration (Annex "G"). He reiterated his contention that summary
their conjugal properties; and proceedings was irregularly applied. He also noted that the provisions on summary
proceedings found in Chapter 2 of the Family Code comes under the heading on
"3) authorizing aforesaid petitioner to sell Lot No. 4291 of the Cadastral Survey of Iloilo, "Separation in Fact Between Husband and Wife" which contemplates of a situation where
situated in Iloilo City and covered by TCT No. 47337 issued in the names of Ernesto both spouses are of disposing mind. Thus, he argued that were one spouse is "comatose
Jardeleza, Sr. and Gilda L. Jardeleza and the buildings standing thereof. without motor and mental faculties," the said provisions cannot be made to apply.

"SO ORDERED. "While the motion for reconsideration was pending, Gilda Jardeleza disposed by absolute
sale Lot No. 4291 and all its improvements to her daughter, Ma. Glenda Jardeleza Uy, for
"On June 24, 1991, herein petitioner Teodoro Jardeleza filed his Opposition to the Eight Million Pesos (P8,000,000.00), as evidenced by a Deed Absolute Sale dated July 8,
proceedings before Branch 32 in Spec. Proc. Case No. 4691, said petitioner being 1991 executed between them (p. 111, Rollo). Under date of July 23, 1991, Gilda Jardeleza
unaware and not knowing that a decision has already been rendered on the case by public filed an urgent ex-parte motion for approval of the deed of absolute sale.
respondent.
"On August 12, 1991 Teodoro Jardeleza filed his Opposition to the motion for approval of
"On July 3, 1991, herein petitioner Teodoro Jardeleza filed a motion for reconsideration of the deed of sale on the grounds that: (1) the motion was prematurely filed and should be
the judgment in Spec. Proc. No. 4691 and a motion for consolidation of the two cases held in abeyance until the final resolution of the petition; (2) the motion does not allege nor
(Annex "F"). He propounded the argument that the petition for declaration of incapacity, prove the justifications for the sale; and (3) the motion does not allege that had Ernesto
assumption of sole powers of administration, and authority to sell the conjugal properties Jardeleza, Sr. been competent, he would have given his consent to the sale.
was essentially a petition for guardianship of the person and properties of Ernesto
Jardeleza, Sr. As such, it cannot be prosecuted in accordance with the provisions on "Judge Amelita K. del Rosario-Benedicto of Branch 32 of the respondent Court, who had
summary proceedings set out in Article 253 of the Family Code. It should follow the rules penned the decision in Spec. Proc. No. 4691 had in the meantime formally inhibited herself
governing special proceedings in the Revised Rules of Court which require procedural due from further acting in this case (Annex "I"). The case was then reraffled to Branch 28 of the
process, particularly the need for notice and a hearing on the merits. On the other hand, said court.
even if Gilda Jardelezas petition can be prosecuted by summary proceedings, there was
still a failure to comply with the basic requirements thereof, making the decision in Spec. "On December 19, 1991, the said court issued an Order (Annex "M") denying herein
Proc. No. 4691 a defective one. He further alleged that under the New Civil Code, Ernesto petitioners motion for reconsideration and approving respondent Jardelezas motion for
Jardeleza, Sr. had acquired vested rights as a conjugal partner, and that these rights approval of the deed of absolute sale. The said court ruled that:
cannot be impaired or prejudiced without his consent. Neither can he be deprived of his
share in the conjugal properties through mere summary proceedings. He then restated his "After a careful and thorough perusal of the decision, dated June 20, 1991, the Motion for
position that Spec. Proc. No. 4691 should be consolidated with Spec. Proc. No. 4689 Reconsideration, as well as its supplements filed by "oppositor", Teodoro L. Jardeleza,
which was filed earlier and pending before Branch 25. through counsel, and the opposition to the Motion for Reconsideration, including its
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Special Proceedings
supplements, filed by petitioner, through counsel, this Court is of the opinion and so holds, incompetent, under Rule 93, Section 1, 1964 Revised Rules of Court. Indeed, petitioner
that her Honor, Amelita K. del Rosario-Benedicto, Presiding Judge of Branch 32, of this earlier had filed such a petition for judicial guardianship.
Court, has properly observed the procedure embodied under Article 253, in relation to
Article 124, of the Family Code, in rendering her decision dated June 20, 1991. Article 124 of the Family Code provides as follows:

"Also, as correctly stated by petitioner, through counsel, that "oppositor" Teodor L. "ART. 124. The administration and enjoyment of the conjugal partnership property shall
Jardeleza does not have the personality to oppose the instant petition considering that the belong to both spouses jointly. In case of disagreement, the husbands decision shall
property or properties, subject of the petition, belongs to the conjugal partnership of the prevail, subject to recourse to the court by the wife for a proper remedy which must be
spouses Ernesto and Gilda Jardeleza, who are both still alive. availed of within five years from the date of the contract implementing such decision.

"In view thereof, the Motion for Reconsideration of "oppositor" Teodoro L. Jardeleza, is "In the event that one spouse is incapacitated or otherwise unable to participate in the
hereby denied for lack of merit. administration of the conjugal properties, the other spouse may assume sole powers of
administration. These powers do not include the powers of disposition or encumbrance
"Considering the validity of the decision dated June 20, 1991, which among others, which must have the authority of the court or the written consent of the other spouse. In the
authorized Gilda L. Jardeleza to sell Lot No. 4291 of the Cadastral Survey of Iloilo, covered absence of such authority or consent, the disposition or encumbrance shall be void.
by Transfer Certificate of Title No. 47337 issued in the names of Ernesto Jardeleza, Sr., However, the transaction shall be construed as a continuing offer on the part of the
and Gilda L. Jardeleza and the building standing thereon, the Urgent Ex-Parte Motion for consenting spouse and the third person, and may be perfected as a binding contract upon
Approval of Deed of Absolute Sale dated July 23, 1991, filed by petitioner, through counsel, the acceptance by the other spouse or authorization by the court before the offer is
is hereby granted and the deed of absolute sale, executed and notarized on July 8, 1991, withdrawn by either or both offerors. (165a)."
by and between Gilda L. Jardeleza, as vendor, and Ma. Glenda Jardeleza, as vendee, is
hereby approved, and the Register of Deeds of Iloilo City, is directed to register the sale In regular manner, the rules on summary judicial proceedings under the Family Code
and issue the corresponding transfer certificate of title to the vendee. govern the proceedings under Article 124 of the Family Code. The situation contemplated
is one where the spouse is absent, or separated in fact or has abandoned the other or
"SO ORDERED."4 consent is withheld or cannot be obtained. Such rules do not apply to cases where the
non-consenting spouse is incapacitated or incompetent to give consent. In this case, the
On December 9, 1992, the Court of Appeals promulgated its decision reversing the trial court found that the subject spouse "is an incompetent" who was in comatose or semi-
appealed decision and ordering the trial court to dismiss the special proceedings to comatose condition, a victim of stroke, cerebrovascular accident, without motor and mental
approve the deed of sale, which was also declared void.5 faculties, and with a diagnosis of brain stem infarct.9 In such case, the proper remedy is a
judicial guardianship proceedings under Rule 93 of the 1964 Revised Rules of Court.
On December 29, 1992, petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration,6 however, on March
29, 1993, the Court of Appeals denied the motion, finding no cogent and compelling reason Even assuming that the rules of summary judicial proceedings under the Family Code may
to disturb the decision.7 apply to the wife's administration of the conjugal property, the law provides that the wife
who assumes sole powers of administration has the same powers and duties as a
Hence, this appeal.8 guardian under the Rules of Court.10

The issue raised is whether petitioner Gilda L. Jardeleza as the wife of Ernesto Jardeleza, Consequently, a spouse who desires to sell real property as such administrator of the
Sr. who suffered a stroke, a cerebrovascular accident, rendering him comatose, without conjugal property must observe the procedure for the sale of the wards estate required of
motor and mental faculties, and could not manage their conjugal partnership property may judicial guardians under Rule 95, 1964 Revised Rules of Court, not the summary judicial
assume sole powers of administration of the conjugal property under Article 124 of the proceedings under the Family Code.
Family Code and dispose of a parcel of land with its improvements, worth more than
twelve million pesos, with the approval of the court in a summary proceedings, to her co- In the case at bar, the trial court did not comply with the procedure under the Revised
petitioners, her own daughter and son-in-law, for the amount of eight million pesos. Rules of Court.1wphi1 Indeed, the trial court did not even observe the requirements of the
summary judicial proceedings under the Family Code. Thus, the trial court did not serve
The Court of Appeals ruled that in the condition of Dr. Ernesto Jardeleza, Sr., the notice of the petition to the incapacitated spouse; it did not require him to show cause why
procedural rules on summary proceedings in relation to Article 124 of the Family Code are the petition should not be granted.
not applicable. Because Dr. Jardeleza, Sr. was unable to take care of himself and manage
the conjugal property due to illness that had rendered him comatose, the proper remedy Hence, we agree with the Court of Appeals that absent an opportunity to be heard, the
was the appointment of a judicial guardian of the person or estate or both of such decision rendered by the trial court is void for lack of due process. The doctrine
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Special Proceedings
consistently adhered to by this Court is that a denial of due process suffices to cast on the judgment of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 69, Lingayen, Pangasinan, in Civil Case
official act taken by whatever branch of the government the impress of nullity.11 A decision No. 17666, dismissing the Complaint for Declaration of Nullity of Documents,
rendered without due process is void ab initio and may be attacked directly or Recovery of Possession and Ownership, and damages.
collaterally.12 "A decision is void for lack of due process if, as a result, a party is deprived
of the opportunity of being heard."13 "A void decision may be assailed or impugned at any The facts, which are undisputed by the parties, follow:
time either directly or collaterally, by means of a separate action, or by resisting such
decision in any action or proceeding where it is invoked."14
On October 20, 1948, FELICIANO CATALAN (Feliciano) was discharged from active
military service. The Board of Medical Officers of the Department of Veteran Affairs
WHEREFORE, the Court AFFIRMS the decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. R. SP
found that he was unfit to render military service due to his "schizophrenic reaction,
No. 26936, in toto.
catatonic type, which incapacitates him because of flattening of mood and affect,
Costs against petitioners. preoccupation with worries, withdrawal, and sparce (sic) and pointless speech."1

SO ORDERED. On September 28, 1949, Feliciano married Corazon Cerezo.2

On June 16, 1951, a document was executed, titled "Absolute Deed of Donation,"3
wherein Feliciano allegedly donated to his sister MERCEDES CATALAN(Mercedes)
one-half of the real property described, viz:

A parcel of land located at Barangay Basing, Binmaley, Pangasinan. Bounded on the


North by heirs of Felipe Basa; on the South by Barrio Road; On the East by heirs of
Segundo Catalan; and on the West by Roman Basa. Containing an area of Eight
Hundred One (801) square meters, more or less.

The donation was registered with the Register of Deeds. The Bureau of Internal
Revenue then cancelled Tax Declaration No. 2876, and, in lieu thereof, issued Tax
Declaration No. 180804 to Mercedes for the 400.50 square meters donated to her.
The remaining half of the property remained in Felicianos name under Tax
Declaration No. 18081.5

On December 11, 1953, Peoples Bank and Trust Company filed Special Proceedings
No. 45636 before the Court of First Instance of Pangasinan to declare Feliciano
incompetent. On December 22, 1953, the trial court issued its Order for Adjudication
of Incompetency for Appointing Guardian for the Estate and Fixing Allowance7 of
Feliciano. The following day, the trial court appointed Peoples Bank and Trust
Company as Felicianos guardian.8 Peoples Bank and Trust Company has been
G.R. No. 159567 July 31, 2007 subsequently renamed, and is presently known as the Bank of the Philippine Islands
CORAZON CATALAN, LIBRADA CATALAN-LIM, EULOGIO CATALAN, MILA (BPI).
CATALAN-MILAN, ZENAIDA CATALAN, ALEX CATALAN, DAISY CATALAN,
FLORIDA CATALAN and GEMMA CATALAN, Heirs of the late FELICIANO On November 22, 1978, Feliciano and Corazon Cerezo donated Lots 1 and 3 of their
CATALAN, Petitioners, property, registered under Original Certificate of Title (OCT) No. 18920, to their son
vs. JOSE BASA, MANUEL BASA, LAURETA BASA, DELIA BASA, JESUS BASA Eulogio Catalan.9
and ROSALINDA BASA
On March 26, 1979, Mercedes sold the property in issue in favor of her children Delia
This is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Revised Rules of Court and Jesus Basa.10 The Deed of Absolute Sale was registered with the Register of
of the Court of Appeals decision in CA-G.R. CV No. 66073, which affirmed the
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Special Proceedings
Deeds of Pangasinan on February 20, 1992, and Tax Declaration No. 12911 was Petitioners challenged the trial courts decision before the Court of Appeals via a
issued in the name of respondents.11 Notice of Appeal pursuant to Rule 41 of the Revised Rules of Court.16 The appellate
court affirmed the decision of the trial court and held, viz:
On June 24, 1983, Feliciano and Corazon Cerezo donated Lot 2 of the
aforementioned property registered under OCT No. 18920 to their children Alex In sum, the Regional Trial Court did not commit a reversible error in disposing that
Catalan, Librada Catalan and Zenaida Catalan. On February 14, 1983, Feliciano and plaintiff-appellants failed to prove the insanity or mental incapacity of late (sic)
Corazon Cerezo donated Lot 4 (Plan Psu-215956) of the same OCT No. 18920 to Feliciano Catalan at the precise moment when the property in dispute was donated.
Eulogio and Florida Catalan.12
Thus, all the elements for validity of contracts having been present in the 1951
On April 1, 1997, BPI, acting as Felicianos guardian, filed a case for Declaration of donation coupled with compliance with certain solemnities required by the Civil Code
Nullity of Documents, Recovery of Possession and Ownership,13 as well as damages in donation inter vivos of real property under Article 749, which provides:
against the herein respondents. BPI alleged that the Deed of Absolute Donation to
Mercedes was void ab initio, as Feliciano never donated the property to Mercedes. In xxx
addition, BPI averred that even if Feliciano had truly intended to give the property to
her, the donation would still be void, as he was not of sound mind and was therefore Mercedes Catalan acquired valid title of ownership over the property in dispute. By
incapable of giving valid consent. Thus, it claimed that if the Deed of Absolute virtue of her ownership, the property is completely subjected to her will in everything
Donation was void ab initio, the subsequent Deed of Absolute Sale to Delia and Jesus not prohibited by law of the concurrence with the rights of others (Art. 428, NCC).
Basa should likewise be nullified, for Mercedes Catalan had no right to sell the
property to anyone. BPI raised doubts about the authenticity of the deed of sale, The validity of the subsequent sale dated 26 March 1979 (Exhibit 3, appellees Folder
saying that its registration long after the death of Mercedes Catalan indicated fraud. of Exhibits) of the property by Mercedes Catalan to defendant-appellees Jesus Basa
Thus, BPI sought remuneration for incurred damages and litigation expenses. and Delia Basa must be upheld. Nothing of the infirmities which allegedly flawed its
authenticity is evident much less apparent in the deed itself or from the evidence
On August 14, 1997, Feliciano passed away. The original complaint was amended to adduced. As correctly stated by the RTC, the fact that the Deed of Absolute Sale was
substitute his heirs in lieu of BPI as complainants in Civil Case No. 17666. registered only in 1992, after the death of Mercedes Catalan does not make the sale
void ab initio. Moreover, as a notarized document, the deed of absolute sale carries
On December 7, 1999, the trial court found that the evidence presented by the the evidentiary weight conferred upon such public document with respect to its due
complainants was insufficient to overcome the presumption that Feliciano was sane execution (Garrido vs. CA 236 SCRA 450). In a similar vein, jurisprudence has it that
and competent at the time he executed the deed of donation in favor of Mercedes documents acknowledged before a notary public have in their favor the presumption
Catalan. Thus, the court declared, the presumption of sanity or competency not of regularity, and to contradict the same, there must be evidence that is clear,
having been duly impugned, the presumption of due execution of the donation in convincing and more than preponderant (Salame vs. CA, 239 SCRA 256).
question must be upheld.14 It rendered judgment, viz:
WHEREFORE, foregoing premises considered, the Decision dated December 7,
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing considerations, judgment is hereby rendered: 1999 of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 69, is hereby affirmed.

1. Dismissing plaintiffs complaint; SO ORDERED.17

2. Declaring the defendants Jesus Basa and Delia Basa the lawful owners of the land Thus, petitioners filed the present appeal and raised the following issues:
in question which is now declared in their names under Tax Declaration No. 12911
(Exhibit 4); 1. WHETHER OR NOT THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS HAS DECIDED
CA-G.R. CV NO. 66073 IN A WAY PROBABLY NOT IN ACCORD WITH LAW OR
3. Ordering the plaintiff to pay the defendants Attorneys fees of P10,000.00, and to WITH THE APPLICABLE DECISIONS OF THE HONORABLE COURT IN HOLDING
pay the Costs.(sic) THAT "THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT DID NOT COMMIT A REVERSIBLE ERROR
IN DISPOSING THAT PLAINTIFF-APPELLANTS (PETITIONERS) FAILED TO
SO ORDERED.15 PROVE THE INSANITY OR MENTAL INCAPACITY OF THE LATE FELICIANO

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Special Proceedings
CATALAN AT THE PRECISE MOMENT WHEN THE PROPERTY IN DISPUTE WAS
DONATED"; A donation is an act of liberality whereby a person disposes gratuitously a thing or
right in favor of another, who accepts it.22 Like any other contract, an agreement of
2. WHETHER OR NOT THE CERTIFICATE OF DISABILITY FOR DISCHARGE the parties is essential. Consent in contracts presupposes the following requisites: (1)
(EXHIBIT "S") AND THE REPORT OF A BOARD OF OFFICERS CONVENED it should be intelligent or with an exact notion of the matter to which it refers; (2) it
UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF ARMY REGULATIONS (EXHIBITS "S-1" AND "S-2") should be free; and (3) it should be spontaneous.23 The parties' intention must be
ARE ADMISSIBLE IN EVIDENCE; clear and the attendance of a vice of consent, like any contract, renders the donation
voidable.24
3. WHETHER OR NOT THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS HAS DECIDED
CA-G.R. CV NO. 66073 IN A WAY PROBABLY NOT IN ACCORD WITH LAW OR In order for donation of property to be valid, what is crucial is the donors capacity to
WITH THE APPLICABLE DECISIONS OF THE HONORABLE COURT IN give consent at the time of the donation. Certainly, there lies no doubt in the fact that
UPHOLDING THE SUBSEQUENT SALE OF THE PROPERTY IN DISPUTE BY THE insanity impinges on consent freely given.25 However, the burden of proving such
DONEE MERCEDES CATALAN TO HER CHILDREN RESPONDENTS JESUS AND incapacity rests upon the person who alleges it; if no sufficient proof to this effect is
DELIA BASA; AND- presented, capacity will be presumed.26

4. WHETHER OR NOT CIVIL CASE NO. 17666 IS BARRED BY PRESCRIPTION A thorough perusal of the records of the case at bar indubitably shows that the
AND LACHES.18 evidence presented by the petitioners was insufficient to overcome the presumption
that Feliciano was competent when he donated the property in question to Mercedes.
Petitioners aver that the presumption of Felicianos competence to donate property to Petitioners make much ado of the fact that, as early as 1948, Feliciano had been
Mercedes had been rebutted because they presented more than the requisite found to be suffering from schizophrenia by the Board of Medical Officers of the
preponderance of evidence. First, they presented the Certificate of Disability for the Department of Veteran Affairs. By itself, however, the allegation cannot prove the
Discharge of Feliciano Catalan issued on October 20, 1948 by the Board of Medical incompetence of Feliciano.
Officers of the Department of Veteran Affairs. Second, they proved that on December
22, 1953, Feliciano was judged an incompetent by the Court of First Instance of A study of the nature of schizophrenia will show that Feliciano could still be presumed
Pangasinan, and put under the guardianship of BPI. Based on these two pieces of capable of attending to his property rights. Schizophrenia was brought to the attention
evidence, petitioners conclude that Feliciano had been suffering from a mental of the public when, in the late 1800s, Emil Kraepelin, a German psychiatrist,
condition since 1948 which incapacitated him from entering into any contract combined "hebrephrenia" and "catatonia" with certain paranoid states and called the
thereafter, until his death on August 14, 1997. Petitioners contend that Felicianos condition "dementia praecox." Eugene Bleuler, a Swiss psychiatrist, modified
marriage to Corazon Cerezo on September 28, 1948 does not prove that he was not Kraepelins conception in the early 1900s to include cases with a better outlook and in
insane at the time he made the questioned donation. They further argue that the 1911 renamed the condition "schizophrenia." According to medical references, in
donations Feliciano executed in favor of his successors (Decision, CA-G.R. CV No. persons with schizophrenia, there is a gradual onset of symptoms, with symptoms
66073) also cannot prove his competency because these donations were approved becoming increasingly bizarre as the disease progresses.1avvphi1 The condition
and confirmed in the guardianship proceedings.19 In addition, petitioners claim that improves (remission or residual stage) and worsens (relapses) in cycles. Sometimes,
the Deed of Absolute Sale executed on March 26, 1979 by Mercedes Catalan and her sufferers may appear relatively normal, while other patients in remission may appear
children Jesus and Delia Basa is simulated and fictitious. This is allegedly borne out strange because they speak in a monotone, have odd speech habits, appear to have
by the fact that the document was registered only on February 20, 1992, more that 10 no emotional feelings and are prone to have "ideas of reference." The latter refers to
years after Mercedes Catalan had already died. Since Delia Basa and Jesus Basa the idea that random social behaviors are directed against the sufferers.27 It has
both knew that Feliciano was incompetent to enter into any contract, they cannot been proven that the administration of the correct medicine helps the patient.
claim to be innocent purchasers of the property in question.20 Lastly, petitioners Antipsychotic medications help bring biochemical imbalances closer to normal in a
assert that their case is not barred by prescription or laches under Article 1391 of the schizophrenic. Medications reduce delusions, hallucinations and incoherent thoughts
New Civil Code because they had filed their case on April 1, 1997, even before the and reduce or eliminate chances of relapse.28 Schizophrenia can result in a
four year period after Felicianos death on August 14, 1997 had begun.21 dementing illness similar in many aspects to Alzheimers disease. However, the
illness will wax and wane over many years, with only very slow deterioration of
The petition is bereft of merit, and we affirm the findings of the Court of Appeals and intellect.29
the trial court.
26
Special Proceedings
From these scientific studies it can be deduced that a person suffering from The property involved in this litigation is the house and lot situate at 97 Sta.
schizophrenia does not necessarily lose his competence to intelligently dispose his Potenciana Street, corner of Cabildo Street, Manila. Originally it belonged to Asuncion
property. By merely alleging the existence of schizophrenia, petitioners failed to show Jarata, who mortgaged it to Perfecto Gabriel. The latter foreclosed the mortgage and
substantial proof that at the date of the donation, June 16, 1951, Feliciano Catalan after buying the property at public auction transferred it to Carmen Garchitorena, who
had lost total control of his mental faculties. Thus, the lower courts correctly held that in turn transferred it to Jesus Pellon in whose name the Torrens certificate of title now
Feliciano was of sound mind at that time and that this condition continued to exist stands.
until proof to the contrary was adduced.30 Sufficient proof of his infirmity to give
consent to contracts was only established when the Court of First Instance of This action was commenced on June 3, 1932, by Vicente Sotelo, as judicial guardian
Pangasinan declared him an incompetent on December 22, 1953.31 of the eight minor children of Asuncion Jarata, against Perfecto Gabriel and Carmen
Garchitorena to annul the judgment obtained by Gabriel in the foreclosure of his
It is interesting to note that the petitioners questioned Felicianos capacity at the time mortgage and the subsequent transfers of the mortgaged property on the ground that
he donated the property, yet did not see fit to question his mental competence when said judgment had been obtained through fraud. Jesus Pellon was joined as party
he entered into a contract of marriage with Corazon Cerezo or when he executed defendant after the property was transferred to him by Carmen Garchitorena
deeds of donation of his other properties in their favor. The presumption that Feliciano subsequent to the commencement of the action. On January 31, 1936, the trial court
remained competent to execute contracts, despite his illness, is bolstered by the rendered judgment in favor of the plaintiff, ordering that the new title in the name of
existence of these other contracts. Competency and freedom from undue influence, Jesus Pellon be canceled and replaced with a new one in the name of the minors.
shown to have existed in the other acts done or contracts executed, are presumed to From that decision Gabriel and Garchitorena appealed, but Pellon did not. On August
continue until the contrary is shown.32 22, 1940, the Court of Appeals in banc, by a majority of nine justices (two justices
dissenting), affirmed the judgment of the trial court with modification as follows:
Needless to state, since the donation was valid, Mercedes had the right to sell the
property to whomever she chose.33 Not a shred of evidence has been presented to It is therefore our decision that the sales of the property described in the complaint by
prove the claim that Mercedes sale of the property to her children was tainted with the sheriff to Perfecto Gabriel, by Gabriel to Carmen Garchitorena, and by
fraud or falsehood. It is of little bearing that the Deed of Sale was registered only after Garchitorena to Jesus Pellon should be and they are hereby annulled; that the title to
the death of Mercedes. What is material is that the sale of the property to Delia and this property now standing in the name of Jesus Pellon should be cancelled and a
Jesus Basa was legal and binding at the time of its execution. Thus, the property in new certificate issued in the name of plaintiff's wards subject to the alleged mortgage
question belongs to Delia and Jesus Basa. in favor of the Santa Clara Monastery; that the amount the plaintiff shall have paid on
account of this mortgage shall be deducted from the amounts due by the minors to
Finally, we note that the petitioners raised the issue of prescription and laches for the Perfecto Gabriel or the Santa Clara Monastery, or both, it being understood that the
first time on appeal before this Court. It is sufficient for this Court to note that even if mortgage debts, P8,500, shall bear interest at the rate provided for in the contracts of
the present appeal had prospered, the Deed of Donation was still a voidable, not a mortgage from the dates of last payments until full paid; and that Gabriel and Carmen
void, contract. As such, it remained binding as it was not annulled in a proper action in Garchitorena shall render an accounting of the income derived by them from the
court within four years.34 house between the date the minors were ejected from it and the date it was placed
under receivership.
IN VIEW WHEREOF, there being no merit in the arguments of the petitioners, the
petition is DENIED. The decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 66073 is Whatever action Carmen Garchitorena may have against Perfecto Gabriel growing
affirmed in toto. out of the annullment of the sale by Gabriel to Garchitorena is hereby left open for
determination in a separate suit.
SO ORDERED.
With the modification above indicated, the judgment is affirmed.

Perfecto Gabriel and Carmen Garchitorena shall pay to plaintiff the costs of both
G.R. No. L-47867 November 13, 1942 instances.
CARMEN GARCHITORENA and JOAQUIN PERE
vs. VICENTE SOTELO, as judicial guardian of the Gatchalian y Jarata minors From that decision Perfecto Gabriel and Carmen Garchitorena separately appealed to
this Court by certiorari.
27
Special Proceedings
as attorney for the Santa Clara Monastery, filed a complaint in intervention with a view
The facts may be briefly stated as follows: to foreclosing its second mortgage of P2,500, alleging that the defendant had failed to
pay both the principal and the interest at the rate of P20.33 a month, the total interest
On July 1, 1992, Asuncion Jarata mortgaged the property in question to Perfecto due being P208. Together with that complaint in intervention, Gatchalian's answer
Gabriel to secure a loan of P6,000, with interest at 12 per cent per annum. Less than was filed, a pleading prepared either by Perfecto Gabriel himself or by one of his
two years and a half later, she died, leaving eight minor children by her husband assistants, in which Gatchalian admitted each and every one of the allegations
Celerino Gatchalian. Two days before her death she execute a will, prepared by thereof and prayed that judgment be rendered accordingly. On October 16, 1931,
Perfecto Gabriel, whereby she devised the said property to her eight minor children judgment was rendered sentencing Celerino Gatchalian to pay to Perfecto Gabriel
and named Perfecto Gabriel as their guardian and her husband Celerino Gatchalian P6,000, with interest thereon at 10 per cent per annum from August 1, 1931, and the
as the executor of the will. On December 24, 1924, Perfecto Gabriel, as attorney for Santa Clara Monastery P2,500, with interest at 10 per cent per annum from
Celerino Gatchalian, filed the will in the Court of First Instance of Manila for probate. November 1, 1931, until fully paid, plus an additional amount of P208 as accumulated
On September 15, 1925, after the will had been admitted to probate, Gabriel interest from January 1 to October 31, 1931.
presented a project of partition in which Gatchalian waived his usufructuary right over
his wife's estate in favor of his children. The court thereupon entered an order On February 13, 1932, pursuant to said judgment, the sheriff sold the mortgaged
declaring the estate closed and relieving Gatchalian of all responsibility as executor. property to Perfecto Gabriel as the highest bidder for the sum of P9,600, in "complete
On September 23, 1925, Gabriel, upon his own application, was appointed guardian satisfaction of the mortgage credit." On February 13, 1932, pursuant to said
of the persons and property of the minor children of Gatchalian. In his application judgment, the sheriff sold the mortgaged property to Perfecto Gabriel as the highest
Gabriel acknowledged having received the only property of his wards consisting of bidder for the sum of P9,600, in "complete satisfaction of the mortgage credit." On
the house and lot above mentioned. But he did not inform the court that said property February 17, before the sale was approved by the court, Gabriel agreed to sell the
was mortgaged to him. For nearly six years during which said mortgage subsisted, property to Carmen Garchitorena, who then and there indorsed and delivered to
Gabriel acted as guardian and at the same time creditor of said minors; it was only on Gabriel a check for P1,000 issued by Co Leco and Company, on account of the
March 23, 1931, the he relinquished the guardianship in favor of Gatchalian, whom purchase price. On the same date Gabriel wrote to Gatchalian as follows:
the court appointed guardian upon Gabriel's petition.
MANILA, Feb. 1, 1932
In the meantime the finances of the wards had deteriorated considerably. Gabriel's
last accounts as guardian showed a deficit of P3,730.10 as found by this Court in G. Sr. CELERINO GATCHALIAN
R. No. 42528. Aside from said deficit Gabriel as guardian had executed a second
mortgage on the property of his wards in favor of the Santa Clara Monastery, of which CELERINO:
he was the attorney in fact, to secure the payment of an additional loan of P2,500,
with interest at 10 per cent per annum. That amount was paid to Fernandez Te remito copia del recibo de P1,000 hecho por Da. Carmen, de modo que se
Hermanos on account of a larger sum misappropriated by Gatchalian. pretendes quedarte con la finca puedes acudir a un abogado para que gestione lo
conveniente a tus interes.
After assuming the guardianship of the persons and property of his children, Celerino
Gatchalian desired to raise capital with which to engage in business and told Gabriel (Fdo.) PERFECTO GABRIEL
that one Navarro was willing to give him a loan of P12,000 on the house and lot in
question. Gabriel suggested taking the house out of the court's custody as the most To quote from the decision of the Court of Appeals:
feasible way to "make a transaction" on it. In order to do that Gabriel would sue
Gatchalian, bid for the property, and resell it to the latter. That scheme was agreed to Gatchalian was taken aback and hurriedly went to see Gabriel but did not find him in
by Gatchalian, and in pursuance thereof Gabriel, on October 13, 1931, instituted an his house. He found only Ranoa, Gabriel's assistant, to whom he related his troubles.
action of foreclosure of mortgage against Gatchalian as guardian of his minor children Ranoa said he knew nothing about the case beyond that the motion to confirm the
(civil case No. 40614 of the Court of First Instance of Manila), alleging that the sale was to be heard the next day. Ranoa advised Gatchalian to file a motion for
defendant had failed to pay to him the principal of the mortgage debt and the interest postponement of Gabriel's motion to confirm the sale, and wrote a draft of such
from August to October, 1931, amounting to P150. On the same date, October 13, motion for Gatchalian to sign. Gatchalian copied the draft at the Canal de Panama
1931, Gatchalian filed an answer to the complaint of Gabriel, admitting each and grocery store, signed the clean hearing of the petition for the confirmation of the sale
every one of the allegations thereof. On the following day, October 14, 1931, Gabriel, was continued in accordance with Gatchalian's motion. Then Gatchalian engaged
28
Special Proceedings
Attorney Ernesto Zaragoza whose intervention was cut short by Gatchalian's The property in question was assessed for tax purposes at P14,829, and according to
agreeing to the approval of the sale. According to Gatchalian, the reason why he the receivers' report filed on January 31, 1936, produced an income of P254 a month
withdraw his position was because Gabriel renewed his promise to resell the property in rents.
to him. He added that, relying on his promise, he looked for a broker and found one
Velilla who said he could get a loan of P11,000 on the house. Gatchalian with Velilla The Court of Appeals found the parties in disagreement regarding the circumstances
and the prospective lender, a Chinese, went to Gabriel's law office and Ranoa drew a under which Gabriel foreclosed the mortgage and Gatchalian confessed judgment
document of sale in Gatchalian's favor. But after that document was finished Ranoa and later gave his conformity to the sale of the mortgaged property. But in this
remarked that it would be improper for Gatchalian to appear as the purchaser, he connection the court said: "The question is one of credibility and the trial judge,
being the children's guardian in which observation Gabriel concurred. The money weighing probabilities, gave credence to Gatchalian and other plaintiff's witnesses.
lender upon this turn of affairs receded, whereupon Velilla said that he would bring Our independent opinion is that these witnesses told the truth. Their story has the
another `capitalist' within twenty-four hours and suggested that the sale be made in characteristic ring of verity and is the only hypothesis compatible with the
favor of the minor's maternal grandmother. The next day Velilla and Gatchalian with circumstances.
another Chinese went to Gabriel's office but found Carmen Garchitorena there
already signing a mortgage deed. Gatchalian also testified that Jose Machuca wanted Upon the foregoing facts the Court of Appeals based its confirmatory judgment.
to but the house for P18,000, of which P12,000 was to be paid down and the rest in
sixty days. Pedro Cantero, Machuca's representative, declared that he was told by We cannot review and reverse those findings of fact. Consequently all the
Gabriel to come back after three or four days but that before that time expired he was assignments of error discussed by the petitioners in their respective briefs,
informed by Gatchalian that the house had been sold. Velilla and Navarro gave endeavoring to establish a different factual foundation, must be deemed overruled.
evidence to corroborate Gatchalian's testimony in those particulars in connection with We can only review the conclusions of law arrived at by the Court of Appeals, and
which their names were mentioned. shall proceed now to do so.

On March 12, 1932, the sale was approved by the court. On March 16, Perfecto First. Were the facts proven sufficient to establish collusion between Gabriel and
Gabriel executed a deed conveying the property for the alleged sum of P10,367 to Gatchalian in the foreclosure suit instituted by the former against the latter? The Court
Carmen Garchitorena. Simultaneously Carmen Garchitorena executed a deed of Appeals found as a fact that Gabriel and Gatchalian agreed to take the property of
mortgaging the same property to the Santa Clara Monastery to secure the payment of the minors from the custody of the court by foreclosing the mortgage on it so that
a loan of P9,000 with interest at 8 per cent per annum, subject to the condition that Gabriel could buy the property at the sheriff's sale and later resell it to Gatchalian.
the said property shall not be sold nor encumbered without the previous authority in Pursuant to that agreement Gatchalian entered a confession of judgment to the
writing of the mortgage creditor. It was at this stage that Vicente Sotelo complained of complaints files by Gabriel in his own behalf and in that of his principal, the Santa
Gabriel to the judge handling the guardianship proceedings, and was appointed Clara Monastery; and it was in virtue of that confession of judgment that the court,
guardian of the minors in substitution of Gatchalian so that this action might be unaware of the agreement behind it between the former and the actual guardians,
commenced. On October 11, 1932, more than four months after this action was granted the prayers of the complaints of the two mortgagees, Perfecto Gabriel and
commenced, Antonio V. Rocha, Garchitorena's son-in-law, presented to Jesus Pellon the Santa Clara Monastery.
for his signature two deeds, one of which purported to be an absolute deed of
conveyance of the questioned property by Carmen Garchitorena in favor of Jesus It is insisted by petitioner Gabriel that Gatchalian had no defense anyway against the
Pellon for P12,000, subject to the mortgage in favor of the Santa Clara Monastery, complaints of foreclosure of mortgage and that his confession of judgment was not
and the other a deed of sale by Pellon to the children of Carmen Garchitorena. only proper but commendable in the interest of a prompt administration of justice. But
Gabriel, as attorney in fact of the Santa Clara Monastery, gave his conformity to the Gatchalian was not sued in his personal capacity; he was sued as guardian of the
conveyance to Pellon but withheld his consent to the sale by Pellon to Carmen property of his wards. And Gabriel, who sued him was his predecessor as guardian
Garchitorena's children until one year later. New certificates of title were successively and was the one who executed the Santa Clara mortgage on behalf of the minors. It
issued to Gabriel, Garchitorena, and Pellon, but the register of deeds refused to had been his duty to preserve the estate of his wards. Moreover, he was formerly the
recognize the right of Garchitorena's children to have a new certificate made in their employer and legal counselor of Gatchalian. As the Court of Appeals said, "that
name, and he was sustained by the Court of First Instance on appeal. relation has exerted a predominating influence in Gatchalian's mind." In no relation,
except perhaps that of parent and child or husband and wife, are the elements of the
confidence on one side and active good faith on the other more essential than in the
relation of guardian and ward. The Government itself is in a sense the supreme
29
Special Proceedings
guardian whom the individual guardian represents in its solicitude for the welfare of It is an undisputed fact, however, that Gabriel bought the property at P9,600 and
the wards. (25 Am. Jur., Guardian and Ward, sec. 205, p. 128.) If Gabriel wanted to immediately sold it to Garchitorena for P10,367, thereby enriching himself at the
collect his mortgage and the minors had no defense against its foreclosure, so that a expense of his former wards. Regardless of the Machuca offer to buy, or the Navarro
court action and a sheriff's sale would only entail unnecessary expense, honesty and offer to loan on, the property in question, and assuming that the sale by Gabriel to
fidelity to his trust required of the guardian that he inform the court of the situation so Garchitorena was genuine as contended by the petitioners, and not a mere scheme
that it could authorize the sale of the property to best advantage and save something to frustrate the minors' recovery of said property as contended by the respondent,
for the minors. Gabriel's attempt to profit, however little, at the expense of the minors cannot be
sanctioned by the Court. It was a breach of trust which the law condemns under any
Under these circumstances, the agreement and the conduct of Gabriel and and all circumstances.
Gatchalian in connection with the foreclosure proceeding cannot but be considered a
collusion between them to induce the court into entering judgment in favor of Gabriel Third. The collusive conduct of the parties in the foreclosure suit constituted an
without any trial and without giving the minors affected an opportunity to protect their extrinsic or collateral fraud by reason of which the judgment rendered therein may be
interests. annulled in this separate action. (Anuran vs. Aquino and Ortiz, 38 Phil., 29.) Aside
from the Anuran-Aquino case, innumerable authorities from other jurisdictions may be
Perfecto Gabriel's position in relation to the minors and the property in question is cited in support of the annulment. But were there not any precedent to guide us,
indefensible. He held a mortgage on said property since July 1, 1992. Yet when he reason and justice would compel us to lay down such doctrine for the first time.
prepared the will of the mortgagor devising said property to the minors, he allowed
himself to be name guardian of their persons and property and, what is worse, he Petitioners rely upon the decisions of this Court in G. R. No. 40658, Perfecto Gabriel
subsequently applied to the court for his appointment as such guardian without vs. Vicente Sotelo and Hon. Pedro Ma. Sison, promulgated December 13, 1933, and
informing the court that he held a mortgage on the only property of said minors. As a G. R. No. 42528, Vicente Sotelo vs. Perfecto Gabriel, promulgated March 31. 1938,
lawyer of long experience, he knew or should have known that he could not serve as a bar against the present action.
antagonistic interests, and that if the court had been apprised that he was creditor
and mortgagee of the estate of said minors, it would not have appointed him The first of said cases (G. R. No. 40658) was an outcrop of the foreclosure suit (civil
guardian. He not only failed to disclose to the court that he was mortgagee but case No. 40614 of the Court of First Instance of Manila) that arose subsequent to the
deliberately misinformed the court in the guardianship proceeding that the first commencement of the present action, in the following manner: On September 20,
mortgagee was not he but the Santa Clara Monastery. Neither did he inform the court 1933, that is to say, more than a year after this action was commenced, the herein
that he was the attorney-in-fact and the administrator of the funds of that institution. respondent filed a motion in said civil case No. 40614 praying that the order
approving the sale of the mortgaged property by the sheriff to Gabriel be
No man can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or reconsidered and set aside. Upon that motion Judge Sison, on September 29, 1933,
else he will hold to the one, and despise the other." The truth of this Divine doctrine is entered the following order:
exemplified in the guardianship of the Gatchalian minors, wherein Perfecto Gabriel
undertook to serve two masters; Perfecto Gabriel or the Santa Clara Monastery as Apareciedo por los affidavits de los seores Celerino Gatchalian y el abogado
mortgagee and the said minors as mortgagors. Of course, the latter were "despised" Ernesto Zaragoza, y por las alegaciones de la demanda enmendada unida a dicha
and had to institute a series of litigations lasting now over ten years to secure redress. mocion y marcada Exhibit A, que existe motivo de accion contra los demandados en
la cause civil No. 42092, y siendo como son bienes de menores los que se discuten
Second. Were the minors prejudiced by the foreclosure of the mortgage? It is en ella, pr la presente se recosidera el Auto de este Juzgado de fecha 12 de marzo
contended by the petitioners that they were not, because, after all, the mortgage de 1932 dejandolo sin valor ni efecto legal, como se pide por el nuevo tutor Vicente
obligation was due and payable and the price at which the sheriff sold the mortgaged Sotelo en su escrito de fecha 20 del actual. (Pages 157-158, brief for petitioner
property to Gabriel was not unreasonably low. In this connection the petitioners Perfecto Gabriel.)
vigorously assail the finding of fact made by the Court of Appeals that Jose Machuca
was anxious to buy the property for P18,000, while Navarro and others were willing to Gabriel moved to reconsider said order, and that motion was resolved by the same
give on it a loan more than sufficient to cover the obligation in favor of Gabriel and the judge as follows:
Santa Clara Monastery.
Constando en autos que el tutor Vicente Sotelo, de los menores llamados Celerino
Gatchalian y otros ha incoado una accion reividicatoria de la finca No. 97 de la Calle
30
Special Proceedings
Santa Potenciana de la propriedad de los menores cuyo objeto es anular la venta de could not in said incident pass upon the nullity of the judgment entered in the
la misma, NO HA LUGAR a proveer por ahora las mociones presentadas por la foreclosure proceeding. That being so, the validity of said judgment is not res
representacion de Perfecto Gabriel, Carmen Garchitorena y su esposo Joaquin Perez adjudicata. Indeed, how can the plea of res adjudicata prosper in the absence of
de fech 7 y 10 de octurbre, 1933, y se suspended toda la tranmitacion de este asunto identity both of the subject matter and of the cause of action?
hasta que se falle en definitiva dicha accion reivindicatoria. Asi se ordena. (Pages
158-159, id.) Petitioners vehemently invoke reasons of public policy which favor the stability of
judicial decisions. Suffice it for us to say that such reasons are mute in the presence
Thereupon Gabriel by certiorari sought from this Court the annulment of said orders, of fraud, which the law abhors.
and this Court granted his petition on the ground that eighteen months having
elapsed after the approval of the sheriff's sale, the court lacked jurisdiction to reopen The annulment of the judgment entered in the foreclosure suit necessarily carries with
the case. it the annulment of the sale made by the sheriff pursuant to said judgment as well as
the annulment of the order of the court approving that sale. The limbs cannot survive
The very fact that the order of Judge Sison had been entered without jurisdiction, for after the trunk has perished.
which reason it was annulled, is sufficient to show that neither said order nor the
judgment of this Court annulling it can be invoked as a basis for the plea of res Fourth. It only remains for us to determine whether or not the sale by Gabriel to
judicata. As a matter of fact the last order of Judge Sison merely held the matter in Gatchitorena was valid. The trial court found that sale fictitious, and the Court of
abeyance pending the final result of this action. The holding of this Court that the Appeals said that that conclusion was not without sufficient evidence to support it.
foreclosure proceeding could not be reopened after the lapse of the six months' Nevertheless, the Court of Appeals did not base its judgment upon the finding that the
period provided by section 113 of Act No. 190, does not imply that said proceeding sale was simulated. It held that even assuming that the sale was genuine,
cannot be assailed and annulled in a separate action on the ground of extrinsic fraud Garchitorena was not a purchaser in good faith because "she was fully aware of the
practiced upon the court. The Anuran-Aquino case above cited was instituted after a history of the present case and of the house she bought"; that she could not ignore
similar attempt under section 113 of the Code of Civil Procedure had failed in the Gatchalian's solicitude and eagerness to keep the said house for his children; but that
administration proceedings wherein the order assailed was entered; and this Court when Gatchalian and others met her in Gabriel's law office on march 16, 1932, and
held that since the application for relief under section 113 was denied for lack of Gatchalian told her that he was coming back to talk to her about the matter, she told
jurisdiction, such denial could not be relied upon to sustain the contention that the Gatchalian not to come because, she said, she was leaving for Camarines that
question of the validity and legality of the original order was res adjudicata. afternoon.

The second case (G. R. No. 42528) was an incident in the guardianship proceeding On the other hand, petitioner Garchitorena maintains that she is an innocent
that arose also subsequent to the commencement of this action in the following purchaser for value and invokes the Torrens system on the theory that she has a
manner: On October 4, 1933, that is to say, one year and four months after the Torrens title to the property in question. It will be remembered, however, that she
present action was commenced, the herein respondent questioned the accounts agreed to buy the property from Perfecto Gabriel before the latter had secured a
presented by the petitioner Perfecto Gabriel as former guardian, and the court Torrens title thereto in his name. In other words, she did not rely upon Gabriel's
sustained him and ordered the ex-guardian to reimburse to the minors the sum of Torrens title but merely upon the sheriff's certificate of sale, which had not yet even
P7,013.02. From that order Gabriel appealed to this Court, which found that the been approved by the court at the time she agreed to buy the property from Gabriel.
accounts of the guardian, instead of showing a superavit of P7,013.02, showed a
deficit of P3,730.12. In that accounting incident, the present guardian claimed that the As a matter of act, Garchitorena has completely divested herself of the title to the
principal of the loan of P6,000 had been partly paid and reduced to P3,000. To rebut property in question, which now stands in the name of Jesus Pellon, who did not
that contention Gabriel invoked the confession of judgment made by Gatchalian in the appeal and thereby acquiesced in the judgment ordering the cancellation of said title.
foreclosure suit, but Sotelo alleged that that confession of judgment was made Garchitorena's conduct in simulating the transfer of the property in question to Jesus
pursuant to a collusion between Gabriel and Gatchalian. This Court said that such Pellon after the commencement of this action was inconsistent with honesty and good
collusion seemed to be untrue (parece inverosimil) and refused to consider it for the faith.
purpose of indirectly attacking the validity of the judgment entered in the foreclosure
suit. Thus this court said: "La supuesta nulidad de dicha sentencia no puede ser After considering all the facts and circumstances, we are not inclined to disturb the
discutida ni siquiera considerada a menos que se haya incoado una accion conclusion of the Court of Appeals that Garchitorena was not an innocent purchaser.
directamente encaminada a tal fin." It is clear, therefore, that this Court did not and We note further that Garchitorena has not filed any cross-complaint against her co-
31
Special Proceedings
defendant Gabriel to recover what she claims to have paid to him together with
damages which she could properly have done. If such omission was voluntary, it
would tend to strengthen the theory that she had acted merely as Gabriel's dummy.
But let us give her the benefit of the doubt, as the Court of Appeals apparently did my
making the prudent reservation in the appealed decision to the effect that whatever
action Carmen Garchitorena may have against Perfecto Gabriel to her is left open for
determination in a separate suit. G.R. No. L-42215July 13, 1976
ENCARNACION LOPEZ VDA. DE BALUYUT vs. HON. JUDGE LEONOR INES
The judgment appealed from is affirmed, with costs against the petitioners. So LUCIANO
ordered.

Encarnacion Lopez Vda. de Baluyut appealed by certiorari from (1) the order dated
September 25, 1975 of the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court of Quezon City,
declaring her an incompetent and scheduling hearing to determine who should be
appointed as her guardian and (2) its order of December 10, 1975, denying her
motion to set aside the declaration of incompetency, which was issued before her
counsel could cross-examine the psychiatrist, and scheduling the cross-examination
on January 21, 1976 (Special Proceeding No. QC-00939). The antecedents of the
appeal are as follows:

Sotero Baluyut, a resident of 59 Quezon Boulevard Extension Quezon City, died at


the age of eighty-six years, leaving an estate allegedly valued at not less than two
million pesos. He was survived by Encarnacion Lopez, his seventy-five-year old
widow.

Soon after Sotero Baluyut's death, his alleged nephew, Alfredo G. Baluyut, exerted
efforts to control the decedent's estate. Assisting him in the attainment of that goal
were the widow's sisters, Cristeta Lopez Vda. de la Cuesta and Guadalupe Lopez
Viray. Their antagonists were the widow and her ally, Jose G. Espino an alleged
natural child of Sotero Baluyut.

On February, 20, 1975, or forty-five days after Sotero Baluyut's demise, Alfredo filed a
petition in the Court of First Instance of Quezon City for the settlement of the
decedent's estate. He alleged that Mrs. Baluyut was mentally incapable of
administering her affairs and the decedent's estate or of acting as executrix of his will,
if any. He prayed that, after hearing, he be appointed administrator and, in the
meantime, special administrator (Special Proceeding No. Q-19794. See L-42088,
Baluyut vs. Judge Pano, May 7, 1976).

Alfredo did not content himself with the filing of the administration proceeding. On that
same day, February 20, he filed in the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court of
Quezon City a petition to declare Mrs. Baluyut an incompetent and to place her under
guardianship.

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Special Proceedings
He alleged that due to a head injury she "has suffered impairment of her mental incompetent and that they he appointed as her guardian. They repleaded the material
faculties" and that "she is no longer competent, physically and mentally", to manage allegations of Alfredo's amended petition (Special Proceeding No. QC-00.939). *
her affairs. He claimed that he was able, qualified and ready to act as her guardian.
Evidently, Alfredo sought to immobilize Mrs. Baluyut and prevent her from On the following day, May 7, Mrs. Cuesta and Mrs. Viray filed an urgent ex-parte
administering the decedent's estate, supposely a conjugal estate (Special Proceeding motion praying that Mrs. Baluyut be ordered to remain at the conjugal residence and
No. Q-00925). that she be placed under the court's protection or in her sisters' custody so that she
could be available for psychiatric examination. Without hearing Mrs. Baluyut, the
After the petition was partially heard, Mrs. Baluyut learned of the guardianship lower court on May 8 granted the motion.
proceeding. She filed a verified opposition wherein she denied the allegations
regarding her alleged mental incompetency. She alleged that the petition was filed On May 16 Mrs. Cuesta and Mrs. Viray filed an amended petition dated May 8 to cure
after Alfredo's attempts to get possession of the decedent's estate were aborted and the deficiencies of their original petition. On May 21, Mrs. Baluyut filed a motion to set
after Mrs. Baluyut's residence was ransacked on February 12, resulting in the loss of aside the May 8 order. On the following day, May 22, Mrs. Baluyut filed a motion to
important papers and cash of not less than one hundred thousand pesos. strike out the original petition for guardianship. The motion was alternatively labelled
as an opposition to the petition. Those motions were denied in the lower court's order
She alleged that the documents being used by Alfredo against her were "the product of June 23, 1975.
not only of an illegal seizure but of a plain and simple robbery"; that the filing of the
petition was "an act of disrespect to the deceased", since Alfredo and his cohorts On June 18 Mrs. Cuesta and Mrs. Viray filed a new petition for guardianship, without
were "cuddled and reared" by the spouses Sotero Baluyut and Encarnacion Lopez; mentioning their petitions of April 28 and May 8. Mrs. Baluyut's counsel claims that no
that there could be no justice in declaring her an incompetent just to enable Alfredo to filing fee was paid for docketing the petition.
take her properties, and that Because of the malicious petition she suffered sleepless
nights and serious anxiety. On July 21 the lower court issued an order appointing Doctor Lapuz as commissioner
to determine the competency of Mrs. Baluyut at an examination scheduled on August
On April 7 Alfredo filed a motion praying that Mrs. Baluyut be subjected to a 12 at her residence and to report whether she should be placed under guardianship.
neuropsychiatric examination. She filed a countermotion to expunge that motion from On August 11 Mrs. Baluyut's counsel manifested that she was ready to submit to
the record. neuropsychiatric examination at her new domicile, 53 East Maya Street, Phil-Am Life
Homes, Quezon City.
On April 15, Alfredo filed an amended petition praying that Mrs Cuesta and Mrs. Viray
be appointed guardians of the person and property of their sister, Mrs. Baluyut. The On September 25 the lower court issued the questioned order declaring Mrs. Baluyut
latter vehemently opposed the amended petition. Later, Alfredo moved orally that he an incompetent on the basis of the report of Doctor Lapuz. Mrs. Baluyut was first
be considered disqualified to act as guardian in view of his appointment as special examined by Ma. Paz U. Guzman, a psychologist. The latter found that as of
administrator. September 11 Mrs. Baluyut was "an integrated well-functioning individual", "an aware
and responsive individual who has a mind of her own", and "competent enough to
The lower court in its order of April 28, 1975, granted Alfredo's motions that he be understand her Position relative to the case involving her".
considered disqualified to act as guardian and that Mrs. Baluyut should undergo a
neuropsychiatric examination which was scheduled on May 7 at the Philippine Doctor Lapuz found that Mrs. Baluyut was aware of what the present court case was
General Hospital before Doctors Lourdes V. Lapuz or Baltazar Reyes. The lower court all about; that Mrs. Baluyut spontaneously declared that she preferred to associate
advised Mrs. Cuesta and Mrs. Viray to file their own petition for appointment as with the Espino spouses because they treated her kindly, and that Mrs. Baluyut said
guardians of Mrs. Baluyut. that her other relatives were probably envious and desired to get hold of her assets.

The lower court in its order of June 20, 1975 dismissed Alfredo's petition for The evaluations of the psychologist and the psychiatrist, which according to Mrs.
guardianship. That ended round one of the guardianship incident. Baluyut's counsel do not sustain the declaration of incompetency, are reproduced
below:
The second round started on May 6, 1975 when Mrs. Cuesta and Mrs. Viray filed in
the same court their petition dated April 28, praying that Mrs. Baluyut be declared an Psychological Evaluation

33
Special Proceedings
Observation and Interview. Subject came smartly dressed in a jersey gown and
looking well groomed. She was bejeweled with several bracelets on both arms, 5 Summary: The subject's test data point up an integrated well-functioning individual.
rings, a necklace and watch. She appeared in good physical condition. She walked She reaches Dull Normal limits on the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale in
and seated herself unassisted. She moved about with comfort. She took the test comparison to her age group. She is relevant and in touch with reality. No gross
independently except the Personal Data Sheet which she filled out with the pathology is gathered from the tests, Rather the results show an aware and
assistance of Mr. and Mrs. Espino. responsive individual who has a mind of her own. She is competent enough to
understand her position relative to the case involving her.
Her testing behavior was positive. She followed instructions without questions or
signs of resistance. She displayed appropriate affect, (sic) was coherent and Submitted by:
spontaneously made several relevant remarks in relation to the various test stimuli
presented to her. She was friendly and pleasant, However, she reacted indignantly Ma. Paz U. de Guzman
when the Examiner encouraged her to try her best at the tests because the result
would be presented to Dra. Lapuz. She denied having met Dra. Lapuz and Clinical Psychologist
momentarily refused to go on with the tests saying that she did not care if people
thought she was crazy. She was appeased and reassured and was able to resume Psychiatric Evaluation
working at the tests with her full cooperation. She later apologized to the Examiner for
her outbursts and for having taken so much of the Examiner's time. Patient: Encarnacion Baluyot

Test Results. The Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale yielded a Performance Scale Widow, 74 years old
IQ of 80 which places the Subject's intellectual functioning at, the Dull Normal range. Childless
This represent her current functioning and how she compares with her peer group.
The subject scores indicate her weakest area to be in visual motor functioning. This The patient was referred by the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court, Quezon City,
deterioratiori appears to be purely a function of impaired vision and reduced motoric for a psychiatric evaluation to help determine her competence in handling her
speed due to her advanced age rather than a psychogenically based depression. finances. She was seen twice by the undersigned in the latter's office at St. Luke's
Hospital. At each visit, she was accompanied by Mrs. Jose Espino, a relative, but was
Similar impressions were gathered from the Bender-Gestalt reproductions of subject. interviewed alone.
Her figures showed integration and accurate perception of the stimuli although her
motoric expression is characterized by mild tremors and poor control of the She is stylishly dressed and groomed, wearing much jewelry. She cooperates in a
movements of her arm and hand. friendly manner but grows impatient and irritable when the questions obviously test
her capacity for intellectual concentrating on the discussion, but on the whole, she
The subject's immediate recall is impaired. However, her long term memory for past gave relevant and coherent answers, which tended to be quite brief. There was
events appears to be relatively intact. Specifically, she failed to reproduce from prolonged reaction time to questions which tested memory and orientation, indicating
memory a single figure out of several she had previously copied. However, she could quite clearly that memory and orientation are impaired. She seemed to best
recall and recount a conversation that she carried or with her companion some 30 remember discreet tidbits about the highlights of her life when her late husband was
minutes earlier. at the peak of his public career. However, she cannot integrate such bits of memory
into a full recollection of how her life was at that time. The same was true in response
The test data showed no signs of psychosis or severe personality disturbance. Her to inquiry about any aspect of her life. She can give one or two very brief statements
responses to the projective tests showed that her perception of stimuli is very much but fails to pursue further the discussion. There is clearly an impairment of thought
like those of the majority. Her percepts tended to be common place and ordinary but processes.
accurate. There were no bizarre responses. She is aware and is in adequate touch
with reality. Allowing for some neurological deterioration due to her age, the subject's She is aware however of what the present court case is all about. She declares quite
cognitive and affective functioning indicates that she is intellectually and emotionally spontaneously that she likes being with the Espino's because she is treated kindly
competent. She knows what she wants, and is in control of her volition. However, and thought fully by them. She mentions other relatives who are probably envious
although she has a strong will and is determined, she is not often physically able to and wish to get hold of her assets.
carry out her desires.
34
Special Proceedings
Her personal history, pieced together with information from Mrs. Espino, the wife of an Doctor Lapuz. In the meantime, Mrs. Baluyut filed another motion to set aside the
adopted son, indicate that she has been a mother to many of her late husband's declaration of incompetency.
nieces and nephews, who were sent to school and given a start in life by the couple.
She has always been over-concerned with money to the point of eccentricity but has On December 10 the lower court issued an order denying Mrs. Baluyut's motion for
a generous heart. Pampered by her husband, she has always enjoyed being with reconsideration. In ruled, that as a socio-legal court, in was duly empowered under
friends, socializing and still goes off to dance session with friends her age. The death section 29-B of the charter of Quezon City to avail itself of the consultative services of
of her husband has obviously made her even more dependent and helpless. psychiatrists, psychologists and other qualified specialists (Republic Act No. 4836,
creating the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court by amending Republic Act No.
In summary, the subject is a 74 year-old woman in whom the ageing process has 537, the charter of Quezon City).
rendered the intellectual capacity sufficiently impaired to warrant a recommendation
for kind and consistent guidance in the handling of her affairs. She would best be The lower court further held that the declaration of incompetency was interlocutory
helped by people who are truly interested in her welfare. Being of a kind and and that a prompt resolution of the issue as to Mrs. Baluyut's incompetency was
dependent nature herself, she need to be looked after. She would be more confused imperative in view of the verified statements of her two sisters and nephew-in-law that
and lost if continuously in the center of hostilities. She needs a simple, well-directed more than one million pesos had been "withdrawn by her through the machinations of
life among kind people who will tend to her day-to-day activities. She may be able to third persons".
grasp a situation correctly and superficially but she will need help regarding details
and more complex procedures. Psychological testing (Weschler Adult Intelligence; The instant petition for review was filed on December 29, 1975. In that petition Mrs.
Bender-Gestalt; Roscharch) shows functions at the dull normal, but otherwise Baluyut's counsel assails for the first time the lower court's jurisdiction to declare her
integrated and in touch with reality. The test also showed impairment for recent an incompetent. She contends that her competency is involved in the administration
memory and in visual-motor functions. proceedings pending in Branch XVIII of the Court of First Instance of Quezon city
which court (not the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court) has jurisdiction over the
Lourdes V. Lapuz, M.D. issue as to her competency. She invokes section 29-A of the Quezon City charter
which provides that the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court has exclusive original
Mrs. Baluyut's counsel observed that the lower court's order was "issued in a blitz jurisdiction in guardianship cases (paragraph 2), but which also provides an exception
manner", without any hearing on the psychiatriat's report, without giving notice to her, in its last sentence quoted below:
and without giving her a copy of the report. On October 6 she filed a motion for the
reconsideration of the order declaring her an incompetent. She called attention to the If any question involving any of the above matters (the seven classes of cases over
fact that in the administration proceeding Judge Vicente G. Ericta had declared her which the court has exclusive original jurisdiction) should arise as an incident in any
"competent" in his order of March 24, 1975 and that Judge Ernani Cruz Pano (the case pending in the ordinary court, said incident shall be determined in the main
successsor of Judge Ericta) in his order of November 27, 1975 appointed Mrs. case.
Baluyut as administratrix after concluding that she was competent to act as such,
considering the findings of Judge Ericta and of the psychologist and Doctor Lapuz. The issues are (1) whether the resolution in the guardianship proceeding of the
question as to Mrs. Baluyut's alleged incompetency should await the adjudication in
The lower court had scheduled a hearing on October 8 to determine who should be the administrative proceeding (pending in the probate court) of the issue as to her
appointed guardian of Mrs. Baluyut. Her counsel did not appear at the hearing may competency to act as administratrix and (2) whether she was denied due process
be because of his pending motion for reconsideration. At that hearing, Mrs. Cuesta, when the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court summarily declared her an
Mrs. Viray, her husband Atty. Fortunato Viray, Sr. and Alfredo G. Baluyut testified upon incompetent just one day after it received the psychiatrist's report and before that
direct examination by Atty. Fortunato Viray, Jr. The oral evidence was presented for report was set for hearing.
the purpose of proving that Mrs. Viray was competent to act as guardian of her sister,
Mrs. Baluyut. Jurisdictional issue. The lower court has exclusive original jurisdiction to entertain
the proceeding for the guardianship of Mrs. Baluyut as an alleged incompetent. (As to
On October 20 the lower court motu proprio issued another order justifying its prior rulings on the original exclusive jurisdiction of Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court,
declaration that Mrs. Baluyut is an incompetent. It scheduled the cross-examination of see Perez vs. Tuason de Perez, 109 Phil. 54; In re Angela Tuason de Perez,
Doctor Lapuz on October 24. The hearing was not held due to the indisposition of L-28114, October 30, 1970, 35 SCRA 608; Rayray vs. Chae Kyung Lee, L-18176,
October 26, 1966, 18 SCRA 450; Paterno vs. Paterno, L-23060, June 30, 1967, 20
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Special Proceedings
SCRA 585; Bartolome vs. Bartolome, L-23661, December 20, 1967, 21 SCRA 1324; Doctor Lapuz interviewed Mrs. Baluyut alone "for a psychiatric evaluation". The
Eusebio vs. Eusebio, L-39581, March 31, 1976). psychiatrist in her report did not categorically recommend that a guardian be
appointed for the person and property of Mrs. Baluyut. Doctor Lapuz said that Mrs.
However, as noted earlier, Mrs. Baluyut's competency to act as administratrix is in Baluyut needed "kind and consistent guidance in the handling of her affairs" and
issue in Special Proceeding No. Q-19794 of the Court of First Instance of Rizal, required "help regarding details and more complex procedures". (Mrs. Baluyut's
Quezon city Branch XVIII. That proceeding was instituted by Alfredo G. Baluyut for counsel volunteered the hearsay information that the psychologist and psychiatrist
the settlement of the estate of Sotero Baluyut, the deceased spouse of Mrs. Baluyut. were allegedly surprised that the court declared her an incompetent on the basis of
Alfredo alleged in his petition that Mrs. Baluyut was mentally incapable of their reports, considering that their evaluations were favorable to her. Pages 10 and
administering the estate. She characterized that allegation as libelous. She prayed in 20 of memorandum).
a counter-petition that she be appointed administratrix.
The lower court did not notify the parties of the filing of the psychiatrist's report, did
The probate court appointed her as administratrix after finding that she was sui juris not give them a chance to register their objections and did not set the report for
or was still in possession of her capacidad de obrar o capacidad de ejercicio. In fact, hearing as required in sections 9 to 11, Rule 33 of the Rules of Court. Instead, on the
she qualified as administratrix on November 29, 1975. This Court in Baluyut vs. day following the receipt of the report, the lower court declared Mrs. Baluyut an
Judge Pao, supra, set aside that appointment, not because Mrs. Baluyut was an incompetent within the meaning of Rule 92 of the Rules of Court, which provides that
incompetent but because that adequate opportunity to be heard and to present the word "incompetent" includes "persons not being of unsound mind, but by reason
evidence. of age, disease, weak mind, and other similar causes, cannot, without outside aid,
take care of themselves and manage their property, becoming thereby an easy prey
We hold that in consonance with the last sentence of section 29-A of the charter of for deceit and exploitation" (Sec. 2).
Quezon City the guardianship proceedings should be suspended and should await
the adjudication await the adjudication of the issue as to Mrs. Baluyut's competency The declaration was made although the guardianship court had not examined the
to act as administratrix. alleged incompetent. Mrs. Baluyut's counsel in a pleading dated October 21, 1975
called the guardianship court's attention to the fact that in the administration
It is true, as observed by Justices Barredo and Antonio during the deliberation on this proceeding Judge Ericta had already found in his order of March 24, 1975 that she
case, that the incompetency to act as executor or administrator cannot be equated was "healthy and mentally qualified". That conclusion was based on the following
with the incompetency that justifies the placing of a person under guardianship. From examination made by Judge Ericta:
the fact that a person may be incompetent to act as executor or administrator, it does
not follow that he could be placed under guardianship. But if a person is competent to COURT: Will you (addressing Mrs. Baluyut) take the witness stand and we will find
act as executor or administrator, then he is not the incompetent person envisaged in out if you are mentally deranged as alleged in the petition (for letters of administration
the law of guardianship. filed by Alfredo G. Baluyut).

Section 29-A in divesting the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court of jurisdiction or Interpreter (To the witness):
authority to resolve questions already in issue as an incident in any case pending in
the ordinary court has a salutary purpose. That provision or exception is designed to Q Do you swear to tell the truth and nothing but the truth? A. yes, I do.
obviate the rendition of conflicting rulings on the same issue by the Court of First
Instance and the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court. A Please state your name, age, address, civil status, and your other personal
circumstances? A. ENCARNACION LOPEZ VDA. DE BALUYUT, 70 years old,
Issue as to alleged denial of the process. As previously stated, the lower court widow, and residing at Quezon Boulevard, corner Banawe, Quezon City.
appointed Doctor Lapuz as "commissioner to determine the competency" of Mrs.
Baluyut. She was directed to recommend whether Mrs. Baluyut needed a guardian for Court: Ready?
her person and property. Doctor Lapuz took her oath as commissioner. She referred
Mrs. Baluyut to Mr. Paz U. de Guzman for psychological evaluation. The psychologist Atty. Santiago: Yes, Your Honor.
found that Mrs. Baluyut was "an integrated well-functioning individual", "competent
enough to understand her position relative to the case involving her" Court: No, I will be the on to ask the question...

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Special Proceedings
Court (to Mrs. baluyut): When were you born? A. March 25, 1901.
Court: All right.
Q (by Court): Where? A. Lingayen, Pangasinan.
ORDER
Q Who is your father? A. Jose Lopez.
Submitted for resolution is a motion dated March 19, 1975, asking for the setting
Q Who is your mother? A. Carmen Escao. aside for the appointment of Alfredo G. Baluyut as special administrator by order of
the court dated February 24, 1975.
Q Did you go to school? A. Yes, you Honor.
This Court was misled in appointing him as special administrator by the allegation in
Q What is your highest educational attainment? A. I am a teacher. the petition that the widow Encarnacion Lopez Vda. de Baluyut is no longer mentally
capable of administrator (administering) her personal properties.
Atty. Salunat: At this juncture, your Honor, may we ask that the question(s) of the
court be translated in the Spanish dialect (language)? During the hearing of this motion for reconsideration, the Court placed the widow
Encarnacion Lopez Vda. de Baluyut on the witness stand and asked a series of
Court: She can answer and understand my question in English. questiones to determine her mental capacity.

Atty. Salunat: She finds difficulty, you Honor. The cross-examination by the Court shows this woman is healthy and mentally
qualified.
Court: If she finds difficulty, advise her to do so.
In view hereof, the Court sets aside the order dated February 24, 1975, appointing
Atty. Salunat: Yes, you Honor. Alfredo G. Baluyut petitioner here as special administrator...

Court: All right, What is your highest education attainment? E. Lopez Vda. de The lower court, upon being apprised of the foregoing conclusion of the probate
Baluyut: I am a teacher but I never teach. I don't need to work. judge, should have at least tried to take judicial notice of what was happening in the
administration proceeding. The voice of prudence should have cautioned the
Court: What? A. I am a senior teacher, you honor. guardianship court to avoid the issuance of a declaration contracting the probate
court's pronouncement on Mrs. Baluyut's capacity to act.
Q Do you have any children? A. I had one who died.
As shown in Baluyut vs. Judge Pao, supra, Judge Ernani Cruz Pao, who
Q Do you have any grandchildren of that child of yours who died? A. None, succeeded Judge Ericta, confirmed the latter's finding in his (Judge Pao's) order of
sir. He was very young when he died. November 27, 1975. After interrogating Mrs. Baluyutm he was convinced on her
supposed incompetency.
Q How do you earn your livelihood? A. From my properties.
In this appeal, Mrs. Baluyut contends that she was denied due process of law when
Q Where are your properties located? a. They are in San Jose, Nueva Ecija. the guardianship court summarily announced its verdict on her incompetency
notwithstanding that her lawyer had not cross-examined the psychiatrist.
Q Where else? A. In my house.
We hold that Mrs. Baluyut's contention is tanable. A finding that a person is
Q Where is your house? A. At the corner of Quezon Boulevard and Banawe, incompetent should be anchored on clear, positive and definite evidence (Yangco vs.
Quezon City. Court of First Instance of Manila, 29 Phil. 183, 190). That kind of proof has not yet
been presented to the guardianship court to justify its precipitate conclusion that Mrs,
Court: All right, I think that is enough in the meantime. Baluyut is an incompetent.

xxx xxx xxx


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Special Proceedings
Here, we have the sorry spectacle of two court of Quezon City making divergent The cover of the expediente of Special Proceeding No. QC-00939 shows that on May
findings on Mrs. Baluyut's capacity to act (Art. 37, Civil Code). What the guardianship 6, 1975 the sums of thirty-two pesos and two pesos were paid as docket fee and legal
court did (as the saying goes) was to take the second step before having taken the research fee under Official Receipts Nos. 8981855 and 8982309, respectively. Mrs.
first step. It declared Mrs. Baluyut as an incompetent and then scheduled the cross- Baluyut's counsel contends that those payments corresponded to the petition of Mrs.
examination of the psychiatrist so that the parties could ascertain whether the Viray and Mrs. Cuesta in Special Proceeding No. QC-00925 which was dismissed.
declaration of incompetency is correct or not.
As Mrs. Baluyut did not ask the lower court to resolve this point squarely and as the
In the nature of things, the guardianship court should have first set for hearing the order being questioned herein are silent on that matter, we hold that he lower court
psychiatrist's report and examined Mrs. Baluyut before prematurely adjudging that should first determine whether the legal fees fixed in section 5[e], Rule 141 of the
she is an incompetent. Its hasty and premature pronouncement, with its derogatory Rules of court were duly paid by Mrs. Viray and Mrs. Cuesta.
implications, was not the offspring of fundamental fairness which is the essence of
due process. WHEREFORE, the lower court's orders of September 25 and December 10, 1975 are
set aside.
Moreover, the lower court should have adhered strictly to the procedure laid down in
Rule 93 of the Rules of Court for appointment of guardians. Rule 93 provides that The Court a quo is directed to suspend the guardianship proceeding and to await the
after the filing of the petition, the court should fix a time and place for hearing and give final verdict of the Court of First Instance of Rizal, Quezon City Branch XVII of the
the proper notices. At the hearing, "the alleged incompetent must be present if able to competency of Encarnacion Lopez Vda. de Baluyut to act as executing or
attend, and it must be shown that the required notice has been given. Thereupon, the administratrix of the estate of her deceased husband, Sotero Baluyut.
court shall hear the evidence of the parties in support of their respective allegations"
(Sec. 5, Rule 93). Should it be finally ruled therein that Mrs. Baluyut is competent to act as executrix or
administratrix and should there be no other supervening circumstances that justify the
In the instant case, the lower court before hearing the evidence of the parties, continuation of the guardianship proceeding, then the same should be dismissed.
particularly Mrs. Baluyutm immediately subjected her to a psychiatric examination.
That unorthodox procedure was not warranted. Undoubtedly, the lower court could The lower court is further directed to determine whether Cristeta Lopez Vda. de
consult a psychiatrist but the normal procedure is to hear first the evidence of the Cuesta and Guadalupe Lopez Viray paid docket and legal research fees for their
parties and examine the prospective ward. The testimony of the alleged incompetent petition. Costs against private respondents.
himself has peculiar cogency in the determination of whether he should be placed
under guardianship (22 ALR 2nd 762). SO ORDERED.

Issue as to filing and legal research fees. Mrs. Baluyut's counsel repeatedly assets
that Mrs. Viray and Mrs. Cuesta did not pay the corresponding filing and legal
research fees for the docketing of their petition for guardianship.

38